Friday, June 29, 2012

St Vincent sailing holiday

Thursday, 28 June 2012 4:41 PM

For a sun-drenched yacht holiday, the Caribbean is a truly wonderful destination. Although there are several thousand islands in the region you can sail between, a sailing break in St Vincent and the Grenadines is particularly exciting. With the archipelago's average yearly temperature standing at 27 degrees C, you can easily enjoy the sunshine both on your boat and onshore.
As well as being blessed with pleasant year-round temperatures, the country also has fantastic boating conditions so booking a Caribbean yacht charter holiday here enables you to put your sailing skills to good use, as well as work on developing a glowing tan. With St Vincent and the Grenadines consisting of 32 islands, you won't struggle to find a spot where you can bask in the warm sunshine. Of course, there are many other things you can see and do once you've moored up your vessel.
St Vincent
Given it's the largest and most populated island in the country, St Vincent is the ideal starting point for a sailing break in the region. Before you get into your yacht, make sure you spend some time relaxing on its beaches. Both white and black sand are to be found here, with Mt Young Beach one of the longest stretches in the entire archipelago.
St Vincent's stunning natural scenery isn't merely limited to its coastal areas though, in heading to the botanical gardens in Kingstown you'll see an array of wonderful plants and flowers. Make sure you visit the aviary to catch a glimpse of a St Vincent parrot, the country's national bird, and various rare species of wildlife. As the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere, this is one historic attraction you won't want to miss before your yacht charter break starts in earnest.
Tobago Cays
This pretty cluster of five small isles is an ideal place to enjoy the tropical sunshine, with white sandy beaches in abundance. Bear in mind though that there is little in the way of natural shade here, so you'll need to bring your own protection from the sun.
If you ever get tired of doing little more than relaxing on the beach, take a walk along the gently sloping sand down to the sea. The waters surrounding Tobago Cays are extremely clear, making them well-suited to both swimming and diving. If it's the latter you're interested in the most, make sure you explore the western coast of Mayreau, where you'll find the remains of a British gunship that was sunk in 1918, as well as vibrant sponge coral and brightly coloured fish. Should you swim through the Horseshoe Reef you can expect to see eagle rays and nurse sharks, in addition to soft and hard corals.
The small isles of Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau, meanwhile, feature a network of hiking trails. As you walk along these you'll be provided with wonderful views of the rest of the Grenadines, as well as have the chance to see the country's varied wildlife, such as iguanas and hawksbill turtles, up close.
Although it is just 7 sq miles, Bequia contains a wide variety of landscapes, including coconut plantations and tree-covered hills. Most people, however, are drawn to the isle's pristine beaches that provide the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little sunbathing.
Friendship Bay Beach and Princess Margaret Beach are among the many sandy stretches you can relax on, so being able to work on your tan for a while won't be hard. The majority of the island's beaches have bars and/or restaurants situated close by, so after a couple of hours of lazing on the sand you can easily sip on a refreshing drink or grab a bite to eat.
Of course, there is plenty more to the isle than just beautiful beaches and sunbathing and it is well worth uncovering Bequia's long-running maritime industry, which dates back to the 1700s. Head to the northern tip of Admiralty Bay and you can explore the remains of Fort Hamilton, a British navy lookout that was built in the 18th century. Here, you'll find a number of cannons pointing out to sea and be able to take in wonderful views of the bay. Alternatively, you can visit the whaling museum situated at the home of Athneal Ollivierre, a famous local harpooner, or go hiking along the verdant trails of Mount Pleasant.