Tag Archives: bequia

Discover: Bequia!

July 13, 2013

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Usually reached by sea, Bequia (pronounced beck-way) is an enticing blend of old and new and covers only 7 square miles.  There are just 5000 permanent residents – many of them expats – which creates a laid-back atmosphere and charming inhabitants to welcome you to a surprisingly diverse range of attractions, shops and restaurants.

The first stop of any visit should be Port Elizabeth, a bustling little town with a proper heart to explore, not just a line of stalls along the bay.  As promised, there is a wide selection of restaurants, from local food to fine dining, including French cuisine, French – Creole, and even Mexican food!  In the colourful stores visitors can see the traditions that have been kept alive on the island in the work of the artisans, in particular the famous model boats, which can be made to order and are all hand-painted.  Shops featuring local art and handicrafts are set beside lovely little cafés and friendly bars so that you can sit with a cool drink, snack or locally made ice cream and enjoy the view whilst you plan your next steps.  We enjoyed this charming blog about a recent visit to the boat builders on Bequia.

Don’t forget to visit Spring Bay or Friendship Bay for low key relaxation.  Spring Bay is quite secluded with a picturesque location and is generally calm for snorkelling, while Friendship Bay is easier to get to and has more restaurants and bars so you don’t have to bring a picnic!  There are several bays & beaches to choose from, whether you want to snorkel, swim or just get a bit of sun.

Hiking is very popular on the island and there are some really exciting trails, as well as more sedate walks.  You may aim to take in the  striking views from the top of Mount Peggy, where on a clear day you can see all the Grenadines islands down to Grenada! You may prefer hiking through lush vegetation to experience a stunning views, or an almost-deserted cove for a cool swim,  or discover the exotic wildlife & birds, such as sea turtles at The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary! Click here for a wikiloc map of a short hike up to Mt Pleasant, about 1.5 hours and some really great views:

Horizon Grenada has some fantastic itineraries through the Southern Caribbean, we can help make sure that you include this tiny jewel of an island in your next adventure!

Special note: the dates have been announced for the next Bequia Mount Gay Music Festival – it is scheduled for the 23-26 of January 2014, with the Mustique Blues Festival falling on the 24th… don’t miss it!

Horizon Grenada is pleased to recommend these partners in our Welcome Club, who offer our charter clients special discounts for products and services:

Dawn’s Creole Restaurant & Café * 10% off dinner and drinks

The restaurant is located in the Creole Garden Hotel at Lower Bay specializing in authentic West Indian cuisine and international tropical dishes.

Creole Garden Hotel – Lower Bay, Bequia Tel: 784 458 3154

Email: dcreole@vincysurf.com Website: http://beachcafedawnscreole.com/

Dive Bequia * 10% discount plus a free introduction to scuba for minimum of 2

Dive Bequia has been operating on Bequia for almost 20 years and together their international staff have 66 years diving experience. It is Bequia’s only PADI Gold Palm Resort (awarded to dive shops who excel in providing quality services to traveling divers.) Patient instructors and dive masters offer outstanding services to beginners and experienced divers.

Belmont, Bequia Tel: 784-458-3504 http://www.dive.bequia.com

Doris’ Fresh Food * 10% off purchases

Tucked away on the Back Street behind customs. Doris’ is the perfect place to stock up on provisions. The outside doesn’t give away the gourmet delights that await inside. You can fax your “list” to Doris prior to your arrival and your groceries will be delivered to your yacht.

Port Elizabeth Tel:784-458-3265

VHF68                   Email: doris_freshfood@yahoo.com

Frangipani Hotel *10% on hotel accommodations only

Restored as an inn some three decades ago, the Frangipani has been a family home for over 100 years. With spectacular views of Admiralty Bay, the inn offers elegant garden units with individual balconies overlooking the yachts in the bay.
Admiralty Bay

Tel: 784-458-3255             Web site: www.frangipanibequia.com

Kenny’s Taxi Service

Kenny Simmons’ motto is, “Courteous, Dependable and Reliable” and he lives up to it.  Island tours and airport pickup, always available on VHF Channel 68.

Tel: 784-458-3053    Cell: 784-532-1493

Noah’s Arcade * 10% discount on purchases
A selection of traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, hammocks, copper jewelry, resort wear, Caribbean books and travel guides, maps, charts, prints and much more …

Belmont Walkway at the Frangipani Hotel  Tel: 784-458-3424

Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop * 5-15% discount depending on size
All kinds of model boats including a superb model of the HMY Britannia received in person by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her very special visit to the island in 1985. Our variety of models include; whaling boats, schooners, endeavor, sailing boats, coconut boats, and they can custom make to your requirements.
Admiralty Bay

Tel: 784-458-3344

Maria’s French Terrace Restaurant * 10% discount off meals and drinks

Traditional French cuisine is the essence of Maria’s French Terrace, an upscale waterfront restaurant with a superb view of beautiful Admiralty Bay.  Choose from the daily menu board, or from their extensive a la carte menu.  Lobster dishes are a specialty – select your own from their live lobster pool.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with Sunset Happy Hour from 17.00 – 19.00.

