Clifton Harbour & Chatham Bay, Union Island

Imagine Of Falmouth Online Log
Jon Constantine
Tue 7 Jul 2009 09:50
Tues 7th Jul 09 to Tues 14th Jul 09

OK, so we're a day later than planned getting to Union Island but hey, where's the rush?  It took us exactly an hour to cover the 4 miles or so to Clifton, under headsail only.   We anchored behind the reef having decided not to take a mooring ball this time.  We did take one last year  as it was late in the day when we arrived and blowing a hooley.  Not this time.  We snorkelled the anchor and found that we'd dropped behind a rock instead of in the sand.  Not good.  A Moray eel living under the rock wasn't too pleased either and attacked the chain briefly before disappearing back into his home.  Jon dove down and managed to move the anchor to the side into the sand, swam back to the boat and reversed while I watched the anchor dig in nicely.  Now we're set.

     View of Palm Island and Happy Island from the anchorage in Clifton                                                          Happy Island

We went ashore with the intention of checking out so that we could leave tomorrow morning and also to get a few more provisions but everything was closed.  A bit strange.  One of the locals told us that it was the last day of the St Vincent & Grenadines carnival so nothing would be open until tomorrow. 

                                       About the island                                                                                              The Town Square

We could hear the music so we went to find out where it was coming from.  We found the bar and were soon befriended by the locals there.  It all got a bit boozy not long after that!  We'd got chatting to a guy called Godfred,  a musician on the cruise ships in Bequia, and he introduced us to Sunset, the infamous St Vincent rum.  Wow.  That stuff is strong.  Jon swigged a small shot and nearly fell off his seat, eyes streaming. The local guys were in hysterics.  It always happens when a foreigner tries it for the first time apparently!  We had a great time.  For the first time ever, in our experience, the locals were buying us drinks!!  Somehow we made our way safely back to the boat and hauled the dinghy!  The following morning however, Jon spotted a line hanging down from the dinghy.  Strange.  Turned out it was our dinghy stern anchor.  We'd dropped it to stop us hitting the dinghy dock and then forgotten all about it on our journey back to the boat.  Doh!  We'd obviously made an impression that night as over the next few days here we kept bumping into the guys we'd met (and amazingly, ones that we hadn't) and they greeted us like old friends.  Godfred presented us with a couple CDs of the music we'd been listening to that day; one of them of his own band.

                                    The Carnival Queen?                                                               Aahh - The Carnival King!  He runs the local Diving boat!

                                                                                                     Our new pal Tiger

We had a big storm on Thursday.  Thunder, lightening and heavy rain.  Major winds too later that afternoon.  We put out some extra chain as a precaution.  By early evening the winds had picked up big time.  The wind instrument clocked the top gust as 38.6 knots.  We had visions of doing anchor watches through the night but luckily the wind died down before we went to bed.  Phew!  It wasn't uncomfortable on the boat as we are well protected from the swell by the reef but the howling wind was not pleasant.  We were both very glad that we'd set the anchor well and put out that extra chain.  We didn't move an inch.

                Collecting water and a quick shower too                                                                         Rain, rain and more rain!

When the weather calmed we dinghied over one evening to Happy Island for sundowners and had a great chat with Jonty, the owner.  He constructed the island himself from conch shells and actually lives here too!

                  Jon standing where the new bar will be                                                                        Enjoying a delicious Rum Punch

The next day we went around the corner to Chatham Bay for a change of scenery.  We also don't want to leave Union just yet as the next two legs (Carriacou and Grenada) will mean we are coming to the end of our journey south! Only 6 weeks to go and we'll be back in the UK...

                               Sailing into Chatham Bay                                                                            Anchored near to Bold Endeavour

                       Jon with his very attentive audience                                                                                     Chatham Bay

We had the bay pretty much to ourselves the first day; only about 4 other boats.  It was all very different the next morning.   We'd met up with our neighbours on Bold Endeavour (Roy & Dune) who invited us over to the beach later in the afternoon for a little drinks party with them, Opus (Jim, Linda & Jennifer) and Alianna (Sim & Rosie).  As we were all getting into our dinghies to go ashore the bay was invaded by a Sunsail flotilla.  Jon counted 21 boats and they all wanted to stay together and very near to where we were anchored.  Quite entertaining really especially listening to Roy's "commentary" but we stayed on the boat awhile to make sure that none of them got too close! 

       Jim, Jennifer, Rosie, Sim, Roy, Dune, Linda and of course Jon                                                    I think Rosie misses her car!

We left the next morning for Clifton as we've just realised that our visa for the St Vincent Grenadines has run out.  We did the formalities at the airport and were told we were a day over the month allowed.  We didn't get a fine but we did have pay for another months stay of 70 ECs (just under £20) even though we were leaving the next day.  We didn't argue the point!

                                                                                          Sunset over Clifton Harbour