St Georges, Grenada
Once more, apologies for the gap in postings – we are now at the bottom of the Lesser Antilles after a string of great sails down the islands. Since Mustique we have visited other islands in the Grenadines:
- The Tobago Cays
- Union Island
- Petite Martinique
- and Carriacou
We then crossed to Moliniere Point on Grenada
And we are now in Port Louis Marina at the SW corner of Grenada, our first night in a marina and sheltered from the incessant easterly trade winds for weeks.
We had high hopes for the Tobago Cays (several little uninhabited islands surrounded by coral reefs) as an experience that would compensate for us not visiting the Virgin Islands, but whilst they were pretty good, what we saw was not a patch on the pictures we’ve seen of the Virgins. We had some good snorkelling and saw sting rays and some huge eagle rays (2m long body) and D had a little session diving alongside a friendly turtle. The shelter wasn’t brilliant though and after a couple of bouncy nights we were moving on again. We had to check out of St Vincent and the Grenadines at a tiny place called Clifton on Union Island but despite its having a lovely coral reef, we couldn’t find any safe room to anchor and had to use a mooring buoy in the middle of the unprepossessing harbour. Neither the town nor swimming held much appeal so we headed off again the following day for the short hop to Petite Martinique.
PM as its known was delightful. It is a very “genuine” Caribbean island, tiny, authentic and laid back with a population of only 1000 – no pandering to yachties or tourists but full of colourful local buildings, some of which look like they haven’t been maintained for a looong time. We had a short very hot walk and covered most of the island’s one road, had a pretty good meal ashore (one of the best rum punches and THE best ribs so far) and we were off again in the morning.
Next short hop was to Carriacou where we had to check into Grenada (island group). We’ve found two distinct types of officials in the islands. Many are happy and welcoming. More are officious and surly. This guy picked holes in how I had filled in the somewhat ambiguous form and offered no help on how I could correct it. Great. Whilst there were some great anchorages amongst the reefs fringing Carriacou (the name means “island surrounded by reefs”), by this stage we were thinking it was about time for a little sophistication and a few nights in a marina, so we pressed on again after one night.
Our 34 mile sail down to Grenada was about as good as it gets. Force 4-5 winds from just behind us gave us a fast flat sail with very little work sailing-wise. We’d read about an underwater sculpture park which sounded interesting – it wasn’t. The snorkelling was good though and we found ourselves in a gigantic shoal of small silver-white fish. I dived amongst them and they totally obscured my vision in all directions and were flowing in complex swirling patterns all around me, quite wonderful.
St George’s, Grenada:
And here we are again in a marina for the first time in 2½ weeks. That doesn’t sound too long, but it has been great getting away from civilisation. The wind and the chop it throws up can be a bit of a pain though, especially when the 4 of us have to use the RIB to get anywhere and the wind blows the chop all over the front two. We always get a little anxious coming into marinas since we started damaging Goldcrest so often. This time passed without damage, but the marina has a technique new to us for stern-to mooring which caused its due amount of tension whilst we struggled to work out what was required of us. Now we are back amongst long distance sailors – the last few boats from the “World ARC” (a variant of the Atlantic rally we met in the Canaries who are going right round the world) are waiting to leave and we’ve met up with some members of the Cruising Association we last saw in Las Palmas in November. The marina is pretty swanky as well. However, despite St George’s attractive sea front buildings, there is nothing sophisticated about the place. It’s just another Caribbean town with little of interest and meagre shopping,
Yesterday we hired a car to explore the northern end of the island with its chocolate and rum production. The roads over the mountainous terrain were an experience – pretty steep and extremely winding, all taken at speed by the locals. After sampling the 150 proof rum I found the drive back so much more fun. It was very interesting to learn how both rum and chocolate are made and no wonder rum here is cheap. Who knew it only takes 2 weeks from sugar cane to bottle! Today we move on again to the south coast. Next post will be from Trinidad after an overnight passage, probably on Easter Day.
Grenada, a rum still and cocoa beans drying in the sun: