We are now in Carriacou, which is within Grenada’s territory but just a few miles from Union Island.
From gusty Chatham we sailed under just the genoa around the corner to Clifton harbour to clear out of the St Vincent Grenadines which we have been in since May 16. Clifton has reefs to the east and another in the middle of the harbour so careful navigation is essential. A boat boy met us with an offer of a mooring buoy and we were torn between anchoring and taking the buoy. Friends had given us some advice saying that the holding is poor as there is thin sand over coral and Salila took 4 attempts to anchor. They also told us the moorings were suspect, so we were literally stuck between a rock and a hard place!
In the end, with the anchorage being quite busy and Beyzano drawing 2.1m, we took the expensive mooring buoy at 70 EC$, probably a rip off but after snorkelling on it, we were glad to see it was in good condition and attached to a huge concrete block. Must have been lucky! The view was also amazing, right on the edge of the reef and we could easily see Happy Island bar!
The town is very pretty with a town square and good fresh produce market. One stall-holder suggested we bought something from each of the ladies, to keep them all happy and it sounded like a good plan. The fruit and vegetables were all very good, especially the mangoes and we have become expert at cutting them up without the need for a bath afterwards! The supermarket had a few items but not that many and the gourmet yacht supplier was, of course, expensive.
We walked along the waterfront to the Anchorage Yacht Club and found several restaurants and small shops. A few people wanted to take our rubbish for 5 EC$ but the dump is just by the fishing dock and we had already disposed of it.
Clearance was much easier than expected, as it didn’t require a visit to the airport. Both the customs and immigration offices are near the dock and the 1 page form is the same as when clearing in. No charges either. You do need the small white form given to you when you cleared in though.
From there we hopped across to Petit St Vincent but just outside Clifton a police boat and customs boat was waving us away as they had an unmarked diver in the water some distance from their boats! We could see him anyway, so no danger but we were told later that a sailing boat with 8 people from Venezuela had approached Clifton and were boarded as officials were suspicious they may have drugs aboard. They became aggressive apparently and 3 of them were shot and the rest arrested. Sadly, 1 of the customs officers fell overboard and drowned so this was part of the operation.
Petit St Vincent has a lovely beach and hotel, with cottages around the grounds from which the guest summon room service with flags. We saw several golf carts running to meet their requests. A thatched shelter with a hammock underneath looked very inviting but visiting yachtsmen are only allowed in the bar, restaurant by reservation and along part of the beach. The only downside is a generator on the beach running continuously.
The anchorage is shallow but the colour of the water certainly gives away the depths. Photos can’t really show the amazing turquoise well enough. We spent a nice night there before sailing past Mopion, the tiny sand island and on to Carriacou., another short sail under genoa.
We anchored in Hillsborough between a few boats we have seen before but there wasn’t a lot of sand to put the anchor into. It was quite a blustery, grey day as well, so we chose a reasonable spot and stayed put through the gusts OK. One charter boat came in and tried to anchor at least 6 times. It also dragged across half the bay during the night before re-anchoring at about 0330. The joys of anchoring!
The ferry dock has a small area where you can tie up the dinghy and safe enough not to mash it up under the jetty. Clearance was painless, with the Police Station, then Customs and then Port Authority being close to the dock. A month’s cruising permit cost 75 EC$ and we can renew it in Grenada when it runs out.
That all done, we checked out the shops, especially Patti’s Deli which sells fresh milk and bread but the milk won’t be in for another 5 days yet. It is a nice town, with 3 banks, petrol station and plenty of small shops and restaurants overlooking the harbour. We will probably stay here a week at least, catch up on some boat cleaning plus sewing torn flags and canvas. The gusts certainly test the stitching!
We were fortunate to get free Wi-Fi in Chatham Bay to watch some of the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant live on BBC and also had our Union Jack hoisted for the 4 day UK holiday. Actually, it was my eldest son’s 26th birthday on June 3rd, so the flags and crowds were really to celebrate that!
The local boat builders at Windward built fast boats by eye, on the beach. We were fortunate to have ‘Genesis’ anchored next to us and a couple of hours later saw a book in the museum shop about how she was built. They can sail to windward as fast as any modern boat and are beautiful to see in motion.
Today is our Wedding Anniversary and we motored around the headland to Tyrrel Bay where there are plenty of liveaboard boats and a hurricane hole in the mangroves, plus several waterfront restaurants, so a meal ashore and a few rum punches are on the cards to celebrate ☺