Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
Having been in St Lucia for so many weeks, we were all to ready to make a move. So after a 03.00 start (only sailors would do this), we headed South to Bequia (pronounced Bekway). After a wind-free hour, it turned into a cracking sail averaging 8-9 knots most of the way. It took us past St Vincent, an attractive island that unfortunately has a poor reputation amongst sailors here.
Approaching the small island of Bequia, there is not much sign of habitation, but the harbour entrance gradually reveals itself. For the first time since arriving in these islands, we are anchoring in the ‘capital’ and yet apart from the ferries, it really does not look like one. However for a landmass of only 7 square miles, what should we expect? (Actually the country is St Vincent and the Grenadines, of which this island is just one part).
Untypically, as soon as we ready the anchor, it starts to rain. Already committed, it is like standing in a power-shower at full blast, but in T-shirt and shorts. Annemarie gets the worst of it up at the bow. The powerful showers continue, but we managed to dodge them as we dinghy in and back for the clearance formalities.
That night, the wind gusts mightily, and sleep is a bit evasive. Upon waking, we enjoy the new scenery, not least because in the night we have moved! Fortunately without hitting anything, and before we headed for Panama, the anchor grabbed hold again! This is a rare occurrence, and as usual we had snorkelled out to check we were secure, but we were just in a patch of poor holding. Re-anchoring again, paranoia sets in the following night, and we use the handheld GPS to periodically check our position.
Port Elisabeth is the ‘capital’ of the island. A large village really given the island’s total population of under 5,000. It meanders along the bay’s shoreline, with many restaurants to ensure the visitor does not starve. The disproportionate number of marine businesses makes it clear where revenue is to be generated from. Our favourite watering hole is Maria’s Cafe, a covered first floor veranda overlooking the bay, offering good food and excellent wifi.
The church is virtually on the beach, and attending the service with a side view across the sand and with birds flying in and out through the open windows and doors is such a contrast with our home village. The people are so welcoming that it is a joy to be with them.
Shortly after we stopped to do emails, there was the sound of music and singing. A group of people were gathered under the trees next to the beach, all dressed in their finery. It was a glorious riot of colour and sound, the rhythmic hand drumming causing a united ripple of movement. Unable to make out what they were singing, we asked and we told it was the local Baptist Church!
Mention has to be made of Caribbean gardening. Typically well planted with Japanese and Korean varieties, they propagate well and only gradually die back. The most densely populated gardens are to be found in Dominica, St Lucia, and maybe Bequia, the least in the French islands where they must be gathered in compost heaps and recycled!
The other smile we had here was the marina. Proudly mentioned in the pilot books, we were expecting rather more than the single tiny jetty, (not that we were intending to berth there!). It must be a contender for the worlds smallest designated marina!