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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
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

Itinerary Union and Return Part II

This is PART II of the photo journal of the 2015 One week trip from Bequia in St Vincent to Union Island and return. All the photos were taken on the dates and places listed so that you can get a feel for what this cruise is like. We can not guarantee that this will be "exactly" what we do on any future itinerary or that you will see the exact same things we saw on this trip, but if you take the time to read the journal, look at the photos and click the linked photos to see the full photo albums, you will have a very good understanding of what this type of a trip is like.

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Wednesday - 01 JUL 2015

Dive 1 - Chatham Bay South
Our first dive of the day is in Chatham on Union Island at the South end of the Bay.

We do this as a drift and typically it is only the North side that is done.

We have also done this dive in the past and now from experience that our start point needed to be further West than our typical triangle rock because the far end toward the point is the best section of reef.

When we start the dive after breakfast at 8:30 AM, it is sunny with a slight West or outgoing tidal current with no waves. The dive is 1 hour 6 minutes, maximum depth 58' average 37', 81F and visibility is 75'.

There is a sloping reef along the edge of the bay that gets deeper as one approaches the point, a sand and rubble margin and grass in the center of the bay.

Dive plan is dinghy drop at the beginning of the flat wall that stands out, to follow the reef and sand edge to the point for one hour, surface and signal the boat for pick up in the dinghy.

We photograph White Spotted Filefish, Brown Chromis, intermediate Yellowtail Parrotfish, Spotted Moray, Blue Chromis, Banded Butterflyfish, Banded Coral Shrimp, Bi-colored Damselfish, sponge zoanthids, White Condominium Tunicates, Octopus, Tomtate, Scrawled Filefish, Black Condominium Tunicate, intermediate Yellowtail Damselfish and Grey Snapper.

The Jackknife fish, similar to the Spotted Drum, is found occasionaly in these waters but rarely spotted further North in the Caribbean.

We also photographed Yellowhead Jawfish, Fleshy Coral, Creole Wrasse, Blackbar Soldierfish, French Grunt, Graysby, Spiny Lobster, Blue Tang, Sharptail Eel, intermediate Spotted Drum, Yellowtail Hamlet, Flamingo Tongue, Trumpetfish (blue phase), Yellowheads, Blueheads, Striped Parrotfish, Lionfish, Rock Hind, Longjaw Squirrelfish, Eagle Ray, Deepwater Octocoral Fan and Red Band Parrotfish terminal phase. We were surprised to spot juvenile Sunshinefish, juvenile Queen Angelfish and juvenile Beaugregory and juvenile Yellowtail Hamlet, but the reef has a wide variety of enviorments and lots of places for juviniles to find safe hiding spots.

We rate this dive VERY GOOD ay 3.5 and always enjoy doing this dive when we come to Union Island.

The reef is full of life, very colorful, has a variety of environments, nice sloping reef that starts flat and becomes steep as the depth increases, sand and grass although we did not move onto the grass or explore more than small sections of sand.

Dive 2 - Chatham Bay North
After breakfast on board the yacht we move the boat to the North side of the Chatham Bay for our 2nd dive before lunch.

We enter the water at 11:45 AM, it is sunny with no waves or current. The dive is 1 hour 22 minutes, maximum depth 73' average 36', 81F and visibility is 60'.

The dive plan is cross the sand turn right at the sloping reef turn around and multilevel back.

Typically this site has suspended particles and tons of fish, and you cross over what we call the "bed frames", trash dumped that look like beds frames, on your way to and from the wall.

This site has a small sloping wall, with lots of small overhangs, plate coral, and hiding spots.

We find many differnt types of Hamlets on this site and you may be able to spot Shy, Black, Yellowtail, Barred and Tan Hamlets on this single dive. So if you like Hamlets, this will be a great dive for you.

We photographed Tomtates, Striped Parrotfish, Brown Chromis, Yellow Goatfish, Blue Tang, Ocean Surgeonfish, Blue Chromis, Yellowtail Hamlet, Honeycomb Cowfish, Barred Hamlet, juvenile Sunshinefish, Shy Hamlet, juvenile Golden Coney, Creole Wrasse, Blackbar Soldierfish.

We also spotted and photgraphed in this album Split crown Feather Duster, juvenile Beaugregory, Spotted Moray, Bi-colored Damselfish, French Grunt, Graysby, Cherubfish, Trumpetfish, Sand diver, Lane Snapper, Hamlet Yellowtail, juvenile Trunkfish, Longjaw Squirrelfish, juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish.

