Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Wales

Category: Carriacou 2015

Carriacou – the island surrounded by reefs

Hillsborough

View of Hillsborough from the hospital in Belair

There are two public routes on and off the island. The Osprey ferry and the SVG flight. Now it seems to be an established fact that the ferry is a much more adventurous route meaning it is often a nausea inducing experience even for the more seasoned sea travellers. Anecdotally the trip to Carriacou is usually worse than the trip back. I managed to keep my stomach content down but it was touch and go for about half an hour.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts the island is relatively small, only 3 by 7 miles and with 8,000 inhabitants. There is very little tourism which is great if you want to experience an unspoilt and “original” Caribbean island but so so good for the locals who often struggle to make a living. The big cruise ships can’t even tie-in (or whatever the correct term is) at the island – as the name Carriacou actually means – the island surrounded by reefs. While I was there there was one big cruiser nearby but it had to anchor about a kilometre out from Hillsborough.

I found most people on the island very very friendly and hospitable and I hope to be back there in the future, enjoying their great island and helping out their four-legged critters at the same time.

 

Appeal for donations for Carriacou Animal Hospital

cah

Photo by CAH

What a great experience. Lots of memories and and a moderate skin tan that will disappear quite quickly in this Welsh winter.

Although there were a lot of nice relaxing moments on the beach there were also lots of animal care that we were involved with. The beautiful scenery of the island should not conceal the tremendous work Kathy, Shurlyn and all the people that are involved and help out with the Carriacou Animal Hospital (CAH).

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!This is why I would like to appeal for your help as the hospital is not government funded and relies only on charitable donations. One of the vets in the UK has opened a Just Giving page here:

https://www.justgiving.com/carricaouanimalhospital/

All proceeds go to buying supplies for CAH. Alternatively you can also donate to the Worldwide Veterinary Service (WVS) who organise volunteer work in projects round the world and provide help for various causes.

First impressions

Writing this at least a couple of days into my stay. The passport control people nearly didn’t let me in the country as they seem to pretend they didn’t know about Carriacou animal hospital and to top it off the donated medical supplies got seized by customs. With the great effort from Penny in Grenada we managed to get them back the following day which meant I missed the morning ferry to Carriacou.

Setting off

Don’t think I have ever travelled with so much luggage. Besides my own stuff I will also bring over some consumables like surgical gloves, flea treatment and so on. Got some great plastic containers that are nice and waterproof.

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Those 4 boxes above was how I got everything from the WVS. I was a little worried about how I am going to get all the luggage from the long term car park, on the bus and then on the terminal. Found a great solution as BA who I am flying with has early check in so I was able to check in all my luggage the day before (between 4pm and 10pm). Parked in the short term car park and plenty of trolleys about. No queues at check-in … brilliant 🙂
So tomorrow when I set of I don’t have to be at the airport 3h prior to flight but later. Also I just need to cary hand luggage from the long term car park.

Had a little walk round the North terminal … didn’t feel at all like a vagrant.

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Chikungunya what? Is that a local chicken dish?

Sun, Siyang et al., 2013

The Chikungunya virus / Sun, Siyang et al., 2013

Soon after starting planning my volunteer trip to Carriacou I was given advice about vaccinations I would require. These were basically for rabies and tetanus. As I was tested and proven that I already had enough anti-bodies against tetanus (Clostridium tetani) all I had to do was to get my rabies shots. Great. Cashed out over £110 for this and thought this was it.

Then later I heard about this Chikungunya virus that was causing issues round the world but it was also prevalent in the Caribbean. Turns out this virus causes a quite nasty disease. OK, not exactly ebola grade badness but can still be lethal in extreme cases and can also cause severe joint pain that can linger for months and even a few years. And, you guessed it, absolutely no vaccine for it.

Want to know more? optimistic version and slightly less cheerful version

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Image reference

  • Sun, Siyang et al., 2013 “Structural Analyses at Pseudo Atomic Resolution of Chikungunya Virus and Antibodies Show Mechanisms of Neutralization.” Ed. Werner Kühlbrandt. eLife 2 (2013): e00435. PMC. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.

Volunteering for the Worldwide Veterinary Service on the island of Carriacou

After months of preparation I will finally been taking a trip to the Caribbean island of Carriacou to do a few weeks of volunteer work for the Carriacou Animal Hospital (Facebook page here). The trip was coordinated in conjunction with the WVS (Worldwide Veterinary Service) who has offered me loads of support and guidance.

I have put over £1,000 towards the trip but the CAH, WVS and I are also looking for any charitable donations of veterinary medical supplies. Get in contact with WVS here: /www.wvs.org.uk/how-to-help/donate/

I have also created a JustGiving page where you can donate
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

carriacou-mapThe island has about half the population of Haverfordwest – the town in Wales where I currently live. The 8,000 inhabitants that live on the island that could fit into Pembrokeshire about 18 times are known to be very pleasant. Carriacou is renown to be the safest and the friendliest island in the Caribbean. Not sure if this has anything to do with the fact that they are big fans of rum and they have apparently over 100 rum shops.

The CAH, ran by Kathy, Shurlene and Hans, is very active in the welfare of pets on Carriacou and performs a lot of neutering and spaying as well as everyday animal healthcare services. I will hopefully be reporting to you on how it all goes when I get there. And getting there from good ol’ Pembrokeshire will not be that straightforward. First I will have to drive to Gatwick (near London), stay over there as the flight is an early morning one. Then there is the flight to Grenada but it first stops in St Lucia, all the time I will have to bear in mind that I have to end up in Grenada and not Granada – a town and province in Spain.

After that I have to, again, sleep over as the flight is to late for me to catch the ferry to get me from St George’s on Grenada to Hillsborough on Carriacou. There is a plane shuttle between the islands but I would be late for that as well (its also a little more pricier). I figure after a long-haul flight I would have been sick and tired of hearing the safety brief and the knee crunching legroom. After that I hope to be picked up at the airport to end at CAH.

That is the plan. Stay tuned 🙂

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