ST VINCENT & THE GRENADINES - CHART BRIEFING
America's Cup sailor Philip Barnard gives a chart briefing
checking through the yacht, set sail for Britannia Bay, Mustique,
an easy 2.5 hour reach (17 miles). (Note: the easiest approach to
Mustique is from St Vincent, rather than from Bequia or from the
central Grenadines which would place you hard on the wind). En route
to Mustique, pass the uninhabited islands of Battowia, Baliceaux
and The Pillories. Approach Britannia Bay from the north (avoiding
Montezuma shoals which lie about 800 yards offshore but are clearly
marked - interesting snorkelling or diving with a wreck on the reef).
Britannia Bay is the one place in the Grenadines where it's mandatory
to pick up a mooring buoy. The most comfortable spot is just south
of the small cargo ship dock (the anchorage can get a bit rolly
if there are swells out of the north east - in which case it’s
a good idea to set bow and stern anchors). No need to reserve in
advance, it's a first-come first-served basis and, unlike in the
BVI, you don’t need to be worried about not finding space
if you arrive after 2.00 p.m.. At some stage during your visit,
someone will come out in a launch and will charge you $ 30 for the
mooring - this entitles you to a 3-day permit. There is a mooring
office close to the dinghy dock but it's often closed.
Note that Mustique is a marine park and so fishing or removal of
anything from the waters surrounding the island is illegal up to
1,000 yards offshore.
Whilst the island is well known for its stately villas and famous
inhabitants, what's more important are the beautiful beaches. From
the main anchorage it's a leisurely 25-minute stroll south to Lagoon
Bay. Golden sand beach, fringed with palm trees, a couple of picnic
areas with wooden umbrellas and tables, and not a human being or
building in sight. On a clear day you can see all the way down to
the dinghy dock, famous Basil's
Bar is just a minute's walk to the north. Spectacular surroundings
- white sand beach, sparkling blue water and a wonderful ambience.
What a great place for a cocktail - though the quality of food and
service leave something to be desired. On Wednesday and Sunday nights,
the "jump-up" at Basil's can be a lot of fun.
A "must" in Mustique is Firefly
- a wonderful restaurant built in what used to be one of the great
private villas of Mustique. It's perched halfway up the hillside
overlooking the anchorage, and is stunningly beautiful - marble
counters, giant ferns, a grand piano, Balinese furniture, two freshwater
pools and a beautiful restaurant and bar. The food is first-rate
and the prices moderater - but even if you don't want to eat, you
should still go there to savour the ambience. It's fairly small
so a good idea to book in advance if you plan to eat - unlike everyone
else in the Grenadines who listens on VHF 68, Firefly monitors VHF
Channel 10. It's the sort of place where one might be tempted to
wander in for lunch at noon, and wander out again at three o'clock
the next morning. Impromptu performances from famous musicians are
a regular feature. If you don’t fancy the steep up-hill walk,
call owner Stan on the VHF and if he’s not busy he will send
one of his staff down in a vehicle to give you a lift.
Close to Basil's are a couple of food stores where you can get
your Iranian caviar and Norwegian smoked salmon - and also excellent
Italian bread baked by a real Italian baker. But don't plan on doing
any major provisioning there - these stores are expensive. There
are also a couple of (expensive) boutiques, and a little fishing
village just north of Basil's, where you can pick up fresh fish
directly from the fishermen.
those who fancy a gallop down a deserted beach, thoroughbred horses
can be rented by the hour. But for those who don't ride horses,
I'd recommend they rented a "mule" - not a donkey, but
a gasoline-powered cross between a mini moke and a golf cart. Ask
the bartender at Basil's, and he'll call up the company who rents
them (around $US 90 for a full day). Renting a "mule"
is lots of fun and enables you not only to get around and explore
some of the amazing villas, but also to access some of the best
beaches which are a little too far to walk to from the anchorage.
MACARONI beach on the east coast must rate as one of the Caribbean's
ten top beaches - half a mile of fine white sand, with turquoise
waves rolling in from the Atlantic, safe swimming, and a picnic
area under the palms.
