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January 29, 2016

Union, An Island Paradise

For decades, we have always moved from island to island as the cruise ships and development overtook the island where we usually spend a month each year. The idea is just “to be”...not “do”. So we went from the Caymans and St. Johns back in the 70’s, to Tortola, then Jost Van Dyke..and for the past decade or so, Anegada. However, the development signs are pointing to the fact that I may need to start searching again.

Thus, I thought of you, and your many adventures in the Caribbean....and that you may know of an island or two that might fit our criteria:

Deserted beaches, great shelling/beachcombing, great snorkeling (can’t get my wife to try diving), good scenery, few touristas (NO cruise ship access), some provisioning access and a few restaurants, hospitable/friendly natives, and relatively safe.

Do NOT care about shopping, nightlife, etc.....just walk/beachcomb, swim, read, fish, and suck in nature’s awesome beauty.

Any ideas, Skipper?

Indeed “civilization” is fast killing the remaining virgin places. Once the ocean was the perfect escape but behemoth cruise ships are quickly destroying what little is left of the unspoiled wilderness.

It’s been a while since I last sailed, close to ten years. My last island which I can recommend highly is Union in the St. Vincent and The Grenadines group, just north of Carriacou (Grenada), another nice place.

I had just fired my crew in Prickly Bay in Grenada and decided it was time to try solo sailing. I had been preparing my boat for years but I had never dared to try it. Now, without a crew and wanting to sail north, was as good a time as any. As I sailed north the weather worsened. I had to tie down my wind generator which was spinning madly. As I was heading east I spotted Union and found a gorgeous bay on the south shore where I dropped anchor and went to sleep.

The next day a fellow in a local boat came to see me. He told me he was the boss and not to deal with anyone else. I told him I had no desire to deal with anyone. After a while he asked me if I needed anything. “Not that I know of.” “How about some lobsters?” he asked. That sounded like a mighty good idea but I told him not to bring me a big one seeing I was all by myself. “Live? Broiled? Cooked?” Wanting to save myself the trouble I opted for cooked. Next day he showed up with three small, gorgeous and delicious lobsters.

We got to talking and he asked me if I had a present for him. Sure. When I gave him half a bottle of Venezuelan rum his eyes lit up! “Let’s do business!” He wanted me to bring him rum from home. I said, no, I’m just relaxing.

The next day another fellow on another boat showed up. Oh no, what’s the boss going to say when he finds out! Again the fellow asked if I needed anything. “Not that I know of.” “Do you have any garbage?” he asked. “As a matter of fact I have several bags in the lazaret.” He took them away for a dollar a bag.

Can you imagine a place more idyllic, no one to bother you, they bring you lobster and haul away the garbage not by bureaucracy but by a perfect free market. There are many small islands to explore in the area, some with interesting histories.

That short sail convinced me that solo sailing was not for me. After a few days I headed west to Blanquilla and then south to my home port. That was my last sail and a delightful memory.

Denny Schlesinger

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Last updated January 30, 2016.