Re: Grenadines v BVI
I have chartered in both places so I should be able to give you a comparison.
Yes, the trade winds do blow through the Grenadines. Most people start their charter in St. Vincent and sail a broad reach down the islands. This means beating into wind and currents on the way back. The passages between the islands are exposed unlike the lake-like conditions you experience in the BVIs. Once behind the islands it calms down significantly. This is where most the anchorages are. With the exception of Mustique, the islands are more impoverished than the BVIs. Not many beach bars like you see in the BVIs. Many less charter boats and a lot more full time cruisers. Most of them heading for SA for hurricane season.
We were there in March 2010 and always had a comfortable anchorage. 3 couples and one of them had never chartered before and had very little sailing experience. They were fine but not every newbie would be.
There is also more boat related crime in the Grenadines but I have heard very little on the violent side unless you go poking around the farms along the west coast of St. Vincent. Those farmers do not like people poking around in their "crops". Majority seems to be stolen dinghies. You have to lock them everywhere you go. Natives will offer to "watch" them for a price. I think some of them take your cash, your dinghy and then disappear. I you do not pay them, they take your unlocked dinghy and still disappear. Lock your dinghy.
Not very many natural sights there except for Tobago Cays marine park and turtle sanctuary which is very cool. Have a lobster bake on the beach here.
There are scattered moorings but nothing like BVIs. You will anchor most everywhere but you will not usually swing much because of the trades.
Expect to pay the same premium for most things like provisioning and eating out.
Navigation is mostly line of sight except for getting in and out of Tobago Cays.
With a child and some beginners, I would do the BVIs. There is more for them to enjoy.
We are going back to the BVIs for a small flotilla this March. We like it better than the Grenadines.
Living aboard in Portland, Maine
1997 Caliber 40LRC
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