2012 Appeal

2012 Appeal for contributions to write your own history of Carriacou.

I see the Carriacou 1968 website as an opportunity for the history of Carriacou to be written through the eyes of ‘ordinary’ people.
I would like to appeal to anyone with anecdotes, memories, photos, videos, poems, music or anything else of interest from Carriacou in the 1960’s (or any other decade) to send them to make up a body of knowledge that could become a history of the island from your perspective.
History is not just about politicians and government, it’s about everyday living, customs and traditions. It’s about keeping alive the things we value. Anyone and everyone who lived, or knows people who lived, in Carriacou will have something of interest to say.
So, if anyone would like to contribute all you need do is:

Just post using the contact box at the bottom of this page and I’ll put it up for you in your name or anonymously (as you wish).

Finally, Best wishes to you all for 2012.


64 Responses to 2012 Appeal

  1. Henry "Hank" Tonnmacher says:


    Just getting into your web site for the first time so thought I would get on board now. I moved to Carriacou in 1974 to teach Oceanography at Camp Carriacou. In 1975 Linton Rigg drove me to the Carriacou airport to catch a plane to Grenada so I could sail to St. Maarten on the barque Dana. I left St. Maarten in 1977 to work in St. Croix and have been here ever since. More later.

  2. Nancy Dutaud says:

    Hello Bill,

    I am a repeat visitor to Carriacou and I’m presently here on a long term stay.
    I’m looking for information regarding Camp Carriacou. Almost all of the online entries are very dated with little to no information about it’s history. From what I’ve been able to gather, it appears Canada had an influence and it’s origins were charity based. Do you have any information about who currently owns this property and is there still some connection with a Marine School? I also wonder if there is an association with Camp Kayak.
    I would value any thing you could add to this.
    Thank you,
    Nancy Dutaud

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Thank you for writing in with your query. I don’t have any solid information for you re- Camp Carriacou. Sorry. N.B. If anyone reading this comment can assist please write in. Thank you.

    • Barb Hildebrandt says:

      Camp Carriacou was started by a Swiss Canadian who had two other private secondary schools – one in Lausanne and another in Toronto. All three provided an accredited Canadian High School diplomas, with each location having its specialty – Lausanne for the humanities and Carriacou for marine biology/environmental science. Students could spend a semester or year at different locations and still graduate with a Canadian HS diploma. My husband and I taught/lived there 1977-79 and had an amazing time. We returned to Canada the year before the coup and heard the camp closed after that. I’ve never been back but planning a trip in the next few years. Sounds like much has changed. The people were warm and welcoming – I’m sure that’s still the same.

  3. Baz Van Riet says:

    Barb, is *almost* right. My Dad is actually from Belgium, not Switzerland πŸ˜‰ It’s also important to point out that while not in the forefront – my Dad was tthe charismatic and a very good “salesman” – my Mom (Lorraine) was 50% of the schools initial success and worked just as hard, if not harder than Bill Van Riet..She was also 100% NOT responsible for the schools demise.

    There were no charities connected to CC, or Canadian Junior College for that matter.

    I still remember the first time we pulled up to Manchioneel Bay in a chartered 26′ power cruiser from Grand Anse with the British Chap (Malcolm) who had the property for sale. I’m guessing this was around circa 73-74.I don’t think my Dad even knew exactly what he wanted to do with the place at first. The result of course, was an experience that too few ever got to experience, or will get to experience in the future.

  4. gavin kennedy says:

    I went to the Marine biology course in the summer 1974 and turned 18 while I was there . It was one of the most challenging and fun courses i have ever taken. The island is burned into my memory as well as some of the “jack” that was sampled with the guys playing dominos down by the boats…..ha,ha

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Thanks Gavin. It sounds like CC provided great experiences and wonderful memories of Carriacou. It seems such a pity that it folded. I’d be interested to know a bit more about the courses that were run there. Thanks again for writing in. Cheers, Bill

    • Ian Cardarelli says:

      Hello Gavin, I remember that summer very well. What a great month we had.
      I wen’t back in 1996 bare boating from Martinique. We spent a couple of nights moored in Tyrel bay. We tried to sail around the south side of Carriacou but were not able to get close to the shoreline to see the old camp. 40 years ago this summer.

