Sailing the Grenadines
Looking for somewhere different for your next boating experience? Hop down to St Vincent and the Grenadines and you won’t be disappointed.
Each island is quite different with its own special character, charm and unique views. St Vincent is a spectacular island, mountainous and lush with a beautiful, rugged, volcanic coastline dropping swiftly into the deep blue-mauve water. Wallilabou, a delightful bay which was the main location for the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Some of the stage sets are still intact and one of the buildings houses interesting memorabilia, photographs and filming schedules.
Scuba diving and snorkeling is amongst the best you can wish for here with pristine coral reefs and a fantastic variety of fish.
Bequia, some 8 miles south of St Vincent, is the favorite of many yachts people being large enough to have a good variety of restaurants and bars as well as numerous small shops for provisioning and stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables and handicrafts . The locals are friendly and helpful, the beaches are wonderfully uncrowded and its simply a delightful island on which to spend some time.
Mustique is famous as a private island for the wealthy and famous and has its own special style. Though more “manicured” in the built up areas than other islands, large parts remain unspoiled and wild.
Canouan, a couple of hours sail to the south, has a large resort development in the north of the island. Along the western side there are a couple of small but protected bays in which to anchor with, if you are lucky, just a few pelicans to keep you company.
Mayreau has some gorgeous beaches the most popular of which is probably Salt Whistle Bay on the leeward side. A road runs from the beach up over the hill, through the village and down to Saline Bay on the other side. Its really worth walking up the hill for the spectacular views across to the Tobago Cays.
Union Island is home to a small airport with links to other islands and a bustling port in Clifton with plenty of market stalls for fresh provisions, handicrafts, bars and restaurants. The harbour is protected by a reef but is open to the trade winds and has lovely views across the bright turquoise waters. For a more protected anchorage head for Chatham Bay on the western side of the island where there is a long sandy beach to explore, interesting snorkeling to be had and some good hikes ashore for the energetic.
Petit St Vincent is another beautiful and privately owned island. This island has a protected anchorage in crystal clear water with fabulous views of the island itself and across to Petit Martinique and Carriacou, both part of Grenada. A dinghy trip to the near by mini island of Mopion with its iconic straw roofed sunshade is a “must do”!
Saving the best to last we come to the world class Tobago Cays Marine Park, an amazing group of small islands protected by the 5 mile long Horseshoe Reef. The islands are uninhabited and have pristine, white sandy beaches. Snorkeling the reefs can be awesome with the chance of seeing some of the larger fish species and spotted eagle rays whilst inside the reef most of the regular reef fish reside.
In front of Baradel Island an area has been marked off by a series of small floating buoys where often dozens of turtles can be observed nonchalantly grazing on the sea grass. With a slow, nonthreatening approach one can drift within feet of these placid, ancient creatures and appreciate their beauty from close up.
This magnificent marine park is the cherry on the top of what St Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer, but is by no means the only attraction that keeps those who have visited these wonderful islands coming back time and time again. Try it – we are sure you’ll agree!
Oh – and one last thing about the sailing. Generally the winds are out of the east, north east or, during the summer months often south of east. The seasonal “Christmas winds” can blow between 20-25 knots, but usually they settle around 15-20 knots. This makes for good brisk sailing up and down the Grenadines with the easier route being north to south. A little more challenging between the islands perhaps – but isn’t that what you are after?