Grenadine Islands

13th July - 30th July

Ownership of the islands making up The Grenadines, a total of about 600 islands if you count every small rock, is divided between St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the north and Grenada in the south.    


OK, that's the end of the geography lesson.   It just needs to be said that if you've ever imagined a tropical paradise, it probably looked like the Grenadine Islands.     

We finally left Bequia after a wonderful month to head south down the island chain.   Our first stop was Canouan, not the best known of the islands, despite the fact that the whole north end of the island is a massive resort complex, with golf course.   We took a walk around the island one morning and found that the whole resort complex was closed.   It was a very strange place, reminiscent of "The Prisoner" somehow.   A totally enclosed community in a crater.   Not sure we'd want to spend two weeks there!   We're certainly surprised at how quiet all the islands are.   It is the low season but we do wonder how the places keep going. You'd have no problem having a beautiful, unspoiled beach to yourself here at this time of year!   

Our log when we left Canouan for the Cays makes interesting reading:  "09.30 - Up anchor, 09.35 - halyard up mast (oops), 09.40 - down anchor, 09.45 - Phil up mast, 09.50 - Phil and halyard back down mast, 09.55 - tea up, 10.00 - anchor up again.   Enough said!!

Part of the deserted resort at Canouan, 

"I am not a number!"

View of Mayreau and Union from Canouan

Not wanting to bore you with the word "paradise" but when we arrived at the Tobago Cays, that's what we found.   Uninhabited islands with beautiful golden sand beaches and palm trees.    We were anchored behind the "Horseshoe Reef", a massive underwater nature reserve which protects boats from the Atlantic swell but when you look out from the anchorage it's as though you just dropped your hook in the ocean.   

Unfortunately we don't have an underwater camera because the snorkeling was incredible.    There were small and larger patches of coral, in shallow water, each with their own varied community of colourful fishes and other sea-life.   If you went through the small and difficult to locate dinghy pass to the outside of the reef, it was a totally different environment, a very deep wall of coral with large shoals of fish.   We were even lucky enough to swim on two occasions alongside a wild turtle, who didn't seem to mind us tagging along with him (or maybe her?).   

We stayed over a week in the Cays.    One problem with an uninhabited paradise is the lack of shops.   With all the impromptu social events which take place in busy anchorages, this leads to a lot of frantic VHF calls from boat to boat to "borrow" things like eggs, tea bags, or anything else which may be missing for a particular recipe needed to feed hungry guests.  

One day when we were desperate for supplies (we ran out of beer and milk!), we found ourselves running a bus service on Anju over to Union Island for supplies, taking along Carolyne from Fruity Fruits and John from an American Catamaran Ocelot, to get supplies for their boats too!  

The Cays really were amazing, the greatest risk to the delicate corals is their popularity.  Let's hope the authorities make sure they are well protected.   We were disturbed to find no conch left there (an edible sea-life with a beautiful shell) and of the four lobsters we did see, two were dead, injured during attempts to catch them with spear guns it seemed.    This was worrying as firstly its a nature reserve where fishing isn't allowed and secondly it's the season when catching lobsters is banned.   We saw locals selling lobsters to charter boats to make quick money........

Tobago Cays

Our "local" in Clifton, Union Island.

We finally dragged ourselves away from the Cays, hoping to return soon and headed over, again, to Union Island to check out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines before heading to Carriacou, which is part of Grenada.    We spent a night anchored, again protected by reef from the swell, in Clifton and popped over to the "local" for a quick rum punch (see picture).

The strenuous 7 mile motor sail to Carriacou, took about an hour and a half.   We stopped at Hillsborough, the capital consisting of about three streets, to check in with immigration.   As stated in the pilot book, we took along our four copies of the crew list, only to find that they weren't satisfactory as they weren't on A4 size paper.   Hmm, so we had to pay for forms to fill out the same information again.   Oh, the joy of bureaucracy.   Phil was a little bit "sweary" about this but the immigration guy was too busy with his "Exposing Witchcraft" book to notice!   We then went around the headland to Tyrell Bay to anchor, a more sheltered anchorage off a village of only one street.   Carriacou was certainly peaceful (apart from Phil's swearing of course!), the sort of place where a person would put a notice on the wall saying that he was killing his cow on Saturday and taking orders for fresh meat!    

St. Georges, Grenada

Christine off to deal with Anju's hairy bikini line!

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