Camp Carriacou


Camp Carriacou.

A number of former students who attended Camp Carriacou in the 1970s have been writing in with comments. Rick Welsford has just sent the following comment along with the photos I have attached to this post. I hope the photos bring back a few memories for some of you. Rick said,

‘Here are three pictures provided by our best friend, now and then, Mary Jane Finlayson. Have just returned from visiting Carriacou. The camp property is pretty messy and up for sale. Needs a clean up. I am beginning to investigate who the current owners are with the goal of getting it cleaned up. Any advice anyone? I have one thin  real estate brochure but it is lacking the necessary information. Best wishes. Rick’

Bob Reid has written in with his memories of life in Camp Carriacou in 1973 as Camp doctor.

‘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 Palm 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

Below are a set of photos sent in by Bob, plus a couple of mine taken in Feb. 2014.

If there is anyone else who would like to put up some photos just send them to my email address at and I will see that they are are published on this page.



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12 Responses to Camp Carriacou

  1. Shelley Wright says:

    Would love to fix up the Mermaid Inn and the school. One of the most beautiful places in the world!Unforgettable… the camp photo with the research lamp on my head.

  2. Dear Carriacou friends,

    I was there in 1972 when these pictures were taken.

    Here is my account of our camping trip in the Tabago Cays:

    Best Wishes,

    Carter Kaplan

  3. Thanks for your site, Bill! Through it I have learned about the CCMS facebook page, and I have made contact with Bob. Hopefully I will get into contact with others from 1972.

    I would like to learn more about Bill van Riet and his educational philosophy. He seems to have been quite a visionary.

    And what happened to the skippers of those beautiful cats we appreciated so fondly? They were fast boats indeed.

    These pictures are wonderful. Was it really 44 years ago?!

  4. Alas, no. Can’t make the reunion. But a trip some other time remains a possibility.

    The site is very helpful, Bill. Thanks for maintaining it. Seeing these pictures brings back good memories.

  5. I would like to visit soon, if possible… I seem to recall summer is the rainy season? Also, I am unsure if all the development would represent a disappointment. When I was there it was very very rural, very very easy going. Is it better to remember the island the way it used to be?

    I am writing more about my adventures there, and I invite people who were there in ’72 to contact me via to share their memories.

    (By the way: Shelley, that lamp is great! And I miss the cats!)

    • Bill Cameron says:

      I was in Carraicou a few years before you Carter and go back every few years. It is still an amazing place. It is much busier now and there are more tourists but it still has that unique culture and welcoming people. You should go;
      some things will have changed, some things have stayed much the same.

  6. John MacKenzie says:

    This is all very interesting. I was there the first year the school was open. We arrived to a construction site but workable nevertheless. Someone posted a photo of a soccer match which I remember only too well. There were some young off a British ship and we met at the local high school playing ground. From what I remember we lost something like 22 to zero – not one of my prouder moments.
    I have some photos, most quite faded, mainly of buildings and the two catamarans, a few people including one of “Gillian”. I believe that was her name who died shortly after we returned to Toronto doing a night dive in the lake.
    Although I now live in Barbados I have not been back although sometime after the school was bought by a now Barbadian contractor who ran it as a hotel for a while. I believe it has been up for sale for quite some time.
    While there I contract mono so rarely ate. I was eventually put in charge of making sure that everyone paid for their soft drinks at meals. This meant that I also has the keys to the kitchen which came in very handy at night time when someone came back with a bottle of the local rum.
    Nice memories.

  7. Robert (Bob) Reid says:

    I would welcome anyone from 1968-1974 to contact me. I am headed to Grenada in November 2019 and would like info/ memories before I visit Carriacou.

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