Finally, the full album has photos of Red Spotted Hawkfish, Mahogany Snapper, Three Spot Damselfish, Whitespotted Filefish, Yellowtail Parrotfish, intermediate phase, juvenile Barred Hamlet, Crab, juvenile Greenblotch Parrotfish, hybrid Tan-Barred Hamlet, Spotted Trunkfish, Tobacco fish, Goldentail Moray, Flamingo Tongue, Southern Ray, Striped Parrotfish, Blackear Wrasse.

We rate this dive 3.75, VERY VERY GOOD.

The site has reef wall to multilevel, sand and grass, large numbers of locally common fish, and rarely seen species.

This is a wonderful dive and not to missed if you are Union Island.

Mayruea Island - Paradise Lost
Late afternoon we go ashore to check out the island views and to visit Righteous Robert.

There is some new construction at the beach and wireless is being set up.

As we wait for a car to bring us up "the road" we find out that these new buildings are for a new shopping area.

The quaint colorful shacks, crooked and mismatched, with tin roofs and tree branches made into supports, will give way to concrete and glass.

We visit the hill top church for the view of the Tobago Cayes. We show our companions where the park bench used to be at the top of the hill, that once had the best view of Saltwhistle Bay on one side and the Tobago Cayes on the other.

Now gone, and the remnants of the concrete platform dumped aside the fence. The princess has taken back the land and built a house with a fence, so now everyone else must walk around the fence, stand on rocks to see what used to be a breath taking site for everyone to enjoy.

That old park bench, bounded by a cactus wall and a broken down shade, was one of those rare places on earth where you could breathe in "The Moment".

Curtis lives across the way and we stop to say hello and embrace. We have seen him many times in our travels here and used to take pictures of the "kids", both children and his goats that played in the grassy field where the house of the princess now stands.

We walk down to Robert's, with the peaks of Union in the distance and greet our friend. Show the old tee shirt of Sal and Robert from many years ago, now filled with French graffiti.

We visit with Robert in the VIP room that he hand finished last year and he laments the changes in what was once their paradise.

The princess is selling off the island, a new development is already being built, and his beloved Mayruea will never be the same. Before long, like Mustique, the wealthy will inhabit the shoreline and cliff views while the locals are contained in the center, presumably their servants.

The quite little island, off the beaten path, where the 300 or so residents knew everybody, will become "developed".

Another paradise is lost to concrete and glass, mansions for the wealthy, and servant jobs for those who remain.

The first time we met Robert they only electric on the island for 4 years, and there were 3 cars. It was quite, remote and everyone was friendly.

We wonder how much have we contributed to "paving paradise to put up a parking lot"? With best intentions the visitors come with watches and cameras, sun glasses, cell phones and jewelry, new clothes and money. Things they would never have in their paradise.

So now maybe as servants they will have some money, and buy some gadgets, and get new sneakers.

But neither they, nor will we, ever again sit in the golden field on the top of the hill, with the children playing and goats calling, gazing at beauty of paridise on Earth, and living life "in the moment".

Dinner aboard and John Paul
Dinner on the cat, and a rousing (drinking) game with John Paul the frog.

We happen to like fresh salads with dinner, and as Corey is a vegetarian, having an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables is a requirement.

We relax and enjoy another dinner, dessert with wine, beer and cocktails.

We talk about the dives, and all the changes that have happen on Mayruea and there is little discussion about the benefits, it is all too familiar misguided management and greed.

Enough with that it is time to play everyone's favorite game "John Paul" the frog.

It probably goes without saying that this is a drinking game, but it is also the perfect drinking game becauase it is so simple. You can see that on everyone's face as it is explained.

When it is your turn, you must say the next segment of a simple phrase. If you make a mistake, then you take a drink.

The phase hase the following segments: "John Paul"; "the frog"; "jumped in"; "to the"; "pond"; "PLOP!".

The only tricky part is once you go around, then when you start the second round you must repeat the segment twice before moving to the next segment. So after the first time it becomes: "John Paul"; "John Paul"; "the frog"; "the frog"; "jumped in"; "jumped in"; "to the"; "to the"; "pond"; "pond"; "PLOP!"; "PLOP!".

Then the third round each segment repeats 3 times and so on, but we have never gotten past 3 full rounds before someone has to drink.

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01-WED 02-THU 03-FRI 04-SAT TOP

Thursday - 02 JUL 2015

Leaving Mayreau to Sail to St Vincent
On Thursday after an early breakfast, we leave Mayruea at 7:30 A.M. for the long sail back to St Vincent.

