Tag Archives: Tobago Cays

Fun Onboard Your Southern Caribbean Yacht Charter!

November 30, 2013

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A yacht charter vacation in the Southern Caribbean offers a range of activities to appeal to the whole family,  from relaxing and visiting on-deck to various water sports and a wide range of land-based adventures as you enjoy travelling through the different islands!

For guests keen to top up their tans, our beautiful yachts offer space to lounge, where sun worshippers can soak up the rays whilst engrossed in a good book or taking a leisurely dip in the cool sea.

Snorkelling  is a hugely popular part of most charter holidays – bring your own or rent a few sets before you depart to allow you to discover the incredible underwater vistas and stunning sea life below the surface! Explore delicate coral reefs or swim with the sea turtles, we will share our top snorkel sites with you. One of our absolute favourites is the Tobago Cays Marine Park, a protected group of small islands that is one of the most beautiful, breathtaking places in the world – and you can only get there by boat!  Snorkel with sea turtles

If you love the idea of a luxury yacht charter holiday but you don’t know how to sail you can take advantage of adding a professional skipper to your charter – this allows you to learn as much or as little as you like about the aspects of sailing, and your skipper will take responsibility for managing all of the aspects of cruising under sail or by motor, anchoring, mooring, etc.

You can also plan a learning vacation! The emphasis is on learning how to sail, through hands-on experience, in a beautiful part of the world. Mornings will be spent learning and practicing new skills. In the afternoons you will set sail with the backdrop of spectacular beaches and islands of the Grenadines, refining these newly learned skills along the way. Once anchored for the afternoon, there will be free time to spend exploring, snorkeling, fishing, and relaxing…

Explore this stunning part of the world while earning American Sailing Association 101,103 and 104 (Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat) certifications. Over the course of a week you will gain the knowledge, experience and certifications to charter sailboats anywhere in the world, and embark on your own sailing adventure!

Diving often plays a large part in a charter holiday. Grenada is a world-famous dive destination, boasting a wide range of dive sites including the first Underwater Sculpture Park as well as the largest wreck in the Caribbean – the cruise liner “Bianca C” which sank off St George’s in 1961. There is exceptional diving throughout the Grenadines, much of it drift diving and for more experienced divers so we highly recommend the use of one of the local dive shops for “rendezvous” diving. Rental dive equipment can be arranged for your charter.

A kayak is a great way to explore anchorages and beaches – and also perfect for nature lovers in locations such as the mangroves in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou or exploring the Tobago Cays. Singles rent for only US$125 per week, doubles US$140 per week.

stand up paddleboard at sunset

 

You can also rent one of our stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) for only US$175 per week. Ideal for exploring quiet beaches and coves, not only is it a great workout for the core muscles but it is also very therapeutic & relaxing!  Ask us about availability to add one to your charter booking.

 

Fishing can be a fun and important part of both the entertainment and the culinary aspect of your charter. There is nothing quite like reeling in a fish then later that day smelling it searing on the grill! Have fun introducing local fruit and vegetables found in small market stalls to your meal. The chance of catching a yellow fin tuna or Wahoo is excellent as the clean Southern Caribbean waters are known for superb fishing opportunities… or enjoy trawling for dinner as you sail!  Fishing rods can be rented at the Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada base for US$25 per week.

All of our yachts are equipped with tenders that can whisk you to an island beach for a private picnic, or into shore for shopping  & dining in one of the charming, friendly coastal towns. Custom itineraries can be arranged to include the ports of call and land activities that guests most desire. Depending on guest preferences and destination, land options may include rain forest hikes, swimming in waterfalls, bird watching, eco-tours, garden tours, historic sites and so much more.

Imagine your dream holiday – a day of splashing and exploring, followed by laughing together and lounging in the warm evening breezes whilst dining alfresco.  And don’t forget some romantic star gazing in the crystal clear skies – away from the hustle and bustle of large cities, there is very little light pollution so the skies are awash with constellations!

Stargazing... photo thanks to Günther Kranich

Let us help plan your Southern Caribbean vacation to remember! Email us on info@horizongrenada.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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Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada Newsletter March 2013

March 30, 2013

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Photo Credit Nick at REdlinephotography.ca

In This Issue:

  • Learn to Sail – Last Minute Discount!
  • Music Events, Plus a Special Offer!
  • Exploring The Grenadines – Meet Vanessa & Seckie! Chatham Bay, Union Island
  • The Island Juice Company

Learn to Sail – Plus a Last Minute Discount!

Our partners at Nautilis Sailing have announced that due to a last minute cancellation there are two spots available on their upcoming ASA 101-104 course!   The livaboard course includes all meals, a private single cabin for each guest, course materials and formal certification!  the course starts on the 6th of April… and for only $1300 US per person – that’s 40% off their usual course fee – it’s a fantastic opportunity!

