Off the Beaten Track
reproduced courtesy of imray, laurie, norie, and wilson ltd. (www.imray.com)
|You might voyage up the west coast of Grenada, but you'll burn lots of diesel, the only harbor north of St. George's is home to a garbage dump, and your reward will be an open-water bash across to Carriacou. However, if you take short hops up the island's east coast, you can explore some rarely visited coves and the harbor at Grenville, where the flavor of the old days in the Caribbean can still be savored. A good reach ends the leg to Carriacou.|
Sailors heading north to Carriacou from the south coast of Grenada have two choices. Most go via the west coast, thinking that they'll be in the lee of the island, but as often as not, it's an all-day slog, and the crew arrives in Carriacou dead beat. If that's the hard way, an alternate is to take what I call the easy way: Sail up the east coast in stages and visit numerous secluded anchorages, then go on to the south and east coasts of Carriacou, two of the nicest and least-visited cruising areas in the eastern Caribbean.
If you start in Prickly Bay and go up the west coast of Grenada, it's a few miles downwind from your anchorage on the south coast to Point Salines, where you harden up and then can expect 15 miles of hard-on-the-wind sailing or motorsailing up the coast. From Tanga Langua, the northwest tip of Grenada, it's 15 miles to Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou. That's 15 miles as the crow flies, but you probably won't lay the course, so it usually ends up being closer to 20 to 25 miles of hard slogging to windward. If you want to arrive in Carriacou before sunset, you'll have to get an early departure and be prepared for a very long day.
The route up the east coast of Grenada is an interesting option and one that's certainly off the beaten track, as few cruisers visit the area, and there are almost no charter boats. I advise breaking the trip into several short hops.
The south and east coasts of Grenada are peppered with coves, each one with its own charms. If you leave Prickly Bay very early in the morning before the wind builds, you'll be anchored for brunch. You'll sail hard on the breeze, short tacking along the shore to avoid adverse current and seas. After 10 miles of sailing, you'll have a choice of three coves: Lascar Cove, which has a small, first-rate anchorage in its northeast corner; Le Petit Trou, with a nice beach and excellent shelter, except when the wind is well into the south; or Requin Bay, with its deserted beach and sometimes rolly anchorage. The chart doesn't show enough detail, so don't try these coves without consulting Street's Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean-Martinique to Trinidad, published by iUniverse.com.
The next morning, again leave early. After short port tacks and long starboard tacks, you'll have a choice of two equally enticing anchorages. Grenville, about 6 miles from your jump-off point, is the second largest town on the island and isn't often visited by yachts; it has a real old-time Caribbean flavor.
Or you may decide to continue on to near the northeast corner of Grenada and anchor at Sandy Island, which has some excellent shell collecting on the beaches, snorkeling along the reef, and an anchorage swept by strong currents.
From Sandy Island, you should be able to sail the 15 miles to Carriacou on one tack, even if the wind is a little north of east. If the wind is east, it's a close reach; if it's south of east, you'll have a glorious romp. If this run is done with a weather-going tide (see the back of Imray-Iolaire chart B-32), it's guaranteed to be a reach rather than a beat.
Instead of heading to Tyrrel Bay, head for White Island or Saline Island and sail north in smooth water behind the barrier reef in Grand Bay. Anchor behind the reef or continue-if you draw 7 feet or less-on to Watering Bay and Windward, where they still build traditional Carriacou sloops and schooners.