Grenada Hash House Harriers. A Drinking Club with a Running Problem

Grenada Hash House Harriers

.

.

We sail in Prickly Bay Grenada sometime in mid-October and a week later we hear about an organized event that involves hiking in the island’s countryside and drinking beer. We are in. Even though we don’t really know exactly what this ‘Hash House Harriers” thing is about.

The Hash House Harriers is an international group of non-competitive running social clubs which organized events are known as a ‘hash’ or ‘hash run’, and the participants are called ‘hashers’ or ‘hares and hounds’, after the British tradition of chasing hares with hounds.

Hashing originated in December 1938 in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, when a group of British colonial officers and expatriates began meeting on Monday evenings to run in order to sober up after a weekend of overdrinking. The Hash founders wanted a sport which involved some energetic physical activity that would not get in the way of their beer drinking routines. Thus, they decided to go for a run and have a drink at the end of the run.

One of the original members suggested the name „Hash House Harriers“ after an establishment in Kuala Lumpur, where several of the original hashers lived and dined, known as the „Hash House“.

The objectives of the Hash House Harriers as recorded on their club registration card dated 1950 are:

1. To promote physical fitness among our members
2. To get rid of weekend hangovers
3. To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
4. To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Trails for the Hash

Trails for the Hash

It’s Saturday afternoon and we pile up on a van together with a bunch of other cruisers from our anchorage to go to the place of this week’s Hash. It turns out we are on our way to an event of epic proportions.

After the Second World War the idea of Hashing spread through the Far East and the South Pacific, then Europe, and North America, and rapidly expanding during the 1970s.

Today, there are almost two thousand chapters in all parts of the world, in over 110 countries, with organized regional and world Hashing events. As of 2003, there are even two Hash House Harriers chapters operating in Antarctica.

Hashing has its rules, customs and traditions. Hashers have hash names, mostly ego-bruising or revealing personal shortcomings or peccadillos.

.

.

In Grenada, the Hash House Harriers club was found in 1985 by Paul “Rigor Mortis” Slinger. Since then the group has been running, waking and drinking regularly, almost every week for 30 years. The Hash meets every Saturday afternoon in a different part of the island. It is composed typically of between 50 to 370 assorted runners and walkers of all ages, shapes and sizes. There are mothers with children, locals and visitors.

.

.

We get to the old rum factory. There are hundreds of people, some are very athletic looking, others are just normal people like us. Hash events everywhere are open to the public and require no reservation or membership, just a small fee, referred to as „hashcash“, to cover the costs for the organization, couple of dollars per person. This week’s hash is huge with hundreds of participants, as it is the 850th Grenada Hash.

.

.

Most chapters count the number of runs they have organized and use round figures – run no. 100, 200, 850, 1000, etc. – as an opportunity for arranging a special celebration.

After a short orientation and explanation of the rules and after all new shoes are inaugurated by making their owners drinking hot beer from them, everyone starts running and walking, following a trail of shredded paper.

.

.

We all get separated. Ivo is a Hare together with Mel and they disappear in the very beginning somewhere in front of the big crowd. Maya starts running and ends up alone with Tyler, her 9-year-old friend from S/V Four Coconuts. I end up walking fast and running from time to time with a pack of stranger-hounds through beautiful green countryside, shady forested hills, across small rivers, and down a wide road- places I would never get to visit if not for this hash.

.

.

Historically, hash trails have pass through any sort of terrain and hashers have run through back alleyways, residential areas, city streets, forests, swamps, deep mud or shopping malls, climbed fences, explored storm drains or scaled cliffs following a trail of shredded paper, sawdust, flour, chalk or toilet paper, without knowing where exactly they are going. The trail periodically ends at a „check“ and the pack must find where it begins again. Often the trail includes false trails, shortcuts, dead ends, back checks, and splits. These are designed to keep the pack together despite differences in fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down or go back and forth to find the „true“ trail, allowing stragglers to catch up.

