Why We’re Heading To Grenada

1 week agoWords by Mr Andrew Hastings

Beachfront villa, Silversands Hotel, Grenada. Photograph by Ms Magda Biernat, courtesy of Silversands

I’m trying to find the figures at the bottom of the sea, but as the parrotfish and sergeant majors sway into my face, all I see is reef. Shafts of light slice through the murk, illuminating a confetti of watery dust. I feel a million miles from anyone, or anything. Then our guide’s feet slide into view and he turns towards us, catches my eye and points. We thrum forwards and the haze begins to clear. Suddenly, there they are, on the ocean floor just ahead: a huddle of children, standing in a circle and holding hands, their calcified bodies teeming with coral and weed. I can hear nothing but the blood pounding in my ears. I look at the impassive, eyeless faces below, made ghastly by plankton and the currents of the sea. They are known as Vicissitudes.

Spooky though these juvenile zombies are, they mean no ill. They were cast in cement and sunk to the seabed 12 years ago off the west coast of Grenada, in the once barren Molinere Bay. It is not an aquatic mausoleum, then, but an underwater sculpture park designed to compensate for the damage wrought by human activity to the reefs. Eerie and peculiarly beautiful, they suggest a different sort of holiday from the one you might expect to take on a tiny Caribbean island whose appeal to tourists is usually shimmering sand and endless sunshine. But, as well as being blissful, Grenada is breathlessly interesting and exciting, too. And if, like me, the closest most of your holidays come to an adventure is the in-flight decision between chicken and fish, the contrast between its exertions and its indulgences may still just about be in your ballpark.

We are staying at Silversands hotel, which is as luxurious a bolthole as you’ll find to return to at the end of your day’s adventure. It opened this year, six years after Egyptian telecoms billionaire Mr Naguib Sawiris first visited and found himself seduced by Grenada’s sleepy, laidback vibe.