Grenada – the Anchorages

We finally got to Grenada in mid July, six weeks after the start of the hurricane season. We had been watching the weather closely and with conditions being benign, we decided that we were safe to stay up island. We were always in a position to run the 100miles or so S well before any weather system could get to us.
We arrived to book in at St Georges, which has a good anchorage just outside the harbour entrance, which we stayed in for several days. We got the feel of the town and found a pretty good supermarket close by. Prices were reasonable in comparison to up island so the horror stories we had been told of super inflated prices was thankfully wrong.
There are many great anchorages on the S side of Grenada, all very well filled during the hurricane season. The main ones we thought about were Prickly Bay, Mount Hartmen Bay, aka Secret Harbour and Hog Island, all close together on the SW corner of the island. Prickly has the best access to services, Secret the best bar and social scene (including volleyball, played by myself three times a week) and Hogg island had the reputation of having the most kids boats in previous years. This year it was Secret Harbour with 20+ kids ranging from babe in arms (born over the summer).
However, whilst we were in St Georges we had discovered at the Grenada Yacht Club was going to have kids sailing lessons lasting two weeks which we quickly signed the kids up for. For ease of getting them the 30 minutes drive to St Georges we decided that Prickly Bay was our best option. We were glad to find that there were a good crowd of kids boats there too, a lot of whom we had met up island. We also signed up for membership of the University Club after getting a recommendation to do so from Tomas and Karin, a lovely couple, both vets, who are lecturers at the Uni. We had met them at Bequia. Whilst we used the club (a great pool and friendly bar) for most of the summer, next years cruisers will not be able to do so. The club has changed its membership requirements, now wanting a permenant address on the island – sailors are not welcome.
For our first period in Prickly, we parked up close to the Spice Island channel, right beside our good friends on Taia. Great holding, convenient to the local bus service and a short run in to the Prickly Bay Bar and its free internet. The downside is that you have little tidal movement, the Grenada Coast Guard in their fast ribs crashing though and if anyone believes that yachts in the bay don’t flush straight out rather than using holding tanks, they are a little naive. Heavy bottom growth is fast to appear in that nutruient rich environment! With most main anchorages in the Carribean serviced by an industrious soul with a pump out boat, normally offering water and diesel at the same time, I was amazed that no-one has set up that service for the several hundred boats parked up, just in these bays. All three bays would be a lot sweeter………
After we returned from a forray up to Tobago Cays (see seperate post) we decided that we would stay out at the edge of the Prickly Bay, off the University Club. This was very well sheltered (better than in the main bay area) with little or none of the prevelent easterly swell wrapping around the headland getting to us. Downside? With the water much cleaner, I had no excuse not to scrub Skylark clean of growth!
We also anchored in Clarks Court Bay, choosing to take the big boat around for a concert held there rather than dinghy the four miles. There was plenty of wind (always a good thing listening to the wind generator providing “free” power) and little fetch. Although there were a couple of small marinas there, there was little else to recommend the anchorage to us. It is difficult to get anywhere from there.
We travelled up to Gouyave on the NW of the island for their celebrated “Fish Friday” event. Great fun to do with a live steel drum band giving it laldy and some wonderful street food on offer. The anchorage itself is straight off the beach used by all the local fishermen. It has good enough holding but it is exposed and not an anchorage I’d want to stay at in poor weather. In a N wrap around swell, you would have an interesting time. You do have to keep a close eye out for the huge number of fish traps here.
We did have a few days in Secret Harbour after our haul out at Grenada Marine, which is another couple of hours E from Prickly. We did enjoy it there but in the end we enjoyed the University Club and its pool more. The 20 minute walk to get across to Secret was enjoyable exercise as well.
I think that we made a good choice in Prickly for our time in Grenada. It is certainly the most convenient to getting work done, exploring other areas of the island by bus and access to the shops. Its proximity to Secret Harbour was great….. but my liver probably suffered less abuse by being far enough away from it too!