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freewheelin

Advice for first time Grenada bareboat?

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Heading down second week in December, 7 nights out of True Blue Bay. Any must sees or must avoids? Anything you wish you knew?

Graduating from USVI and BVI  (RIP)

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Tobago Cays is a "must see." May be the single nicest anchorage I have ever seen.

The distance between Grenada and Tobago Cays is substantial.....close to  35 miles.....so you will want to work your way up there early in your trip.

 

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40 minutes ago, Scotch Caps said:

Tobago Cays is a "must see." May be the single nicest anchorage I have ever seen.

The distance between Grenada and Tobago Cays is substantial.....close to  35 miles.....so you will want to work your way up there early in your trip.

 

Thanks. I think that is going to be our northernmost stop. Getting up there early makes a lot of sense, thanks for the advice.

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The Cays are amazing! been there twice and just love them. I have not gone south of there by much but Salt Whistle bay on Mayreau is also a nice place to drop the hook.

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56 minutes ago, Scotch Caps said:

Tobago Cays is a "must see." May be the single nicest anchorage I have ever seen.

The distance between Grenada and Tobago Cays is substantial.....close to  35 miles.....so you will want to work your way up there early in your trip.

 

Tobago Cays is probably the prettiest spot we saw in the Caribbean.

Carriacou is a nice stop to break that up, too. Tyrell Bay is more comfortable than the open roadstead anchorage in the main town, and there were a couple of nice eating places on shore there. I think you can clear out of Tyrell Bay now, if you can't you'll need to Hillsborough anyway. You can take a bus into Hillsborough from Tyrell, or to some of the nice beaches if you don't feel like walking.

Clear in to SVG at Union Island and keep going though. It's not the worst place, but it's not the safest either, though the main harbor is safer than heading away from other boats (I have a friend whose boat was attacked there). But Carriacou - Union Island is line of sight, so you can clear out in the AM and sail to Union in an hour or two, then keep moving on to the Tobago Cays. There's a per-day charge to stay there, and some rules and limits you need to follow (e.g. no scuba diving without a guide, $10/person/day visitor fees, no discharge, etc). There are a surprising number of turtles in the turtle sanctuary there, don't skip a snorkel. You will be visited by boats selling things, most of them come from Union Island. They're a lot less aggressive if you meet them there than at Union.

Canuoan is also a short hop on the way to Bequia. There wasn't a lot there when we stopped, as there are a couple of large resorts on land that you can't do much with.

Grenada itself actually has some good stuff to recommend it. If you are picking up at True Blue, you can easily pop around the corner to Prickly Bay where the cruisers hang out. From there you can arrange a number of cool tours with a taxi driver/guide. You can take in some waterfalls, hiking, spice tours, rum distilleries, and I think the Grenada Chocolate COmpany is still running which is worth a visit. There's a morning cruisers net where you can ask for the best guys, though you may want to arrange something so as not to waste time. Or come a day or two early (or stay on) to do the land touring rather than burn time on the boat. You could also do those out of the main anchorage in St. Georges; we only dealt with them from the South. You can check out some of the Grenada cruising FB pages to find out the names of the current best guides. You generally hire the guy for the day, which isn't unreasonable. Though cruisers, being cheap, would tend to organize trips to share a van for the day to save on costs. I'm not sure the St. Georges anchorage is worth a stop or not. THere are a few things to see there, but it can be rolly and it's not the best town. There's a cruise ship port there, but you do NOT want to be in town if a ship is in. You will be marked as a tourist and offered "help" every ten steps. Prickly Bay, Mt. Hartmann Bay, and Clare's Court Bay tend to be full of long term cruisers, though there is plenty of space to anchor. There are some decent restaurants and eating places around them, though in general the food in Grenada isn't something to get too excited about.
 

There are buses on both Grenada and Carriacou, though more on Grenada obviously. You can get most anywhere on them, though it is an...experience...since they are basically jumped up vans that run pre-defined routes. The driver picks the music, which will usually be loud "Soca" in the weeks before Carnival (August), or Reggae and Rap. I've been on one of those buses when they packed 23 people into the van, though I lost the picture I took. But it is the cheapest way around the island, though that's not a driving force for a charter vacation, sometimes there aren't cabs. But the buses will be right along...

