A Grenada-to-Grenada Cruise
by Don Street
If starting in Grenada and your time is limited, you don’t have to beat your brains out to the Tobago Cays or hassle with clearing Customs out of Grenada and into St. Vincent & the Grenadines to have a terrific cruise. You can enjoy a week or more of different destinations without ever leaving Grenadian waters.
Do a little homework before starting out. Check the information on the back of Imray-Iolaire charts B311, B31 and B32 very carefully. The charts are really a chart and a guide in one. Also cross-reference Street’s Guide, Martinique to Trinidad and Chris Doyle’s Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands. In comparison to the money you spent on getting to Grenada and money spent while there, the cost of the two guides is infinitesimal. Page references in this article refer to my guide.
Contrary to the usual west coast course taken by most boats leaving Port Louis Marina or the south coast bays, I suggest heading along the south, southeast then east coasts of Grenada in easy stages.
If you are leaving from Port Louis Marina or the Pandy Beach anchorage, the first day’s destination largely depends on what time of day you depart. If it is late in the day, head southwest inside Long Shoal and duck into Morne Rouge Bay (pages 150/151) just west of Quarantine Point. Ease into the bay as far as your draft will permit and anchor in a sand bottom with good holding. Yours will likely be the only boat there. The next day depart for the south coast and Clarkes Court Bay.
If you depart from St. George’s early in the day, continue west to Point Saline, then short tack up the south coast (see piloting directions on the back of chart B32 and pages 151 to 157) until you reach Clarkes Court Bay, a sheltered anchorage in all weather. It is a perfect place to relax and serves as a base to explore the area in a dinghy. You can spend a full day and a half in Clarkes Court Bay exploring. Visit any one of the nearby marinas that have bars and Happy Hour. Or take the dinghy eastwards through the channel (page 157) between Calivigny Point and Calivigny Island and visit Le Phare Bleu marina with its de-commissioned light ship and first class restaurant.
If you want to be completely off by yourself, continue on to the uninhabited Adam and Gary Islands (page 158) and find yourself a private beach, or continue on to Egmont Harbour (page 158), Grenada’s best hurricane hole and a real estate development.
When ready move on, get up at first light, have a quick breakfast and get underway before it really begins to blow. It is only a five- to six-mile beat to any of three anchorages to the east: Lascar Cove, Le Petit Trou, or Requin. For details on anchorage-hopping up Grenada’s east coast, see “Discovering Quiet Anchorages in the Eastern Caribbean: Part Two” in the December 2012 issue of Compass (www.caribbeancompass.com/online/december12compass_online.pdf).
The entrance to Grenville Harbour (pages 162 to 165) is not as difficult as the experts claim. Admittedly the outer buoys may be missing, but the church on the hill has been there for 150 years or more. Continue north up the coast until the church bears 304 degrees magnetic. Hopefully you have a hockey puck compass on board. Otherwise, go to 12°06.6 N, 61°35.6 W, turn to port, and head for the church, keeping the church bearing 304 degrees magnetic. Run on in on this bearing, using eyeball navigation. DO NOT USE A CHART PLOTTER WHEN ENTERING OR LEAVING HARBORS. Pass between two shoals that in heavy weather will be breaking. In moderate weather you will see the sea humping on the shoal on the starboard side of the channel. Continue on course until you see “Luffing Channel”, which should be marked with posts. Even if the posts are missing the channel is easily spotted because there will be breakers on either side of the channel, and deep water (nine feet) through the channel. There should also be a range/transit 012 degrees magnetic on the north side of the harbor. This transit is not needed going in, but is useful when leaving.
Once inside the harbor, round up and anchor in a sand bottom with good holding. The reef to windward forms a perfect breakwater but the wind is not blocked so it is a cool, bug-free anchorage. There is good swimming in the harbor and snorkeling on the reef. Organize a shoreside expedition as outlined in the December 2012 issue of Compass.
When ready to leave Grenville, you can sleep late. Since the entrance channel to Grenville is on an east-west axis, you should not leave until the sun is high, about 1100 hours. I have sailed out of Grenville Harbour on Iolaire and Li’l Iolaire (both engineless) but unless you have a boat that has good windward-going qualities and tacks easily, and you have a hot crew on board, I advise leaving under power.
Once you have weathered Telescope Point, it is a seven-mile fast and easy close reach to Sandy Island (page 165). Anchor on a Bahamian moor as there is a reversing current. Ashore you will find an uninhabited island with someone’s abandoned dream project. Enjoy the white sand beach and good diving.
When it’s time to head back to base, there is no need to get up early: it is an easy run. You are unlikely to find wind on the west coast of Grenada until 1000 or 1100 hours, so there is no need to depart Sandy Island early in the morning. It is a dead downwind run four miles across the top of Grenada and then south. (On the back of your Imray Iolaire chart B32 note the section on rigging for down wind. Year in and year out, sailors are injured by inadvertent gybes.) Once Tanga Langa is reached, it is 14 miles south along the west coast of Grenada. When sailing down the west coast of Grenada, stick close to shore. If you do not find enough wind, motor sail, giving yourself a good scenic run to St. George’s.
You have had a wonderful cruise without leaving Grenada.
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