Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Day Out in Carriacou

Our educational Day Out in Carriacou actually started back on Grenada when we saw this traditional boat, Savvy, sailing out of St. George's Harbor. We took a few photos of it and I Googled it later and found out that it was built on the island of Carricou, exactly where we were headed.

So this morning we hailed a taxi and had Vincent drive us to the northeast part of Carriacou where the boats are built. No yachties sail into this harbor because it's behind a reef and has a narrow channel, but the locals sail large boats in and out all the time.
The settlement is called Windward and has fabulous views across the sea to Petit Martinique, Petit St. Vincent, and Union Island. That's an interesting thing about sailing in the  Carribean; you can generally see your next destination before you even leave.

All sorts of boats are built here including racing sailboats, motor sailing cargo boats, runabouts, and yacht-like sailboats like Savvy.

The boat we saw being built is 63' long and will be a motor sailing cargo ship. It will run back and forth between Carriacou and St. Vincent hauling appliances and supplies for the local population.

The construction looked quite crude to us, but the frames are shaped with chain saws and hand tools. Most of the wood is harvested on Grenada. Many of the frames are selected for their special shape from living trees. Below you see the shady "lumberyard" where the pieces are cut.
The planking is attached to the ribs with large galvanized nails above the turn of the bilge, and galvanized ringshank nails below that. The planking is white cedar, purchased premilled in 2x4 and 2x6 planks.

Each builder has his specialty and his own carefully guarded designs. These designs are mostly in their heads, but we were told that drawings are usually safely stored at home and handed down within the boat building families.

Although the industry waned for several years, it has recently seen a resurgence and hopefully the skills necessary to build these beautiful boats will be passed down to the younger generations.

You can learn more about the boats here:

Here is a typical fish trap used on the island.

Huge piles of conch shells have accumulated along the beaches here since the marine biologists realized that dumping them back onto the reef was killing the coral. Now they let them pile up and occasionally burn them.

When we got back to the town of Hillsborough we had lunch at a beachside restaurant and this was our view. Our day out in Carriacou was definitely a good day.


Anonymous said...

are the holes on the conch shells there to get the meat out?

Laura Fortune said...

Yes, they count back 5 spikes and bang a hole in the shell with the point of another shell. That releases the animals hold so it can be extracted.

Anonymous said...

You are right, the boat you pictured looks really, really crude to me also. Having built a 21 ft inboard runabout a long time ago, it doesn't look like it would hold together. Bud & Bettie

Laura Fortune said...

We were surprised at the crudeness too. And we wondered how long these boats last with nails being used to hold them together.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Laura. cool pics. Have you guys eaten any of them sea critters? That is a boat(with the blue paint) behind Malcolm how old is it . God be with you

Laura Fortune said...

Conchs are like a sea snail. We have not eaten any yet, and they say you have to cook them forever to get them tender. Our friends ate one and I guess they didn't cook it long enough because they said they had to chew it FOREVER.