MITSUGIRLY has a JEWEL of a time on my 1st RC cruise in years!
Day 7: Grenada
Friday: GRENADA: Discover Scuba Diving and our first time here.
After a lot of research with the vendors here, we ended up booking with Native Spirit. They were pretty much the only choice we had because it was 11 days before Sakari's 10th birthday, which still made her 9 years old and all of the vendors (except Native Spirit) would not allow her to do the DSD with us. But, they agreed since she was just days away, she has been diving for 1 year and 6 months, she has officially obtained her "MASTER PADI seal" completion AND she has done 4 ocean dives so far. Yippee!!! I also had to find a vendor that would take us JUST to the statues. That was all that I was interested in.
This morning I woke up at .... you guessed it, 6:30am, just like every other day this week. I went up to get some pop to get my caffeine started...and of course the doors to the buffet area are closed. UGH! So, I walk around to the glass doors and figured I'd just endure the stares from the staff just like every other day this week....ONLY>>>>THIS TIME THEY WERE LOCKED TOO! Alright now I'm upset. Really? I paid for this package and can't even get my pop when I want. They really need to put the pop machines OUTSIDE of an area that is locked before 7am, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner and after 9pm. Like seriously. They put an area outside of the buffet (where the sliding glass doors are) for those to get coffee in the mornings, but not everyone drinks coffee! I feel ripped off!
I went back to the room to wake up the fam and headed back up to the buffet and straight to the pop machine at 7am.
TODAY...the buffet was super crowded. I had never seen it like this before. Everyone must like Grenada and everyone was getting off? Something was going on. There wasn't even any chairs available and we had to circle around for quite some time to find a spot to eat at. I had my "normal" breakfast and headed outside to the pool area to exchange my towels again.
I met up with Kia on the deck and she informed me that she was not allowed to drop of Xander at the kids club until 9am. We were to meet our vendor for our scuba excursion today at 8:30am. So...the plan was for us to get off, meet the vendor, beg and plead for them to stay and even throw in a little bit of tears if needed, so that they would wait on Kia. Then I told Kia where to go to find us and to be looking for the boat at the dock. She said if she didn't find us and we left, she'd know they couldn't wait on her.
We got off the ship at 8:15am.
Had our picture taken and headed down the pier.
We were winding our way out of the building. A lot of things weren't open yet.
I tell Sakari not to talk to strangers, but she said this one was ok because he didn't talk.
We made it outside. Ok...now what? Our instructions were to go to the ferry dock. So, I'm picturing a dock that looked like the ferry dock from Martinique...however, there wasn't one.
We seen a small dock with 2 boats there and you had to walk down these steps. I stopped to ask someone about "Native Way" and they pointed down the steps. Down we went and one boat pulled away to allow them to dock.
I guess this was our boat. If they expected me to "look" for their boat that said "Native Way", I would have never found it. It was on there so light.
I explained to them about the rest of our party and the babysitting and they said "no worries, we still have to wait on others that are going over for the snorkeling". Whew! I felt so much better. We got on the boat and waited.
Before long, a group arrived. They must have been the snorkelers. Couldn't they have walked slower? Still no sign of Kia and Michaela.
Finally I was told that they had to leave in order to get the snorkelers there in time for their excursion. I was heartbroken. But, one of the guys told me not to worry because he "would find her and bring her". Um...how? They said they'd go drop us off and come back for her. I kept telling him that she is going to be looking for the boat and if she don't see it, she'll assume they left and she's not going. He also mentioned that he would possibly send a car. She's not going to be looking for a car either. This is not going well. I knew they'd never find her.
Off we went. Then I discovered that he hadn't even ask her name or a description or anything! (tear)
I felt helpless and so many thoughts were racing in my mind. I really wanted us to go diving together and it would have been Kia and Michaela's first time.
This would be the trip of learning how to jump off and on a boat while docked in the water. I tell ya, I'm getting good at it! Only this time, they went a little too far in. Oops.
This beach was beautiful!
The dive shop is located at a resort: Radisson Hotel. This is located on Grand Anse Beach. So any of you that may be going to Grenada for a beach day, this beach is awesome! If I ever go back...I'll probably return to this beach. It's just so gorgeous!
