Cruise Articles - Cruise Reviews :  Visiting Mayreau in the Caribbean’s Grenadines with SeaDream Yacht Club

Steel Yourself for Your Island in the Sun . . .

by David Ellis with Malcolm Andrews

A Caribbean cruise with Julie Rekai Rickerd

We want someone to pinch us, just to know we’ve not died and gone to heaven.
We’re gazing across from breakfast on the deck of our little 4,300-tonne motor-cruiser to a minute speck of land called Mayreau in the Caribbean’s Grenadines, an emerald mermaid garlanded with a necklace of white as she floats in the bluest of blue seas.

Mayreau looks convincingly straight out of the Garden of Eden, and we’re told that in fact, at under four square kilometres, it is one of the tiniest dots in all of the jumbled patchwork of islands and cays that make up the Caribbean.
Cameras clatter endlessly and our anchor breaks the glass-flat surface of the bay with barely a splash. Ship’s engines sigh to a halt; it’s quiet, unbelievably quiet. Just the faint whoosh-whoosh-whoosh of the radar scanner, the squawk of a lone sea-bird overhead, the hint of flags flapping in a zephyr of a breeze, distant laughter from one of the half-dozen yachts at anchor in this tiny aquatic paradise…
Half an hour later we’re landing ashore from our ship’s tender… just 100 of us on Day 6 of a 7-day cruise from San Juan to Barbados. And ninety-five crew – nearly one for every one of us – many of whom are already ashore preparing a grand day of beach games, splashing in the water, hiking a bush trail, snorkelling the reef, and wining and dining on our own reserved stretch of talcum white sand.

SeaDream Yacht Club ashore
Mayreau is peopled by just 300 of some of the Caribbean’s friendliest and most extraordinarily polite souls who live in a hillside village that’s simply called The Village.
They have no airport, no communal electricity, and no running water, and between them own just four motorized vehicles – and they’ve a ban on jet skis and similar annoyingly noisy playthings.
There’s a Catholic church, a few guesthouses and a private resort tucked away in the bush.
All overlook the bay with those half dozen yachts displaying flags from America, Canada, Europe... and our own little cruise ship, the 56-stateroom SeaDream II that with her sister SeaDream I are the only cruisers small enough to slip into this peaceful haven from November to April – the big fellas simply have to cruise right-on by, their few thousand guests not knowing what they’re missing.
Ancient volcanic peaks of surrounding islands claw their way up into wispy strands of clouds that float overhead with a languidness unique to the tropics.
And as the vegetation is as green and lush as the beaches are golden and white, we realise why Hollywood chose this maze of islands that was the bolt-hole of many a pirate captain in days of yore, to film Pirates of the Caribbean. 
The few restaurants and bars feature West Indian cuisine – loads of chillies, garlic, onions and spices tossed into frying pans of freshest local seafoods, poultry and tropical fruits and vegetables – and cater to visiting yachties and a smattering of tourists who come by ferry from neighbouring islands for a day in paradise.

For today our own private stretch of beach has been swept clean by our Mayreauan hosts, and our ship’s crew soon have rainbows of cocktails (including their own unique rum-based PainKiller) passing amongst us; bottled waters, soft drinks, beers and wines (that are all included from the bars and at meal-times throughout our week’s cruise, so there’s no endlessly dipping into the wallet) appear from ice boxes, table-cloths are laid, crockery and cutlery spread, beach umbrellas pop up like lollipops...
And while the butts of beef, the pork ribs, sausages, hamburgers, shrimps and chicken drumsticks sizzle over charcoal barbecues, salads, desserts, fresh-baked cakes and fruit platters are spread along tables under the trees and a huge thatch-roofed gazebo.
And somehow a local steel band materialises out of the bush and is soon banging out Never on Sunday, Lambada, Hot Hot Hot,  My Way… and of course a foot-tapping Island In The Sun.
I again we ask someone to pinch us. We really do need to know we’ve not died and gone to heaven…

Photos: David Ellis

SeaDream Yacht Club
To find out more see your favourite travel agent or check-out the SeaDream Yacht Club at:

David Ellis

David Ellis spent 20 years as a journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio and Television News Service, including 10 at Rabaul in the New Guinea Islands, brief stints in Jakarta and Singapore, and the remainder in Sydney where he rose to position of Chief of Staff, Radio News before leaving in 1979 to set up his own public relations business specialising in the travel industry, and to write Travel and Wine.

That means he’s been writing about his favourite subjects for over 30 years, venturing as far afield as the Arctic Circle to interview Santa Claus, South America for Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs' real story, to France to fly aboard the-then experimental Concorde, across Antarctica by air, and with James A. Michener to retrace where the author conceived his immortal Tales of the South Pacific...

Along the way he’s sipped the local reds, whites and bubblies… for purely scholarly reasons of course.

He can be contacted at [email protected]

Malcolm Andrews

Malcolm Andrews is a respected Australian freelance writer. In a career lasting almost half-a-century, he has worked for several major media organisations in Sydney and the Daily Express in London. In the early 1970s, he spent five years in Munich working for the US State Department at Radio Free Europe, which broadcast news behind the Iron Curtain.

He admits he has been blessed: “All my adult life I have been paid to pursue my two hobbies, writing and traveling.

Malcolm fell in love with travel when he sailed to London as a young man and was later commissioned by P&O to write the history of the ship on which he made that first voyage, Fairstar, just before it sailed into the sunset.

He has written 30 books on a wide variety of subjects and is currently working on his next- a fun look at the offbeat characters of the South Pacific.

You know the ones – you meet such people on every holiday YOU make!

Malcolm Andrews can be contacted on [email protected].

Articles by David Ellis and Malcolm Andrews at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

• Steel Yourself for Your Island in the Sun . . . by David Ellis with Malcolm Andrews

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