February 18th Bequia Island to Saint Vincent Island

We had a slow start as it was only 7.7 miles to where we planned to head to the Blue Lagoon on Saint Vincent Island. We cruised past “Seamantha” to say farewell to John and Paulette. Hopefully we will see them again when they come to Australia to visit! We were sad to say goodbye.

The wind was up and we had quite a rough passage, we hugged the island as close as we could as John had suggested but it was still choppy. That was nothing, once we got out of the protection of the island and into Bequia Channel, we were copping large waves, close together and with the wind on our side plus the current it was a very lumpy and unpleasant crossing. I felt seasick. It was actually worse than anything we had crossing the Atlantic.

We were planning to go to the Blue lagoon an anchorage on the bottom of the Island of St Vincent. John kindly rang ahead and found out it was too risky for us to enter the Blue Lagoon, there’s a narrow entrance between the reef and the depth was not enough for us. They suggested we anchor just nearby. We went to check it out and decided against it. The wind was strong and it did not look pleasant. We decided to continue up the island and find a better protected anchorage.

The island is absolutely stunning, with steep mountains, covered in natural lush vegetation, not very high but wild terrain covered in beautiful dense green forest. The island has a colourful history from the time Columbus sailed through the islands it was inhabited by fierce tribes whom Columbus called “Caribs”, and when a slave ship was wrecked off Bequia they took the slaves as their own. The slaves were also fierce and warlike, and became a problem. The Caribs killed all the young male black children. The slaves revolted, stole all the Carib women and ran off into the hills. They took control of most of the island until finally defeated by the British in the late 18th century, who then shipped them to Honduras. The movie “pirates of the Caribbean” was filmed here.

We first tried Wallilabou Bay but after getting met outside the entrance by a local in a fast dinghy and him wanting us to pay him $50 EC to assist us to anchor, there was a bit of discussion about this but in the end Robbie said thanks but no thanks we will go somewhere else. So we continued on up the island and decided to anchor in Chateaubelair Bay. We have heard a lot of controversial information about this anchorage, there are warnings on Noon site, and in the cruising guides as there have been a lot of robberies and even assaults on yachts anchored here. The latest information is that the offenders had been caught and are in jail. We decided to give it a try. As we were entering the bay fish were going off looked like Tuna, Robbie was very excited!

We were greeted by a lad (George) on a windsurfer board, using it like a paddle board. He assisted us to anchor as it was steep to and a lot of weed on the bottom. The first try the anchor didn’t hold so we moved over to the other side and it took hold. George said there was no charge, but we gave him $10 EC, a can of coke and a bottle of orange cordial. After some discussion about what he needed I told him to come back at 5pm and I would have a bag of clothes for him. (I had a clean out of both our wardrobes and gave him 2 rubbish bags full of clothes, some of which were brand new)


We went into shore so we could clear out of St Vincent and the Grenadines, we were met at the crumbling concrete dock by another local (Mitch) who insisted on showing us to the customs house, which we already knew where it was. They are friendly and helpful but expect to be paid. Come back he said and I will show you where the Immigration office is when you have finished with customs. We very quickly completed customs and then walked out the back way to the Police Station where the immigration is.

The Immigration Officer was nursing her 1 year old who was sick and we couldn’t get a smile out of her but she was as cute as can be, with her tiny dreadlocks. The checkout was completed in superfast time and we were soon back on the boat.

 Robbie went fishing in the duck, and I was planning on doing the blog, but got pestered by another local called “boy boy” (because his real name is too long and difficult to pronounce) in a rowboat, whom I couldn’t get rid of and I was actually getting a bit worried about. I ended up buying a few green bananas off him but he was trying to get me to agree to a guided tour of the waterfall tomorrow, a tour of the volcano, to sell me nutmegs, and some unknown vegetables, asking for drinks, biscuits and did my husband have a battery drill or a saw I could give him!!! He wanted us to ring him at 9pm that night about the tour tomorrow. I told him we had friends arriving tonight in another boat (little white lie sorry Starlet!) and I couldn’t make any decisions until they arrived. It took me over 30 minutes to get rid of him. I didn’t want to be rude and upset him. Finally he rowed away and went and pestered one of the other boats and I could see him there for ages too.