In 2011 The American Sailing Association honoured just 20 ASA schools with the Outstanding Sailing Schools Awards, and Nautilis was one of them!  Nautilus Sailing School conduct weeklong  liveaboard sailing courses on Horizon’s Bavaria sailboats. Passionate about sailing, they have enjoyed sailing in some of the most spectacular cruising grounds around the world. ” The Grenadines are truly the ideal sailing classroom” says Lead Instructor Tim Geisler.
You will set sail from the beautiful, friendly island of Grenada and visit several other islands and special locations in the Grenadines. Explore this stunning location while earning American Sailing Association 101,103 and 104 (Basic Keelboat, Basic Coastal Cruising and Bareboat) certifications. Over the course of a week you will gain the knowledge, experience and certifications to charter sailboats anywhere in the world, and embark on your own sailing adventure!  The goal is to enjoy a learning vacation. The emphasis is on learning how to sail, through hands-on experience, in a beautiful part of the world. Mornings will be spent learning and practicing new skills. In the afternoons you will set sail with the backdrop of spectacular beaches and islands of the Grenadines, refining these newly learned skills along the way. Once anchored for the afternoon, there will be free time to spend exploring, snorkeling, fishing, and relaxing…

You can learn more about the course details at Nautilis Liveaboard Courses and please contact Tim directly to take advantage of this amazing offer: tim@nautilussailing.com

 

Music Events

Ky-Mani Marley 13 April We are very excited to announce that on April 13th 2013, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Ky-Mani Marley comes to Carriacou to play a one off show in aid of local charities!

In fact, 100% of the profits will be donated to two local charities, the recently established Carriacou Music Foundation, a charity designed to promote music education and performance on the island, and the Carriacou Children’s Education Fund which supports education programs in schools, and provides necessary resources for improved learning on the island.

Through his music Ky-Mani Marley not only continues his father’s legacy, but also delivers an eclectic blend of reggae, dancehall and hip-hop, which has helped to put his most recent album at the top of the Billboard Reggae Charts! You can buy tickets online, Early Bird Discounted Tickets are EC$50 (18.50 US) all the details can be found on Ky-Mani’s website,

***

St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 30 April -12 May For over 20 years the St Lucia Jazz Festival has been one of the most anticipated events in the Southern Caribbean.  Re-branded this year as the St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, this 13-day event features a number of fringe events around the island which will showcase rich local talent and cultural displays and culminates with the ‘main stage’ events at historic and beautiful Pigeon Island.

There is a truly exciting lineup of internationally-renowned performers, including R. Kelly, Akon, and the Jacksons; as well as such talent as Tracy Hamlin (currently #1 single in Europe) and the striking, stunning Fatoumata Diawara. For all the details see the performers & programme details .

***We are pleased to introduce a special offer for the St Lucia Jazz & Art Festival!***

Starting on Friday 10th May in St Lucia, you will be welcomed onboard your Beneteau 51.5 (ideal for a party of six!) with a cool cocktail by your skipper and chef who will be waiting to meet you at Rodney Bay Marina.  Enjoy a couple of evening shows and head south for a wonderful charter through the Grenadines.

You can enjoy day sails and evenings at the various performances – a great combination to start your vacation.  On Monday you would sail down to Bequia the historic boat building island before heading to the Tobago Cays.  You would end your charter on the south coast of Grenada on Friday, 17th May.

The all-inclusive rate per person would be US$1500.00, based on a party of 6.  This would include the yacht, crew, all food and drinks, custom & immigration fees, yacht fuel, water and ice.  Show tickets not included.  For further information please contact Jacqui: info@horizongrenada.com

Exploring the Grenadines

Although Chatham Bay, Union Island is a favourite mooring, you may not have heard about Vanessa and Seckie’s yet.  It is well worth the visit to discover this treasure – a ramshackle hut powered by a battery and a generator, but don’t let that fool you in to thinking it is another “chicken and chip” stand!

We can report that the couple is very welcoming and that Vanessa’s conch fritters are very tasty and Seckie will cook you up a lobster on an outdoor fire… served up with a Dark & Stormy made with fresh nutmeg and PROPER ginger beer!

As you enjoy your meal you sit with your toes in the sand enjoying the tranquil, sweeping crescent of Chatham Bay – the definition of a good beach bar.  You never know, if you are lucky enough to be there at sunset you may even see a green flash!

 

Chatham Bay, Union Island

 

Got… Juice?