The Cotton House hotel
is definitely worth a visit - formerly a 19th-century sugar and
cotton plantation, the hotel has been beautifully restored to its
original grandeur. There's a fantastic restaurant there - but it's
expensive and rather formal (long trousers for gentlemen for dinner).
They also have an informal beach restaurant which is reasonably-priced
and a good option for lunch. The hotel also has a freshwater pool
with a pool bar, and a water-sports centre with Hobie Cats, windsurfers
and dive facilities.
If you need ice, you can get it at Basil’s - but you won’t
be able to get water or diesel in Mustique.
Well, that's Mustique - if you're looking for wonderful ambience
and a genteel atmosphere, great beaches and a couple of excellent
restaurants, this is the place.
Head for Salt Whistle Bay,
Mayreau - the "Caribbean beach dream come true" and one
of the loveliest anchorages in the Caribbean. It's a 3.5 hour broad
reach from Mustique and the usual route is to pass close under the
lee of the flat-topped island Petit Canouan, and then under the
lee of Canouan itself. A couple of things to watch out for as you
approach Canouan from the north - first of all, the northern tip
of the island has strong currents, so don't be surprised if a noticeable
swell builds up about a mile offshore. Secondly, as you look to
the south, you'll see Glossy Hill which is joined to the main island
by a sea-level spit so it's initially going to look like a separate
island, and could even be mistaken for Mayreau.
I don’t recommend stopping at Canouan on the way south -
firstly, it’s a fast sail from Mustique straight to Mayreau;
secondly, you can stop at Canouan and Bequia on the way north, which
will give you a different itinerary on the way back up; and thirdly,
I’d rate Canouan more as a stop of convenience than a “must-see
you pass under the lee of Canouan's northern headland you'll probably
lose the wind for a few minutes - but if you've had reefs in the
main, don't shake them out - as you head across Charlestown Bay,
you'll be hit by strong guests of wind blowing over the island's
central ridge. Passing close under the lee of Glossy Hill, you then
set across the North Mayreau Channel towards Salt Whistle Bay.
Baleine Rocks to the east, and Jondell Rock & Catholic Island
to the west are clearly visible and leave you with an approach passage
about a mile wide. Enter Salt Whistle Bay pretty well through the
middle of the entrance, to avoid the reef and shallow area protruding
from the northern headland. Anchor at the head of the bay in 8 to
10 feet of clear water. It's a sand bottom and reasonably good holding
ground, though if it's busy or blowing hard you should consider
a second bow anchor. Whatever you do, be especially careful about
anchoring too close to the reef on the southern shores - it's a
popular reef to be hit by yachts. There are a few moorings here
but if you do pick one up, dive on it and make sure you know what
you’re tying up to!
There's good snorkelling on both reefs, and the white sand beach
is pristine. The main resort nestles in the palm trees on the beach,
but don't be put off by the word resort - it consists of a dozen
stone and wood cottages, and the resort's floor is the sand. The
quaint beach bar is a popular meeting place for cruising yachties
at Happy Hour, and the restaurant, set under the palms, serves great
food at reasonable prices, though the service is painfully slow
(but you're on vacation, so who cares?). Ice is available here,
but not fuel or water.
If you feel like a bit of exercise, follow the paved road from
the dinghy dock, and, after a steep 25-minute walk (but well worth
the effort) you'll get to the "settlement" where 400 people,
and about the same number of chickens, cows and goats live. The
old stone church (built in 1929 by a Benedictine monk) is definitely
worth a visit and from the windward side of the church you'll get
spectacular views over all of the Grenadines. In the settlement
itself, you'll find 4 great little bistros, all very welcoming and
serving good food. They accept credit cards and also have small
minmarts adjacent to them. Dennis'
Hideaway is my favourite - Dennis is the Grenadines' equivalent
of "Foxy" on Jost van Dyke, except that he doesn't play
the guitar - but he's the island's Justice of the Peace, yachtsman,
guest-house owner, restaurateur and raconteur – and he even
has a swimming pool and dive shop.
