Gun Point (Rapid Point) is the northernmost tip of Carriacou and offers superb views across crystal clear turquoise waters towards the neighbouring Union Island and Palm Island to the north and Petite Martinique and Petit Saint Vincent to the east. There is also a quirky piece of history attached to this exquisite location…
Exploring Gun Point Carriacou
We arrived in Carriacou from Grenada by fast ferry in the first week of January 2019. Unfortunately, our week long stay on this beautiful little island coincided with one of Didem’s psychology assignment hand in dates.
So, for the first three days on Carriacou, Didem worked tirelessly battling tropical heat, high humidity and mosquitoes who clearly thought that she had the sweetest blood in the Carribean!
While Didem struggled through adversity to meet her assignment deadline date, I did what any dutiful husband would do; head off around the island exploring!
Now, I don’t know about you but I have always had this desire when exploring to climb the highest peak or reach the most northerly / southerly point etc; I guess it’s just my built in explorer gene.
Now, nothing in Carriacou is ever too far away as the island is only 7 miles (11 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide. When I read that the most northerly peninsula went by the intriguing name, Gun Point, I simply had to go and check it out!
Catching a Bus in Carriacou
Riding public transport in the Caribbean no longer had any surprises for me as we had used Grenada’s bus system for about a month prior to arriving in Carriacou. The shock factor had long since passed and I now felt like more of a seasoned local when hailing a bus.
The bus system is really pretty simple on this very small island. There are two main routes leading out of the Island’s main city of Hillsborough; one that takes you north to Windward (Number 11 buses) and the other to the southerly town of Tyrrel Bay (Number 10 buses). The buses run daily from 07:00 until sundown.
The bus journeys in Grenada were often rapid affairs with bus drivers seemingly trying to break speed records at every opportunity. We can honestly say that it felt like we were playing Russian Roulette with our lives every time we hopped aboard one of these buses.
When I boarded the number 10 bus at L’Esterre to start my trip to Gun Point I was somewhat surprised when the driver cruised along in serene fashion. Clearly, life in Carriacou is far slower than that of its larger neighbour.
Upon arrival in Hillsborough, I caught a number 11 bus which took me on the final stage of my trip to Carriacou’s northernmost reaches.
Petit Carenage Wildlife Sanctuary
After passing through the boat building village of Windward, I choose to be dropped off at the Petit Carenage wildlife sanctuary, ahead of my final destination, Gun Point.
There is a pretty conch shell lined path that leads through mangroves, salt marsh and dry coastal shrub land, directly on to the exquisite Petit Carenage Beach.
As the path passes through coastal foliage, you are greeted by powder-white sand along a crescent-shaped beach, glistening turquoise waters and Union Island as the backdrop to this idyllic Caribbean vista. The beach is long but narrow with the water lapping just a few paces from your feet.
Petit Carenage – Sea Turtle Conservation
On Carriacou the beaches of Petit Carenage, Sparrow bay and Anse La Roche host the largest nesting sites on the entire Grenadines Archipelago for the critically endangered Hawksbill & Leatherback Sea Turtles.
During sea turtle nesting season (March to December), teams comprising of locally trained guides and volunteers from overseas monitor these turtles. Their role is to protect the turtles and their eggs from poaching activities, to assist the nesting process and to tag the turtles as a method of vital data collection.
Training of these guides is carried out by YWF KIDO Foundation following WIDECAST (Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network) procedures in the monitoring of nesting sea turtles. They are also trained as Nature Guides, giving opportunities to locals to either be employed by KIDO or by other ecotourism companies on Carriacou.
Off to the west is the peninsula leading to Gun Point while to the beach’s eastern flank sits the skeleton of a ship wreck resting on the reef. Not only did I have the beach to myself, it appeared that I had the entire sanctuary to myself as well. I grabbed a spot in the shade and spent a few minutes soaking in the sights and sounds of this picture-perfect location.
There is a path to the left just as you leave the shoreline. This leads through mangroves to the beach’s eastern end where you will find a bird watching tower. This is the perfect spot to try and catch sight of some of the area’s bird life. You also get a marvelous view down the full length of Petit Carenage Beach.
Off to Gun Point
I headed back to the main road where the bus dropped me earlier, turned right and headed into the small village of Petite Carenage. As I followed the concrete road, it firstly wound its way back in land before looping back out towards the coast again.
All along I looked for a signposted trail out to Gun Point. However, there was not one to be found. In fact, there was no clear indication of any obvious trail out to the peninsula at all.
As the road climbed gently towards the end of the village, I spotted an appropriate point between two houses and left the road.
I followed the fence line of the property to my left until it ended. At this point, I headed down across open meadow in the general direction of Gun Point.
Once again, I was the only human around. However, I did now have company in the form of a group of very large cattle who were resting in the meadow. Not knowing what gender the cattle were, I felt it was sensible to give them a wide berth!
Progressing along the headland, the open meadow gives way to small trees, shrubs and a wide variety of cacti. It was while picking my route between such plant types that I stumbled upon new company – an Iguana!
Having never seen one of these wonderful creatures in the flesh before, I stood frozen for a moment or two, before grabbing my camera. The Iguana stood its ground and just stared at me. Not wishing to frighten the creature, I back tracked and took an alternative path.
Gun Point – The Location
Towards the end of the headland, the undergrowth ends and the last 50 or so metres are just exposed rocks and of course, the cannon. Petit Carenage Beach was spectacular but Gun Point, in my opinion, is even more incredible!
The headland is wrapped by some of the most dazzling turquoise waters that you could ever wish to see and the easterly views across Petit Carenage Bay towards Petite Martinique are pretty hard to beat.
Gun Point – History
Now, you may be wondering what a solitary cannon is doing sitting towards the end of Carriacou’s northernmost tip. Frankly, so was I. So, here comes that quirky piece of history that I promised you earlier…
Following Britain’s victory in the Seven Years’ War (1756 and 1763), Carriacou was ceded along with Grenada by the French to the British. To separate these newly divided jurisdictions, it was decided to place a cannon approximately 10 yards from Carriacou’s most northerly tip.
This was the line north of which was the French territory belonging to St Vincent and south of which was British owned. Owing to the cannon’s placement meant that the northern 10 yards of Carriacou still fell under French jurisdiction.
St. Vincent is kind enough to allow Carriacou and Grenada to administer this small portion of land north of the cannon!
I headed back and rejoined the road in Petite Carenage and followed it through to Windward where I caught a bus back to Hillsborough. Because the buses are all privately owned, some may come as far as Petit Carenage but most will not.
Therefore, to guarantee a pickup, I would suggest that you make your way to Windward to avoid a long wait!
I had a thoroughly enjoyable day exploring the picturesque northern coast of Carriacou and very much look forward to doing it again one day. If you plan on spending a couple of days on the island, make sure you head north and check out both Petit Carenage Beach and wildlife sanctuary as well as the beautiful Gun Point. You will not be disappointed!