You’ve heard of Micro-Breweries, but here’s one with a twist – we are proud to introduce the first” Micro-Juicery” on the Island!    Showcasing the wonderful variety of fresh fruit grown on the island, the Island Juice Company products are prepared in a clean, safe, processing facility with minimal sugar, no preservatives and a high concentration of real juice.  This new venture is co-owned by long-time Grenadian businessman Lennon ‘Cane Juice Man’ Mapson, his wife Sherry and a Canadian couple on the Island – Jim Jardine and his wife Stephanie Ryan.  Their first flavours under development are the incredibly popular golden apple with a hint of lime- a popular local drink – plus Soursop, Mango and Passion fruit and – of course – Cane Juice Man’s signature Cane Juice and Bois Bande blend!  Each flavour of Island Juice will only be available when the fruit is in season and perfectly ripe.

What we really love is the idea that instead of exporting fruit for a tiny reward, the Island Juice Company creates jobs and a finished product on the island, rather than shipping raw fruit out of country.  Not only does is add value here at home, it reduces the need to import boxed UHT juice back onto the island.  This concept is growing in popularity in Grenada; with the goat cheese produced at Belmont Estates a popular example, and was originally implemented here by Mott Green at the Grenada Chocolate Factory, where a bean-to-bar product provides a greater reward for the farmers and workers than exporting the cocoa bean directly.

We are looking forward to trying their new flavours, and you can find their products at The Merry Baker (Port Louis Marina), Gittens Pharmacy, Foodfair, Foodland, Andells, and many other local retailers!

The Island Juice Co. on shelves now!Mango & Passionfruit Label

 

Until Next Time…

Sign up to have our newsletter delivered right to your inbox for local events, sailing updates and special offers! As promised here is a link to a fun short video of our recent Grenada Sailing Festival 2013 – Junior Final Race – note the tactics used for rounding the race marker! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDHWGdSpiz4&feature=share&list=UUy6hAINe2iMU5fUONXD_iIg

 

 

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Meet Our Team at Horizon Grenada! Part One…

March 20, 2012

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Part of the Horizon Grenada TeamHorizon Yacht Charters Grenada is proud to have a fantastic team, which allows us to provide guests with unbeatable customer service.  Recently we asked of our team to share some of their favourite things so you can get to know them a bit!

Jacqui Pascall is originally from Shropshire in the United Kingdom, and acts as our Reservations Manager & Financial Controller.  Jacqui is one of the co-founders of Horizon Grenada and has been with them since day 1 over 10 years ago.  Jacqui’s favourite anchorage is the fabulous Tobago Cays, and she loves spending a day off listening to live music (preferably a cover of Bob Marley!) at a Hog Island lime if she isn’t out and about walking her dog,  doing yoga or going diving!  Jacqui loves seeing everything come together at Horizon, with satisfied clients having enjoyed a fabulous sail in the Grenadines… A team effort from start to finish!James & Jacqui

James Pascall is Horizon Grenada’s second co-founder and Director and comes from Slindon, near  Chichester – the birth place of Cricket. James loves focussing on the logistics of Horizon’s operations. His nickname is Papa or the Old Cheese, and is always on the move, hashing or riding his bicycle.  James frequently rides over Grand Etang, on his way to a hash or just to visit friends!  His most memorable day out was a recent adventure that found him hiking up Diamond Rock off the North of the Island.  His favourite song is Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd and if you were to coax him into an impromptu “party piece’ he’d reward you with singing or juggling. Given his choice of anchorages, James would always pick Isle de Ronde, also to the North of Grenada!

Bernadette NoelBernadette Noel keeps everything going smoothly for our clients as the Customer Service Manager, and has been with Horizon for 8 1/2 years. She loves working with our tight-knit team and knowing that her customers are satisfied.  Bernadette is from Westerhall on the south east coast of Grenada. Her nickname is Bern or B, and she loves Lasagna.  Bernadette can often be found cycling or hiking in her spare time, and plans to visit her favourite anchorage – Petite Saint Vincent – again soon!Candelle Thomas

Candelle Thomas is from Grand Anse, Grenada and joined Horizon a year ago as the Sales & Accounts Assistant. Candelle loves the added benefit of going sailing while working with Horizon! Candelle spends her down time reading or practicing playing the Steel Pan, and loves hiking up Mount Carmel Waterfall and Grand Etang Trails. You will always get her dancing to Rise to the Occasion by Sizzla Kalonji!

Curtis Licorish is one of our maintenance cleaners here at Horizon, and has been with us for 7 years.  Originally from Marigot, St John’s Parish on Grenada, Curtis’ favourite part of working here is the social aspect of the team. Curtis enjoys fishing and hunting in his spare time, and his favourite dish is West Indian Fish Broth.Juliet Nash

Juliet Nash is originally from Bylands, St Andrews Parish in Grenada and has been working as our interior cleaner for Horizon Grenada for 10 years. Juliet is a big fan of the late Whitney Houston, with ‘I Look to You’ being her top track, and loves the Grenadian national dish of Oil Down… If you catch Juliet in the right mood at a gathering she might be coaxed into reciting poetry for the group, and spends her down time reading.