This is the dive shop.
We checked in with the lady at the front desk and she happened to be the lady that I had been emailing back and forth. We filled out our paperwork and told her about our situation. She said "No worries, my husband can find anyone". My reply was "but if she doesn't see the boat, she's going to think we left and go back to the ship". I mean he hadn't ask for her name, a description, ages...nothing. She could have been a little old lady with green hair and with her grandson for all they knew. She kept assuring me that they would find them. When I booked this excursion, they knew my name and how many people in the party and that was it.
We ask if there was any place to get something to drink and we were told about a little vendor in an area down the beach. We decided to head down there. Of course, I would take pictures along the way of this beautiful beach.
I love beaches that have palm trees and other trees along it for natural shade.I love beaches that have palm trees and other trees along it for natural shade.
Someone forgot to remove the tires years ago.
We made it to the vendor who had ice cold drinks. She told us $2 for a can of pop and $3 for juice. When I ask for diet, she told me $3. Um wait what? That's pop. She said "but it's DIET" ....and???? She tried to tell me that they don't make diet on the island and it has to be imported and cost more. So...they make the regular pop here on the island? Say what? So there's a Coke plant here on the island? Doubtful but whatever. The things I do for pop!
Back to the dive shop to wait around a little longer.
We sipped on our cold drinks on the porch of the dive shop and messaged our family back home. I told the kids I loved them if I didn't make it back and they told me I was crazy and everything would be fine.
My husbands post of me with the caption "My wife be on vacation like...Its ok hunni I looked up the reviews to this place"
Three ladies patrolling the area.
After awhile, the lady at the desk yelled out "They're on their way". Wait what? "They who?" She replies that her husband and the other half of my party will be here in a few minutes. "Are you serious? He found them?" She replies "He can find ANYONE! I told you".
Wow, honestly I didn't really believe it until I seen it with my own eyes. And then I did....
Now I'm pretty sure the story this lady and her husband had about finding Kia and Michaela was totally different than the real story. It's more like Kia found HIM. When she didn't see us around, she figured it was too late. However, decided to ask around about Native Spirit and someone happened to know them and picked up the phone and called him and he said he was there looking for her. HA! If it hadn't been for her asking someone, he would have never found her. There's just no way.
They got the scenic route on the way to the dive shop. Instead of coming over by boat, they came by car. The boat had to go out to take the snorkelers, which went to Flamingo Bay or something like that (where there is supposed to a garden of flamingo tongue snails in the area there, which I would have loved to see this, but that's not what we were here for).
So we were fitted with our gear and I think Kia was in a bit of a shock with how much this equipment weighs. Whew!
It was now around 10am and they took some chairs under some trees beside the scuba shop. It was time for "class".
It was all fun and games prior to sitting down for us. We had no idea what was in store for the next 20 minutes or so.
We were handed our books and we started filling them out with the test and questions. We have done this so many times now that we already know the right answers and honestly, most are just common sense.
Then the class started.
We faced him for the class and as he spoke, you didn't dare look away or he was telling you "look at me, not anywhere else. You need to focus". At one point I felt something on my foot and looked down...I got the stare and look at me. Another time Sakari was scratching and got yelled at. Again, something on my foot...I had ants crawling on me but I sat there like I was in the Army and standing at attention for fear that I would be yelled at and have to hit the floor and give him 10.
I have to admit that every DSD class we have done in the past, they made it interesting and fun and held your attention. This was strict, boring and a little intimidating. Oh except for this "thing" I noticed he had going on with Kia. wink wink
After going over the test, we were told to go back for the equipment. Our tanks were strapped on and then we were about to walk to the pool. Wait, where's this pool at? Over at the resort. Like...all the way over there. Oh boy. It was so hot and you couldn't walk on the sidewalk because it burned your feet and now we are carrying an extra 35 or so pounds on our back. Go us!
