Wednesday, December 17th is liberation day as Cutter Loose departs the confines of Le Phare Bleu Marina for the five-mile journey west to Prickly Bay. Away from the dock and finally, at anchor, life becomes less about the compelling need to fix or clean the boat and more about enjoying life aboard. Now that the majority of boat tasks are completed, being at anchor provides the freedom to pick up and move to a new destination whenever the yen arises for a change in scenery.
In Grenada, Prickly Bay is the harbor of choice for cruisers who wish to gain access to urban amenities. Our routine at Prickly is to begin the day with a 40 minute walk to the grocery store and roadside fruit and vegetable vendors at Grande Anse. Laden with grocery bags, our return to the harbor is by bus. After lunch and laundry detail at Prickly Bay Marina, our one-night visit at Prickly comes to an end. With so many fond memories of cruiser-friendly Grenada, a touch of nostalgia nudges us to linger on here at Prickly for a few more days. However, the forecast for settled weather dictates a move towards the next stepping stone to the north…the island of Carriacou.
Heading west past the airport and rounding Pointe Salines, our course takes us northeast towards St. George’s, the capital city of Grenada. Just north of St. George’s is Dragon Bay. This small indentation in the west coast of Grenada will be the perfect staging area for Friday’s sail to Carriacou. Dragon Bay is home to a remarkable underwater sculpture that is visited by divers and snorkelers. Late in the afternoon as the dive and resort boats depart, we have the Bay and the sculpture to ourselves. When the wind diminishes during the night, Cutter Loose rides to the tidal current. There is just a hint of a north swell…sufficient to make the anchorage rolly and uncomfortable. This is all part of the gradual process of becoming re-sensitized to motion.
On Friday morning, December 19th, an early departure for Carriacou is designed to take advantage of light, easterly winds. Normally, at this time of year, the so-called “Christmas winds” are blowing fiercely from the northeast, making for a wild and wet beat to windward. Today’s journey turns out to be a lazy, motorsail event in ten knots of breeze.
Because the wind today is cooperative, the decision is reached to continue on to the very northern tip of Carriacou, then east just a few miles, to the tiny resort island of Petite St. Vincent (PSV). Cutter Loose is one of four boats anchored for the night in crystal clear water just off the resort’s beach bar and restaurant. The management at PSV permits visiting cruisers to dine at the resort restaurant at a prix fixe price of $120 US per person. Alternatively, cruisers may order from an ala carte menu at the beach bar. Opting for the beach bar is a no-brainer. At 7 PM, we are the only customers seated in the beach bar restaurant. Clearly, our arrival at PSV precedes the influx of holiday visitors.
The buildings and grounds of the resort are lovely and perfectly manicured. However, out of respect for the privacy of full-paying guests (wherever they may be hiding), visiting cruisers are not permitted to wander beyond the restaurant area.
A short dinghy ride north of PSV is the tiny, picturesque island of Mopion, a low, sandy spit not more than 200 feet in diameter at high tide. The single, thatched-roof structure on Mopion is a cozy destination for a picnic lunch.
On Saturday, December 20th, the anchor is up at PSV and Cutter Loose is bound for Sandy Island in the Hillsboro Bay area of Carriacou. This island is aptly named. It is part of a protected marine park that includes nearby islands and mangrove swamps. Diving pelicans are the sole residents here. Given the calm weather pattern, Sandy Island makes for an inspiring walk on the beach and a delightful Saturday night anchorage.
On Sunday, December 21st, the anchor is up at Sandy Island for the short run to Tyrrel Bay on the southwest coast of Carriacou. Tyrrel Bay is the major yacht harbor on the island which includes a small marina, several restaurants and the Grenada Customs office. As such, this protected harbor captures the vast majority of cruising boats transiting these waters. In addition, a permanent community of cruisers has settled here for the season to enjoy the remote feel and the simple, unspoiled pleasures of this special island.
Monday, December 22, 2014 is pre-departure day in Carriacou. A three mile hike to Paradise Beach in the morning rewards us with outstanding views of L’Esterre Bay.
After a nourishing lunch at The Lazy Turtle, our departure from Grenada is formalized by clearing Customs and Immigration, paving the way for tomorrow morning’s journey to the island of Bequia in the archipelago known as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.