- St Vincent:
Aggressive boat boys.
"The sea state immediately north of St Vincent has always been notorious in strong winds."
From Don Street in Caribbean Compass 3/2010: West coast of St Vincent has been a trouble spot since at least the early 1960's. Police seem unable or unwilling to keep control of the area.
Item in 2/2011 issue of Caribbean Compass magazine:
Chateaubelair anchorage: SVG Coast Guard advises yachts not to anchor alone, especially overnight. Anchor in groups, or anchor at other anchorages further south.
One strategy: anchor at Bequia and take ferry to Kingstown for the day. I did that. Plenty of small hardware and auto-parts stores in Kingstown, but no marine stores. Supermarket prices seemed about same as in Bequia; a few bargains here and there.
From Ed on "Angel Louise: skip St Vincent.
From others: St Vincent is gorgeous. Maybe take the ferry from Bequia and then a taxi day-tour of St Vincent. But get a good driver. And you'll be pressed for time to get back for the last ferry.
From Ed Kelly on "Angel Louise" 5/2009: "fees $39 for a month for three people".
Fees I paid 2/2011 and 1/2014: EC$35 to check in for singlehander. Check-in is for one month; come back 2 days or less before expiration to renew. Renewing for an additional 2 months cost EC$25 (for Immigration only; found out later I was supposed to pay an addition EC$35/month to Customs; so fees are about EC$37/month for 1 person aboard).
Several people have said nice things about Bequia; seems to be a favorite place of many people.
From Ed Kelly on "Angel Louise": "Bequia (Admiralty Bay anyway) is the prettiest and cleanest water we have seen. As clear as the Bahamas.".
As of 4/2012: There is now a VHF radio net in Admiralty Bay, hosted by Cheryl at The Fig Tree Restaurant at 8 AM on channel 68.
Book-exchanges: at Wallace's and at Porthole cafe and at Tommy's, all right together several blocks S of the ferry dock. One in office of Frangipani hotel, another in office of Gingerbread Hotel, further S. Also one at GYE marine, on N shore. [A couple of the best book-exchanges have turned for-money: you have to bring a book plus EC$2 to take a book.]
Library: inland up a street just S of the ferry dock, past the hospital. Not much of interest in it.
Internet: cheapest Wi-Fi in a cafe 2/2011 is EC$11.50/hour. Much better to get Wi-Fi to the boat for US$40/month, if you're staying that long.
Central vegetable market has a reputation for in-your-face vendors and sometimes bad produce; buy from streetside vendors instead.
Most convenient diesel, water, ice, laundry: at orange tugboat "Kingfisher" moored in the middle of the harbor. Doesn't usually carry gasoline. Diesel EC$9.50/gallon 2/2011, EC$11/gallon 4/2011. They told me their price is for an Imperial gallon, but I fit 11.6 of their gallons into two 5-USgallon jugs, so I think they're charging for a US gallon, which makes their price roughly the same as the gas station ashore. VHF 09. But diesel is cheaper here than in Grenada, which is surprising to me.
Garbage dumpsters: behind the main vegetable market, at foot of a dinghy-dock, a couple of blocks N of the ferry dock.
Propane: gas station does exchange only. For refill, go to GYE marine store under Coco's bar (leave tank overnight; EC$120 for 20 pounds 3/2014).
BBC on 107.5 FM from 11 PM to 5 AM or so.
Marine stores have no-duty prices for yachts in transit; show boat papers or given them registration info.
Three marine stores (Wallace's, Piper, GYE) and a tiny auto-parts store.
Boat-repair and engine-repair guy: Kerry Ollivierre, KMS Marine Services, across street from gas station and behind a bar, vanessa_kerry_1 at hotmail.com, VHF 68.
Snorkeling at "Devil's Table": pretty poor, just rocks and few fish. Float close inside marker-post is a dinghy-mooring.
Ferry to Kingstown SV: EC$35 round-trip, takes one hour each way. Schedule printed in "Ins and Outs" magazine available in Tourist office. Runs 7 days a week, but no midday trips on Sunday. I think Fridays and Saturdays are "market days". I left on the 8:30, returned on the 1:00, and that was enough time in Kingstown for me.
Mount Pleasant: I walked there from the Gingerbread Hotel (get map at Tourist Office), and it's good exercise and the views S are pleasant. I didn't get quite all the way to the top, where the radio towers are; not sure how you get there.
Friendship Bay: I walked there from Princess Margaret beach (get map at Tourist Office; first steep uphill is a killer but it's nice after that), and Friendship Bay was scenic but fairly dead, and a bit rolly even with N in the wind and swells. I wouldn't bother going there by boat.
Moonhole: hard to get to by land or sea. I'm told it's a gated community: you need an invitation to get in. And I'm told it's a pretty amazing place.
Post Office hours: MTWRF 9-12,1-3.
To send a package, bring ID and bring package unsealed for inspection.
Can receive packages at the Post Office; they say send them to: YourName, Port Elizabeth, Bequia, West Indies.
US Post Office would not accept that address; they accepted address: YourName, Yacht in transit "boatname", Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines.
To receive a package, bring ID and boat-papers and don't come in last 15 minutes of morning or afternoon hours. Package sent from New Jersey 3/2011 took 17 days to arrive. Supposed to be sent by a customs broker so that it has invoices showing values with it, and supposed to pay 4% duty, but I got away with having it sent from normal post office and paying no duty.
