Exploring the Grenadines - Union Island - The Maroon Festival

Exploring the Grenadines will take you to Union Island. Here is an aerial view of Clifton Harbor.Exploring the Grenadines on Binti – Union Island

Exploring the Grenadines is an item that tops many people’s bucket lists.  Unfortunately, many have the misconception that limited daily flights to the Grenadine islands and bumpy rides on water taxis are the only means of getting there.  Opting to travel by cruise ship they find themselves waiting in buffet lines for mediocre food and rushing to see several islands in only a few days’ time.  Binti Charters thinks you deserve better and a growing number of charterers have discovered the ideal way for exploring the Grenadines is to sail at their own pace, setting their own itinerary.

One island that shouldn’t be missed as you’re exploring the Grenadines is Union Island.  Casual, relaxed and friendly, Union Island has plenty of things to see and do.  Binti anchors in Clifton Bay near the town of Clifton where three beaches are within a five minute walk.  If you’re looking to spend time at a separate and discrete beach, check out the municipal beach that’s tucked away beside one of the major hotels.  The municipal beach has white sand, exotic palms and mangroves as well as a picnic bench where you can enjoy lunch without any sand blowing into your food.  Occasionally you’ll see a local fishing or swimming here as well.

Another Union Island beach is north of Clifton and is part of the yacht club with many of the yachts moored at the smoothest entry into the lagoon.  In the lagoon you’ll see Janti’s Happy Island, an island of conch shells discarded by fishermen.  Janti is a local man who worked to clean up the island’s discarded conch shells, using them to build an island.  Layering the shells, sand and soil “just like in the earth,” their circles have created a mini reef for little fishes.  Janti also has his house there and a bar.  You can visit the bar in a dinghy and enjoy a drink while listening to the Reggae music he plays on his stereo system.

The third Union Island beach you won’t want to miss as you’re exploring the Grenadines is Kite beach.  Further up the path along the air strip you’ll bypass a little hill where you’ll find Kite beach.  Open to the trade winds, Kite beach is the launch pad of all windsurfing activities as it is easier to be picked up by the winds while surfing as much as you like on the calm waters that are sheltered within the lagoon.  Even if you don’t consider yourself capable of windsurfing, it’s quite a sight.  The mini hill overlooking the area offers some spectacular views.  It’s the perfect spot to take postcard quality pictures of the blue and green shades unique to Caribbean waters.

And one of the best times for exploring the Grenadines and visiting Union Island is in May when the Maroon, a unique celebration of Union’s cultural heritage, takes place.  The Maroon draws from ancient harvest rights brought from West African slaves who worked on Union Island cotton plantations.  This day-long festival marks the start of the planting season, taking place on a full moon in May.  The Maroon starts at dawn and continues nearly all night long.

Exploring the Grenadines should be about discovering the islands and their cultures.  With the Maroon you’ll experience several stages of the celebrations that include communal cooking, distributing food throughout the community, drumming, singing and dance.  The dance moves, drumming rhythms and songs blend the sounds and visual appeal of Africa that have been handed down from generation to generation.

Don’t wait for the end of your life to start exploring the Grenadines.  Breath-taking beaches, gentle trade winds, turquoise waters and fun cultures are waiting to meet you. Satellite view Clifton Harbor.

Be Sociable, Share!