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St Vincent and the Grenadines / Day Sails/Boat Trips

By James Henderson

One of the pleasures of the Grenadines is the day sails and there are a number of options. The most popular are the trips to the Tobago Cays, which are a classic Caribbean spot, four tiny strips of land with lovely beaches, incredibly clear water and excellent reefs to snorkel. People come by plane from as far afield as Barbados, St Lucia, Martinique and Tobago to visit them for the day. There are other tours however, including day sails on traditional sloops (Friendship Rose, out of Bequia) and trips up the leeward coast of St Vincent itself.

Trips are generally a whole day or a half, depending on your itinerary. Food is often provided, as well as drinks at a bar, and many companies include these in the prices. Other equipment such as snorkelling gear may also be provided but do check.

Yacht charter and tour companies offering day sails, boat trips and whale/dolphin watching include:

St Vincent

Fantasea Tours, Villa Beach - Husband and wife team, Kim and Earl Halbich have been offering a variety of tours and services since 1993, including sunset cruises, dolphin watching, boat trips to the Falls of Baleine and day sails in the Grenadines.

HazEco Tours, Kingstown - Mostly land based tours but they do offer a powerboat trip to the Falls of Baleine along the leeward coastline of St Vincent. The 60ft waterfall has an enclosed rock pool where you can swim.

Sea Breeze Nature Tours, Arnos Vale - Run by Captain Hal and his father, Jim Daize, who specialize in whale and dolphin watching boat tours off the west coast of St Vincent. Excursion includes a snorkelling stop and can be combined with a trip to the 60ft Falls of Baleine in the north of the island. Complimentary drinks on board.

Bequia

Friendship Rose, Caribbean Schooner Cruises, Friendship Bay - Daily cruises to the Tobago Cays, Mustique and St Vincent with breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea served aboard the well loved Friendship Rose, an 80ft wooden schooner hand built in Friendship Bay by Captain Calvin Lewis MBE. US$140 per person for an all inclusive day trip.

Pelangi Yacht Charters, Frangipani Hotel - Private yacht available for day sails and overnight charters, with the amiable and well seasoned skipper (and cook) ‘Bamo’ at the helm. SY Pelangi is a 44ft cutter with two double guest cabins, two heads and a shaded cockpit. Lunch on shore or a picnic lunch can be arranged. Pelangi is suitable for sleeping four but will accept six guests by special request. Contact Sabrina Mitchell.

Quest, Grenadines Adventure Sailing Co, Port Elizabeth - A classic 44ft CSY sloop available for day sails and overnight charters within the Grenadines in the company of local owner and skipper Captain Johnny Ollivierre. Cook available and soft drinks, rum punch and snorkelling gear included. Suitable for sleeping two couples or a family of six, plus crew.

Balliceaux

Balliceux Charter - Customised boating trips for all of the Grenadine Islands, based on the tiny island of Balliceaux. 31ft Contender skippered by experienced captain Dwight Taylor who offers fishing, sightseeing or island-hopping.

Mayreau

If you would like to take a trip to the Tobago Cays you can ask a local fisherman to drop you there, or for a more organised tour contact one of the operators that work out of Union Island who will pick you up on the way. Yannis Charters often include a stop on Mayreau on their itineraries anyway.

Dennis’ Hideaway Yacht Charter, Saline Bay, Mayreau - Day sails to the Tobago Cays including drinks and a beach barbecue lunch in the Cays, returning by sunset. Pick-up from Southern Grenadines only, overnight charters with skipper available.

Union Island

Union Island is a starting point for many day sails, principally to the Tobago Cays nearby. Although Carriacou, which is visible to the south, is an excellent island with some lovely beaches, visiting it from Union Island involves clearing in and out through Customs and Immigration (and then back into St Vincent) and so it is not a very popular destination.

Scaramouche, Clifton - A traditional, wooden island schooner, which has been sailing out of Union Island to Mayreau and the Tobago Cays for decades. Featured in the Disney film, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Seckie’s Water Taxi - Apart from his water taxi service, Seckie offers ‘sun, beach & eat’ snorkelling tours, including barbecue beach picnic and drinks. Southern Grenadines only.

Wind and Sea, Clifton - Helpful booking agent/tour operator and charter specialist offering a variety of boat trips and private charters aboard a choice of vessels. Includes a half day sail on one of their quality catamarans to the Tobago Cays, a half day motor catamaran trip to Mayreau, a full day sail with lunch to the Tobago Cays and Palm Island. Also 1¼ hour glass bottom boat trips to Mayreau in season.

Yannis Charters, Clifton - A fleet of catamarans specifically built for the day sail market and which can pull right up onto the beach. The trip from Union Island takes in Palm Island, Mayreau and the Tobago Cays. From US$75 per person, drinks, a buffet lunch and snorkelling gear included.

Tobago Cays

All visits to the Tobago Cays are by boat and most originate in Union Island. They are so popular that people fly in from as far away as Barbados and St Lucia to join them (from where there will be organised day trips). Trips are generally a half day or a whole day cruise - see above.

Contributors: Deana Bellamy

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Looking for inspiration?

  1. Hike up St Vincent's 4000ft volcano, La Soufriere
  2. Take the Barracuda Express to the pretty harbour of Port Elizabeth, Bequia, for a day's sightseeing
  3. Enjoy a day sail and snorkelling trip to the stunning Tobago Cays
  4. Join in the carnival atmosphere and jump-up during Vincy Mas
  5. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous on Mustique

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