A word of warning - if you get stuck into Dennis's frozen Margaritas
(which is easy to do), and it's after sundown, remember that the
pathway back to Salt Whistle Bay is unlit .... don't forget your
flashlight! Alternatively, you can ask for a vehicle which will
cost around $US 8.
Visiting Mayreau is like stepping into a time warp. There are around
400 yards of paved road, half a dozen vehicles, no high-rises, no
police, and the island’s had electricity for less than 5 years.
Salt Whistle Bay is the natural stepping stone to the Tobago
Cays, the high spot of the cruise for pretty well everyone.
It's an easy 45-minute passage, and best to motor or motor-sail
as you'll be against current and on the wind. From the entrance
of Salt Whistle Bay, turn to the north-north-east and point at Glossy
Hill. When Jondell Rock is right on your port beam, turn to the
south-east and you'll see the Tobago Cays right on your bow. You
won't be able to see the passage between Petit Bateau and Petit
Rameau, so they'll look like one island until you get to the entrance
itself. You'll be heading down approximately 143 magnetic and what
you're looking for are the two transit markers - latticed pylons
with spear shapes on the top - which you can usually pick up about
a mile away. Baleine Rocks are visible right up to the entrance
to the Cays and your route takes you about halfway between Mayreau
and Baleine Rocks. This is an easy passage, about half a mile wide
and I've never heard of anyone having a problem approaching the
Cays from the north west. A word of warning, however - don't be
surprised if you can see the bottom 30 or 40 feet down ... the seabed
consists of rocks and coral, which always look closer than they
are. It's what I call "Alarming Clarity Syndrome".
The passage between Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau is the "front
door' to the Cays. Astonishingly, the Imray charts mark this as
an anchorage which seems to me to be pretty anti-social. There's
about 12 to 18 feet of water through the passage, so no depth constraints.
The best place to head for is south of Baradal - as you come through
the passage, turn to the south east, cross the deep patch (drops
down to about 50 feet) and then edge up towards Horseshoe Reef.
You'll be anchoring in about 8 to 10 feet of water in a sand bottom
with excellent holding ground.
Tobago Cays are a marine park and are patrolled by Park Rangers.
So no fishing, no removing anything from the water and be particularly
careful not to touch coral. There's an entrance fee of $EC 10 (about
$US 3.85) per person per day and this may be paid directly to the
Park Rangers who should properly identify themselves. Note that
close to Baradal is a protected green turtle breeding ground so
stay well clear.
In the Cays, you're anchoring in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean - with nothing
between you and Africa except Horseshoe Reef. But don't worry -
not only is it a safe overnight anchorage, but it's also a great
place, from the security point of view, to anchor if bad weather's
coming through. The sea rarely breaks over the reef into the anchorage
and, thus, whilst it's always wind-swept (makes for nice cool nights),
it's usually pretty comfortable. But because you’re exposed
(2,400 miles of open ocean in front of you), and if it’s blowing
up, I strongly recommend a second bow anchor - more for psychological
reasons than for the quality of the holding. You’ll definitely
sleep better knowing that you’ve got that extra ground tackle
Although they’re uninhabited, the price of progress means
that you can get pretty well anything you need in the Cays - the
fishermen come out daily from Clifton Harbour in Union Island, and
vend from their open boats. You can find everything from fresh fish,
to lobster (in season, 01 September through 30 April), ice, jewellery,
t-shirts, post-cards, soft drinks - and one fellow will even come
round and take your orders for fresh baguettes directly from Union
Island’s bakery for tomorrow’s breakfast. These fishermen
are friendly, helpful and offer a great service - years ago one
would have to sail down to Clifton to top up with essentials, but
now you can have everything brought directly to you, and thus sit
in the Cays for as long as you want.
Striking up a rapport with these people is easy and worthwhile.
A cold drink will bring you a friend for life and, before you know
it, they’ll be offering to clean the fish for you and even
to barbecue it on the beach.
You’ll pay a bit of a premium for anything you buy in the
Cays since obviously the fishermen need to cover their fuel costs
and earn a few dollars. For instance a bag of block ice can cost
between $US 8 and $US 10 - but, on the other hand, if your beers
are getting warm, it’s worth it.
