After clearing out of St Lucia on Tuesday, we sailed south to the Pitons and took a mooring buoy between them for the night to shorten the journey to Bequia. A couple of different boat boys met us as we approached the bay and basically the first one to find a mooring got the 10 EC$ for helping to tie us up but the actual fee for the buoy was collected later on. The moorings are administered by the SMMA (Soufriere Marine Management Association) and the fees go towards the marine park. 1-2 nights cost 40 EC$ for a 40 foot boat, 54 for one up to 70 feet and double that for up to a week. 1 US$ is about 2.7 EC$. A few more boat boys came by selling carved wooden figures, fruit, vegetables and fish but they weren’t too pushy.
The Pitons are the great symbol of St Lucia and a stunning place to moor the boat. There are about 12 moorings, so it is a peaceful location and we felt completely safe there. We still had 30 metres of water under the keel, so anchoring would have been a long and laborious affair as all our 100 metres of chain would have been used.
We left just after first light, by 0530 and initially had to motor as the winds were light. They soon picked up once we were out of the lee of the island and we stormed along to St Vincent in a F4-5. Beyzano happily sailed at 8 knots for a lot of the passage and although there was a little swell, she was comfortable and steady on the helm. It was great to sail some distance again and to finally get south of St Lucia!
We passed St Vincent on the leeward side and the wind naturally died a little. The island is interesting from the sea, with a great deal of lush land, which has no development on it. Where there are reasonably flat areas, fields have been cultivated but they were still very high up.
Another fast passage between St Vincent and Bequia brought us quickly to Admiralty Bay but not before a dinghy being bounced about by the swell came racing towards us with a boat photographer taking snaps. No doubt he will come along to find us soon to show us the results. The 60 mile trip took us 9 hours.
A boat boy called Capt Bob came out to meet us and found a buoy close to the dinghy dock and customs building behind the ferry dock. The mooring cost 50 EC$ but we only wanted to stay for a couple of nights before anchoring further out in the bay near a sandy beach. The mooring area is quite busy with boats close to one another but so far no accidents.
Clearance was a simple process, one form in one building, which houses both customs and immigration and a 70 EC$ fee for the both of us. Our passports were stamped again – doubt if they will last 10 years at this rate, as they will be full of stamps soon!
I then picked Rob up from the boat and we wandered around the pretty waterfront around the bay. There are lots of small shops, bars with Wi-FI, hotels and restaurants. A taxi driver offered us a tour of the island, which is about 6 miles long, taking 2 hours for 160 EC$. A lot of local people are trying to sell produce and crafts but as we are not on holiday and can’t afford space for too many souvenirs we have to say ‘no thanks’ and it can be hard at times. With the season coming to an end shortly, the source of income from visiting yachts will dry up for almost 6 months and many establishments close.