A July 2002 trip
to St. Vincent and the Grenadines by mplunkert
Quote: Each year for the last six years, my husband and I have spent three weeks sailing to different islands in the Caribbean. This year took us to St. Vincent and the Grenadines where we were thrilled to discover that each island we visited had a unique personality of its own.
Hotel | "The Lagoon Marina and Hotel"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 3, 2002
Pacifica Golf Resort
Paseo De La Colina Playa Vista Hermosa
Before dining, we elected to have some drinks at the bar while we enjoyed the sunset.
The waitstaff, though formally attired, were friendly and served us roasted, salted coconut chips with our beverages. They were a unique treat--somewhat a cross between banana chips and pumpkin seeds--and even my husband, who abhors anything with coconut in it, really liked them.
The dining area is very small--only six to eight tables--but elegant, with a nice view of the bay. Perhaps because of the small area, diners feel comfortable striking up conversations with each other. We enjoyed talking to a former member of the Canadian Parliament and his companion, a French woman, who were staying at The Cotton House, between courses.
My husband had the fish special, which was mahi mahi with vegetables, and pronounced it "superb." I selected the tortellini stuffed with spinach and sausage. It was good, but I saw little evidence of the spinach. It seemed more like tortellini with sausage meatballs in a delicate cream sauce although the meatballs did have some green flecks in them. Our bill for the entire evening, including all the beverages was $125 U.S., which we felt was a real bargain for the elegant, romantic evening we enjoyed.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 9, 2002
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 5, 2002
The snorkeling here is superb. There is a reef on the southwest coast of the island where you will find a large variety of fish, including the harmless nurse sharks. At the entrance to Britannia Bay is Montezuma Shoal. The Wreck of the Jonas lies in 40 feet of water on the east side of the shoal. There is a dinghy mooring that you can tie up to when snorkeling, and the water is so clear, the wreck is clearly visible. Barracudas and nurse sharks can also be seen. If you wish to dive, you can contact Mustique Water Sports (VHF:68,16). They will pick you up at your boat.
If you want to stay drier, a horseback ride will provide you with a nice island tour. These are usually provided in the early morning (8 or 9 A.M.) or the later afternoon (3 or 4 P.M.). You can arrange for a ride with the Mustique Company at Brittania Bay or by calling the Cotton House. Or simply take a walk to the famous and beautiful Macaroni beach on the east coast of the island and relax with a drink as you lie in a hammock and keep your eye out for any celebrities who might be about.
If you're sailing, you need to be aware that there is no anchoring allowed off Mustique. The Mustique Company rents mooring balls at Britannia Bay, which is a beautiful anchorage. The charge was $20 U.S. for the first night, and the second and third nights were free. If you've sailed only in the B.V.I., be aware that these mooring balls are a bit different. They have no rope attached, and you must either go "stern to" to pick one up and walk it to the bow or send a crew member out in the dinghy to grab one. Better yet, especially if you're short-handed, call Mustique Moorings on VHF: 16/68 and the ranger will dinghy out to help you. We found him to be a great source of information on the island as well; he pointed out Liberace's former home, told us where we could dispose of our garbage, and directed us to the best snorkeling areas in the Bay.
I found that Bequia had the best-priced souvenirs of all the Grenadines. My husband was delighted to find a t-shirt he loved was only $10 U.S. at Melinda's. On other islands, the same t-shirt was $20 U.S. Noah's Arkade, which is right on the waterfront, has great prices on
Caribbean crafts and spices. I bought a great set of "fish" coasters there for my Caribbean-motif gameroom for $6 U.S.
There is a reef extending offshore between Princess Margaret Beach and Lower Bay Beach in Admiralty Bay that makes for some nice snorkeling, though not as good as what you will find elsewhere in the Grenadines.
If you're sailing, we found that the best anchorage is between Princess Margaret Beach and Lower Bay Beach. It's convenient to everything. Snorkle the anchor, though. When we anchored here on our way back, we found that our anchor rode was twisted around a huge log and had to do some manuveuring to get it off.
When you finally decide that you have to stop snorkeling to eat something, the sandy beach of any one of the four islands making up the Tobago Cays provides a perfect setting for a beach barbeque. (Please take your trash with you when you're finished partying, though.) If you've neglected to provision well, boat vendors will be along offering fresh fish and lobster, fruits, ice, and bread. They also sell T-shirts and jewelry, but before you buy a T-shirt from one of them, look for someone who has a clothesline of shirts set up on either Jamesby or Petit Bateau Island. Wilma Dember sets up her "shop" on one of these two Cays most days and has great-priced, high-quality T-shirts for only 35EC$, a much lower price than you will get from a boat vendor and also much lower than you will find in most shops on the islands in the Grenadines.
After the barbeque, head back to the boat and relax on the deck under a sky decorated with a confetti of stars while planning your next adventurous day in the Cays. Bet you can't do just one!
There are two good anchorages off Mayreau, of which Salt Whistle Bay is the prettier. It is bounded by two reefs, which makes for good snorkeling. If you plan to anchor here, arrive early as the anchorage fills up quickly. Ashore is the Salt Whistle Bay Club (VHF: 16/68), which is nestled in the trees right off the beach. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but be aware that you must make your dinner reservations, including meal choices, by 8pm. Dinner service begins at 7pm and we found it to be a unique, exceptional experience in all ways. Huge stone booths with thatched roofs and subtle lighting provide privacy from other diners, and conch shells filled with fresh flowers decorate the stone slab tables. We opted for a breaded shrimp appetizer (cost: 26EC$) that was wonderful. The shrimp were presented on a salad of cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peaches. My husband ordered lamb chops in red wine sauce and I had chicken Parmesan. Each entrée was 50EC$ and came with fresh bread and butter, fried potato nuggets, a cabbage salad, and green beans -- both dishes were five-star restaurant quality. We opted out of dessert, but the choices were vanilla ice cream (10EC$) and crêpes suzette (12EC$).
A short path winds alongside the restaurant area to the windward side of the island, and it is well worth the short walk to see the spectacle of waves crashing against the reefs with Canouan in the background. If one of your party feels that the mere sight of another wave will induce nausea, he or she can always opt to browse the little boutique that is adjacent to the restaurant or down another drink at the bar.
If you arrive too late to anchor in Salt Whistle Bay, you will probably find a spot in Saline Bay, on the east side of the island. This is also the anchorage to choose if you want to try to get some basic supplies, as there are none to be had in Salt Whistle Bay. (Boat vendors do come along selling fresh bread, ice, fish, and T-shirts. Don't pay more than about 6EC$ for the bread, which is the going price, but do consider ordering some. It arrives warm early the following morning! Ice should cost about 20EC$ a bag for block ice or cubes. We found some vendors tried to charge substantially more than these prices if they thought they could get away with it.) You will find some small grocery stores in the village off Saline Bay, however, as well as several nice restaurants with great views of the harbor, according to other sailors we met.