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Three typical Clasship 1’s Grenadines Voyages
Clasship 1 uses three typical voyage plans. All plans include the Grenadines. We call these the St. Vincent Voyage, the St. Lucia Dramatic Landscape and the Grenada St. Vincent Adventure.
|The Windward Islands
The Windward Islands run from Martinique to Grenada. Right in the middle you find the islands dreams are made of. St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the gems of the Caribbean. This is the place where you will find everything in a small compact group if islands each with their own character.
St. Vincent Voyage
In order to see the best of the grenadines you should plan on at least 7 days and maybe start in St. Vincent. It would be wise to be flexible about the order in which you visit the islands to allow for weather and ease of sailing.
St. Lucia Dramatic Landscape & Grenada St. Vincent Adventure.
You could also start from St. Lucia (about 6 hours sailing north of St. Vincent) or from Grenada (about 6 hours sailing south of Carriacou)
but then 10 days are required. This is because the journey to the Grenadines from either island takes a day and of course another day at the end of the trip to return to the origin. Of course a one way trip is also possible flying into either St. Lucia or Grenada and departing from St.Vincent or vice-versa.
If you have time spend two weeks and sail from Martinique or St. Lucia through St. Vincent and the Grenadines and end up in Grenada.
|Grenadines ‘Ports of Call’ – these are in a typical order but we may change this depending on our mood….and maybe the weather!
Having been met at the airport you will be driven to Clasship 1. After settling in on the yacht, we set sail for Britannia Bay, Mustique, an easy 2.5 hour reach (17 miles). En route to Mustique, we pass the uninhabited islands of Battowia, Baliceaux and The Pillories approaching Britannia Bay which is known for having interesting snorkeling, diving and has on a wreck on the reef.
Note that Mustique is a marine park and so fishing or removal of anything from the waters surrounding the island is illegal up to 1,000 yards offshore. Whilst the island is well known for its stately villas and famous inhabitants, what's more important are the beautiful beaches. >From the main anchorage it's a leisurely 25-minute stroll south to Lagoon Bay. Golden sand beach, fringed with palm trees, a couple of picnic areas with wooden umbrellas and tables, and not a human being or building in sight. On a clear day you can see all the way down to Petite Martinique.
From the dinghy dock, famous Basil's Bar is just a minute's walk to the north. Here you will find spectacular surroundings; white sand beach, sparkling blue water and a wonderful ambience. What a great place for a cocktail - though the quality of food and service leave something to be desired. On Wednesday and Sunday nights, the "jump-up" at Basil's can be a lot of fun.
A "must" if you want to eat ashore in Mustique is Firefly - a wonderful restaurant built in what used to be one of the great private villas of Mustique. It's perched halfway up the hillside overlooking the anchorage, and is stunningly beautiful - marble counters, giant ferns, a grand piano, Balinese furniture, two freshwater pools and a beautiful restaurant and bar. The food is first-rate and the prices moderate - but even if you don't want to eat, you should still go there to savor the ambience. It's fairly small so a good idea to book in advance if you plan to eat. It's the sort of place where one might be tempted to wander in for lunch at noon, and wander out again at three o'clock the next morning. Impromptu performances from famous musicians are a regular feature. If you don’t fancy the steep up-hill walk, we will call owner Stan on the VHF and if he’s not busy he
will send one of his staff down in a vehicle to give you a lift.
Close to Basil's are a couple of (expensive) boutiques, and a little fishing village just north of Basil's, where we may pick up fresh fish directly from the fishermen.
For those who fancy a gallop down a deserted beach, thoroughbred horses can be rented by the hour. But for those who don't ride horses, I'd recommend they rented a "mule" - not a donkey, but a gasoline-powered cross between a mini moke and a golf
cart. Ask the bartender at Basil's, and he'll call up the company who rents them (around $US 90 for a full day). Renting a "mule" is lots of fun and enables you not only to get around and explore some of the amazing villas, but also to access some of the best beaches which are a little too far to walk to from the anchorage. MACARONI beach on the east coast must rate as one of the Caribbean's ten top beaches - half a mile of fine white sand, with turquoise waves rolling in from the Atlantic, safe swimming, and a picnic area under the palms.
The Cotton House hotel is definitely worth a visit - formerly a 19th-century sugar and cotton plantation, the hotel has been beautifully restored to its original grandeur. There's
a fantastic restaurant there - but it's expensive and rather formal (long trousers for gentlemen for dinner). They also have an informal beach restaurant which is reasonably-priced and a good option for lunch. The hotel also has a freshwater pool with a pool bar, and a water-sports centre with Hobie Cats, windsurfers and dive facilities.
Well, that's Mustique - if you're looking for wonderful ambience and a genteel atmosphere, great beaches and a couple of excellent restaurants, this is the place.
Clasship 1 heads for Saline Bay and Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau - the "Caribbean beach dream come true" and one of the loveliest anchorages in the Caribbean. It's a 3.5 hour broad reach from Mustique and the usual route is to pass close under the lee of the flat-topped island Petit Canouan, and then under the lee of Canouan itself.
