& Colleen in Mustique, Redwings in the
January, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent
- We got up at around 0700 and were off the boat and
hiking towards Gros Piton by 0800. Trying to get up
there while its still cool. Gross Piton towers over the
anchorage and stands like a huge green gumdrop sentry at the
southeastern tip of St. Lucia. On the way by Lord
Glenconner's house, we actually saw him outside wearing some
sort of East Indian get up and directing the unloading of what
looked like a bunch of Indonesian wooden furniture. He
waved and said hello to us.
trail was steep, but paved - a road really - so it was pretty
good going. As we passed through the first village
(where our waitress Marie from Bang's the night before was
from - she gave us the basic directions on where to go), calls
came from shaded houses "You going to de Gross
Piton? You need a guide?" No thanks.
the village, we walked through overgrown banana and mango
orchids and after an hour or so, same to a second
village. Right away a young guy came up to us and asked
if we were going up to Gross Piton and confirmed that we
needed to pay a bit to proceed (with or without a guide), and
ran off to fetch the woman who was responsible for collecting
fees. We knew there was some sort of park fee for hiking
to the top - I guessed it was probably $10 EC (US$4) or
so. However, they fee was US$25 per person! For a
two mile hike up a narrow path without a guide? Forget
it. They got zero from us and we turned around. We
did not even have US$50 on us. Again - another St. Lucia
rip-off attempt. US$50 is probably more than anyone in
the village makes in a month!
our hike shortened to two hours, we decided to definitely
leave for St. Vincent and quickly got the dingy on board,
everything stowed, and motored out of the anchorage at
1100. Under the lee of Gross Piton, we hoisted the main
and put in the reefing line for the double reef. Can't
find the #1 reefing line. Where is it?
enjoyed a fast beam reach across the 30 mile pass between St.
Lucia and St. Vincent in 15 to 20 knots of wind and moderate
swells. However, as soon as we were in the lee of St.
Vincent, the wind was almost completely blanketed by the high
mountains so we motored the rest of the way up to coast to our
chosen anchorage of Walillabou.
we approached the anchorage, two little pea-pod row boats that
were standing one mile off the bay shot out towards us.
Apparently, the first to got to us would have the right to
claim us as his customer. They wanted to help take a
line ashore. We passed initially preferring to get close
and scope out the situation, but as more and more guys on
surfboards, row boats, and Styrofoam floats surrounded us, we
decided to give the first guy who caught up with us the go
ahead to take a stern rope to shore as we Med moored between
two other boats already likewise tied to the shore. Of
course, our only long strong rope (second anchor rode) was at
the bottom of the cockpit locker, so we quickly strung
together a few dock lines - they were not long enough - so we
kept piecing together more lines. Bad organization.
Boat boys hanging off the life lines all over the boat.
A frustrating mess and I was getting very hot under the collar.
During the whole maneuver these guys were asking if we wanted
bread, fruit, tours, etc. etc. and would take no or
leave us alone.
finally were situated and I hopped in the dingy to go check
in. While I was gone, Colleen literally had to hide down
below to avoid being hassled by boat boys. When I
arrived at customs, I looked in my ships papers back for our
papers and - ahhhh - I only had the clearance from St. Lucia
and (luckily) passports - all of my other papers were gone
(documentation, bill of sale, old documentation etc.)
Could not find them anywhere on the boat. Must have left
them in the Customs office or sail loft in St. Lucy. Fraying
already frayed nerves. Temper and sense of humor gone.
the deadbeat customs officer did not ask for the ships papers
- only the St. Lucian port clearance - so that was no
problem. He did notice though that we were declaring
about 30 liters of wine on board and stated that that was a
lot of wine for two people to drink by themselves and how much
he liked wine before giving us our entry clearance.
had a mediocre meal at the restaurant before turning in.
The boat boys had apparently finally gone back to whence they
came, only to be replaced by a few mosquitoes. However,
it was a quiet night - our first for weeks without the wind
whistling through the rigging - and we had a great sleep.