The snorkelling in the Cays is everywhere - right around the main
Horseshoe Reef itself, one of the longest barrier reefs in the Western
hemisphere, and close to the islands themselves. You can dinghy
in and out of the coral heads, the seabed clearly visible, and pick
up a dinghy mooring. Be aware that the strong breezes create current
throughout the Cays, so it’s usually best to snorkel upwind
of your dinghy and then drift back down onto it.
It’s worth finding the dinghy pass which runs parallel to
the northern end of Baradal - great snorkelling here, though make
sure you don’t get too close to the outside of the reef, as
this area can break and there are also strong currents running down
the windward side of the reef. For those who dive, it’s worth
calling Glenroy Adams at Grenadines Dive in Clifton Harbour (VHF
68) - he operates rendezvous dives through this region and there’s
excellent diving at Mayreau Gardens immediately east of Mayreau,
and, if the weather conditions are right, at World’s End Reef.
It’s also worth taking your dinghy over to the beach at
Petit Bateau - this is a great spot for a lunch-time picnic, and
there’s a scenic reef just a few yards from the beach, with
a drop-off down to about 35 feet. If you're planning on a beach
barbecue, check with the Park Rangers as there are nominated barbecue
Most people plan a half a day or so in the Cays, but end up spending
most of their vacation there. I first sailed in there 25 years ago,
and still find it hard to leave … but the time will come when
you have to go …
By this stage in the trip, many people will be thinking about fresh
water, and so our suggestion is to head down to Clifton Harbour
for lunch, water, fuel and re-provisioning, and then to head south
to Petit St Vincent for overnight.
the Cays the same way that you entered, i.e. through the north-western
approach. You might see some people dog-legging through the reefs
to the south-west - don’t try it. That passage is narrow and
unmarked, and requires perfect water clarity and local knowledge
- so don't try it. More importantly, remember that coral heads are
growing and so charts are never 100% accurate when it comes to coral.
For your own peace of mind - if not for the bottom of the boat -
sail out through the main entrance and approach Union under the
lee of Mayreau - about an hour and a half’s sail to Clifton
When sailing under the lee of Mayreau, give an extra wide berth
to the reef that protrudes about 200 yards off Grand Col point.
Hurricane Lenny removed the marker in November 1999 and, although
a temporary red buoy has been laid in its place, it’s small
and unlikely that you will see the buoy until you’re fairly
close. Before this reef was marked, it was one of the most popular
ones in the Grenadines to be hit by yachts - about once every 2
weeks (not the same yacht). So - stay 400 yards clear of this headland.
The almost vertical mountains of Union Island are visible 40 miles
away on a clear day. You need to sail almost over to Palm Island
before turning to the west and up into the main harbour at Clifton,
the cross-roads of the Grenadines where you can obtain pretty well
everything that you need.
The harbour is divided into a western and an eastern side, separated
by a reef in the middle. The main harbour, to the west, is lousy
- deep, poor holding ground, and you’re on a lee shore so
all the crud in the harbour accumulates there. Don’t anchor
in here, or even pick up a mooring. The best anchoring is to be
found if you tuck up on the eastern-side of the harbour, behind
Newlands Reef - it's a sand bottom, great holding ground, cool and
breezy, and the water is crystal-clear.
From this anchorage, it's a couple of minutes by dinghy, not only
to the shore, but also to the unique Happy Island, the labour of
love of one man. Janty got fed up selling pizzas in town so decided
to build himself an island. It took him a couple of years and a
lot of sand, conch shells and palm fronds, but today it's finished
and he has a wind generator, solar panels, hammocks, reggae music
- and a well-stocked bar. This is a must - and all visitors are
If you're planning on a lunch-time stop, then head up to the north-western
corner of the harbour where you'll find Bougainvilla Marina. Give
them a call on the VHF (Channel 68) to let them know that you'll
be coming in. You can get fuel, ice and water here. Bougainvilla
has a particularly good restaurant and is home to the excellent
Erika's Marine Services run by Heather Grant. Erika's offers a laundry
service, telephone and internet, weather forecasts, digital photography,
book exchange and bicycle rentals
The town of Clifton is just a short walk along the beach (don’t
fall into the shark pool next to the Anchorage Yacht Club) and there
are plenty of small supermarkets in town. Clifton is a funky little
place with friendly people, several supermarkets and stores, and
a number of great little restaurants where you'll find excellent
Caribbean fare at reasonable prices.