Our goal is to get some St Vincent diving in before returning to the base that was recently relocated back to Bequia.

Stratmann to Devils Table
When you are doing there sailing cjharters, there are many logistial issues that have to be addressed. We charter with the Tradewinds company because they are the largest all crewed catamaran company in the Caribbean. They aslo know how to deal with logisticl problems.

Part of handling the coordination is training and experience. The crews have traveled these waters dozens of times and have a pretty good idea of what to do.

The yachts are also equiped with lots of electronics and auto pilot that allows one to pilot the course and the ship will sail itself.

However, despite the training, experience and planning, there is no accounts for the weather. We all know the return is against the wind, ojn this day the wind and currents were working against us and even with the sails and motors up, it was a slow trek North.

The sail back was longer than expected, in fact the longest it had ever taken since JJ was captain, so we stop in Bequia, rather than try to make it to St Vincent.

We decide to do a slightly different dive, from Stratmann to Devil's Table with dinghy drop off and pick up after 1 hour.

We enter the water at 4:50 PM, there is a mild North current, it is overcast with 1' - 2' waves. The dive is 1 hour 12 minutes, maximum depth 55' aveage 32', 81F with 45' visibility.

We photograph Peppermint Basslet, Spanish Slipper Lobster, Spotted Cleaning Shrimp, Red Spotted Hawkfish, a very large Green Moray, Brown Chromis, Yellow Lined Arrow Crab, Blackbar Soldierfish, numerous crabs, Secretary Blenny, juvenile Spotted Drum, Spotted Drum, Blue Chromis, Yellowheads, Scalloped Slipper Lobster, Longnose Butterfly Fish, Orange Spotted Filefish and Scrawled Filefish.

We rate ths dive 3.5, VERY VERY GOOD.

It has diversity, color, lots of fish and many rarely seen species.

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01-WED 02-THU 03-FRI 04-SAT TOP

Friday - 03 JUN 2015

Dive 1 - Bat Cave
Our last day, Friday, we move the yacht from Bequia to St Vincent and anchor near the Bat Cave, have breakfast and then prepare for the first dive.

An awesome rainbow greets us.

It is sunny, with no current, 1' waves and we enter the water at 8:45 AM. We are on a tight schedule so we agree that dive times will be limited to 1 hour. Maximum depth 85' average 48', 81F with 75' visibility.

The dive plan is dinghy drop off near the entrance, we will enter the cave, then turn left and follow the light to exit at depth, then turn left and follow the reef wall around and be picked up in 1 hour.

The cave is open and filled with bats so that the entire time there is no overhead obstruction to the surface, but the cave is filled with bats and guano.

If you decide to stay on the surface since the initial depth is shallow and maintaining buoyancy would be difficult, do not use the snorkel as it is suggested to keep regulators in to continue to breathe clean air.

We photograph the entrance and below and above the surface in the Bat Cave which indeed is filled with bats that are disturbed and take flight along with lots of pictures of the reef and its anchored marine life.

We photograph Golden Crinoid which have not seen elsewhere int he Grenadines.

Wire Coral and finding Wire Coral Shrimp has been very productive throughout the charter, but particularly at this site.

We also photograph Blue Chromis, Black Coral, juvenile Sunshine fish, Brown Chromis, Blackbar Soldierfish, Smallmouth Grunt and Chain Moray which is also a species that we find in St. Vincent, but few other places except on the other Grenadine Islands.

The list goes on, becasue aside from the crazy stucture and the actual bats in the cave, the reef on the other side is awesome.

The album also includes photographs of Yellowtail Hamlet, Deepwater Fan octocoral, Yellow Goatfish, Rock Beauty, Fleshy Coral, Cherubfish, intermediate Spotted Drum, Peterson Shrimp, Corkscrew Anemone, White Condominium Tunicate, Magnificent Feather Duster, Spotted Moray, Bluehead Wrasse, Sponge Zoanthid, Bi-colored Damselfish, juvenile Yellowtail Hamlet, Trumpetfish, Spotfin Butterflyfish, Beaded Crinoid, Christmas Tree Worm, Barred Hamlet, Golden Coral Shrimp, Sennet, Scrawled Filefish, Whitenose Pipefish, Scorpionfish, Smooth Trunkfish and Cardinal Soldierfish.

We rate this dive at 4.25, SUPER EXCELLENT.

A unique dive that is not be missed, one of the best in the Caribbean. The dive includes the fun aspect of going through the cave filled with bats, but ends deep on a wall that descends very deep.