It's been about four years since we left the Caribbean though, so things might have changed somewhat. And by "nice" restaurant I don't mean fancy. Most are not, though there are some more expensive places in the towns there's not a lot of what you'd think of as fine dining there.

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11 minutes ago, freewheelin said:
54 minutes ago, Scotch Caps said:

Tobago Cays is a "must see." May be the single nicest anchorage I have ever seen.

The distance between Grenada and Tobago Cays is substantial.....close to  35 miles.....so you will want to work your way up there early in your trip.

 

Thanks. I think that is going to be our northernmost stop. Getting up there early makes a lot of sense, thanks for the advice.

The biggest stretch of that distance is Grenada to Carriacou, which is still part of Grenada. Bequia sounds like it may be a little far for you.

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21 minutes ago, B.J. Porter said:

The biggest stretch of that distance is Grenada to Carriacou, which is still part of Grenada. Bequia sounds like it may be a little far for you.

Thanks! This is super helpful info. As far as Bequia, I think we will probably skip it. I would rather spend extra time exploring Grenada or Carriacou like you suggested, than spend the time getting all the way up to Bequia.

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Being a west coast and off shore sailor, the water depths throughout the Windward Islands was a wake up call.  Seeing the ocean bottom ten miles or more from a land mass was a call to really know the charts.  Coral heads abound in some areas.  Entrances to many great anchorages takes patience and observation of bottom conditions.  Have fun.  Of course the charts we were given by the charter companies were 1924 datum; and our trip was 1994.  Speaking of Grenada, when we went ashore to turn in the boat, everyone was watching channel 4 news out of LA....???  Gee what is happening?

 

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2 hours ago, foamy1946 said:

Being a west coast and off shore sailor, the water depths throughout the Windward Islands was a wake up call.  Seeing the ocean bottom ten miles or more from a land mass was a call to really know the charts.  Coral heads abound in some areas.  Entrances to many great anchorages takes patience and observation of bottom conditions.  Have fun.  Of course the charts we were given by the charter companies were 1924 datum; and our trip was 1994.  Speaking of Grenada, when we went ashore to turn in the boat, everyone was watching channel 4 news out of LA....???  Gee what is happening?

 

You have got me worried now. I have sailed the Eastern Carib for 15 years and can not think of anywhere that matches the 10 miles offshore bottom view.

Maybe you are thinking about the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos. 

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When returning to Grenada you will get better sailing conditions running down the EAST coast of Grenada. You will sail right into True Blue. No motor needed. Bliss.

BTW The scary pics of Kick em Jenny are 60 years old. Ask at the chart brief if Kick em Jenny is active.

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1 hour ago, TQA said:
3 hours ago, foamy1946 said:

Being a west coast and off shore sailor, the water depths throughout the Windward Islands was a wake up call.  Seeing the ocean bottom ten miles or more from a land mass was a call to really know the charts.  Coral heads abound in some areas.  Entrances to many great anchorages takes patience and observation of bottom conditions.  Have fun.  Of course the charts we were given by the charter companies were 1924 datum; and our trip was 1994.  Speaking of Grenada, when we went ashore to turn in the boat, everyone was watching channel 4 news out of LA....???  Gee what is happening?

 

You have got me worried now. I have sailed the Eastern Carib for 15 years and can not think of anywhere that matches the 10 miles offshore bottom view.

Maybe you are thinking about the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos. 

Me too. I don't remember any real depth issues that I struggled with in the Caribbean.

Pacific atolls, sure. But I don't recall coral heads ever being a problem in the Caribbean.

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6 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

... and I think the Grenada Chocolate COmpany is still running which is worth a visit.

