RCC Pilotage Foundation updates on the Grenadines

George.Curtis2 (Past OCC Member)
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Admiralty Bay, Bequia
Tobago Cays
Clifton, Union Island
Petit St Vincent
Chatham Bay

31-Oct-15   Grenadines
Positions are taken from GPS using WGS84 datum and plotted on CM93 electronic charts published in 2010. These are also referred to WGS84 datum.
Depths given are below chart datum i.e. charted depth.

This is probably the most ‘classic’ bit of the eastern Caribbean. On this occasion we did not stop in St Vincent. Some cruisers have reported security issues there and problems with the authorities, both at Cumberland and Wallilabou bays. In the past, we have no problems.
1.   Admiralty Bay, Bequia. 13°00´·5N 61°14´·4W
This is another of the world’s cruising crossroads. Bequia is a pretty, unspoilt island and we have visited many times. Admiralty Bay is no longer as crowded as it used to be. This may be because there are now a profusion of randomly laid moorings, most of which we would be reluctant to leave a dinghy on. Some are little more than a plastic milk bottle, a length of 10mm line tied on to a 15kg concrete block. (£12/night!) But avoiding them makes anchoring difficult. There are good moorings in Bequia, but you need local knowledge. We anchored on the N side of the bay, as close in as we could get but still a long, and wet, dinghy ride from the shore.
Ashore, Bequia is a continuing delight. It is a port of entry and formalities are fairly simple. There are adequate food shops, a bookshop, chandleries and a vibrant fruit and vegetable market. There are plenty of bars and restaurants and a visit to the Caribbean would not be complete without calling at the famous Frangipani.
2.   Tobago Cays. 12°38´·2 N 61° 22´·3 W
This is an anchorage in paradise, although those who have explored the S Pacific might not agree. A group of small uninhabited island, with nothing between them and Africa but Horseshoe and World’s End reefs. Sometimes the Cays are a little crowded, but often there are only a few boats there. Day charters from Union Island come and go.
The Cays are now a national park and visitors are charged a very modest fee (about £1/person/day) to be there. There are moorings for which an additional charge is made, but there is plenty of room to anchor. The water is clear, the snorkelling on the reef is good and there are many turtles.
Some people are dismissive of the cays, somewhat condescendingly calling them too crowded or too touristy. Probably they are, compared to the Pacific. But we would suggest a visit to make your own mind up.
Before going into the cays a stop at Mayreau, Saline Bay (12°38´·0N 61° 23´·9W) has much to recommend it. There is a pleasant restaurant, Denis’s Hideaway, a short distance from the beach.
If the conditions are right, a visit to Egg Reef, beyond Horseshoe reef is a worthwhile experience and one can anchor for lunch there. The bight in the reef is sheltered from the Atlantic swell by (the appropriately named) World’s End Reef
3.   Clifton, Union Island. 12°35´·7N 61°24´·8W
This harbours main claim to fame is that it is a port of entry for those going to, or coming from Grenada. Although the harbour has a lot of boats on moorings, there is still room to anchor in the lee of Thompson Reef. There is not a lot ashore; some small shops and several bar/restaurants. Unfortunately, we were subject to a lot of importuning by ‘vagrants’ as, being non-local, we were perceived to be ‘wealthy’. This sometimes verged on begging, was occasionally mildly threatening and was not pleasant.
4.   Petit St Vincent (PSV). 12°32´·01N 61° 23´·02W
This is a luxury hotel resort and visitors are not encouraged to land unless visiting the (expensive) restaurant. But the anchorage is pleasant and sheltered. From PSV one can make a dinghy trip across to Petit Martinique, about ½ m to the south, where there are some shops. This is not strictly legal as Petit Martinique is part of Grenada, but no-one seems to mind much.
The anchorages N & E of PSV appear interesting, but would need fair weather, moderate winds and good eyeball skills to explore. We tried and got as far as 12°32´·49N 61°22´·99W, but it was too windy and we retreated to Union Island.
5.   Chatham Bay 12°36´·23N 61°26´·88W.
A pleasant spot with no facilities other than a beach bar/ restaurant. The bay is subject to particularly violent offshore squalls, sufficient to shred our awning!

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