Windward Islands – Cariacou & Grenada

The hurricane season in the Caribbean region is between 1st June and 30th November. Of course we don’t expect a hurricane this early in June, but we still have work on the boat that we really want to get on with. From St Lucia, Trinidad is 200nm south. But first…

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Yawn, early morning cuppa after overnighter

Yawn, early morning cuppa after overnighter

Sounding very much like a pop band from the fifties, ‘St Vincent and the Grenadines’ (aka SVG) is actually a chain of islands between St Lucia and Cariacou, Grenada in the Windward Islands. This season we decided to bypass SVG and continue south, but we’ll visit next season. Although supposed to be quite beautiful in their own right, sadly these islands are gaining notoriety through misdeeds such as assaults and yacht boardings, and a murder, over the past few months. Read more.

Cariacou

Cariacou, Grenada

Cariacou, Grenada

We arrived at Tyrrel Bay at Cariacou after a good overnight sail. The 102nm trip from St Lucia is the first overnighter we’ve done for a couple of months and I managed to sleep very well off watch. The trade winds blew steady from ESE at between 18-22knots giving us a lovely beam reach for 20 hours.

Tyrrel Bay is wide and can accommodate well over 100 yachts. In one of the cruising guides its referred to as the ‘most picturesque in the Caribbean’. Not sure about that, but it certainly has attracted many yachts of all shapes and sizes, and levels of deterioration, hooked into the sandy bottom. Some vessels look like they’ve been here through a few hurricanes, while others are polished to perfection and on their way to haul out in Grenada or Trinidad while they fly home to loved ones for the hurricane season. Cariacou Marine on the southern side of Tyrrel Bay has haul out facilities, reportedly very good, plus duty free fuel. There’s also Customs and Immigration for checking into Grenada which is very convenient.

Downtown Tyrrel Bay, Cariacou

Downtown Tyrrel Bay, Cariacou

I took a stroll through the short village and thought I might walk to Hillsborough, the islands ‘capital’. As it turned out a local man pulled up and offered me a lift. I quickly sussed him out then said “Sure” and hopped into the front seat. His name was Levi and we chatted as he drove. Cheerfully stuck to the top of his windscreen were large letters “HELLO THERE” and as he drove along, he seemed to personally know everyone. With a wave he’d yell “Hello There” to which they responded “Hello There!”

Levi dropped me off at Hillsborough and I thanked him for his generosity. I walked up and down the small town a few times then checked out a small supermarket. There’s a small bus terminal at the back of the shop for the return trip to Tyrrel Bay, and fortunately for me a bus stopped outside the shop. I jumped in and squeezed into the back seat. The front seat of the minivan was filled with boxes of new floor tiles, but the bus driver was keen to squeeze as many people in as possible. A skinny guy came on and squeezed next to me so that was four in the back seat. A large woman with a backside to match came on and took up three seats in front of us in the back! The skinny guy said “Hey, can you not lean back in the chair” as the weight was crushing his knees! As they say “How many people can you fit in a minivan?” Just one more!

Doggies at Cariacou

Doggies at Cariacou

At Tyrrel Bay I gave the driver EC$3.50 for the bus trip and walked back along the beach to the Iguana Bar and Cariacou Marine where I had a cool drink, chatted to some yachties and used the free wifi to check my emails.

On the last night at Tyrrel Bay as we watched the sun set, we splurged and shared a yummy pizza at the Lazy Turtle before going back to Blue Heeler to prepare for our trip to Grenada.

Grenada

Another good sailing day to Grenada. As we’d already checked in at Cariacou, there was no clearance required at Grenada. Just north of St Georges at Moliniere Point we grabbed a mooring – here is supposedly 100 or so under water sculptures so we wanted to view these. We dinghied over to the red moorings, tied up then jumped in. The water was a little murky but we managed to find a few sculptures (in fact we only found four!). The Parks rangers came by and we paid EC$26 for a mooring.

Next day we sailed around the bottom of Grenada on our way to the very popular Prickly Bay. Over the past year or so we’ve heard good reports of Grenada, including Prickly Bay. I’d read the bay gets a little rolly, but by the third night of rocking and rolling, I was wondering what all the hype was about!

Excellent wifi stations at Prickly Bay Marina

Excellent wifi stations at Prickly Bay Marina

Spice Island Marine Services is next to Budget Marine – both a short dinghy ride away – and has hundreds of yachts squeezed into its yard for the hurricane season (I’ve no idea how they get them packed so tight!). I was expecting Prickly Bay Marina to be much bigger but it’s hardly a marina at all; one small fuel dock, a mini-mart, and a laundry service. The Spiceland Shopping Centre is about 3kms walk away but the bus costs only EC$2.50 each way.

Prickly Bay Marina does have a good restaurant and the Tiki Bar with the best wifi counters I’ve seen (plenty of electrical outlets). For yachties who want to stretch their minds, there are regular events such as chess, dominoes, bingo, and trivia nights. For those that really want to break out a sweat, maybe a game of volleyball, a vigorous walk to the lighthouse or a swim across the bay! After a week here, the sun is shining, the roll in the bay has eased, I’m sore from a great free session of yoga, and after spending a morning with a few others helping young children read at the Mt Airy Young Readers group, I’m quickly learning what all the fuss is about at Prickly Bay!

We’ll be in Grenada for a little while longer before heading down to Trinidad to haul out and work on Blue Heeler so I’ll write more about Grenada later.

Until then enjoy the beautiful flamboyant tree…

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Sailing the world aboard Blue Heeler
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