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SailDives - Bequia

from Port Elizabeth, Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Boarding at 5 PM Saturdays. (Prices include 15% VAT) Click "Reserve a Cabin" to see the list.

SailDives - BequiaOverview
Yachts
Summary - Union and Return
14 days - St Vincent and the Grenadines

Reserve a Cabin


Itinerary Union and Return Part I
Itinerary Union and Return Part II
Itinerary for 14 Days to Grenada
Bequia to Grenada Part II
Bequia to Grenada Part III
Bequia to Grenada Part IV
Bequia to Grenada Part V
Bequia to Grenada Part VI

Bequia to Grenada Part III

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Thursday - 20 OCT 2016


Sailing to Canouan
On Thursday morning the dive tanks are brought in for fills while the guests enjoy breakfast and a swim.


Afterwards, the dive gear and the filled tanks are secured for the sail from Bequia to Canouan. Then after lunch we set out heading South.


Along the way we are trolling and get a big hit that almost emptied the spool before the wire leader broke. We have no idea what it was, but to break the wire with the swivel still on the mono-filament line it had to be pretty big.


We take a slight detour to check out Petite Canouan.


This is an uninhabited caye where no one goes.


Speaking to Cathy at Dive Bequia she told me about a great dive she had done there years ago with Glenroy (Dive Grenadines) and Bill Tewes (Dive St Vincent) so we began the work on convincing Glenroy to do a rendezvous dive there with us.


Lunch on the Yacht
After arriving at Canouan Sarah serves up another wonderful meal. The Grenadines are pretty remote, when we provisioned at the start of the trip the container ship had not come in so there was chicken in the supermarkets.


She is a very talented chef and could put together wonder meals from whatever we could get locally, always made fresh and with the various diet restrictions and likes and dislikes of the guests.




Lucky's Reef Canouan
Normally we would do the dive called "Little Bay" at the point where the rocks jut out and the small wall behind it.


However, earlier this year a new hotel sprang up with carted in white sand for a beach and unrestricted construction run off that fouled the reef and buried part of it in imported sand. Hopefully over time this "progress" will have abated its adverse effects on the coral reef, which is kind of the whole point of being there in the first place.


We dive another part of the small wall further South that the Captain Collin found and named Lucky's Reef.


We enter the water at 3:30 PM under sunny skies for a 1 hour 12 minute dive, maximum depth 73', surface current only, visibility 25' and water temperature 84F.


Many yachts anchor in this area and much of the structural "wall" is just rock with virtually no coral, sponges or other "fixed" marine life.


There were typical fish, Creole Wrasse were in mating behavior and we did spot critters on the top of the reef not far from where the yacht was anchored.


The highlighted photos are of a Squat Anemone Shrimp that live in association with Giant anemones.


There were several Squat shrimp and we were able to get some macro shots despite the shrimp staying behind the tentacles of the anemone.


We also highlight the difference between the Secretary Blenny and the Spinyhead Blenny that can appear virtually identical except for the White line behind the eye that is always present on a Secretary Blenny.


We rated this dive as BELOW AVERAGE at 2.5 mainly because of the damage to and lack of coral and sponges on what could have been a great reef.


It had structure, but merely sand at the base, there were typical fish, but not high densities and the average diver would consider it dead or boring. We always find things on every dive, regardless of conditions, but we rate the sites on what we think the average recreational diver would enjoy.


Captain's Cocktails
Every night at 5 PM the captain whips up "captain's cocktails". These are usually blender drinks that are best made up in batches.


Along with cocktails there are snacks prepared by the chef to enjoy as the afternoon fades into another beautiful sunset.


Afterwards dinner will be served between 7 PM and 8 PM so there is plenty of time after sunset to hop in the warm saltwater "pool" that surronds the yacht, take a shower or just kick back and relax.


Sunset Over Canouan
We love these Sailing and Diving trips with Tradewinds not just because of the great places where we can dive, but because we do not want to feel pressure to dive, dive, dive like you sometimes feel on dedicated dive boats.


We appreciate the luxury and comfort, the limited number of guests, having everything included so there are no surprises, surcharges or extras.


But most of all, the time to unwind and live in the moment. Sip a cocktail and spend half an hour watching the sun slowly fade into the horizon, the sky to fill with rose and orange hues, a warm zephyr blowing through the lines as tiny waves gently kiss the hull.


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Friday - 21 OCT 2016


Breakfast in Tobago Cays
We are in the Tobago Cays Marine Park, so there is no diving except with Glenroy, the local authorized dive shop in Union: Dive Grenadines.


But today is a day that we take a break from diving to snorkel, explore and get the party started with breakfast mimosas.


It is also very important to make sure your have lots and lots of sun screen!





