Grenada and Carriacou are separated by a strait called the Martinique Channel. In fact, this is the border between Grenada and the Grenadines. We first checked in at Union and left for Palm island to stay there at anchor. Palm Island is a small island one mile from Union Island and only accessible by boat. It has an area of 135 acres (0.55 km2) and has five beaches.
Originally known as Prune Island, Palm Island got its current name when the former owners, the late John Caldwell (“Johnny Coconut”) and his wife Mary, planted hundreds of coconut palms (Cocos nucifera), transforming the deserted, swampy, and mosquito-infested island into a palm covered one. Its grass airstrip was sacrificed to the planting of more palms following the construction of a 752-metre (2,467 ft) concrete airstrip on Union Island. The circular air traffic control building remains although it is now used as a nursery for young palms. Other wildlife easily seen are house geckos (Gekkonidae), ground and tree lizards, hermit crabs, land crabs (Coenobitidae). sea turtles are reputed to come ashore to lay eggs but rare tracks are usually the only indication that they have visited. The island also provides habitation for pigeons and doves (Columbidae), common blackbird, tropical mockingbird, sandpipers, bananaquit, blue and crowned herons (Botaurus) and hummingbirds. The skies above are populated by osprey, laughing gull and frigatebird. Sand flies or “noseeums” (no-see-em, no-see-ums) as they are known colloquially combined with the ubiquitous mosquito occasionally annoy the hotel guests but blanket spraying by the hotel ground staff keeps their effect to a minimum. Palm Island is the home of Palm Island Resort and Spa, with 40 rooms and suites and several private villas. There are two restaurants (the Royal Palm Restaurant and the Sunset Grill) and two bars, a spa, swimming pool, gym, library, tennis court, table tennis room and TV/Internet Room plus other facilities for guests. Typically the resort caters for 100 guests with 92 staff. In the late afternoon, we went to the bar on the island to have a nice cocktail and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.
We also visited Petit Saint Vincent. When sailing to that beautiful small island you pass Engagement umbrella Island or Mopion island. The very first name of the island seems to have been Morpion, with an R, “morpion” being the French word for “pubic louse.” But over time it appears the R has been removed according to more common Caribbean speech patterns. Nestled just off the coasts of the exclusive island resort of Petit St. Vincent and the island of Petit Martinique is a small 50-foot bar of sand that is considered by many, “the smallest island in the world”. The only structure on the island is a postcard-perfect thatched sunshade, planted like an umbrella in the white sands. The island is surrounded by crystal clear green waters with a coral reef making it very difficult to navigate anything but a small dinghy through. There is one very notable feature on this island: there is a beer cap opener attached to the underside of the thatched umbrella! A picture of the umbrella is one of the most photographed images for Caribbean postcards!
Though the small stretch of sand is a pretty dreamy little beach for those that can reach it, there is another sandbar in eyeshot that is unvisited, and for that matter unnamed, as it is said to be where all of the local tourist restaurants in the area dump their garbage, resulting in a large number of sharks in the surrounding waters, although this unconfirmed.
We could not reach this little gem at the time we were there as the sea was too rough. But we can imagine it’s great fun to enjoy the island for some time!
Petit Saint Vincent
The island is privately owned. In 1963 Haze Richardson and Doug Terman chartered their 77’ schooner, Jacinta, to
Mr H.W. Nichols, Jr. and family. During this three-week cruise, Mr. Nichols expressed interest in purchasing an island and building a small hotel. Richardson and Terman concentrated their search on the Grenadines island chain, eventually arranging the purchase of Petit St. Vincent from a woman on Petit Martinique. The two men oversaw the construction of the 22 cottage resort on the behalf of Nichols, who asked Richardson to stay on as manager. Richardson accepted this offer and never left the island, becoming owner after Nichols’ death in 1985. Richardson died in a swimming accident in 2008. His wife, Lynn Richardson, continued to manage the resort until November 2010, when it was announced that the island had been sold to Freedom Resorts Ltd. Improvements made by this group include renovations to the cottages, a new beach bar and restaurant, and a spa. The Petit St. Vincent resort has 22 luxury cottage with a Balinese-inspired spa and a dive centre. Food services are provided by the Main Pavilion Restaurant and Bar and the nearby Beach Restaurant with the adjacent Goatie’s Bar. Jean Michel Cousteau opened the diving centre on the island in 2014.
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