.

.

For me not knowing where I am, where we are all going and for how long, is the most thrilling part. Just follow piles of shredded paper, keep an eye on the people in front, and don’t get lost until you reach the end. Which in this case is the old rum factory where the hash begun two hours ago. As we start to arrive one by one or in groups, all sweaty, dehydrated, tired and hot at the end of the day, we find the stands with cold drinks and loads of beer waiting for us on the loan. Loud music is playing, hashers are chilling. The second and most important part of the event is on: the beer-drinking and partying part which continue well into the night.

.

.

The Hashers often describe their group as „a drinking club with a running problem,“ as the social element of the hashes is even more important than the athleticism involved. Beer remains an integral part of each hash. The ultimate goal of most hashers at the end of the day is to consume large quantities of beer and undo all the good that this running and walking has done to them.

Drinking hot beer from new shoes

Drinking hot beer from new shoes

A couple of weeks after the 850th Grenada Hash we sign up for yet another one of these addictive hashes. It’s October 31st and the hash this week is very special.

In addition to regularly scheduled hashes, a chapter may also organize other events or themed runs.

The most famous special event is the „Red Dress Run“, which is held annually by individual chapters. It all started in 1987 when a young lady by the name of Donna Rhinehart, wearing a red dress emerged from an airplane that had landed in southern California to visit a friend from her high school years. Shortly thereafter, she found herself transported to Long Beach, where her friend intended to introduce her to a zany running group called the Hash House Harriers. One member, noting her gender and attire, urged that she “just wait in the truck” until her host returned. With that goading, she ran into history sporting her red dress and heels.

The following year (August 12, 1988), to commemorate the event, the San Diego Hash House Harriers sent “The Lady In Red” an airline ticket to attend the inaugural Red Dress Run. Hundreds of male and female hashers adorned themselves in red dresses for a spectacle widely covered by California newspapers and TV news.

The tradition of the Hash House Harriers Red Dress Run quickly spread to every corner of the globe, including Beijing, Montreal, Ho Chi Minh City, Helsinki, Moscow, Tokyo, Washington, DC, Hobart and countless other locations and is held each year. Just put on your best red dress and join the run!

Maya

Maya

Another fun variation of a hash is the Disaster Hash. A disaster hash is basically an impromptu hash that can be called by any hash member whenever a disaster occurs. The disaster can be anywhere in the world and can range from an earthquake to a flat tire. The disaster hash is a bit different from a normal hash. The hare is chosen on the spot, given flour to mark the trail, a destination, and a one minute head start. Whoever catches the hare, becomes the hare. They take the flour and continue along to the destination, this repeats as many times as the hare is caught.

There are also international hashes (InterHash) held in a different part of the world every two years. The next one is going to be in 2016 in Bali, Indonesia.

But this week’s hash in Grenada is not a Red Dress Run, nor a Disaster Hash.

It’s a Halloween Hash

October 31, 2014 Halloween night in St George’s Granada. Something horrific is about to happen…

.

.

Some terrible looking creatures have gathered in the shadow of the Sails Restaurant in the center of the city.

.

.

Creatures scary, dangerous, crazy, and undead, wearing running shoos, smelling of old bones and beer.

.

.

They have a ceremony, a witchcraft ritual, telling spells, drinking foamy liquids from the shoos of sick people.

.

.

They, extraterrestrials and fast zombies, announce the terrible future ahead, the inevitable misfortune awaiting us.

.

.

The ordeal begins. The longest most creepiest night in the lives of the hashers.

.

.

We walk through a dark town like somnambulists, not knowing where are we going and why? We detect the faint smell of decomposing bodies and urine.

.

.


We are lost in a maze of narrow streets leading nowhere, up and down, and up again! Are we going in circles? Will we ever be able to leave this „such a lovely place“? Small kids, or maybe trolls darker than the deepest night, squatting in corners, are yelling at us: This way, this way, this way! Pointing in all directions. We are lost.

