One of Grenada’s main draws is the famed Grand Anse beach. A three mile stretch of white sandy expanse, fringed with swaying palm trees, lush green hills and the Caribbean Sea’s bubble gum blue water lapping against the shore. If you’re visiting for the first time then one of the many beach front is a good choice of accommodation – most have watersports equipment (or attached rental centres) including sit on top kayaks.
Grand Anse is the perfect spot to introduce kids or nervous other halves to kayaking for the first time. The only real thing to watch out for is stiff offshore breeze blowing hard between November-April. Big north swells also deliver waves to the bay but these mainly appear as fast breaking shore dump at the southern end of Grand Anse (in front of the Dive Grenada shop).
It’s possible to ride these waves but be aware of getting dumped onto the sand if it all goes wrong – and watch out for the Dive Grenada dive boat. With particularly strong pulses of swell, or if there’s a tropical storm in the vicinity (Grenada isn’t in the main Caribbean Hurricane Belt though!) waves can wrap into the northern corner and break at other spots along the beach.
If you’re in the mind for touring and checking out the coastline then you can paddle into the heart of Grenada’s capital St Georges – just watch out for large container ships and commercial watercraft. Heading back the other way you can glide with the ever present Trade Wind around the tip of Quarantine Point which separates Grand Anse from Mourne Rouge beach – another stunning location. On the way you may get to observe some amazing marine life that swim around the coral heads at the end of the point. You can also get a wave here but be aware you’re not that visible from shore. For most paddlers though Grand Anse offers the perfect spot for relaxing under the hot Caribbean sun with a spot of sit on top kayaking thrown in for good measure.
If you’re up for more wave action there are plenty of spots to choose along the Atlantic coast – many of which are virgin having never been surfed before. A lot are tricky to access and you may have to paddle to the take off. The most commonly used surf spot on the island is Prickly Point which signals the start of True Blue Bay. Again, not the easiest to access or find, you need to head along the Lance aux Epines peninsula and keep your eyes peeled for the surfboard on the wall marking the route down to the sea.
Once at the water’s edge you have a typical point break set up with waves breaking in the leigh of a headland, protecting swells from the breeze. It’s quite a shallow spot with coral heads poking up a low tide so be aware.
Prickly’s wave offers a fast take with a moderately powerful wall to slide along. If it should go belly up and you get dumped then the wave dissipates as it passes over the shallow inside section of reef. Getting washed in will make getting back aboard slightly easier. If you want something more powerful then check out Cherry Hill which is Grenada’s best, but super fickle, wave that breaks next to the cruise ship terminal. It’s fast and hollow so watch out.
You’ll also find Grenada’s underwater sculpture park a mile or so along this part of the coast. It’s perfectly doable to kayak but you’ll want transport on land at a suitable put in otherwise you’ll have a real slog into wind. You’ll need to be aware of snorkelers and divers if heading here.
For those who fancy touring, Conservation Kayak is a set up owned by Jamie and Amber Barrett. Based out of Whisper Cove Marina, Woburn Bay, the couple offer kayaking tours with an educational slant. They’re mission is to raise awareness about Grenada’s fragile marine eco system while delivering fun kayak touring sessions. You can read more about Conservation Kayak by hitting up our feature – Grenada paddle vibes www.sitons.com/articles/spice-island-kayaking-grenadian-paddling-vibes
The above is just a small selection of what’s on offer in Grenada for sit on top kayakers. While not being easy to transport your own gear to the island, there’s still plenty of opportunity to get afloat – either by utilising one of the hotel kayaks or watersports rental centres.
How to get there:
Fly into Maurice Bishop International Airport. It may be, depending on where your journey starts, you have to get a connecting flight or stop off briefly on another island. If journeying with British Airways, flights tend to drop passengers off in Antigua before carrying on to Grenada. You’ll need to fill out details of your stay for immigration purposes before entering the country. Depending on where your accommodation is you’ll need transport.
