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SEA Currents: SSV Corwith Cramer
November 17, 2018
Stepping Into History
Maria: We went to Grenada’s capital, St. George’s, a vibrant and colorful port city. Freshly painted boats of reds, greens, yellows, and oranges stood out against the clear, crystal blue waters, and nestled into the steep, verdant hills were rows of bright buildings. Although St. George’s is busy with people (two gigantic cruise ships had arrived the day before), our crew of twenty felt pretty conspicuous while trying to navigate the small sidewalks and speedy cars on the way to our first stop, the fish market.
Sharil: Our trip to the fish market barely scratched the surface of what the fish industry is like in St. George’s, but we all managed to learn a lot about the types of fish caught and sold most often. Some fish found at the market include swordfish, gar, and yellowfin tuna. Funny enough, a local Grenadian working at the fish market told us about the invasive lionfish, mentioning that lionfish is eaten more by tourists than by locals. From here, we continued our adventure to other parts of the town.
The sun continued hitting us as we hiked up the shade-less streets towards the spice market, where we learned from our maritime studies professor, Ben Kochan, that it used to be where many slaves were sold. It was eye-opening to see the plethora of spices, fruits, and cultural merchandise displayed there today. As a few of us stepped into the inner market, we met a woman named Margaret who had an interest in our program, noting that she may have met other SEA Semester students last year. The conversation continued with an amazing segue to the invasive Sargassum algae. Margaret mentioned that this seaweed is so abundant on the east coast that many locals use it as fertilizer for plants like plantains or bananas. It was such a lovely encounter and, who knows, maybe one day we may see her again if we decide to return to the island. But, for now, we continued our hike up to a memorable historical site, Fort George.
Maria: Fort George has an incredible view of St. George’s and beyond, but the vast blueness of the Caribbean Sea was interrupted by the two giant cruise ships, which seemed to juxtapose the solemn history of the fort. From the time of French colonization to as recently as the 1980s, the fort has served as a site of war and resistance. The depth and complexity of Grenadian and Caribbean history (and the US’ involvement) is much greater than can be processed in such a brief time, though, so I know I’ll be revisiting our trip as food for thought for the next couple of days.
Maria and Sharil: As for the next couple of days, we have even more to look forward to: snorkeling at Grand Anse, learning our coral, fish, and invertebrate IDs, and meeting with the Saint George’s University Environmental Conservation Outreach group. So much to do!
- Maria Alfaro, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Sharil Deleon, University of Rhode Island