Front Street, Bequia Tel: 784 431 9509  www.marias-french-terrace.com email: info@marias-french-terrace.com

 

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Congratulations to the Winning Bar Wars Team!

May 19, 2013

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Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada was thrilled to be involved with the recent Bar Wars competition in Trinidad! With 24 heats around the country, and 8 one-hour televised Final Play Offs, this highly successful TV series was made by Abovegroup Ogilvy in partnership with Carib Brewery Ltd,  & created by Russ Jarman Price.  The grand prize was a 5-day luxury cruise up the Grenadines, enjoying the treats and treasures of the Southern Caribbean with Horizon Yacht Charters!

After grueling, fun-filled rounds of dance, Q&A trivia, a myriad of crazy physical challenges and some pretty serious karaoke, the lucky winning team was announced… Congratulations to Frankie’s Bar on Ariapita Avenue, in Port of Spain!  We were very happy to welcome the winning team on board and show them a great time!

Here are just a few photos of their trip, as they sailed through the Grenadines from beautiful St Vincent to Grenada.  Their itinerary included Bequia, Mustique, Palm Island and the stunning, unforgettable Tobago Cays Marine Park, which you can only get to by boat!  Remember to contact us to book a sailing holiday to remember with Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada!

 

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Grenadines Treasure Hunt Winner announced!

March 12, 2011

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We’re very pleased to announce that the winner of our Treasure Hunt Competition was Sean Gray from New Hampshire, USA. Sean worked very hard to work out the clues to the 4 questions and provide the correct answers. Sean’s name was drawn from a hat on 15 Feb 2011 from 10 potential winners who had sent in all the correct answers. Honourable mentions should therefore go to:
Kirk Vogel
Norm Staunton
Brenda Renick
Don Bernier
Tony Coy
Tom Bernier
Elissa Malcolm
Ann Marie Lamoreux
Sarah Stratton
Robert Dick

Sean wins a 7 day charter cruising the Grenadines aboard our new Bavaria 45. Or rather on this boat -speeding around the Grenadines!
And for those of you who may have got the answers wrong, or did not have time to enter the competition the questions once again, this time with the answers and explanations:

Question 1. Which village in Grenada is Grenada Chocolate produced? Answer: the village is called Hermitage located in the north east corner of Grenada. The village is tucked under the flank of Mt St Catherines, the highest peak of Grenada at 2,700ft and is surrounded by nutmeg and cocoa plantation. A 45 minute hike up a very steep sided valley behind the village brings you to a warm water spring, and if you carry on up the river you feel like you’re entering a lost World with swathes of green rain forest towering over you. Although you can’t normally look around the chocolate factory itself the initial processing of the beans takes place at the Belmont Estate further down the road near Tivoli and this is well worth a visit; also to see the organic goat dairy where delicious cheese is produced!
Interesting links: Grenada Chocolate Company
Belmont Estate

Question 2. Which leader is buried on the “Island of Reefs”? The island in question is Carriacou – which was so named by the Amerindians who first settled there. The leader is Herbert Blaize who was born in Carriacou in 1918 and served as Grenada’s Prime Minister from 1984 until his death in 1989. His grave is at the top of the graveyard behind Hillsborough, and a short walk up the hill behind brings you to a stone cross with great views of the northern side of Carriacou looking towards Union Island. Carriacou is an island with a very laid back atmosphere and well worth exploring, especially by foot. The figures of 240 rum shops and 1 gas station gives you an insight to the feel here!
Interesting links: For a lovely hike on Carriacou go to Wikiloc

Question 3. What connection does Richard Nevill who fought at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513 have with one of the largest shipwrecks in the Caribbean which occurred in the early 70’s? Get this wrong like the ship’s captain and you could end up in the stocks. An attempt to make this clue rather more difficult than the first two and make you work more – I think it worked as the solution wasn’t readily available on Wikepedia. Richard Nevill was the 2nd Baron Latimer and his descendant after a long period of abeyance was Hugo Nevill Money-Coutts who was the 8th Baron Latimer. Hugo Money-Coutts was a part owner of Mustique Island and on 8 January 1971 attempted to warn the cruise ship Antilles from passing through the North Passage by flying his own aircraft low over the ship and calling it by radio. The ship ignored his warning and grounded and caught fire, all passengers and crew managing to escape ashore and subsequently transferred to Barbados by the relatively shiny and new QE2. The last part of the question about ending up in the stocks is effectively a red herring – it simply relates to a set of rocks called the Pillories on the north side of the channel where the ship grounded. In medieval times stocks were also known as Pillories.
Interesting links: Article on the shipwreck here

