We found paradise! Of course, this journey has taken us thousands of miles to many islands…. some of more fame and fortune than others. We have seen poverty and prosperity cohabitate on many of these countries. But, until we made it to the Grenadines, we had not appreciated the West Indies Caribbean atmosphere. We were back to island hopping, like the wonderful time spent in the Bahamas, appreciating the warm blue waters and now golden and white sand beaches.
Palm island is situated just a morning sail South of the beautiful Tobago Cays archipegalo and within view of Union Island. April 20, (OK , OK! I’m catching up….or maybe making this trip last as long as my summer back in the USA???) we make lunchtime anchorage just off Palm on a bright afternoon. This island is actually a private resort, but will allow cruisers to come ashore, buy a beer, and enjoy the beach. So, after a brief lunch we ventured out in the dinghy for a snorkel and stop at the beach. This was nearly the most beautiful sand beach where the water dropped off quickly into a pool like environment. We lingered in the coolness, then made our way around the small island for our beach walk where we encountered resorters relaxing along the waters edge. We would make a return here several times before we exhausted the beauty.
That night proved to be quite rolly at anchor. Our friends on Northbound informed us that they would be moving to Union in hopes of a day or 2 settled nights. You see there are varying degrees of “rolly” and depending on your location at an anchorage you might be making a fore and aft roll ( kinda like rocking chair motion) or the starboard-portside roll (similar to the action on a hammock in full motion). However, severe action in either direction can promote sleepless nights. There were nights that I had to prop pillows on either side to prevent from rolling into Mike.
We hesitated making the move as we felt comfortable but showed up the next day at Union to give it a try. We were greeted by the local boat boys that are trying to “sell” their moorings (a mere $60 per night! – quite the most expensive we found anywhere-and no that didn’t include a 4 course dinner, bottle of wine, or even a couple of mangoes!); we had just planned an overnight and easily found a place to anchor outside the mooring field on our own accord. We were sort of hassled about this and made the decision we didn’t feel quite welcome and wouldn’t stay the night.
Our plans were to obtain some fresh supplies and head out for Petite St Vincent and Cariacou in the next day or two. We were greeted by eager fisherman at the dock carrying their catch in hopes of selling to early morning customers. Just a “no thank you” and a smile, sent these kind souls off without a bother. As we approached the many establishments (t shirt shops, bakeries, and bars), we observed the concrete streets were littered with locals and cruisers with the same intent.
We made a quick trip stopping at the numerous fresh market stands trying to find cilantro (for the ceviche and fish tacos) but ended up only finding some fresh lettuce (a commodity!), tomatoes and our new favorite fruit …delicious mangoes! Our tour of the town was short-lived as the day was hot…no, it was literally scorching with little wind present to cool the skin. However accustomed to this, we made tracks back to the boat so we could pull anchor and head back to Palm Island, just a jump across the bay, and we were back on our favorite beach. We had also found a great reef for snorkeling and lobster hunting. It was see and not touch in this part of the Grenadines…no harvesting of lobsters allowed.
It’s late morning and we have weighed anchor and set our sails for the Grenadines of Petit St Vincent and Petite Martinique. The day is spectacular for sailing, however quite a short 4 NM trip. We make our way through the Martinique channel south to Crazy Corrigan’s Crooked Passage to an anchorage situated between Petit St. Vincent and Petit Martinique. There are a few other boats here as we anchor facing the East.
There is a nice Caribbean breeze that keeps us cool (with the dodger open and all the hatches open) for our afternoon lunch before making a journey ashore. Again, this island is a private resort, but we are welcome to tarry along the beach, just not venture far into the resort facilities. We meet other cruiser families also making this afternoon excursion. The following morning we have made plans to visit one of the world’s smallest island, Mopion.
We are eager to get out to this snorkeling island and investigate this tiny speck of sand that gets the designation of island because of the permanent umbrella structure. Our gear is loaded into the dinghy, we have made radio contact with our friends on Northbound and are ready for adventure.
We are able to anchor in shallow waters just outside the reef surrounding the island without difficulty. Snorkeling gear intact and camera ready we are overboard. The water is warm and so clear. It is quite reminiscent of the Bahamas waters we left so many months ago. The reef makes turns and twists, some so shallow I suck in my breath in hope of not scraping the coral. We all find our way through different shallow trenches observing the aquatic life below. There are many coral fishes, lobster, crabs, eel, and octopus! At first I see this body that is camouflaged against the brown and grey ocean bottom, but as I dive for a closer look it begins to move in that characteristic tentacle fluid wave. He (or quite possibly she) hides safely under the coral.
We all find our way to the small sand island for a mid morning rest. This place is so interesting we spend the next 2 hours just exploring and swimming. The water is warm and the ocean life so interesting and abundant! Soon, our privacy is invaded by other explorers and we make tracks back to the boat for our lunch and siesta.
We spend the next morning confronting the reality that in 3 weeks we will be hauling out in Grenada. (can’t believe it!) We begin the task of unearthing all the extra clothes and some gear we have not used this winter in preparation for transport back to the states. Did we really think we would need 5 pairs of long pants, 4 heavy fleece sweatshirts, 2 jackets…including our foulies? Our intent is to pack away a few things every couple of days to keep on schedule. We know we will have our hands full those last few days de-rigging the boat and so getting a start feels good this day. Our end of day swim finds us at the Petit St. Vincent beach, feet in the warm sand, gentle sway of the ocean waters. We have an encounter with the concierge at the resort and he entices us with a lobster dinner…..4 pound lobsters..enormous creatures! We decline the price, but are encouraged that these edibles are local!
Next up Cariacou and final destination Grenada!