Catching up Bequia to Grenada
Prickyl Bay, Grenada - 11°59.9' N 061°45.7' W
A quick summary of our itinerary between Bequia ([%46747*last post%b]) and Grenada, our current location, before we start going north again...
We very much enjoyed Bequia which has somehow managed to retain the better part of its original charm despite the increased number of sailing vessels anchored in Admiralty Bay (compared to 1994 when I was there before). We stayed at anchor there for 3 nights which also gave us the chance to explore the windward side of the island on foot. Nicky made his first successful attempt at snorkeling there ([%46978*see video%b]) on a beautiful beach that we had all to ourselves.
From Bequia we went on to Mustique to catch some of the week long Blues Festival there. Mustique is a bit of a strange contrast to the other islands; it's essentially an island-size mix of gated community and resort for the very rich (Mick Jagger, Richard Branson and the likes own residences on the island). It's nice in its own way (manicured lawns that look like golf greens) and local infrastructure including schools looks very good but the contrast vis-à-vis the other islands (esp. St. Vincent) is quite striking within such close proximity. We did enjoy the music (unfortunately, Mick Jagger did not make a surprise appearance as he did in 2005...) but the anchorage was extremely rolly and we left after two nights and made the short sail to Canouan. On Canouan we had a very nice anchorage in the northern end of Charlestown Bay that was comfortable even in sustained 25-30kn winds (quite an improvement over Mustique...). In 1994 Canouan was essentially undeveloped as far as tourism was concerned. Now it does have an airport, there is a Moorings yacht charter base and an exclusive Raffles resort has closed off access the entire northern part of the island. We found it still charming and enjoyed exploring the windward coast on foot but the local people seem to have very mixed feelings towards the continued development. While it has brought some additional income to Canouan the prevailing feeling seems to be that the central government in St. Vincent is selling out the island from under the feet of the Canouans. One of the highlights of our stay there was a lobster BBQ on the beach, prepared by Shawn and his friends who catch fish for a living (see picture at top of this post). In addition to a delicious meal in a beautiful setting we very much enjoyed the conversation with Shawn and wish him best of luck for his plans to set up a small restaurant on the beach.
From Canouan we made a short hop to Mayreau where we spent one night before moving over to the Tobago Cays. Given the increased number of sailboats vis-à-vis 1994 in all the other islands I've had nightmare visions of the Tobago Cays (which were already pretty well frequented 15 years ago) looking like a shopping mall parking lot with boats. To our surprise we got lucky - it seems that the relatively strong winds of still solidly above 25 kn kept away many boats and we enjoyed two beautiful days at anchor, looking out onto the waves breaking over the reef, with only a few boats around us. We did some snorkeling on the reef (after a very wet dinghy ride into the wind during which we had to bail out water continuously...must have been quite a funny sight) and enjoyed the beach before we moved on to Carriacou in the Grenada Grenadines (after a short stop on Union Island to clear out of the St. Vincent Grenadines). We "yellow-flagged" it in Tyrell Bay for one night (i.e. we didn't go ashore since we hadn't cleared into the country yet) and then sailed on to Grenada the next day. After almost two weeks of very short "hops" from island to island (nothing above 15 nm) we finally had a nice "real" sail again of about 40 nm before dropping the hook in Prickly Bay at the southwestern end of Grenada (not a single charter boat in sight...). We have rented a car here to explore the island and what we have seen so far has made us think of Grenada as one of our favorite islands along the trip so far. Stay tuned for further updates...