Yes, the company is still running.  One of the founders was a friend of mine and a sailor.  He even did some chocolate deliveries via sailboat.  He has sadly crossed the bar, but The NY Times ran a half page obit on him, which can be found here:  Mott Green

One of the most fascinating people I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

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1 hour ago, Plumbean said:

Yes, the company is still running.  One of the founders was a friend of mine and a sailor.  He even did some chocolate deliveries via sailboat.  He has sadly crossed the bar, but The NY Times ran a half page obit on him, which can be found here:  Mott Green

One of the most fascinating people I ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Tragic story on Mr. Green; sorry for your loss. He seemed like a guy with the right way to build a business to profit everyone there.

I think I was there less than a year after his accent; they were still reeling a bit. By the time we got there the Hobie he used to sail to Carriacou had been donated to the yacht club.

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To add to the above, we are also West Coast sailors, who have cruised the Eastern Caribbean for the last three years, and a couple of years before that.  There are anchorage entrances were you need to pay attention, but the warning about depths is over the top, to say the least. 

The south coast of Grenada has a number of coves that can be explored if you’re interested, PJ mentions them, and St Georges is an interesting visit and a good spot to pick up an island tour at the Grenada YC. 

We think it is one of the prettiest islands.  It can be a challenging sail from Grenada to Carriacou, particularly if the wind is strong out of the NE.  As for Kick em Jenny, there is a web site that gives you the status, i.e. whether to stay out of a 1 or 1.5 kilometer voluntary “exclusion” zone. We have never seen anything going on.  In any event sail north close inshore until you get to Sauters at the north end, then head out for Carriacou, as you will have some leeway.  I disagree about Tyrell Bay and Hillsborough, we prefer the later, and if you anchor close to shore, which you will in any event, its is a great anchorage, as is the anchorage off Sandy Island.  The main customs/immigration office is in town at the end of the dock.

Look into visiting PSV and/or Petite Martinique, you can go to both easily from Hillsborough, (or Tyrell) and can then sail over to Union (Clifton Harbor) to clear into St Vincent.  I agree there is no reason to spend the night, you can slip over to Palm Island for the night or sail on to Tobago Cays.  It is an easy sail from Hillsborough to PSV, for lunch, then on to Union, clear in and then sail over to Tobago, entering through the north entrance. You can coming into Tobago Cays from the south, it is a bit of a challenge, as it is sailing through a reef opening and requires that you “read” water, but is much shorter. We have done it leaving, when it is easier to see the channel. If you want to avoid that, sail around the west side of Mayreau (no reason to stop at Saline or Salt Whistle Bays - not much there and they take time away from Tobago)  and sail in from there.  Much easier, with a range (a little difficult to see), but it’s a straightforward, wide opening.  As others have mentioned it is a great anchorage, and a beautiful spot.  You do not need to pick up a mooring ball, sail through the channel between Petit Rameau and Petite Bateau and then anchor either north or south of Bardahl.  The “main” anchorage is between Bardahl and Jamesby.  Have dinner ashore on Bateau with Glen. 

Canuan is skipable, but it breaks up the trip to Bequia.  The next anchorage north is Mustique, which can be a bit of a challenge again if the wind is strong out of the NE.  Bequia is an easier sail, a bit long at 20-27 miles, but not that long.  It is also a bit of a stretch given the time you have, but it’s a nice spot and very much worth a visit.  Most people who visit the Grenadines find Bequia and Tobago Cays the must stops.

Coming back south you can stop at Chatham on the west side of Union, although you will need to check out at Clfton Harbor, where you cleared in. You can clear back into Grenada at either Carriacou or Grenada (at St Georges or Prickly Bay).  Carriacou is much easier.
 

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Thanks for all the advice. This is quite helpful. It seems like the Cays are a real highlight. Do you think one night in the Cays is enough, or should we skip some of the other spots to stretch to two nights there?

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The Cays and Bequia are the highlights.  It seems like you are not going to go to Bequia, so you should have plenty of time to take two nights in the Cays, that would give you a night for dinner ashore and a full day of snorkeling and exploring.  

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There is now a road down to Chatam Bay and it is possible to get a ride over to Clifton to check/in/out.

