Written by Pirate43 guide on 09 Dec, 2000
" You really won't find much on the island in the way of souvenirs except for T-shirts and such which are sold by the locals along the beach under the trees. They have a wide selection however so have at it.…Read More
" You really won't find much on the island in the way of souvenirs except for T-shirts and such which are sold by the locals along the beach under the trees. They have a wide selection however so have at it. I did buy one but spent most of my time climbing up the winding hill (rather steep) along the paved road to the top. A school is also at the summit. A small but quaint Roman Catholic church is a nice photo opportunity of neighboring islands. Slightly down from the summit is an open-air bar. It's about the only bar there but the view is good so what the heck. A Rastapharian sells sea turtle merchandise but it's a bit pricey and I didn't want to promote the acquisition of turtle products. Close
Written by Kaye on 15 Aug, 2000
Mayreau is a little island with around 262 people on it. It is a primitive but very beautiful and friendly island. The first thing one sees on the beach of many of these Caribbean islands is the unique tree that grows only on…Read More
Mayreau is a little island with around 262 people on it. It is a primitive but very beautiful and friendly island. The first thing one sees on the beach of many of these Caribbean islands is the unique tree that grows only on these tiny Caribbean islands: the t-shirt tree. Mayreau is no exception. Many of the villagers make their living selling t-shirts, hair braids or other souvenir items. We enjoyed chatting with the vendors as we made our purchases.
There is a one room school on the island that is sponsored by the Mandalay. Each ship of the Windjammer fleet sponsors a school on one of the islands that the ship sails to. I think this is a very responsible program spear-headed by Windjammer. Improving literacy is one of the primary concerns of many Caribbean islands. The funds that Windjammer raises helps, at least, in some small way. An auction was held on the Mandalay to benefit the Mayreau school. Every passenger was asked to donate an item for the auction. There was a wide variety of items contributed including bottles of wine, island crafts, Mandalay crew shirts, t-shirts, and various other items (some of a 'naughty' nature). Over $1000.00 was raised to benefit the school and we all had a lot of fun participating.
One of the many things I really enjoyed about the Windjammer cruise was the local talent that was often brought aboard ship to entertain. The ship sailed most of the time at night, so often we remained at anchor until after dinner (sometimes we sailed right after Snacks and Swizzles). This provided many opportunities for local entertainers to come on board and provide entertainment during Snacks and Swizzles or dance music after dinner. At anchor in Mayreau we were entertained by another Parang band made up of islanders. The percussionist was the lead teacher at the one room school house. Her 'instrument' was a tin can with a lid filled with sand. The band had a unique island sound. There were 3 guitar players and a tom-tom drum. Very nice sound! Three children from the island school, along with one of their teachers were also brought on-board ship to enjoy dinner and the evening. I enjoyed talking with the teacher. She had only been teaching 5 months but was very committed. She just started publishing an island newsletter with a sincere intent to improve literacy among the islanders. Close
Written by Kaye on 14 Aug, 2000
The hike that follows a trail across the mountain to the Atlantic side is a beautiful way to see the island. The hike is fairly easy, although quite steep and on un-even terrain in some places. It meanders through the small village on…Read More
The hike that follows a trail across the mountain to the Atlantic side is a beautiful way to see the island. The hike is fairly easy, although quite steep and on un-even terrain in some places. It meanders through the small village on the island, past local restaurants where wonderful aromas of West Indian cooking waft through open doors, past many rum shops and then continues to the top of the hill where a pretty Catholic church sits perched with a commanding view of the harbor. The hillsides are lush with tropical vegetation and beautiful views of the Caribbean and Atlantic harbors can be seen from many vantage points. The descent to the Atlantic side is the roughest terrain but it is a short distance. Basically the path turns into a goat path; you may see island cattle on the path as you walk. What appears to be a very old cemetary sits nestled on the hillside overlooking the Atlantic harbor. It's a pretty, very peaceful looking spot. It's quite a surprise when you are suddenly down at the beach and looking at beautiful Salt Whistle Bay Resort. The resort is a stark contrast to the rest of the primitive island.
The majority of the island, including the village, does not have electricity except for what is generated from personal generators. There is one phone booth that sits along the mountain path; however, it does not have a phone in it. There is not any phone service on the island. There was talk many years ago of phone service being brought to the island. So an enterprising person had a phone booth installed. It never had a phone installed in it. Now it makes a good photo op. In contrast, Salt Whistle Bay is a beautiful exclusive resort that sits in a pretty bay on the Atlantic side. The harbor was full of sail boats and yachts on the day of our visit. We picked up a water taxi to take us back to the Mandalay on the other side of the island. We enjoyed a different view of the island as we traveled along the shoreline back to our ship.
Written by GRNYC on 18 Jun, 2009
Some years ago I was sailing through the Grenadines and stopped off for a short stay on the island of Mayreau, a small spit of paradise with an indigenous population of Rastafari. The level of poverty was striking but they were blessed with longevity and…Read More
Some years ago I was sailing through the Grenadines and stopped off for a short stay on the island of Mayreau, a small spit of paradise with an indigenous population of Rastafari. The level of poverty was striking but they were blessed with longevity and a snail's pace of life that would make watching grass grow a viable past-time.From what I gathered over a Guinness at 8 a.m. with a Rasta-man in his 90's and his nephew, the spitting image of Bob Marley and owner of 1 of 4 cliff-side bars on the island, life on the island had been reasonably peaceful and gainful for the 4 young bar owners -- "had" being the operative word. All childhood chums, their businesses revolved around the thrice monthly arrival of the Club Med and cruise ships into the small southern port on the downside of the cliffs on which their tiny community was perched. Then came the ill wind.Interlopers - German, South American and Swiss investors - who, via questionable dealings with the provincial government, began a systematic leasing up of key assets on islands all throughout the archipelago ignoring the native populations, their rights and claims, and their needs. In the case of Mayreau a South American group assumed tacit control of the bay including the key mooring and docking rights. With this usurping control came the hammer of injustice prohibiting all large ships from coming to port thereby eliminating all meaningful tourist business and the small economic stimulus this poor community could count on to keep the balance of life in relative harmony.Rastas by and large are a lackadaisical but thoughtful people when confronted by political oppression. When I arrived at the island the situation had become desperate, the indigenous community had become refugees in their own land - no rights and no representation, no voice. I sat contemplatingly in this beautiful open air bar, the cool morning breeze blowing through the colorful banners draped throughout the space, I was wistfully struck by the young ones who had gathered en masse adoringly stationed on the floor around this charismatic proprietor as he plodded on with their Tale of Woe; Friends were now at odds with one another, spirits of the young people troubled, uninspired and unempowered.The truth was there, clear at least for me to see: outliving the situation, for better or worse, seemed the likely fate these people were resolved and best suited to.Afterwards, I strolled back down the back side of the island to the private cove retreat know as Salt Whistle Bay, this story a sad postscript to this otherwise slice of natural paradise on Earth. Close