Along the way there are large shelves at various levels filled with colorful sponges, hard and soft corals, but also sand patches with critters like the Whitenose Pipefish highlighted as the album cover.

When you can not decide what shot to highlight, the Pipefish (one of 3), the Cherub fish (one of several), the Wire Coral Shrimp (one of several), the Chain Moray (2 spotted), the Spotted Moray being cleaned by a Golden Coral Shrimp and a Peterson Shrimp, or a Cardinal Soldierfish out of its hiding spot in daylight, it pretty mush sums up the dilemma of a really great dive site.

There were thousands of schooling fish and we spent a lot of time at depth hunting the wire coral with multiple successes then another long period on shelves at 40' - 50' and because of its length and breathe this dive can be done many different ways.

The great visibility really added to the dive as we have done this site with low visibility, and although everything is still there, you lose being able to see the great vistas of the walls and huge schools of Brown Chromis that great visibility provides.

This is a site that any diver would really enjoy.

Dive 2 - Orca III Wall
After the Bat cave, we move the yacht in position for doing doubles at Orca III.

We will do these same site in 2 different ways, first the "Wall", then the 2nd dive as the "Grass".

We enter the water at 11:15 AM, it is sunny, 0' - 1' waves, slight current virtually none. The dive is 1 hour 11 minutes, still keeping to our 1 hour maximum dive times due to the fact we must get back to Bequia today. The maximum depth 81' and average 32', 81F with 85' visibility.

The dive plan is follow the sand grass line along the margin to the wall turn around and multilevel back, or "around the corner and back" which became our short cut for this type of plan.

We focus on trying to find the home of the pair of Black Brotulas we had seen with Calle from Dive St Vincent and spent most of the dive in the same general area moving up and down the reef looking for that triangular rock and the deep crevice next to it.

Eventually we find it, but do not see the Brotulas, probably they were there, but since we were not sure, gave up too quickly. A later photo comparison verified the spot was correct, we found the home, but just did not ring the doorbell long enough.

We photograph Christmas Tree Worms, Octopus, juvenile Magnificent Urchin, Corkscrew Anemones, Peterson Shrimp, Striped Parrotfish, Brown Chromis, Blackbar Soldierfish, Sergeant Major, Longjaw Squirrelfish, intermediate Yellowtail Parrotfish, terminal phase Redband Parrotfish, Spotted Drum, juvenile Spotted Drum, Peppermint Goby, Black Coral, Spotted Trunkfish, Rose Lace Coral, Wire Coral, Peppermint Basslet (rarely observed), Scorpionfish, intermediate Spotted Drum, Three Spot Damselfish, Branching Anemone, Ballonfish, Smallmouth Grunts, Blue Spotted Coronetfish (rare), Jackknife Fish, Mutton Hamlet, Sharptail Eel, Female Green Razorfish, Male Green Razorfish, Longsnout Seahorse, juvenile Triggerfish (not sure which species), Pencil Slate Urchin, Bar Jacks.

We rate this dive 4.25 SUPER EXCELLENT.

This is the dilemma of a great dive, Seahorse, Blue Spotted Coronetfish, Peppermint Basslet, Octopus what is the highlight? We saw so many sea horses that they become "ho-hum"?

Most divers have never seen a Blue Spotted Coronetfish so that becomes the winner, with Peppermint Basslet and Seahorse coming in third, but really, we were the winners, on another super excellent dive in St Vincent.

How could you go to St Vincent and miss a dive like this?

Dive 3 - Orca III Grass
Our final dive of our 2 weeks in St Vincent and the Grenadines is Orca III grass.

We enter the water at 12:45 PM, it is sunny, with no waves or current.

The dive is 56 minutes as we must maintain out schedule to get back to the base in Bequia within the required time that we must be at the dock for the end of our travels.

The water is 81F, maximum depth is 22' and average is 17' with 45' visibility.

The dive plan is simple, we move around the grass flat near the boat for our last search for critters and our farewell to St Vincent.

We photograph some of the more commonly obsered species like Porcupinefish, Bi-colored Damselfish, Brown Chromis, Spiny Lobster, Flamefish, Harlequin Bass, juvenile French Angelfish, Peacock Flounder and Sharptail Eel.

We also photgraph some speies that are locally found, but are uncommon or rarely spotted elsewhere. The Golden Coral Shrimp, Scarlet Lined Cleaning Shrimp, Longsnout Seahorse, juvenile octopus, Female Green Razorfish and Male Green Razorfish.