  5. Rick Welsford says:

    Hi. I was a student the very first summer the camp opened. Enjoyed every part of every day from the plane trip down from Toronto to the reunion held at our house only a couple weeks after we arrived back in Canada. Did well with the courses. Drank a few beers. Great diving. Made some very good friends that remain close today. One of them is my wife Barb. Looking forward to visiting again beginning this Saturday (March 9-16) . Yup, I will be taking pictures to share. Cheers. PS Can be found either on the small white Canadian ketch named Lizzy Belle or searching for the remains of the Mermaid Hotel.

  6. Al Verwey says:


    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and reminiscing. In the summer of 1972, I attended Camp Carriacou while my older sister did the Marine Biology course there. We were able to stay for 9 weeks because my mother was the camp nurse in exchange for my sister and I being able to attend for free. There was no way our family could have afforded it at the time otherwise. All of the other kids were from wealthy families, some of whom attended the CJC facility in Lausanne during the school year and others from private schools around Toronto.

    I have fond memories of the scuba diving, sailing on the two 47-foot catamarans, trying “white lightning” for the first time, Sandy Island, boiled pork with long black hairs sticking out of each chunk, the bliss of the trips to Grenada where we were able to have a swim in the fresh water pool and many more experiences.

  7. Rick Welsford says:

    Have to add to Al Verwey’s comment. His mom saved me from a terminal sore throat but more importantly my Barb was the one that fell down the incomplete backfilling around the cafeteria foundation and was airlifted to Barbados for hospitalization. She arrived back a week later with her mom (my future mother-in-law) who I fell in love with first. We all arrived while the camp was still under final construction and there were a few problems. The other most memorable one was the fresh water reserves were not yet fully charged and after a few days showers were shut down for the balance of the summer. So, regardless of the event , when it rained class was dismissed for a quick scrub. Yup hairy pork is another good memory. Good times…wish I was 18 again.

  8. Rick Welsford says:

    Have a picture of the whole gang if I knew how to share it with you.

    • Bill Cameron says:

      What I suggest Rick is you email the picture to me at wilcam1@googlemail.com and I can load it up on to the site if you wish. I will ask the tech adviser (son) if there is a more direct way to send images when he returns from his snowboard venture. Catch you later. Cheers Bill

  9. Glenn Petersen says:

    Hi Bill. Cool to read various people’s recollections of Camp Carriacou. I attended the school in 1976 and it was the most fantastic experience. It was a wonderful, rustic island environment with great academics and the chance to learn to dive and study marine life. We had large aquariums and marine holding tanks. Fishermen used to come to the dock selling their day’s catch. One day they had a small hawksbill turtle. a few of us pooled our pennies and bought it to release. Unfortunately it died in the holding tank that night before we were able to. I still have the beautiful shell to remind me. The adventures on Carriacou instilled a travel bug in me which has never been fully satisfied. What is very exciting for me is that I leave with my family today to go back for the first time since then. I’m quite curious to see what has changed, and what hopefully hasn’t. Great blog. Thanks!

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Excellent comment Glenn. Thank you. It seems like there are quite a few ex CC students are returning. I hope you have a wonderful time with your family. Maybe you could let us know what you think has changed!!! Cheers Bill

  10. Brian Boudreau says:

    Hi Bill,
    I attended camp cariacou in 1976 and it was the most ispiring time of my life.

  11. Glenn Petersen says:

    Hi Bill. Had an absolutely wonderful trip back to Carriacou in March. The six days just disappeared. I was welcomed back like a long lost son by any Carriacouians I met and told of my past stay. So fantastic. I had great visits in Belmont with two ex-CC staff, Lenny and Enid. Shared stories and even a little Jack with Lenny. Late seventies and going strong. Went diving in the new Marine Reserve stretching down from Sandy Island and it was fabulous, especially Whirlpool and The Sisters.

    So what for me changed in Carriacou since 1976? Better roads (many now concrete), more vehicles, widespread electrical power, more bigger houses, more tourism (but not to the point of being detrimental), ATMs and lots of cell phones. Population not much different, but there are more internationals today. What is great is how the friendliness and feeling of the island seems so much the same.

