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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

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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 IV

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Sunday - 23 OCT 2016


Chatham Bay South
On the mid-trip Sunday morning, we depart from Clifton Harbor and sail around Union to Chatham Bay.


After breakfast on board, and some discussion about the dives and where to position the yacht we get ready for the first dive of the day.


We decide to do the South side as the first dive. We always do this as a drift, but the tricky part is finding a good anchorage far enough down to minimize the distance we need to swim or dive since the reef gets better the closer you get to Ms. Irene Point.


We enter the water at 10:05 A.M. under sunny skies for a 1 hour 8 minute dive with a maximum depth of 52' and no current. The visibility varies with depth, 25' in shallower depths and 50' when depth is around 40' or greater, but water temperature was steady at 84F deeper than 25'.


The site starts as a gentle slope covered in turtle grass and as you approach the shore, sand and rubble with patch coral, then it turns into a much steeper slope as your near the point, then it widens out again, as you round the point.


Sal pulls a surface marker to help the ther divers keep with the group and to make sure the boat crew know where we are at in the dive. At about 50 minutes the captain will head out in the dinghy to a spot nearby to pick us up.


This site does not have the dense coral and sponge coverage or variety that you see in the marine park, but there are lots of nooks and crannies, large schools of Creole Wrasse, Blue Runners, and Brown Chromis, mixed environments and some unusual fish.


We spotted 3 different Peppermint Basslets that hide inside dark holes so basically you have one possible shot to get a picture before they dash deep into the Swiss cheese maze behind the front opening.


The best shot was at the moment he turned to dart back into the opening, but the distinctive tail markings make it clear this was a Peppermint Basslet.


We round other the highlights with a Dusky Squirrelfish, generally pretty uncommon elsewhere.


A large Green Moray Eel, that is not seen very often in these parts despite all the different eels seen on this trip, was deep into his hole but kept his head out so we could get several nice shots.


A school of Creole Wrasse doing what they like to do, swim in formation up and down reef like a long train parading head to tail only a few wide.


We also included a couple photos of the ships electronic chart that shows the depth contours at the site.


We rated this dive as VERY VERY GOOD at 3.75 and even though it does not dazzle with dense corals ad colorful sponges, there is good cover in most areas, a variety of environments with lots of cover and very quantities of fish including some that are rare or uncommon.


Chatham Bay on Union
After the first dive dive on the South, we move the yacht into position on the North side before lunch.


After lunch it will be a leisurely afternoon dive and we will anchor here overnight.







Chatham Bay North
The 2nd dive in Chatham Bay is the North side wall. On this side there is a large section of shallow reef that is usually filled with silversides and presents a great opportunity for snorkelers. Especially when the birds are darting headlong into the water to hunt them.


We enter the water at about 3 P.M. under sunny skies with no waves or current for a 1 hour 8 minute dive with maximum depth of 72', visibility of 50' below 40' and water temperature at 84F.


The dive plan is surface swim from the yacht until we get closer to the point, then continue on that heading dropping down at the wall and turn right. Multilevel on the return back up the wall and back to the boat on a reverse heading.


On the sandy bay getting to and from the wall section there is patch coral and several "beds" scattered along the bottom. Not sure what they are, but they are a landmark that you are headed the right way.


This visibility on the sand was 20', but when the visibility is better you can often find rays, Sand Divers and sometimes schools of silversides depending on close you go to the shoreline.


In this album we have highlighted Sponge Peppermint Shrimp, White Spotted Filefish, a Belted Cardinalfish and a Shy Hamlet.


In the "wall" section of the reef there are lots of ledges, overhangs and tunnels where lots of different reef fish and critters use as their home.


There was easily a dozen different eels, lots of Hamlets, Damselfish and Blackbar Soldierfish, Chromis and many other critters and fish.


We rated this dive as VERY VERY GOOD at 3.75 despite the halocline casting the green tint on everything, this dive is always fun with lots to see.


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Monday - 24 OCT 2016


Dive Grenadines Pick Up
After breakfast in Chatham where we anchored overnight, we leave Union Island and head North back to Canaouan.


Glenroy agreed to have the boys bring us to Petiti Canouan but he wanted to have the boat meet us in Canouan, not bring us there and back from Union. The white is not running and the blue boat is smaller so Glenroy wants to minimize the distances that we travel in it.


By 9:45 A.M. the blue boat arrives. In the distance once again one can see the pointy mountains of Union Island.


Petite Canouan Dive
This is an uninhabited Cay and neither the fishermen or dive boats go to this area. The only visitors are the birds and passing cruisers heading South to Canouan.


Cathy at Dive Bequia had talked about diving here years ago wit Bill Tewes of Dive St Vincent and Glenroy of Dive Grenadines and after days of talking it over the wait was finally over.


We enter the water at 10:51 A.M. under sunny skies with 1' - 2' surface waves, though in the open ocean between the islands there were some larger rollers that occasionally broke over the sides of the little blue boat.


The dive 59 minutes wth a maximum depth of 73' with 80' of visibility, 84F and a medium Southeast current. The Halocline was still present but much smaller and the deeper the clearer it became.