.

.

We are sent to the top of the city only to see the last rays of the sun disappear beyond the horizon. Complete darkness descends. We have no hope.

.

.

It gets worst. We suddenly find ourselves in a graveyard, stepping on tombstones, surrounded by the howling souls of the dead.

.

.

Further down the valley of the shadow of death, we hear the heavy chains of the werewolves, rattling in the dark. Creatures with glowing eyes lurking everywhere.

.

.


We get to the ruins of an old fort. Fort George. From there we see the city where everyone but the last few of us have been infected by zombies.

.

.

And then, we enter the Tunnels of Disappointment where we feel the cold of the shadows of skeletons. Where the final faith awaits the lost souls of the dehydrated.

.

.

 

 
Haunted tunnels, that have never seen daylight, populated by nasty bent creatures with nice running shoos.

.

.

Those of us who make it out of the tunnels alive, are offered a candy by a nun. But the bag is full of spiders!

.

.

Back at the haunt, we are punished and humiliated with beer and loud noises.

.

.

We are tortured to death with all sorts of alcoholic drinks, mostly beer.

.

.

And even though we have become lunatics, people with no hope, and even though this night has forever changed our lives, we survived to tell the tale and this is the end of it!

IMel and Ivo are among the first hashers to finish the Halloween Hash

IMel and Ivo are among the first hashers to finish the Halloween Hash

 

* The information used in this post is from Wikipedia and from Grenada Hash House Harriers official website.

 

Read about Maya’s Halloween Birthday celebration here.

Share

Maya’s Halloween Birthday in Grenada

Cruising Grenada. Maya’s Halloween Birthday Party

Boat Kids in Grenada

Boat Kids in Grenada

Grenada is a very special place for cruisers for it is at the southernmost end of the Lesser Antilles Island Chain where hurricanes rarely venture. For this, the boat insurance companies allow their clients to spend the hurricane season in Grenada. Anywhere else in the Caribbean the danger form storms is much higher and boats are not insured unless they are in or south of Grenada during the months between June and November. This is why cruisers rush to get there on time, before June 1st and remain safely tucked in in the many harbors around the island until the beginning of November.

View of Prickly Bay, Grenada from the University Club

View of Prickly Bay, Grenada from the University Club

As soon as we arrive in Prickly Bay and a week later move across to Secret Harbor, we become overwhelmed with social events and cool activities, and this time we participate. We are pleasantly surprised to find out that many of the boats are homes to families with children, like us.

View of Secret Harbor, Grenada

View of Secret Harbor, Grenada

Very quickly Maya became friends with twenty kids, boys and girls of all ages. They play volleyball together every Wednesday and Saturday at 3:00 p.m., and jump off the pier in Secret Harbor after the game, they have Book Club on Saturday in the morning, they surf on the reef in Prickly Bay, sail small dinghies at Hog Island, get together to make music, to do crafts, and yoga, to watch films and play games. It is wonderful. No wonder Grenada is the favorite island for so many cruisers and no wonder they spend so much time here. After a couple of weeks, we feel like home and we don’t want to leave. Ever.

Yoga with the Boat Kids, Grenada

Yoga for teens with the Boat Kids, Grenada

Kids' volleyball, Secret Harbor, Grenada

Kids’ volleyball, Secret Harbor, Grenada

Jumping off the pier after volleyball, Secret Harbor, Grenada

Jumping off the pier after volleyball, Secret Harbor, Grenada

But Grenada was especially special to Maya because she got to celebrate her 11th birthday there with so many new friends. Maya started counting the days before her birthday, October 27th, a month before, in St Lucia. She would wake up and first thing in the morning, she would announce how many days left to her birthday. It became really annoying. She even drew a birthday invitation card for our friends Mel and Caryn three weeks in advance, with no date or place on the card, as we had no idea when, where and how we would organize her party. But a party she was going to have.

