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Old 04-01-2009, 10:16   #1
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Clifton Harbour

Wanted to give some information about a very strange situation we
experienced in Clifton Harbour on the 26th of december 2008.

We arrived with our chartered boat and received a mooring behind
Newlands Reef. Payed for it and checked as we always do, if the
mooring looks secure, underwater too of course.
We arrived at arround 11.30 am and left the boat for a shopping
tour for about two hours. Went swimming and snorkeling had a
shower and took the dinghy to Happy Island at arround 5 p.m. and
so did all our mooring-neighbours.

At arround 6 p.m. some guys came to the bar looking for the crew
of our boat, telling us the boat was on the reef ( the harbour reef)
We took our dingy and really, the boat was now moored on annother
mooring closed to the reef.
It was already dark of course and three guys entered the boat, telling
us that we could be happy that they safed our boat.
Also they told us they would usually take US $ 1.000,00 for it but
offering us a special price "just" US $ 600,00.

At that night we told them we are not going to pay anything, first we
want to check to boat and see what happened.

Early next morning we checked the boat underwater and nothing really
nothing was visible !

This morning an American crew came along telling us that they looked
while passing with the dinghy that afternoon, everything was alright
and the boat was moored secure. Also an Lady came allong telling
us that the moorings right behind the Newland Reef are bad (whatever
that means)

o.k. everybody could make a mistake, no doubt, but the boat was
moored that day for about 5 hours secure and it was really windy,
so what happened ?

To tell the story to the end, we payed the US $ 600,00 just because we
where lucky that nothing happened.
But in our opinion this was sooo strange that we would like to give
this information to as many crews as possible.

Maybe it is not only us that experienced this in Clifton Harbour.

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Old 04-01-2009, 14:57   #2
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Chartered 10 days in SVG in May '08. Clifton Harbour was one (and only) place that "just did NOT feel right". Went there on a Sunday (not good given many stores/businesses were closed) as we needed boat water and a few other things.

The aggressiveness of the boat guys selling mooring balls, the characters hawking/begging in town and the general vibe got us to leve as soon as we got what we needed.

The conditions in the harbour = open to weather, crowded, commercial traffic, airport noise, bumpy water and previously mentioned characters made the decision to leave really easy.

Your experience is not surprising given the "feeling" there. That was the only place we felt that way in the chain. The remainder of the trip was filled with great memories and great experience with local residents, boat men and SVG overall.

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Old 04-01-2009, 15:42   #3
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It's been three years since we've been there, but Clifton Harbour was one of our favorite places in the Grenadines. We've anchored and moored there numerous times with no issues, never even locking our boat up while onshore.

The folks in town were always friendly and welcoming. The boat vendors can be a bit "forward", but not unpleasant, in our experience. They're just making a living. Hermon "The German" and Skipper are characters. Tiger is all business. If you think that you were scammed, you should report it to the SVG Tourist Bureau and email Chris Doyle (the sailing guide author) at "sailorsguide AT". Clifton relies on cruisers and charters for its lifeblood. Experiences such as yours will kill it for them.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:12   #4
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Hi Hud,

thank's for your reply. Yes indeed we think we are scammed but
there's no proof.
So we think we just inform other sailor's to be very careful and
keep an eye on their boat and also we are keen to hear weather
there are other sailor's with this expierence in Clifton Harbour.

If so then it's time to inform Chris Doyle.
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Old 05-01-2009, 18:48   #5
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Wow - your experience strikes me as very odd, too. I base in Tyrrel Bay on Carriacou, one island south of Union. I go into Clifton at least a dozen times in a season, and I've never heard of any scams, but things do change, and bad guys do move around.
Now, if, indeed, your boat broke loose and those guys saved it, $600 isn't too bad (being a bareboat charter makes me wonder what woud have happened if you had called the charter company), but if they moved it, that's another story!
I do know that not all of the moorings behind the reef are reliable. I NEVER take moorings anywhere (except in Young Island Cut off St. Vincent) because of their questionable strength. Union Island can be an anchoring challenge, so if I have the time I try to go in behind Frigate Rock, a bit south of Clifton, where I can anchor in calm water and in deep sand and have great shelter in all weather. OK, I have to take a bus to town to do the C&I thing, but I sleep well!
I've not been to Clifton yet this season, but will be there in a couple of weeks. I'll be sure to check with "my sources" to see if anyhing has changed. What Hud says is right on - that town depends on tourism, mainly cruisers, and they will not take kindly to anyone giving their town a bad rep. Generally a great little town.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:56   #6
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Hi Harry,

thanks for your reply.From that day on we also used our own anchor.
We thought by taking a mooring it protects the corals and... it gives
a bit money into foreign economies.
Your're right Clifton Harbour is nice little town and we will certainly come
again... but... in a few years.
We are ourselves boat owner ( X-40) and are for 90% anchoring here,
because harbours are too loud and full.
And specially having an own boat and taking care of the charter boat
as if it is our own, we where soo shocked that night that was no fun
at all.
Finding out with the first daylight that nothing happened o.k. that
was good but the memory stays at least for a long time.

Good tip when we come back we take the place you recommend, sounds
really good. - Thank you -

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