We are very excited about our arrival in Grenada! The rumor is that there are lots of kid boats here, and ours need to play! Upon arrival we checked in at Hillsborough. The check in was fairly simple and all done next to each other. You can also check in at Tyrell Bay, but the agents here seem much more strict and serious. A fellow family boat was fined for not checking in until the day following their arrival. Most countries have these safeguards, but not many actually enforce that rule.
But, on to the adventure. The town of Hillsborough is small, and we did a quick tour. It was nice to pick up a few pieces of groceries. The majority of my time is spent provisioning. I am kidding, of course, sort of. The town is made up of stores and restaurants. But, from here it is a 20-minute sail to the marine park of Sandy Beach.
Sandy Beach is amazing! The park district does a nice job of keeping the beach and picnic grove maintained. There is a park fee of $10US and $1US snorkeling fee, 2018. And, you have to pay that whether you plan on snorkeling or not. And, you have to pay that whether you use the mooring buoy or not. And, they collect this fee at Paradise Bay as well. So, we paid, and thank goodness we stayed! We saw a turtle actually laying her eggs in the sand!! And, the reef toward the end of the island has great color and fish, aannnndddd there was a school of squid to swim through/observe.
Tyrell Bay was our next stop. We ran into a family boat which made life nice. And, there is a large grocery that is well stocked with dry goods. There is always a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables. Even if we were willing to pay the outrageous prices for fruits, there are none to be had. The anchorage was good and the wifi was free, so we stayed a while to get some work done. We also visited the oyster beds. It was an interesting visit, but I wouldn’t stop here just for this ‘famous bed of oysters’. Today we are leaving to go to the mainland Grenada. Adventure On!!
This was a great stop for a hike. We only stayed for a few hours, but I am glad we went ashore. We arrived as the school kids were buying their rewards with tickets. The teachers and students were very nice, and welcoming. We hoped to hike to the tallest point. The teacher said we would have trouble finding the path, and he was right. After beating through the bush for a while we began our descent down the other side of the hill. The roads are mostly dirt, and the shopping is limited. But, everyone was friendly and waved. It was a nice hike with friends.
This is another private island where you are only allowed to their restaurant. In the anchorage the current is very strong. While we were sleeping it felt a bit like we were crossing the ocean again with its slapping waves on the hull. We came in late one evening and left early the next morning without going ashore. But, if you are wanting to visit Petite Martinique this is the better anchorage. The anchorage in Petite Martinique had boats dragging often while trying to drop the hook and get holding.
We spent a day anchored in this peaceful place. This is a private island across from Union Island. You can anchor for free and use the beach. However, there is a hotel on this island. And, you are not allowed to cross onto hotel property. During our brief walk we were told to leave two times (and it was just a friend and me; no kids). The bay is open and can be rolly in bad weather, but we were here on a good day. The swimming and beach play was amazing for the kids, and we enjoyed the relaxing pace as well. It is a definite must stop!
We hustled to Clifford’s Bay, on Union Island, to join the full moon party. However, because it is low season the party was cancelled. Luckily, there was a huuuuuge group of charter boats with young adults loving life. They added a festive air to the bay. This area is reported as being a top place for kit surfing, a sport Nick has wanted to attempt. However, once looking at lesson pricing we decided to wait. Nick wants to wait to take lessons until he is ready to buy the equipment and can practice.
From there we went to the town. It was charming in its colors and people. There are markets, but the food is expensive and either very overly ripe or hard. We completed a walk up and down the thoroughfare and decided to head out to Happy Island. Happy Island is just a small spot of land in the reef with a bar on it. The previously mentioned young adults were living it up on the island when we went to explore. But, in the course of 30 minutes, everyone loaded up their boats and left the anchorage. It was a huge migration of the party. While we were disappointed, because we wanted to relive the glory days for one night, the peace was also very nice.
The next day we moved on as well. This is where we checked out of the Grenadines.
Holy busy anchorage. After the Cays we hopped quickly to Salt Whistle Bay in Mayreau. The anchorage is beautiful, and the beach is perfect for a playful day. However, it was a parade of charter boats zooming through each morning. There is a large mooring buoy area, but as a cat, we could go right up on the beach to anchor. Or, there is plenty of space behind the buoys. We wound up staying here two nights because there were some kid boats. We have acquired eagle eyes for kid boats these days, as our gang needs some playtime to stay happy.
The bay is perfect for swimming, jumping off the boat, going to the beach and etc. We had a boat full of kids playing in the water on our first afternoon. The second day, after some school, we had a beach play day. That evening we all did a hike through town. There is only one road, and it begins on the beach by all of the ‘bars’. It is short, but up a large hill and then down said hill. Then repeat on the way home. In the town there are several cute restaurants, and hole in the wall bars. At the peak of the hill is a lovely, old catholic church and behind that is an amazing view of the surrounding islands.
We were lucky enough to watch the locals do a fish round up. They dropped their nets and proceeded to ‘fish’ for three hours. It took that long to wrangle the nets with fish together. Imagine our disappointment when they never actually pulled the nets out of the water. We imagined a cool show, but the boys leave the fish alive in the water, in the nets, in the anchorage. It makes sense, but was anti-climactic. The boys were very nice to the kids watching, and it was a neat community experience.
We are now boogying over to Union Island to try and catch the full moon party! Adventure On.
The marine park in the Grenadines, Tobago Cay, is an amazing stop on your boating journey. Upon arrival boat boys set upon you, as is a regular occurrence in the area, but are respectful of your response of “No, thank you.” Be sure to have your charts open and zoomed in. Depending on your entry route, you have to zigzag through the shallow reefs. You can tie up to a mooring buoy right in front of the boat boys BBQ area or continue around to the larger bay. We choose to continue to the larger area, rather than between the two islands. The bay is full of buoys in the nice shallow area, so it can be tough to squeeze your anchor onto the shallow shelf before the drop off into the deep water. But, we hit the edge and settled in nicely. Some boats dropped anchor right in the buoy area, but it was not as busy during our visit.
It did not take long for the park ranger and BBQ salesman to come around. In order to stay in the marine area there is a fee. In 2018 the cost is 10EC for adults and 5EC for children under 12. We paid for two nights and enjoyed ourselves. However, if we arrived early in the morning, stayed one night, and left later the next afternoon, we would have had enough time to swim and hike the area. And, we decided to partake of the BBQ hosted by the boat boys. It was nothing like the party in Dominica. This was much less rowdy, more expensive, drinks were not included (probably why it was less rowdy), and the food was much better (although we enjoyed the Dominican food too). The cost for our family of 5 was 250EC. The boys originally wanted 100EC per person, and we negotiated on that price. We also felt they were a little stingy on the food portions and ran out of some food. But, what was served was delicious!
Then it was time for some snorkeling! As soon as we hit the water there were sting rays and turtles everywhere. It was incredible. I generally geek out about see the sea life, so I was in heaven. The island in the big bay is perfect for pulling your dinghy on the beach, hiking for the views, and then snorkeling around. There is a drop off not far from that beach with grass. That is where you could look at all the turtles swimming around. There is also a reef on the edges. Please be careful because we hear of a lot of boats getting stuck on the shallows in this area. The reef was lovely, but while we were there, the water was so rough we only stayed for 20 minutes. Then it was back to the turtles. Hiking on all of the little islands in the Cays was lovely and worth the time to stretch your legs.
After so much snorkeling we decided to move on to the next island….Mayreau. Adventure on.