Wednesday, April 28, 2010

End of Semester Excursion

My absence from the blogging world for the past couple weeks is mainly due to a lack of blog-worthy events in our life. Ryan has been working very hard to finish up the last few projects and papers for this semester. And his diligence paid off because yesterday we found out that he again made all A's! I'm so proud of him for persevering through a semester with several difficult classes, not to mention his work as president of the Public Health Student Association and captain of an intramural soccer team. He truly has found what he enjoys doing, and it's obvious that he is gifted in the areas of science and medicine. He now has about 2 1/2 weeks until the start of his third and final semester in the Masters of Public Health program.

To kick off his vacation, we took a cruise along the coast of Grenada with some of his classmates this past Saturday. I think that was probably the most fun we have had down here. We met around 9:30am on the beach and waited for our boat to arrive. The type of boat we used was called a Catamaran. They are bigger than they look and can hold about 40 people. Fortunately, we only had about 12, so we had plenty of space. Here is a picture of our boat docked on the beach.

The crew were some of the nicest people I have met down here. They were warm and friendly, and were a big part of making the over-all experience so enjoyable. The first part of the day we sailed up the coast to a city called Gouyave. It is the home to Fish Friday (stay tuned for a blog post about that experience). The water was calm and the sun was warm. Laying on a boat with friends, feeling the cool breeze, sipping an ice-cold Coke, and watching the beautiful scenery on all sides is the height of relaxation.

Once we reached Gouyave, we turned around and made our way back down the coast. About half an hour later, we reached a little bay where we docked for lunch. While the crew prepared our meal on the black-sand beach, we swam in the crystal-clear water. I was expecting sandwiches for lunch, but the meal we enjoyed was probably the best local food we've had in Grenada. The picnic table was spread with fresh tossed salad, potato salad, rice, roasted vegetables, barbecue chicken, and fresh fish. We sat on the black sand under the shade of a huge tree and enjoyed the delicious meal. Eventually everything was packed up and back on the boat, and we were off to our snorkeling adventures. We stopped at two different places along the coast. The first snorkeling opportunity was at a breath-taking coral reef.

We spent about 45 minutes with our faces in the water staring at the incredible variety of fish, coral, urchins, and other underwater creatures. One of the crew members collected several urchins for us to see up close. Then they cut one of the urchins in half and scooped out the inner portion. They mixed it into a drink with fruit punch, lime, and bitters (herbs). Ryan had a little sip, and based off his reaction, I decided not to try any of it.

Next we traveled further down to the coast until we reached the world's first underwater sculpture park. We saw four of the sculptures - a circle of people holding hands, a man's face, a man sitting at a desk with a typewriter, and a man on a bicycle. The following pictures are taken from the artist's website,

They look a little creepier up close in the pictures than they do when you are on the surface of the water. The sculptures all contain some environmental symbolism or something, but we thought they were pretty cool to look at. One of our crew members snorkeled with us and pointed out the various sculptures by diving down to them. He even brought me back a beautiful sand dollar from one of his dives!

After we were back on the boat and headed for home, the crew served us slices of fresh mango and bread with cheese and meat. They really took such good care of us. We arrived back to Grand Anse Beach around 5:30pm. Hopefully we'll be able to enjoy many more of these snorkeling excursions during our time in Grenada. I still can't believe I live in a place where all of this is just minutes from our house. We are so blessed!

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