The Blackear Wrasse and Goldspotted Eel are also locally abundant, but rarely spotted elsewhere.

We have only seen a Key Worm Eel once before in South Florida in the Riviera beach area, home to the famous Blue Heron Bridge. However we did not spot the Key Worm Eel at the bridge, but rather on a reef dive.

Since we are in the grass we spot and photograph Reef Squid, initial phase Yellowhead Wrasse, Lantern Bass, Spotted Moray, initial phase Slippery Dick, intermediate Cottonwick, juvenile French Grunt, juvenile Smallmouth Grunt, Flamefish, juvenile Ocean Surgeonfish, Foureye Butterflyfish juvenile, Bi-colored Damselfish and Blackbar Soldierfish.

We again rate this dive site 4.25 SUPER EXCELLENT.

It is time to head out, and we take some final photos leaving St Vincent, another awesome dive trip ends and we start thinking about planning another one.

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01-WED 02-THU 03-FRI 04-SAT TOP

Saturday - 04 JUN 2015

Dive 1 - Moonhole Cave
Our first dive is Moonhole Cave.

There are 3' - 4' waves, sunny and there is big surge 0' - 30' then less at deeper depth. We enter the water at 9:45 AM, the dive is 1 hour 7 minutes, maximum depth 64' average 40', 81F, with 75' visibility.

It is a drift dive. The site is a sloping reef that leads down to sand and rubble at 60' and then flattens out and becomes grass.

When doing this dive you can at the sand and grass line in the beginnng of the dive, then as the reef gets deeper, move across the patch coral onto the reef slope. However, if the surge is too strong, as it was this day, you can not enter the cave and you must be careful not to be thrust into the coral and rocks if you dive close to the wall.

We photograph Barred Hamlet, Brown Chromis, Blue Chromis, Creole Wrasse, terminal phase Red Band Parrotfish, schooling Boga, Nurse Shark, Spotted Moray, Deepwater octocoral Fan, Black Condominium Tunicates, intermediate Yellowtail Damselfish, Reef Croaker, Caesar Grunt, Azure Vase Sponge, Cherubfish, Sand Diver, Yellow Cheek Wrasse, Scarlet Lined Cleaning Shrimp, Dusky Squirrelfish and Striped Parrotfish.

We rate this dive 4.0 EXCELLENT.

The dive has great structure, lots of fish, great coral and sponges, sand and rubble and grass as well as many rarely seen marine species.

The school of Boga is always great and the Creole Wrasse mixed in a bit.

The Dusky Squirrelfish and Reef Croaker were first photos of these for us.

Even though it was too rough to go into Moonhole Cave, it was fun riding the big surge back and forth across the reef. Weee!

Dive 2 - Brown's Bay
Our final dive of the trip with Dive Bequia is Brown's Bay.

We enter the water at noon, 3' - 4' waves, mild West current, sunny for our last drift dive. The dive is 1 hour 16 minutes, maximum depth 55' average 34', 81F and visibility is 75'.

Rocks at the top of the sloping reef and sand and grass at 45'.

We photograph Blue Chromis, Striped Parrotfish, Azure Vase Sponge, lots of soft and hard corals and colorful sponges, Scrawled Filefish, Yellowhead Jawfish, Squirrelfish, young terminal phase Yellowhead Wrasse, Peacock Flounder, Sea Grapes, Brown Mat Zoanthids, Barracuda, Creole Wrasse, Nimble Spray Crab, Longsnout Butterflyfish, French Grunt, Spanish Hogfish, Peppermint Goby, Longjaw Squirrel fish, Rose Lace Coral, Foureye Butterflyfish, Clown Wrasse, Rock Hind, Lionfish, Mahogany Snapper, Orange King Sponge, Pillar Coral, Spinyhead Blenny, Red Spotted Hawkfish, Ocean Surgeonfish, Banded Butterflyfish, terminal phase Yellowhead Wrasse, Glasseye Snapper, Slender Filefish, Giant Tunicate, Black Durgeon, Elkhorn Coral.

We rate this dive 3.75 VERY VERY GOOG.

The Clown Wrasse were great as well and the various stages of Yellowheads.

Slender Filefish is about as difficult to find as a seahorse or frogfish. This is a very nice site for critters and small fish as well as schools of Brown Chromis. It has a dense and colorful reef, but not the dramatic structure nor the variety in environments to reach the excellent level, but by all accounts it is an enjoyable dive for any skill level.