Just got back from a charter to the Grenada & the Grenadines - here's some detailed notes that may be helpful:
- Recommended Grenadines anchorages:
- Petite St. Vincent - sunset at Goatie's bar - great drinks/vibe/view. Very good protection from northerly swell/winds. (Strong currents between PSV and Petite Martinique between tidal shifts create toilet bowl effect when winds turn shift out of east sending boats in all directions - suggest putting out fenders to avoid bumps in middle of the night (which happened to us inconveniently at 3am).
- Mayreau - Salt Whistle Bay. Beautiful beach & water
. Gets bumpy and water churned up on northerly swell. Resort there is run down and not currently hosting guests (word is that repairs
are in the works during the upcoming offseason) but they operate a picturesque and good restaurant for lunch. Two other small beach bars operate and the one on the end has a fun and sometimes raucous night scene.
Cays - lobster grill
on Petite Bateau a must (note: this operation has gone upscale since our last visit 6 years ago and they now serve up rice, potatoes, and plaintains with the lobster - all amazingly delish! This can be arranged by the boat vendors (who will also deliver fresh croissants and banana bread each morning and fresh fish
& lobsters that they'll filet for you in the aft). If you go to lobster grill
, take a mooring
ball in the channel between Petit Bateau and Petit Rameau to avoid a bumpy and wet ride to and from the sure to hike to top of Jamesby Island for amazing panorama shots over the lagoon
. The boat vendors can also run you out to tour Petite Tabac, where scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were reportedly shot. (You can also anchor
out there - the approach and anchorage are a little tricky, but doable.
- Palm Island - good beach. Downside is the this resort island is an older crowd and with low-energy vibe and pricey
- Sandy Island off Carricou - beautiful sand spit
- Chatham Bay on Union Island - we didn't make it but appears to have a nice beach. Likely to be bumpy on large north swells
- in Grenada: IGA is the best supermarket on the island with excellent selections for Caribbean standards - good produce, respectable wine selection (there is a wine shop with better selection in the same shopping
center, along with a large hardware
store. IGA accepts credit cards and there is an ATM in the small shopping
center). They open at 8am for early morn for early morn provisioning and is a 10 min taxi ride from the charter base.
- In Union Island - Clifton Harbor (SVG customs
clearance point) - there are two small grocery stores - one across from the bank (which has an ATM) and another past that which has frozen meats). There's also a high-end shop called the Captain's Gourmet run by a French woman that has a stellar selection of cheeses, charcuterie meats, and decent wines (she accepts credit cards). You can also buy good produce at the open market on the Main Street.
- Tobago Cays/Mayreau/Petite St. Vincent - here you can rely on the boat delivery
vendors for fresh pastries along with a variety of day-caught fish
(snapper/Mahi/wahoo/tuna) and lobsters. We worked with George Craigg on the boat Lovely, who was incredibly reliable, resourceful, and likable. He quickly assumed the role of personal valet and procured everything from lighter fluid and dinghy fuel
, to organizing our lobster grill dinner on the beach in the Tobago Cays. Additionally I found George to be honest and reasonably priced (to be clear, having live lobsters and still-warm pastries is not an inexpensive affair). George's number is +1 784 528 7413 for anyone who'd like to hire his services.
- Tyrell Bay - a protected but fairly commercial
bay, if possible just stop for customs and then spend the night at Sandy Island (if seas not too rough - small anchorage with some moorings - ours was in good shape). Note there is a small marine
but good marine
store in the marina where the customs office is and a very small grocery where you can score ice.
- Clifton Harbor - good for provisioning and getting water, but not a pretty a pretty anchorage (although it is well-protected)
- Lots of cash - almost everyplace accepts USD but handy to have Eastern Caribbean
dollars which you can get at ATM's. You'll need cash for the boat-vendors delivering food
, clearing customs (which can get pricey - $185 USD to clear boat w/8 crew into SVG), and provisioning at smaller shops, most of which don't take credit cards.
chart app for the Caribbean on your phone
- I find these are easier to read and operate than the often-beat up systems on chartered boats. Cost is a mere $15 and was invaluable for navigation - GPS
operates while in airplane mode so should not run up data charges
- SPF sun blocking shirts and 50+ lotion (sun is intense)
- Foul weather jacket
- Water-proof bag (for bringing gear
to beach - doubles as a day-trip cooler)
- Portable Bluetooth speaker (Bose Soundlink is my choice)
- Flashlight (and headlamp)
- Leatherman tool
- Handheld radio
- for the dinghy and as a backup
- ziplock bags handy for fish filets, etc and is a waterproof bag for protecting phones & cameras.
- Tarp (for blocking rain)
- Bungees for propping up hatches (often defunct) & securing gear
- Chamois cloth
- Beach towels (charter co only provides shower
- Bar soap
: spices, snack bars, liquor/wine (selections are limited in Grenada/SVG and what they do have is expensive. buy at duty free before departure)
- paddle boards - if charter co doesn't have them you can arrange thru Derek at SUP Grenada (bring straps for securing to lifelines
- lines often cut into the boards)
- the leeward side of Grenada has squirrelly winds coming off the various mountains and valleys - to mitigate run a few miles offshore
- The underwater volcano just west of Ronde Island (between Grenada and Carricou), Kick 'em Jenny, was inactive while we were there. We sailed on the fringe of the restricted zone without incident.
Port St. Louis Marina Charter Base (Grenada)
- Pro's well-appointed new marina with excellent shower
facilities, small shops and a nice pool. Both restaurants, Yolo and Victory Bar, are fairly good (frequented by locals and not just the charter/sailing) community with a fun ambiance and you can't beat the convenience.
- Con: The mountains of Grenada block the Trade
Winds so the heat can be stifling and make for an uncomfortable night of sleep if your charter boat does not have AC.