Day 1: Salt Whistle Bay
Charlestown Bay to Salt Whistle Bay - 6 nm. You'll have plenty of time to settle in aboard your yacht prior to leaving Canouan Island to start your adventure in the Grenadines. Enjoy lunch ashore at one of the restaurants or set sail straightaway. It's only an hour or so southwest to Mayreau's Salt Whistle Bay, part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park. Hike the hills overlooking the bay, take a refreshing swim, and decompress from the stresses of life in the cockpit with a cool sundowner. The Salt Whistle Bay Beach Club has a restaurant, and there are two casual beachside bars.
Mooring: No moorings are available. Holding is good in a sandy bottom.
Dinghy dockage: A dinghy dock is available.
Things to do: Snorkel, swim, sunbathe, and relax in unspoiled beauty. Contact one of the local dive companies to go scuba diving (diving on your own isn't permitted). Enjoy dinner at the Salt Whistle Bay Club or sip drinks at the beachside bars.
Facilities: No facilities for yachts are available.
Day 2: Tobago Cays
Salt Whistle Bay to Tobago Cays - 2 nm. Enjoy a pleasant sail to nowhere, savoring the warm trade winds and the calm seas, then plot a course to Tobago Cays Marine Park. A treasure of the Grenadines, the park features some of the prettiest scenery and the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the entire Caribbean. Nestled behind the protective embrace of Horseshoe Reef, the most popular four cays (the fifth one is outside the reef) are home to all manner of wildlife, including sea turtles. The reef teems with tropical fish. Beach combing, swimming, windsurfing, and stargazing are just a few of the simple pleasures that often prompt sailors to spend more than one day of their Canouan itinerary in the park.
Mooring: Moorings are available for a fee; plans for adding some have been in the works. Charterers may anchor in one of several locations. The anchorages north and south of Baradel are popular.
Dinghy dockage: No dinghy docks are available, but you can beach your dinghy to take a swim on one of the cays.
Things to do: Snorkel, swim, sunbathe, and relax in unspoiled beauty. Observe the sea turtles at the sea turtle-watching area on Baradel. Contact one of the local dive companies to go scuba diving (diving on your own isn't permitted). Line up a vendor for a beach barbecue (beach barbecues are regulated to protect the park).
Facilities: Entrepreneurial owners of small local boats often ply the anchorages, selling sundry items like ice, bread, and lobsters.
Day 3: Clifton Harbour
Tobago Cays to Clifton Harbour by way of Petit St. Vincent - 13 nm. One of the pleasures of sailing in the Grenadines is that it doesn't take long to get to the next scenic overnight anchorage. On the way, you can visit other islands for day stops. About eight nautical miles nearly due south from Tobago Cays is a lovely overnight anchorage at Petit St. Vincent and a beautiful day anchorage off low Mopion Island. Little more than a mound of sand above the sea, it's a perfect place to have a picnic or to so some snorkeling. Stay the night at Petit St. Vincent or sail north for about five nautical miles to Clifton Harbour on the east side of Union Island, the major yachting Mecca of the southern Grenadines. Anchor, relax, and then go ashore to explore the town, have dinner, and spend the evening barhopping.
Mooring: There are moorings in Clifton Harbour, but many are unreliable. Anchorage space is plentiful off the town or behind Newlands Reef.
Dinghy dockage: Dinghy docks are plentiful.
Things to do: Hiking and biking the roads and trails of Union Island is a way to get some exercise and to admire the natural beauty that is so much a part of the Grenadines. In town, you can walk the streets and browse in the boutiques, many of which sell locally made handicrafts, paintings, and jewelry. Live entertainment in some of the restaurants and bars fills the night air with the sound of steel drums.
Facilities: The nearest fuel dock for diesel is at nearby Petit Martinique. Otherwise, Clifton Harbour has everything a cruiser needs, including gasoline for dinghy outboards and diesel by the jerry jug, limited stern-to dockage, water, ice, showers, propane, garbage disposal, laundry facilities, provisions, bike rentals, taxicabs, and Internet access (Wi-Fi too).
Day 4: Chatham Bay
Clifton Harbour to Chatham Bay - 5 nm. Linger over a delicious breakfast ashore at Clifton Harbour because it's only a short sail around to the other side of Union Island to reach lovely Chatham Bay. Before you start the passage, perhaps anchor off Palm Island, directly across from Clifton Harbour, and go ashore for a walk or take a cool swim. Casuarina Beach is beautiful and has a pleasant beachside restaurant. When you set out for Chatham Bay, you'll sail southwest down the coast of Union Island past Frigate Island and proceed west, then northeast, admiring the stunning coast as you go. The big island of Carriacou will be off the port beam. You'll see magnificent Mt. Taboi (elevation 1,000 feet) long before you reach the secluded waters of Chatham Bay.
Mooring: No moorings are available. The best anchorage is in the northeast portion of the bay. Holding is good.
Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available. Beach the dinghy just about anywhere.