If you plan on overnighting at Union, the best options are either
to stay on the dock at Bougainvilla , or to to anchor behind Newland's
A word of caution - there have been occasional reports of visitors
being hassled by youngsters in boats. The majority of people in
Clifton are very friendly and honest, but there are a few scamps
around. Always make sure you know the price of something before
buying, and always assume the price is in Eastern Caribbean Dollars
rather than US Dollars. And don't be surprised, when topping up
with water, if you put 100 gallons into a 75-gallon tank .... I
think their meters are running a little faster than they should.
From Union, we recommend you take an afternoon sail (one hour)
down to Petit St Vincent, one of the loveliest spots in the Grenadines.
Your route is going to take you through the passage between Mopion
and Pinese sandbanks but it’s made very easy by using a bearing
on the peak of Petit Martinique - when the peak is on 163 Magnetic
(at the time of writing) you’ll pass safely through the gap.
When leaving Union Island, be sure to give Grand de Coi reef a wide
berth, close to Palm Island. It’s clearly marked, but it’s
astonishing how many yachts decide to hit it.
Petit Martinique, to the south, is a volcanic island that rises
steeply out of the water and is visible 40 miles away on a clear
day. The island has dark sand beaches - but as you head towards
the pass between Mopion & Pinese from Union Island, you’ll
see a little white sand beach that looks as if it is on Petit Martinique.
What you’re seeing is Mopion - the ultimate desert island
- 15 yards long, fine white sand, and with a triangular thatched
shelter in the middle of it (and a bottle opener bolted to the shelter’s
As you approach the gap, if it’s low water you’ll see
elkhorn and staghorn coral above the surface. If it’s high
water, note that Pinese is subsiding and will be just below the
surface. But the gap is about 200 yards wide so you have plenty
of sea room and it’s very hard to go wrong if you can see
Petit Martinique. You’ll have about 20 feet of water as you
pass between the sandbanks, and will probably see the bottom as
you go through.
You’ll then need to motor up to the east to the lovely anchorage
at PSV. Don’t go too
close in because the seabed shelves and you’ll find yourself
anchoring in about 20 feet or more. If you stay a little further
down to the west - and the chart does show the soundings - you’ll
be able to anchor in about 15 feet. It’s a sand bottom and
well protected from the seas, but it can be breezy I'd recommend
a second bow anchor for overnight.
When in PSV, whether you’re thirsty or not, you need to visit
the bar, a few minutes’ walk up the hillside. The ambience
is great - hummingbirds flying through tropical vegetation, fat
Labradors lounging in sandpits, and the finest fresh, tropical fruit
frozen daiquiris in the Grenadines. There is an excellent, though
somewhat expensive (around $US 100 per person) restaurant, but if
you’re planning one very special night out during your charter,
this is the place to go. Note that gentlemen require long trousers
If you need ice, you can obtain it at PSV, but you won’t
be able to get diesel or water.
Motor out to Mopion sandbank - you won’t be disappointed!
Head true west out of the anchorage at PSV - as soon as you clear
PSV’s western edge, you’ll see Mopion sandbank clearly.
Point at the sandbank and hold it just off your port bow. Come in
nice and gently with someone on the bow and your depth-sounder on.You’re going to be heading for a
patch that has a 4.9 and an 8.8 metre sounding marked on the Imray
chart, which places you around 200 yards south-east of the sandbank.
If you anchor in the perfect spot you’ll be in about 18 feet
- I usually get it wrong (being conservative) and end up in about
25 feet. The bottom is mainly sand but there are a few coral heads
so take care when dropping the anchor - and, since you’re
in deeper water, make a point of snorkelling over your anchor to
make sure it’s well set (not a bad habit to get into wherever
you may be anchoring).
Whoever jumps in to check the anchor will think “Wow!”