There's good snorkeling on both reefs and the white sand beach is pristine. The main resort nestles in the palm trees on the beach, but don't be put off by the word resort - it consists of a dozen stone and wood cottages, and the resort's floor is the sand. The
quaint beach bar is a popular meeting place for cruising yachties at Happy Hour, and the restaurant, set under palms. If you feel like a bit of exercise, follow the paved road from the dinghy dock, and, after a steep 25-minute walk (but well worth the effort) you'll get to the "settlement" where 400 people, and about the same number of chickens, cows and goats live. The old stone church (built in 1929 by a Benedictine monk) is definitely worth a visit and from the windward side of the church you'll get spectacular views over all of the Grenadines. In the settlement itself, you'll find four great little bistros, all very welcoming and serving good food. They accept credit cards and also
have small mini-marts adjacent to them. Dennis' Hideaway is my favorite - Dennis is the Grenadines' equivalent of "Foxy" on Jost van Dyke, except that he doesn't play the guitar - but he's the island's Justice of the Peace, yachtsman, guest-house owner, restaurateur and raconteur – and he even has a swimming pool and dive shop.
A word of warning - if you get stuck into Dennis's frozen Margaritas (which is easy to
do), and it's after sundown, remember that the pathway back to Salt Whistle Bay is unlit.... don't forget your flashlight! Alternatively, you can ask for a vehicle which will cost around $US 8.
Visiting Mayreau is like stepping into a time warp. There are around 400 yards of paved road, half a dozen vehicles, no high-rises, no police, and the island’s had electricity for less than 5 years.
Salt Whistle Bay is the natural stepping stone to the Tobago Cays, the high spot of the cruise for pretty well everyone. You won't be able to see the passage between Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau, so they'll look like one island until you get to the entrance itself. The Tobago Cays are a marine park and are patrolled by Park Rangers. So no fishing, no removing anything from the water and be particularly careful not to touch coral. Be careful, close to Baradal is a protected green turtle breeding ground so stay well clear.
In the Cays, you're anchoring in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - with nothing between you and Africa except Horseshoe Reef. The sea rarely breaks over the reef into the anchorage and, thus, whilst it's always wind-swept (makes for nice cool nights), it's usually pretty comfortable.
Although they’re uninhabited, the price of progress means that you can get pretty well anything you need in the Cays - the fishermen come out daily from Clifton Harbor in Union Island and vend from their open boats. Jewelry, t-shirts, post-cards and soft drinks are delivered right to the boat. Striking up a rapport with these people is easy
and worthwhile. You’ll pay a bit of a premium for anything you buy in the Cays since obviously the fishermen need to cover their fuel costs and earn a few dollars.
The snorkeling in the Cays is everywhere - right around the main Horseshoe Reef itself, one of the longest barrier reefs in the Western hemisphere, and close to the islands themselves. We can dinghy you in and out of the coral heads, where the seabed clearly visible. Be aware that the strong breezes create current throughout the Cays, so it’s usually best to snorkel upwind of your dinghy and then drift back down onto it.
There is also great snorkeling at Baradal. For those who dive, we can call Glenroy Adams at Grenadines Dive in Clifton Harbor,
he operates rendezvous dives through this region and there’s excellent diving at Mayreau Gardens immediately east of Mayreau, and, if the weather conditions are right, at World’s End Reef.
We can also take you over to the beach at Petit Bateau - this is a great spot for a lunch-time picnic, and there’s a scenic reef just a few yards from the beach, with a drop-off down to about 35 feet. It is possible to have a beach barbecue, at one of the nominated barbecue areas.
We will exit the Cays the same way that we entered, i.e. through the north-western approach to Union Island under the lee of Mayreau it's about an hour to Clifton Harbor. The almost vertical mountains of Union Island are visible 40 miles away on a clear day. We will sail almost over to Palm Island before turning to the west and up into the main harbor at Clifton, the cross-roads of the Grenadines where you can obtain pretty well everything that you need.
From this anchorage, it's a couple of minutes by dinghy, not only to the shore, but also to the unique Happy Island, the labor of love of one man. Janty got fed up selling pizzas in town so decided to build him an island. It took him a couple of years and a lot of sand, conch shells and palm fronds, but today it's finished and he has a wind generator, solar panels, hammocks, reggae music - and a well-stocked bar. This is a must - and all visitors are welcome.
The town of Clifton is just a short walk along the beach and there are plenty of small supermarkets in town. Clifton is a funky little place with friendly people, several supermarkets and stores, and a number of great little restaurants where you'll find excellent Caribbean fare at reasonable prices if you wish to eat ashore.
From Union, we will take an afternoon sail (one hour) down to Petit St Vincent, one of the loveliest spots in the Grenadines. Petit Martinique, to the south, is a volcanic island
that rises steeply out of the water and is visible 40 miles away on a clear day. The island has dark sand beaches - but as we head towards the pass between Mopion & Pinese from Union Island, you’ll see a little white sand beach that looks as if it is on Petit Martinique. What you’re seeing is Mopion - the ultimate desert island - 15 yards long, fine white sand, and with a triangular thatched shelter in the middle of it (and a bottle opener bolted to the shelter’s support beam). We once had a game of cricket on there with the crew taking on the guests!
