We moved to the anchorage just off Tony Gibbon’s beach, also known as Princess Margaret’s beach on Saturday. Beforehand we checked the depths by taking the dinghy and dropping the lead line over. At the same time we looked for nice sandy spaces. There was 1 suitable space inside the fleet but otherwise we would have just joined the back. There was plenty of room.
Leaving the mooring buoy in high winds wasn’t without hazard, as there are numerous other moorings in the same area and we needed to avoid wrapping any of those around the propeller. I was intrigued to see a notice in the clearance office, stating that none of the moorings in the bay are sanctioned or serviced by the Port Authority and are uninsured and at your own risk. Although the pilot book mentions them frequently breaking free and being illegal, we spent 3 nights on 1 near the ferry dock and had no issues, despite the wind strength.
The moorings are nice and close to town but with the new outboard, distances are no longer a problem and we were happy to be moving out to the anchorage, as the 2 beaches nearby are stunning. When we looked over later, we could clearly see the white tops on the waves running through the moorings and it appears the wind is funnelled down between 2 hills.
So we dropped our trusty spade in white sand with 3 metres under our keel. Rob has made up a new snubber for the chain, with spliced ends, a thick bit of hose for protecting against chafe and the line wrapped around a rubber snubber. It is fixed to the chain with a shackle and certainly cuts down on the noise. It still amazes me that something so small can hold the weight of Beyzano in high winds but I guess that some laws of physics come into play and the anchor digs in more as the angle increases. The anchor itself was completely buried in the sand anyway, I snorkelled over to check it as soon as we arrived so we could sleep soundly.
We took the dinghy to the dock next to a bar called ‘Jack’s’ on the beach, a nice, more up-market affair than some here but for us it didn’t have the same atmosphere as the others along Port Elizabeth’s waterfront. They charge for WiFi at 30 US$ a week and have live music nights, curries on Sunday and a BBQ night.
The fish on the small reef between PM’s beach and Lower Bay were amazing. Hundreds of them all completely unconcerned about us snorkelling with them. I think we will have to invest in an underwater camera, as it is like swimming in an aquarium. We also saw plume ‘Christmas Tree’ worms, different corals, sea urchins and some centipede like creatures.
Walking along the beaches is best early morning or late afternoon as it is so hot. It is all too easy to forget to apply sunscreen but so far we haven’t been burned. One of the best things I brought is a daily moisturiser called ‘superdefense’ from Clinique, with 25 SPF, so at least my face is always protected. I think other makes may do higher factors so it is worth looking into. You see a lot of people who have sailed a lot here and are very lined but I’m hoping it isn’t inevitable!
Getting food is also best done when it is cooler but at 0700 this morning we got banana bread and a baguette, both still warm, from the boat which circles amongst the anchorage. You need to call him over as he isn’t a high pressure salesman but he isn’t cheap either. We were offered another tuna but had already taken lots of BBQ food out of the freezer yesterday, so we hope we get another chance tomorrow. The Cobb is still frequently put to use, a nice way to spend the evening at anchor.
A boat selling ice, taking laundry and supplying water and diesel from big tanks, also circulates the bay or can be called on VHF 67. A ship moored up in the centre of the bay provides the same services but you need to tie alongside it. A couple of other small boats came by to offer laundry services, Miranda’s being about 6 GBP a load, collected, washed, dried, folded and delivered back.
Today we are in town, stocking up on fresh and frozen provisions, downloading the weather Grib files, checking emails and finances. We hope to move round to Friendship Bay on the southern coast, which is only about 7 miles away and then sail to Mustique from there. As Mustique is south east of here, the wind direction will make it difficult, so we will see if there are a few hours when the wind is north of east, to make it easier. Otherwise we’ll go to Canouan and visit Mustique another time. At the moment we are perfectly content to spend another week or more here, as it is a lovely island, with such friendly and helpful people. 6000 live on Bequia, apparently from Scottish, French, African and North America settlers. They are great sailors and have a long history of boat building and whaling in tiny open boats, using hand held harpoons.
Yesterday it was the anniversary of my last day at work and I have to admit I still don’t miss it despite loving it at the time. Rob and I talked about what we used to gain from work and it was mainly socialising or working as a team and using our brains. Now the team is just the 2 of us but we meet lots of new people to socialise with and we need to use our brains every time we enter a new harbour, do the clearing in and plot our next passage. The only difference is not being paid. Swopping the office chair and hours behind the PC for the outdoor life in the Caribbean can’t have a price on it though!