Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
I was last in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 1989 and was astounded by the black beaches. At the time, and I suppose this is still true, it was off the beaten path of most divers, so everything had the feel of being in a place for the first time.
It was wild and uncivilized at the time. The market on the weekends in the main town was a cacophony of sounds, smells and mysterious cultures to me at the time and on one of the Saturdays I was there, I went to a local jump up and had a blast as the only caucasian at the event, or so it seemed, and local boys danced with me and thought I was Chuck Norris, as I sported a beard back then... I loved it. One little guy stopped at my feet and stood there for a minute and then judo-kicked at me, giggled and ran away. What a hoot.
Some spots to check out;
The Bat Cave
One of St. Vincents' more challenging sites, the Bat Cave should only be attempted under the supervision of a local dive professional.
As you enter the cave you will hear the shrill squeeks of the residents above, and see the silver sparkles of the tiny fish that shelter from the sun in the shallow water at the caves entrance. The cave opens into an underwater fissure at at around 45 ft, and provides a great 'starburst' photo opportunity!
This is one of St. Vincents 'must do' dives, conditions allowing of course.
A 'zen like' experience! A very pretty dive where divers will find a marine environment that looks as though it has been tended by Japanese gardeners. Featuring a bottom of sand, coral outcrops, sea fans and a forest of sea fronds plus masses of fish, this is a dive that will appeal to all divers.
An unusual dive, in an unusual location. Calliaqua Bay is probably the last place that you would expect to find geo-thermic activity! But there it is along side a profusion of larger pelagics, huge sea fans and some quite unusual underwater topography.
Our dive shop of choice on St. Vincent is Indigo Dive. Check them out.
On St. Vincent, I stayed at a small inn called Coconut Beach right across from Young Island. I recall it being a short walk to where we picked up our Morgan and set sail through a small cut in the reef off towards Bequia. It was also directly across from an odd little rock called Ft. Duvernette. You can actually walk to the top of it along a set of winding steps someone carved into the rock years ago.
As we sailed out into the cut between St. Vincent and Bequia, the ocean swells were so large, Bequia frequently disapeared and then re-appeared as we came up on top of the swell. Then, once safely in the lee of Bequia, the sailing was quite pleasant.
We then spent a week sailing aboard a 34 foot Morgan and visited Bequia and Mustique and each place had it’s own charm.
Bequia is a beautiful, diverse little island, consisting of no more than seven square miles lying nine miles south of St Vincent, north of Mustique.
Here's some of the dive sites...
Bequia Wall - Combining the best aspects of a wall and drift dive. This is an advanced dive best done under the supervision of dive operator.
The Boulders - a shallow drift dive of huge underwater boulders.
Devils Table - a shallow dive often used for beginners where filtered sunlight creates a dazzling display of rainbow colors.
After sailing and snorkeling a bit around Bequia, we set sail for the island of Mustique and stopped at Basils, the small bar all sailors stop at the Ocean's Edge. It's a great place to anchor your boat at just offshore and snorkel your way in to the bar for a cold one.
Our first dive was The Pillories. North of Mustique, there is a small group of rocks at the Ocean's Edge called Pillories Rocks. Enter the water in roughly 15 feet and follow the sea mount around the rocks, clockwise. You'll be delighted with large populations of reef fish, lobster, turtles, eels and for fans of corals, wonderful healthy populations of corals and a substantial garden of Gorgonians on the far side of the sea mount. I'd consider this a begiinner to intermediate dive with light currents and depths from 30-75 feet.
We spent the rest of our two days there snorkeling, exploring the island and visiting Basils. This is a very private island visited only by a few who seek seclusion and serenity. It is owned by the Mustique Company which manages the entire island and carefully controls growth to protect the natural beauty and ambiance. You won't find cruise ships in the harbor, only occasional yachtsmen drifting through on their way to somewhere else in the Grenadines.
St. Vincent, along with it’s sidekicks, the Grenadines, offer visitors spectacular diving, sailing and beaches.
We visited St. Vincent, Bequia and Mustique.
There are 29 other islands to visit... so either plan to stay for a month or plan on several visits.
Saint Vincent and The Grenadines