January, Wallilabou Bay St. Vincent to Admiralty Bay, Bequia
- Although the boat boys are a pain, Wallilabou is a
beautiful bay with steep-to mountains falling to the North and
South of the horseshoe bay and a nice beach ringed with huts
and palm trees where the horse's toe nails would be - if he
had them that is. Of course, however, paradise was soon
lost and within a minute of being awake and on deck the boat
boys were at the side trying to get something going and making
us feel guilty for not giving them any business. We were
by this time so annoyed there was no way we were going to buy
anything from any of them.
locked the boat up well and hopped in the dingy and pulled
ourselves ashore by the stern line. The crowd asked
where we were going and we said we were taking a walk to
Walliabou Falls. "Oh, that is really far",
they claimed, "you will never find it - you need a
guide". No thanks.
minutes later we were at the "falls" after an
eventless direct walk down the main highway (a one lane
semi-paved road full of chickens). The falls were only
about five feet high. Wow. Still it was a pretty
little stream and a nice walk by some orchids. Ok, nuff
of Wallilabo - or however you say it -outta here.
felt lazy and I wanted to fully charge the batteries to make
sure the new amp hour meter was properly calibrated so we
motored the whole way to Bequia - which was only about 15
miles away. We did a few boat jobs enroute.
after anchoring in the bay, a couple came up to us in their
dingy and asked if Redwings was a
Peterson. We confirmed and invited them aboard. Rocky and Laura
live on a C&C 37 with their two boys are a looking to
upgrade to a larger boat. Rocky is a professional
skipper and had done at least one delivery in a Peterson 44
and really liked the boat. They took a tour and gave us
the poop on Bequia and lots of other stuff as well.
Great to meet them and I'm sure we will speak with them some
more. The spend winters here where Rocky looks after a
Hinkley 49 and then summers in Marblehead (Massachusetts) when
he delivers the boat up there for the owners during the summer
then did a quick recon of the town and got quotes from four
different sail makers to install a new zipper on our
bimini. Lots of yacht support services here.
Bought a few Newsweeks at the bookstore and caught up on the
world (as best as one can reading the candy-coated
non-objective and sensationalized "journalism" of
Newsweek) and sipped tea at the Gingerbread House overlooking
the harbor. Really nice.
the way back "home" we stopped at Rocky and Laura's
boat Mololo and met their younger son Skyler (age 6) and new
cat Ting. Mom and big brother (13) were out for a night
diving session. Rocky gave us tips for cruising the area
while Skyler climbed around in the rigging like a monkey and
Ting knocked things over down below.
January, Admiralty Bay, Bequia
- Talked to Jeff on Sifar this morning on the SSB and
he had some good news: "they" had our ship's papers
in St. Lucia, "they" being the customs
officers. Apparently I'd left them there in my normal
haze-phase. Good news. But the bad news (ridiculously
stupid news?) was that "they" wanted a 20$ handshake
to hand the papers over. I thought even the St. Lucia
guys were above that, but after the "30$ cab ride"
incident (Colleen had to fork out the dough to have an
official brought 1/4 mile by cab and back to our boat to check
out what we had on board before we left for the US), I guess I
should not be too surprised. Anyway, it was tough to
make it out over the radio, but Jeff got the papers and did
not pay the "fee" so that is good. He will be
gone when we get back to St. Lucy, but he said he'll leave
them with the marina office for us.
armed with info following yesterday's recon, at 0900 we headed
in to the beach to deliver our laundry and the bimini for
repair. I also brought the fishing rod in to see if I
could get some parts for the aging reel. Had a bit of
luck and got some of the parts I needed for the rod and reel
and several "killer lures" for the local area.