We started at the point with the current whipping us around and as we turned right and went back up the reef the current declined and eventually completely dissipated.


The structure is gorgeous and there were stacks of plate coral 20' high.


There was pristine reef everywhere with high density coverage of hard corals, colorful sponges and many hydroids. These formations provided many hiding places for critters and it was inside one of the plate coral overhangs that Sal spotted the Copper Lobster.


We highlighted one of the photos of the reef structure, a rare all white Red Lipped Blenny, a Peppermint Basslet and a school of Boga. But it is so hard to choose.


For example there were 3 variations of Red Lipped Blennies: All White; Gray and Solid Black.


The was a rare Copper Lobster, Batwing Coral Crab, Hairy Clinging Crab, Spotted and Caribbean Lobsters, Nurse sharks, Purplemouth Eels, various Coneys, Creolefish, Creole Wrasse and on and on.


Needless to say this dive was EXCELLENT and rated 4.0 and we were fortunate that we could set it up but it was quite pricey as we had to pay the half day rate for the boat and crew coming out to $130 per person.


However, it is one of those chances to dive at a pristine location and you never know it that opportunity will happen again.





Return to Canouan After the Dive
After the great dive at Petite Canouan, we head back in Dive Grenadines little blue boat for the calm bay in Canouan where the yacht is waiting for our return.


We will have lunch when we board, then relax a bit before working on trying to figure out where the heck Gibraltar Rocks are located. With no GPS for the drop point or heading, it would be just an uneducated guess.


Gibraltar Rocks Canouan
So how do you find a submerged set of rocks in a bay when you have no GPS or any idea of where they are?


We did know that the top of the rocks were about 40' and not far away the bottom dropped to 90" and they were somewhere not too far from the shoreline near the center of this huge bay.


Fortunately, the yacht is equipped with electronic maps and depth finders so we start motoring around the bay, checking the charts and watching our position and low and behold we fins 3 big formations in a straight North South line with tops at about 40'.


The chart is included as am image with the dive computer profile and log book drawing.


We anchor and get our headings and enter the water at 3:15 P.M. for a 50 minute dive under partly sunny skies, with a maximum depth of 78'. The visibility varied from 10' in the fist 20' of depth, to 50' when you were 30' deep or more. Water was 84F with a mild Northwest current.


Since we did not know where it was and the top is at 40', the first 7 or 8 minutes of the dive we maintained a deep profile, following our heading not too far from the sandy bottom hoping that we would find Gibraltar Rocks.


That plan worked and we found a lobster sanctuary. The rocks are saturated with holes, overhangs and small caves and filled with lobsters.


We highlight the unique Copper Lobster, Black and White Condominium Tunicates and one hole of very many with half a dozen lobsters in it.


We spotted Tan, Shy, Yellowtail, Barred and Black Hamlets. There is blurry photo but it is clear it is a Peppermint Basslet. There were Glass Gobies, Spotted Drum, Cardinal Soldierfish and much more.


Inside the holes, delicate Rose Lace Coral was laid out in row after row and pink colored Strawberry Tunicates hung like decorations at several of the openings.


We rated this dive as EXCELLENT at 4.0 and think that if there was good visibility the image of these pinnacle rocks would be amazing. This is the site to do in Canouan and for sure it will be on our itinerary from now on.




Sunset in Canouan
After 2 greats dives its time for cocktails and sunsets.


Looking South from Canouan you can see the pointy mountains of Union Island in the distance.


But there is still a twilight dive in an hour or so from the yacht.


Little Bay Night Dive Canouan
We do a twilight night dive before dinner with one full and one partially full that we might as well use up since there are not enough tanks for a dive for everyone.


Since we back tracked to Canouan to do the Petite Canouan dive, it will be a long sail tomorrow morning to Carriocou so getting fills and the travel and doing a dive may be a problem.


We enter the water at 6:19 PM for a 40 minute dive with a maximum depth of 18', 15' visibility, no waves or current with 86F water temperature.


The highlighted photos are Velvet Shrimp, colorful Christmas Tree Worms, a Spanish Lobster and Giant Basket Star.


A reef Squirrelfish, numerous eels, Flamefish, Rough Fileclams and other critters were photographed.


The area was a bit too shallow without any distinct wall and had so many Sea Urchins that you had to extremely careful at all times as there was a tiny surge, but the water was very shallow.


We rated this dive as BELOW AVERAGE at 2.5 and most divers would not have enjoyed this dive mainly because of the shallowness combined with a little surge and the urchin hazard. Although we found lots of subjects to photograph and would not use a full set of tanks here, to use up the leftover air from a couple odd tanks was worth it to us. We hate to return tanks with air left in them.


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Tuesday - 25 OCT 2016


Snorkel at Sandy Island
The 2nd Tuesday of the 2 week sail to Grenada and yesterday we had back tracked North to Canaouan. So after breakfast it was a long sail South past the Tobago Cays, Mayreau and Union Islands to Carriocou where we also needed to get 3 sets of air fill before we could dive.


After dropping the tanks and lunch we go Sandy Island in Carriacou which is part of the marine park. Diving is not permitted except with a local operator so we decide to snorkel the shallows.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


However, there was wonderful marine life in the fish and critters found.


