We aimed for Mustique and missed
On a breezy 9th February we upped our anchor and set off towards Mustique. This time the wind was in a better direction and, at last, we could sail rather than punch through the waves under power. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that the wind angle wouldn’t allow us to sail to Mustique, so we decided to head straight for Bequia instead.
Before arriving at Admiralty Bay, we contacted Blue Sky, from whom we rented a mooring the last time we came. Unfortunately, Mr Blue Sky experienced a problem with his outboard just before we arrived. I think the problem was that he forgot to put petrol in it. This created a bit of a problem for us in that it left us vulnerable to one of the mooring sharks patrolling the area for mooring-less boats. One homed in quickly as we entered Admiralty Bay, and the dialogue sounded something like this:
“You want a ball?”
“No thanks, we are dealing with Blue Sky.”
“We are dealing with Blue Sky, so we don’t need a mooring ball.”
“Eh? Blue Sky. Yeah over here. I have a ball for you.”
And on it went.
Fortunately, Mr Blue Sky (his real name is Nimrod) sent his friend – Phat Shag – over to get us a mooring. The guy hassling us slinked away, and we bagged a mooring in what is possibly the best position in the bay; within throwing distance of the Frangipani restaurant. It is superb. Phat Shag (Fitz) asked us how long we are staying, we said we are not sure, he said I’ll see you tomorrow. And that was that.
Bequia is our favourite place so far. Not only are the boat names colourful, nowhere else in the islands have we come across a location with so much to offer visiting yachts. You want diesel delivered to the boat – you can have it; water – no problem; laundry – certainly. And all of these things can be had by a visit from Daffodil. Their big yellow boats have diesel and water for sale, and they can collect your laundry too.
As it’s coming up to Valentine’s day, after tidying up the boat Maria and I took a romantic trip to the rubbish bin followed by a much-needed stop at the ATM to withdraw some money. Friday night is a big night here in Admiralty Bay. It seems that everyone descends on Sparrows Bar near the ATM. The place was beyond packed. People were spilling out of the bar onto the pavement and across the road. Music was blaring out, drinks were flowing, and everyone seemed to be celebrating the end of the week here.
On the way back to Lady Jane we stopped at the innocently named Whaleboner bar and restaurant. Somewhat illogically, happy hour runs from 1700 to 1900 here. And somewhat dangerously for a bargain-lover, they offer rum punch at $10 EC per glass. Lured by happy hour prices as long as we wanted, we decided to stay at the Whaleboner for dinner, sharing a pizza between us.
In all the bars in all the world
Phat Shag came along to check how long we are staying. We said until Thursday, he said see you Wednesday. And off he went in his Phat Shag boat and off we went for breakfast at the Whaleboner.
Then, in a bizarre coincidence, in walked Allan and Annette – our Norwegian friends we last saw in Mindelo. We arranged to meet them later for drinks. Then after shopping at Knights supermarket and at the fruit and veg guy’s shop just around the corner, we watched the six nations matches back on Lady Jane.
At 1800 we unloaded ourselves back at the Whaleboner to meet Allan, Annette and their crew member, Jørn. Drinks turned into dinner, and then to drinks on Lady Jane. Allan and Annette are heading to Bonaire then the Marquesas via the Panama Canal, so when these Vikings spotted my Charlies Charts of Polynesia, it was hard to prevent them being pillaged.
It was great to see them again. And as far as coincidences go, this is up there with the best. Also, just over on our port side is another boat, Otilia, containing Bobby and Camilla, who we first met in Tenerife.
Sunday brought more Six Nations watching, followed by a trip around the bay in the dinghy and a visit to the Plantation Hotel for Sundowners. Rum punches here are two for $10 EC, so we had four. The plantation is a lovely colonial style hotel and restaurant with an expansive terrace and a laid-back feel. We decided that this is the place to go on Valentines night, so we reserved a table.
On Monday, Maria called the Daffodil wonder vessel, and within two minutes he was alongside with the big yellow boat. I’m not sure the photo does it justice, but it’s a sight to behold. The boat has a homemade look to it, but it works well. And it is strong enough to hold huge containers of water and diesel big enough to fill the tanks off all but the hungriest power boat.
