Phew! We finally finished all of our boat maintenance and received all of our parts and packages and untied the lines from our mooring in Grenada. Hooray!!!
We picked a tight little weather window in the heavy Christmas winds and headed north with the goal of making it to Bequia in time for Christmas. First stop, Carriacou – the little sister island to Grenada with a much more laid back, island time feel. With only a couple nights in Tyrell Bay, we made sure to hit our favorite spots. Paradise Beach Club is absolutely amazing. It’s owner, Allison, remembered our names and Sanitas’s name, even though we last visited almost a year ago 😲 We spent a wonderful afternoon on the beach during Paint and Sip, admiring the wall of boat signs and enjoying delicious seared tuna Greek salad and fresh lime margaritas.
Well fortified with that delicious meal, I prepared for our first international border crossing of the cruising season. I don’t know about you, but I sure never thought we would still be dealing with border closures and COVID restrictions at the dawn of 2022. This year, things are honestly a bit easier for fully vaccinated travelers – there are fewer requirements for long quarantines, for example. To travel by sea from Grenada to St Vincent and the Grenadines Team Sanitas took the following steps:
- Submit an on-line pre-arrival form for each passenger
- Submit a “Request for entry and quarantine aboard” form
- Create a SailClear departure declaration for Grenada
- Create a SailClear arrival form for SVG
- Submit digital vaccination certificates
- Document recent travel history
- Get a PCR test at the clinic where swabs are sent the Grenada’s main island for processing. Wait impatiently for results
- Wait for permission to enter SVG on our desired day
- Upon arrival at Union Island, grab a quarantine mooring and dinghy ashore for health checks and processing
Processing at Clifton, Unions Island went quite smoothly, although it was slow and expensive. We joke that they slow-rolled the paperwork so that the Bougainvillea restaurant would get more of our tourist dollars as we sat at the bar waiting for nearly two hours. Hmmm, maybe it’s not a joke 😜 By contrast, friends who cleared into SVG at Bequia found a somewhat chaotic process and were required to stay in quarantine for over 24 hours. Pandemic travel is still not easy!
If you ever visit The Grenadines, you must, must, must visit the Tobago Cays Marine Park. It’s a little slice of paradise on earth, with a cluster of small uninhabited islands nestled within a protective coral reef. Even with our high wind conditions, we were able to squeeze Sanitas right in between the two largest islands and picked up a park mooring ball. We were snug as a bug up close to the beach, where we could swim with turtles, linger on the white sand beach, and climb to the top of the island for stunning views. Last year, we and our sailing buddies had the park almost completely to ourselves. This year, tourism has picked up slightly. The number of French charter boats has increased quite a bit, and there are definitely more huge mega yachts in the grenadine waters. On the beach where we used to cook casual beach barbecues, there are now catered lunches for wealthy clients, complete with a steel pan band! We sunned ourselves on the small beach next to passengers from a French cruise ship where champagne corks were popped and everyone received a chilled glass before tenders fought them back to the ship. Too bad my French isn’t good enough yet for me to fit right in and sneak a glass! Of course, we met back up with our favorite hustler Romeo for a delightful lobster dinner on the beach. This is one of my favorite experiences in the islands – toes in the sand, sunset over the water, fairy lights, and an absolutely delicious feast of grilled Carribean spiny lobster, seasoned rice, veggies, garlic potatoes, and fruit. If you go, tell Romeo that Mike and Jenn of Sanitas say hello!
All too soon, we had to leave this paradise to continue our sail north to Bequia just to make sure we’d get there in time for the holidays. Winds were still quite fresh and between 30-50 degrees from the north, and seas about two meters high, but consistent. We kept the main double-reefed, and Capt. Mike chose a sail plan that kept us in deep water and sailing as close to the wind as Sanitas can manage. It was an exhilarating salty sail, and we arrived in Bequia just before sunset, ready to settle in for a month in our favorite grenadine island.
2 thoughts on “A quick spin through the southern Grenadines”
You had me until “…and seas about two meters high…”
Happy New Year, Sanitas!
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It didn’t seem that bad! Maybe because they stayed consistent and with a long period. We’re prepping for another 100nm passage this weeks, so here’s hoping for a smooth one!