We had seen the volcanic contours of Union Island from Mayreau, sticking out from the Caribbean like a rugged spine, and were excited to be on the Barracuda for the short hop across to this so-called Tahiti of the West Indies. Because of the extended reef area immediately south of the eastern side of Union Island, it took some time to dock at Clifton. After the small settlement on Mayreau, this looked like a serious town; the main street is dotted with shops and restaurants, there is a small square with a tiny park, and even alternatives for accommodation. We installed ourselves with a view over the harbour, and Clifton turned out to be a great base for exploring the surrounding islands.
To get a better view over the area, we immediately climbed to the old fort, on a hill overlooking Clifton, and found it in a state of disrepair, with crumbling walls and one cannon left. Strategically located on the highest point, it did offer good views over Clifton, the eastern part of the island, as well as the coral reefs to the south of the island, Happy Island as a curious place for a restaurant in the middle of the reefs, and a little further away: Palm Island, Mayreau, and the Tobago Cays. The heavy clouds prevented us from seeing a nice sunset, and we were back in town just before it was completely dark. We were looking forward to exploring the island in the following days, after a must-see visit to the Tobago Cays. We took a pick-up truck to take us across the island, following the northern road which passes a salt pond, and some beautiful, empty beaches, until we reached a viewpoint where we got off. From here, the northern side of the island was at our feet, with views to the far east of the island, Mayreau, and the Tobago Cays.
We walked around Mount Olympus to the turn-off for Chatham Bay, an unpaved road through some lush vegetation. We found a small fishing community, very laid back, with some interesting characters. Some of the fishermen proudly showed the catch of the day that they were cleaning, while others went for some aloe vera for us. We had gladly bought ourselves a drink in their bar, but they only sold alcoholic drinks. Since we still wanted to see more of the island, we waited for a rain shower to pass before continuing, and did not even swim in the calm, turquoise waters. We hiked past Mount Taboi, the highest mountain of the island, to Ashton, the second town where we met lots of school kids fighting to be on our pictures. Following the southern shore of the island, we walked past a cemetery and a long row of houses, until we reached Basin Bay, which we found completely deserted. An attractive beach, with trees growing on the white sand, and directly opposite Carriacou Island in Grenada, this was a perfect place to relax and, finally, take a swim to wash off the hiking sweat. We left just in time to be able to reach Clifton before sunset, a hike along the attractive southern coastline of the island.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Union Island (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Union Island.
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