Watch out fish. We are serious now. Redwings
always catches when she decides to! The guy at the
fishing shop was really helpful and gave me some glue to stick
on the new rod tip and also gave me a spare part for the
reel. People in general seem much less on edge and more
relaxed and genuinely friendly here than in St. Lucia - where
the people are also reasonably friendly. Perhaps it's
because this is a historically more racially integrated island
which had its own non-slave based economy (whaling).
the errands, we too a three hour walk up and around the
Northern side of the island. Great views, killer dogs,
cows, beautiful bay, and chicken sandwiches (with whole
drumsticks and wings with the bones still in them for US 80
cents each). Stopped into an artist's roost on the walk
back. A couple have converted an old sugar mill into a
studio and gallery. One of the owners gave us a tour of
the whole thing demonstrating limitless energy. Pottery is the
main medium and she showed us the working of the kilns,
glazing, etc. One of the painters there was from
Kittery, Maine! Running into a lot of Mainers around here.
it easy in the afternoon. Fixed my rod and reel and put
on the killer tackle. Headed to the internet cafe, back
to the boat for a sundowner. First evening since we have
been back practically that the wind has been less than 10
knots! Its so peaceful and beautiful.
- We headed in towards the beach first thing in the
morning as Colleen waned to see the Doctor about her.
While she was at the hospital, I did e-mails and chatted with
Mololo. We had understood that a visit to the hospital
was free, but for once in her life, Colleen did not double
check the potential cost of a service and was stuck with an
EC$120 (US$50) bill for a very limited opinion and some
dubious eye drops. Anyway, it seems she is not going to
go blind in the near future and that is good news.
weighed anchor at around 1030 and headed around the southern
tip of Bequia and crossed the bay towards neighboring Isle a
Quatre. Rocky on Mololo had suggested we stop and anchor
on the back of the island in a small bite tucked behind a reef
as the spot is not really on the radar screens of the cruising
and chartering community. We eased in to the spot with
only a meter under our keel and finally anchored behind the
reef in a sandy four meters.
after a quick lunch, walk on the beach, and snorkeling
excursion to the reef, we decided to head over to Mustique as
the spot was a bit rolly and if the wind decided to come
around more to the south, we would have had a noisy and nerve
arrived in Mustique after a one hour run from Isle a Quatre.
We kept our new "killer lure" in the water the whole
time we were moving today, but nary a strike. Perhaps we
need to go back to our traditional two line "meany
greenie" rig that has performed so well all around the
is a private island owned by 50 "rich and famous"
individuals such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Princess
Margaret. Glad we came. Beautiful clear
water and a calm anchorage. As we pulled in, we saw Farr
Ahead, a boat and crew we met back in St. Lucia, in the
anchorage. As soon as we tied up to one of the available
moorings, we jumped in and swam over to see Mike and Kitti on
Far Ahead. Their American guest Greg was still on board
as well as his wife Candy who had recently joined them. Fortunately, even though they are from Connecticut, they are
Red Sox fans, so we got along fine.
a beautiful walk up into the hills and along the shore.
Had Far Ahead crew over for a drink and got rave reviews on
the ginger beer. This will become a house specialty, if
only I can find tartaric acid somewhere for sale.... The
Mustique Blues Festival is "on", and we were gonna
go, but got tired and had pretty good acoustics on the boat so
just listed to the music till it ended at midnight or so.
January, Tobago Cays
- We hit the beach at 0900 with the crew of Farr
Ahead to take a tour of the island with one of the local
"taxis" (covered pick-up trucks like a Thai Baht
Bus). However, apparently he had to first pick up people
at the airport and the plane was late so we were left
waiting. It seems (rightly so I suppose), that the first
loyalty of all of the workers on the island is to the rich and
famous residents and their whims, and any other tours or
services offered are just done on the side if they have time
left over. The "natives" seem to be very well
taken care of by the island's owners so one cannot blame them.
we had a nice time chatting by the beach. There are so
many birds in the trees and on the beach - you really notice
them as the other islands we have visited so far have been
pretty quiet on the non-domestic animal front. Beautiful
in here with the clear water and perfect sand beach.
gave our man till 1030 and then bagged it - we needed to get
going to Tobago Cays and Farr Ahead to Young Island at the
bottom of Saint Vincent. We said our goodbyes and I
passed on the handed down (Flashdance II to Navara to Redwings)
to ginger beer recipe and we parted ways.