Donald & Audrey in Tobago Cays
We are sitting around the table after breakfast, talking about the snorkeling in the turtle sanctuary and Corey Victor Krosley says "that boat looks like the one Donald Alexander John Harper & Audrey Harper are crewing."


Sure enough it was them and we give a big ahoy as they pass.


They crewed for Tradewinds for many years and they were highly coveted as crew for the members. We were with them on Royal Capes and Privileges including their first charter in the Grenadines many years ago.


Their tradition of excellence and personal commitment to doing everything possible to assure the guests have a great time helped them rise through the ranks and eventually crew the Tradewinds Flagship on its "Private Charters".


They left the club on good terms to crew a private yacht for both its the owners and on charter. This yacht is similar to the Prestige that Tradewinds recently added to the Flagship fleet.


It was pure serendipity for us to wave them on, and our privilege to consider them our friends.


Exploring Baradol
By about 9:45 AM we load up in the dinghy to explore the uninhabited Cay named Baradol.


The turtle sanctuary is adjacent, but we decided that it is better to hike up in the morning before it gets too hot, then we can cool off with a snorkel in the turtle protected area and swim back to the boat.


If it has rained recently you may find land tortoises, snails and hermit crabs, but then the hike can be slick at times. This day it was very dry and none of those critters were spotted.


The island has many iguanas, including at least one white one, although I have not seen him in the past 2 years.


In recent years a storm blew down a group of coconut tress that used to line the beach on the sanctuary side. It still has amazing views.


It is pretty cool to know you are the only ones on this island. That is a big advantage of avoiding high season: getting the island to yourself.


When you make this trek wear a light shirt and sneakers or other firm footwear. There are lots of cacti and other plants with sharp thorns all over the place so good footwear and a cover will avoid scratches and scrapes.


Many times people will say they found nothing, but being quiet and looking carefully in the trees, on top of cactus and in sun rays between shady areas is where you will find them.


Its a good idea to bring water or anything to drink.


Then you can find a shady spot and sit for awhile gazing upon one of the most beautiful places on the planet, living in the moment and taking a deep breath realizing that this now, is just about as good as it gets.


Snorkel the Turtle Sanctuary
By about 10:45 AM we pick up the snorkel gear we left on the beach while exploring Baradol and head for the water in search of turtles feeding on the turtle grass.


We spot about a half dozen of various sizes and a Goldspotted Eel, many juvenile fish hiding along the float lines, Southern Ray, Scrawled Filefish, Rosey Razorfish, Sea Stars and tiny juvenile squid.


There are also awesome views of Baradol from the water, Jamesby, Union Island, Mayruea and the Horseshoe reef.


The pictures of the catamaran yacht from in the water at a distance, below the trampoline and looking across the top of the saloon will hopefully help immerse you in sense of what it is like.


We don't dive at all today so meals can be enjoyed with beer or wine or sparkling water. The day is for play is this watery paradise.


The view from Jamesby Cay
When you are in the Tobago Cays, climbing up to the top of Jamesby may not seem like it is worth it, but it is something that you need to do.


While it doesn't look like much of a climb, you will need sneakers or some secure footwear to avoid injuring your feet.


It is only about ten minutes to do at a slow and steady pace, but there is no walking path, you must climb the rocky trail.


When you get to the top however, you will experience some of the best views of Horseshoe Reef and the Tobago cays.


The first time we visited here we could not get over the colors of the water and we thought that the pictures we had seen were altered.


This is what it really looks like.


The combination of sand and reef, lush tropical islands, white sand and jutting rocks, are all as pictured, but unbelievably more vibrate and stunning than any mere photograph can convey.


We have been fortunate to have been to the Grenadines many times and to many other beautiful locations and to have done hundreds and hundreds of SCUBA dives in these waters.


We are sincere when we say that we have created what we feel are the best SCUBA vacations possible because even if you aren't a SCUBA diver, you will love this.


There is always plenty to do for couples with one person who dives and one who does not or even if you feel like skipping this dive or that activity.


Beauty, comfort and relaxation with the option for a variety of fun activities with a very small group of similar minded people really needs to be experienced to fully understand.


In my view its "All About the Journey" and how many days you "lived", not the amount of toys you have or the days you "existed".


Promise yourself to stand on top of Jamesby and see it for yourself, while you still can. It is easy to do. Then this could be you on a day "your" dreams are made of.


Mayreau and Robert Righteous Rasta Bar
Friday afternoon and we head to Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau to look at the Tobago Cays from the Catholic church at the top of the hill, then spend a few hours at Robert Righteous Reggae Bar.


The rickety dinghy dock is a little dangerous but also part of the charm of this island of 600 inhabitants whose only source of income is from the cruisers who stop there.


