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Old 02-05-2015, 21:07   #1
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St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Please, help me decide on the best route. I am planning to charter a boat at Marigold Bay, St. Lucia for 7 days in the end of June. The agent gives me two options:

1. Get down to Tobago Cays, then back.
2. Go all the way to Grenada and return the boat there.

Pros for #1:
- Less rush
- I might be able to rent a scuba gear in St. Lucia and dive along the way without a hassle with diving companies (I am certified)
- it is $1000 cheaper than one way but it is not a major factor as it will be split between several people.

Pros for #2:
- see more islands
- not having to go close haul for the whole day from St. Vincent to St. Lucia
- sail with the wind all the way

I am aware that 7 days is tight for one way but that is what I have. I could possible add another day if it really makes a difference.

There is also an option to drop the boat in Union Island and fly to Grenada but I am not sure about reliability of SVG air as we will need to make a connecting flight.

What are your thoughts?

(Of course, I could start the charter at Grenada but I am not sure if it is better in any way.)
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Old 02-05-2015, 21:39   #2
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Welcome to CF Anjulis.

We did a 2 week charter in 2013 from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia to Grenada and back covering the area you mention. I think I'd save the $1000 and return the boat to Marigot Bay. We did Soufriere to Chatham Bay on Union Island in one long day, so you could do a one day run from Marigot to Canouan or Mayreau then work your way back a bit slower from there.

We only did a day stop at Tobago Cays then went to Saline Bay on Mayreau to anchor for the night. But a night at Tobago Cays would be very nice! There are some shore suppers offered by the boat boys that would be worth trying out.

On the way back I recommend you spend at least a day at Bequia. It's a nice anchorage and good restaurants & shopping.

We anchored off Wallilabou Bay on St. Vincent on the way back. There are some security concerns mentioned on St. Vincent but we were a larger group so not concerned.

The run from St. Vincent back to St. Lucia was a bit brisk off especially off the north end of St. Vincent, but depending on your boat, should not be that big a deal.

Depending on your timing, you could do a stop at Soufriere & the Pitons on the way back also. Get a boat boy to help you grab a mooring at the Bat Caves if you can. Or a mooring right at the Pitons. We've also tied up stern too right on the beach in Soufriere.

I highly recommend you get this book - Sailor's Guide to the Windward Islands by Chris Doyle - to read up ahead of time. It's the gold standard for reference.
The Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands: Chris Doyle, Virginia Barlow: 9780944428993: Amazon.com: Books

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Good Luck!
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Old 03-05-2015, 04:24   #3
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Anjulis.
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Old 03-05-2015, 19:52   #4
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Thank you for the help. Extra $1000 is not the biggest concern. I am more concerned about being able to visit more places if I go one way and, EVEN MORE that my first-time passengers will not enjoy going close haul for the whole day (St.V-St.Lucia)
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Old 03-05-2015, 22:19   #5
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

What size boat are you chartering? The hop from St. Vincent to St. Lucia wasn't too rough for us but we were on a Lagoon 420. If you have a fair size boat you should be good. Anyway, it's your choice. Either itinerary is good.


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Old 04-05-2015, 08:47   #6
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

We did the return trip a few years ago and would not do it again. we had very limited time to relax at any mooring in order to get to tobago cays and back within 7 days.

If you want to relax and enjoy the sites i would recommend 1 way or do it in 10 days minimum. If you enjoy the sailing more than the relaxing at a mooring and seeing the sites then 7 days is enough.

Oh and, IMHO, avoid wallilabou bay and be careful anywhere in St. Vincent. Our boat was broken into in Wallilabou bay and all the cash stolen while we were at dinner. We had other stuff stolen off the beach in bequia as well. check out St Vincent & the Grenadines — Noonsite for the latest places to avoid.
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:51   #7
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

8 days is short for this trip. Always go downwind when you get a choice. Sail St Lucia to Grenada, not the reverse.

See a bit of St Lucia before you go aboard your charter boat. Maybe rent a hotel for a night and hire a driver to show you the island and take you on a hike. It's a mistake to fly in, see nothing of St Lucia, and then sail away. St. Lucia is a lovely island.