Customs and Immigration hours: MTWRF 830-12,1-4, Sat 830-12,3-6, Sun 9-12,3-6.
Easter regatta: sailing events take place in Friendship Bay.
Whaling season is around Feb-April, and slaughtering station is on small island in Friendship Bay.
Thursday BBQ at Frangipani costs about EC$95/person !
Charges for anchoring or mooring, and high prices ashore. Skip it.
- Crossing from Bequia to Canuoan:
Strong W or NW current. Maybe motor toward Mustique before sailing toward Canouan.
N end of Charlestown Bay harbor is filled with a mooring field. Even in settled E weather, a bit of a roll comes in. Wind swirls and boats point all different directions.
Pleasant snorkeling around White Rock at N end of Charlestown Bay harbor; a couple of decent schools of fish.
Decent small grocery store, ATM, some other stores and internet places. Didn't see fuel anywhere. But a guy in a skiff came by the boat and offered diesel, gasoline, ice, fish, etc.
Article by Pamala Baldwin in 1/2004 issue of Cruising World magazine
Small place, but several small grocery stores, an internet spot, fuel, etc.
Letter from Don Street in 2/2011 issue of Caribbean Compass magazine:
Charleston Harbour often is very rolly, even extremely rolly, in the winter.
Windward Bay rough and rolly even in light conditions, and I didn't see any good snorkeling.
Friendship Bay fairly rolly even in light conditions.
- Mayreau (pronounced "my-row"):
From 2/2011 issue of Caribbean Compass magazine:
Nightly security patrol has been in operation since 4/2010.
Upper Bay / Windward Bay anchorage: very nice, quiet, doesn't look like any good snorkeling. If you get very far up, very close to the E end of Mayreau, current may point you any direction.
Saline Bay: Pretty good surge sending dinghies under the dock; use a stern anchor. Didn't see any sign of a security patrol. Fast ferry comes right through anchorage a couple of times per day. Steep uphill into "town". Two tiny grocery stores; one says open about 8-12 and 3:30-8, but was open around 1:30 when I was there.
- Tobago Cays:
From 1/2007 issue of Caribbean Compass magazine:
There is now a Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP). There is a fee of EC$10/person/day ($US4). SCUBA diving allowed only with a licensed operator. No fee for anchoring. Moorings may be installed, and fees charged for them.
A ranger-boat will come around each day to collect the fees.
Anchorage NE of Baradel Cay is very rolly, even in light E conditions. Main anchorage between Baradel annd Jamesby seemed pretty crowded and had a slight roll; I anchored S of Jamesby Cay, which had a slight roll but was pretty good.
Water is clear and clean, very nice. Reef is large, but there's a lot of current. Coral is mediocre, fish are fairly good. Use dinghy-moorings on reef.
Ranger-boat came around in late morning (11 AM) to collect fees.
Armed robbery of a yacht at Turtle Beach 7/2011, outside the main Cays area: yacht boarded around 10 PM, couple assaulted, items stolen. Arrests were made later.
- Union Island:
Great island picture from one of the Wi-Fi services: pic
Chatham Bay: very quiet, plenty of room, not much ashore. One restaurant: www.chathambayresort.com
Ashton Harbour: very grassy, very shallow, hard to get in far enough to get shelter from SE. Probably best to stay far out by Frigate Island and snug up to that as close as possible. I'm told a "trench" would let almost 6-foot draft get into cove near town, which would be a bit of a hurricane hole, but I wouldn't try it. Snorkeling on W side of Frigate Island is mediocre. Town has 5 or 6 small grocery stores, no public garbage cans.
Anchorage small, often crowded, and deep in many places. Lots of charter boats. Nose up as far E as you can go, onto the "reef", into 10-foot water, before dropping anchor.
Best to have plenty of EC$ when you arrive; there is one ATM and it is not always working.
Customs and Immigration at airport 2/2015; offices in town are closed.
Small cruiser's radio net on 68 at 0745; listen to net from Grenada 0730 on international 66, or Bequia 0800 on 68.
Garbage disposal: go ashore at Yacht Club and walk straight inland from dock, then follow sign to left.
Book exchange: small shelf at Yacht Club, bigger swap at Erika's cruiser's place.
Outboard repair/supplies: inland from Yacht Club, turn left, go 100 yards.
Two hardware stores, but both closed in middle of morning when I was there.
"Supermarket" is high-priced and just a slightly big grocery store.
Half a dozen small grocery or dry-goods stores.
Internet access at Erika's: EC$23/hour 4/2011.
Propane refill at Unitech (same-day; EC$110 for 20 pounds 3/2014).
- Petit St Vincent:
Officially part of the Grenadines, but supposedly okay to stop there while in transit between Grenadines and Grenada officials.
Anchorage fairly rolly even in E and NE conditions, and often strong current through anchorage and on reef next to anchorage. Lots of charter boats.
No animals allowed ashore on PSV.
Dinghy-ride out to Mopion is long but easy, but you have to thread your way through reefs (enter from SW) when you get there. Snorkeling is best on outside, N side.
On reefs SE of PSV, snorkeling is not very good, current is strong.
Dinghy-ride across to PM is easy; tie up on inside-inside of fuel dock.
PM has garbage disposal, three food stores, fuel dock with good prices.
A common boat-boy scam: charging for a mooring that he doesn't own; later the owner will show up and make you move, or charge again. Maybe take a digital photo of anyone you pay for a mooring ?