We left Bequia in St. Vincent, the Grenadines and sailed due south for 30 nautical miles on our journey to the beautiful island of Carriacou in Grenada, the Grenadines. When we arrive at Carriacou, we will be just a tad over 700 miles from the equator. We are now as far south as we shall travel and not far from South America. The name Carriacou is the Indigenous Taino word meaning “island in the reefs.”
The island of Carriacou is only 13 square miles. After Grenada, it is the largest island in the Grenadines. Some people may recall that President Reagan sent troops to Grenada to protect American medical students and to defeat what he saw as a revolutionary communist regime from taking power. The main city of Carriacou, Hillsborough, is tiny. It is the chief administrative center on the island, which remains a member of the British Commonwealth. The sea surrounding the entrance to Hillsborough has now been declared a national park, so we will anchor in the pristine aquamarine waters of Tyrrel Bay, a little town with 750 inhabitants.
Although per capita incomes are quite low, these islands have very high literacy rates at 85-90%, low infant mortality, long life expectancy, and good medical care. The people are generally healthy, perhaps due to a simple diet, a lack of processed foods, and low stress.
Midafternoon, we crossed Tyrrel Bay and boarded minivans for the short ride to Paradise Bay, one of the prettiest white sand beaches in the Caribbean. Guests who planned to snorkel took Zodiacs to Sandy Island. The rest of us enjoyed a scenic drive around the island with our guide Linke and then a visit to the tiny museum.
The snorkelers reported that they observed profusions of fish, and a few spotted a green turtle. There is a turtle sanctuary not far away in Tobago Cays. The reef at Sandy Island has recovered from a terrible hurricane some years ago. We enjoyed the famous Sea Cloud tuna barbecue for dinner, a rousing shanty performance, and a disco dance party with Mario as DJ!