We headed over to the resort pool and there were a couple of kids swimming. It was time for our skills check off. I really thought I would like this a lot better than doing it in the ocean. We were told to sit on our bottoms with ours legs straight out. Now this is a hard thing for me to do in water with a tank attached. Let me sit Indian style or on my knees or whatever...but not this. I kept floating backwards and couldn't get sat back up. It was uncomfortable. It was such an awkward position. It was tiring and I was constantly fighting to try to stay up. I have no idea what we were accomplishing.
He went down the line telling us which skill to do and first Michaela freaked out and up she went. It took awhile to get used to it, but she finally did. We each did our skills and then came something new, out of the 4-5 DSD dives we've done, this is never something we've practiced.
We were told to throw our regular down and take his octopus and use it to breathe air. (For those that don't know, the octo is an extra regulator that everyone has in case of a buddy running out of air, you can share air). As he went down the line, sharing his air, people were bouncing up like they were just hooked up to a jet pack. All I could think of is "this is not going too well".
Then it was my turn. I took my regulator out, I put his in....BOOM...UP I WENT. I now knew why...his octo wasn't working right. I got a mouthful of water. Now we are not just talking a "mouthful" of water...think you are inhaling...and thinking you are inhaling air to take a breath...and instead, you are inhaling water straight down your throat without time to think about it or stop the flow. I gulped. I swallowed it and it was disgusting. If you could have only seen that pool...you would have been disgusted too. We kept telling him it wasn't working right. He thought it was us.
Finally he checked it for himself and discovered that it wasn't screwed on all the way and tightened. AH HA! Maybe you should trust your students.
Next up...we were told to start swimming around the parameter of the pool and to follow each other. Well, the problem was, this water was so nasty and cloudy that you couldn't see the person in front of you OR the wall. I know I ran into it once and Sakari said she did the same. I couldn't tell if I was headed in the right direction or not. It was so weird.
We finally got out and walked back to the dive shop. Sakari was the only one that didn't have to carry her equipment. Ah to be young and little again.
It was finally time to get on the boat and head out to the scuba site. Oh boy...
It was now about 11:45am. On the way there, Sakari was enjoying her ride up front.
So then they made her move back by daddy. I guess it was ok to ride there on the way from the ferry dock to the dive shop but not from the dive shop to the dive site? Weird.
We arrived at the sculptures dive site within 15 minutes. It's just right past the cruise ship port.
There were people there snorkeling and also some people in kayaks.
So we have arrived at the statues. My anxiety was building on the way there but I was trying to not think about things by laughing and joking around with everyone.
Then we are told to gear up and then he looked at me and said "you first, come here". He took me toward the back of the boat and told me to sit down. He said "now hold your mask" and grabbed both my shoulders. I felt the slightest little tilt coming on and I jumped up. "Wait, what are you doing???" He said he was pushing me off....BACKWARDS!!! :o Um...no your not are you crazy?????!!!! He said, "yep, you are going off backwards". Ohhhh no I'm not! Panic mode set in and at that point we were arguing back and forth about how I was/wasn't going to do this. I mean why can I just jump off the back or slide in?
So, the hubby said "I'll go first". This scuba thing doesn't seem to bother him at all and you'd think it would because of his ears.
He sat beside me and I turned the camera toward him and he was already flopping backwards. :o
They kept telling me not to worry because my bsc was inflated and it's not like I was going to flop in and sink to the bottom. Well I know this, but still!!!
At this point Sakari ran to the front of the boat "I'm not doing that!" Now I felt bad for freaking her out about it. I HAD to do it darnit.
Ok, here we go....no wait. Not yet. Gulp. Ok, I'm ready...no wait. OMG, just do it! Kerplunk and over I went. WOO HOO...that was actually fun!!! I can't believe I was so worked up about it. I enjoyed it. I wanted to do it again! LOL
Then came Michaela while Kia looked on in excitement...or fear, I wasn't sure which one her reaction was with the flailing hands and arms.
Up next was Kia. But no worries, if she didn't make it, I'm sure he would have gently swooped her up in his arms and carried her off the boat. hehe
Kia going off the boat (video)
She thought it was fun too. Up next was Sakari. She was still hiding in the front of the boat and around the corner. She was screaming she wasn't doing it. She said she wasn't diving now. She had some alligator tears in her eyes I could tell by her voice trembling. I felt so bad because I'm the one that she is supposed to look up to and find comfort in and reassurance. I had failed at the good mommy part today. I felt so bad. I kept assuring her that it was fun and not at all scary. She wasn't having it. She had she was not going to dive. Then the stern parent kicked in..."oh yes you are! Get in here".
