Canouan Island - The Diamond of the Grenadines
In the shape of a half circle, Canouan rises from its sandy beaches to the 240m (787-ft.) high peak of Mount Royal in the north, where you’ll find unspoiled forests of white cedar. Twenty-three kilometers (14 miles) south of St. Vincent and 32km (20 miles) north of Grenada, Canouan has a population of fewer than 1,250 people, many of whom fish for a living and live in Retreat Village, the island’s only village.
Only 6 x 2km (3 3/4 x 1 1/4 miles), Canouan is surrounded by long ribbons of absolutely gorgeous powdery white-sand beaches and blue lagoons. The surrounding coral reefs teem with life, making for great diving and snorkelling.
So after our ferry/flight experience, we landed on Canouan and were picked up, driven through a practically non-existent town and dropped at the Tamarind Beach Hotel & Yacht Club. Let me just say that there is NOTHING to do on the island of Canouan, nothing, unless you golf, then you can stay over at the $$ Raffles Resort $$, but why come all this way to golf? (Can you tell I'm not a golfer?) So we lounged on the beach and swam in the Caribbean Sea. We arranged for a day charter through the hotel for the next day. We wanted to explore and snorkel in the Tobago Cays. Unfortunately, we were informed by the hotel staff in the morning that the captain of our charter had an emergency and needed to go to St. Vincent and that our charter would be delayed one day. So we were all understanding and decided to find another boat just to take us to the island of Mayreau for lunch and exploring, which we did, without any help from the hotel staff who told us there was no other boat available.
Our boat pulled up to the dock...a tiny little wooden boat with a single engine. We jumped into the little boat and took off for Mayreau. Rounding the point of Canouan the sea became choppy and the swells picked up and increased in size as we crossed the channel, each of us hatching a silent plan of escape should the boat capsize! I guess when I read the weather report outside the dive shop, I didn't let the fact sink in that the swells were 4 - 7 feet. We both have done a lot of boating but bouncing around in a little wooden boat wasn't our idea of fun. Finally we entered Salt Whistle Bay and were disappointed to find the Salt Whistle Bay Hotel closed, no lunch here today. Coincidentally a taxi had just pulled up and could take us to a restaurant on the island (what luck huh?).
We pulled up to Robert Rice Nice Life restaurant and our captain (who had accompanied us for lunch) yelled "You cookin?" to which they much have answered affirmatively because we hopped out of the cab. RRNL restaurant is a Reggae decorated place, pretty cool actually. We met the owner "Righteous" Robert Rice who proceeded to have a "spirited" political discussion with our captain. He is quite a rastafarean character and we enjoyed his company. We had a delicious meal, one of the best we'd had so far, and then returned to our little boat for the bumpy ride home.
Before we jumped into the boat, we took a dip to cool off a bit in the beautiful turquoise water and who should we see pulling up into the bay?? The charter boat "Tropical Storm" who cancelled on us a few hours earlier...could this be her "emergency"? I hastened to find out as one of her passengers hopped off the boat and headed for shore. I engaged the passenger in friendly conversation and found out that he and the other passengers had chartered the boat from another resort. So...yeah, we were pissed.
Not only were we reserved with the charter for the next day, we had also inquired if the boat could taxi us to Union Island on the day of our departure for an early flight. That would never do, we weren't about to give her our business now.
We returned "alive" to Canouan, despite the fact there weren't any life jackets aboard (a little fact I found out about at lunch). We devised an alternate get away plan, cancelled our charter(s), advised the hotel we were checking out a day early and took the afternoon ferry (which was early by an hour causing more than a little distress!) to Union Island the next day.
BUT...not before the captain of the charter boat approached us and apologized for having to cancel because of an the "emergency" and lied RIGHT TO OUR FACES. Nope, wouldn't recommend this one.