Carriacou to the Tobago Cays

With a new crew since the last time we were on Carriacou, we had to take them to Sandy Island. The boys had a great time on the beach there and in the evening we sat in the cockpit watching the sun set over the sea as we ate a delicious curry produced by Dave. The plan had been to motor over in the morning to spend the day at Paradise beach a couple of miles away but we woke up to strong squally conditions, and since the anchorage was quite exposed we headed back to Tyrell Bay for shelter.

Union Island was the next on our itinerary, and although this is only 4M from the northern tip of Carriacou, it is one of the St Vincent Grenadines as opposed to a Grenadian Grenadine. This meant checking out in Tyrell Bay, and checking in again at Clifton (Union Island). This normally tedious process was made a little better by the antics of the smiley immigration officer who whilst checking the details and stamping our passports would keep breaking out into song, and then suddenly stopping, downing his pen and picking up an electronic insect zapper, that looked like a tennis racquet, and swishing this around his head chasing insects that only he could see. I can only imagine that the real purpose of all this was to entertain visiting sailors, and, by watching our bemused reactions, entertain himself. Without such diversions the lot of an immigration officer could become unbearable. Sad to say though, that the immigration officer in Union had yet to discover such pastimes, and as a result, obviously led a miserable life.

Sailing between Carriacou and Union we were again swept westwards by the combination of wind and current. Not so much this time, but enough to put Clifton out of reach by sunset. Luckily there was an alternative anchorage in the lee of Frigate Island so we dropped anchor there for the night and motored the last couple of miles in the morning. We weren't expecting much from Union, but had to stop there as it was the only option for checking in. We were pleasantly surprised. It was a colourful little town, very busy on the water with boat boys buzzing around offering all kinds of services. We declined the offer of a mooring buoy and instead were able to drop anchor at the head of the harbour not far from some rickety jetties, and row ashore, where we found a good french bakery (good bread being very hard to find over here), an attractive fruit and veg market and a comfortable hotel bar offering the necessary wifi on tables next to a shark pool, straight out of a Bond movie. And if this wasn't enough to make Fred and Ernie's day we later found some old pedalos that we had free access to. True, they had no rudders and only a couple of the motive paddles, but this is where No No and Grampa stepped in.

The next day we had an overnight stop in Saline Bay, Mayreau. Here Fred re-met a friend from Hog Island. Maya with her parents were cruising on a 45' Wharram. We were all on our way to Tobago Cays, which is probably the most popular destination in the Grenadines. We had an almost perfect sail................. in ideal conditions we were tacking around the north of the island, putting in tacks to avoid a reef on which a power boat was sitting, high and dry, having arrived there unexpectedly last night. Around the north of Mayreau we could lay a course for the cays, being careful to avoid some shoal patches over coral.

When we got there we found four small uninhabited islands, very picturesque, with crystal clear water in which you can snorkel over coral with turtles and manta rays. The first night we anchored off Petit Bateau, which although uninhabited is very busy with a nightly beach barbecue, run by the boat boys of Clifton (only about 5M away), and tee shirt vendors. It's at it's best first thing in the morning, before all the activities kick off. For the 2nd night there we motored through to Baradal which was better for snorkelling. We dropped anchor, and put up the cockpit tent to provide a bit of respite from the hot sun. Some of us rowed ashore others swam or snorkelled to the island which was inhabited by large iguanas, some 3 or 4 feet long. Was this paradise ? Maybe, but I wasn't expecting so many people in paradise. OK, it was crowded, but finding space to drop the anchor was easy enough, if you didn't mind a long row against the wind to get ashore.

Tobago Cays marked the turning point of Holly & Co.'s stay. We began to retrace our steps from here, revisiting Clifton on Union Island and Tyrell Bay on Carriacou before heading down to Grenada. Heading down in a south westerly direction we now had a good wind on the port quarter................... fast, easy sailing so that we no longer had to worry about the equatorial current pushing us westwards. Dave by now, had found his sea legs and helmed the whole way. Finn who'd had enough of all of us, climbed out onto the end of the boom for a bit of peace and quiet. Halfway down the west coast of Grenada, we sailed past the underwater sculpture gardens, where we'd stopped for a snorkel on the way up. Set amongst some of natures coral sculptures were some full size figures. Maybe twenty of them holding hands in a circle. It was quite eerie. sinister even. There were various other large urns and shields, and then more figures lying down. It was an easy depth for snorkelling, 12 or 15 feet and the destination for many trippers out of St Georges.

So back into Port Louis for Holly and Dave's last two nights. Their last full day was also Ernie's birthday, and a day by the pool was his treat. Fred and I took Ernie for a row in Cub, Fred taking the oars on is own for the first time as we rowed around the pontoons looking at the boats.

Finn had booked to fly out on the same day as the others. His plan was to go to Buenos Aires to learn Spanish and then he was going to travel around before going to the world cup in Brazil in June. So within a week Holly Mae's crew had been depleted from nine to just two. It was going to be very quiet for Noley and I..................