All the troops wanted to sail over to Chatham Bay on the west side of Union Island, and that sounded like a good idea to us. From there we could either take a water taxi or local cab to Clifton where we’d be able to clear out for the sail down to Grenada.
Chatham Bay is well protected from normal trade wind conditions, and it is one of the calmest anchorages we’ve found in the entire Caribbean. In fact, it’s so calm at night that boats lie every which way, and you have to be careful to allow enough room so that you don’t bump into your neighbor. One of our group had to move after they realized what was happening, but that wasn’t a big deal.
We dinghied to shore that afternoon to go snorkeling along the north side of the bay where we found an incredible variety of marine life feeding among the coral and sea grass. Moray eels, sea bass, crabs, rays, and a few creepy looking things I’d never seen before.
Soon after climbing back aboard, local beach vendors pulled alongside to try to sell their wares and to entice us to come ashore for drinks or a beach BBQ. We all chatted on the VHF and decided to dinghy in the next morning to talk to owners at several of the beach shacks and to check out their digs. After a quick survey, we agreed that Vanessa and Seckie’s Sun Beach BBQ was the place to go, and we made arrangements for happy hour and an evening meal, family style at their beach shack.
Seckie told us he serves as the local go-to guy for Sunsail Charters; if any of their charter boats run into trouble, Seckie is the one who solves the problems. In return, Sunsail promotes their shack as The Place to go. That deal works well for both parties. We had a great time at dinner that night with too much food and too much rum, but once in awhile, that’s a chance to unwind, kick back, and laugh till you cry. We made arrangements with Seckie to taxi the guys over the mountain to Clifton in the morning to take care of departure formalities from St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
We weren’t at all prepared for the climb up off the beach to the top of the mountain. The road is more of a goat path, and a few goats we met along the way made much better time up the path than we did. But Seckie’s 4-wheel drive managed the steep climb up to the main road, and off we went wheeling at breakneck speeds around the tight mountain turns.
If you’ve read about our short visit to Union Island in 2012, you’ll remember that I wasn’t favorably impressed with Clifton. This year? I think everyone must have either taken a happy pill, or word must have gotten out. Every single person we met was as friendly as can be. The Immigration officer was downright chipper. What a contrast.
After a short break for a cool drink the four of us squashed back in the car with Seckie for the endurance contest back over the mountain to Chatham Bay.