Grenadines: Carriacou and Union

When we sailed by the south coast of Grenada towards St. George on our last hours of the Atlantic crossing, we were intrigued by its beauty. It has long bays with land reaching into the ocean like shallow fjords. We decided to stop over for a night before sailing north towards the Grenadines.

It was good that we sailed towards the east ‘Atlantic side’ of the island first. We were greeted by enormous waves, strong wind, current and difficult navigable grounds with many shallow patches of reef. Why is that good? We now knew that we prefer to navigate along the Caribbean west side of the islands!

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We did push through but Caro, pale around the nose, disappeared down below to feed the fish and wait until the sail was over. Basti steered with our chart plotter, Thomas was on the bow and I was checking the backup charts on the phone. Never can be too careful! We managed to get into the bay west of Hog Island, full of boats in various states of dispair. Apparently this is where locals keep their boats during hurricanes, and many of them just stay there for long periods of time. The long shallow bays provide excellent ‘hurricane holes’ where the boats can be tied up in the mangroves. It looks a bit sad though, all those boats just waiting for some TLC.. We stayed one very calm night on anchor (our first night on anchor in a long time!) before sailing north towards Carriacou.

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The sail north to Carriacou, the first big island of the Grenadines which lie north of Grenada, was going to take us all day. We navigated carefully out of the bay and around the corner into the lee of Grenada. Conditions were great: a nice breeze, no waves, sun was shining.. We were expecting bad weather so this was great! Just as I was kicking my feet up to relax, we caught a big tuna and I was back to work gutting this beast.. When Caro and Basti are on board we are almost guaranteed to catch a fish every time we throw the lines out. Tuna for lunch and for dinner!

The Grenadines are just as picture perfect as you would imagine when you think of the Caribbean. White beaches, the bluest and clearest water possible, palm trees.. The only downside is that every good anchorage is packed with boats. More than half of those boats are catamarans, which are great here because they have a draft of under a meter (we draw 2.30 m!). Luckily we already got some practice in the Med and we are very good at pro-active anchoring these days. It doesn’t happen often that we can’t squeeze in anywhere.

We spent the next days island hopping and seeing as much as possible in the ‘little’ time that Basti and Caro had left. Two weeks is quite long, but the distance from Grenada to Martinique is also quite big and there was so much to see! We snorkelled at Sandy Island near Hillsborough, then continued on to Chatham Bay in Union Island. This bay was almost empty, and very big and protected. There were turtles everywhere, checking us out and watching the anchor. We swam ashore (OK maybe I was a bit scared of all the life underwater and took the dinghy with Basti for the majority of the ride) and had a rumpunch in a picturesque shack on the beach. And guess what.. they had fast internet!

The next day we motored around the corner heavy hearted, we were not ready to leave this bay yet! But we also wanted to see Clifton village and Thomas wanted to kite there. We tried to anchor there, but we were very close to a reef and the wind was blowing from every direction so I wasn’t feeling good about it at all. We decided to pay 60 ECD (about 20 euros) for a mooring so we could leave the boat for a longer period of time and enjoy Happy Island. Ever since we have been talking about sailing to the Caribbean, Thomas has been talking about this kitespot. Its a manmade island out of shells with only a bar on it. The kite beach is right next to it, and the cool boys jump over the bar. Thomas, to my relief, didn’t. His kites have been losing valves since Sardinia, and despite all the hours he spent cleaning and glueing them they still lose air. He was sad about that for a second but hey, when on Happy Island.. He rented a kite and off he was!

After half a day of intense kiting, two half serious injuries and ice coffees for the spectators we decided to return to Chatham Bay. Unaware that it was now weekend, we sailed into the bay packed with boats. But still by far my favourite anchorage ever! Basti and Caro enjoyed a real Caribbean lobster dinner at the beach while Thomas and I went for the low-budget option of cooking ourselves. When we split up we always keep in touch via VHF, which comes in very handy. We leave the radio on in the boat and the ones going on land take the handheld. We tune into the same channel and voila – a phone connection for free! Sometimes we go really old-fashioned and make an appointment to tune in at a certain hour to save battery..

Chatham Bay was the last stop on Union Island. We would be off to the legendary Tobago Cays next!

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