Monday, March 01, 2010

Union Island, SVG

Union is mountainous and it's outline stood out as we sailed north from Carriacou. We were anchoring again off the reef surrounding Clifton, the yachting center in the south part of the Grenadines. There have been three previous visits, once with our son James.

The water is amazing here, reefs surround the anchorage and provide a kalideoscope of blues, greens and browns. We anchored at the end farthest from the town and right off Happy Island. The owner Janni is also the architect and builder! That's the view across the reefs from Happy Island (see the same mountain ridge as picture above)and the island itself.

He created the island from scratch with piles of conch shells left by fisherman. It's expanding every day and now has a commodious charming interior as well as the big sand front yard with lots of comfortable seating. We were lucky to be the only guests for awhile that evening and spent some time talking with him about

the island and politics for all of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines - very interesting and informative. Then the tour groups started arriving from the island by water taxis and the place filled up quickly. He serves simple BBQ meals as well as a full bar.

Of course before we went there we signed in with Customs and Immigration. These were located in the tiny but well appointed airport only a half mile from the dinghy landing. Union is part of the SVG, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and is the southern most larger island. A good part of the construction money for this airport came from China!

Clifton is a colorful and charming place with a surprising number of facilities for tourist and cruisers. Many chartering vessels stop here. We were thrilled to see a small French bakery greet us at the dinghy dock. That's Scott buying croissants and pan de chocolat for tomorrow's breakfast. The two pictures above show the path along the waterfront going west and then east.

There is a small park in the center of town and everything is painted brilliant pastel colors. We had some provisioning to do and there are a number of choices. Next to the park are at least eight small sheds with a big selection of fresh vegetables, some grown right on the island. We had a great salad that night. These are the colors the town is painted in!

Our next stop was Erika's Marine Services. We had reasonable WIFI out at the anchorage so we didn't need their internet services and not enough time to do laundry as it was Saturday and we planned to leave Monday, but we did want to avail ourselves of their excellent book swap. Scott and I go through a huge number of books, and we had five with us to swap. While there we looked through their amazing DVD rentals - not only a big selection of movies, but many popular TV show series and my favorite, Masterpiece Theater and Mystery series on PBS. Unfortunately we only had two nights! We both like Inspector Morse so that was the final choice.

On Sunday we hiked to the Big Sands beach on the north coast via Fort Hill and back more through the center. Unfortunately the Big Sands Hotel (now the Amerindia) has a new owner and isn't open to the public. Happily a laid back little beach bar was next door on the long white beach. It was a really hot dry walk so after a big glass of water and a beer, we soaked in the ocean for an hour before walking back into town.

There we had lunch at Lambi's, an institution here that gets bigger every year. The meal was delicious and enormous. We brought enough back for lunch the next day. They serve it family style with your choice of meat or fish with bowls of rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, stir fried vegetables, fried plantains and eggplant, salad and cole slaw. Yes, you read right, all of these!

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