The Caribbean route so far ( courtesy of Atol – chart in our pilot book, and Dan with a photoshop red pen)
We had a great week and a bit in Bequia, the island just to the south of St. Vincent. We arrived on the 14th March and left yesterday (23rd) very early am to make our way up to St Lucia where we are now – anchored in Marigot Bay half way up the west coast.
Bequia is a small island of 7 square miles. The main town of Port Elizabeth is on the west coast at the head of Admiralty Bay, the main anchorage. There were many boats anchored in here. We got to know some of them during our stay, and other friends arrived and joined us also.
Port Elizabeth is a very pretty place. The main front street is parallel to the beach: palm trees and other tropical plants line the shore and are silhouetted against the blue water, little stalls line the quiet street . The traditional open sailing boats and the Bequia youth sailing club boats sit rigged and ready under the trees, sometimes with their sails hoisted. Further along by the pier the big red and white, orange and green ex-Norwegian ferries sit stern-to loading and unloading passengers and produce from the other islands. The ‘Friendship Rose’ is a traditional sloop built on the island, she is a tourist tour boat and does regular trips out to Tobago Cays and Mustique, she has her mooring right off the beach here too, her white and mauve hull look cool and beautiful in this colourful setting. There are so many overlapping shapes and colours and compositions of boats and plants. Looking out into the bay there are the many visiting yachts on anchor and moorings and to either side the protective and steep headlands enclose the bay. The southern peninsula has a very attractive skyline of bumps and hills, completely wooded it stretches out and ends in a few off lying islands which continue the ridge into the sea.
The longer we stayed there the more we liked the place.
We took a ferry trip on Monday the 17th to the island of St. Vincent. This was very fun. There was quite a swell running and the ferry heaved through the sea across the channel. On the way back the swell had grown and all the school children who were commuting back on the afternoon ferry were squeeling and giggling. St. Vincent itself has a bad reputation for yachts : of theft and hostile behaviour towards them , so we thought that going by ferry would be good way to see the place . We only saw two yachts anchored over there, compared to the many in Bequia.
Kingstown is the Capital, it is on the south of the island. We had a good few hours there exploring the streets, market stalls and the beautiful and calm Botanic Gardens. The town did not have a tourist atmosphere at all, it was a real town with a lot of history and we enjoyed It. We could see from Kingstown as we looked inland that the island was extremely lush, steep hills bounced straight up as a back drop, cultivated along way up. A few days later when we sailed past St. Vincent on our way up to St. Lucia we could see more of the stunning landscape of the island as dawn broke over the hills and revealed the rainforest clad peaks.
We went out for a drink on the 17th, St. Patricks Day, this turned to several more and we had an entertaining evening with some folks we met. Tracy, an Australian woman had been on the same ferry as us back from St. Vincent, and although we hadn’t spoken to each other on the ferry, we recognised one another and got chatting, we met some other friends of hers and sampled a few of the local bars! Tracy is hairdresser, and she agreed to cut my hair.
A few days later she came out to the boat and we set up a temporary salon in the galley. Tracy has worked for some of the top Salons and on huge cruise ships so I think this new environment and my seat made up of a bucket, chopping board and cushions was funny for her, but it didn’t deter her from her work. We had a lovely afternoon swimming and snorkelling from the boat.
We met lots of new people in the anchorage in Bequia and some familiar faces too. Luna of London was anchored near us in the bay, we were close to them also in Tobago Cays. They are heading up to Antigua where they will celebrate their circumnavigation in April after completing the Oyster Round the World Rally. Roberta and Stephan from Luna came for dinner one night to Hestur, they brought the most impressive huge and succulent looking steaks which Dan and Stephan delighted in which they had brought all the way, in their freezer, from South Africa and some delicious and memorable wine also from South Africa. We had a very jolly evening with them.
Our friends Nina and Ken on Makaio (who stayed a night aboard with us in Carriacou during Carnival) arrived . They had hot footed it up from Granada. We had fun catching up with them.
They also have bikes aboard so one day we went for a tour over the island with them. We cycled over to the turtle sanctuary on the north east coast. It was great to get the bikes out again. We stopped at a beach under the shade of some very tall and elegant palm trees. Ken found some dried and browny pale coconuts on the ground which had fallen from the trees. With the skilful use of his machete he made quick work of getting in through the husky exterior to the little hard coconut – nut itself inside. They were delicious, small and rich. Amazing to find such a tasty thing inside what looked very unpromising from the out side. We all had a shot of de- husking them and soon had a pannier full of little brown coconuts.
The turtle sanctuary had tanks of Hawksbill turtles at different stages, they are reared to the age of 5 then released back to the beach they were taken from as hatchlings. We saw some tiny baby ones which were exceptionally sweet.
Another day we had a great snorkel with Ken and Nina on a place called ‘Devil’s Table’. This was off the northern headland of the bay. We went over with our dinghies and tied them up to a little mooring there. Dan took the GoPro camera so we did manage some underwater photos on that. Each place we snorkel we see different things, and there is a different atmosphere. Here we saw some fairly large and developed coral. There was a sort of raveen we could swim through and see the corals and fish above us as we were diving down . Ken spotted some barracuda in the water.
On Saturday evening (22nd )we arranged a BBQ with some friends from the other boats. We had it on the beach just beside where we are anchored Tony Gibbons’ Beach AKA Princess Margrets’s beach. Ken and Nina from ‘Makaio’, Andy and Kerry and kids , from Inverness on board a beautiful steel boat – bound for Australia, and guys from ‘Arina’ , ‘Restless Spirit’ and ‘Atriums’. It was a lovely evening, the ‘meat man ‘ had been in town that day so the BBQ was well stocked up with his produce, we all brought different salads and things too. After a short sleep that night Dan and I upped anchor at 3am and set off with a good breeze for St. Lucia 70 odd miles north (to windward). We have checked into St. Lucia for three days ( it is possible to get a three day entry when you check in here, and as long as you leave with in that time you don’t need to go back to customs and immigration to clear out, as you effectively clear in and out at the same time) we will head up to Martinique next after exploring here.