Grenada – One Of The Caribbean’s Lesser Known Islands (Part Four)

Hi,

This last edition of the quartet of Grenada posts is dedicated to the day trip we made to four islands in the Grenadines archipelago, to the North of Grenada itself. The islands visited were, Union, Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Palm island. As can be noted from the print below, these islands are roughly in the middle of what look like stepping stones between Grenada and St Vincent. Click any photo to enlarge and then click again to zoom in on a specific area.

SAM_1837

Carriacou, to the south of Union island, is a part of Grenada and can be reached by ferry from St George’s. Not really convenient timings for a day trip, a stopover would have to be made. There are private boat hires or flying as alternatives.

http://www.ospreylines.com/index.php/schedule-fares

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g147295-i518-k7287950-Is_Carriacou_Island_or_Petite_Martinique_worth_ferry_trip-Grenada.html

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/grenada/carriacou

The full print, painted by Xandra Fisher in 1999.

SAM_1836

 

If you are inclined to travel independently, then it is possible to get the ferry to Carriacou and a speedboat to Union to hook up with the ‘Scaramouche’

http://www.carriacouvilla.com/scaramouchetobagokeys.html

We preferred to book an air/sea excursion through this tour company.

http://grenadasunsation.com/index.php/on-water/grenadines-sailing-day-tour  Although the price seems to of sky rocketed to $345 US (approx. £209 – March 2014)

Flying from Grenada (below) to Union island.

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Passing over the Island ‘stepping stones’.

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Land on Union Island and complete passport and customs formalities. They don’t take long, there’s only a few of you in the plane. There were passengers from other Caribbean islands too, check with a local tour operator for availability.

Passport SVG1

 

Then step aboard the ‘Scaramouche’. ‘The ‘Scaramouche’ facebook page has some wonderful photographs of the Grenadine islands.  https://www.facebook.com/scaramouchegrenadines

Scaramouche4

 

We are convinced we sailed round the islands in the reverse order to the tour companies itinerary now showing on their website. On ‘exclusive resort’ Palm Island, there are no TV’s or telephones in rooms. As a consequence there are executive type people looking bored, wandering round trying to find something to do, which consisted of a walk the round the island on the beach and wandering about the resort hotel. The Palm Island resort shop selling very expensive clothing and hats, was empty when we looked in. With baseball caps at £15 and t-shirts retailing for £30, we were not surprised there were no shoppers.

From Wikimedia Commons user – Nikonian

http://Palm Island The Grenadines

 

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http://www.palmislandresortgrenadines.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g1005981-d148234-Reviews-Palm_Island_Resort_Spa-Union_Island_St_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.html

A word of warning about getting ashore on the islands. There is a little boat that is used to drop off and pick up passengers from the seashore. It can be hard work for anyone who has any mobility issues, due to soft sand and the sea shifting the boat around.

In between islands and anchored offshore, Mark was happy to lay in the forward safety netting, upholding a proud British tradition of sunbathing with all his clothes on. Forgot his knotted hankie though, poor form old boy.

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All through the trip we were reminded of the Duran Duran video of the song ‘Rio’. Nearly, but not quite, eh?

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The next port of call was the Tobago Cays, probably the most scenic part of our trip. Not that the other islands were too shabby, either. We both found disembarking rather difficult at Palm Island, so decided to stay on board and chat with the crew. The crew were very friendly and we enjoyed talking with them, whilst the other passengers either swam, snorkeled or sunbathed on the beach.

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g147379-d148334-Reviews-Tobago_Cays-St_Vincent_and_the_Grenadines.html

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g147384-i3976-k7213145-Day_Sailing_to_Tobago_Cays-Carriacou_Island_Grenada.html

http://tobagocays.org/

From the Scaramouche ‘Facebook’ album –  https://www.facebook.com/scaramouchegrenadines

Tobago Cays2

 

 

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Aye, aye Captain. lol

 

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Mark was enjoying the rum punch and Carib beer on board a bit tooo much. As at this point he said he wanted to buy a boat and sail it around the Caribbean. A brilliant idea with a few flaws, he has not got a clue how to pilot or navigate a boat and he has not got the money to purchase a boat either. Other than that, a great idea!  Luckily, Yvette was on hand to point out these ‘minor’ flaws in his plan.

 

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Our fellow passengers said the snorkeling was superb in the crystal clear waters. We just have to take their word for it. They did not want to come out of the water when it was time to move on, so a kind of testimonial there, don’t you think? We did not mind waiting as we were having a great time.

 

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And on to our final jewel in the sea, Mayreau. More swimming and snorkeling for the others, we stayed on board again with the crew. Yvette wondered what fish Mark reminded her of, by spending a lot of time in the forward safety net. Whatever it was, she wished she could use a harpoon to shut him up about buying his ‘dream’ boat.

Grenada32

 

http://discoversvg.com/index.php/it/theislands/mayreau

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayreau

http://www.grenadines.net/mayreau/mayreauhomepage.htm

This trip included lunch and unlimited drinks. We were certainly not hungry or short of a drink at any time. The chicken, rice and salad were very nice and in good portions too. The crew were helpful and friendly, but not in your face.

We loved this trip, and if we are back this way again will book up the minute we set foot on terra firma in Grenada. Which will not be too far in the future, hopefully. Better start saving up now. We know this is a very expensive excursion, but the alternative is to hire your own craft that would cost a lot more money.

Tip Ahoy!

Whichever rum distillery you visit in Grenada, don’t buy the product there. Go to a local supermarket where it should  be cheaper. And the airlines won’t let you board with the ‘strong’ 75 per cent River Antoine Rum, the weak is ‘only’ 69 per cent proof! Great in rum punches. ;@)

And Another Thing….

So the Chancellor of the Exchequer has finally seen sense in his latest budget and moved all long haul flights to Band B of Air Passenger Duty, the same as USA flights. We never could understand why we could pay more duty to fly the shorter trip to the Caribbean than to Hawaii, all in the name of a ‘green’ tax. (Yeah, right) Of course, there is the caveat of waiting a year for this to be implemented, why not now? If the Right Honourable Member could abolish Air Passenger Duty like the Irish have, then we may have a decent chance of a relatively cheap flight to the Caribbean again. If the Irish Government can abolish this tax, then why can’t the British Government with a supposedly better growth and debt reduction forecast? And we have just found out that band B will be even dearer than C & D in 2015, £97! Government con merchants as per usual. When is the revolution, comrades?

We will give you a clue as to how many trees we reckon have been saved by the Government with the earnings from Air Passenger Duty. Less than one. Do you ever get the feeling we are really cynical about politicians? Here is our favourite political joke. Q. How can you tell when a politician is lying?  A.Their lips are moving.

Thanks for Reading.

Mark & Yvette

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