Question 4. This character was one of the best known privateers of the Caribbean and may be linked to a family from Tredegar with a well known name but his origins are unclear. It has been claimed that he is one of my direct ancestors but this is unlikely. Why is this the case and what is his name? This question was prompted by my finding an old family diary from the late 18th century – in fact written by my great x 7 grandmother! Within the diary is a family tree tracing descendants back to the Morgans of Tredegar several centuries earlier. Henry Morgan, perhaps the most famous privateer of the 17th century was born in south Wales but emigrated to Barbados – and the rest is history as they say. Henry Morgan’s birth and early years in south Wales are very unclear which contrasts the records of his later exploits. It is not clear what branch of the Morgan family he came from, if at all. He left no direct descendants as he died childless (well no-one officially at least!). Read more on wikipedia

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PANDORA’S GUIDE TO GOOD DRINKING

December 22, 2010

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The latest instalment from our secret blogger Pandora – a guide to good drinking just in time for the festive season. Careful!

There is rarely much that is better than the ‘sundowner’ you have after a marvellous day’s aquatic adventure. Be it on the deck of your boat, or with your toes wriggling in the sand of a local beach bar with some new boaty chums you’ve just met as you gaze out at the sunset, eyes slightly squinting, hoping for a glimpse of the elusive green flash.
But what’s the right drink to have to compliment that magic moment or indeed any other appropriate ‘drinking moment’ ? Don’t worry, Pandora has done the hard work for you and researched what’s best and why in this indispensable Guide to Good Drinking in Grenada and the Grenadines.
The first thing to remember is that there are 2 simple rules; beer and rum.
If you stick with these you will be fine. If you venture ‘off piste’ as it were, you are in dan-gerous territory. Apart from some very fancy restaurants there is no appreciation of wine in the Caribbean and even if it is available, it is unlikely it will have been stored properly and will be pricey regardless of its provenance and quality. If you can’t live without a glass of cheeky chardy or need to celebrate something special with some fizzy stuff, pick it up at a duty free store at the airport on your way over. Failing that, Captain Gourmet in Union Island is a small store run by a French couple who have a good small selection as does Doris’s Fresh Food in Bequia, and IGA Supermarket in Grenada has a few half decent bottles. But be prepared to pay over the odds.
Gin, vodka and whisky are available, but if you order them in a bar keep the mixers simple (coke, ginger ale, tonic, no-one knows what soda water is), in order to avoid a drinking disaster. Unless you want to be disappointed, avoid any cocktails other than those made with rum. Forget your cosmos, mojitos, margarita’s, manhattans, sidecars and the like. Think local. After all you wouldn’t buy suncream from an eskimo….
But let’s start with beer.
Every large island makes it’s own beer. Carib is the one beer which is available every-where (usually brewed under license on each island). It’s a safe standard and comes in cans, or bottles. Pandora recommends the brown rather than clear bottles if you get a choice. But remember if you get a case of bottles, you will need to return the empties and the crate in order to get your deposit back.
Discerning drinkers in the know favour the local beers over Carib. This is Stag in Grenada and Hairoun (pronounced ‘High-roon’) in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Both are excellent with a more tangy hoppy taste than Carib. Also try Hairoun Gold, the premium St Vincent beer which is a little stronger and has a bit more bite than the regular stuff.
Fancy a bevvy but worried about getting a bit too tiddly in the middle of the day? Try Pan-dora’s trick of having a Beer Tonic. Half beer, half tonic water. Like a shandy but not as sweet and very thirst quenching.
Now onto rum.
Rum states better in the Caribbean. Its a proven fact. Pandora’s English friend had never liked it before coming to the Caribbean, now he rarely drinks anything else. So even if its not something you would usually drink at home, give it a try here.
Like beer, every large island makes its own rum, and often more than one. They vary in taste a lot, so do try different ones in order to decide what you like and ask the question of which rum they are serving you as the house rum in a bar. If you are feeling bold you can even order your rum drinks with a named rum you like.
The 2 big rum names in Grenada are Clarkes Court and Westerhall. Both make half a dozen different varieties and have dark and white rum versions. Clarkes Court Superior Light Rum and Westerhall Superb Light Rum are the usual house standards in most Grenadian bars. Both are around 43% alcohol ppv. The locals often have stronger constitution than you so be wary of the overproof varieties that are out there, namely Clarkes Court Pure White Rum (69%), Clarkes Court Spicy Rum (69%) and Westerhall Jack Iron (70%).
In St Vincent and The Grenadines the local drop is called Sunset. Sunset Red is the usual house standard (40%). There is also Sunset Captain Bligh (40%) Sunset Extra Gold (40%) and Sunset Light (40%). But approach with extreme caution Sunset Very Strong. It’s a white rum with a whopping 84.5% ppv that’ll have you falling off the dinghy dock with no memory of why and how. Pandora learned the hard way….
Worried it all sounds a bit complicated and you want something on board that will please everyone? Then look no further than Mount Gay Rum. Its from Barbados but like Carib available everywhere. 43% ppv strong but with a lovely round taste. A guaranteed pleaser. Meanwhile dedicated students of the subject of rum can do more advanced research via theministryofrum.com Hardcore locals in the rum shops drink their rum straight with a glass or water chaser. Some add a dash of Angostura Bitters to ease the path. But most softy visitors add a mixer. Of course Coke is the obvious one, but there’s plenty of other things that rum tastes great with. Try it with Ting (a fizzy grapefruit mixer) in Grenada or Bitter Lemon in The Grenadines. Ginger Ale is good too and even better, many local bars make their own fantastic fresh ginger beer, (which you usually have to ask for, sales and marketing not being a Caribbean strong point). Every bar will have its own rum punch blend which you can never go wrong with and many have fresh fruit daquiri’s which make you feel like you’re getting at least one of your 5 a day…Then for the truly adventurous try a ‘Ti Punch in French influenced Union Island. It’s made with Guadeloupe White Rum (never any other white rum), sugar syrup and fresh lime. An aromatic delight that goes down very easily!
Finally for easy cocktails on board to make yourself Pandora recommends three to try:
Dark ‘n Stormy – Rum, Ginger Beer (you can buy it in cans everywhere) and plenty of fresh limes squeezed in.
DIY Pina Colada – 3 parts rum, 3 parts pineapple juice, 2 parts coconut cream (not coco-nut milk). Add ice and whizz in a blender if you have one, if not a good shake or stir will do.
The Pandora – Rum, pink grapefruit juice and a slug of ginger syrup (found in most stores). Serve long with plenty of ice.
Cheers!

