Since we checked out at Tyrrel Bay on 24 March, the penultimate day of our month long Grenadian cruising permit, Temptress has been exploring the Grenadines though we have yet to reach either St Vincent or the world famous Tobago Cays. First off we intended to spend a final night in Grenada at anchor off Sandy Island, a tiny palm tree covered islet just round the corner from Tyrrel Bay. Unfortunately the wind was such that the reef locked anchorage was a bumpy lee shore making it a place to visit when we return to Grenada which we surely will. Temptress carried on to Union Island, making our day sail some seven or eight miles rather than the barely two we’d planned.
|Clifton Bay across Newlands Reef - |
the red building is the bar on an artificial island
|View across Clifton towards the airport|
Along the seafront a narrow concrete walkway leads from the dinghy docks of the two main yachtie restaurants to the town petering out across the messy fishing slipway before reaching the main square. Lots of gaily painted wooden buildings; some tiny huts, others someone’s front room selling fresh veg, sarongs and local crafts in varying combinations. We are now used to bars that sell tourist tat and veg shops that sell rum or fresh chicken, Ireland does not have a monopoly on bar cum grocers or hardware stores!
The following afternoon, unable to safely swim off the boat (kite surfers and boat boys dodge around the anchorage at high speed) we dinghied over to Newlands Reef on the eastern side of the bay, all that stands between the boats and Africa for a spot of snorkelling. In the clear aquamarine coloured waters stand one natural and one manmade tiny islands. Russell has lived on the rocky natural one for over thirty years so has squatters rights. Once a fisherman, this tall thin elderly gent smiles and chats to anyone who comes by. He loves to acquire reading material in English, old magazines, books anything and in return will sell you some cleaned up conch shells for a few pence. Russell also loves to talk sport or probe you about where you come from and where you have sailed, a simple life style with a sun lounger for a bed and a ramshackle collection of tarpaulins to cover his belongings when it rains. The other island was built from conch shells so is in part a sort of recycling experiment. It is round like one of the Solent forts but low surrounded by sufficient water to make boat access easy. The only building almost completely covers it; a small bar cum café, an ideal place to fleece those wanting an unusual spot for a sun downer – a small beer here at $10EC (£2.50) cost twice as much as elsewhere!
Two nights in the hustle and bustle of Clifton was enough, though strangely when we ate ashore on the Tuesday night we were the only people in Bougainvillea. A short distance away Saline Bay on Mayreau was a complete contrast when we first arrived – one large sailing cruise ship and four other yachts. Late afternoon Temptress literally was rammed by a small model sailing boat that was being hotly pursued across the bay by a local guy in a kayak! The little boat bobbled down our hull towards the stern and we learnt from the owner that the model yacht was all his own handiwork. Many of the men on the island build and race them as a hobby. Up in the village we came across an older guy working on several of various sizes either for himself or for friends. Close examination showed that the sails could be trimmed by simple controls running up the back stay or shrouds and the bright paintwork was carefully finished. The materials are reclaimed bits and pieces - old bits of spinnaker cloth for sails, fishing rods for masts, and electrical wire for rigging.
|Wattle & daub hut in the church yard, Mareau|
|Model boat maker, Mayreau|
|View across to Tobago Cays from the churchyard, Mayreau|