This was the only way they were getting her in....(video)
But hey, she made it right? I still wanted to know if we could climb back on the boat and flop off again. I'm pretty sure he gave me this "really??" look like "you made such a big deal of it the first time and you think I'll let you do it again?" look.
I have learned that diving from a boat seems to go a little better for me because if we are in an area and there's things for me to concentrate on below me, it takes my mind off of things that are racing in my head.
So immediately I look down to try to focus on what's under me and start taking pictures...only there wasn't really a lot there. A few fish and some rocks. Nothing too interesting. Honestly, I didn't expect to see much as far as fish or coral. We were diving this place strictly for the sculptures and it was one of the big attractions here in Granada.
I also thought this place would be good because I already knew it wasn't in too deep of water. There wasn't any drop offs or walls or anything that I thought would freak me out. I believe I had read it's only around 15-20 feet down and figured it would be an easy dive for everyone.
Then I see him (Adrien) start to let the air out of my hubby's bcd and he went under. (Every DSD is different. Some won't let you control your own BCD and others want you to control it. This one wouldn't let you). Then they did Sakari. Two down, three to go. Time to run...or swim.
I was up next, he came over to let out my air and I was like "wait, you are doing it right here? No" I need to get to the line. Last scuba we did they had us hold on to the line and they let our air out and we went down the line to the bottom. This time they were just trying to do it out in the open. I wasn't having it. I needed something to hold on to for safety. I'm just not to that point. He kept asking me "where you going?" I told him to the line. So Kia was closer to him now...so that meant she was next in line to go under. (Sorry Kia, that's what you get for being over there by Mr Deflater).
I made it to the line and our guide was Dextroy and he let the air out of my bsc. Then they did Michaela. Michaela and I were both hanging onto the line and not letting go. I kept telling him to wait...I wasn't ready. Gosh why am I like this? I love the ocean so much so why do I have such an issue in the beginning? UGH!
I look over and Adrien is holding Kia and Sakari's hands and swimming away and Dextroy took mine and Michaela's hands and off we went. The hubby...well, he was just doing his own thing.
Finally we (well I know I did) felt comfortable enough to let go (honestly, I just wanted to focus on taking pictures and that would get me through my anxiety). Then somehow Michael and Kia ended up with Adrien.
Sakari was having some issues and now Dextroy was dealing with her. I had no idea what was going on but seen her go up several times.
Meanwhile...these guys were going deeper and deeper and seemed to be doing good.
I was trying to take a bunch of pictures of Kia and Michaela because the day before (in Barbados), when we were swimming with the turtles, Kia got back to the boat and noticed her camera lid was open. It soaked the inside of her camera and the sd card and she no longer had a camera or pictures from the cruise. I brought all 3 of our cameras with me and meant to hand her one to use but in the commotion of Adrien trying to throw me overboard in the beginning...I completely forgot to tell her to grab it. Darnit.
I spotted something in the distance...could it be? No, no way, it couldn't be...the Nutmeg Princess?
Yep, it sure was. It was nothing like I expected. For some reason I thought it was much much bigger. I also thought that we would be going down and exploring around it and getting some good pictures. All we did was pass over top of it and kept going. Wait, this is not what I signed up for! I want pictures! I only managed to get 1 picture. Boo!
21st July 2015 – The Nutmeg Princess has been added to the world’s first underwater sculpture park at Moliniere Bay in Grenada. The statue depicts Grenada’s first fairy tale princess emerging from a large nutmeg pod, reaching to the heavens with a handful of Grenada’s most famed spice, the nutmeg. The 11-foot tall sculpture was inspired by the 1992 book The Nutmeg Princess by Grenadian author/playwright Richardo Keens-Douglas and designed by artist Lene Kilde
Just a little selfie along the way...
So there was a few fish and coral along the way...just not much, which I expected there wouldn't be much anyhow. A few parrot fish and blue surgeon tangs.
