Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Discovering Carriacou

Mark, Darwin and I spent a few days in Tyrrel Bay, to taste the local culture, meet some expats and test a couple of local bars. We walked to Paradise Beach on the north side of the island and have to admit that it is worth its name. Little development and great views add to the beauty of the white sand and crystal clear water. A couple of puppies accompanied Darwin for some play time in the sand. We didn’t stay long, because we wanted to walk back before the sun became unbearably hot. I am still waiting for some cooler weather!

In the capital, Hillsborough, we took a local bus to a little town called Windward. This place is famous for its boat building. Not much else is going on and even the old fashioned construction of wooden boats is in its low season. The “disco” is a good place (and probably the only place) to grab a cold drink and hang out with the locals in the shade of the mangroves, while overlooking the local fishing boats, the reefs and the islands of Petite St. Vincent and Petite Martinique.

Next on the exploration agenda was Anse La Roche. The cruising guides do not mention this bay and our curiosity got tickled because of a positive note in Lonely Planet. It is a real find and probably our favorite anchorage in Grenada. The secluded beach is barely visited and no development is present. The anchorage was quite comfortable, because of the absence of high winds and waves. I didn’t mind suffering from the heat here, because the beautiful water was only a jump away and we avoided work and chores. The reefs offered nice snorkeling and tasty treasures.

Our friends Chris and Christine of Gypsy Cat joined us in Anse La Roche and we were in for social and culinary treats, with lots of sailing stories, fresh caught lobster and a beach barbecue. The only downside of our two days in this wonderful bay was the presence of a female stray dog that tried to survive in the sand, rocks and forest. She really liked Mark and me after we gave her some friendly attention, food and water. Each time we left the beach in our dinghy, she tried to follow us and in the end we had to chase her away. Heart breaking. On two occasions, she actually swam out to our big boat while we were on it, to see if we would take her on board or when we would come to the beach. Once again we had to send her back. Very sad. She is not in the best condition and there is no vet on Carriacou. Darwin also doesn’t seem to like her, so giving her a new home is quite impossible for us. We hope another beach visitor will take her home one day or at least show her the way to civilization.

Our sail to Petite Martinique, the third “known” island of Grenada, took forever, because it is directly into the prevailing wind (east). It took us more than three hours to cover the 8 miles. No other cruising boats were to be seen and few people live on the island with its 1 mile diameter and short single lane road. It took us by surprise that there actually are cars that don’t do anything else than drive back and forth on this short road. The locals couldn’t care less whether you are around or not and remain their own identity this way. Most of the people are related to each other and while it is normally possible to understand the local dialect on Carriacou or Grenada, here they appear to speak a different language!

We planned on only staying one night in Petite Martinique and move to prettier looking Petite St. Vincent the next day, but the weather didn’t allow us to do so. It rained the whole day with a massive squall announcing the night, so we opted for a lazy Sunday afternoon on Irie instead.

The following day, we hoped to anchor near tiny Mopion Island for some snorkeling. The holding was very bad and the visibility still poor, so we couldn’t detect the sandy patches. After a couple of tries, we gave up on the anchoring and had to do with a few pictures of this lovely looking sandbank.

We returned to Tyrrel Bay for more boat projects, socializing and food feasts, before heading back to the south coast of Grenada, where Irie and Darwin will stay when Mark and I go on a little plane ride or two…

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