A walk on Union Island

Martin and Elizabeth Bevan
Mon 31 Jan 2011 23:59

Position           12:36.26N 61:27.00W

Date                2359 - 31 January 2011


We had a really good sail on the wind back to Chatham Bay on Saturday 29 January.  It is only 11 nm but nevertheless after the slog up from Grenada this was fun.  Chatham Bay has been a regular spot and never fails to please even if we had three days of its famous “gusts” and rain squalls.


Rather than sail round the Island to Clifton to clear in we decided to walk over the island on Monday morning.  Not knowing where the track up the hillside went we did a recce and walked up to where the track meets the concrete road; a strenuous 20 minutes climb.  After a lazy afternoon recovering I decided somewhat late in the day to scrub the waterline.  The recently acquired sucker handle for gripping the side of the boat makes this a much easier job as we now have something to hang onto when scrubbing.  The bottom of the boat is well on the way to looking like a garden exhibit so a job tomorrow will be two tanks of air diving to start the mowing and weeding.


Monday morning saw us ashore and off up the hill.  Our first treat was spotting a tortoise crossing the path.  By the time that the camera had been extracted there was a little camouflage in the way:



The track is definitely 4 wheel drive only and is new since our visit in 2002 which explains the number of bars and food shacks that have sprung up.  There is even a small resort in the making – progress but at a price.



Having got to the concrete road the rest of the climb over the central ridge was easier and gave wonderful views over the island:



And north to the Tobago Cays:



Walking down the hillside towards Ashton we encountered the ubiquitous “bus” that took us all the way into Clifton where we cleared Customs and Immigration for St Vincent and managed some “light” fruit and veg shopping before the same bus, this time in taxi mode, took us all the way back to the road head and track down to Chatham.


Scrubbing the boat’s bottom is likely to become a regular chore as the European standard antifouling (most elements judged harmful and that used to make it work removed) fails to cope with tropical growth.  In full dive mode, two tanks of air saw the rudder, keel and propeller clear of weed and barnacles.  Tomorrow having filled the tanks – the compressor is very useful but also very noisy – I will endeavour to complete the job before the weed starts to grow on the bits that I have done.