    Camp Carriacou itself has unfortunately seen much better times. From what I could gather, CC was taken over by the government after the school closed. It became a military base “Camp Carriacou” until the 1983 Operation Urgent Fury invasion. It then attempted life as a tourist operation; apparently a “Chris” from England purchased the property. It was used for many local functions in terms of weddings and graduations. Various stories had it ceasing operations around 1995 or continuing to be used sometimes up to 2004. However it apparently became quite rundown with perhaps many items borrowed for use elsewhere before 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit it full on and “smash it down”. Sad to see it like that, but there were many beautiful views still and glimpses of the CC that was. White Island front and centre like the jewel it is. Didn’t make it to White this visit. That will help bring me back. Strongly recommend the trip down memory lane for all who can. Btw, I have some photos if you have a way of posting them to the site. Cheers. Glenn

  12. Glenn Petersen says:

    Original comment above first published on 19/07/2013

  13. Pam Youngs says:

    Hi Bill.

    I went in August of 1974 and I believe I might still have a picture of you
    walking by the lab with your flippers. I will look for it tonight and see if
    I can scan it with any others I might find.

    Thank you for the wonderful introduction to Marine Biology.
    Pam Youngs

    Original comment first published on 20.01.2014

  14. Ian Cardarelli says:

    Hello Bill, if I remember you had a Fiat X19 and I think we went skiing once with Jim Day, from Kingston who I roomed with. If I remember we were there in July of 74. Every time I hear a Bob Marley tune I think of Carriacou.

  15. Bart Miller says:

    Hi Bill. Thank you for creating this string. I recognize some of the names and their memories stir up some of my own. I was at the Camp during the final 1978-79 school year and vividly remember the awesome diving. In fact during one drift dive in the strait between the Camp and White Island, the current was so strong that the individuals in my dive group were being flipped and rolled uncontrollably. Needless to say, the excitement increased air consumption and the bottom times were minimal. However, Scott Hayden and I were pretty cool and kept drifting with the surface buoy…until the sea bottom began to disappear. I remember us surfacing and the dive boat trying to catch up to us in the current. The surface of the water had almost a “reverse chop” due to the strength of the current moving offshore and the wind blowing in the opposite direction. Very weird. Anyway, we finally got into the boat and watched in awe as we headed back to the Camp at a large mushroom-shaped cloud rising upward into the atmosphere above St. Vincent. The volcanic eruption had obviously contributed to the strange conditions.

    I remember running along the beach to the swamps and stirring up the small predator fish in the shallows with my pounding feet. I remember the lousy food augmented with a lobster every now and then πŸ™‚ I remember Maurice Bishop’s revolutionaries standing on our dock and commandeering our boat to go check out Saline Island for a potential airdrop of soldiers/mercenaries . They let me take their picture!!! I remember playing soccer with the rest of my classmates against the local Carriacou team to a final score of 1 – 1 and hearing comments that the Grenada national team wanted to play us next (?). Don’t know where that rumor came from but it didn’t materialize. I remember being told that the school was closing down and having to scramble to get some funding from family and friends to a parent or group of parents coordinating our flight out. I had used all of my personal savings to attend the school. I remember being so genuinely inspired by the environment, the instructors, and marine ecosystem that I actually went on and obtained my first BSc in Marine Biology at UVic. I remember arriving in Victoria after leaving Carriacou and looking for a place to live while going to school. I arrived at a house with a room being advertised and, during a brief interview, noticed a huge close-up picture of a person that I recognized. I commented “That picture looks a lot like Uncle B” (our kind and wonderful landscaper at Carriacou) and, can you believe it, one of the folks renting the room (Lori) had been at Carriacou during prior years and enjoyed photography. I remember Mr. Van Riet himself teaching us English with the beautiful view in the background. I remember lot’s of Bob Marley, the Cars, Max Webster, and Genesis.

    Lots of very cool memories and I know that there is a large stash of pictures in my attic. I’ll be sure to look and share at a later date. Thank you again and best regards, Bart.

