I start this entry with a confession. Union island is part of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines chain. Having checked out of St Vincent in Clifton, however, we couldn’t resist prolonging our stay and spending awhile at anchor in Chatham bay. This bay is definitely the highlight of visiting Union and while I was staying there it was my favourite place in the Caribbean. It has since been knocked off this top spot by Grenada but then, the longer we visit the Caribbean the more I am conscious of saying that everywhere is my favourite place. Maybe I will have to stop giving this accolade with every blog entry!
Chatham bay was perplexing from an anchoring point of view at first. There was so little wind on our first night that the boats there could point and swing from every direction of the compass. Although it seems vast on first view, it is actually smaller than it seems when it comes to putting down the hook! We had to re anchor three times before we found a space to ourselves.
The bay offers a wide, green vista of calm with nothing but nature and beach barbecues to be seen. It was so gorgeous that I had to switch from reading on the bow to listening to an audio book, as I couldn’t bear to tear my eyes away from the view. The high cliffs around the bay offer the ultimate in shelter punctuated by surprising katabatic gusts and a wall of lush, tropical greenery. If you like the peace and quiet of being at one with nature when at anchor, Chatham bay is the ultimate anchorage high.
This beautiful bay is heaven for those like me who love Pelican watching. Snorkelling on the north of the bay is a real experience. It is the closest you can get to experiencing what it is like to be a swarm animal, like a fish swimming in a school. You swim along the rocks amongst a living stream of fish, surrounded by them, enveloped by them, yet never able to touch a single one. No wonder the Grey Pelicans roost here and look well fed! Another pleasure is that as you swim along the banks of the cliffs, Pelicans and boobies dive around you then bob up to swim close by, happily digesting their fish lunch. In the morning you can see the water alive with the arrowlike flashes of breakfasting Pelicans. It is surprising that such a large and seemingly ungainly bird can dive so swiftly into the water.
The hiking around Chatham bay is wonderful; mostly easy roads (happily for those who have a dodgy ankle like the Skipper) with wonderful views over Chatham bay itself and then on rounding the island stunning views to the north of the island over Tobago Cays and the north of the island. Afterwards, a barbecue on the beach is the perfect reward.
We parted ways with Freecloud at Chatham bay. Chris set off north to return to Saint Lucia with a plan to get a mysterious leak attended to in Rodney bay whereas we headed off for Cariacou, the first island in the Grenada and the Grenadines chain. We were a little nervous having checked out in Clifton some three days earlier which is against the rules. Although we had prepared some excuses along the lines of having had engine problems, none were needed. We needn’t have worried. Checking in at Tyrell bay was easy and the staff perfectly friendly.
Tyrell bay is a busy anchorage with plenty of space for everyone. We immediately warmed to Carriacou. This friendly, little island was our introduction to Grenada and the Grenadines and if it was anything to go by, Grenada promised to be a treat.