This article retraces the adventure of Xavier and his friends, who sailed for 8 days in the Grenadine Islands on-board a Bali 4.8 in February 2022. What could be better for escaping the cold of winter than to get away during a catamaran cruise in the Caribbean? The archipelago of the Grenadines is known for being a small corner of paradise for boaters with an infinity of anchorages and islands, each one more spectacular than the next. This is the account of Xavier, who told us about his cruise in the heart of the Grenadines.
Total distance travelled: 250 nautical miles
- Day 1: Le Marin → Beach of Pointe Marin → Les Salines Beach → Le Marin (9 miles) - 2 hours' of sailing
- Day 2: Le Marin → Anse la Raye, Saint Lucia (30 miles) - 6 hours' of sailing
- Day 3: Anse la Raye → Cumberland, Saint-Vincent (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
- Day 4: Cumberland → Bequia (16 miles) - 2/3 hours' of sailing
- Day 5: Bequia → Mustique → Twassante Bay, Mayreau (29 miles) - 6 hours' of sailing
- Day 6: Twassante Bay → Tobago Cays (5 miles) - 1 hour of sailing
- Day 7: Tobago Cays → Morpion → Petit-Saint-Vincent → Bequia (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
- Day 8: Bequia → Chateaubelair, Saint-Vincent → Anse des pitons, Saint-Lucia (48 miles) - 9 hours' of sailing
- Day 9: Anse des pitons → Rodney Bay, Saint-Lucia → Le Marin (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
ARRIVAL AT LE MARIN...
Before leaving, we took care to purchase the equipment necessary to make the most of the cruise: flippers, masks, snorkels, but especially… a few cases of wine, delivered to the port of Le Marin, to enjoy to the full aperitifs at sunset, and evenings on the boat!
After having passed the PCR tests and gone through customs, we finally set foot in Martinique. Once we've reached the port of Le Marin, it's the moment of the reunion with Camille, the skipper with whom we discovered the wonders of the île de Beaut in a previous cruise. The Marina du Marin is lovely! There is Auchan just nearby for getting supplies and a great wine cellar not very far away, which is called the Îlot Vins Marin.
Day 1: Le Marin → Beach of Pointe Marin → Les Salines Beach → Le Marin (9 miles) - 2 hours' of sailing
A day went by before the arrival of the last crew members. We made the most of this time to sail around Le Marin and try out the catamaran. On the first day we went to the beach of Pointe Marin just before Sainte-Anne and we lunched at the famous Club Med Buccaneer’s Creek in Martinique. From here, you can see Diamond Rock! Located in the Caribbean, just to the South of Martinique, the rock owes its name to the brilliant reflections of its walls depending on the time of day, and to its pointed shape, which resembles that of a diamond. On the beach of Pointe Marin, at last it's time for the first bathe of 2022, in the warm, turquoise water of the Caribbean ! The next day, we went to admire the sunset at Les Salines beach, the most beautiful beach in Martinique!
When we were about to leave for a cruise in the West Indies, we had to avoid weighing anchor from the first day and continue directly in the direction of the Grenadines. Less haste, more speed! We needed time to rest and to spend 1 or 2 nights in the port before leaving. Stocking up on supplies, getting used to the boat... The body has to get used to the time difference and to the new climate. Departing for large cruises from the first day can be rather unpleasant for a crew which is not used to navigating.
SAINT-LUCIA AND SAINT-VINCENT...
Day 2: Le Marin → Anse la Raye, Saint-Lucia (30 miles) - 6 hours' of sailing
On Friday morning, everyone was on-board. We set sail for Saint Lucia, first island to the South of Martinique! The first evening, we anchored in Anse la Raye on the island to the North of Saint Lucia. It's a lovely little village with very welcoming fishermen. The island of is known for its extremely lush vegetation and its two peaks classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The latter are two volcanic spires which appear to emerge from the Caribbean sea and which are the pride of the inhabitants of the island. Once we reached Anse la Raye, small fishing boats proposed to sell their catch of the day, on the boat. We chose to buy crayfish for dinner, at around 20€ per kilogramme. It was delicious!
Day 3: Anse la Raye → Cumberland, Saint-Vincent (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
On the second day of the cruise, we continued our cruise to the South, in the direction of Saint-Vincent. Instead of getting off directly in the Grenadines and doing long sails, we preferred to take the time to go from island to island. The islands of Saint Lucia and Saint-Vincent have very lush vegetation, you should take the time to stop there.
For this second night on-board the catamaran, we chose the anchorage of Cumberland on the West coast of the island of Saint-Vincent. This stopover is an extremely exotic setting, and gives good protection from the trade winds, blowing from the North-East. Perfect for spending the night!
IN THE HEART OF THE GRENADINES...
Day 4: Cumberland → Bequia (16 miles) - 2/3 hours' of sailing
Early in the morning, our catamaran resumed the route, doing coastal sailing along the coast under the wind of the island of Saint-Vincent. We passed in front of the famous Walilabou Bay. This bay is well-known since it’s one of the places of filming of many scenes of episode 1 of the saga "Pirates of the Caribbean". If you get off on land, you can see the rest of the scenery from the film!