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The Pandora Awards 2009 – 2010

September 2, 2010

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Each year our mystery blogger Pandora announces the “Pandora Awards” for the Caribbean – the best bar/ restaurant/ beach even down to the best laundry service. So wihout further ado let me introduce the Pandora Awards for the 2009 – 2010 season:

The PANDORA AWARDS Season 2009-10 ‘Grenada & SVG’

Forget the Oscars, The Emmys, The BAFTA’s and the Brits people, it’s time to get out your sparkly frocks and vacuum the red carpet in order to celebrate those places and people who have achieved standards of ‘par excellence’ in Grenada and St Vincent & The Grenadines. On your behalf Pandora has been selflessly and tirelessly collating all the evidence and can now reveal to you The Pandora’s for those deemed to be the best in their field.

Restaurant BB’s Crabback (St Georges, Grenada)
Brian Benjamin takes food from his farm and other locally sourced fresh ingredients and spins them into a flavour sensations that leap from the plate to your grateful palate.

Restaurant (lunch) Jacks Bar (Bequia)
Located at the end of one of the most fabulous beaches in the region, Princess Margaret Beach in Bequia, the rustic yet tres chic Jack’s Bar delivers beautiful food and welcome shade from the midday sun without having to go back to the boat. Bliss.

Beach (leeward) Paradise Beach (Carriacou)
A perfectly calm white edged crescent with see through water and a view across to Union Island. Just a couple of sleepy beach bars, a couple of fishing boats and some very large starfish complete the picture.

Beach (windward) Macaroni Beach (Mustique)
Still the most fun you can have in the sea without a boat or a snorkel. The regular but safe big waves and shady nooks to recover never fail to please.

Supermarket IGA in Spiceland Mall (Grenada)
A massive air conditioned temple to one stop provisioning.

Fruit & Veg Market St Vincent
Early every Saturday morning the ‘breadbasket’ of the southern Caribbean disgorges its freshly picked bounty to the packed street stalls of the fruit and veg market in Kingstown. Its a riot of colour and movement and the best tasting local produce you will find anywhere.

Local Food Store Doris’ Fresh Foods, (Bequia)
Her unnerving ability of knowing just what it is that you’ve been missing but didn’t know it (like the excellent St Vincent ginger yoghurt) and locating it on her tightly packed shelves makes Doris a winner again. Just don’t go there when you are hungry!

