Bequia to Union Island then Carriacou….Union Island – The day was about to get worse. We checked in at the Clifton Beach Hotel right next to the ferry terminal. The hotel has seen better days. I will leave it at that. I was greeted with the news that the mail boat no longer operates and has been in dry dock for several months. However local youths ferry people across to Carriacou on small fishing boats for a fee. We went to our room and I decided on a hot shower to find a trickle of lukewarm water, when I went to adjust the shower head I was electrocuted it was live, a bare wire from the electric heater was touching it. Standing in a small pool of water in the shower base I was flung out of the shower backwards off my feet, I sustained cuts and bruises to my lower back but was very lucky, it could have been a lot worse. Needless to stay we checked out and were put in a beach house on the opposite side of the island. I was not too pleased at paying taxi fares to and from town either. The events of the day coloured my views about Union island and in the morning things didn’t improve.
We located a taxi eventually on this quieter side of the island and the driver took us to the wharf where the local boys supposedly ferry you to Carriacou. We were told the going rate was 200 Eastern Caribbean Dollar each, about $75. When we got there the price for us was 500 ECD each and no one was negotiating. Our taxi driver tried to help to no avail. I started to get a little irate with Union Island and mentioned to the driver my incident with the shower last night. “If I spend any more time on this island I may just seek out a lawyer and see if I can sue for the shower electrocution, I’ve got nothing better to do here” I said in a moment of rage. He walked off with mobile phone to his ear, 5 minutes later he returned and told me that a boat was just about to pick us up for 200ECD. I have no idea if the conversation related to the sudden change; my daughters seemed to think so.
The boat and driver soon arrived and escorted us to immigration where we were stamped out of SVG and soon we were on the boat.
Carriacou, Grenada – The boat was very small, our luggage was placed in the front of the boat, my youngest daughter and I were told to sit up front with it and wear swimming gear. My other daughter sat at the rear of the boat on a bench seat either side of the outboard motor. The trip was fast, fabulous and extremely bumpy, I then smelled a familiar aroma in this part of the world. I looked behind to see the boatman smoking a 6-inch “Bob Marley cigarette”, the smoke drifting into my daughters face. So here we are in international waters on a rowboat with outboard motor with the two most precious people in my world and the driver under the influence. Parenting at its best!
When we arrived at Hillsborough the capital of Carriacou the boatman took us to immigration shook our hands and was off. The tourist office in Carriacou is next to the immigration office, rooms were at a premium and our first two choices were full. We ended up in an adequate place in town.
First impressions of Carriacou were good and it was about to get better. Carriacou is often dubbed as the Caribbean as it was 20 years ago, it is more laid back than anywhere else I’ve been in the Caribbean and that’s saying something. We headed out to a beach at the Southern end of the island called Paradise beach. We caught a shared taxi minibus and the people were friendly and always joking but I only got one in three words from their heavy Patios accent. My daughters were laughing and I asked if they understood. No they said but the atmosphere just made them laugh.
When we arrived at Paradise beach we all looked at each other, no one was there; the beach is pristine white sand with turquoise blue water lapping up gently to the shore. We looked around to see if there were keep out signs or a sewage pipe. The absence of people made it almost creepy. But eventually we saw a local and enquired if it was OK, he just smiled, “people are working, enjoy” so we did for the next 3 days. It did get a few more people later in the week.
Each evening we chose to go to different restaurants including a fish fry on Paradise beach in front of a camp fire and on another evening we tried Conch a local specialty. We also bumped into our boatman again and spent the afternoon in a beach side Rum shack if memory serves [Symbol]. I would visit Carriacou again in a heartbeat.
Alas we were due to go to Grenada for our family vacation, my wife was meeting us there in 2 days time, work commitments prevented here from the SVG leg of the trip. It was time to leave this beautiful place.