The snorkelling here is the stuff of Jacques Cousteau movies. It’s
a deeper anchorage and thus the fish are bigger and the corals are
bigger. It’s very usual to see schools of rays, large parrot
fish and even groupers.
From the anchorage, you can swim directly towards the sandbank
but will hit the reef first so cannot swim straight in - but if
you turn to the left (west) and follow the reef round for about
15 yards, you’ll come to a wide pass. You can swim or dinghy
through, straight up on to the sand bank. This is the ultimate desert
island - if you stand on the south-west corner, you can get a photo
with the sea on the left, the sea on the right, the hump of sand
with the triangular thatched shelter in the middle, and nothing
in the background except for the ocean.
What a great spot for a lunch-time barbecue or picnic. But it’s
not an overnight anchorage, so you’ll need to move on, and
my suggestion would be to head for Chatham Bay on Union Island’s
west coast, an hour and a half’s sail from Mopion. This is
one of my favourite spots because there’s very little here,
although some development is planned. As you know, most cruising
yachtsmen need to be within 50 yards of a bar - well, at Chatham
Bay there are no bars and no restaurants, so if you’re looking
for a secluded anchorage where you could be one of just half a dozen
yachts, this is the place.
Best anchoring is in the north-eastern corner of the bay where
you’ll be in about 15 feet with a sand or sand/weed bottom.
Although you’re under the lee of Union, and so pretty well
protected, note that you can encounter very strong downdrafts funnelling
over the tops of the steep hills, so watch out for this - especially
in the early hours of the morning. A second anchor is definitely
recommended for overnight.
You have a few choices today. There are two anchorages in the central
Grenadines that we haven’t yet mentioned -
first anchorage is at Saline Bay, Mayreau. This is a pretty spot
and only half an hour or so from Chatham Bay but if you do go there,
don’t believe the Imray chart which indicates anchoring in
the north-eastern corner - the holding ground there is bad and there's
a commercial wharf with plenty of ferry activity. Anchor in the
southern part of the bay, in 10 to15 feet of water with a sand and
weed bottom. If you’re making this a lunch-time stop only,
then one anchor should be fine, but if you’re over-nighting,
I’d recommend two anchors - although the ridge at the head
of the bay is fairly low-lying, it’s surprising how strong
those early morning gusts can get.
There’s a lovely beach at Saline bay, and also a paved roadway
up to the settlement - and there are also a couple of lights on
this road, so access to the settlement is slightly easier than from
Salt Whistle Bay.
A point of interest is the wreck of a British gunboat which lies
just north of the western tip of the reef at Grand Col Point, and
you can snorkel over it as it starts in only 14 feet of water.
For overnight, you might want to head up to Canouan, an hour or
so from Saline Bay. As mentioned earlier, I’d call Canouan
a stop of convenience. It used to be an island of 700 farmers and
fishermen and one very slow hotel, but that changed in 1990 when
an Italian group came and built the Tamarind
Beach Hotel in the centre of Grand Bay.
The approach to Grand Bay takes you through two markers with about
300 yards between them. Don’t try and take a short cut! Head
towards the hotel jetty and pick up a mooring there - you’ll
be charged around $US 15 for the night. In the unlikely event that
the moorings are full, do NOT anchor in this area - although the
Imray charter marks this as an anchorage, it has the worst holding
in the bay. For anchoring, tuck well up into the north-eastern corner
- and always put out two bow anchors.
There’s not much snorkelling in the bay, but you’ll
probably sea large star fish on the sea bed - they like the sand
and turtle-grass environment.
The hotel is very pleasant - has a good Italian restaurant with
a real Italian Chef and reasonable prices, the cheapest ice in the
Grenadines, showers for visiting yachtsmen, and friendly staff.
The Tamarind Beach Hotel was the fore-runner of the world-class
Raffles Resort which
encompasses most of the northern and north-eastern parts of the
island. Part of it is managed by an American gentleman called Mr
Trump. The resort has around 250 luxury villas, tennis courts, a
huge swimming pool, a spa and health centre, a casino, an 18-hole
golf course, an Italian piazza, and two restaurants (food flown
in fresh from Rome every week). It’s expensive but if you’re
looking for amazingly good food and something “different”,
check it out.
