Grateful in Grenada
Grateful in Grenada
DAN Members Henry and Debbie continue their world travels aboard the Seven Tenths

Grateful in Grenada

By DAN Boater

With its long stretches of pristine beaches, rain-forest hikes to majestic waterfalls, reefs and wrecks that teem with colorful sea life, unspoiled cruising waters, and nutmeg-scented air, the Caribbean island of Grenada is an attractive destination for boaters, divers, and other travelers. The many allures of the lovingly nicknamed “island of spice” made it a perfect destination for avid boaters and divers Debbie and Henry Dennig. “We were having a lovely trip, diving every day, and enjoying life,” said Henry when recounting the beginning of their vacation.

Taking a break from their ocean adventures for an afternoon, the couple, along with Debbie’s son and his wife, decided to walk the leisurely garden path through Grenada’s rain forest to the local Annandale Falls. The day began smoothly, with the family observing the native fruit trees and flowers along the path, when suddenly they heard Debbie exclaim, “Oh no!” and looked back to observe her sitting in the gravel path and clutching her ankle. After the more physically intensive adventures they’d already been on, this serene stroll proved to be the most dangerous: Debbie had slipped and broken her leg.

Grenada is notorious for having an affable population, and the Dennigs’ experience following Debbie’s injury confirmed that reputation. Annandale Falls attracts local cliff-divers, who take turns plunging into a pool at the bottom of the waterfall. Two of the divers assisted the Dennigs by carrying Debbie out of the thick Grenadian forest to the Dennigs’ rental car. “We drove to the hospital,” said Henry, “and then our adventure really began.”

Local cliff-divers help carry Debbie out of the Grenadian forest.

Medical care differs around the world, and procedures that may seem normal to one set of people can be unfamiliar to travelers. For example, in the United States we are accustomed to paying a medical facility after we’ve received care. For Debbie, the first thing they did in the emergency room in Grenada was hand her a small piece of yellow paper to take to the cashier. The x-ray had to be paid for before it was performed. There were other differences as well: “The people were very nice, and the doctors were certainly competent,” explained Henry, “but the accommodations and the equipment were equivalent to what we would have found in the U.S. 30, 40, 50 years ago.”

Debbie and Henry had heard good stories from friends who had used DAN’s insurance and medical resources in the past. They had one friend who ended up in a hospital in Key West, and DAN had answered his medical questions, organized transportation, and helped with paperwork. To the Dennigs, there was never any question of whether they should travel with DAN. This was the moment when they finally needed to activate their member benefits.

After Debbie was admitted to the hospital, Henry got on the phone and called DAN’s emergency hotline. “Immediately, I had several people advising me on what to do. They took over and communicated with us throughout the next couple days,” said Henry. Because the incident occurred on day 11 of a 14-day trip, the Dennigs didn’t need to fly out early, but DAN arranged for Debbie to have two extra seats on the airplane so she could keep her leg straight and elevated. They also advised hospital personnel to cut Debbie’s cast to allow for expansion on the plane, made sure airport staff met Debbie with wheelchairs at every airport on the way home, and took care of the only expense not covered by her primary insurance — her crutches.

Speaking about DAN’s role in his wife’s treatment, Henry said, “It was a relief, a resource, something we could rely on and trust. We didn’t know what to ask the doctors, and we might not have been able to get the additional seats on the airplane. With those resources we felt supported to be able to get Debbie treated and transported home. We didn’t worry that DAN wouldn’t cover an injury that happened on land. We already knew we could call DAN to get support for anything that happened while we were traveling.”

Since their trip to Grenada, Debbie and Henry have continued renewing their DAN membership because of the support it could provide them as active travelers: “We’ve traveled a fair amount through the Caribbean and the Pacific, and we even took our boat up to Canada this summer, and we just can’t imagine not having DAN insurance in any of those places.”

In fact, it’s stories like theirs that sparked the DAN Boater initiative in the first place; the non-diver membership base suggested to DAN that there was a need for a program catering specifically to boaters’ needs.

So how is Debbie faring today? “Oh, my leg is fine. No residual,” she explains nonchalantly, ready and able to continue her world travels knowing that DAN’s got her covered.