Tour of Carriacou and a celebration of Robbie Burns

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Fri 28 Jan 2011 23:59

Position           12:27.45N 61:29.15W

Date                2359 - 28 January 2011


The first aim today was to see some more of the island and to get to Windward, a village on the north east coast.  All of this was achieved using local buses which are to be recommended and definitely add a dimension to the trip that would not be experienced in a taxi.


Arriving by dinghy on the beach we were met by a man in security guard uniform.  Fearing that we were about to be told to go elsewhere we were unnecessarily cautious.  What he wanted to know was did we want him to stop a bus for us whilst we dragged the dinghy up the beach.  We did, he did and then he returned to help us carry the dinghy.  What a good start to the day and so typical of the island.


The first leg was retail therapy and a short hop to Paradise Beach, Estrange where Fidel Designs, a local manufacturer of tee shirts specialising in putting local artists’ designs onto clothing has a “container shop”.  They supply many outlets in Granada and abroad but their main retail outlet is this container shop on Carriacou.  Our tee shirt wardrobe has definitely had a make over from their sale box - 6 items and a picture card for under £40!



Another bus took us into Hillsborough, the administrative centre of the island, and the bus station.  Transferring to the Windward bus it left immediately but then stopped around the corner whilst the driver and passenger, who appeared to be his wife, went into shop and returned five minutes later laden with fresh fruit, vegetables and fish.  We then proceeded by a circuitous route collecting and dropping off packages from and to people at the roadside; hardly a word being spoken it was all very mysterious and definitely expected, probably delivering lunch along the way.


Reaching Windward, the view out over the reef to the island of Petit Martinique is quite stunning:



A local man by the name of Ricky appeared and started chatting.  We told him that one of the things that we had come to see was boat building – following him along the beach and through the mangroves we came across this wonderful example of Carriacou boat building:



He explained that they did not “plank up” when it had been raining and as it seems to do that most days it explained why we subsequently came across the builder drinking rum in the bar next to the bus stop.  Ricky accepted a beer and then said goodbye, happy to have shown visitors his village.


The return to Hillsborough took a detour to the road head at the north of the island where there are great view over to Union Island and then a by a series of even more pick ups and drop offs by a different route back to the bus station.


Lunch and clearing out for Immigration and Customs being dealt with it was back on the bus for the return to Tyrell Bay.  Another stop for shopping, obviously a regular feature, was followed by a trip that deviated up a rough track, to drop off a passenger, and this provided great views over the south east of the island.  Eventually we arrived back at Tyrell Bay having had the most excellent and comprehensive tour of the island and all for the cost of £8 with free entertainment and music.


Having missed the 25th we had a delayed Burn’s Supper on board with Mike and Jean.  MacSween’s haggis was duly piped and addressed and washed down with malt.  This was followed by that well known Highland dish Mousaka and a good time was had by all.