If you are in Clifton on Union Island in the Grenadines and you walk west out of town you will come to a causeway connecting Frigate Island and Union Island. It is a little over a mile and a nice hike that is not too steep and every local with greet you with a sincere smile and hello.
Being able to walk all the way out to Frigate Island is wonderful and exciting, but at the same time very sad. The exciting part is that you are walking along the largest lagoon in the Grenadines and everywhere you look you see mangroves or shallow reefs. The sad part is that you can walk out here due to a failed marina.
The failed marina development started in 1994 and joined Frigate Island to Union Island. It was also to have a 300-berth marina, a golf course in the mangrove area, and large condominiums, but the developer went bankrupt, the marina was abandoned, and the developer disappeared in 1995.
The sadder part is this marina was allowed to be started even though the lagoon was designated a Marine Conservation Area and protected under The Fisheries Act of 1986, a full eight years before the marina was started. Many people were against the marina because it would damage the ecosystem of the lagoon, reef, and mangroves. Over time these people were proven right as the area degraded and became a wasteland.
But there is hope because with the launch of the Ashton Lagoon Restoration Project three years ago many things are happening to improve the water flow and ecosystem of the lagoon. I am not going to go into the details of the restoration project but let me tell you that Frigate Island is already looking better. The water was clear, we saw fish swimming, and birds were overhead.
Frigate Island has always been a good anchorage, but with the causeway and new restoration there is more area to tuck into the lagoon and the water is nice so all you want to do is dive in and swim around. Way to go Union Island.