We highlighted an all black Rep Lipped Blenny and Red Spotted Hawkfish facing each other.


There was also a great shot of an Orange Spotted Filefish taken close enough with ambient light that you can actually see that what appear as lines are actually tiny orange spots.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


A Reef Scorpionfish was also spotted in a dead coral head 3 feet from the surface. Like all scorpionfish, it lays motionless blending into its background waiting to strike.


Finally, a school of Glassy Sweepers parading across the top of the reef. This is very unusual behavior since the copper colored fish are typically only found in caves and under dark ledges.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


There were also schools of Smallmouth and French Grunts, schools of Blue Tang, schools of Silversides, Stoplight and Princess Parrotfish, Mahogany Snappers, Brown Chromis, Sergeant Majors, Nimble Spray Crabs, Yellowtail Hamlets and Bi-Colored Damselfish.


Goldline Blenny, Saddled Blenny and Sharknose Gobies were also spotted.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


Aside from the various all black Red Lipped Blennies there were the gray Red Lipped Blennies, but they always segregated themselves to different coral heads.


There were Spotted Moray and Goldentail Moray Eels and a Southern Ray. There were Spotted Scorpionfish as well as juvenile Trunkfish and Lettuce Slugs.


There were others as well that are not listed or were not photographed and put in this album.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


We were very impressed with this snorkel even though large portions are nothing more than dead coral remains and alga was present everywhere and in large densities in some sections covering everything, the fish life was impressive.


To some extent it seems likely that human intervention caused damage to the shallower sections as we witnessed many tourists and locals standing on what was once hard coral. In the areas that were 10' or more below the surface, the tops of the coral heads were intact further indicating that the reef damage was human based.


The shallow area we we snorkeled was basically hard corals and the rock remnants of a thousand years of hard corals before them, very few sponges or soft corals and significant amounts of alga.


With all that said, it was still an VERY VERY GOOD snorkel for the density and variety of fish despite the extensive damage to the marine life that created most of the reef and is must do snorkel if traveling in that area.



Carriacou Island
It is about 4:45 P.M. and we are returning to Tyrrel Bay after snorkeling at Sandy Island.


Around the point just before staring to enter the Bay there is sits a house on top of a rock. The house was either never competed or it is abandoned and left open. It is an oddity.


There must be a path but there does not seem to be any road and certainly no easy way to get to the water.


Sunset Tyrrel Ray Carrriacou
6 P.M. in Tyrrel Bay. It is the 2nd Tuesday of our 2 week SailDives SCUBA charter from Bequia to Grenada.


We had backtracked from Union to Canaoun to dive at Petitie Canaouan so this morning we had the long sail from Canouan to Carriacou.


We had breakfast, sailed, had lunch and checked in with customs, then snorkeled Sandy Island and returned here for the night for a picture perfect sunset.


Our Wonderful Crew
In the past years we have done over 3 dozen SailDives charters with Tradewinds yachts.


Tradewinds is large enough to have a fleet of ships in many locations, but small enough that we could have dinner with one of the owners last time we were in the BVI.


All the crew are trained to a consistent standard and perform well or they do not last. We have had the pleasure of having many outstanding crew over the years.


Our charters are not the most desirable for the crew because it involves a lot more work, and our itinerary varies with weather and diving conditions making logistics even more challenging.


This crew took on one of the most difficult tasks, not only the extra work of a SailDives charter, but since it is 2 weeks one way, there was no "regular" point for turnaround or provisions from know sources along the way.


This crew handled it with ease. Captain Collin exhibited the judgement and maturity far far beyond his years. He is not only a great sailor and captain, but an experienced and enthusiastic SCUBA diving instructor.


Sarah is the chef and the first mate. She can handle anything that needs doing on the ship, but is most impressive as a chef, not merely a cook.


Her innate abilities allowed her to create awesome meals, from whatever fresh foods we could find locally along the way.


Usually there is a menu and the base provisions and has standard points for re-provisioning and supplies along the way. On this trip we started out and the food container had not arrived on time so there was no chicken to be had.


This theme of undependable supplies repeated itself throughout the trip, but it never phased her or affected her talents to produce vegetarian, gluten free, no fish and regular menus for the guests.


Being crew has great location benefits, but tough living conditions. Can you image 2 people living in the coffin (narrow forepeak of one hull) for a year? Your head being in the other forepeak and everything you own has to fit in there too?


It is a tough way to live. However what makes this crew so exceptional is how they handle it with grace and ease.


It is clear they love each other and love sailing and being the hosts.


This comes through everyday in the experience they create for their guests, and it was our pleasure and honor to have sailed with them.


They are taking a well deserved break after their contract is over. Tradewinds and their loyal guests and members would be well served if they return because they are one of the very finest among a set of excellent crew demanded by the Tradewinds standards of performance.


If they do not return and life takes them on a different path for their journey, know that you will be blessed if you have the privilege of their company, whether as guests or crew.


We wish them health, happiness and our love, wherever the journey of life takes them. It's All About the Journey.




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