Notice all the dots? Yea, I had my flash on and didn't realize it.
More coral along the way...
I think these pictures have a super weird look (color) to them. Maybe that's what happens when you have the flash on? I'm not sure. I have never tried to scuba with the flash on and that far down. It's a really weird blue-green look to it.
A four-eyed butterfly fish in this picture below.
Then I started seeing....people? Wait...is this this circle of people? Seriously?? What the heck happened to it? This was the reason I wanted to come here. I'm pretty sure this is the reason most people come here and this is what it looks like? Shouldn't they tell you about this?
A little about the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park:
This underwater park was created in 2006 by Jason deCaires Taylor. He wanted to engage the local people with the underwater environment by using his art, derived from life casts of the local community. These concrete figures were created and installed on the ocean floor. Most are some form of human. It is placed on the sandy ocean floor and was also created to aid in creating more reefs and to relieve the pressure on the natural reefs close to Flamingo Bay. There are over 65 concrete individual sculptures that cover 800 square meters. It can be accessed by either St Georges main port or Grand Anse Bay, both by boat only.
The coral reef around Grenada suffered damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and Emily in 2005. Only 10-15% of the seabed has a substratum solid enough for natural reefs to grow upon. It can take between 10 to 80 years for hard coral to develop. These sculptures are designed to promote coral growth using techniques to reduce the pH of the cement, which encourages coral polyps to attach onto the surface and grow.
Over time, the tides will enhance the texture and new inhabitants will grow.
There are several sculptures within the park and new sculptures are being added. I will give a description of each sculpture and their history as I encounter it within my review. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we did.
So first up was a circle of people. I had no idea that they were falling over and had not read anything or seen any pictures prior to the trip about them falling over. I was a little shocked to say the least.
I'm kicking myself for having the flash on. It pretty much ruined most of these pictures.
Then there was a small circle of people, which were in good shape and not falling down. Still, I can not find anything online about this small circle either.
I'm really not sure what this circle was supposed to be about and I can't really find information online about this particular circle.
You could definitely see the coral growth taking place though...so it has been there for awhile.
Maybe they are not moving them and repairing them to be put back in place because of the coral growth.
Well hello there Kia! She was diving like a pro now and no more hand-holding.
The only thing I can come up with is this is the circle of children.
The first sculptures were constructed mainly of cement, which has been damaged by the conditions of the seas, and despite attempted repairs the Circle of Children in particular has suffered damage and collapsed in places. The replacement 26 Children are currently being built, using more durable materials, including a more substantial interlocking marine-grade concrete base, ph neutral micro silica, and fibreglass reinforcing. The entire piece will weigh roughly 5200 kilograms (11,464 pounds)… this should provide a long-term solution for both marine life and visitors to the site!
It looked like a graveyard here. There were bodies everywhere. Little did I know, I was actually seeing something I had no clue about.
These "dead bodies" were actually called "Grace Reef". It was installed in 2006, at a depth of 12 feet. There were 16 concrete statues cast from the body of a local Grenadian woman and positioned lying down on the sea floor. This is an extensive sandy area within the reef. They are exposed in an area that has direction and strengths of currents that the sand beds will completely cover the work and you cannot see any of them...or they will be completely exposed and fully visible.
So...since we were seeing them, I guess we got lucky.
Then we were moving on...
We sure did see a lot of squirrel fish this cruise. They were just everywhere.
I still see Sakari over there struggling and Dextroy trying to help her...and not letting go of her. I started to wonder if this might be the problem. She does NOT like anyone holding her. She says it's hard to swim that way (even though when scuba diving you don't use your arms/hands) and she feels like she's being pulled along and going sideways.
Poor Sakari, she just wasn't having a good experience (and she's usually the pro at this).
She would later tell me it was an issue with her mask. It wasn't sealing very good and he adjusted it...only when he adjusted it, it got really loose and caused it to flood over and over. Ugh! Then she said that every 1-2 minutes he was giving her the "are you ok" (thumbs up) symbol and she'd give it back, but then said he'd keep doing it and getting up in her face. She said "I done told him I was fine over and over and it was annoying every time he got in my face. I couldn't even swim because he wouldn't stop". Poor baby. I told her that he had to be sure that she was ok...especially if she was having issues with her mask.
