Postcard perfect Grenadines
With fabulous memories of a great Christmas family gathering on Bequia, and a rather sore head from an over indulgent New Year celebration we did our 10th Bequia Blast experience: - the rather rough piece of water between Bequia and Young Island St Vincent. A stretch of water we came to know well as we picked all our family member s up for Christmas and dropped them back to get their planes, – apart from Luke who refused to go back in the yacht – it was far to bumpy and he got the much more stable looking ferry. After waving goodbye to Christopher and Rachel on the 1st Jan, and finally picking up Eddies ( my nephew), bag from the Airport a week after he arrived, Emma, Brent, Eddie and I set off to explore the Grenadines.
Our first activity was celebrating Christmas again as Edddies bag had contained some great goodies form his family– the fly swatter is the best…, and that dam quiz book gave us all brain strain.
Our fist anchorage was Canouan, in the shelter of Rameau bay with two rather nice looking super yachts. Emma and Brent took up the sport of Super Yacht ogling and we were not disappointed – we were treated to a rather a dazzling display of handless wakeboading - in the dark with a drone filming the whole thing – turns out the boat belongs to …. The guy who owns go pro!
The following day was Eddies triumph – he caught a Barracuda. Horrible looking thing but it was a sizeable haul. He was after the illusive Tuna but we obviously didn’t have the correct bait on board and despite five days of trying hard no tuna fancied his hook. Full marks for persistence.
Two days in and obviously provisioning was not up to normal standards – we had no beer! Saline bay on Mayreau was a peaceful anchorage and a steep walk up the hill resulted in stopping off for a lovely home cooked lunch (in island time), at the Combination café.
At the top of the hill we were rewarded for our climb by magnificent views of the the Tabogo Cays from the Missionary church. Despite our efforts scowering the beer-crate scattered village, knocking on well marked beer suppliers doors (who's 'business hours' sign appeared to be missing) and even talking to locals who pointed us in the direction of said beer supplier's relations – there was not one person to buy from. Fortunately, Eddie was becoming rather a Dab hand at rum punch ! this was a good job, as the next day was Sunday and no beer for sale on Union island either.
The Turquoie Tabogo Cays were just like the post cards – snorkeling with rays and turtles just off the boat was a treat. Frontally there was good holding in 4 meters of water, as 30 kt winds all day and night were the order of the day – love the new spade anchor.
Union Islands Clifton Harbour was a night on a well serviced mooring in front of 'Happy Island' accompanied by a stunning display of kite surfing – they literally jumped over the building and came very close to landing on our yacht a few times!
The best sunset of the week was in Charlestown bay, as we sat drinking rum punch on the beach watching the Princess Empire set sail into the distance – just an awesome sight. She literally sailed into the sunset sunder full sail.
The nine hour upwind sail back to drop Eddie in St Vincent was a great sail if not a little lumpy and the Bequia blast was true to form, but it was our finally trip across this stretch of water and signaled the start of our venture north. One last thing to do – immigration and Customs out of St Vincent and we headed to Wallibalou Bay, anchoring 'stern to' tied to a palm tree to be told immigration were not turning up today! Having read lots of reports about yachts been robbed in the area we very nervously took the generous offer of the local barman's friend to run us to the police station in the local village to get our passports stamped.
This was a whole new level of experience, firstly I had a vision of our boat been robbed while we were away and secondly the police station was straight from the set of “Death in Paradise”. Our reservations were ill founded. Our taxi driver turned out to be a lovely local gentlemen, the local police men went through all the hand written paperwork with god spirits and stamped our passports and we didn’t get robbed!
A week of terrific sailing, postcard type beaches, intriguing colourful villages, and some varied experiences learning to deal with a multitude of boat boys constantly wanting to sell things to you. Best of all a crack, fun crew who quickly learnt to sail Saorsa and are a real pleasure to have on board.
Next stop – a chance to practice our French - Martinique