St. Vincent Stories and Tips

Tradewinds Cruise Club

Mayreau Photo, St. Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

We had looked forward to this trip since picking up the exchange in late February 2003. We had a June 28 2003 sail date. We sailed aboard Turquoise Dreams out of Bequia for the Grenadines sail. I would have to say that getting to Bequia is not the easiest of exercises, but there are several options. Directly out of Barbados to Bequia is possible, but it is about $100 per person cheaper to transfer via ferry from St Vincent, albeit a little larger.

Having spent much time on sailboats aboard the Great Lakes, I had no illusions about cabin size and space limitations. We had been assigned the starboard aft cabin, and frankly it had a little more room, especially in the shower area, than any of the other cabin on our vessel, so we were please with it. Pack lightly. We used space bags and it made packing and unpacking easier, because I didn't need to bring the bigger suitcase into the room. I just threw the spacebags down the hatch, when departing I packed the space bags then threw them up the hatch and put them back into the suitcase.

Please note this is not a trip for everyone. While we loved it, others may find it too restrictive and too claustrophobic. It can be a confining space that you must share with 8 to 10 other people you have never met before. We didn't know any of our fellow passengers but they were a great bunch. Maybe we got lucky, but that is a chance I am willing to take again. Crew and ground staff are very friendly and will direct you to places of interest for you while you wait for your yacht to be prepared. We arrived very early and had TWCC arrange Dive Bequia to pick us up from their dock and take us out for two dives that day prior to our boarding.

Boarding usually begins about 5pm-ish, but for some reason we were delayed some, but they opened the bar for us and offered us beverages while we waited. The vessel doesn’t actually leave until the next morning, so if for some reason you miss a connection you still have some time to catch up.

Dinner was onboard the first night, and we had a lovely grilled tuna. Trevor our captain and grill master and Jannica our firstmate and cook did a great job with all our meals.

The first day sail to Mustique was the roughest we would have all week. We were sailing into the wind and it was blowing. It made a few of the passengers uncomfortable, but generally we all faired well and no one, to my knowledge, got seasick. It was about a 3.5-hour sail. Mustique is the island home of many rich and famous. Mick Jaggar, Bryan Adams, and Tommy Hilfiger are among those who maintain a residence on the island. We overnighted on a mooring in Britannia Bay.

The next day we sailed to my most favorite place from the whole trip, Tobago Cays. This place was just beautiful. Barrier reef, uninhabited islands, crystal clear waters, beautiful sand beaches, lots of fish to see. The new movie the Pirate of the Caribbean is shot in and around St Vincent and the Grenadines. The island they are marooned on is within the Tobago Cays group of islands. We overnighted here, anchored in the sandy bottom.

We remained anchored in Tobago Cays to allow another morning of dives for the divers. (It should included me but my ears started to plug up.) Later that afternoon we went for a short sail to Clifton Harbor on Union Island, and docked for the remainder of the evening. This gave some opportunities for those who wanted some time ashore for shopping. This is also the location of the first of two dinners ashore that you are on your own.

In the morning we had a short sail and anchored off this sand bar that contained only a thatched umbrella. I can’t remember the exact spelling, but it was something like Mopion. It was very neat little place to snorkel and get more beach time. That afternoon we sailed to Chatham Bay on the western side of Union Island, an anchored there overnight. This was the only location where the water was disappointing. They recently had some sort of Algae bloom and it would be found most everywhere in this bay.

After breakfast we had a short sail up to the western side of Mayreau. This was by second favorite location. There was a lovely crescent beach, and the land, just a 30 feet wide in places, allowed for a calm water on the beach on one side and a windier waves and beach on the other. It was a wonderful photo op. We then sailed again for and anchored off the western side of Canouan. This was a great sunset snorkel place. Lots of eels. And the most amazing sunset. We even saw the infamous "green flash", honestly we did.

After breakfast the next morning we sailed back to Bequia, perhaps the second longest sail of the trip about 3-4 hours, depending on weather and winds. It was a much more pleasant sail then our first day out. We even caught a Tuna. We arrived back at Admiralty bay and were back at the TWCC dock. Dinner tonight is your choice ashore.

The next morning it is departure time. We really didn't want to go we loved this trip so much.

Aside from the all-inclusive fee, there is a customary and expected tip at the end of the sail. The crew works hard at cooking and cleaning and keeping everything in order, I feel they deserve their tips. My husband used to work on a dive board so is NOT inclined to be a cheap tipper; he knows what it is like to live off tips. But ultimately the choice is yours. Diving is extra for exchangers at $50 PP per dive. It seems to be the going rate in most of the Caribbean. Cheap divers need to stay in Cozumel, but rates there are climbing as well and are not as cheap as they used to be.

I would rate this an excellent, not only because you have the Caribbean’s largest swimming pool all around you, but where else do you really get an opportunity to see the Caribbean this way. I would only have to give it a slight knock for not having AC or a better fan. Other may disagree and say the cabins are too small and what not, but I'm not there to sit in my cabin, I'm there to enjoy the views, the water, and the relaxation.

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