Sail Away - January 2008

Heading Down IslandIt’s been a while since I sailed out of St. Vincent—the “mainland” to the eight inhabited (three by resorts) islands of the Grenadines, plus the Tobago Cays—so I was happy to be invited on a press trip there, especially one that included two days of sailing. It’s probably the most popular charter area after the Virgin Islands, and with good
Author:
Publish date:
0108sa

Heading Down Island

It’s been a while since I sailed out of St. Vincent—the “mainland” to the eight inhabited (three by resorts) islands of the Grenadines, plus the Tobago Cays—so I was happy to be invited on a press trip there, especially one that included two days of sailing. It’s probably the most popular charter area after the Virgin Islands, and with good reason: the sailing is superb, though more challenging than the Virgins, and there’s much to do and see on shore. Here are some things I learned or remembered.

The Tobago Cays are a national park and a national treasure. I’ll never forget a night spent at anchor there under a full moon that turned the waters around us into an illuminated aquarium.

arrows

The high green island of St. Vincent offers numerous hikes up to waterfalls or up the volcano; these are quite (or very) challenging. It pays to hire a guide/driver; the coastal drive is not for the faint of heart, and you’ll be happy to have local knowledge on the hike. Ozzie from Sailor’s Wilderness Tours (www.sailortours.com) made a stop at Wallilabou Bay, where some of the filming of two Pirates of the Caribbean movies took place. You can look at the sets and read the nice notes from the cast and crew to the locals who participated. This tour took most of a day, starting in Kingstown and including a break for roti, the West Indian empanada, on the way back. Ask your charter company to recommend an anchorage north of Kingstown if you need to save some time.

arrows

If you’re interested in old buildings, there are plenty of them in Kingstown. The Grenadine House hotel (www.grenadine
house.com
), which opened after and extensive restoration last July, was built in 1765; it’s a lovely place to stay—especially if you’re planning some pre- or post-charter exploration of St. Vincent—and has an excellent bar and restaurant.

arrows

The six of us on the trip unanimously chose Mayreau’s Salt Whistle Bay and the beach at Lower Bay, Bequia, as our favorite swim stops. The lobster sandwiches and tasty French fries at Dawn’s Creole Beach Caf on Lower Bay helped us swimmers stave off starvation.

arrows

There’s much to do in Bequia’s Port Elizabeth—shopping, eating, visiting Sargeant Brothers model-boat shop (the other one, nearby, is Mauvin’s)—but there’s more than that to Bequia. We did a driving tour with Sandra Olivierre (Challenger Taxi, 784-458-3811) and learned much about this tiny island. The whaleboat-based local boats race on Sundays.

arrows

If you want to extend your stay beyond the charter week, Bigsand on Union Island is a reasonably priced hotel on a beach (www.bigsandhotel.com). My suite had a tiny kitchen, which would allow for some self-catering; you can provision in Clifton, the main town, and you can easily explore or revisit many of the other islands via ferry.

arrows

For an ultimate indulgence, consider Young Island Resort (www.youngisland.com), just across from Blue Lagoon on St. Vincent. Young Island’s seven- and ten-night sailaway packages include two and three, respectively, days of cruising.

arrows

I flew direct to and from St. Vincent via San Juan—a more convenient route than traveling via Barbados. If you go this way, be sure to pick up checked bags in San Juan and transport them to Liat (in Concourses A, B, and C Terminal) yourself. Amy Ullrich

arrows

Click here for the Sail Away archive.

Related

2019BestBoatsPromo-04

Best Boats 2019

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued—and celebrated—the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more

Allures-459-2018

Boat Review: Allures 45.9

Allures is not a name on the tip of many American sailors’ tongues, but it should be. After the debut of its 39-footer last year, the French company has made another significant entry into the U.S. midrange market with the Allures 45.9, an aluminum-hulled cruiser-voyager with ...read more