18 January: Happy Island is a small man-made island just off Union Island. It was here that Xavier and I on honeymoon had down our final practical diving exam with Glenroy of Grenadine Dive. He had chosen the location so that afterwards we could hang out on his friend’s island, a ramshackle hut on conch shells, drinking a beer, listening to reggae, just chilling. I couldn’t wait to return.
But what about Union Island itself? We had never been ashore there before. What sort of vibe did it have there? The fun started with the dinghy dock, the entrance a bridge that you duck under and reminded me of a tunnel of love in a funfair attraction. We disembarked, and headed straight for the juice bar on the pier. I immediately warmed to Jad, the bar’s owner, she had a warm aura about her, exuding calm and beauty. No surprise then to learn she was also the local yoga teacher. Our conversation fell into French, her mother tongue, which took me back to Martinique again an island that, in terms of culture rather than nature, was my favourite on this trip so far. There was an easy familiarity, an instant “tutoiement”. Then her boyfriend Will wandered past, another French speaker, with an open, smiling face and local kite-surf instructor. Was he free tomorrow to teach us en famille with KAPALEI I wondered? Sure thing. And would Jad have space in her yoga class afterwards if I got together a few friends - we were there with several other ARC boats. Sure thing, said Jad, trust me, it will do you good to stretch out after a day of kitesurf with Will! I messaged the others, who were up for it, their only reservation that a 5pm class would clash with sundowners on Happy Island we had already pencilled in. Any chance Jad could move the class back to 4pm? Her regular yogis happened to be passing just at that moment, and after a quick check in with them she confirmed yes, sure thing. I really liked the idea of having both Jad and Will as teachers, a couple of lovebirds on an island I associated with our honeymoon was a definitely a good omen. Union Island was certainly living up to its name.