Next stop is Bequia - close-hauled in winter months but in the
summer you may do it on a close reach, anything from 4 to 5 hours.
As you leave the northern end of Canouan, be prepared for a slightly
lumpy sea until you get into deeper water. And remember that there’s
strong current at either end of the Canouan Channel, so you’ll
need to point up a little more than usual - in fact leaving the
northern end of Canouan, it’s best to point at the middle
of Ile a Quatre and you’ll find that this usually enables
you to tuck close in under West Cay for the approach to Admiralty
Bay. If, when south of Bequia, you find yourself well up-wind, do
not be deceived and fall off - it's surprising how quickly you can
be set to the west as you get closer to Bequia's south coast. This
is important - under the lee of these islands, the wind tends to
back, so if you find yourself a couple of miles down-wind of West
Cay, it's going to be a real struggle to get yourself into Admiralty
open-water passage is only about 3 hours, and as you round West
Cay (which you can do comfortably about 50 yards off), you’ll
then need to motor or motor-sail up the cost and into Admiralty
Bay - about another hour’s passage.
The best spot to anchor in Bequia is Princess Margaret Beach -
the second golden sand beach to starboard as you head up towards
Port Elizabeth. You can drop the hook in about 15 feet of water
in a sand bottom, and should find that a single anchor is fine.
The water is clear for swimming and there's some snorkelling off
the northern headland. There's also a small restaurant here with
a dinghy dock.
To get to Port Elizabeth, it’s just a couple of minutes'
dinghy ride around the bay’s northern headland and you’ll
see dinghy docks along the waterfront footpath that runs from the
Plantation House hotel right the way up to the Frangipani,
the popular Happy Hour meeting place for cruisers (good for the
Thursday night "jump-up".
There are many great bars and bistros along the waterfront pathway
- Mac’s Pizzeria is a favourite - not a “Pizza Hut”
but a great restaurant that happens to make wonderful pizza, in
addition to freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries. Tommy Cantina
is an excellent Mexican Restaurant, and Gingerbread
Hotel does great local and North American food.
A relatively new restaurant overlooking the water and close to
the dinghy dock is Maria's
French Terrace. They have a great menu, excellent service, and
the prices are very reasonable.
Overall, there's a great choice from French to Caribbean, and something
to suit every pocket.
Although Port Elizabeth is well developed by Grenadines standards,
it still retains a sleepy, old-world Caribbean charm. Most people
still access Bequia by boat, and the island’s sea-faring traditions
such as whaling, model boat building and fishing still remain.
If you’re in need of exercise, there are some great walks
- notably to Hope Bay, a deserted bay on the east coast, lined with
a golden sand beach, with coconut plantations sweeping down the
hills almost to the water’s edge (about an hour’s walk
- take food and drink) and to Spring and Industries bays on the
north-east coast (also about an hour).
Getting around Bequia is inexpensive in local transport and you
can pretty well tour the whole island for about $US 5. The turtle
sanctuary is worth a visit, as is the Old Fort, a charming hotel
with stunning views, a freshwater pool and regular entertainment.
You wouldn’t get bored spending two or three days in Bequia
- it really offers a little bit of everything - good places to eat,
great beaches, spectacular scenery, snorkelling and diving, reasonable
shopping, friendly people and the chance of seclusion.
Time to return to Blue Lagoon. This is going to take around 1.5
to 2 hours - longer than you might expect, but chances are that
you’ll be close-hauled and have some current to contend with.
The best bet is to short tack up the northern coast and then to
bear away to St Vincent from Anse Chemin. But if the wind is strong,
that can be a painful way of doing it, in which case simply head
up from Admiralty Bay - you should still be able to make it on one
Don’t be alarmed if you can only point as high as St Vincent’s
West Coast as you leave Admiralty Bay - once you clear the northern
head of Bequia, you’ll find that the wind will veer and you’ll
be able to point up towards Young Island.
Give us a call on VHF 68 as you approach Blue Lagoon, and we’ll
send our staff out to bring you back into the dock.
Hope you had a great trip!