After two weeks in Bequia, we decided to head south and continue exploring the Grenadines. Our first stop was Salt Whistle Bay, in a tiny island called Mayreau.
At this point in the sailing season (early May), we were thinking things would start to quiet down. All the cruise ships were gone from the area which significantly diminished the number of tourists and marked the end of high season in the Caribbean. However, as we sailed into Salt Whistle Bay, we realized that this was certainly not the case. It was packed! Despite cruise ship season being over, the charter boat season was still in full swing, and Salt Whistle was clearly one of the popular stops. We grabbed the last mooring ball, and jumped in the water in hopes of seeing some marine life (Mayreau is part of the Tobago Cays Marine Park) but were somewhat disappointed that the visibility was terrible. The wind had been blowing like stink for a couple of weeks now, churning up the water like a washing machine. That said, the palm-lined bay was quite picturesque, with a long beach dotted with shops and bars, and even an eco-hotel.
That evening, we went ashore for dinner and a drink at a little shack on the beach. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a charming local.
Later, we were also joined for an after-dinner drink by Rob, Bryce, Chris and Christina, who had arrived by catamaran shortly after us. Bryce is the Executive Director of Mercy Ships, an organization that offers free life-saving surgeries on ships to people in parts of the world with little to no healthcare. On top of his busy schedule that sees him travelling all over the world, Bryce is working on a special side project: to build a retreat for the doctors who work tirelessly day in and day out saving lives on the ships, often for months at a time. Bryce wants to be able to offer them a break in idyllic and remote Mayreau. Rob, who owns the catamaran, offers his assistance in whatever way he can, by transporting supplies or taking potential sponsors out for hospitality sails. Chris, from BC, is an electrician who has worked for Mercy Ships in the past, and comes down whenever he can to lend his skills to the project. Christina had just arrived on holiday and was also there to lend a hand in whatever way she could. They invited us to come check out the retreat while we were there, and we told them we would happily stop in.
The next day we decided to go for a walk and explore this tiny island of only 450 inhabitants. As promised, our first stop was at the Twalzan Eden Rest Retreat Bryce had told us about the previous evening. It was amazing how much they had already accomplished. One main building had already been constructed, with several rooms, each with a loft for the kids so the doctors can spend time with their families. Each room also featured a large outdoor patio with a view of the Caribbean Sea. In the center of the building there was a large common area with a huge kitchen, so everyone could cook and eat together. While we were there, Bryce’s wife Sam and her family were preparing an amazing-smelling lunch for everyone who was helping out with the build. You could really feel the strong sense of community, with people from all over the world coming together and working so hard towards this common goal. It was truly awe-inspiring to witness.
Bryce told us about a trail behind the retreat that would take us to the beach and to the main “village” where most of the island’s shops and restaurants were concentrated. So we said our goodbyes and thanked them profusely for showing us around, then continued our tour of the island off the beaten path.
After an hour we had essentially seen the whole island. It was small and quaint, with beautiful beaches, wonderful vistas, a varied landscape and friendly people, and we really liked it. We hope to be back one day and catch up with everyone we met.
Where the wind takes us next: the much-anticipated Tobago Cays!