Discovering a Carriacou beach: the hidden beauty of Sparrow Bay
One of the best decisions we made on our trip to Grenada was to take the ferry from the capital, St. George's, to one of the nation's other islands, Carriacou. Zickie and I had heard that this 90 minute boat ride would transport you to a place that was unspoiled and authentic, much like the Caribbean of 50 fifty years ago. From the moment we stepped onto the pier in Carriacou's small capital town, Hillsborough, it was clear we'd come to an isle where tourism hadn't subsumed the daily rythms of local life. Then, we started visiting the beaches! From Paradise Beach to Tyrrel Bay to Petit Carenage, the sand and vivid turquoise surf simply blew us away. But today I want to focus on one special Carriacou beach we haven't mentioned before...
(A special place on Carriacou. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
If we hadn't been staying at Bogles Roundhouse (a compound with rental cottages and a well-known restaurant) Zickie and I might never have run across this stretch of sand. It wasn't mentioned in the guidebook passages that I read. Yet there it was, waves and the sound of the sea, calling to us from the bluff where the Roundhouse was situated. I peered down through the gate and wasn't sure if the trek was worth it. The tide was high, or seemed high to me, and just below the property there wasn't even much sand to speak of. But one of the property's resident dogs, an old black Lab, seemed eager to get through that gate. So we opened it...
(The gate from Bogles Roundhouse. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
and discovered a narrow path descending toward the water. Our canine companion loped on ahead, obviously familiar with the route. At first, I thought the only patch of beach was that directly below Roundhouse, a pebbly, rocky little swath of shore. But Mr. Dog gently indicated that we needed to press onwards. He patiently led us to a path off the beach, so I said, "Why not see where he's going?"
(The dog waited for us to catch up. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
As we followed, we passed a goat or two and a cow grazing peacefully. Was this private property? Should we even be here? I wasn't certain, but the black Lab appeared totally unperturbed. In the distance we heard school boys running into the ocean for a swim. Maybe the dog was taking us on a wild goose chase. When would we get back to the water? Just about when I was beginning to wonder if we were lost, we emerged to find this:
(What we finally discovered. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
I stopped and stared. The sea glistened under the sunlight. Wild vegetation grew unchecked beside the shore. Hills rose up in the background, and a few boats created dusky silhouettes in the distance. There were no sounds except the surf meeting the sand. And the sand? It appeared beige but also streaked in places with black, which I assumed was volcanic in origin. The dog happily ambled into the sea.
(A dog's life! Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
The beach continued ahead of us, and so we followed the shoreline. No one else emerged from the narrow paths that lead from private homes down to the ocean. It was as if Zickie and I had discovered our own slice of paradise, as though we were the only souls on this incredibly beautiful island. We strolled on and on, letting our legs get thoroughly soaked by the sea. Finally, the beach ended, or at least became impassable. We turned around, and I took in a sharp breath, seeing this:
(A different perspective. Photo by Island Runaways/Z.A.)
The moody lighting disappeared, to reveal a sunny vista of brilliant blues and vibrant greens. Puffy white clouds moved across the sky, while Zickie and I savored the experience of slowly returning to home base. I didn't even know the name of the place. All I knew was that the serendipity of this discovery would stick in my memory for a long, long while. It wasn't until months later, back on the mainland and reviewing photos from our trip, that I was inspired to do a little internet research, and stumbled across the name: Sparrow Bay.
If you ever get to Carriacou, I hope you find a way to experience this place of solitude and natural wonder. One way to access the beach is to have lunch at Bogles Roundhouse on a Sunday. Call ahead to confirm their Sunday lunch hours and make a reservation.