Rum Dark: Mount Gay (Barbados)
White: Rhum Bologne (Guadeloupe)
Barbados may not be on the regular cruisers path, but its quality rum always is and rightly so. The best dark all-rounder by far. But for white rum, and the Pandora favourite the ‘Ti Punch, only that made in Guadeloupe will do. Fortunately they do sell it in 4.5 litre casks.

Beer Hairoun Gold (SVG)
The regular stuff comes usually comes in green bottles, but do yourself a favour, if you can find it, and try the premium gold edition. Its tastier with a real hoppy tang. Meanwhile In Grenada locally made Stag is the one to ask for.

Bread De Breadman (Grenada)
Lovingly crafted and individually numbered these heavy loaves of goodness are free of sugar and artificial preservatives so prevalent in the usual imported American sliced offerings that you usually find. You can locate them at IGA in Spiceland Mall and Foodland near the lagoon in St Georges.

Bar Firefly (Mustique)
Basil’s is the famous one, but up the hill Firefly is the place to go for the sunset view over your boat in Britannia Bay, the sensational martini cocktails mixed by Patrick the best barman ever and the salted toasted coconut that goes with them.

Beach Bar Sun Beach & Eat (Chatham Bay, Union Island)
Vanessa and Seckie’s Bar is a shack powered by a car battery, but after Seckie has cooked your lobster on an outdoor fire, and Vanessa mixes a rum punch with fresh nutmeg and you sit with your toes in the sand gazing at the tranquil crescent of Chatham Bay you know this is the definition of a good beach bar.

Laundry Papa Mitch’s Laundry (Port Elizabeth, Bequia)
You and your ‘smalls’ will be thankful for the fast same day turnaround of wash, dry and fold delivered by Papa Mitch’s laundry ladies located behind Maria’s Terrace on the front in Port Elizabeth, leaving you with time to do much more interesting things.

T-shirts Fidel Productions (Carriacou)
Sandra Presig and her team take a variety of local art and carefully print it on quality T-shirts, creating by far the most wearable (and durable) T-shirts in the Caribbean. If you can’t get to Carriacou, Sandra has a shop in Port Louis, Grenada and Mr Quality sells them from his boat in Tobago Cays.

Anchorage for peace & quiet Chatham Bay (Union Island)
With no roads to it, coupled with no wifi or even a mobile phone signal and populated with just a couple of beach bars make this large green hill framed bay a haven for the yachtie looking to get away from it all. Just as long as you don’t mind sharing it with the fish and the pelicans.

Naturally beautiful place Tobago Cays
There’s a reason why its a world heritage site. The breathtaking beauty of these four uninhabited islands fringed with a shallow coral reef has to be seen to be believed. Then don your mask and snorkel to discover its like swimming in an aquarium in addition to being the only place where you can guarantee to swim with Hawksbill turtles.

Location with a view by the church, Mayreau
At the top of the only road on the island, just above the church, the 360 degree view from the hill will give you as far as St Vincent to the north, Grenada in the south and all bits inbetween. But it’s the view out east to the Tobago Cays that is probably the most special.

Most underrated island St Vincent
WIth an occasional reputation as the bad pirate of the Caribbean, the truth and/or the rumours overshadow the fact that the black sand sheep of the southern Caribbean is a stunning verdant lush island with breathtaking vistas and a spectacular volcano to climb. Even if you just take the ferry there from Bequia you owe it to yourself to take a look and make up your own mind.

Fuel Dock B & C Fuels (Petit Martinique)
Easy access with a big dock pointing into the wind coupled with quality fuel (diesel and gasoline) at bargain prices make the stop well worth it. While you’re there pop to Matthew’s down the road for duty free booze and you’ll be properly fuelled up for your travels.

For an afternoon of decadence Petit St Vincent
Treat yourself to a quiet anchorage in crystal clear waters, a walk along a pristine white sandy beach and top it off with your sophisticated cocktails in elegant surroundings as the suns sets over the yard arm, and you feel like a millionaire even if you’re not.

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Ask Pandora – Where can I get free WiFi in Grenada & The Grenadines?

May 19, 2010

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The office at De Big Fish, GrenadaRather tempted not to answer this one. After all, the point of chartering the yacht and sailing out here in paradise was surely to escape the crazy real world with all its incessant demands wasn’t it? But if you’re really worried about the sky falling in at the office if you don’t check you e mails or you’d like to truly annoy your friends by posting pics on Facebook the Pandora always thinks its best to combine business with pleasure and connect up in a nice place with free WiFi and a good rum punch. Here’s a few favourites…

Grenada
True Blue Bay Resort. Right at Horizon’s base, just ask for the password and enjoy the ambience and comfy chairs at the Dodgy Dock Bar. Or try De Big Fish with its very fast connection. As long as you have some food at some stage they’ll be happy to give you the password which very rarely changes…

Carriacou
Tyrell Bay. One of the few places where you can actually sit on your boat and get access to the internet. Bay wide free WiFi is provided by local businesses who ask you to make a donation to the local education project, but its not compulsory. It security protected but the password is Carricaou. There is no free WiFi in Hillsborough though they do have internet cafes (so Pandora is told).

