Union Island


The wind was a little awkward for sailing today as it was on our noises. This means the wind was straight on the bow (front) of the boat, so we had to motor for the first hour until we got the wind at a better wangle and we could set sail.

Once the sails were up, we were flying again doing roughly 7 knots and we only had a few hours to go until we arrived at our next destination, which was Union Island. As we sailed, we changed direction a couple of times as I was determined to sail as close as we could until I was forced to start the engine and motor in. As we got closer to the island a small boat approached us and the man asked us if we wanted a mooring ball, so we said yes, and we followed him towards the ball. If you don’t know what a mooring ball is, it’s a fixed anchor and is usually owned by someone who charges you to use it. Once we were settled and it was late in the day we stayed on the boat and get some jobs done while the kids jumped off the boat, later that day we went into town for a look around and we decided to have our dinner there too. We found a little place called the Snack Shack which was ideal for what we wanted, and we really enjoyed it too.

The next day we took the dingy to the Dingy Dock which was cool and went for a wonder around. Joan noticed a sign saying a free bus ride to Sparrows Bay so we decided to do that, and this would give us a look around the island at the same time. Once we arrived, we were a little bit disappointed but thought what the hell we are here now so let’s enjoy it. We did enjoy the day, the kids had a great time, some other kids found a live octopus and the food was good too. We all enjoyed the day and as we waited for the bus home, we decided to have a quick shower, grab something to eat and head out to an Island called “Happy Island”

Once we had freshened up, we jumped into the dingy and headed over to Happy Island. This place must be the coolest bar ever. It was built by a man called Janti, who was working as a volunteer environmental officer. With tourism starting to boom his job was to clean up the beaches around Union Island which were littered in Lambi shells. Lambi is the Caribbean word for conch, the famous blowing shell, and they were left all over the beaches when fisherman harvest their mussel for food and discard the shells.
After struggling to get people to help him, he came up with a brilliant idea to create an island and pool bar. He collected thousands of shells and slowly started pilling them up in the middle of the shallow sea. The clever part was the area he decided to build his bar. Knowing the winds and heavy seas could destroy it straight away, he piled the shells in front of a
natural coral barrier so that the waves would break long before they reached his tiny island. Once he collected enough shells to break the surface of the sea, he started to use a cement mould to hold the structure together. He then built a tiny bar, a few stools and bingo the birth of Happy island began. He opened in 2002 and the place was buzzing straight away. All the yachts anchor close by then dingy in to join the party. When we were there, there were loads of Kite Surfers showing off with tricks in the air which just blew everyone away. One local Kite Surfer who is trying to get sponsors to become a pro,
stopped, sat down and waved over my little boy “Archie”. He told him to sit down, wrap his legs around him and hold on tight. Archie did not have a clue what was going on then suddenly, he was off whizzing across the water with Archie on his back. The whole bar erupted with excitement and when they came back, everyone gave him massive high fives. He will never forget this moment and not to out done his sister “Charlie”, had to have a go too. The look on both of their faces was a treat and later found a tip jar for the young lad and this must be the first time I gladly dropped a few quid in. So, if you are ever in the Caribbean and you are at Union Island you must check out this bar as its totally unique.
The next morning the conversation was all about the bar and I must admit myself it was truly amazing, and the kids were so fortunate. It’s probably his party trick but I was not going to tell the kids that as they felt so special and so they should too.
After we had our breakfast, drank a few cups of coffee and check the weather forecast we decided to stay a few more days. It was not looking very good and there was no way I was going to sail in rough seas, so we planned to stay a few more days and then head north to Bequia. We were so pleased we did not sail as it turned rubbish out at sea and the other reason was that our dingy would not start for some reason. Lucky for us a young lad past and said he would fix it for us. Twenty minutes later he brought it back with new spark plugs, clean filter and had a good clean.
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8 thoughts on “Union Island”

  1. Great Andrew, Enjoy while you can, you know once this opportunity has gone, its gone. You will sail again but you may not have the freedom you have now. I really appreciate you sharing with us and always look forward to the next posting. We look forward to our next trip to the Farne Islands.

  2. Wonderful adventures Andy. Looks like you and the family are having a great time. The kids will never forget it, marvellous. Take care, see you soon out at Longstone or down the harbour. Cheers bud.


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