After seeing the Indie film, Vanishing Sail, we were excited to go to the Carriacou Regatta and try to see the dying art of traditional boat building. The new generation wants fast and sleek boats with lots of horsepower. There is not a big market for the traditional wooden boats, but the movie seems to have renewed some interest. In our quest to find the builders, we explored Windward, Carriacou, and enjoyed all the wonderful, colorful sights.
We left Grenada to return to Carriacou for the regatta. After seeing Vanishing Sail, Dave and I really wanted to go watch the regatta. Henry and Catherine from Mowzer had an even better idea: taking a bus to Windward, where the movie was filmed, to find the boat builders. John and Sunny from Notre Vie also joined us on our self-guided tour. We asked the driver where the boat builders are and this was where he dropped us off. In case you can’t read the sign, it says ‘Boat Building Site’. It sounded like a good place to start.
Windward was so beautiful that I took a lot of photos and had a really hard time narrowing them down. So this blog is long and I’ll try to keep the commentary short in parts. This view was from the dock where we arrived.
We followed a fence along the shoreline toward the boat building site and saw this one under repair. Maybe all old boats get a new chance here?
We arrived at the advertised boat builder’s yard. I don’t know what kind of boat this is (fishing? diving?), but it’s definitely not a sailboat.
This was more like what we expected, except it is huge. The framing was completed and the side planking was partially applied. I’m not a boat builder, so please excuse me if I am using incorrect terminology.
The wood, as explained in the movie, is mostly locally grown white cedar. The keel is wood from Grenada and I think it was the mast wood that came from Guyana.
We let ourselves into the boat builder’s yard through a gate to have a closer look, a much closer look.
Really cool to see how the boats are made. Some pieces are left fairly rough and others are very carefully shaped.
While we were possibly trespassing, the builder himself came out to see us and answered everyone’s questions. This boat was huge, the biggest this builder ever attempted.
Meet Anthony McLawrence, Carriacou boat builder, and John from Notre Vie. At the top of the page, Anthony posed with his boat for me. He was very nice and really made our day. But, Anthony was not the boat builder from the movie, so our quest continued.
We also met Anthony’s pig. Isn’t it cute?
These boats are that same style that was in Anthony’s yard, but in much better shape. Maybe the other one is in for repairs? Or a yard decoration? Haha!
This warmed my heart. This mother was obviously well loved.
Islands tend to have a lot of people with the same last names. So perhaps we shouldn’t assume this is family members of Anthony’s, but that is what we all thought.
I loved all the color as we walked through the streets.
Even churches were brightly painted.
Ever see a goat with a pompadour?
Houses really varied in size, age, and condition.
And we saw houses like this right next to houses like the previous one.
A lot of houses have columns or arches, but mushrooms? Interesting.
There was little shade while walking around and the guys started to look a little parched.
This bar was eye-catching but their orange shutters were closed.
We found an open restaurant and stopped to quench our thirsts.
Sunny was visited by the tiniest butterfly (moth) we had ever seen.
What a nice resting spot and it smelled so good. How can you not love a place called ‘Pizza Meh Heart’?
Waste not want not. What a brilliant reuse of old pallets!
Windward treated us to beautiful sights like this.
And not so beautiful sights as this. It doesn’t pay to be made of steel in Windward.
So if you can’t fix it, make it a cactus garden!
Another victim of steel. Nature is having her way with this wrecked car.
Okay, so perhaps some wooden boats are also beyond repair.
We noticed boats getting ready to start the race.
This one has no transom (stern enclosure). Hold on guys!
I thought this a great scene: a regatta boat heading for the start with a lady on the dock getting fish directly from a fisherman on his boat. That looks like the other style. Mystery solved. They are fishing boats.
We stopped to watch the beginning of the race along with some locals in one of the few shady spots.
And they’re off!
Everyone just stopped and watched.
They started to spread out.
There was quite a size difference and some had spinnakers (the sails ballooning out front) and some didn’t.
These guys missed the start, but that didn’t deter them.
They made it look easy, right? Dave and I struggle just to get our dinghy off the beach!
Full sails up, but no rudder yet. He put it in place once they caught the wind.
Here, a couple boats make the loop around a race marker…
…and then set their sails wing on wing (one sail on each side of the boat) as they run downwind. Beautiful!
We found another boat building site where they were making a fishing boat.
This is the location of the boat being built in Vanishing Sail. We heard they had another boat about ready for launch, but it looked like we just missed it. Alwyn Enoe is famous for his schooners, many of which have won at Antigua Classic Race Week. If you get a chance to watch it, keep an eye out for Alwyn’s neighbor in the window. We thought him a riot!
As our tour and the regatta continued, where better to stop than the Regatta Jupa Bar? We followed the loud music and people dancing around to the beach.
The bar’s window seats were all taken (to view the regatta), but we had a great view from the beach.
After acquiring more beers (it was a hot day!), Catherine charmed the locals.
Dave and I spotted this cauldron and instantly thought, oil down? Oil down is the national dish of Grenada and it can be very delicious.
It was immediately apparent that it was not oil down. He used the ends of palm fronds to scoop out… snails?
We were told they were whelks. However, when I looked up whelks, it said whelk is a general name for various kinds of sea snails.
They just kept coming out! That pot was filled with them. I love these peeks into local life.
This guy found some food somewhere.
Not sure what was out there, but once one spotted it, they all came! And thus ended our day in Windward. Wasn’t it a pretty spot? The camera loved it!