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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.

Just returning from a 10 day one-way charter from St. Lucia (Marigot) to Grenada (True Blue) with Horizons on a Bavaria 45 and thought I'd scribble down a few comments. Will not review the boat and Charter company here (though both were fine), just focus on sailing & destinations. Previously have chartered BVIs, Antigua o/w to St. Maarten, and Phuket Thailand, so that's all i have for comparison except B. C. where i sail regularly. Obviously people who sail the windwards regularly will have much more informed opinions, but i figure this might be a useful perspective.

We did Marigot (st lucia) to Soufriere/Pitons to Bequia (SVG, Skipped St Vincent Island itself) to Mayreau to Tobago Cays to Union (lunch stop) to Carriacou to St. Georges (GND) to Prickly Bay to True Blue. Skipped St. Vincent on numerous peoples' advice and b/c of time constraints.

PROs:

1. Great sailing, reliable perfect tradewinds.
2. Large choice of anchorages.
3. Good scenery.
4. Warm but with the breeze not uncomfortably hot/humid and few flies.
5. Generally friendly people (but see CONs, below).
6. Some sea life - sea turtles, dolphins, pelicans, sharks.
7. Apparently good snorkeling but the charter company forgot our snorkel gear unfortunately.
8. A variety of beach bars and restaurants from basic/local to higher end.
9. Many more locals at the beaches, restaurants, sailing, fishing than on my other charters, which was nice.

HIGHLIGHTS:

1. Views of the Pitons, of course.
2. Anchored at Tobago Cays with nothing but seas breaking on a reef and open ocean in front of us.
3. nice, relaxing passages b/w St. Lucia & Bequia and b/w Carriacou & St. Georges.
4. Sailing w pod of Dolphins.

CONS:

1. Most of the anchorages were rather crowded by most standards except when compared to BVIs.
2. Most of the anchorages were mildly rolly, and one night quite rolly despite swells generally 1-2 meters during the trip. To be fair, though, there were some northerly swells and we never bothered with a stern anchor.
3. Except in Grenada, rather frequently being approached by boats looking to sell things, act as water taxi or moorings. A few times this was useful, but on the balance a bit annoying for us. Generally they did not persist but one guy in Clifton harbour was plain aggravating. No issues in Grenada.
4. Offered drugs (Ganja & cocaine) at least 4 times - only in Soufriere for some reason - the guys did not persist when we said no, though.
5. Food was more expensive that i expected.

THINGS I WOULD HAVE LIKED TO DO BUT DIDN'T:

1. More sailing on South coast Grenada.
2. Anchoring at least once on the island of St. Vincent - we skipped it b/c of time and advice, but i slightly regret.
3. Done some more touring via taxi on the islands further afield from the anchorages (i went jogging on several of the islands and they were charming - especially Grenada seemed to have a lot to offer)

OTHER COMMENTS:

1. Food was surprisingly good, probably better than i remember in the leewards & BVI on average, though obviously no where near as tasty as Thailand.
2. Did not encounter any crime, but took precautions like locks and lights.
3. The beaches were lovely, but we're just not huge lying-on-the-beach people.
4. Clearing in/out was easier than i recall in the Leewards (except in Clifton which was still a pain), but the Leewards trip was a few years ago so maybe its changed.

BOTTOM LINE:

Very enjoyable trip, especially the perfect sailing, with a few drawbacks. It was worth while. I would consider another Windwards trip at some point with a slightly different itinerary for variety. Martinique looks interesting.
 

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Did they make you go to the airport in Union Island? We got there right as a busload of people headed out on an expedition boat did...fortunately I slipped in ahead of them while they were fooling with their luggage.

We spent time in all of the places you listed, we found Soufriere to be rolly, and Prickly Bay could be if you anchored smack in the middle of the harbor with the wrong wind.
 