If you’ve arranged car hire then be sure to obtain a road map upon arrival. Otherwise jump in one of teh abundant taxis located right outside the airport.
Depending on where you’re paddling will dictate what type of facilities you have access to. Many put ins on the Atlantic site are remote and secluded with very little in the way of amenities. It’s also worth planning escape routes should things not work out as you planned – rescue won’t be that forthcoming.
Some beaches, however, are fronted by restaurants and beach bars that offer shower and changing facilities. Many also offer watersports equipment, including sit on top kayaks.
Grand Anse is a public beach and although hotels overlook the water there’s access from the main road behind the beach. Centrally located is public car parking, picnic facilities and toilets. Next door you’ll find Umbrellas Beach Bar which serves up fantastic elevated sea views and is the perfect place to quaff a post paddling bottle of suds. Umbreallas also has kayaks for hire.
Hazards in Grenada are few and far between. This is the Tropics, however, and as such there are a number of things to look out for.
Trade Winds can be very strong at times and it’s worth being aware of offshore directions. Large waves in certain areas, breaking onto shallow reefs, should also be taken note of if you’re not planning on surfing. Marine and commercial boat traffic, fishing craft and other water users need to be avoided in the more popular spots.
If you accidentally pick up nicks and scrapes then you’ll need to clean wounds thoroughly with antiseptic. It’s all too easy for a cut or graze to end up infected. In Grenada’s humid moist climate this could spell disaster (something the author – Tez – is all too familiar with).
Exotic marine life is very prevalent in Grenada and you should take care if clomping across reef sections. Wear neoprene boots to protect against sea urchins and be aware Stone and Scorpion Fish do inhabit reef nooks and crannies – as well as other larger fish.
Avoid puddles of water after rain showers as these can be susceptible to bacteria growth, such as Hookworm, which can attack humans. And be aware, especially if heading into Grenada’s rain forest, that although the risk is minimal, mosquitoes are rife and some carry dengue fever. Cover up with long sleeves, trousers and closed toe shoes.
Ins and Outs:
Access along the popular hang outs of Grand Anse make putting in very easy. If you’re heading off the beaten track you may struggle to find safe and suitable access. Rece your put in thoroughly before launching, note any potential hazards and have an escape route sorted.
Grenada is typically Caribbean. Surrounded by reef waves and Trade Winds batter the Atlantic coast while the Caribbean Sea side is altogether much mellower. Be aware though that big north swell pulses will still break in certain spots on this side of the island. Beautifully tropical Grenada offers white sandy beaches, rugged put ins and secluded paddle spots.
Diving in Grenada is the most popular watersport with other disciplines rarely practiced. A number of surfers live on the island during term time and attend the renowned Grenada veterinary and medical school. Local Grenadians into watersports are easy to spot as there’s so few. Many locals who paddle, surf, wind or kitesurf work at the dive centres.
Conservation Kayak is one of only two professionally set up paddle sports companies on the island. Stand up paddle board is available through www.supgnd.com
Grenada is stunning part of the world and perfect for sit on top kayaking. As yet it’s still under the radar for watersports and definitely worth checking out before the secret gets out.
Known as the Spice Isle, due to its production and export of nutmeg and mace, Grenada is a tropical paradise nestling at the southern end of the Caribbean archipelago. Part of the Windward Islands Grenada boasts fascinating historical points of interest, its very own rain forest, two very distinct coastlines (perfect for all types of paddling), super friendly locals, a huge array of eating and drinking options, a national dish (oil down), accommodation to suit all budgets, uniquely tasting rum and one of the warmest welcomes anywhere in the Caribbean.
Paired with its smaller sister islands, Carraicou and Petite Martinque, Grenada is a kayaker’s paradise that caters for all levels of sit on top kayaker. A great tourist destination, but also cracking for downwind paddling (on the Atlantic facing side) with some awesome surf action thrown in for good measure, if there’s one Caribbean island to have on your bucket list then Grenada is it.
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