Steel Yourself For Your Island In The Sun
By David Ellis (with Malcolm Andrews)
Please throw a bucket of cold water over us so we can wake up from this dream of
being in heaven.
Sitting on the deck here of our 4,300 tonne motor cruiser eating breakfast we
are looking across to a small speck of a island named Mayreau in the Grenadines
in the Caribbean. Picture this, an emerald siren with a necklace of pristine
white flowers floating in the sharpest of blue seas.
Mayreau is one of the smallest islands that make up the vastness of islands that
comprise the Caribbean. At just under square kilometres it has often been
compared to a miniature Garden of Eden.
SeaDream I next to Oasis of Seas in St Thomas,
All you can hear is the clicking of camera shutters and the soft splash of the
anchor breaking the mirror like surface of the sea and we moor near the island.
We are surrounded by a small number of yachts at anchor swaying every so
slightly in the whisper of a breeze that blows across the water. This is heaven
This is day six of a seven day cruise from San Juan to Barbados shared with 100
passengers and nine five crew. Not a bad ratio hey! Most of those crew have
already gone ashore to prepare for their guests for a day of splashing in the
crystal clear waters, playing beach games, snorkelling on the reef, hiking a
bush trail and finally being wined and dined on our own piece of fine white
sand and with ancient volcanic peaks as a backdrop.
Bubbly in the water for lucky visitors to this
part of the Caribbean
The population of Mayreau is just on 300 and they comprise some of the Caribbeans
most friendly people who live in a village situated on a hillside, called,
that's right, The Village.
There is no running water or electricity in the community, and they don't have
an airport. On the whole island there are only four car and, to maintain the
idyllic feel of the place they have banned all noise making playthings jet skis.
There's the obligatory Catholic church, several guesthouses and one private
resort tucked away amongst the trees.
The small number of buildings all overlook the SeaDream II, our little cruise
ship, and the other yachts on the water, yachts that fly flags from all over the
world. SeaDream II, with 56 staterooms and her sister cruiser, the SeaDream I
are the only ones of a size able to enter this tranquil haven between November
and April. All other larger vessels just have to cruise past with all those
thousands of passengers missing seeing a slice of heaven.
SeaDream II lays at anchor off idyllic Mayreau
Island in the Caribbean
Given it's isolation, lush green vegetation and white sandy beaches and it's
history of providing refuge to many a pirate captain in days gone by, is it any
wonder that Hollywood chose this collection of islands to film Pirates of the Caribbean.
The limited number of restaurants and bars present West Indian cuisine with its
garlic, spices, onions and loads of chillies all thrown into frying pans of
fresh poultry, local seafood and tropical vegetables and fruits. They all cater
to visiting yacht and a small number of tourists who come by ferry from
surrounding islands for a short stay in paradise.
At meal time our own private swathe of beach has been meticulously cleaned by our
Mayreauan hosts, and the ship's crew soon have an assortment of top shelf
cocktails (including their distinctive rum-based PainKiller) being passed
around; soft drinks, bottled waters, beers and wines are all included from the
bars and at meal-times throughout our week's cruise, there's no need to be
continually dipping into your wallet) appear from ice chests, table-cloths are
spread, cutlery and crockery are laid, beach umbrellas to provide the shade
appear like magic.
Discovering a PainKiller in this
The table groan from the weight and variety of food, including pork ribs, sides
of beef, sausages, hamburgers, chicken drumsticks and shrimps which have been
over charcoal barbecues. This assortment is complimented by an assortment of
salads, freshly baked cakes, desserts and fruit platters that are spread along
located tables under the trees.
To add a touch of local entertainment a local steel band appears as if from
nowhere and is soon banging out a selection of entertaining tunes.
This is an exquisite idyllic relaxing holiday.
To find out more see your favourite travel agent or check-out
www.seadream.com. (David Ellis is Media Advisor to SeaDream Yacht Club in
Australia; freelance travel writer and broadcaster Malcolm Andrews was the
Toe-tapping steel band on idyllic Mayreau