Sunday, February 24, 2008

Union Island

We approached Union Island while the sun was high and to our back so we could clearly see the surrounding reef upon entering the main port of Clifton. Although small it’s a busy place full of character, especially the colorful outdoor market. Union is the last of the St Vincent Grenadines (some of the Grenadines belong to Grenada) so it’s a popular stop for boats (often charter) to check in or out. For reasons I can’t completely explain, this was my favorite island among the Grenadines. In part because people were welcoming and helpful but not in a way that made you fear they might be taking advantage of you, which was the case in some islands. I like that the island and its populous are small and yet it has good shops, restaurants and bars. Most of all Union felt authentic and the locals graciously allowed us to get a taste for their island among their good company. Favorite times were at the Determination Bar and on Happy Island (a man-made island from reef and conch shells) in Clifton, and at Jerry’s and Shark Attack’s in Chatham Bay.

Union is a great place to hike with rewarding views and for diving or snorkeling among the reefs. I visited Chatham Bay a couple of times to snorkel off Rapid Point which was teeming with an array of colorful coral, plant life and fish. While snorkeling I could see birds, sometimes pelicans, diving into the water claiming fish. Most visitors in Chatham Bay arrive by boat seeking the large bay's protected anchorage and the three beach bars along the beach that also serve tasty local catch dinners. Otherwise one can take a taxi to “the path” and from there you must hike down a steep trail – just follow the goat droppings.

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