Union Island
Hot Hot Hot Spot is available for you on your boat in Clifton Bay, but its unnecessarily expensive. Much better to take the short dinghy ride to shore and park yourself at the Anchorage Hotel or Bougainvilla Hotel in L’Aquarium Bar where access is free. No password required for Anchorage, Bougainvilla (Wind and Sea) was UnionIsland (all one word) last time Pandora was there, but if that doesn’t work just ask them. But if its a bit too early for a rum punch you can always check your e mail with a fab coffee and a proper French croissant at Captain Gourmet, open from 8:00am. There is no WiFi in Chatham Bay, yet…

Mayreau
Head to Dennis’ Hideaway half way up the hill on the road with no name. (Its the only road on the island so doesn’t need a name you see). There is no WIfi yet, but its free to use their computers in the office behind the bar or hook your own laptop up to one of their modems. Dennis promised Pandora he’d be getting WiFi soon.

Canouan
The Tamarind Beach Hotel has free WiFi but Pandora was a bit irritated last time when it didn’t work in the bar location, only in the hotel reception area….perhaps its better now.

Mustique
Gaze affectionately at your boat inbetween e mails from the over the water location at Basil’s Bar in Britannia Bay. dlink or The Unexpected is the free WiFi. No password is required and Basil’s is open for coffee in the morning through to late night drinks. Try connecting with a Mustique Mule in your hand, created with homemade ginger beer.

Bequia
For convenience and location, just to the right of the dinghy dock on Front St in Port Elizabeth, you can’t beat Maria’s Terrace. Pick up wireless 59, no password. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner 7 days a week they are also more than happy to have you plug in if you’re a bit low on juice (UK style 3 pin plugs). Pandora tries to time visits with Happy Hour between 5:30pm and 7:30pm.

Tobago Cays, PSV, Palm Island, Petit Martinique
There is either none or it is restricted to hotel guests only. Enjoy the beaches and the very good excuse why you couldn’t be reached instead. You’ll be back there soon enough.

For some photos of stunning wifi sites, click here

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Ask Pandora – A Guide to Good ‘Liming’

March 1, 2010

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You can’t be in the Caribbean without coming across this term ‘liming’(Or limin’) but it’s not a term you will ever find in the English dictionary. So what’s it all about? Well It‘s hanging out, doing what you like doing, usually with friends and generally in a relaxed fashion. ‘Liming’ is part of the chilled Caribbean way of life but it’s also a mindset and when you’ve finished sailing the warm waters and come ashore ‘liming’ is just something you should do. So here’s just some of Pandora’s favourite places to ‘lime’ between Grenada and Bequia

Grenada
With its location right next to a boatyard and a chandlery in the north western corner of Prickly Bay, plus its 2 for 1 Happy Hour, De Big Fish Bar and Restaurant is always full of thirsty hard core live-aboard yachties. If you want to hear some great sea stories and ask any question you can think of about sailing, just come here and strike up a conversation, with anyone. Meanwhile in town, after a few hours wondering around St George’s and its’ amazing market (Saturdays are best) you can sample cooking with all the spices you have just seen at Pandora’s favourite Caribbean food restaurant BB’s Crab back at the northwest end of the Carenage – on the water’s edge of one of the World’s most picturesque harbours.

Carriacou
Most people head to Tyrell Bay to anchor, but the most relaxed and beautiful place on the island is Paradise Beach. Too shallow to anchor you can dinghy across from nearby Sandy Island or walk or take a taxi from Tyrell. The north end is home to Fidel Productions the Caribbean’s most creative and unique T-shirts featuring local artists. After that, stroll down this stunning beach to the south end and hang out at Curtis’s Off the Hook Bar and Restaurant where a chilled Carib beer gazing at the view across to Union Island with sand in your toes is just perfect.

