Carried away by Carriacou and Petite Martinique    Click for the chartlet of our first Caribbean trip
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P celebrated her birthday on Grenada and we even had a special guest: Peter (“Leviathan”), with whom we sailed along for some time in the Canaries area two years ago. Unfortunately he was two days late because one cannot dictate the wind and from Curaçao (425 nml) against wind and current means a week of fighting and playing submarine. In Peter's case nine days and he already began hearing voices in the shower drain. So for the moment we stick to the windward islands.

From Grenada to Carriacou is a trip of 30 nm. The weather was quiet and for the first time since two years we had a great sail in 15kts of wind, with the main and the #3 high-aspect; the perfect combination for this wind direction and strength. The spectacular part of the trip is that you pass Kick’em Jenny. This is an active vulcano, recently erupted in 1990. The top is 100m below sea level and rises slowly; and when you are lucky it even smokes. But when we passed, the sea was only a bit choppy because of the current. The approach of Carriacou was beautiful and typical, as the island is a collection of many small vulcano's.

Carriacou is only a small island (appr. 18 km2) but it is well known as “the island with over a hundred rum shops and only one gasoline station”.
A  perfect characterisation and we immediately tried a few during our walk from Tyrrel Bay to Hillsborough (5km). The track leads along many colourful painted homes via L’Esterre Bay alias Paradise Beach. No cruise ships, no big hotels, no appartment buildings, almost no tourists and only the backpacker type. A completely relaxed Caribbean atmosphere, maybe even more authentic than on Tobago.
But it won't last long. On the NE side of Tyrrel Bay a marina is under construction, judging by the work that is already done.

Surrounding the site is an enormous graveyard of coral that is slashed away (a piece of 300x200m of coralreef down the drain) and replaced by concrete foundation. They also sacrificed part of the mangrove woods. But there is still a lot of it left and you are allowed to sail into it with your dinghy. The locals do that too, to pick oysters. They grow between the mangrove roots, together with hundreds of small but pretty sea anemones.

Carriacou is Carib(indian) language and it means “island surrounded by reefs”. Indeed there are plenty. There was a reef right next to the boat and on the first day already P found three conchas, those giant shells. With Peter's dinghy we dashed again to L’Esterre Bay to snorkel on the reef to the northside of the idyllic Sandy Island located in the center of the bay. Of stunning beauty and very lively! Extensive coral fields and waving coral trees and leaves in every colour of the rainbow. All this beauty populated by many fish and we even swam with a sea turtle who didn't notice us. In the meantime P found many conchas and corals, which are going to get a nice spot in our garden.

We noticed that fishermen sailing around in small plywood boats, carry a large battery of Yamaha-horsepower on the transom. Guess what? The Japanese whale industry bribed these fishers to vote positive in favor of whalecatching, and in return they received from Japan those big fat machines on their transoms. A medium sized open fishboat with a length of 8 meters carries generally two outboard engines of 75 HP. The peak was a somewhat bigger boat with 3x 275 HP. If you have to buy these you pay the equivalent of 3 middleclass cars; unbelievable.
The West-Indian people are not only fascinated by big engines (this is really a hype here); the worldchampionships cricket are the talk of the day. TV sets and radio’s are switched on continuously and the children are enthousiastically batting and bowling on the streets with plastic or home made plywood bats.

Geographically the Caribbean is a bit confusing. The Grenadines do not belong to Grenada but to St.Vincent and the Tobago Cays don't belong to Tobago but are part of the Grenadines (i.e. St.Vincent), two states further north. And Petite Martinique is part of... Grenada.

Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique form a “tri island state”. As we are proved to be as slow as snails and to stick for some time in every port, and we liked the first two very much, we decided to pay PM a visit as well. PM is situated to the NE of Carriacou, together with Petit St.Vincent (part of the Grenadines) and an extensive reef surrounding the islands. This combination results in great inland water like sailing as we haven't experienced for at least three years; the sea is flat and the sailing to the protected anchor bay is like a present.

Petite Martinique is the biggest of the two petite islands and measures 1x1 mile. We dropped anchor right in front of the beach and after a walk around the island we descended into Palm Beach restaurant with view on Miep and to P's delight they served lambi fritters, from those big conchas.
The great thing about Petite Martinique is that there is nothing but really nothing to do. The goats keep up the land, the inhabitants fish or hang around, play cricket or play with kites. We bought five langousts for 12 euro's and P was the only one who dared touching them.

Petit St.Vincent was visited by dinghy with Peter. The island is over all one big and luxurious resort. Everywhere alongside the beach are little huts with hammocks and beach beds, icewater in coolers and glasses on a tray. Although used by no one (there weren't too many guests in the resort), we didn't touch the stuff. Furthermore the story gets boring because these two spoilt yachties snorkeled again in crystal clear water, saw lots of fish and coral, had fun, splendid.

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