Rather than Bequia go explore Petit Martinique then have lunch at Petit St Vincent. 

If you return to Grenada on the West side stop at Molineres point and snorkel the statue park.

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4 minutes ago, TQA said:

There is now a road down to Chatam Bay and it is possible to get a ride over to Clifton to check/in/out.

Rather than Bequia go explore Petit Martinique then have lunch at Petit St Vincent. 

If you return to Grenada on the West side stop at Molineres point and snorkel the statue park.

Last time I cleared out of Union Island I had to get out to the airport. Is that still the case?

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If heading to Tobago Cay, expect to spend some money with the boat boys. 

Don't just shoo them away. Produce and trinkets will be a bit more expensive than in Union Island but it is fun to buy from them. Haggle with them a bit.

Also have them cook you lobster on the beach. They do it well and saves you a lot of hassle.

 

In St Georges, we ate at the Nutmeg restaurant a lot. We were parked in Port Louis Marina and was on the way home from exploring. Quality local food that is inexpensive.

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13 hours ago, B.J. Porter said:

Last time I cleared out of Union Island I had to get out to the airport. Is that still the case?

Sometimes. Usually the town offices are open in the morning and you have to go to the airport after lunch. 

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On 11/3/2017 at 5:55 AM, B.J. Porter said:

Pacific atolls, sure. But I don't recall coral heads ever being a problem in the Caribbean.

You didn't sail anywhere near Anegada then.....

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Just now, Shootist Jeff said:

You didn't sail anywhere near Anegada then.....

Hell no. I know I can't make it through the channel. It's one little shallow island that's well known.

But compared to the Pacific  bits I've sailed - French Polynesia, Fiji, amd New Caledonia - coral heads and shallows are pretty much a non issue in the Caribbean if you're sober. 

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10 minutes ago, Shootist Jeff said:

You didn't sail anywhere near Anegada then.....

Did you have to anchor like this in Anegada? Or anywhere in the Carribean?

Screen-shot-2015-10-02-at-12.59.jpg

I didn't have to use this technique until theTuamotus.

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Anegada channel is very well marked and wide.    Been there twice.   Once in a deep keel 51 ft beneteau got stuck in sand.  Was supposed to be 8 feet at the mooring ball.  More like 5.5.  Took an hour to get free.  

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1 hour ago, Jim O. said:

Anegada channel is very well marked and wide.    Been there twice.   Once in a deep keel 51 ft beneteau got stuck in sand.  Was supposed to be 8 feet at the mooring ball.  More like 5.5.  Took an hour to get free.  

Yeah, with 8' of draft I didn't give much thought to going there.

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thanks everyone for the advice! leaving saturday and super excited.

for the record, anegada is not on the itinerary, thats a bit further afield than we would like to go. wouldn't be a SA chain without a little misdirect though :rolleyes:

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21 hours ago, freewheelin said:

thanks everyone for the advice! leaving saturday and super excited.

Enjoy your charter!  The Tobago Cays are great.  There is a turtle sanctuary on Baradel so you'll see a lot of turtles in the anchorage.  We've always found the boat vendors helpful, especially if you run low on ice (Mr. Quality always has some in his cooler).  I would also recommend the lobster barbecue on Petit Rameau.  I would suggest connecting with Patrick Forde (Pa Pa San) from Mayreau.  We've used him for about 8 years and he has become a good friend.  Neal out of Union Island is also a good choice. 

Mayreau is our favorite island.  Salt Whistle Bay is great, but if too crowded, Saline Bay is also very nice and the walk to the village is much shorter (Saline is a hard sand bottom so make sure your anchor is set well).  Walk to the Catholic Church on the hill as the view of the Tobago Cays is outstanding.  I would also suggest a Hairoun at Robert Righteous and de yout's.  Eclectic place and Robert is a hoot.

Union Island is also fun with Happy Island in Clifton.  Jante built the island from old conch shells.  Also consider Chatham Bay on the west side of Union.  Seckie and Vanessa run a great beach bar and grill.

Here is a video of the lobster barbecue we shot a couple of years ago.

 

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