Study your guide notes on navigation. When navigating from the Tobago Cays to Union Island you must depart the Cays to the north on the same track you entered. Do not even think of departing on the more direct route to the south. The almost vertical mountains of Union Island are visible 40 miles away on a clear day. You need to sail almost over to Palm Island before turning to the west and up into the main harbor at Clifton.
The best anchoring is to be found if you tuck up on the eastern-side of the harbor, behind Newlands Reef – it’s a sand bottom, great holding ground, cool and breezy, and the water is crystal-clear and calm for great snorkeling behind the reef.
The town of Clifton is just a short walk along the beach (don’t fall into the shark pool next to the Anchorage Yacht Club). Clifton is a funky/charming little place with friendly people, several supermarkets and stores, and a number of great little restaurants where you’ll find excellent Caribbean fare at reasonable prices as well as laundry and marine services.
And Janti’s Happy Island at sunset
It’s a couple of minutes by dinghy to Happy Island, the labor of one enterprising man with a vision. Janti Ramage got fed up selling pizzas in town so he decided to build himself an island out of conch shells. It took him a couple of years and a lot of sand, conch shells and palm fronds to build the foundation atop the coral reef, but now it’s complete with a wind generator, solar panels, hammocks, informality, reggae music – and a well-stocked bar.
This is a must for your sundowner(s). The sun is setting and your chair is waiting.
And while you are in the neighborhood you can visit:
Petit St. Vincent: a private island with an exclusive resort which oozes elegance. Yachties are welcome for lunch.
Petite Martinique: visit for an afternoon or overnight. It’s historically an authentic seafaring, fishing and smuggling outpost of Granada. If you need fresh water get it here (and not in Clifton).
Mopion: sometimes called the world’s smallest island is a dollop of sand surrounded by sea.
It’s the quintessential desert island, containing only a single thatched roof umbrella. Snorkeling is sensational; you may see rays, large parrot fish or groupers in the deeper waters. It will either be deserted or temporarily have a cruise ship of visitors when you arrive.
Well that’s the end of this particular sail. There is so much more of the Caribbean and the world to explore…but perhaps another time.
Captain Howard Edson