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Sounds like a great trip. We were down there on the Moorings almost at the same time, Rodney Bay to Grenada. It's been 6 trips for me down there, we obviously like it. Here's some additional notes:

1. Lots more moorings everywhere. Used the anchor once in 10 nights only at Tyrell in Carriacou (you can clear into Grenada there now, nice and easy). This was a big change from our last visit.

2. We also usually avoid St Vincent, but this time on the advice of the charter company we stopped at Keartons (next to Wallilabou). Yes, the local boat boys are pretty aggressive in St Vincent, but with a combination of respect and firmness, it's manageable. Great restaurant there, one of our best Mahi dinners. Made a short day compared to St Lucia direct Bequia.

3. Winds pretty steady 20-25 most days. This made the snorkeling in the Key's less than stellar, but they now have a turtle "area" marked off. I don't know how the turtles know to stay there (maybe they feed em), but they do, and it's pretty easy to find them snorkeling.

4. Caught a nice tuna. Some it made it to the grill. Had the wasabi and soy for the rest.

5. Clearing out of Union required a visit to the airport. I've never been a big fan of Union. It didn't help that the guy in front of me decided to give customs a hard time. One sure way to make "Caribbean slow", slower, is give an official a hard time!

6. It generally felt quiet. Bequia hotspots like the Whaleboner were VERY quiet. African even said it was quiet.

7. Favorite stop was Tyrell in Carriacou. Felt like the old, authentic Caribbean.

I'm sure you'll agree, there's nothing like having 10 days to do 130 nm all on a reach (port tack). Really only needed primaries on one side:) Talk about easy sailing.
 

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We're big Carriacou fans ourselves.. something about the absence of cruise liners, I think, keeps it genuine.

Argle - bummer about the snorkel gear.. agree with pretty well all your comments though outside St V we didn't find the boat boys overly aggressive. Worst was Wallilabou but even then it wasn't more than mildly annoying. As you say they are manageable and it seems best not to utterly alienate them.

We avoided Soufriere, using a mooring at the Pitons themselves instead for a quick overnight stop. While it's nice to have 'relaxing' sails, getting some serious wind and swells off the top of St V or in the Bequiea Channel makes for some seriously fun surfing and high boatspeed numbers!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the responses. maybe this thread will be a useful resource in the future.

yes, B.J., they did make us go to the airport at Clifton, Union Is - customs near the waterfront, immigration at the airport. wasnt that much of a pain, just an annoyance. agree, capecodda, - who in their right mind would give customs a hard time?

we anchored everywhere except Soufriere Bay/Pitons and Bequia. We found the anchorages to be rather crowded by our standards, but never had a real problem finding a place except at Saltwistle Bay, Mayreau, which was a freakin' floatin' parking lot.

loved Tyrell as well. loved the windward side of Bequia for a run. Stayed an extra day at Carriacou since it was lovely.

indeed mostly on port tack for the whole trip, but had some beating from south coast St. Vincent to Bequia and along the south coast of Grenada. I was happy enough with the relaxing reaching with great scenery and weather - we get enough beating here in the various straits in BC/Wash where the wind invariably seems to be in your face. plus i needed a relaxing vacation from work.

We had winds mostly 15-20 kts, except 25-30 just north and south of St Vincent/St Vincent - Bequia. swells generally 1-2 meters.

cheers
 

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We didn't find much to recommend Salt Whistle Bay either - busy/crowded, LOUD music on the beach, the resort bar huts crawling with insects.

When we were last at the Tobago Cays they had just instituted the park fees.. presume they are still in place?

Anyhow sounds like your experienced pretty much matched ours.. Nice getaway from the BC blahs...
 
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We skipped Salt Whistle this time. There's only one spot in the left hand corner where you can really get out of the roll....but you have to admit that that palm tree lined beach is pretty enticing.

Yes, they are charging park fees at the Tobago Keys. Wasn't much, cannot remember the amount....somehow the EC looks like play money anyway so whatever it was didn't register.
 
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