had a nice broad reach in 15-20 knots for the 20 miles to the
northern end of Mayreau Island where we banged a left leaving
Baline Rocks to port, furled in the genoa, and headed straight
up towards the Tobago Cays. Just as we turned the
corner, I noticed a bit more action than normal on the fishing
rod and gave it a tug - sure enough there was a fish on the
line! I quickly reeled in a small 5-6 pound tuna /
mackerel type fish. Hit on the new killer Rapala lure,
but I was trailing a meanie greeny as well on the hand
line. We really do seem to have more luck with two lures
in the water at the same time. I quickly cut his gills
and tied a rope round his tail and threw him back over to drag
behind us and bleed out while we motored up into the
Tobago Cays are four small islands to the east of Mayreau
island fronted by two massive horseshoe-shaped reefs.
There is a narrow entrance through 3-4 meters of water between
two of the islands which then opens up into a 10 meter deep
clear lagoon behind the fronting reef. There is nothing
between the reefs and Africa, but the reefs are so substantial
that no swells make it in to the lagoon. The wind whips
in though, but that's ok as it stays nice and cool. This
is a truly magical spot - but unfortunately everyone in the
Caribbean knows it and there are about 50 boats in here.
There is plenty of room though and we founds a good spot
tucked behind the northern-most cay.
cooked up our fish. I'm sure she did a good job, but it
was disappointing. A bit gamey tasting. It's too
bad cause I don't know if these small tunny around here will
just not taste good in general, or if it was this one in
particular. We have eaten lots of small tuna before and
while not as yummie as a sail fish or dolphin fish, they are
still usually pretty good. Have to ask around about the
best way to cook them and or if it is even worth keeping them.
January, Tobago Cays
- After breakfast, we hopped in the dingy with our
snorkeling equipment and headed for "dingy pass", a
break in the outer reef. Just outside the reef we found
several mooring buoys that the local dive boats use and tied
up the dingy, and flopped in the water. A nice
"wall" snorkel with lots of fish and interesting
coral, but I think we were really spoiled by the Indian Ocean
and Red Sea diving and its hard to get excited by anything
other than spectacular. Still, it was great to get out
and get some exercise.
then zipped back into the lagoon and stopped at the
southern-most cay for a bit of snorkeling around its reef and
a walk on the beach. Again, a nice diversion, but
nothing to write home about.
we got back to the boat, I put on the dive gear and spent an
hour or so removing the barnacles and other sea creatures that
had taken up residence on Redwing's hull when we were buried
in the mud at The Bistro. We had two coats of hard
anti-fouling put on in October, but it seems like thingies are
already growing on the bottom pretty quickly. The US /
Western European anti-fouling paint just does not have the
bite of the Asian / Turkish stuff. I guess that is the
downside of "environmentally friendly" anti-fouling
paint - it creates a friendly environment for marine growth on
January, Admiralty Bay, Bequia
- We took our time in the morning and pulled up the
main and then the anchor at 1100. The Cays' anchorage
was already emptying of boats at a rapid rate by the time we
left - charters rushing to get back to base I suppose.
Must be that time of the week.
soon as we cleared Baline rocks, we pulled out about 1/2 of
the genoa and roared off at 7 knots towards Bequia on a close
reach. Good sail except for one major squall which
brought rain (good - washes off boat) and wind (30 knots - not
good, have to furl in flapping genoa which is tough).
arrived at 1600 and this time anchored in just three meters of
water a bit closer in. The wind is still howling every
night (about 5 knots higher wind speeds than in the day, so
that means 20-30 knots) and we hope it will be a bit quieter
Free Spirit, a Canadian boat we last spent time with in Italy,
anchoring soon after we did. We'll have to catch up with
them tomorrow. Called Navara on the VHF and Rob
confirmed that they were in Admiralty Bay. Lady Kathryn
and obvious Sifar (Jeff is bringing our papers) are coming in
tomorrow so looks like a social day coming.
were happily tired after the sun and the sail and went to bed
to "read" at around 2000, but only lasted to 2030
before lights out. What old farts.
January, Admiralty Bay, Bequia
- As expected, this was a day of socializing. Went over to visit Doug and Annette on Free Spirit after our
coffee. Great to see them! They are great friends
of Kel and Lorraine on La Scala and we last saw them in
Rojellica Ionica on the west coast of Italy, even though we
saw their boat in the marina in Barcelona last summer.
