We heard so many horror stories about St Vincent and the Grenadines that we previously skipped all the islands except Bequia — and we loved Bequia. We heard about a cat burglar in Bequia and went anyway without regret, so what were we to do when the Grenadines are the kiteboarding capital of the SE Caribbean? Ignore that there was a very violent murder at Union Island? Ignore the very high crime/murder rate of St Vincent? Or heed the warnings and stay away? We decided to take our chances. After all, there was a murder in Grenada and we felt it was one of the safest places we’d ever been. Where people are crime exists, so live in fear or seize the day? We vote carpe diem! However, we did compromise and skipped St Vincent entirely when we sailed to Bequia and Canouan when we sailed to Mayreau.
We settled into Salt Whistle Bay in Mayreau and had a great view from the boat of a perfect little beach. we enjoyed clear water and very fine white sand on the leeward side. The windward side had coarse sand, sargasso weed, plastic trash, shells, and broken coral on the beach along the tide line, called the wrack. I also found a sea bean! Sea beans are seeds and fruits that made their way into and across oceans to wash ashore hundreds or thousands of miles away. Some may come from Africa or South America. I have one that looks like a hamburger, which might be the “bull’s eye” from a sea purse possibly originating in South America. The one I found here I think was a Dioclea reflexa seed from Benin, Africa. They are not so easy to identify. Anyway, the important thing about the windward side of this beach was that it was a decent kiteboarding location. Dave was so excited!
I helped him launch his kite in this beautiful location. By the way, this picture shows the wrack or tide debris line.
Dave waded out with his kite and board and waited for the right moment to put on his board and go…
As you can see in the short video, there was not enough wind to power up his kite. That was why all the other kiteboarders stopped. Early mornings appear to be the best time to go. Well, maybe next time.
Every single day local ladies set up and displayed their wares. The dresses and tee-shirts looked so colorful on the beach. I meant to go look at them. I really did. But I gave up shopping for tee shirts and souvenirs long ago. If my eye wanders, Dave reminds me that I already have too many clothes on the boat. He’s right, I do.
Dave walked across Mayreau with Eric and Debbie from Indigo and Francois and Vanessa from Why Knot IV. This cool looking church had a water barrel right in front. Rain collection is important on these islands as there are no rivers, reservoirs, or natural springs. All the islands look so dry. Bequia was shockingly dry and brown! These thirsty islands need rain desperately. Because of the water situation, the islanders cannot grow their own food and produce must be brought in from the mother island, St Vincent. Dave never did get the wind he needed, so we decided to move on to the Tobago Cays (pronounced ‘keys’).
The Tobago Cays had the clearest water we’ve seen since the Bahamas. It was bright turquoise in color where the bottom was sandy with darker looking water where coral, rocks, or seagrass covered the bottom — just like the Bahamas. How can you not jump in and swim in this water? Especially with all the sea turtles swimming around! And under our boat, instead of a resident barracuda, we had a small school of box fish. You know the boxy-looking spotted fish related to pufferfish? Yea, so cute!
On a gray and cloudy day, the water was robbed of its gorgeous color, but it was still clear. A sailboat came in and anchored, leaving its main sails up. It seemed odd, but they must have known what they were doing because they didn’t become the show for the day. Notice the person out on the bowsprit. This boat was packed with people and they had a ball diving off the boat. I assume it was a day charter.
Jamesby Island was renamed Dave’s Island by Indigo. It’s a sad tale that I won’t dwell on to save Dave from excess heartache, but I’ll give the short story. Early in the morning kiteboarders were all over from a kiteboarding catamaran cruise. They used the island to stage. After they left, Dave and I went to the island and launched his kite. He waded out and hopped on the board, as usual, but the wind wasn’t strong enough for him to go upwind. He was blown back towards shore and hit the rocks. He wiped out and the kite crashed into a cactus bed on top of the island. Dave wasn’t seriously hurt, but his legs were bleeding pretty bad. He climbed up and retrieved his kite, but noticed several tears in it. He was done kiteboarding. <Sad face> No, I didn’t photograph his traumatic experience. Instead I took pictures of the iguanas sunning themselves on the beach.
I also caught this bananaquit just as it took off from the branch.
Dave was still preoccupied and I helped as much as I could, so I practiced photographing the snowy plovers running up and down the beach following the waves in and out. We finally returned to the boat, heartbroken and silent. Fortunately, Indigo and Why Knot IV were there to distract us from our woes and we celebrated just being all together. We could have spent weeks in the Cays but, without Dave’s kite and with our friends on a tighter time schedule than us, we all decided to leave and risk a visit to the infamous Union Island.
To be continued…