After having admired the bay from afar, we continued in the Grenadines to the island of Bequia. For the evening, we decided to anchor in the bay of Princess Margaret. We dined in the restaurant Mac’s Pizza & Kitchen, very well-rated on Tripadvisor. It's a restaurant at the water’s edge, there was a great atmosphere with music, and we were able to experience a fantastic sunset.
Day 5: Bequia → Mustique → Twassante Bay, Mayreau (29 miles) - 6 hours' of sailing
Fourth day of the cruise. We raised the sails in the direction of the famous Island of Mustique. This island of the Grenadines is very enjoyed by millionaires and celebrities such as Mick Jagger and even the late David Bowie. On the island of Mustique, we lunched in a very famous restaurant which is called Basil’s Bar. The place is very beautiful, it's really a spot to behold! The advantage is that it was not too busy, and it was rather quiet.
In the afternoon, we sailed to the island of Mayreau to anchor at Twassante Bay between Salt Whistle Bay and Saline Bay. You should opt for this anchorage to the other two since it’s very sheltered and there are fewer people.
Stopover on the Mustique island : Basil's bar and a luxury yacht! (Photo by Xavier and Armelle)
Day 6: Twassante Bay → Tobago Cays (5 miles) - 1 hour of sailing
In this fifth day of the cruise, we headed for the famous Tobago Cays just next to Mayreau. A real gem of the Grenadines, this reserve was an unmissable stopover during our cruise in the archipelago. The “Cays” are the five small uninhabited islands of the reserve, comprised of sand and coral. The loveliest coral reef in the West Indies is here. We saw iguanas, turtles and rays, it was extraordinary! For the anchorage, we hooked up to a buoy between the island of Petit Bateau and the island of Petit Rameau. We then dined in a small West Indian restaurant on Petit Rameau, they do crayfish and grilled fish. Once again, we really enjoyed it. On the agenda: sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling and paddle-board. We brought an underwater jet ski, a machine which propels you under the water. This equipment was perfect for exploring the sea beds! We stayed the night at the Tobago Cays, which enabled us to enjoy a little more this place of dreams.
The iguanas live peacefully on the islands of the Tobago Cays (Photo by Armelle)
Day 7: Tobago Cays → Morpion → Petit-Saint-Vincent → Bequia (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
For this last day in the Grenadines, we went to see the island of Morpion, the smallest island in the world! It’s extraordinary, it was just a small sandbar with a grass hut with a roof of coconut leaves on top, it made us laugh a lot! The island of Morpion is located 7 nautical miles to the South of Tobago Cays. After this stopover, we decided to tack towards Petit Saint-Vincent. There are more rays here than in Tobago Cays because there are fewer people. The weather deteriorated the next day, we decided to start the return the same evening. During a cruise, it’s necessary to be ready to adapt depending on the weather conditions. We therefore travelled 35 nautical miles to reach the island of Bequia.
RETURN TO LE MARIN...
Day 8: Bequia → Chateaubelair, Saint-Vincent → Anse des pitons, Saint-Luci (48 miles) - 9 hours' of sailing
On arriving at the island of Saint-Vincent, we approached Chateaubelair and decided to anchor in a small cove hidden just nearby, there’s a forest of palm trees at the water's edge, it was magnificent! After having made a stopover to Saint-Vincent for lunch, we continued en route to Saint Lucia. Saint Lucia and Saint-Vincent are islands with amazing scenery, you can admire the cliffs and the forests which descend to the water’s edge. These are very beautiful coasts for doing coastal sailing. The return was rather athletic! We finally chose the Anse des pitons, to the South of Saint Lucia to anchor for the night, after a long day of sailing.
Day 9: Anse des pitons → Rodney Bay, Saint-Lucia → Le Marin (40 miles) - 8 hours' of sailing
Last morning of the cruise. The departure from the ’île aux Pitons was magical due to an unexpected encounter with a whale. The crossing to Le Marin was done twice. First we made a stop in Rodney Bay, in the North of Saint Lucia, for lunch. The fishing boats were still there, and we took the opportunity for a final stock-up of provisions. The sea was beautiful, less agitated than anticipated, and during this last crossing, each of the crew members discovered the pleasure of helming the catamaran. After 9 days of sailing, we finished by arriving at the marina of Le Marin before the sunset, for a last evening on the boat.
This was a really extraordinary adventure! This cruise in the heart of the Grenadines left us all with wonderful memories: astonishing landscapes, bathing in the warm sea of the Caribbean, white sandy beaches, encounters with rays and turtles, tasty barbecues, and the warm welcome of the West Indians… This itinerary is also a perfect example of understanding that a cruise may not go as planned, and that it is important to be able to adapt. The wind conditions can change the route. The health situation may delay the departure of the cruise. As the great seafarer Eric Tabarly said, “Sailing means accepting the constraints that you have chosen for yoursef”.
With this testimonial, I would like to thank Camille and the entire crew of the cruiser "Coeur Grenadines" for having got us to the West Indies, and thanks for their beautiful photos!