Eric and Debbie from Indigo told us that Palm Island is supposed to be one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean, so we sailed the short distance from the Tobago Cays to Palm Island before continuing to Union. The anchorage was also supposed to get rolly and uncomfortable at night, so this was a quick day stop — a short breather before I needed to worry about what would happen at Union Island.
We went ashore for lunch at the resort along with Why Knot IV. The small island was beautiful with white sand beaches and clear turquoise water. Lunch was good but overpriced, being a resort and priced in US dollars. Dave and Francois had an appointment with JT ProCenter in Clifton for kiteboarding support and to rent a kite (Dave) and lessons (Francois), so they dinghied the mile or so across to Union Island and the rest of us stayed to take advantage of the internet.
When we returned to the boat, someone on the island was burning trash or something. Our boat was being smoked out! I closed it up, turned on the air conditioning, and picked up Vanessa to come inside with me. Indigo quickly left for Chatham Bay on Union Island. When our guys returned, which wasn’t very long because there still wasn’t enough wind, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough!
We sailed to Frigate Island and anchored in more clear and beautiful water. We picked a nice sandy patch for good holding and to avoid damaging any coral. It was easy to do because I could clearly see the bottom. I love that! Once we were settled, Dave took me out on the dinghy to show me the waterway through the mangroves. He and Francois were taken through it by JT Pro when they tried to kiteboard. It was amazing. The water is mostly shallow with a small channel that seems like it must have been dredged out. There was a derelict marina with parts of the docks or breakwalls, so it just might have been dredged at one time. The water was calm and clear and there were herons fishing from the mangrove trees. However, to get to Clifton by dinghy we had to go through a very shallow cut. It was low tide when we tried and we didn’t think we would make it, so we laid down in the dinghy and went under a very low ‘bridge’ of rusty metal. Not sure what the bridge was, maybe a dock? We barely made it, but we made it.
On our way across the shallow bank, a nice man that lives up on the hill pointed out the route to us. I think he watches the bank all the time, because we saw him come out several times as we traveled back and forth. It’s nerve wracking cutting between the reefs with breaking waves all around your small dinghy! But arriving at Clifton was awesome. There was the cutest dinghy dock, almost a mini marina for dinghies. (The video was taken later in our stay, but included to show you what I’m talking about.) We entered through an archway and tied up. Locked up, I should say, since we were expecting the worst. And, of course, we were greeted by the usual local trying to make a buck on new arrivals. A guy wanted $5EC to take our trash the hundred steps to the trash bin. Whatever. If $5EC helps the guy, then fine. I hoped our dinghy would be okay. Next, we met Harmon. Harmon had a fruit, veggie, and fish stand at the farmers market. He wanted us to visit his stand. I actually talked to him for quite a while and found he was a nice guy.
This scary town I was dreading was cute, colorful, and friendly. We found the people to be very nice and happy to see us. The buildings were colorful and well-kept. So where were the thugs?
The farmers market was half open, but fairly well stocked. Harmon’s stand was the second one in on the left. We didn’t need anything yet, after stocking up in Bequia, but we would return before we leave Union. We had a pizza lunch with Francois and Vanessa; then returned to our dinghies. Our dinghies were a safe and sound and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Clifton.
The tide was up and we glided back into the channel through the mangroves. We returned to our boats and found them also undisturbed in our absence. The next morning Dave and Francois met up with JT Pro again. I had a good seat to watch Francois’ lesson, though he was a bit far, and took pictures and video. I made a movie for them, which I included here in case anyone is interested in seeing what it is like on your third kiteboarding lesson. It’ll get easier, Francois, but you’re doing great! Dave was on a rental kite, but he was happy to finally be kiteboarding. Dave also learned that there was a guy who repairs kites in Clifton, so we dropped off his kite and hoped for the best.
One of the fishermen came by our boat and we bought one large and two small lobster for $120EC (US$4o). The lobster were still alive and Dave had to clean them. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that the head and body shell were returned to the water and we kept the tails. About 10 minutes later, Dave jumped in the water to wipe down the waterline on the boat. He noticed that we suddenly had several starfish beneath us, so he dove down to see what was up. He came back up calling for the underwater camera. “I gotta get a picture of this!” There was a starfish eating one of the lobster heads and more starfish closing in. When Francois and Vanessa showed up for dinner, they commented that they had a lot of starfish by their boat, but then they were suddenly all gone. Yep, those lobster attracted every starfish in the area!
It was a dark and dreary day when Why Knot IV left us, literally and figuratively. They haul out for the summer soon and fly home. We aren’t likely to see them again. I hate good byes. They break my heart. These two have become such good friends and we will miss them terribly. Speaking of good byes, did I ever share our “plans”? If not, we intend to fly to California for about 6 weeks to prepare our house for sale. We will return to Grenada in time for Carnival and then have friends visiting. We look forward to seeing you Bill and Barbara. Then we will go north to St Lucia or St Martin with a couple other boats before we convoy to the ABCs: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. From there we will continue west to Colombia, the San Blas islands, and Panama. After that? Who knows? But I’d sure like to visit Belize and Costa Rica, go through the canal and on to the Galapagos islands, and then cross the Pacific. But there are a lot of factors to consider before attempting that. We will just have to wait and see. But one thing is fairly certain, we have just spent our last season in the Eastern Caribbean. There will be a lot of good byes ahead.