Next week we will be introducing some more members of the team… while we were chatting we had so many people mention Grenada’s national dish we thought we should share the recipe for Oil Down, a simple hearty one pot meal of saltbeef or saltfish and vegetables!

RECIPE

Oil Down Ingredients:

  • 250 grams salted meat (pig tail, pork, meat or chicken)
  • 250 grams salted fish
  • 4 cups chopped dasheen (taro leaves, callalou or spinach)
  • 2 small breadfruit
  • 2 chives
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 whole chili
  • 1 stick celery
  • 1.5 liters coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp. salt (may or may not be necessary)
  • 1 whole pepper
  • dumplings and plantain (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak fish and meat over night in cold water to remove preserving salt. Drain.
  2. Remove the breadfruit core, peel and slice.
  3. In a saucepan, put alternate layers of breadfruit, meat and saltfish
  4. Tie chili, thyme, chive and add to the pan with celery and coconut milk
  5. Add layer of chopped dasheen
  6. Put dumplings on top layer
  7. Cover tightly and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat and simmer about 45 minutes until everything is cooked and tender.
    When cooked, the liquid should all be absorbed and stew oily

Serve hot.

Dumpling Ingredients:

  • ½ lb. flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup cornmeal (optional)
  • 1 tbs.. sugar
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of spice or nutmeg (optional)
  • water

 

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cornmeal.
  2. Add enough water to make a fairly stiff dough.
  3. Shape dough into either round, oblong or flat bite size portions.
  4. Drop in boiling soup.

Try your hand at Grenada’s national dish!

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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 – 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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Ask Pandora – A guide to Christmas afloat in the Grenadines

December 16, 2009

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Are you one of the lucky few about to relinquish the arduousness of Christmas at home for a floating one in the tropical waters of the Caribbean? Congratulations! But where to go when you get here? For those of you heading for the Grenadines (congratulations again!) help is at hand with our new Blog Advisor “Ask Pandora” Who is Pandora? Perhaps if you’re very patient all will be revealed – but certainly NOT for a long while yet! Decide from the choices below what best suits yourself and your crew and follow Pandora’s essential guide to Christmas in the Grenadines!

Firstly, despite the temperatures and lack of chimneys for Santa, Christmas is still big in the Caribbean, based on good old family values and a strong sense of tradition. Sometimes it’s bizarrely incongruous, such as inflatable reindeer parked on the side of the road, or completely over the top festive light competitions between neighbouring houses that bring sightseers from the other end of the island.

Christmas food here still includes turkey and ham but also has a fascinating local blend of local fare including baked chicken, stewed mutton or goat, rice, peas, ginger beer, sorrel (a deep red drink made from flowers of the sorrel plant) and black cake – a very heavy rich fruit cake laced with local rum. On a yacht why not be completely decadent and order up fresh local lobster cooked and prepared from the local fisherman?

For shopping in the Grenadines Pandora recommends Captain’s Gourmet in Union Island (full of mouth watering French delicacies), Doris’s Fresh Foods in Bequia and for Christmas booze there’s no cheaper than Matthew’s in Petite Martinique.

So who do you want to be?

The Party Animal
Bequia. You and at least 200 other boats in Admiralty Bay will love their party version of Nine Mornings Festival unique to the Grenadines (which has typically morphed into evenings as well), and raucous beach BBQ’s. Best sleep during the day.

The Family Affair
Carriacou. Anchor at yachtie’s favourite Tyrell Bay and take a short taxi ride (Call Linky on Ch 68) or walk to nearby Paradise Beach where the kids will enjoy the mile long white sand and incredibly calm waters and mum and dad will enjoy the 180 degree stunning view across to Sandy Island and the cold beers at Curtis’ Off the Hook Beach Bar.

The Glamour Sophisticate
Mustique. Where the rich and famous come to play for some celeb spotting at Basil’s Bar or a fabulous martini mixed by Patrick at Firefly for a perfect sunset view of your yacht at Britannia Bay. Moorings are $200 EC for up to 3 days and Berris the Harbour Master will make sure you get a spot OK.

Just Get Away From It All (Or Bah Humbug Scrooge!)
Finally for those who just want to get away from it all and pretend it’s just another day (in paradise) there’s always:
The Tobago Cays. No bars, no music, no restaurant, few people, just some turtles to swim with and some fabulous reefs to snorkel over. BBQ turkey? Not recommended – see lobster above!
Chatham Bay, Union Island. The beautiful ‘forgotten’ side of Union. A wide peaceful remote bay with wonderful walks and snorkeling on the north side of the bay.

For some photos of your potential Christmas venue, click here

Next from Pandora – what to wear (or not to wear!) in the Grenadines…….

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