 Quiet night and we watched Pirates of the Caribbean just because we were here. Tomorrow we hope to meet up with starlet!

February 17th Bequia Island Port Elizabeth

We returned to Seamantha for more tips on anchorages in the Caribbean and the USA, and John very kindly gave us some of his cruising guides that he has updated. We returned to Southern Star and completed some chores.

I was hanging out washing on the fly bridge when I noticed a large cat that seemed to be getting closer and closer. Yes, it was drifting and right towards us. I yelled for Robbie and he ran up. There were 2 girls on the Cat, doing nothing and looking helpless and couldn’t speak English, there was another yachtie in his dinghy following them, can you drive a cat he yelled to Robbie, so Robbie was able to jump from our bow, onto the cockpit of the cat. That’s how close it was!! The cat then pivoted around our side catching our flopper stopper. Thankfully, it just rolled around the flopper stopper and did not get tangled in it. Robbie was struggling to start the motors but eventually found the 2 buttons you have to simultaneously push to start the engine. You cant really tell but thats robbie driving the Cat in the photo.

There were 2 locals in a boat also came to assist. The Cat had broken off its mooring and the mooring ball was still attached to the cat. While they were finding a new mooring, the skipper turned up in his dinghy and managed to jump aboard and Robbie drove the Cat while the skipper got it onto another mooring. He couldn’t speak much English and he couldn’t or didn’t say thanks. The other yachtie brought Robbie back to our boat. Never a dull moment.

We continued on with our jobs and a little while later the yachtie that brought Robbie back came over with his wife and half a bottle of rum for Robbie. We invited them aboard and had a great hour or so. Joe and Amy are lovely, he thought Robbie deserved a drink for what he had done! They cruise for 6 months of the year and Amy has 2 ice cream stores that she HANDMAKES the ice-cream for, that has no preservatives or artificial ingredients. It sounds amazing and our mouths were watering when she was describing the flavours she produces. She employs 70 young people to man the stores. She is constantly getting offers from companies to buy her ice cream but she wants to keep it as a small business. Hopefully they will stay in touch with us.


 



John and Paulette came over later for a tour of Southern Star, which they were already familiar with Nordhavns and knew the 47 model. They had a lobster delivered they had ordered earlier by one of the locals. We had sundowners and then had to say a sad farewell. Hopefully they will visit us in Australia some time!

 

February 16th

We had a visit from a local whom Robbie negotiated to buy some beer from. 4 cartons at $100EC each. We took the duck off and went and said hello to John and Paulette on a 58 Kadey Krogan, you could say the opposition to Nordhavn. They invited us to come over for sundowners.

We went into town and had a walk around. It is pretty basic, we found an upstairs café overlooking the harbour where we had a very basic lunch. As we sat there an old truck turned up with a water tank and a small generator and they pumped water for the café. The small things we take for granted! We brought some mangoes and tomatoes and checked out the supermarkets, everything was pretty expensive as it is all shipped from St Vincent.

On our way back to Southern Star we got called over by a small yacht anchored next to us, which was all locals. They asked us have you got one of these filters, holding up a very dirty looking filter. Robbie had a look and said yes it’s a Racor 500 and I have one you can have, we will drop it over later. They were pretty pleased.

On our way over to “Seamantha” for sundowners, we dropped in the filter. Robbie asked them what do you have to trade? They laughed and said you can have my hat or a basket. We just laughed and I asked for a photo.

We had a very enjoyable time with John and Paulette, an American couple who have been extensively cruising the Caribbean, and the East Coast of America for some time. They gave us a tour of their absolutely beautiful boat, it is spotless and has so much room and storage, it is a lovely boat and we were very impressed. They also kindly gave us lots of tips and advice on places to visit. We took them some of the Mahi Mahi we had caught in the Atlantic.

 

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