Chartering in the Grenadines is great fun—you can begin either in St. Vincent and sail down the island chain or in Grenada and sail up. Or you can charter anywhere in between as there are over 60 charter companies located throughout the area. Pick your destination, visit the Tourist Board website for that area, and make your choice in yachts for size and whether monohull or catamaran.
The following itinerary begins in St. Vincent and takes you down the Grenadines, but you can just as easily choose the opposite route. I remember well my first charter in the Grenadines in 1989—it was so very special. During the summer of 2007 I had the opportunity to repeat this route twice on my own vessel and was delighted to discover that these beautiful islands still hold a special appeal.
Starting in St. Vincent offers you a chance to visit their Botanical Gardens, the oldest and some say the most beautiful in all of the Caribbean. Regular trade winds of between 10 and 25 knots combine with nearly bathtub temperature water to create almost perfect sailing conditions. If chartering for seven days, limit yourself to the upper Grenadines. however if you have 10 days, try the one way charter from St. Vincent to Grenada—this way you can visit most of the 32 islands that comprise the area. I suggest an island tour on each island you visit – taxi drivers are well informed and will definitely add color to your visit.
Bequia is a delightful small island that has become very sophisticated over the years. The small restaurants and pubs that line the harbor offer excellent food and beverage as well as an interesting assortment of live-aboard cruisers. The foliage here is beautiful – I spent an entire morning just taking pictures. Services for charterers are excellent and there are a number of water-vendors who will come to your boat providing you with everything from freshly baked bread to trash removal and laundry services. Bequia is also a perfect spot to become acquainted with the locally made wooden boats of yesteryear.
As home to the rich and famous, Mustique is quiet and private. You are not allowed to photograph on the island and are expected to respect the privacy of those living and vacationing there. Cecil’s Bar is worth a visit and his boutique is a perfect place for purchasing gifts. You must check in with the harbormaster who will direct you either where to anchor or pick up a mooring.
This small island, recently turned commercial with the addition of The Moorings Yacht Charter, is a scuba diver’s dream with many excellent beaches. I suggest anchoring in one of the beautiful harbors here and then dinghying to nearby TOBAGO CAYS, which can only be reached by boat. To see damage to the gorgeous reefs at Tobago Cays was the great disappointment of my most recent visit.
Because moorings have not been put down either in the Cays or in Salt Whistle Bay, some visiting sailors who anchor have destroyed the fragile bottom. Salt Whistle is recommended as an anchorage for not more than six yachts—when I was there, during both visits this summer, there were 25+ yachts anchored. I think this is both unnecessary and dangerous as SALINE BAY is just around the corner – a beautiful bay holding many more yachts
This small island has a dramatic profile of ridges and peaks. Snorkeling is good at Chatham Bay on the island’s southern tip and just a short sail from Saline Bay. It is almost completely deserted although they are building an interesting beach bar on the far side. I was so concerned about reef damage since I had last visited that I paid the Park Service on Union Island a visit to make the suggestion of moorings – I certainly hope they will take it.
The Grenadines are all gorgeous—sail, explore and have fun—just leave it as you found it, pristine.