Written by Vandesa on 03 Aug, 2003
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…Read More
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. Close
Written by mplunkert on 13 May, 2003
Mayreau is a quiet little island. It has none of the bustle of Bequia and it is not a habitat of the rich and famous. It boasts one small village, pristine beaches, and spectacular views. It is, in my mind, the island of romance.…Read More
Mayreau is a quiet little island. It has none of the bustle of Bequia and it is not a habitat of the rich and famous. It boasts one small village, pristine beaches, and spectacular views. It is, in my mind, the island of romance. Unfortunately (or, fortunately, for some of us), the only way to get to Mayreau is by boat. There are no airports on the island. Perhaps the best recommendation for the island comes from a sailor we met while anchored in Salt Whistle Bay. He hails from Trinidad and claims he sails to Salt Whistle Bay every year for his month-long summer vacation.
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.
The Tobago Cays are not just one island, but a chain of deserted islands (except for all the boats anchored off them) that constitute a national park. I have dubbed them the "Adventure Islands" of the Grenadines. The islands are protected from the ocean by…Read More
The Tobago Cays are not just one island, but a chain of deserted islands (except for all the boats anchored off them) that constitute a national park. I have dubbed them the "Adventure Islands" of the Grenadines. The islands are protected from the ocean by Horseshoe Reef and the snorkeling here is the best we've found in the Caribbean, rivaled only by Anegada in the B.V.I. In fact, it rivals many of the reef dives I've ever taken. The water is a brilliant turquoise that entices you to jump off the boat the minute you set anchor, and fades to blue, green, gold, and brown as you get closer to the reef. There are dinghy moorings positioned along the reef so you can anchor in the clear, deeper water, and then dinghy out to where you can literally snorkle for hours without becoming bored. It is a magnificent close-to-the-surface aquarium that provides snorkelers with sights that are normally available only to those who scuba dive. (For those who do want to dive, Grenadines Dive specializes in the Tobago Cays, and they will come and pick you up from your boat. You can also give them a call if you are staying on a nearby island and want to dive the Cays. Contacts for Grenadines Dive are as follows -- Phone: 458-8138; e-mail: email@example.com; website: www.grenadinesdive.com.)
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!
Written by mplunkert on 05 Sep, 2002
Bequia is a short hop from St. Vincent. Those not on a boat can fly directly to Bequia or take a ferry from St. Vincent. The first ferry leaves St. Vincent about 6:30 A.M. and the last ferry returns to St. Vincent from…Read More
Bequia is a short hop from St. Vincent. Those not on a boat can fly directly to Bequia or take a ferry from St. Vincent. The first ferry leaves St. Vincent about 6:30 A.M. and the last ferry returns to St. Vincent from Bequia at about 7 P.M. It will prove a good day trip. Bequia is only 7.5 square miles and has the atmosphere of a small fishing village. Historically, the islanders were active whalers, but this is no longer the case. An island tour, which will take 2 1/2 to 3 hours at a leisurely pace, can be had from any of a number of taxi drivers who will accost you as you pass. Some of these have recently banded together and call themselves the "A-team." They have standardized prices and print their own mini-tour pamphlet. They charge $20 U.S. per hour for 1-4 people. Our "A-team" driver proved very informative about the island, but be aware that a "taxi" here means that you will be riding on a bench in the back of a pick-up truck for the most part. I recommend against visiting the much-touted turtle sanctuary during your tour. Our driver stopped at it, and it seemed to be nothing but a large number of turtles, housed in individual compartments. The price of entry was $5 U.S., which seemed excessive for the small cage-type building at which we had stopped. Our driver did not seem to be overly enthusiastic about it either and did not try to convince us when I decided not to enter the sanctuary.
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.
