& the Grenadines!
24 July 2012 | Clifton Harbor, Union Island
& the Grenadines! – Besides St. Vincent, the country is made of 31 other islands called the Grenadines. So the country is actually called St. Vincent & the Grenadines of which Bequia, the largest, has already been blogged. The other major islands are Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, and Union. The smaller popular islands are the Tobago Cays (5 islands), Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent (or PSV for short).
We had visited Mustique in 2000 and were not too impressed with the anchorage as it is very rolly, but it is famous for the residents which at least in the past had included Mick Jagger. We decided to skip Mustique this trip. Canouan is also not too much for the cruiser except for a nice anchorage. And Mayreau has two nice anchorages but we had been there too. So we skipped all of these and went straight for the Tobago Cays.
When people have asked us our favorite place we have sailed, we have listed Tobago Cays in the top three. It is a unique place set behind two big reefs facing east. The reefs break up the ocean waves and it is usually calm even with big winds. The waves roar over the inner reef called Horseshoe reef and outside you can see them crash on World End Reef with big, splashing waves. The water is almost crystal clear like the Bahamas. There has been a big push to preserve the turtles in the Tobago Cays and we saw several each day as they popped up for a couple breaths before going back to munch some sea grass. The first night we counted about 25 boats in the anchorage and this is low season!
We also wanted to dive on the reef as we did in 2000. There is a small cut in the reef that is calm enough for small boats and dinghies to pass through putting you between the two reefs. It is a little spooky when you pull into the cut but you then realize that it’s okay. Just outside the cut there are now some dingy mooring balls for divers and snorkelers to use. The first day there we scoped out the cut and decided it was doable so the next morning there we decided to try the dive with plans to abort if the conditions below were too rough. But even with a little current all was calm and we enjoyed the wall and sand bottom at about 65 feet.
The second day we decided to go back out the cut and across to Petit Tabac Island. It is out in the outer reef and a very small sandy spot with trees. It is famous now because they used this location in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie as the island where they marooned Captain Jack and Elizabeth. We walked around the whole island and headed back to WD as a squall was forming. We bounced back in the dinghy in big waves and arrived at the boat as 40 knot winds whipped up the normally calm anchorage. Then the rains came in buckets!
This happened again and again for the rest of the day and the next morning. The winds were never that high again but normally 30-ish knot winds preceded the rain each time. We got a lot of reading done! We counted about 7-8 squalls until about noon when we decided to haul anchor and head to Union island. We wish we had better weather during our 3 days on Tobago Cays, but we still enjoyed the unique anchorage!
This is the last major island in the chain and our final stop before leaving for Grenada. So we had to clear out of immigration at the little airport and get ready to leave. First we had a most pleasant dinner ashore at the Anchorage Yacht Club (with wifi as the appetizer).
We headed out early and were planning a quick stop at Petite Martinique for a look see and breakfast. It is only 4 miles from Clifton Harbor on Union. It is the first island in Grenada but does not have immigration. They are fairly lax about letting people visit without clearing in due to their location. But the island did not look inviting, the anchorage was crowded with fishing boats, and the wind was honking around the island. And little Petit St. Vincent in the Grenadines was just a long stone’s throw across the channel and had a calm anchorage and we still had about 4 hours of “legal” status in the Grenadines. So, duh! No hard decision. We parked in the little lagoon calm as could be and had a quick bite to eat before exploring the beach area. The island is a private exclusive hotel and the main land is off limits. But the beach is gorgeous white sand just asking for a stroll.
So, that’s it for St. Vincent & the Grenadines. We could have stayed and are talking about how we might actually come back some day. But Grenada calls. We crossed on to Carriacou and cleared in at Hillsborough. Check back for the continuing story.