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Hi Bart. You have some great memories and very interesting stories. I’d love to see your ‘stash of pictures’ and I’m sure many others would like to see them too. What chance you scanning some and emailing them over? I can then put them on the website. I’m certain they will attract a lot of interest. In the meantime if you have any more interesting anecdotes please do send them in. I could do a whole separate post for you if you wanted. I look forward to hearing from you again.
      All the best,

      • Lots of photos of Camp Carriacou at the Facebook Website URL written in the box above under “Website”, or go to Facebook and search for “Camp Carriacou Marine School”. I taught 2 courses there in 1974-75: Oceanography and Environmental Biology. Linton Riggs’s old C’cou boat “Mermaid of Carriacou” is still sailing the Caribbean by owner John A. Smith. THAT is a major story too. Look up John on Facebook. Thanks for keeping this going Bill!

    • Nick Cox says:

      I would love to see the photos of the soldiers who commandeered you boat. I am sure they would love to see the photos too.

  16. Laurel Schoenrank says:

    Perhaps Pam and Ian are thinking of the Headmaster from the year I was there for Grade 13 (1976-77), Bill Allison, and he taught the Marine Biology course.

    Camp Carriacou truly was a seminal experience.

    – Laurie Bridgman

  17. Peter Beck says:

    Bill thanks for initiating this. Please refer people to our Camp Carriacou Marine School Website! WAS A WONDERFUL TIME THERE FOR ALL CONCERNED. MANY LIFE LESSONS. I ALSO RETURNED IN February OF 2014. MANY CHANGES AND SAD TO SEE THE CAMP in RUIN! Peter Jeff Beck 1975 – 1977

  18. Bill Woroshyl says:

    Just found this site through a link from Hank. Great site Bill. Ian isn’t the only one with memory issues these days! I was the ‘Bill’ with the Fiat X19. I attended early on (72?) and then worked there as a TA for the next couple of summers. I just posted a few pics on the Carriacou Facebook site recently courtesy of Bill Allison.

  19. Tanyss (nee Farquharson) Munro says:

    Hi – I just came across this now.

    I was part of the first year-long school there – in 73-74 I believe. Bill Van Riet taught the Marine Biology at that time – strict but an excellent teacher. Jeff (don’t recall his last name) taught English and Culture. And Hank, you taught Oceanography and Environment, I believe.

    Hank, do you remember getting caught in a current on a scuba diving field trip? Some pirates picked up you and the other couple of boys with you – but in exchange for your watches…. thank goodness you were wearing them.

    I’ve often wanted to get in touch with Red (Mildred) McKinlay, but don’t see any sign of her (she was my room mate – long, flaming red hair). What a fantastic year that was – changed my life and since then have done a lot of travelling, but have also really deeply explored cultures – through education.


  20. Robert Reid says:

    I was a third year medical student at Queens University in Kingston Ontario going into my final year when I applied for the job of “Camp Doctor” that appeared in the Globe and Mail. I was hired immediately but upon reflection Bill Van Reit decided to hire a real doctor and nurse. I was relegated to teaching dive medicine and as an assistant SCUBA instructor. I had previously taken a rather intensive SCUBA training at Royal Military College. Other instructors were Eric Cunningham and Don Cuff. Bill Allison was there that summer. The worst medical issue was a student riding on the right side of the road ( as in Canada but the opposite of what was expected in Carriacou) was hit by a car and broke both legs….. Airlifted to a medical facility on another island. I remember one day when several students were separated from the group on a drift dive and were found well into the ocean ( with great relief in our part). That required to extra swigs of rum and orange juice ( what the dive instructors did after two daily dives and filling tanks for the next day…… Great to remove that salt taste from your mouth). The bacon strips with hair attached, a demonstration of how the local “jack rum” would burn if ignited, crab races and talent shows at the camps were all memorable. The staff became close knit and had a reunion in Toronto about six months after the summer. We shared pictures and had many laughs. I have sent in many of my pictures with several of the staff. There was a tall blonde man and his wife with two young blonde kids there on staff…. But ca’t remember their names. We sailed the two 45 foot catamarans throughout the Exuma keys and dive in Pakm Island when there was nothing there but an open field and a few palm trees. I heard that the year after I left one of the catamarans was wrecked on a reef. Hardly surprising since neither had a motor to get them out if tight moorings. We used to throw the anchor line and swing in an arc to get up wind enough …. Then pull the anchor and hope we came about in time to repeat this maneuver on the other side. Several close calls. I look forward to seeing some of the pics from others campers and would love to hear from any of the staff from ’73. Bob Reid