Things to do: Several local vendors operate beach barbecue businesses for nightly festivities during the busy season. Fresh seafood (including lobster) and chicken are the usual fare, and there's often live entertainment. The snorkeling off rocky Rapid Point is excellent.
Facilities: No facilities for yachts are available.
Day 5: Admiralty Bay
Chatham Bay to Admiralty Bay - 27 nm. This is the longest passage of your Canouan itinerary, and it ideally positions you to make the quick hop over to St. Vincent. Once you arrive at Admiralty Bay, the principle harbor on Bequia, grab a mooring or drop anchor and head ashore. Hike or take a taxicab to the top of Mount Pleasant, check out the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, visit the Bequia Maritime Museum, window shop, or dine ashore at one of the many restaurants, ranging from casual to the more upscale.
Mooring: Moorings are available. Anchoring space is plentiful, and the holding is generally good in the more popular locations. In other parts of the bay, holding is less desirable, and northerly swells can make for an uncomfortable night. In addition to Admiralty Bay, there's a snug and picturesque anchorage at Friendship Bay, well worth a visit.
Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.
Things to do: There are literally dozens of bars and restaurants, too many to list. However, a few options include the Frangipani Hotel for a romantic dinner featuring Caribbean fare, Auberge des Grenadines for sumptuous lobster and other seafood, and the Tradewinds Yacht Club restaurant, Devil's Table, which has good food for all budgets and a charming island ambience. For charterers seeking a bit of pampering, get a massage at Jack's Spa & Beauty Salon, or play a game of tennis at one of several courts. Hiking is popular on Bequia, along the beaches and on the trails in the hills of Mount Pleasant. Visit the Bequia Maritime Museum, the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary, or the home of one of Bequia's most famous harpooners, Athneal Ollivierre, where there's a small whaling museum. Bequia is both beautiful and filled with attractions. It's a great stop on any St. Lucia yachting itinerary.
Facilities: Fuel, water, ice, showers, laundry facilities, garbage disposal, provisions, propane, Internet access (Wi-Fi too!), and taxicabs are available.
Day 6: Young Island Cut
Admiralty Bay to Young Island Cut - 7 nm. A visit to St. Vincent is one of the highlights of a Canouan yacht charter. Many sailors grab a mooring in Young Island Cut, a pretty stretch of water between St. Vincent's southern end and Young Island. This is a favorite spot, in part because of its beauty and because of the plethora of restaurants and bars. You could spend the evening moving from one to another, sampling the island fare and socializing with other sailors. To the east is the small yachting center of Blue Lagoon, another favorite cruising destination. St. Vincent has much to offer, such as hiking, bird watching, historic sites, and the island capital of Kingstown. Take a taxi tour or arrange for a car rental.
Mooring: Moorings are available and highly recommended. Swift currents flow through the cut and make anchoring a challenge. You can anchor in the northern or western parts of the cut, but you'll need to rig a bow and stern anchor to keep you from swinging into other boats when the tide changes.
Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is plentiful.
Things to do: A stroll west to adjacent Indian Bay Beach brings you to a fine example of one of St. Vincent's elegant and traditional hotels, the Grand View Beach Hotel, with exquisite views from its hilltop perch. On the beach is the Grand View Grill, a casual restaurant and bar run by a local artist, who has a little art gallery on the premises. In the hotel itself is Wilkie's, which bills itself as having "the best fine dining on St. Vincent." The hotel's squash and tennis courts, as well as the gym, are open to cruisers. Scuba dive tour businesses abound. For scuba aficionados, this is reason enough to visit Young Island Cut and the surrounding area.
Facilities: Provisions, garbage disposal, laundry services, propane, car rentals, taxicabs, guided tours, and Internet access (Wi-Fi too) are available.
Day 7: Britannia Bay
Young Island Cut to Britannia Bay - 14 nm. Set out from St. Vincent early to take full advantage of the superb downwind sailing southward to one of the most exclusive and beautiful islands of the Caribbean, famous Mustique, a vacation retreat for the rich and famous. While its 90 or so estates perched atop hills with expansive manicured lawns are private, sailors are welcome to explore the trails and roads on foot, or on a rented bicycle or motorbike. Macaroni beach is one of the best in the Grenadines, the snorkeling is good almost everywhere, and there are a number of restaurants, both upscale and casual. The open-water passage from St. Vincent takes you nearly due south down the east, or windward side, of Bequia. You'll pass the Pillories to port, just north of Mustique, and cruise into Britannia Bay, the island's main harbor.
Mooring: Moorings are available in Britannia Bay. Anchoring is prohibited without permission from the Mustique Company, which supervises local waters.
Dinghy dockage: A dinghy dock is available.
Things to do: Hike the trails and quiet roads of the island, or take a tour via taxicab or rented mountain bike or motorbike. Enjoy a swim at the beautiful beach at Macaroni Bay. Horseback riding is also an option. Or experience snorkeling and scuba diving in the crystal clear waters.
Facilities: Provisions, garbage disposal, Internet access at the library, and taxicab service are available.