As you approach the gap, if it’s low water you’ll see elk horn and stag horn coral above the surface. If it’s high water, note that Pinese is subsiding and will be just below the surface. But the gap is about 200 yards wide so we have plenty of sea room and it’s very hard to go wrong if you can see Petit Martinique. We have about 20 feet of water as we pass between the sandbanks, and you will probably see the bottom as we go through.
We will anchor just off PSV. When in PSV, whether you’re thirsty or not, you need to visit
the bar, a few minutes’ walk up the hillside. The ambience is great - hummingbirds flying through tropical vegetation, fat Labradors lounging in sandpits, and the finest fresh, tropical fruit frozen daiquiris in the Grenadines. There is an excellent, though somewhat expensive (around $US 100 per person) restaurant, but if you’re planning one very special night out during your charter, this is the place to go. Note that gentlemen require long trousers for dinner.
We can take you by dingy to Mopion sandbank - you won’t be disappointed!
The snorkeling here is the stuff of Jacques Cousteau movies. It’s a deeper anchorage and thus the fish are bigger and the corals are bigger. It’s very usual to see schools of rays, large parrot fish and even groupers. This is the ultimate desert island - if you stand on the south-west corner, you can get a photo with the sea on the left, the sea on the right, the hump of sand with the triangular thatched shelter in the middle, and nothing in the background except for the ocean. What a great spot for a lunch-time barbecue or picnic or indeed just a cold beer.
Our anchorage is at Saline Bay, Mayreau. This is a pretty spot and only half an hour or so from Chatham Bay. There’s a lovely beach at Saline bay, and also a paved roadway up to the settlement - and there are also a couple of lights on this road, so access to the settlement is slightly easier than from Salt Whistle Bay.
A point of interest is the wreck of a British gunboat which lies just north of the western tip of the reef at Grand Col Point, and you can snorkel over it as it starts in only 14 feet of water.
We could instead head up to Canouan, an hour or so from Saline Bay. As mentioned earlier, It used to be an island of 700 farmers and fishermen and one very slow hotel, but that changed in 1990 when an Italian group came and built the Tamarind Beach Hotel in the centre of Grand Bay. There’s not much snorkeling in the bay, but you’ll probably sea large star fish on the sea bed - they like the sand and turtle-grass environment.
The Tamarind Beach Hotel was the fore-runner of the world-class Raffles Resort which encompasses most of the northern and north-eastern parts of the island. Part of it is managed by an American gentleman called Mr. Trump. The resort has around 250 luxury villas, tennis courts, a huge swimming pool, a spa and health centre, a casino, an 18-hole golf course, an Italian piazza, and two restaurants (food flown in fresh from Rome every week).
Our next stop is Bequia - close-hauled in winter months but in the summer we may do it on a close reach, in anything from 4 to 5 hours.
To get to Port Elizabeth, it’s just a couple of minutes' dinghy ride around the bay’s northern headland and we will see dinghy docks along the waterfront footpath that runs from the Plantation House hotel right the way up to the Frangipani, the popular Happy Hour meeting place for cruisers (good for the Thursday night "jump-up".
There are many great bars and bistros along the waterfront pathway - Mac’s Pizzeria is a favorite - not a “Pizza Hut” but a great restaurant that happens to make wonderful pizza, in addition to freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries. Tommy Cantina is an excellent Mexican Restaurant, and Gingerbread Hotel does great local and North American food. A relatively new restaurant overlooking the water and close to the dinghy dock is Maria's French Terrace. They have a great menu, excellent service, and the prices are very reasonable.
Overall, there's a great choice from French to Caribbean, and something to suit every pocket.
Although Port Elizabeth is well developed by Grenadines standards, it still retains a sleepy, old-world Caribbean charm. Most people still access Bequia by boat, and the island’s sea-faring traditions such as whaling, model boat building and fishing still remain.
If you’re in need of exercise, there are some great walks - notably to Hope Bay, a deserted bay on the east coast, lined with a golden sand beach, with coconut plantations sweeping down the hills almost to the water’s edge (about an hour’s walk - take food and drink) and to Spring and Industries bays on the north-east coast (also about an hour).
Getting around Bequia is inexpensive in local transport and you can pretty well tour the whole island for about $US 5.
The turtle sanctuary is worth a visit, as is the Old Fort, a charming hotel with stunning views, a freshwater pool and regular entertainment.
You wouldn’t get bored spending two or three days in Bequia - it really offers a little bit of everything - great beaches, spectacular scenery, snorkeling and diving, reasonable shopping, friendly people and the chance of seclusion.
Now sad to say, it’s time to return to Blue Lagoon. This is going to take around 1.5 to 2 hours - longer than you might expect, but chances are that we’ll be close-hauled and have some current to contend with. This will make for exciting sailing as we head back.