One of the highlights – if not the biggest one – in The Caribbean is SVG or St. Vincent and The Grenadines. This is how the country is officially called, but most sailors skip the first part of the name (for safety reasons) and only care about The Grenadines, an area south of “the mainland”, scattered with tropical, lush islands adorned with lovely white sand beaches, friendly locals and little land tourism. The Grenadines portray the typical image of what one has in mind when thinking “Caribbean”.

Irie has passed SVG before. Twice. Each time thinking “Man, I wish we could stop and enjoy some time in the islands”, followed by an accusing look at Darwin. Not that it is his fault that the rules to land a pet here are so complicated and full of hassle. But, visiting with a dog is not impossible, so this time around, we made it a priority to play by the rules, plan ahead and explore The Grenadines. Our main reason to stop in Martinique after Dominica was to obtain a health certificate for Darwin. That proved easy enough, but getting in touch with the SVG Agriculture Department about our arrival date and paperwork failed enormously for four weeks. Emails – with the dog’s documents and permit application attached- remained unanswered; the internet connection was never good enough to Skype. Finally we managed to maintain a decent phone connection with the department, only to hear that a health certificate from Martinique was unacceptable!

Irie was required to stop in St. Lucia to obtain an export health certificate. If only we would have known that ahead of time, we could have saved money and hassle, but our email questions remained unanswered… At this point, Mark had had enough of all the rules and difficulties and was ready to skip The Grenadines for once and forever. Since it would be one of our highlights and our only planned “vacation”, I was stubborn and determined. From that moment, Darwin became my responsibility. I checked us and the dog into St. Lucia, which took a whole day, paid all the fees and managed to hitch rides with Darwin in the blazing sun to the Agriculture Department of St. Lucia, where an export health certificate was issued… After a week of all kind of chores and social gatherings (The World Cup had started), I checked us out. The battle was almost over.

Our next step was a stop in Young Island Cut, on the south coast of St. Vincent, the only place a government vet could inspect the animal. We wanted to get there early to be able to continue our journey to The Grenadines the same day, so spent our first SVG night in a small bay called Byahaut not far from Darwin’s check-in point. This bay was wonderfully quiet, in a tropical setting, with jungle behind the black beach and a pretty coral garden under the water surface.

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  • Liesbet Collaert

    Liesbet Collaert, a former school teacher from Belgium, has been an avid traveler since she was a teenager. Growing older only …

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