Union Island
An island of 2 halves featuring busy bustling Clifton Bay and peaceful blissed out Chatham Bay. For a spot of Euro-chic style Pandora loves to stop at the French owned Bougainvilla Hotel with its L’Aquarium Bar for a much welcome ‘Ti Punch after arriving in Clifton. But for some local flava The Twilight Bar just off the main square is the place to go. The drinks are cheap, the place is always buzzing and the owner plays a mean guitar most evenings. On the other side of the island tranquil Chatham Bay has one dirt track and no phone or wifi. In the beginning there was just Shark Attack who set up his famous beach BBQ’s. Now others have followed setting up Beach Bars powered by car batteries. Vanessa and Seckie’s Sun & Beach Bar is one of Pandora’s fav’s for a rum punch and a great BBQ meal, something that TV chef Anthony Bourdain sampled a couple of weeks ago as part of his latest TV series. Meanwhile Antonio’s is a posh new place at the south end of the beach with its own pool and dinghy dock which has just opened. Could it be Chatham Bay is going upmarket?

Mayreau
2 great bays, one town with no name and just one road, but Mayreau has loads of charm. To get in the mood for laid back ‘liming’ walk to the church at the top of the hill for a stunning view of Tobago Cays in the magical light of dusk and soak up the chilled vibe with the locals at Righteous Roberts Rasta Bar. You’ll leave feeling extremely mellow!

Mustique
There’s more than just celeb spotting to do on this pristine piece of paradise. A walk from Britannia Bay down the leeward beach of Lagoon through the cool shade of the old palm plantation is perfectly topped off with a dip in the always empty Gelliceaux Beach.
Basil’s Bar on the water is the famous place but Pandora’s loves to ‘lime’ at sunset with a “Praying Mantis’ cocktail in hand halfway up the hill at Firefly where the huge picture window affords a sensational view of your boat below and the sun dropping into the sea.

Bequia
There are so many places to check out in this favourite yachtie island with the fabulous big natural harbour that is Admiralty Bay, that it’s hard to choose where to go, but after a splash on Princess Margaret Beach you can’t beat the perfectly positioned Jack’s Bar right there on the sand. Closer to town on the Belmont Walkway The Green Boley with its cheap but tasty roti’s always pulls in a crowd from lunchtime to late in the evening often with impromptu jam sessions led by a local singer/guitarist who lives out the back. Then on the north side of the harbour for quirky charm and good live music every Friday Devil’s Table always delivers for the party animal onboard. But there’s more to Bequia than just Admiralty Bay. Stan and Elizabeth of Firefly in Mustique have set up Firefly in Spring, a beautiful restored plantation house that does fab fresh fruit smoothies and in Friendship Bay on the south of the island the Moskito Bar has swings at the bar to sit on!

For photos of where to lime click here

Happy Liming!

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Ask Pandora – How to Win Friends and Influence People!

February 5, 2010

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Continuing our theme of Ask Pandora – our mystery guide to yachting in the Windward Islands. The islands really are that idyllic for great sailing, but in between the sailing times here’s some pointers to getting on with the local residents of Bequia, Union, Carriacou and other islands in the Grenadines chain. Follow this and you’ll be popular with everyone!

1. Be polite
People in the Caribbean are unfailingly polite. Try it and you’ll find it works here better than anywhere! Very old fashioned but you’ll get the hang of it and realize how charming it is. Use “good morning/ afternoon/ evening” and keep away from the straight “hello” or “hi” as they’re just not effective. A word of warning – you may get confused as the locals will tend to say “good evening” to you anytime after midday and “good night” even though you don’t feel like going to bed yet! If you think you catch on and say “good afternoon” in the morning I’m afraid this will not work at all. Local rules.

2. Take your time and have a chat
It may be your first beer ashore since a long upwind sail and you’re parched, or you really need a part in a local chandlery urgently, but the locals work on “island time”, a unique blip in the time space continuum, that has the effect of slowing down even further if you try to rush it. So regardless of your need, start with point 1, then progress that to a polite chat which usually means enquiring after someone’s health and/or day so far. A minute or two of that before getting down to asking for whatever it is you want from that person and you’ll be amazed at the big smile you’ll receive in return along with that beer etc that you really need. Try to make it happen without what the locals consider to be simple good manners and you’ll be wondering why the other bloke at the bar who got there after you is already sipping his cold Carib.

3. Buying your fruit & veg
Most stores have tinned and frozen stuff leaving you to buy your fresh fruit and veg from market stalls often run by the island Rasta’s who by virtue of their religion are vegetarian so know a thing or two about what they are selling, or the venerable market ladies. Both these groups of fruit and veg vendors are canny sales people, so be prepared to haggle but do it in a friendly non-aggressive way. You’ll be amazed at the amount you walk out of the Rasta market with having only popped in for a pineapple or couple of mangoes. The Rasta market in Bequia is probably the best known. And don’t forget to ‘spread the love’, that is, be prepared to buy a little something from everyone rather than all your stuff from one vendor. Then everyone is happy.

