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SAILING
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SAILING TO CARRIACOU, SANDY ISLAND & PETITE ST. VINCENT, CARIBBEAN

January 3/2010

We sailed down the rugged west coast of Grenada, past the mountainous greenery, rambling hillside towns, catching the land breeze for an enjoyable sail.

<<pic Chris at helm

We barely skirted the boat around Kick Em Jenny, the submarine volcano, directly in our path. The hilly terrain of Carriacou, part of Grenada, came into view.

Carriacou is known as the Land of Reefs so we kept a cautious eye out for shallows. We had stopped briefly in Carriacou on our way to Grenada the month before so were familiar with the anchorage in Tyrell Bay.

 

Carriacou is part of the Grenadines island chain with a population of 5000 people of African slave decent. Unspoilt by tourism and heavy commerce, the 34 sq. km of hilly terrain slopes to white sandy beaches and turquoise seas. Villages, tossed by volcanic dances, are scattered throughout the island. We anchored in almost the exact same spot as we has chosen the last time, good holding and great protection. There were many sail boats in the anchorage at Tyrell Bay, some cruising boats but many local boats and ex-pats who just had never left. Some had set up business and we had to marvel at the ingenuity of the water craft that was a well equipped Stainless Shop.

There was a dinghy dock at the Yacht Club, which was really just a rough boat yard. A climb up to the main road led us into town where we found a quiet setting, a few businesses and restaurants along the shorefront, not many open. It was like a step back in time. We located Linky Taxi to arrange a rental car for the following day.

There were a few nice beach side bars and we stopped for a drink at one overlooking the anchorage.

On the way back to the boat we explored the "Hurricane Hole" in the mangroves, an area protected by the fisheries department. The boundaries were littered with partially submerged and wrecked boats, not much reassurance that this would be a safe haven in a hurricane! The derelict boats did make a fine roost for the resident pelicans though. (pic right)

That evening we enjoyed sundowners on Ascension

Touring Around Carriacou

Carriacou is an island with over a hundred rum shops and only one gas station! We started our driving tour at Hillsborough, the main town on Carriacou. Hillsborough has a charm of its own, slow moving, relaxed and friendly.


Farming and fishing are the norm in Carriacou but the sugar cane  no longer provide a valid means of income. There are ruminants of old Sugar Mills around the country, their windmill towers once used to grind the sugar cane

We headed inland and began a twisty climb up through the hills of Carriacou, being treated to many fantastic views of the Caribbean and Atlantic coastlines, the sea stretching the horizon dotted by outer islands.

Azure waters revealed the many reefs surrounding Carriacou.

Anse La Roche Beach

The Lonely Planet told of a secluded beach that was accessible by a rough hike from a deserted backroad on the northern part of the island. We decided to make that our adventure.

After a tenuous drive down a rutted dirt road, we parked the car and clambered down a rocky trail marked by a painted red stone.

The trail seemed to disappear in places but we persevered, seeing glimpses of the beautiful beach far below.
The path eventually spilled out onto the beach and it was truly beautiful, deserted as promised. Fine sand and gentle surf, backed by coconuts palms and dense bush. There was a covered bench where we lazed awhile, enjoying the cool sea breeze.

Windward Boat Yard

Windward is on the north eastern end of the island and is the traditional center of boatbuilding.

Many wooden fishing sloops and schooners in use today are handmade by the proud boatbuilding tradition inherited from the 19th century.

Carriacouans of Scottish and Irish ancestry maintain a strong and vibrant boat-building culture using local raw materials and hand tools

Our drive continued along the coastline passing typical meagre Carriacou homes, made of wood or concrete. Women hanging laundry, children playing in the yards.

 

Coastal cemetery, dating back to the 1700's, assured its residents to "Be Forever By the Sea"

 


Funky Masks

Carriacou has many lovely Beaches

 

The end to another perfect
day in the sun!


Sandy Island

January 4

To enjoy some swimming and snorkelling we set off for the nearby Sandy Island. Sandy Island is nothing but a beautiful flawless strip of sand, surrounded by shallow reefs in clear turquoise water

 

 

Unfortunately the island suffered damage from the hurricane, destroying the palm trees and piling the coral in chunks along the shoreline. Locals have replanted the trees, but the reef sustained severe destruction.


Sandy Island is the perfect place to chill out, enjoy watching the kite boarders and chat with the lobster fishermen offering fresh catches.

I lazed on the soft sandy beach while Chris & Gord snorkelled around the bay.


White Island

We made an attempt to visit White Island, another beautiful sandy spit nestled in the blue green reefs. But the wind and currents were not in our favor so we had to leave this idyllic spot to be visited on a more settled day.

Petite St. Vincent & Petite Martinique

January 6

Petite St. Vincent (part of St. Vincent) and Petite Martinique (part of Grenada) lie just a short sail from Carriacou and within a stone's throw of each other. Petite St Vincent is an idyllic island, home of an exclusive resort.

The fine white sandy beaches are the attraction on Petite St. Vincent and you could stroll for miles.

Under Palapas along the beach, coolers of cold water were placed on tables to rehydrate beach combers.

The anchorage was fairly calm during our 2 day stay at Petite St. Vincent. There were other boats but plenty of room to swing without getting into water that was too shallow. Pictured right Gord & Chris in front of the anchorage.


Stress free days of beaches, swimming and visiting. Paradise found!

Chris finds his own deserted tropical island and claims it for Canada!!

The night before we left, Grace pulled into the anchorage. Of course we had to have a party. No problem, a quick dinghy ride across the anchorage to Petite Martinique and we had beer and ice on board!

January 8

Time to sail back to Grenada. It was almost time for Chris to fly home and we had a few more sights to see!

Ascension from Petite St. Vincent, Petite Martinique in background.


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