Introduction to the Windward Islands - 2005-2006
The Windwards are the last part of the chain of islands that run down the eastern boarder of the Caribbean to Trinidad and includes: Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, the Grenadines, Grenada, Carriacou, Petit St. Vincent, Petit Martinique and some smaller cays.
Martinique is a French island, European in style and culture. It has been a part of France almost the entire time since colonization in 1605 and is part of the European Union. Mt. Pelee the volcano that erupted in 1902, wiped out the entire town of St. Pierre, known as the Paris of the Caribbean, and its 29,933 inhabitants only 1survived, a prisoner in a concrete cell Many ruins still remain and parts of the new city share some of the old walls of the original city. In Fort De France the shopping is fun and there are large covered markets that have everything. Marin is the yachting center of Martinique with many charter boats based there. Saint Anne is a small fishing village with lovely beaches for swimming and many snorkeling places.
St. Lucia is the largest of the English speaking Windwards. The areas around Soufriere and the Pitons is outstanding with a marine park and lots of good hiking trails. Marigot Bay is a beautiful protected anchorage popular with the tourists. Castries is the capital city with an open market downtown accessible by land or water. Rodney Bay has a protected lagoon with lots of shops and restaruants and a shopping mall.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines make up the Nation of St. Vincent. The Grenadines include Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Petit St. Vincent, Tobago Cays, Palm Island and Union Island. This is beautiful cruising ground and great for snorkeling, diving and swimming. Tobago Cays are beautiful with beaches and reefs but have no services. Mustique is a private island with homes of famous people, but you can get a mooring there and use the beach. Union Island and Bequia are favorite spots for cruisers and tourists with little shops, open produce markets and wonderful restaurants. Moonhole Resort on Bequia (www.begos.com/bequiamoonhole) is a point of interest.
Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique make up the nation state of Grenada. Grenada has come back strong after being hit by Ivan in 2004. There are several bays to anchor in with services, it has accommodations for fly in tourists and cruise ships come regularly into St. George, the largest city on the island. Carriacou is also a lovely place with several bays to anchor in and Hillsborough the largest town, where most of the shopping is done. Petit Martinique is small but has a fuel dock that will accomodate larger boats.
We visited some of the islands on the way down to Trinidad and some of them coming back. This slide show includes both.