Written by mplunkert on 03 Sep, 2002
St. Vincent is by far the most populated of the country known as "St. Vincent and the Grenadines." As such, it offers a greater agenda of sightseeing opportunities than do the islands that are collectively known as "the Grenadines." Many tour agencies exist…Read More
St. Vincent is by far the most populated of the country known as "St. Vincent and the Grenadines." As such, it offers a greater agenda of sightseeing opportunities than do the islands that are collectively known as "the Grenadines." Many tour agencies exist that will provide guided tours of the island's 3000-foot volcano, its numerous and beautiful waterfalls, rainforests, nature trails, and the Owia Salt Pond. One such is HazECO Tours, located in Kingstown. Its phone number is (784)-457-8632. As mentioned in the overview, for safety's sake, I recommend paying for a guide, even if you simply plan on taking a hike along one of this islands nature trails. HazECO tours also offers Flora, Fauna, and Bird Watching tours. Dive St. Vincent (Phone (784)-457-4928; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.divestvincent.com)can set up your scuba adventures for you in advance.
If you have sailed only the British Virgin Islands in the past, the Grenadines are a good choice for your next destination. Do not let the fact that they are "windward islands" intimidate you. The sails between islands are relatively short--five to twelve…Read More
If you have sailed only the British Virgin Islands in the past, the Grenadines are a good choice for your next destination. Do not let the fact that they are "windward islands" intimidate you. The sails between islands are relatively short--five to twelve miles, with land in sight the entire way. In easterly winds, such as we experienced, most sails are easy beam to broad reaches, and you will reach your destination in one to two hours in most cases. We never had to tack and only jibbed once. The hazards (reefs, mainly) are no more difficult to maneuver around than those you encounter in the B.V.I., and are well-marked. The anchorages are wide, and you will find yourself in 10-30 feet of water in most of them. However, you will have to anchor. Mooring balls are not as numerous as they are in the B.V.I., and on some islands are non-existent, so brush up on your anchoring techniques before you go. It will be well worth it. While we enjoyed our sails in the B.V.I., we found the islands to be rather homogeneous compared to the Grenadines, where each island has its own special personality, and there are a lot more land activities to enjoy. The snorkeling and diving here is as good, if not superior, to that found in the B.V.I. If snorkeling is your "hot spot," let me say that snorkeling in the Tobago Cays, in particular, will eclipse any experience you had on Anegada in the B.V.I., which I had considered the best snorkeling experience in all the Caribbean until our visit to the Grenadines this year.
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 Pirate43 guide on 15 Dec, 2000
The windjammer I was a passenger on had anchored in the harbor between St. Vincent and Young Island and I wanted to make a trip into town but upon my return I couldn't help but take a 5 minute water taxi trip over to Young…Read More
The windjammer I was a passenger on had anchored in the harbor between St. Vincent and Young Island and I wanted to make a trip into town but upon my return I couldn't help but take a 5 minute water taxi trip over to Young Island. I was glad I did.
Although this is a private island resort they don't seem to mind visitors stopping by to add to the economy. The island itself is 35 acres of lush tropical beauty with an inviting beach for sunning. The bar/dining area is open air and situated under tall palm trees. Paths splinter off and deadend at secluded getaways with tables and chairs which I couldn't resist to kick back and sip a cold one and just take in the views. One thing I particularly liked was the fresh coconut pieces at the bar. Quite a change from pretzels, peanuts, etc. There is a bar built out in the water also accessible only by swimming about 20 yards. The water is clear, clean and actually a lot of colorful fish. The whole island is landscaped with buildings tucked almost invisibly between tall palms, hibicus, giant almonds, mango, coffee, nutmeg, flamboyant and breadfruit trees. I have read of good package deals here in Skin Diver Magazine. 1-800-223-1108 This would be a good place to take a significant other for an upscale retreat to paradise.
Written by Pirate43 guide on 09 Dec, 2000
Bequia has a reputation for providing some of the best examples of carved wooden models. I went to several shops and the craftsmen were very happy to talk to me while they painstakingly carved individual planks or spars for another model. You…Read More
Bequia has a reputation for providing some of the best examples of carved wooden models. I went to several shops and the craftsmen were very happy to talk to me while they painstakingly carved individual planks or spars for another model. You get what you pay for here so don't expect to pay plastic model prices but if you are looking for a great souvenir for your mantle, this might be the place. Close