As the Daffodil boat came alongside, he handed me his bowline. I was walking this forward while keeping an eye out to ensure he didn’t damage Lady Jane. Then I heard it before I felt it. A loud crack where I stubbed my toe on the shroud base. It must have been loud because the Daffodil skipper heard it. “Careful”, he said. A bit late, I thought. Still, there isn’t much you can do with a broken toe except for strapping it to its neighbour. So that’s the look I’m sporting for a little while. The Daffodil skipper handed over the hoses for the water and the fuel and made it crystal clear which one is which. Apparently, some people have been confused with the hoses and have topped up their diesel tanks with water. Not this time. Surprisingly, we haven’t used that much diesel – only 50 litres since being in the Caribbean – so we are delighted about that.
The next job was to take our empty propane bottles to be refilled at Dockside Marine. Maria complained that the last refill only lasted half as long as it should, so to compensate, not only are the bottles bulging, we got a refill for half price.
As a treat for all our efforts, like true Brits abroad, we walked down to the Gingerbread Cafe for cakes and coffee on the lawn.
Clowns are in town
Today – 13th Feb – we headed back to the Gingerbread Cafe for lunch. This place is lovely and perfectly simple. You order at the counter, you select soft drinks from the fridge, and you go and find yourself a table. Nothing fancy, but it is exceptionally pleasant. And you can buy ice cream from the shop next door.
The circus came to town today. More specifically, a gang of travelling French minstrels and acrobats descended on Admiralty Bay for a show at either the Whaleboner or the Frangipani restaurant. One of the boats anchored close to the dinghy dock so the restaurant patrons could see them. But this didn’t go down well with many of the local taxi boats. One of them caught their propellor on the French boat’s kedge rope. He turned the air a very non-Bequia blue and threatened them with the Coastguard. Eventually, things fizzled down, and the compromise was to put some fenders in the water to mark the ropes.
At 1700 the show began. The musicians struck up their saxophone and accordion – this is the same gang from Carriacou – to lure people to the show. We didn’t need to go anywhere. Relaxing on Lady Jane, the show was right in front of us. The acrobatics were not the thing of Cirque de Soliel, but it was entertainment.
The gymnastic antics continued until about 1900 before the circus show faded away to be replaced by a brilliant pianist and singer. At least he was brilliant until he started singing Lionel Ritchie’s All Night Long.
Valentines Day in Bequia
Today involved another trip to the petrol station for unleaded for the outboard, and to Dockside Marine to collect our other gas bottle.
Valentine’s day is a happy event here. People wish each other Happy Valentine’s Day in the same way we would say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. We witnessed this in the supermarket and in the Chameleon Cafe where we stopped for lunch. It’s nice. Even Maria’s new friend Jomo from Saline Bay sent a text to wish her Happy Valentine’s Day – although I’m not entirely sure of his motives. I think he has a thing for my wife.
We arrived at the Plantation Hotel a little early to have pre-dinner drinks before the prices rocket after 1900. Actually, they don’t go up that much, but romantic or not if there’s a deal to be had, I’ll take it.
Continuing my clumsy streak this week, when locking up the dinghy I dropped the keys onto the boardwalk. The gaps between the boards are quite small, so there is probably only a 5% chance of losing anything through them, but my unlucky aim was spot-on. I heard the plop as the keys hit the water below. Fortunately they were only spares, so not too much distress was caused.
Our table was just undercover, and the perfect distance from the band. Our waitress was lovely; very attentive and smiley. Things couldn’t have been better. The chef had created a Valentine’s dinner menu, and the food was fabulous. The steel band weren’t too bad either. Occasionally a couple would drift towards the band and dance along to the music. It was very romantic.
We left late in the evening. And when we stepped off the dinghy onto Lady Jane, we heard the pianist in the Frangipani restaurant strike up a new song: Lionel Ritchie’s All Night Long. You can’t have it all can you.
The weather forecast promised light winds for our trip to St Vincent on Thursday, but the wind gods decided otherwise. So, we delayed our departure until Friday. We have heard of far too much drama out there. Further north of us, our friend’s boat, Mojito, has been dismasted. So we are playing things very conservatively.
Besides, there is always something else to do here in Bequia. Swimming off the boat in the afternoon and of course happy hours in the restaurants. And planning. We are hatching a plan to get us from the Caribbean to the US East coast before the hurricane season starts. Our current thinking is to join the Salty Dawg Rally (we are Salty Dawg Members after all) leaving from Antigua in May and head to the Chesapeake via Bermuda. But we shall see.
Friday’s wind was pleasantly light, so late morning we slipped our lines from Phat Shag’s ball and headed off to St Vincent.