We came up and around a corner and headed toward a small valley. Had my husband not pointed, I think I would have missed the next sculpture...which was one of the main reasons Sakari wanted to go here.
THE MERMAID!!! (Once again, I pictured it to be a lot bigger than it was. You could easily pass this by and not know it and I'm pretty sure Kia did just that).
The mermaid was created by a local craftsman named Troy Lewis. She lies on her side, so she doesn't stand tall and it's easy to miss her.
Can you see her?
Good thing she was pointed out to me or I wouldn't have been able to come around and get closer for some better pictures.
Sakari was able to see her and that made her day.
So...I had no idea what this was and once we got home and I ask Sakari if she had seen it, she informed me "That's like a submarine mommy...like the sand is supposed to be the ocean and the water above it is where the submarine is sticking out of the water". Hmm, I wasn't buying it.
Here's the real info on it:
This piece was also created by local Troy Lewis and are influenced by the form of the intricate Petroglyphs and ceremonial carvings made by early Amerindian tribes. It was thought that the Caribs created these stone carvings to represent their belief in many gods controlling the sun and moon as well as plant and animal life. There were 14 sculptures made total. They are re-creations of traditional Arawak Art with Zemis and tokens of worship.
And Sakari is still being held by Dextroy but as far as I could tell, she was doing just fine.
A little more coral here and there. Still, not many fish.
Still being held.
Daddy was busy exploring.
I felt so bad for Sakari. I knew she was struggling with her feelings and emotions about being held on to. I completely understand Dextroys concern and being responsible for her and all but I do know that Sakari would have done much better had he just let go of her and stayed beside her. My anxiety increases when I first go in the water and getting used to it. Sakari's anxiety increases once she's been in the water for a long period of time and she's still being held on to.
Here's a video of all of us. Adrien was leading us to the next sculpture. Kia and Michaela were paired up and Sakari and Dextroy ahead of me. I'm trying to watch everyone and I look back for daddy...and he's gone!
Oh wait, he's below me. LOL Well that's probably a first. Do you see him on the bottom of the ocean???? Wow! He's usually up at the top! I guess his new mask with ear covers actually work! I couldn't wait to hear his report on how they worked out. I'm so happy he was getting to enjoy himself this time around with no worries about an ear infection.
Up next was a praying woman. I have seen her pictures online before, but there's absolutely no information on her or what her name is. Everyone just seems to call her "Praying Woman".
FINALLY....there is was! The people I was looking for. So, I was totally confused at this point. Not knowing what the first "people" we came across was and thinking that it was this instead. I was devastated that they were all torn up and I had never seen anything stating they were no longer standing.
Now I know why...this is totally different.
This is called Vicissitudes. It was installed in 2007 and is around 14 feet deep in the water. This was also done by Taylor and is the most recognized sculpture in the park. It has 26 standing people (children), of different ethnic backgrounds, that are holding hands and facing outwards into the current. It took over 6 months to make and was constructed to withstand strong currents and tidal motion. The ring symbolizes the concept of life's ongoing cycle and the importance of creating a sustainable and well managed environment for future generations. The children show the ability to adapt to their surroundings and any environment as the sea embraces them and they become a part of their new environment.
Oh boy...she broke loose finally.
At some point, I must have discovered my flash was on because the pictures got better by the time I got here (and a little before).
Sakari had told me before we left for vacation that when we went here, she wanted to go down the middle of the people and get a picture. She was on a mission!
I thought the pose she decided on was funny.
Now my original thought was to go down and stand on the ocean floor and take pictures with the people. Possibly "join" the circle in the opening or go in the middle like Sakari thought about. But, Adrien started heading around the people (and I thought we were going to circle them and figured I'd use this opportunity to get close ups of them and really check them out).
I was circling around them and checking each out and snapping pictures as I went along.
It was so neat to see the growth on them and what shapes they had taken. I particularly liked this one. She looked like she had lipstick on with the coral over the mouth.