Published: January 13th 2012January 5th 2012
Saline Bay beach
Saline Bay has a beautiful half moon shaped beach.
Mayreau (pronounced My Row) is the smallest of the inhabited Grenadines as it is only 1 ½ square miles in area and has a population of about 300 residents. We moved here from Union Island which wasn’t a large jump, but it felt like a world away. We had an enjoyable sail which was nice after having been at anchor for some time at Frigate Island. What should have been only a 2 hour move turned out to be 3 hours as the wind was against us and the seas were high. We anchored in the beautiful Saline Bay which has a fabulous white beach and good access to shore. When we pulled into the bay we were very surprised to see a large sailing vessel, the Wind Spirit. You can check it out on google if interested in taking a cruise on a sailing vessel. We were concerned that it would be very crowded with the people from this ship, but found that they were departing shortly as everyone was returning to the boat so not a problem.
When we went to shore we found that there were many women selling the typical souvenir T-shirts and dresses, but they
A few of the “big boys” that we were anchored with – Wind Spirit is taking off into the sunset toward Grenada. We are seeing more & more large boats in this area than ever before.
were laid back and very pleasant in welcoming you to their island. We decided to walk (or was it a climb) into town which sits high on a hill above the harbor. There were a few shops and restaurants, but not too many people around. It was very low key but everyone we met was very pleasant and helpful. We were told that if we wanted the best view we needed to go up to the Catholic Church on the top of the hill so of course we took their advice. They were definitely right as we could see Saline Bay and Union Island where we just had been, but also the Tobago Cays where we were headed to. It looked like a beautiful area, but it also appeared to be a parking lot full of boats. We were there before the weekend and had been told that as it was still during the holiday week after Christmas there were still lots of charter people here from Europe. The advice we received was to wait til the beginning of the following week and hopefully the crowds would be down. We also knew that the winds were piping up and that
A traditional waddle and daub constructed building.
would make the visibility at the Tobago Cays not as good for snorkeling. We figured we could easily spend a few extra days in this very idyllic place.
We used the time to do some projects on the boat – Bob worked on finishing the teak (which is a constant battle with the sun and salt water), Janice made various dishes for the freezer and baked bread. We broke this up with snorkeling and hiking the island. We had read that we could hike to the windward side of the island which we did with ease. We found the typical beautiful beaches and due to the numerous reefs close to the island it was completely undeveloped. What we were surprised to find was large pieces of land that were cleared for the growing of crops. They were growing corn, pigeon peas, sorrel and okra. We were impressed with the care that was taken with the fields and the fact that they had quite a climb down to tend the crops and more importantly a very steep hill through bush to climb back to the village with the fruits of their labors. Instead of retracing our steps on the trail/road
The Tobago Cays
We are trying to get to the Tobago Cays as it is suppose to be spectacular - from the looks of the number of boats there, guess everyone has the same idea!
on the windward side of the island we decided to climb up the hill through the bush. We now know why they all wear long pants as we both had quite a few scrapes and scratches from the various “prickers”, thorns and other bushes that wanted to attack your legs. It was a good healthy climb upward, but we were definitely rewarded with a great view from the top. What we do for exercise and more importantly those photos!!
We talked to one of the vendors down at the beach about the schooling for the kids on the island. We had seen a primary school here, but nothing else. We were informed that anyone that wanted to attend secondary school had to either go to Union Island or to St. Vincent. The problem was the cost involved as the parents had to pay for the transportation to the other islands. Fortunately a local gentleman had just recently agreed to take the kids to school on Union Island for the cost of the fuel with no profit for himself. This still runs 200 EC per month ($75 US) plus they must pay for the books and uniforms. Those that go
Some of the reefs
A view out over the reefs on the windward side of Mayreau.
to St. Vincent must pay much more for transportation and they also have to pay for lodging as the kids would be away from home for 3 months at a time. We were told that if a student does well, sometimes they can qualify for a scholarship to help with the costs of schooling, but it does take quite a bit for a parent to send their child to school. We did see the boat (i.e. – school bus) coming each day to pick up and deliver the students from school with quite a few onboard. It is nice to see the importance parents do place on sending their children to school here.
It was hard to believe that we stayed five days in Saline Bay, but it was a very peaceful place to stay. We would recommend this as a nice stop for anyone cruising in this area. One thing we are finding here is that there are many mega yachts in the area – both power and sail. Tsamaya and her 40 feet appeared to get smaller and smaller each day.
Next stop will be the Tobago Cays for some snorkeling in clear, blue water.
There are more photos below