Happily back in Admiralty Bay, Bequia after another fast, tipped up passage between islands.
We left the marina on Saturday and anchored in the southern part of Rodney Bay for a few hours before leaving in the dark, at just after 0200. There is a tropical wave affecting the islands, meaning unsettled weather and high winds. We wanted to get ahead of it, so Sunday was our last chance for many days. There was just 1 fish pot in the bay, which we saw when we anchored but later on, Glenys from ‘Agua Therepy’ radioed us with it’s co-ordinates and I put them in the plotter just in case.
We had also heard that the ship ‘Unicorn’ had sunk off St Vincent on Friday, after months of restoration. She was used for filming ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean’ and was operating as a bar in Rodney Bay. They were taking her to be hauled out for a short while to sort out the hull but she hit something and sank in just 4 minutes. All the crew abandoned to a pirogue, so were safe. We did wonder about debris and whether she was a hazard to other shipping but didn’t ascertain any more about the incident. We watched all the work being done last July, so it was a real shame.
Unusually we did have enough wind to sail almost the entire 75 plus miles and even behind the islands of St Lucia and St Vincent we were still making 4 knots. We approached the Pitons at dawn and bade them farewell in case we don’t visit St Lucia again. Then it was out into the channel and we were making over 9 knots through the water but with a current against us, so losing just over a knot. Several other boats left around the same time, obviously keen to make some miles south too. NOAA has predicted a near normal or below normal activity year for hurricanes, so let us hope they are right.
The wind and swell were on the beam, so it was a bit rolly but not as heeled over as during our more close-hauled trips this season. Fortunately it was a good day for the tip of St Vincent and the winds only got up to 25 knots, so rather nice! The coastline of the island is beautiful and it would be great to visit. Sadly, the reputation of the bothersome boat boys meant that all the boats sailing south that day didn’t stop. Quite a loss of income for the island and a loss of opportunity for us too.
The few miles from the bottom of St Vincent to Bequia was fast and furious but despite the conditions, Kenmore, the local photographer, came out in his little dinghy, standing up somehow and took a few photos of us racing in. The photos aren’t cheap though and we spent 110 GBP on the digital set he took in May 2012, so this time we declined.
We didn’t clear in on Sunday, as we thought the customs office had probably shut but the overtime charges would have been around 30 GBP in addition to the 15.50 we paid for the month. It is always worthwhile avoiding clearing at the weekend and public holidays if you can. There was a fair queue at 0830 but it reduced quickly and we wandered off to ‘The Fig Tree’ with Monica and Phil from ‘Miss Molly’ and then found Cathy at ‘Dive Bequia’ to catch up.
Port Elizabeth is a lovely town, lively, pretty and with a beautiful walkway along the shore, past several good bars, hotels and restaurants. There is also a posh wine shop, an ice-cream/yoghurt parlour and 2 dive shops along the walkway. In town, you can browse lots of great shops, find maritime museums and buy model ships. They also do commissions if you want a model of your own boat.
Ferries go to and from St Vincent daily and bring plenty of fresh produce, the local fishermen have a market and the supermarkets have a good selection. Doris’s shop is part of her house and although not cheap, it stocks top brands from all over the world. If you need a jar of Robertson’s Mincemeat, then this is 1 place you can find it.
We immediately noticed how brown the hills are. It hasn’t rained in ages and on the smaller islands, without rivers or a rainforest, they catch water. Some of the more affluent have desalination plants but many don’t. Launderettes begin to stop taking in washing and eventually you can’t fill up your boat tanks locally.
It is gusty but we are anchored in a lovely patch of sand, extending the length of our chain, so it is nice and quiet at night. With the weather due to be windy for a few days, we are likely to be here a week, so have time to dive, go to the Fig Tree’s ‘Fish Friday’ and help out at Cheryl’s Reader’s Club on Saturday. We may get the ferry to St Vincent, just to say we have been there. Our clearance gives us access to all the islands from St Vincent down to Union, so this includes Mustique, Canouan, the Tobago Cays and Mayreau but for now we are settled in Bequia, another of our favourite places.