Carriacou is a small island with about 8000 people, only 7 miles long, 2 wide, and having just one city, Hillsborough. Tyrell Bay is the most popular anchorage and is often jam packed with cruising boats. Just a couple years ago, Customs and Immigration opened an office in Tyrell Bay. Clearing in or out of Grenada from this new facility is generally a very easy process, as long as you don’t encounter a surly agent. Oh yes, even here in Paradise , surly people with a cushy job still exist. You just have to watch the signs and learn to read people quickly. I’m still learning.
We talked with Gary and Patti about taking a tour of the island, and Patti arranged a tour with “Vincent” based on the recommendation of a mutual friend. Vincent knew the island’s roads and features, but it turned out he was more of a taxi driver than a tour guide. His favorite expression was “It’s a wonderful island – very quiet”. Every new location summoned those famous few words. But, see the island we did!
Vincent took us over the hump of the island to the eastern shore where we found dazzling views of Petite Martinique and Petite St. Vincent just five or so miles away. Turns out Vincent had never been to either island; no reason to go there, he said. But what could we say? We have yet to visit either of those island ourselves.
We stopped along the beach where construction of a traditional Carriacou sloop was underway. Building these wooden boats is a community undertaking, and many of these vessels ply the Caribbean waters. A couple race in the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta where they perform admirably; after all, they are built for Caribbean sailing.
A little further on Patti asked Vincent to stop at a monument down near the beach. Some years ago locals had investigated a round metal ball that washed ashore one day; that sphere was an unexploded, live World War II mine, and as someone banged on the mine, it exploded instantly taking nineteen lives. Vincent apparently did not know about this monument.
Our tour bus growled along as we climbed the steep, narrow road up to the local hospital. Set on the top of one of the highest hills and overlooking the ocean, the hospital gives its occupants a peaceful setting to recuperate from any illness or accident. You could enjoy a picnic lunch here and spend a couple hours enjoying the view and the cool breeze.
As we wound our way back to the boat Vincent said he wanted to take us to the island’s sports arena, a place that is very popular with adults and kids alike, and the arena where his children had participated in various sports. We asked to stop so we could walk inside to look around; Vincent said he’d like to look around also because he had never been in there! Amazing.
From here we rode back to Tyrell Bay and stopped for a late lunch.