Before I start just let me say I know “Sandy Island” is a boring title and a pretty obvious description of a beach, but that’s what the sand spit is called. Now let’s begin.
A quick introduction to Sandy Island. Sandy Island is a sand spit off the coast of Carriacou, Grenada and is readily described as a desert island, and a slice of paradise. In 2004 everything on the island was destroyed in Hurricane Ivan and since then the government designated the island a nature reserve. Famed for its marine life, bird watching and it’s beach, the island is a local hotspot and a must do if you’re nearby. Access to the island is strictly by boat.
Myself, mum and dad get dropped off by CP in the dinghy to snorkel the northern end of the island. We have with us a dry back with flip-flops, cameras, towels and shirts in so we can have a walk on the island after our snorkel. We drop in and are greeted by the most dense population of fish and coral you can imagine. There’s coral growing on coral it’s that dense. There is a slight current flowing south so we swim around the top end for a short while before letting the current carry us towards the other end. As we drift I dive down to chase some fish with my GoPro. The first fish I chase is a rather large Scrawled Filefish, with it’s beautiful blue marking and elegant shape. Obviously the fish is faster than me and I can only hold my breath for so long, so I give up the chase and carry on with the current.
Out of the corner of my eye I notice a rather large, creamy white fish hanging around near some coral. Turns out it’s a Balloon Fish, I dive down to get some pictures but it retreats back into the coral with only it’s head poking out, just enough to get some good pictures. From there we’re faced with the biggest school of fish I have possibly every seen! There must be thousands of these tiny fish and I have no idea what they are, but what I do know is that they are being chased and rounded up by some Permit. The permit aren’t that big and dad later informs me that they are a game fish and grow rather large, a few feet top to bottom, and are mainly fished for in Cuba. After watching the Permit hunt for a while were swim ashore on to Sandy Island.
There isn’t much to see on the island but it’s long enough to have a good walk up and down. There are plenty of things to take pictures of though with driftwood scattering the beach and shells and rocks littered around.We leave or snorkelling gear where we exit, dry of, get our cameras out and set off on foot to explore a bit. We walk from midway to the south end of the beach, cameras snapping away as we go. As per usual I’m lagging behind as I’m trying to get the most interesting and artistic shots I can, this has become a common occurrence where ever I go.
Once we reach the south end we about turn and make our way back to our gear, again cameras snapping as we go and me lagging far behind. We reach our gear, swiftly pack our cameras away, don our snorkelling attire and make our way back into the water. Once in we are faced again with that huge school from before with the same Permit hunting them down. As we swim though the school I grab some pictures of the Permit as they go about their business. We head back up to the north end of the spit, against the current to have another look around the north end.
As we make our way back to the Ripples II, again with the current, we come across a group of Stingrays. There must have been 5 of them and they had no care in the world that we were on top of them staring down in amazement. We’ve never seen Stingrays in the caribbean before today so just hang around and enjoy the moment. 2 of the 5 swim off in the direction of Ripples II so we follow as we are going that way anyway. I dive down to a safe distance, GoPro extended on the pole as far as it will go snapping away catching all the action. The Stingrays again have no idea I’m above them and glide gracefully away into the distance.
By now we are back in front of Ripples II so make our way to the back to climb back aboard. I can only describe our outing as magical, I’ve never walked on a “desert island” before and I’ve never seen Stingrays in the wild before. I really do think we came at the right time of year and were beers-on-the-beach-at-sunset short of the perfect experience.
If you’re ever in Carriacou I can’t recommend enough visiting Sandy Island and I’m sure everyone else who has been would join me in saying that.
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Thanks for reading!