4. Dealing with the ‘boat boys’
Especially prevalent in the southern part of the Caribbean chain of islands these enterprising guys in their colourful motor boats will approach you regularly offering anything from a mooring ball to tie up to, to fresh lobster, ice, or a T-shirt. Some people see them as an irritation but remember these islands are poor by many standards and these guys are simply trying to make a living. So treat them with respect and good manners and you’ll find they can be very helpful and not a hassle at all. Look them in the eye, ask them their name, (it’ll help you both next time you see them) and be firm but polite about accepting or declining what they have to offer. They’re the only way to buy that freshly baked warm loaf of bread in the morning as you swing at anchor in the Tobago Cays!

5. Be considerate of other yachties
It’s the simple stuff really that makes a big difference. Keep the music down, not everybody enjoys your 80’s classics played full volume. Go slowly past other yachts and never too close to their bow, your keel and their anchor chain are never good friends. Take your time anchoring, drop 5 times the depth of chain and wait at least half an hour before leaving the boat (and even better, dive on the anchor), to make sure it has held fully. The wind can change direction and be gusty in squalls and some anchorages are subject to strong currents, so leave plenty of room to swing safely.

So, smile and be nice and the Caribbean will smile on you.

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Ask Pandora – What do I wear when sailing in the Grenadines?

January 13, 2010

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It’s the night before you get on the plane to your dream sailing holiday and you’re faced with that well-known traveler’s dilemma of what to pack. What you need to know is how to look cool and groovy in the Caribbean. Well, Pandora knows what’s appropriate and what’s not. So please take heed and wear these at your peril:

Starting at the feet. Crocs. The bright plastic holey clog type things. They’re just plain ugly. The brighter the colour, the worse they are. The only exception to this is Pandora’s friend George Brown, who is so eccentric and wonderfully odd that he can just about get away with wearing them, but only with his French Foreign legion sunhat on and various tools jangling from his belt on his khaki jungle shorts. For the rest of you forget it. And if you have to wear deck shoes, (Pandora is not a fan), definitely no white socks with them! The acceptable footwear for the groovy Caribbean Cruiser is bare feet on the boat and flip flops when ashore (preferably Havaianas).
Shorts – less stringent rules here, pretty much anything goes apart from 2 varieties;
1. any kind of athletic nylon type shorts. So no running shorts and most definitely no football shorts (but then let’s face it, everyone should be banned from wearing them unless your name’s David Beckham). They’re just not the scene in Bequia.
2. Three quarter length short long things (I don’t even know what they are called), but they stop somewhere mid shin. They either make you look the a midget in shorts or someone who’s trousers shrunk in the wash. Best idea, use the scissors and turn them into knee length cut offs (no hems). That looks much better!
And while we are at it, for the avoidance of doubt…….definitely no white linen drawstring trousers unless you are a Calvin Klein model.
T-shirts/shirts – No local T-shirts to be worn within 100 miles of the location they were purchased from. Nothing nylon, (including the horror football shirt whatever the code of football) and no singlets/vests (unless you are a lady). Acceptable top type clothing includes faded soft T-shirts with a hint of an old design on them and crumpled long sleeve cotton shirts with the sleeves rolled up and never worn tucked in.
Hats – a tricky area this, as they are a very good idea in this sunny climate but are hard to pull off looking cool in without them blowing off in the wind. For this reason the cute straw pork pie hat which does look good is impractical in the wind. So the ubiquitous baseball cap is reluctantly considered acceptable as long as it is not new, has no obvious big logo on it or is that ‘trucker’ type. For girls the military style cap works well. Straw cowboy hats are out. Really out. Even lounging on the beach. Yes, Pandora used to love them, but they’ve had their day.
Swimsuits – Men. Nothing less than mid thigh and casually baggy please. Unless you are under 16, no loud colours and neon is totally out whatever your age. You’ll only scare the fish in the Tobago Cays when you swim and that’s unkind. Of course, nothing skimpy or tight (What are known as “budgie smugglers” in Australia) and definitely no underwear masquerading as swimmers!
Ladies – bikinis only. One piece costumes are so mumsy and those comedy cut out ones will give you a ridiculous tan line. But girls this is not the south of France, keep your bits covered unless you are anchored way out please. In the Grenadines the locals are very traditional in their views.
Suncream – Not really clothing, but an essential accessory for looking cool in the Caribbean. It’s close to the equator here, the sun is strong and nothing says “muppet tourist on holiday” more than a ruddy sunburned face and body. There’s just no way to make that look work. So slap it on, all the time and try to avoid the midday sun. Do what the locals do. Take a snooze in the shade.

For some photos of examples of what to wear or not to wear click here!

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