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you once again for your contribution. It’s great to have more detail about life on Camp Carriacou in the ’70s. I hope we get more photos or videos sent and maybe the staff of ’73 will read your comment and get in touch. Fingers crossed.
      All the best,

  21. John Turner says:

    Hey I attended Camp Carriacou to study Marine Biology from 1977-1978. I lived in a cabin known as Swamp. My claim to fame was being elected by my peers to be Santa Claus at the annual Christmas party. I believe I spooked all the local employees of Camp Carriacou that attended the Christmas party. If you don’t believe me just ask some of my fellow classmates such as; Scott Hayden, Sue Stern, Scott Poulton, James Kennedy, Sally Moulton, Alison Mack, Gabriella Gardow, Tim Richards, Leslie Born, Jill Tatham, Kelly Sexsmith, Derek Peppler, Ian MacMillan, Tim Richards, Mike Fraser, Bob Wholers (Teacher), Barb & Iggy(Teachers), Fortune, Enid, Victor, Kim(math teacher), Yvonne Schwabe. There are so many more friends that I miss and think of often. I just drank some of Mr. Scott’s “Jack Iron” so please forgive me if I have left out your name. I’m open to suggestions about a reunion as I missed the reunion in Toronto that I believe took place at the Royal York Fairmont Hotel.

    For more information contact my daughter’s email
    lauren_turner21@hotmail.com who recently visited Camp Carriacou in May 2015 and has many photos and videos of what’s left of the school (the dining room/caf, the dive shack, and a few cabins- hurricanes caused a lot of damage to the schools buildings)

    P.S. I deserved a better mark in my final marine biology assignment as marked by Bob Wholers

  22. Susan Payetta says:

    Hello, Mr. Cameron; I am enjoying reading your blog and looking at your treasure-chest of photographs. I’m presently working with Carriacou Historical Society to produce a magazine commemorating the Society’s 40th anniversary. To that end we have scoured the museum’s archives for old photographs which is blessed with many fascinating pictures. As you know, it can be a challenge to put names to faces. A wonderful portrait of a sailor racing in the ’66 regatta taken by Linton Rigg has become a bit of a mystery. May I share it with you to see if you can identify the sailor? A few historical photos of Carriacou culled from the Craigston archives appear in Edward Kent’s memoir, Up Before Dawn (Sail Rock Publishing; Paperback 179 pages; ISBN 978-976-95346-0-5).

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Hi Susan,
      Sounds like an interesting project. I may not be able to identify the sailor myself but if you send the photo I can post it to this website and see if we can get a response. I will email you. I have found the book you mention and managed to order a copy. Thank you. Do let me know if I can be of any assistance.

  23. Carol Ann Lees says:

    I don’t know what led me to this website today 37 years after my experience. I never went there. But, I was accepted to attend the Canadian Junior College in Carriacou for my grade 13 year in 1979. My parents paid several thousands of dollars for my tuition and scuba gear and airfare etc. Then, suddenly, it hit the papers that the place had closed. There were meetings at the Toronto campus which we attended but there was very little information to be shared. What I was told at the time, and I have no idea of the validity of this, is that for some reason the owner had taken the money and run and left his wife to take the brunt of it. My parents did not get a penny of what they had paid back. There was to be no grade 13 for me. It is one of my life’s great disappointments that I did not get to do that school year there. I’m not very sure of what happened that caused the dream to shatter, I just know that it did.

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Thank you for your comment Carol. That is a worrying story. I’m sorry your parents lost their money and you lost your chance to achieve your grade 13. I assume that Canadian Junior College in Carriacou is what I refer to as Camp Carriacou. Is that correct? Camp Carriacou actually started after my time on the island so I can’t verify your comments because I never knew why Camp Carriacou closed. A number of ex-students have made contributions to this site and, I would hope, some may be able to reply to your comment.