Maybe stop at Soufriere. Definitely, spend a night at the Pitons.

We don't stop in St. Vincent because it has a reputation as a rough place. We have always sailed past St. Vincent to clear customs in Bequia. Spend the bulk of your time in the Grenadines and leave the boat in Grenada. You could spend several days in Mayreau and the Tobago Cays if you wish. You need to stop at Union Island to clear customs and buy fruits and veggies, but then consider dropping the hook off Petit St Vincent on your way to Cariacou. Check in at Cariacou and take a hike there if you wish. In Grenada there are several nice anchorages with good snorkeling on the leeward side of the island. Buy the Doyle guide to help you decide where to stop.

For sure, contact Turtle Watching Eco Tour to reserve a spot on a night-time trip to Lavera beach to watch the leatherback turtles come ashore and lay their eggs. This happens in May and June. It will be one of the highlights of your life. For sound ecological reasons, you cannot go without a professional guide. Don't even try.

This is a great trip. We have made it many times and never tire of it.

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Old 04-05-2015, 10:16   #8
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

7 (or 8) days is going to be putting some pressure on your time when you get down to the Grenadines. Consider that 1 full day will be going south (Marigot to Bequia) and 1 full day will be coming north. You can stop at Wallibalou on your way north to shorten the north bound trip but you will still have a bouncy ride to St. Lucia.


With 7 days I would probably do:
Night 1: St. Lucia (Pitons/Sourfrier)
Night 2: Bequia
Night 3: Mustique
Night 4: Tabago Cays
Night 5: Union (we prefer Chatham bay)
Night 6: Carriacou (Grenada)
Night 7: Grenada


If you had an 8th night think of including Petite Martinique/Petie St. V or Mayreaux/Canouan. We never miss Mayreaux or Canouan on our trips and are usually the highlights. I am not a fan of Mustique but the Admiral and her friends often want to stop there ... so we do. They have become very restrictive of where cruisers can go on the island which is their right as a private island but not my thing.


We have always done round trips but we have 12 to 14 days.


You can't go wrong with any of it. Have a great time!


Fair winds.
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Old 04-05-2015, 13:09   #9
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Go for #2
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Old 04-05-2015, 18:30   #10
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Go for the one way option to Grenada!


You will actually be more rushed trying to get back up to St. Lucia and it is often a bumpy ride against wind and current.


Just rent your scuba gear from the shop you are diving with. I would highly recommend a dive with Dive Bequia while you are there.


Oh - when you get to Grenada - stop and say hi - our office is at the end of J Dock!
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Old 04-05-2015, 19:29   #11
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anjulis View Post
Please, help me decide on the best route.
1. Get down to Tobago Cays, then back.
2. Go all the way to Grenada and return the boat there.

Last year we did an 8-day one-way trip from St Lucia to Grenada. It was a bit rushed but still a great trip. Departing at noon from Rodney Bay, we stayed the first night at the Pitons. The second day we sailed to Bequia, a long hard day in rough mixed seas. The Grenadines and Grenada were wonderful. Highlight of the trip was Tobago Cays.

We all agreed that next time we'll be doing a round trip from Grenada to the Grenadines and back to Grenada. We'll also try to spend 10 to 14 days. Then maybe another trip just sailing around Grenada.
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Old 05-05-2015, 14:20   #12
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Re: St. Lucia - one way or round trip?

Marigot to Grenada in one week is plenty.

The return going NNE with an often NEaster can be tedious while even with a SEaster sailing towards Grenada is comfortable. June should have quite good sailing weather. The only temporary difficult weather could be a tropical wave. Usually goes by in a half day. June is the beginning of tropical wave season. So having a day to spare could make a huge difference in enjoyment.

Don't forget you also have to clear customs out of St Lucia, then into SVG (at Bequia), then into Grenada. This also takes time away from your cruise and vacation.

Grenada is a beautiful island to visit.

I have been sailing these waters for the past 20 years operating a charter boat.
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