Maya in her Halloween costume

Maya with her Halloween costume

Maya

Maya

On October 29th an epic Halloween party was to take place at Secret Harbor starting at 3:00p.m. with the kids dressed up in costumes, piling up on dinghies and going around the anchorage trick-or-treating the boats. Then at 6:00 p.m. the party for all, adults and kids, was scheduled to begin on the terrace of the restaurant. We decide it is best to have Maya’s birthday party after the kids comeback from trick-or-treating and before the big party; thus everyone will be there for sure and we’ll all celebrate.

Ivo, Maya and Mira with Halloween costumes

Ivo, Maya and Mira with Halloween costumes

At 3:00 p.m. on October 29th, 2014, on the pier at Secret Harbor, ghosts, skeletons, zombies, princesses, pirates, monsters, and all other candy-thirsty creatures start to arrive. They pile up in a few of the dinghies and charge the quiet unsuspecting anchorage as the setting sun paints the clouds on the western horizon blood-red. Boat by boat, they pillage and extort, until their bags are full of booty and the boats are out of sweets. None of the anchored sailboats’ candy reserves survives the attack.

 Trick-or-Treating in Secret Harbor, Grenada

.

Boat kids piled up on a dinghy

.

The more kids, the more dinghies, the merrier. — at Secred Harbour, Grenada  

 

.

Trick-or-treaters hit the anchorage

.

Dinghies going „door-to-door“

.

Kids with booty

.

After the anchorage, the kids hit the marina

.

The littlest pirates are wearing lifejackets as well

.

Lots of candies for all

.

.

.

.

The kids return to shore just in time for Maya’s huge birthday cake. They give her presents. Sara has made a room decoration from ocean treasures. Emma has fashioned a necklace and earrings from pieces of green glass found on the beach. Anna has painted a picture of a friendly sea monster. Mika has made her favorite paper game for Maya. The other Maya gave our Maya a tiny bed for toys she made herself out of a coconut.

 

Maya's Birthday cake

Maya’s Birthday cake

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

And then the grown-ups arrive all wearing silly costumes, and we all dance, drink, eat pizza, and have fun. Maya enjoys the party the most. She never stops dancing. For her, this is not just a Halloween party, it’s her birthday party. “The best day of my life” she said.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Read about the Underwater Sculpture Gallery in Grenada here.

Share

Underwater Sulptures

The world’s first public underwater sculpture park located off the west coast of Grenada was open for public viewing in 2006. Created by British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor the Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park features a unique collection of ecological underwater contemporary art.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

A couple of days after dropping anchor in St George’s Bay in Grenada, we pile up on the Rubber Duck (Mel and Caryn’s dinghy) and head for the Sculpture Park in Molienere Bay. It’s not too far, only 2 miles north from the St George’s anchorage or about 20-30 minute dinghy ride in calm seas.

It’s Saturday and at 9 in the morning there are two diving boats and another dinghy already stationed on the mooring balls in the bay. A group of divers with a guide and a snorkeling family are already in the water. We grab a mooring too, put on our masks and snorkels, and begin exploring the sandy shallows of the bay.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

There are over 65 submerged sculptures scattered on an area of 800 square meters which allows us to swim around undisturbed avoiding the other visitors, discovering the artworks in the collection one by one.

Maya at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Maya at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The water temperature is pleasant but visibility is not perfect. The sea is murky from the swell and currents we’ve been getting in the past few days due to Hurricane Gonzalo’s passing north of Grenada.

