Island Hopping the Windwards

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We’ve visited four different countries in the last month and at least ten different islands. It’s been a whirlwind of white beaches, palm trees and blue water and I’m definitely not complaining. But I am in danger of blending islands and blurring memories so I better quickly get it all down.

Grenada and Carriacou

Grenada is a bit of a cruising institution – it’s full to the brim with live-aboard sailors all year round but apparently comes into it’s own during the hurricane season as it’s out of the major path of most tropical storms and hundreds of boats congregate to enjoy the social whirlwind. There is a daily morning cruisers net which is basically a broadcast over the VHF radio of all the things happening for cruisers on the island – from yoga to music evenings, bingo to hash gatherings (hiking!!), shopping trips to pot lucks and everything in between! We had a great week being suitably social – we celebrated William’s (from SY Bonaire) 6th birthday and our 12th wedding anniversary, I had a magical life-saving massage and we all made new friends. It’s a very easy island to like – everything is set up for cruisers and it all seems to function fairly successfully.

We also visited Carriacou which is Grenada’s lovely laid-back little sister. In typical Patrick fashion, we found the most challenging anchorage on the windward side of the island among the reefs but were rewarded with a gorgeous empty ‘anchorage’, lovely island beach and great snorkelling! So what if we ‘bumped’ the bottom during the night!!!

St Vincent and the Grenadines

These islands are picture perfect Caribbean – exactly what you picture when you imagine the Caribbean – well maybe I’m taking liberties here but Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed here so I may be on to something. We totally loved the wonderful smaller islands of Petite St Vincent, Union and Mayreau but by far our favourites were Bequia and the stunning Tobago Cays. Highlights include swimming with the majestic turtles in the Tobago Cays and pretending to be locals in chilled Bequia. It was so lovely to ‘bump’ into friends that we’d last seen on the other side of the ocean and had great catch ups with SYs Florence (UK) and Sandy Cheeks (Australia). Patrick also spent plenty of time trying to sort out our pesky generator!! We finally got it fixed (temporarily as it turned out!) by the entertaining and persevering Verrill of Nichols Garage in Young Island Cut, St Vincent.

St Lucia

We only had a very quick stop in St Lucia – due mainly to the fact that it was blowing over 30 knots on the nose when we left St Vincent to sail to Martinique and I basically demanded a half way stop!! We had a great catch up with the lovely crew on Itchy Foot, a good snorkel and bought the most expensive bananas known to mankind!! And then off to…

Martinique

We had been very excited about visiting the french islands – this mostly had to do with things like brie, baguette, wine, coffee and pastries. We were down to the last of our provisions so took the shopping very seriously!! Three different supermarkets and three full trolley loads later and poor Blue Zulu was groaning under the weight of all our lovely new french groceries!!

We really enjoyed the stark contrast of Martinique compared to the other Caribbean Islands – it’s a French overseas department and so functions almost just like France – the order, organisation and general wealth is in complete contrast to the rest of the Caribbean. We loved meeting three new kid boats – Drakkar (NZ), Slice of Life (Australian) and Laridae (Canadian) in various lovely anchorages.
In order to continue fitting into my shorts we needed to leave behind the island of baguettes and pastries and head north. We are now in stunning Dominica celebrating my gorgeous girl’s 9th birthday but that’s a post for another day…

Top tips:

Carriacou – visit White Island on the windward side – perfect empty desert island

Tobago Cays – snorkel Horseshoe Reef & visit the tortoises and iguanas on the turtle sanctuary island

Martinique – visit Saint Pierre which was completely destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1902 leaving just a couple of survivors – one being the infamous Cyparis who was in the prison dungeon for murder at the time!

 

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