They left Las Palmas to cross the Atlantic a few days after
Navara and hope to traverse the Panama canal in April and
complete their circumnavigation to Vancouver by June.
in to visit with Rocky on Mololo, spent the afternoon playing
on the beach with Navara, and then had a nice drink on Lady
Kathryn with Mayer and Kathryn. We have not really had a
chance to talk to them too much one on one and it was really
made it in with Sifar around sundown so we tooled over and had
a visit and grabbed the papers.
to the boat, dingy on deck, and ready to go "ear-lye in
the morning" (to the tune of hey ho and up she rises).
February, Bequia to St. Lucia
- We hope this will be our longest and toughest" "passage" for a while. We
set out at dawn with a 2X reefed main motor sailing out into the
Bequia channel. It was a pretty wet ride through there,
but as we finally tucked into the lee of St. Vincent, the sea
died down for a while. The day was filled with multivariate
conditions varying from howling winds and seas
funneling through the channels in between Bequia and St.
Vincent and St. Vincent and St. Lucia, and windless calms in
the lee of St. Vincent. We hit about 5 squalls in the 12
hour sail, three of them fairly strong with winds gusting to
The sail was tiring, hard on the wind all the way, but we
really can't complain. This time we were really prepared for
it; everything battened down, the dingy lashed aboard, lunch
pre-made. I even had my foul weather jacket all set in
the cockpit to avoid having to dig for it below in a big
sea. And you can never really complain about a sail when
you got a night's sleep ahead of it, and will get one when its
over. We were fortunate to see a lot of sea life during
the trip. We ran by a pod of pilot whales at the top of
St. Vincent, then in the middle of the channel, spotted a
small sperm whale 100 meters off our bow. Aaron ran down
to get the camera. The wind was gusting up and I was on
the windward rail, barely able to keep my balance with the
heel while I kept an eye on the whale. To my horror, it looked
like we were just about to slam into him, he wasn't moving out
of the way as Redwings steamed ahead. As
Aaron made it back to the cockpit I yelled to him "go
port, head down," and he passed a few feet to windward from
the time we got into the lee of St. Lucia around 3 pm, the
seas were down a bit, but still large and prevented good
headway. The angle was too tight to fetch Pigeon Island, so we motor
sailed into the wind. A slow slog. We barely made 5
knots at 1400 rpm. We were really pushing it to
make it into Rodney Bay before dark. We just barely made
it with a smidgeon of light to get the mainsail down, and were
anchoring in the dark.
February, Fuel Dock, Rodney
Bay, St. Lucia
- We decided to make a run for
Martinique. The plan was, quickly go into the fuel
dock, load up with diesel, then grab the sail we left at
Doyle's Sail Loft for repair and head right out. We were
hoping our turn around time would be about an hour and we
would be underway in the Martinique Channel by 11:00am.
I raised the anchor we were pretty shocked to see a huge head
of coral stuck in it, almost two feet in circumference. I couldn't
wedge it out. Aaron had to go below to get a hammer and
eventually split it after some serious whacking.
got into the fuel dock at 9:00am. The boy who ran the
pumps, Nigel, told us that to get the duty free fuel price (a
difference of 25% on almost a 200$ bill), we actually needed
to go over to customs/immigration and check in/check out. We
needed the check out clearance to get the duty free
price. He very kindly let us tie to the dock, on the
promise that we would be back as quickly as possible. It
took us 5 minutes to walk over to the marina where the sail
loft and customs are located.
course the pot smokers who run the sail loft had still not
finished our sail. Many excuses later, and over a month
and a half after we first left it with them, they hadn't even
touched it. Of course they said it could be done
tomorrow if we wanted to wait, we declined. Aaron went
to check out and I went to the taxi stand to see how much it
would cost to taxi the heavy sail just over to the fuel dock
(5 minutes walk). The taxi drivers refused to do it for
anything less than EC$15, which really irked me. I went
to the bakery to get some sandwiches to have underway.
