Wandering About the Grenadines

(posted from Bequia, St. Vincent and Grenadines)

Old Business
My brother took some video of our trip from the Bahamas to Puerto Rico last year. He just uploaded the first segment to YouTube. If you look on the right side of the website and you will see a link for the Videos page.

We’re Off!

Finally the prop was fixed and it was time to leave Tyrrel Bay. We decided to go around the bottom of Carriacou and stop a Sandy Island. As we gently sailed out of the bay we heard our friends on Aldebaran calling our friends on Sailacious. Sailacious didn’t answer so we did. It turns out both boats were at the Tobago Cays, a fairly short sail away. It had been over a month since we last saw Aldebaran and it was at least 3 or 4 months since we had seen Sailacious, so we decided to skip Sandy Island and head for Tobago Cays.

But first we had to make a couple stops. We were still in Carriacou, which is part of Grenada, so we had to stop in Hillsborough, Carriacou, to clear out with Customs and Immigration. Then we had to go to Clifton, Union Island and check into St. Vincent and the Grenadines (it’s confusing, but the Grenadine Islands are part of St. Vincent, not Grenada). The check out/check in process went pretty smoothly, but it was late enough in the day that we decided to stay in Clifton for the night and head for Tobago Cays the next morning.

Clifton, Union Island
(April 18. N 12 35.80, W 061 24.70)

Clifton is an interesting anchorage because it is only protected by a reef. We are used to seeing land to windward, but there all you see is waves breaking. The main anchorage in Tobago Cays is the same and it is close enough to see from Clifton. You look over and it appears that the boats are all anchored in the middle of the ocean.

Happy Island, the little bar on the reef outside Clifton Harbor

 

You can see the Tobago Cays anchorage from Clifton Harbor

 

Tobago Cays
(April 19. N 12 37.80, W 061 21.46)

The next morning we sailed the few miles over to Tobago Cays and anchored right behind our friends. It was nice to catch up with them and hear about their travels.

Janice (Sailacious) and Carol (Aldebaran) kayak over to welcome us to the Cays

The Tobago Cays comprise a few litte islands and some reefs. The bottom is mostly sand which is nice because your anchor sets well and it gives the clear water a beautiful blue color. The reefs are in relatively shallow water, so snorkling is easy. The is an area bouyed off on the side of one island where you can swim with the turtles while they dine on sea grass.

Tobago Cays anchorage

 

There are turtles on land as well as in the water

 

The Tobago Cays are full of iguanas

 

And of course there are birds

The islands have sandy beaches, nice trails, and intersting wildlife, not to mention great views of the anchorage and surrounding islands.  Unlike most anchorages, the islands are to the west so you have an unobstructed view to the east.

At Tobago Cays you can feel like you are anchored in the middle of the ocean

 

This is one of the few places in the Caribbean where you can watch the sunrise over the water

Saltwhistle Bay, Mayreau
(N 12 38.82, W 061 23.48)

Just east of Tobago Cays is Mayreau. It is a very small island with a couple anchorages. We had a nice little sail (about five miles) to Saltwhistle Bay. This was the first new anchorage we have visited since we left Grenada. The anchorage is a deep U-shaped area that is bordered by a beach most of the way around. One side of the anchorage has a couple little local beach bar/restaurants. The other side has a small resort-like place with cottages and a litte bar/restaurant. There is a little town at the top of the hill in the middle of the island. It’s not terribly far to walk, but most of the distance is up. We did the walk in the early afternoon heat and had to stop for refreshment at Robert Righteous & De Youths Seafood Restaurant & Bar.

Saltwhistle Bay is actually much smaller than it looks in this

 

A view of the anchorage from the road up to the town

 

Like the rest of the Caribbean, goats and sheep wander loose on Mayreau

Charlestown Bay, Canouan
(N 12 42.43, W 061 19.69)

We had an easy sail from Mayreau to Canouan. It was an easy beat and tack in. We picked up a mooring but dropped it and anchored when we found the charge was $50 EC/day. We noticed that one of the charter boats was La Vida, the boat I sailed on in tne Grenada Sailing Festival.

Jackie at the helm

Charlestown Bay, Canouan

 

With the exception of the hotel and Moorings Charter base, Charlestown is a typical small Caribbean town. A road parallels the waterfront and more roads climb the hill behind the town. There is a small “improved” area around the commercial dock, but most of the rest of the shoreline is beach.

I keep the dink from floating away while Jackie checks out a beachside restaurant

We had talked about taking an island tour, so when we were approached by a guy (Ricky) while grocery shopping we inquired about a price. $60 EC sounded OK to us, so he went and got his cousin (Dylan), the tour guide. His cousin arrived shortly in a golfcart-like vehicle and told us the price was $80. We did’t like having the price raised, but said OK. First they took us to a “bus terminal” towards the northwest part of the island. It’s a turnaround and parking spaces.  There we had a great view of the huge development going on.

Jackie and the tour guides enjoy the view from the bus terminal

The north half of the island is now a gated community with a hotel and a Trump casino. All very exclusive and unapproachable. I suspect the bus terminal (turnaround and parking spaces) is more for the locals to travel there to work in the development than for the folks behind the gates to go into town. We then went to the east side of the island where we could see more of the development including the beautiful beach along Carenage Bay. It is so fancy that they have huts with glass floors on stilts over the water where you can get a massage.

Development covering the north half of the island makes you feel like you are back in the US

Finally they took us to the southwest part of the island to see the airport. It is small, but very nice. They are in the process of making a large paved area for parking private jets. The tour was a lot of fun. The noisy, bumpy ride and the transmission jumping out of gear on the steep hills was more fun than some sterile, air conditioned van.

The tour pauses while we buy fresh batteries for the camera

Modern Canouan airport expands to accomodate more private jets

 

Next: Bequia

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