Plying the passages of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the waters are at times limpidâ€”sometimes great blue heaving mountains. Picture green islands with white beaches and pastel-painted houses, visit villages where music flows like the tide from whimsical beach bars, mooring fields where turtles outnumber boats.
There are six hundred plus islands here, so narrowing your choice of overnight berths down to five is a fool’s paradise. But it’s still paradise.
Swami, our chartered Lavezzi 40 Catamaran, hangs on the hook inside a barrier reef beside an emerald island where iguanas sun, where one beach reclines off our port stern, and another lazes off our starboard quarter, back-dropped by voluptuous hills unmarred by any sign of civilization. Just east of us a smattering of palm trees reaches for cotton-ball cumulous clouds, sprouting from the beaches of a tiny island where they filmed a scene for “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
I like Tobago Cays. A lot.
Before setting out from the new Horizon Yacht Charter base at St. Vincent I asked Laron Stephens, our chart briefer, for his favorite anchorage. “Chatham Bay,” he answered. Back on land days later I asked Jacqui Pascall, Horizon’s co-proprietor, her favorite. She agreed with Laron. But we gave their recommendation a miss this time around, opting instead for a jump-up and a meal ashore in the village of Clifton (Clifton is on Union’s windward side, Chatham’s in its lee). However, when we sailed past Chatham Bay, with its unbroken forested slopes rising up from a gorgeous beach dotted with the occasional rudimentary hut and glittering cerulean waters renowned for great snorkeling, I could see the appeal.
“And,” says Stephens, “there’s almost never more than thirty boats there.”
I’ve also got a soft spot for Bequia’s Admiralty Bay.
This is a huge sheltered bay set in a green bowl with a great sandy bottom for dropping the hook to the southwest. Nearby Lower Bay is an amber beach sheltered by palms and emerald slopes with a construction paper village of various hues.
Dinghy into Port Elizabeth; stroll a narrow serpentine path that hugs the shore, visit a restaurant sporting gingerbread trim and a bar with an entrance made from the jawbone of a whale, or explore a variety of provisioning options in the pastel-painted shops.
A few years ago my friend paid for a seasonal berth here.
Watching a perfect sunset, it strikes me she had great taste in real estate.