Union Island, Carriacou and Grenada for the Meet Up
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
Its an unforgivable gap since the last blog, but a combination of not the best of internet connections and meeting back up with the fleet has meant it got rather forgotten.
So, to continue our story.... After Saltwhistle Bay we checked out of the Grenadines in Union Island. As we were coming in we heard some familiar voices over the VHF, At Last and Dreamcatcher were leaving just as we were coming in. What a shame to miss them.
Union Island is a funny little place, it even has a restaurant on an island in the bay made up of a huge pile of discarded conch shells (a delicacy here). As it was a Sunday we waited until Monday to check in, so we had a very pleasant evening at the Anchorage YC watching the nursing sharks they have in their pond at the front.
As per usual the checking in/out process could be a mite more efficient and I am not sure what the criteria is for being appointed to the job, but friendliness is clearly not on the list. In fact they were pretty much the only unfriendly people we met on the whole of the island. The funniest part of the whole thing for me was watching a guy at his desk in front of a queue of people, searching for something at length that was not there, he eventually went away and came back clutching his mobile phone - for the sole purpose of using it to tell him what the day and date was to complete his part of the form.
Small world/funny coincidences again. We are selling some of our stuff at the end of the WARC and a guy from the UK who was interested in some of it emailed and mentioned that if we happened to pass Union Island, his brother, originally from Scotland, operated a local boat there (Scaramouche, used in the Pirates of the Caribbean film) and had a house on the hill. We had only just been told only about this guy from a local and we were looking up at his house when we got the email.
From there we went to check into Grenada at Hillsbrough, Carriacou. Once again, we heard a familiar voice on the VHF, it was Spirit of Alcides coming out as we were coming in - good job we are not sensitive. Hillsbrough is also a bit of an odd place. The dinghy jetty is worse than St Helena, and if that did not give you a bad enough impression, a crowd of drunks were hanging around wanting money for taking your rubbish to the bins (which were at the end of the jetty). The process of checking in was once again awful. A hot, crowded room with only one official who only handed out the forms to complete as you got in front of him, who then stood twiddling his thumbs while you completed the lengthy forms - all excruciatingly slow. Jonathan made the mistake of asking if he could have a form to complete while he waited his turn. He was loudly and publicly upbraided for having the cheek to suggest such a preposterous and clearly revolutionary idea, the speech went along the lines of "I believe there is still a work in the English language called WAIT" and on and on he went. Jonathan did however get a form, but unfortunately only him, so while he was good to go there were still people in front of him without forms, one of whom was told he had several forms to fill out. This guy let Jonathan go ahead of him, so the man in charge was not well pleased with us.
Its funny how these towns are located on the most stunning beaches, yet the houses all point away from the beach. I guess they must take the view and location for granted.
Probably because we hadn't been given the best of impressions, we decided to head straight to Tyrels Bay, not far away, to anchor for at least 3 days or so. Again a funny place, but clearly beloved by yachties as the anchorage was packed. Unfortunately it was extremely rolly, so we were very happy to cut the visit short to two nights. A great restaurant there, called the Slipway, with a very lovely Italian lady running the show.
On to Grenada proper, and what a lovely sail it was too. We decided to spend a few nights in Prickly Bay (just outside of St Georges) until the fleet met up as, following rather unhelpful enquiries at the Port Louis Marina in, it would be quite expensive to stay there beforehand. The next day we decided to explore St Georges proper and went into the marina just to check it out. We then found out that the WARC boats had a 50% discount off the berth fees, very annoying as we could have come in earlier and have been getting on with some jobs that were easier to complete at a marina berth. So we booked in for the following day.
St Georges is a beautiful place (as is Grenada) and I cannot help feeling that with a bit of investment, the harbourside area could become as stunning as Honfleur. It was still reeling form a series of fires, not to mention the 2004 hurricane. However we did find the most amazing restaurant, BBs - a bit of a local legend. BB is a Grenadian who became a chef in the UK and then went back to open his own place with the help of some of his grandmothers recipes. The food is wonderful and not at all surprised that he has the most amazing reviews worldwide and even won Caribbean masterchef. We have since been back 3 times, and I have to get the recipe for his Bathway Express (a kind of coconutty, spicy risotto) - YUM.
That night the anchorage started to get rolly again, so pleased we had booked into the Marina, it was also clear on the Yellowbrick that the first of the fleet would also be arriving on the morrow, so undertook to get in early. Very excited to be seeing the fleet again, we had really missed them all!