The first time we visited was in 2008 o an evening in late December during one of the "9 Mornings" before Christmas, basically 9 continuous days of celebration and very little work getting done.


All of a sudden all the lights went out. One of the crew who was very familiar with the island said, "Its only been a couple years since the generator was installed. Somebody probably is hungover and forget to go fill the generator with diesel. They'll wake him up and the power will be on in half an hour", and it was.


The people there are very friendly, but there is a vast difference between the the money and bling the tourist have, and the relative poverty of the inhabitants.


Nevertheless, they are kind and helpful and are never offensive unless they are disrespected. An unfortunate byproduct of many ugly tourists who look down on the very people who have opened their paradise to those very visitors.


The people there do for themselves with very little and Robert has built his entire building, much of it with mismatched tiles, pieces of pallets and tree branches.


Painted in Rasta colors and decorated with flags from cruisers that ave visited over the years. There is an island charm that can not be duplicated by a phony beach bar on a cruise ship island.


Make sure you drink a rum punch. Its the best rum punch in the Caribbean, and until you finish the 2nd one, you will never realize its made with 180 proof rum.


There are a couple of vehicles on the island and its worth paying one to drive you up the hill and avoid stumbling back down.


We return to the yacht, and Sal tumbles into the water while pushing off the dinghy because it is much more bouncy now than on the way in. Funny how physics changes after drinking rum punches.


We head back to the yacht for showers and a hop over to Union where we dock overnight and have dinner at a new restaurant there.



After returning from Mayreau we have Captain's Cocktails and then head out to Union Island.


While the Tobago Cays would definitely be the better location overnight for many reasons, logistical we need to be in Union for provisioning and turn around and tonight it is Friday and dinner ashore.


So as we sail we put out the lines to troll and actually get a hit, but it is so small we actually thought there was nothing there and it was released.


Since we are on the inside of the Horsehshoe reef we have to go around and it takes a bit long than if we could sail across the reef, but that would be bad for the reef and very bad for the boat.


The setting sun casts a yellow glow on the pointy silhouette of Union Island.


We head to Sparrows, a new restaurant located between Clifton Harbor and Chatham Bay.


Sparrows also offers free taxi service to and from their restaurant to Clifton since many times the yachts are in Clifton for fuel, water and provisions so the guests can take the taxi to Sparrows and use the pool at the resort as well.


We anchor in the bay where Sparrows is located and dinghy ashore for dinner.


The food was excellent and so was both the service and the prices. We were all pleasantly surprised and this would definitely be our choice in the future.


This bay is not as protected as we would like and it was a bit rocky from time to time, but it is a short hop back to Clifton in the morning when we will drop of tanks for air fills then dive with Dive Grenadines in the marine park while the crew provisions and cleans the boat.

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Saturday - 22 OCT 2016


Mayruea Gardens Dive 1
We are already at the mid-Saturday of the 2 week charter. We moved the yacht from the bay at Sparrows resort to the dock at Clifton Harbor then have breakfast aboard.


It is turnaround day for the boat crew. Then need to re-provision the yacht, change all the linen again, clean all the bathrooms, interiors, floors and the decks on the outside and add water, re-fuel, get ice and get rid of the garbage. Since we are not at the base there is no cleaning crew.


The plan is we will Dive with Glenroy's crew on the Dive Grenadines boat and go into the Tobago Cays marine Park.


We have options of dives that we can do, but everyone agrees that we will do Mayreau Gardens twice, because its the best dive in the marine park, rather than one of the other dives like Horseshoe Reef or Purinni Wreck.


It will take the crew all day, so we will get lunch ashore, but be back mid-afternoon before 5 PM Captain's Cocktails.


The swell that has subsided turned up the ocean so everything is a little greener than normal, but this is one of the most colorful, healthy, vibrant and well preserved reef in the Caribbean.


The Dive Grenadines boat picks us up and we head out around Mayreau for the drop at the Gardens. We enter the water at 11 A.M. for a 58 minute dive with a mild North current, under partly sunny skies with 1' - 2' waves on the surface. The maximum depth is 72' with visibility 60' with a green tint and the water temperature is 84F.


The reef is covered in Orange Elephant Ear sponges, soft and hard corals, a dazzling array of other species of colorful sponges, in a series and parallel hills of coral and valleys with white sand bottoms dotted with large and small coral heads.


On this dive there was a small group of 5 reef sharks cruising by on the periphery of vision and 2 can be seen in the highlighted photo. We also highlighted a Hawsbill Turtle and an intermediate Queen Angelfish with an extraordinary color pattern.


