The Grenadine Islands

The Grenadines are located in the Windward Islands at the lower end of the Caribbean chain and they are situated between Grenada 75 miles (120 km) to the south, St. Lucia 24 miles (43 km) to the north and Barbados 150 miles (160 km) to the east. They are comprised of seven islands and are a part of the nation of St.

Vincent and the Grenadines and a member of the British Commonwealth.English is the most used and also the official language of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. For everyday use, however, most Vincentians speak a local dialect, called Vincentian English or "Vincy" English. The dialect can vary a little from island to island ranging from easily understood to incomprehensible. Most of the people are of African descent, with a small percentage of Amerindian/black, European, East Indian and Carib people.

Bequia (pronounced "beck-way") is the northernmost of St. Vincent's Grenadine islands. It's also the largest (7 sq. miles) and most populated, with 5,000 people. Named the "island of the clouds" by the Caribs, the island is a delightful place, neat, quite hilly and well forested with a great variety of fruit and nut trees including lots of flowering bushes and some fine golden sand beaches. Bequia attracts quite a number of visitors, chiefly yachtsmen and also the smaller cruise ships and land-based (returning) visitors.

The main village is Port Elizabeth, which is located along the curve of Admiralty Bay. It is an appealing seaside community and the island's commercial centre. Admiralty Bay offers a safe anchorage for yachts and small cruise ships. The island was once the region's most important whaling station and there is also a strong boat-building tradition, however today the local boat-building manifests mostly in scale models. More than 90 percent of the boats pulling into beautiful Admiralty Bay are visiting yachts and in the height of the season the harbor is packed with yachts of all shapes and sizes.A privately owned island, Mustique has been developed into an exclusive haven for the rich and famous.

It is a beautiful island with fertile valleys, steep hills, an irregular coastline richly indented with bays and coves and 12 miles of white sandy beach. Lying 7 miles southeast of Bequia, the entire island with its beaches and surrounding waters are a conservation area. It has a population of about 800 people, most of whom work either directly or indirectly for those who vacation there. There are no towns and the island is not commercialized.

Britannia Bay, at best a village, has a dock, 18 moorings for medium sized yachts, a general store and a handful of boutiques and the airport is about a mile northeast of the dock.Canouan has dry scrubby hills and near-deserted beaches. It's a quiet, peaceful, crescent-shaped island located 25 miles south of St. Vincent.

The island extends 3.5 miles in length, but in places this anchor-shaped island is so narrow that it can be walked across in a few minutes. There are about 700 people and equally as many roaming goats. The main anchorage is in Grand Bay, where the jetty is located, while the airport is about a mile to the west. Canouan's main attraction is its exceptional long, sandy beaches, several of which are reef-protected and good for swimming and snorkeling.

Mayreau, a small island 1.5 miles in length with a population of only 200, is most commonly visited by sailing cruises that travel through the cays and then sail into the deep V-shaped Saltwhistle Bay, at the island's northern tip. Saltwhistle Bay is protected by a long narrow arm, which at its narrowest, is just a few yards wide. The bay is stunning, with clear waters, beautiful white sands, calm waters and a protected anchorage for visiting yachts. Parts of the island are within the Tobago Cays Marine Park. There are no roads from Saltwhistle Bay, however, a track leads south to the village (a five-minute uphill walk from the dock to the village centre).

There is a sandy beach along Saline Bay and deserted beaches within easy walking distance on the east side of the island.Union Island, located 40 miles from St. Vincent, is the southernmost port of entry in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The island is about 3 miles in length and half that in width. It is high, rocky and dry, it's largely covered in thorny scrubs and dotted with cacti and free roaming goats. It has two settlements, Ashton and Clifton, with a combined population of 1,900. Seventy five percent of the population live in Ashton however, 95% of the activities take place in the commercial centre of Clifton.Clifton is the centre of Union Island's thriving tour industry and includes a marina, airport, shops and restaurants.

Most visitors use Union Island as a jumping-off point for cruising the uninhabited Tobago Cays and other nearby islands. There are a few nice deserted and remote beaches around the island. Union Island's west side reaches 1,000 feet at Mount Tabor and Mount Olympus reaches 637 feet in the northwest.

The island's most substantial landmark is The Pinnacle, a 738-foot plug-shaped rock face that rises abruptly in the interior of the island between Clifton and Ashton.Southeast of Union Island is Palm Island, a 10-minute boat ride away. It is a small whale-shaped island that is the domain of a privately owned luxury resort. The beach has long been a popular anchorage with yachters and is a stopover on many day tours between Union Island and the Tobago Cays. At the western side of the island, where boats dock, is the picture-perfect Casuarina Beach with sands composed of small bits of white shells and pink coral.

Referred to locally as PSV, is the southernmost and smallest of the inhabited islands that make up St. Vincent and the Grenadines (referred to as SVG). It's a beautiful privately owned 133-acre island with a single resort, fringed by white-sand beaches, coral reefs and clear waters. There are lots of trees and flowers providing a peaceful atmosphere and you can see most of the southern Grenadines from any location on the island.


Michael Russell.Your Independent guide to Tourism.Article Source: http://EzineArticles.



By: Michael Russell

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