One such service is Cutty's Island Tours so we joined 11 other yachties from the US and Australia for a full-day's tour of the island which included the rain-forest, a swim in a waterfall, a visit to a nutmeg processing station, a distillery and an organic cocoa plantation which makes rather splendid high-octane dark chocolate. Here are some photos of the day:
The view over St Geoge's - the building in the foreground is the prison. During Hurricane Ivan the roof blew off and most of the inmates escaped!
The Governor General's mansion, wrecked by Ivan
A refreshing shower in the Annandale waterfall
One of the wild monkeys in the Etang national park (originally brought over from Africa)...
... not so wild, now! They have learnt that posing for the camera earns them bananas.
More Ivan damage - one of the churches up in the mountains
The Rum Distillery:
The waterwheel powering the sugar cane crusher at the River Antoine rum distillery - the production process hasn't changed for a century
A health & safety officer's worst nightmare - open gears and chain drives and one of the workers standing in the crusher to feed the cane through!
The crushed cane - some is burnt to boil the sugar syrup, the remainder goes back to the fields as mulch
The four coppers. The cane juice is moved from the nearest (cool) to farthest (near boiling) to concentrate it ready for 7 days' fermentation followed by distillation.
Transferring the juice from one copper to the next using, essentially, a saucepan on a long bamboo pole!
The stills are wood-fired and produce a 75% alcohol white rum!
The Belmont cocoa plantation:
A ripe cocoa pod. The beans inside are white and soft and taste vaguely of citrus at this stage.
Kelly, our very entertaining guide
Turning the beans in the drying racks the traditional way - with your feet!
The new drying racks, under poly-carbonate shelter. The beans take about 7 days to dry and are raked (by hand, not foot) and turned every hour or so during the day.
Our guide, Cutty. He was hugely knowledgeable and would stop, dash into the undergrowth and return with herbs, leaves, fruits and vegetables for us to smell and taste. His tours are highly recommended!
As you'll imagine we don't really want to tear ourselves away from this lovely island but the clock is ticking and we need to be heading west. We'll do a final run to the good supermarkets and hope to be heading for Bonaire (a four day sail) sometime mid-week, weather permitting.