Mira at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Mira at the Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

We float on the surface of the sea. Beneath us lying down on the sea floor in 12 feet of water are the 16 bodies of one woman. ‘Grace Reef’ is the first installation consisting of 16 concrete statues cast from the body of a local Grenadian woman. It’s eerie and beautiful, as well as a bit morbid. Underwater, the inanimate human figures suddenly become lost, drowned, abandoned.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Most of the sculptures represent human figures from life casts of actual Grenadian people: men, women and children. They have been designed to promote coral growth using techniques to reduce the pH of the cement and by applying a textured surface thus encouraging coral polyps to attach onto the surface and change the appearance of the artworks over time. Eventually the structures become sanctuaries for small marine life, like artificial reefs.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The most recognized and impressive installation is ‘Vicissitudes’, a ring of 26 children holding hands facing outwards into the current. Symbolizing life’s ongoing cycle and the ability of children to adapt to their surroundings, the piece is a means of conveying environmental awareness and evokes the importance of sustainable and well managed marine environment for future generations. In an interview for Environmental Graffiti, the artists said: “I am trying to portray how human intervention or interaction with nature can be positive and sustainable, an icon of how we can live in a symbiotic relationship with nature.”

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

British artist, Jason de Caires Taylor born in August of 1974 started as a dive instructor and graffiti artists to become a world-renown environmental artist, underwater photographer, and marine conservationist, combining his two passions for sea and art. “I’m very interested in public art and how an object changes in response to its environment.“

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

The artist main goal is to divert visitors away from damaged by hurricanes and human activity endangered natural reefs, like the most visited snorkeling destination on the island, Flamingo Bay, located not far from the sculpture park. He also hopes that his eco-friendly installations will provide new habitats for marine life and enhance the local ecosystems.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

We snorkel around the sculpture and dive for a closer look. The bodies and faces of the figures are covered in new corals, marine plants and aquatic life forms. Parrot fish, yellow tails and other small fishes swim undisturbed among the concrete figures already colonized by sponges and tunicates. The undersea art collection has become their new neighborhood. We are their guests.

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Underwater Sculptures Park Grenada

Share

Grenada: Installing Solar Panels

 

Installing Solar Panels

Installing Solar Panels

Time to leave St Lucia and head directly to Grenada where our friends Mel and Caryn are getting two new huge solar panels shipped from Florida for their Island Packet S/V Passages.

We have been cruising together with Mel and Caryn since Guadeloupe, for over two months now, and we have become very close friends. They are both extremely humble cultured sweet people who enjoy travel and adventure very much.

Mel and Caryn at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Mel and Caryn at Champagne Reef, Dominica

Mel was born in Namibia and Caryn in Zimbabwe. They met in South Africa and later moved to Australia where they live since 7 years now. We have spent many evenings sharing meals aboard Fata Morgana and Passages, listening to their incredible stories of Africa. „You have to be very careful with Africa, said Caryn one evening. Once she gets in your blood there is no getting her out of you. You always want to comeback there.“ When she speaks of Africa, of the places in Africa, the sounds of Africa, the animals of Africa, the sunsets of Africa, her voice fills with tenderness and nostalgia.

Caryn with a Rasta Man in St. Lucia

Caryn with a Rasta Man in St. Lucia

Mel is a mechanical engineer but works in business software now, and Caryn is a school teacher, and she must be the best school teacher in the world. They are now in their early fifties and have ventured for work and for fun all over the world in most continents, in hundreds of countries. In 2013 they bought S/V Passages, a beautiful island Packet, and have been sailing through the Bahamas and the Caribbean since then, pretty much n the same rout as us. After a few months, they will be leaving the boat here in Grenada and return to Australia to work for awhile, before continuing with their sailing adventure.

S/V Passages

S/V Passages

Mel is also a professional marathon runner. He is participating in marathons all over the world almost every year. He can run a lot… So Ivo, who likes to go jogging early in the morning found a great companion. They run for about 6 to 10 km every second day and of course talk about all sorts of things while running, like solar panels and lithium batteries, boats, and other important stuff. Thus, the plan to instal more solar on S/V Passages was consolidated and soon put into action.