While I waited for them to them to prepare them I thought I
would pop into the shop next door and see if they had any of
the cruising guides for the Virgin Islands that we needed.
very very pregnant woman was making her way ahead of me to the
shop, she arrived at the door first to see that it still
hadn't opened. When I arrived at the door, she asked
what time it was. After I answered, she said,
"Don't I know you? Did you go to BC?" Indeed
we knew each other. It was Melinda Wells, we were on the
same dormitory floor freshman year. She is living in St.
Lucia, involved in development work. As we caught up,
she offered to give us a ride back to fuel dock, which worked
came below on Redwings and we chatted while Aaron filled the
fuel tanks. About 15 minutes later, She stopped our
conversation mid-sentence to say, "Oh my gosh, there is
water gushing out from the woodwork behind you." I
looked behind. To my horror I replied, "That's not
water, that's diesel!!!" She made a very quick departure
as she could see all hell breaking loose on Redwings. The pressure pump on the fuel was so
strong, that it blew our filling pipe connection (hose clamp
let go), right above
our clothes closets. Aaron had pumped 20 gallons of
diesel into our closets before Melinda noticed it coming out
through the floor boards.
disaster was pretty tremendous. Half the boat interior was
covered in diesel. We lost 95% of what was in
Aaron's closet and the bottom of my closet, including a
computer printer and computer parts. As we moved stuff
out of the boat, the diesel slick moved into the cockpit, and
along the main cabin floor. The only big save was most
of the canned food stored under there, which I washed on the
had to hire a man with a pump for EC$100 to pump out all the
diesel in the bilge. Aaron and I spent the whole day covered
in diesel. On the good side of the episode, the people
in the boat yard were great. Nigel the pump attendant
was patient and kind, and interesting to talk to while I
labored away scrubbing. He took the printer and computer
parts home to see if he could revive them. It was great
to spend time with a nice St. Lucian, who is not out to make a
buck when he sees a foreigner.
gentleman with his boat on the hard (boat name: Mother of
Pearl) came over to express his condolences. He said a
similar thing happened to him in Sweden and the clean up cost
him US$1,000. He gave us a gallon container of cleaning
fluid, which was a lifesaver because we barely had any left (I
was planning to stock up in Martinique) and a lot was
needed. When we left we gave him some of our nice food
from Spain that he saw drying on the dock, like artichoke
hearts. He seemed pretty psyched as the likes are hard
to find and prohibitively expensive in the West Indies.
3:30 we were still scrubbing away, unfortunately taking up one
of the two slips for refueling on the dock. Nigel hinted
that we really need to move on as he closed in a half hour and
there were many boats standing off waiting for fuel before the
weekend (its Friday afternoon). I rushed up to pay the
bill before take off, and was surprised to hear their credit
card machine was not working. The bill in total was
EC$600 including the pump out and all the diesel we bought
that we just pumped right into the closet (as a break Nigel
didn't charge us for the water we used in the clean up!)
cashier was really stroppy, and already having a rather ugly
fight with the customer in front of me about him needing to
get cash. She sent me off on a long journey to an ATM,
up a hot dusty road. I was ready to drop at this
point. Naturally the ATM was out of order, and Aaron had
already left the fuel dock and was circling the harbor with
Redwings waiting for me. Poor Nigel was in a panic as
the cashier was yelling at him not to let anyone else take
fuel without cash, all these boats were standing off waiting
to take fuel, and they were about to close.
had to yell to Aaron to check how much money was in his
wallet. Luckily between the two of us we had just
enough. But how to get it to me on the dock. I had
to stand in the dingy of a boat on the dock and reach up
for his wallet as he drove by. I paid, then how to get
back on Redwings? Luckily the kind boat owner of the
dingy I stood in offered to dingy me out to Redwings as she
came by again.
a day! We arrived at the opening of the fuel dock in the
morning, and left at the closing in the afternoon. Back
out to anchor for the night off Pigeon Island and try again
tomorrow to set out for Martinique. I nearly dropped
from exhaustion and the sickening smell of diesel that was
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