05 – 08 February 2012
With a stiff breeze behind us we rolled out the head sail, wove through the reefs and headed the short distance from the Tobago Cays across to Palm Island. We were hopeful that it might just be protected enough with the reefs at both ends to be comfortable to anchor for the night. With our sails rolled in we motored close into shore our saw our friends on Miss Molly rocking from hull to hull on their catamaran – no chance for a flat night there for us!
We carried on the extra half a mile across to Union Island and the main town anchorage at Clifton. With the wind steady at 25 knots, gusting 30 knots we gingerly nosed our way into this extremely busy reef anchorage, aptly named Roundabout Reef as there is a circular crunchy patch right in the middle. Space was extremely tight especially with the strong winds so we carried on to our third option for the night. Just 2 more miles west we tucked up with plenty of room but in very shallow water behind the isthmus on Frigate Island. The wind still howled through the rigging but the land was just high enough to protect us at deck level, it was almost calm and we were in flat water – good things come to those that wait (and persevere).
Unfortunately there was just nothing there though, and walking into Clifton didn’t even look like an option so after a decent nights sleep we lifted anchor and headed back to Clifton. The winds had at last eased to a manageable 15 knots, positively calm after what we had been experiencing, and the Roundabout Reef anchorage had emptied out considerably. We tucked into a sandy spot behind the reef with the Happy Island Bar right on our doorstep.
Ashore was an absolute delight, the buildings were freshly painted in an assortment of bright colours. The town square, not wanting to be outdone, had joined the bandwagon and painted everything they could find in candy colours too. It was all very cute.
Colourful fruit and vegetable huts intermingled with tiny souvenir shacks, all run by the local ladies who happily sat back under the trees in shade, discussing whatever today's subject may be. They would wander over eventually if they thought you wanted to buy something, but it certainly didn’t feel like they were trying to meet any sales targets. Pace of life here is slow, and what a great thing that is!!
Cuttyhunk rejoined us, so the four of us enjoyed a very economical meal out at the Big City, rather an interesting name for this little place, what a great find it was, good local food at cheap prices – sure beats sitting onboard and cooking.
This was our last stop in the St Vincent and Grenadines Group, it was time to move on to the next country of Grenada and the Grenadines. It seems someone chopped the Grenadines in half, so some islands belong to one, some to the other – makes it a little tricky when you are island hopping and they are different countries! We had hoped to move to Petit St Vincent, recommended as quite possibly the most beautiful island in the Caribbean chain, sadly not when enveloped in heavy grey cloud and bombarded by rain squalls. Instead we sailed south to Hillsborough on Carriacou, dodging squalls along the way, Balvenie was already nice and clean we didn't’ need any more rain!
For all the info on our anchorage waypoints, where everything is ashore, where to check in etc click here for our other blog