Ivo and Mel installing solar panels

Ivo and Mel installing solar panels

Ivo is excited to help with the installation. After all, it is his fault Mel and Caryn ordered two panels a lot bigger than they initially wanted. We have 5 big solar panels aboard Fata Mоrgana and two smaller ones, producing a staggering 1,500 Wаtts of pure solar electricity, and often we inspire cruisers to get more solar panels. We also have lithium batteries, instead of AGMs or flooded, which is something very new and innovative in the world of sailing. We think, it’s the future of boat batteries. I have previously posted a very detailed article about our solar installation, which can be found here. So Ivo convinced Mel to go bigger, get double, supersize! We are all about off-grid living and alternative energies, so when friends go solar, we all celebrate.

Viktor and Ivo installing Kyocera solar panels aboard Fata Morgana, November, 2013, Florida

Viktor and Ivo installing Kyocera solar panels aboard Fata Morgana, November, 2013, Florida

We sail 110 NM to Tyrell Bay in Carriacou together with S/V Passages bypassing the big island of St Vincent and the smaller islands of The Grenadines where we are planning to return in due time and explore them thoroughly.

We are getting 18-20 kt east winds between the islands, but when we are behind the island, even though we keep at least 10 miles distance between us and land, the wind just stops and of course we stop too… We wait, Ivo pulls the boat with the kayak and we even try the „new“ used spinnaker we bought in Martinique. But nothing works. After a few hours the wind returns and we sail again.

Flying the Spinnaker

Flying the Spinnaker

We arrive in Carriacou on the second day of our passage and we stay there only a couple of days, just to check-in and to rest a bit.  Then we sail again, to St George’s, Grenada.

St George’s is the capital and biggest city of Grenada and a popular tourist destination. Its big wide horseshoe-shaped harbor is surrounded by a hillside of an old volcano crater crowned by the 1705 Fort George on the northwestern tip. The city is beautiful, old colonial buildings standing guard around the harbor, narrow streets crisscrossing the steep hills, providing glorious vistas of the bay.

St George's Grenada

St George’s Grenada

We drop anchor in the anchorage outside of the harbor, S/V Passages go to Port Louis Marina, ready for some new solar panels. In the next two days Ivo and Mel work hard from dawn till dusk. Looking for parts, which can be tricky in Grenada, building two frames with stainless steel one inch tubing, one over the bimini an one over the davits, and finally mounting the panels.

Mel and Ivo busy with the solar panels

Mel and Ivo at work

The biggest problem they encountered while doing all this was that the fittings which were labelled one inch, where actually smaller, 7/8, and there were no one-inch fittings anywhere on the island. To order them from Martinique would take one month and so Ivo came up with the idea to grind the stainless steel pipes and make them fit in the 7/8 fittings… This took a whole day. But the next day the frame is ready and the new Kyocera 350 watt panels are up on the boat.

Installing the Solar Panels aboard S/V Passages

Installing the Solar Panels aboard S/V Passages

 

While Ivo and Mel are busy with the solar panels, Caryn, Maya and I spend the days at the marina swimming pool, where Maya quickly makes a great new friend, Meagan, another cruising kid.

Maya and Meagan at Port Louis Marina's pool

Maya and Meagan at Port Louis Marina’s pool

And when the job is done, we celebrate with a lovely dinner aboard solar-powered S/V Passages.

Maya aboard S/V Passages

Maya aboard S/V Passages

Installing solar panels aboard S/V Passages has been a great rewarding experience for all. And it is not over. Mel and Caryn are planning to get even more solar panels in the next months and thinking about switching to lithium batteries too. The lithium batteries are lighter, smaller, faster charging, holding their voltage much more, can be discharged at ones, can be discharged completely without damage, and are now very affordable. If you look at our Sponsors Page you will find a link to Balqon, the company with the best lithium batteries prices in the USA. You will also find E-Marine Systems, the best prices and quality for solar panels. After one year of using our lithium batteries, we are extremely satisfied and would recommend them to anyone. Lithium batteries are the future of cruising.

Mel and Ivo and the solar panels

Mel and Ivo and the solar panels

Share