There were all of the reef fish you would expect, nurse shark, Barracuda but also great an amazing variety of sponges and corals everywhere. We now that not everyone gets excited about sponges and coral, but they too are marine animals and their presence is par of a healthy reef system.


We rate this dive as SPECTACULAR at 4.5 being one of the very best dives in the hemisphere. On this day the drift was mild,but sometimes it is a rip roaring amusement park ride and coupled with the typical 100+ visibility it becomes a kaleidoscope of color and movement. With the gentle drift we could stop and take photos of not only the sharks and turtles, but blennies or sponge zoanthids.


The site is immense, it has structure, diverse environments, dense and diverse marine life, rarely spotted and common species, and at times is it an amusement park ride. That is why we did it twice.





Mayruea Gardens Dive 2
Our second dive with Dive Grenadines is a double take at the Gardens. After the surface interval we move to another section of the reef which is miles long, the crew checks the current and we are ready for a back roll entry to do it again.


We enter the water at 1:12 P.M. under partly sunny skies, 1' to 2' surfaces waves, with very little to no current. The dive is 1 hour 3 minutes, maximum depth 50' with 60' visibility, 84F water temperature and the halocline of fresh water on the first 15' remains giving a green tint to the water.


The Mayreau Gardens is usually a fast drift with 100' visibility with the divers soaring up and down diagonally across densely packed reef hills and white sand bottom valleys.


The amusement park kaleidoscope effect is awesome, but it also means you can not stop and spend time with photos or a macro subject.


More precisely, although we CAN stop because of our extensive experience in strong current drift diving is South Florida and Cozumel, most of the other divers can not, and neither can the guy pulling the surface marker.


So having a chance to do this dive with mild or no current is really special for us, even though we miss a thrilling adventure ride.


We have talked about and highlighted many different eels, and on this dive we highlight a very large Spotted Moray Eel perched cobra-like from his refuge.


With all the soft coral passing by is a flash when the current is strong, on this dive we could take the time to inspect and found a Slender Filefish.


These tiny Filefish can change color, pattern and apparent texture to match the soft coral they happen to hiding in at the moment.


In the Grenadines we often find Tan Hamlets, typically not found further North in the Caribbean.


Our 4th highlighted photo is a Yellowcheek Wrasse. Typically uncommon further North or West in the Caribbean, they are locally abundant here, and are quite distinctive with their bright Yellow and Purple coloration.


At the end of the album we also included some boat pictures, Palm Island resort and some of the surrounding points of interest.





Walkabout on Union Island
It is the mid-trip Saturday, the dive crew is working on the boat, we finished up 2 dives with Dive Grenadines so its time for a walk about on Union for lunch and for those who want to use a credit card, to go to the dive shop and pay for the dives.


A new walkway is being poured and just as we get to the town square it starts raining. The taxi guy for Sparrows was very kind and dropped us off at Dive Grenadines.


We spent time there, no just waiting out the rain, but internet on the island went out so processing the credit cards came to a stand still. We left our card information and will come back again if there problems.


We have known Glenroy for years and Tradewinds has an ongoing relationship so there are no worries either way.


We end up just grabbing a quick lunch at the Snack Shop where they also have free wi-fi.


Then we do a little tourist shopping in the town square. The taxi driver suggested that we stop by the little shop that his daughter and her mother own.


On these trips its bathing suits, sun dresses and cover ups for the woman and finding a nice sun dress at a reasonable price is not all that easy.


Luckily Corey Victor Krosley finds a dress to buy and it was very reasonable given the 15% VAT that is ncluded in all of the prices.


We head back to the yacht passing the brightly colored water taxis and fishing boats hauled out of the water while on of the big ferries is poised to back into the dock to load and unload passengers, cargo and vehicles.


back at the dock we board around 4 PM with the fresh lobsters that we will be having for dinner.


Happy Island Bar
For a bit of a diversion, and since we are here, we move the yacht off the dock and anchor in the harbor, then dinghy over to Happy Island for the 5 P.M. captain's cocktails and the crew brings along some snacks.


The island was created from fishermen dumping empty conch shells in the same spot in Clifton Harbor. After years, the of shells and sand make a tiny island around 2002. By 2004 "King" brings over some cement and and erects a small palm tree hut and the Happy Island Bar is born.


As time goes by it is continually expanded upon, adding more cement and more structures, battery powered electricity, tables and a dinghy dock and creating a tourist attraction that has become a must see oddity when stopping in Clifton.


While there, a local that runs a parasailing school demonstrates his skills and entertains the guests.




Giant Lobsters for Dinner
During the turnaround the crew picked up some fresh lobsters from a local fisherman.


He asked for 9 pounds of 1 to 2 pound lobsters, but he only had two 4 - 5 pound lobsters left so everyone who had lobster had lobster too large for the plates.







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