  24. Deb says:

    Hi, I am wanting to find a copy of my husbands Diploma from The Canadian Junior College. I believe he graduated from there in 1977-78 or 1978-79. Where would I even begin to look. Is there still a College in Ontario that is affiliated with Camp Carriacou?

    • Bill Cameron says:

      I am, personally, unable to help with your request Deb but there may be people reading this who may can help you. Maybe try the ‘Camp Carriacou Marine School’ page on facebook. Let me know if you have any success.

    • Carmen says:

      Hi Deb, I came across this site. I attended Canadian Junior College in Lausanne
      1977-1978. It was the last full year before the school closed. I had lost my diploma and I was able to get a copy from the school board of Ontario. All graduates from any of the Canadian Junior Colleges would have been registered with the Ontario school board. Hope this helps.

  25. Deb says:

    Does anyone on here remember the name of the headmaster at the school?

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Hi Deb, I will pass your enquiry on to the ‘Camp Carriacou Marine School’ page and see if we get a response.

      • Bill Cameron says:

        Deb, Here’s the message I put on facebook for you and replies. I’ve sent you an email. Let me know if the information is useful. Thank you.
        Bill Cameron 21 April 11:06
        ‘Hi Kate, I have received two enquiries on Carriacou 1968 website from someone called Deb. She writes: ‘Hi, I am wanting to find a copy of my husbands Diploma from The Canadian Junior College. I believe he graduated from there in 1977-78 or 1978-79. Where would I even begin to look. Is there still a College in Ontario that is affiliated with Camp Carriacou?’ and, ‘Does anyone on here remember the name of the headmaster at the school?’ I’m unable to help her myself but wondered if you could answer her questions. ? Many thanks.
        Kate Farley
        Kate Farley 21 April 12:25
        Bill Allison was the Camp headmaster during those years. He is a member of this page and would be very happy to help you with your questions I’m sure. Insofar as there being an affiliate school still in existence I would say no. You will need the full name of the student of course. Hope this helps!
        Kate πŸ™‚
        Norm Howard
        Norm Howard 21 April 13:26
        The Ministry of education for Ontario should have some records from carriacou as it was inspected each year by a Deputy Minister of Education . The inspector I was checked out by when i worked there was a Mr Beverly.’

  26. Maribuntas says:

    To ALL: Could anyone tell me who owned the schooner Sea Fortress in the picture. Or give me any information of the owner(s)?

    • Nick Cox says:

      Vern McKenzie comes to mind. I think he owned Sea Otter as well.
      My brother sailed with Sea Fortress for a while. I will have to ask him. I think the captain at that time was Malton Romain from Windward (Doodoo).

    • Nick Cox says:

      Vern McKenzie comes to mind. I think he owned Sea Otter as well.
      My brother sailed with Sea Fortress for a while. I will have to ask him. I think the captain at that time was Malton Romain from Windward (Doodoo).

  27. eileen fiell says:

    I thnk hurricane Maria inspired me to look up Carriacou and the Grenadine Islands. Two or our sons, Peter and Bruce Fiell attended the Canadian Junior College in the late 1970’s and I see Glenn Peterson, their friend, has already posted. Another friend, Dave Fleetham, was in Carriacou but I don’t think he was a student. Now a well regarded photographer of ocean life in Maui.

    Our second son attended the final year of CJC and we well remember the demise of the college when parents attended a meeting which Mrs. Van Riet held to announce the problem of kids stranded on the island and their airfare gone with the wind. All returned safely but with some adventures along the way.

    Now I will forward this to our sons who will be interested in all the comments and no doubt recognize many of the names of posters. Perhaps they too will post comments on their adventures on the island.

    • Bill Cameron says:

      Thank you for your comments Eileen. I am so pleased my website is able to reach out to interested people like yourself. I will look forward to any contributions your sons may make. In the meantime I’ll put you on the mailing list if that’s ok? I usually just send out mailshots when I put up a new post.

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