Carriacou to Union Island
On 31st January we unhooked ourselves from Tyrell Bay and slogged our way to Union Island. Contrary to the weather forecast, the wind was fierce and directly ahead of us. The resultant sea state made for another bumpy trip between the islands, but fortunately for only two and a half hours. And the wind continued to howl as we arrived in Clifton Harbour, so we took the softies option and picked up a mooring ball near to the main dock. We were also very mindful of this being the bay of dragging anchors, and we didn’t fancy any drama.
The guy who showed us to the mooring ball gave us a special offer price for two-days. By a strange coincidence, this matched the non-special offer price of the other moorings owned by the park authority. Two days in Clifton didn’t sound so bad though, so we gritted our teeth, smiled, and stumped up the cash. The first priority was to clear in, so Maria and I scrambled into the dinghy and travelled the short distance to the Bougainvilla dinghy dock. From here it’s only a short walk to the customs and immigration office near the fishing dock.
St Vincent and the Grenadines isn’t using the SailClear system yet, so all the formalities are paper-based. Despite that, clearing in here is quick. I was in and out within 15 minutes, $75 EC lighter, but with permission granted for us to sail these beautiful islands for another month. So, by way of celebration, we paid a visit to the ATM, then gave some of the cash back to the economy via the Snack Shack bar and restaurant. I think they might have had a special offer on cocktails here, but neither of us can remember.
Clifton to Belmont
We must have arrived back at the boat at some point because that’s where we woke up the next day. And after breakfast on Lady Jane, we clambered back on the dinghy and set off again to the Bougainvilla dinghy dock on a shopping mission. Although, before doing the shopping, we thought it a good plan to burn some excess calories from the night before and walk over to the other side of the island.
Google Maps shows a clear path from Clifton to Belmont Bay that looks like a leisurely stroll. What it doesn’t show, however, is how hilly it is. On some sections of that road, I was on the balls of my feet. Snowden is less steep than the Chatham to Belmont road in most places. It did the job of burning a few calories though, together with a few litres of sweat. Despite the discomfort, the trek over the hill was worthwhile.
We didn’t stay long in Belmont, only a few minutes to take in the view and take some photos. It’s an attractive place, with just one small hotel overlooking the windswept beach with sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea, and Mayreau in the distance. On the way back, our fitness levels were shamed by a guy well into pensionable age pulling a trolley containing a gas bottle up the hill. We might have been moving faster than him, but whereas we were having bronchial fits, he looked as if he was out for a Sunday stroll.
Back in Clifton, we called in at the fruit and veg stalls, then to the supermarket hoping for some air-conditioned comfort to cool off. But hope evaporated as soon as we walked through the door. Apart from the produce, there’s nothing but still air in that shop. So, here’s a tip for anyone overheated in Clifton: go and stand in the ATM lobby. The air conditioning here has to be the best on the island. After a few minutes, you’ll have ice forming on your nose hair.
A couple of boats with whom we crossed the Atlantic joined us in Clifton that day. Bill and Moira on Krabat and Julian, Patricia and Helen on A Capella of Belfast. We met with them later on A Capella for drinks and a chat on where each of us had been over the last few weeks. It was great to catch up.
Clifton’s reputation for poor holding made its presence felt again in the middle of the night. Bill and Moira’s boat, which they had moved to create more room for ferries to turn, dragged anchor. This can’t have been a pleasant experience, but they handled it heroically like true salty sea dogs, safely re-anchoring in the bay with no damage inflicted on boat or person,
The next day, 2nd February, we went our separate ways, Krabat and A Capella to Tobago Cays and us around the corner to Chatham Bay.