|Posted by yachtmoonlight on January 18, 2010 at 10:22 AM|
On Thursday 31st December, we picked up the mooring buoy as agreed with the owner and felt much more relaxed knowing we were secure and wouldn’t have to move the boat again.
John and Becky went ashore in the morning to find somewhere for dinner in the evening and came back with a huge peanut butter cookie for me which was rather wonderful.
The chose a restaurant called The Whaleboner, which was advertising a good menu and live music and booked a table for dinner.
Although we were in the same location we had anchored in when we arrived in Bequia, the water had become quite cloudy and full of plankton so we couldn’t see much when we went snorkelling around the boat in the afternoon, but I did spot a small stingray swimming under the boat. We didn’t see any of the small jellyfish which we had spotted when we anchored here before, but Becky was stung on the arm by something and a large red rash appeared on her arm soon after we got out of the water.
As the afternoon wore on, the sky clouded over and by the time we wanted to head ashore for dinner there were intermittent rain showers, which distressed John greatly as he hates rain.
We tried several times to leave the boat and got as far as the dinghy twice when a few drops fell on John and we were ordered back onto the boat (which had to be unlocked to get inside) just for it to stop raining just as we got down below. After several rounds of in the cockpit, boat locked, boat unlocked, down below, in the cockpit, boat locked, in the dinghy, back on the boat, boat unlocked, back down below, back in the cockpit, boat locked, boat unlocked, back down below, we realised we could be stuck there all night and we persuaded John to make a dash for it.
There is a four hour time difference between England and The Caribbean and we reached the nearest bar just before 8pm, so we were able to drink to English New Year before heading through the town towards The Whaleboner for dinner.
(Drinking to the New Year at 8pm Caribbean time - Midnight UK time)
The town was very busy and some locals had put some big speakers in the town which blasted out reggae versions of cheesy Christmas songs. Stalls at the side of the road sold drinks and local food and there was a great atmosphere.
We walked through to the other end of the town past hundreds of people and bustling cafes and restaurants playing music or with live bands and arrived at The Whaleboner to be greeted with rather weary smiles from the only other occupied table, no sign of the advertised live band and tumbleweed blowing across the empty restaurant. We did a quick about-turn and dashed round to Frangiapani next door to work out our next move.
Frangiapani had a ‘New Year Barbeque’ on offer, which looked suspiciously like their normal Thursday night barbeque which we had enjoyed when we were here before, but was rather unimaginative for New Year. Becky and I were happy to find somewhere else to eat, but John felt it would be unfair not to go The Whaleboner seeing as we had booked a table and they would be expecting us and so after a drink at Frangiapani, we headed back to The Whaleboner next door, hoping that we were just a bit early and it would soon liven up.
Fill up (a little) it did. Liven up it didn’t. So after a rather mediocre meal and still no sign of the advertised live band, we headed back to Frangiapani for another drink and to enjoy their live steel band.
We headed back to the boat just before midnight so we could get a good view of the New Year fireworks, which were surprisingly good and to let off the giant party poppers we had bought in Madeira.
John and Becky let their party poppers off over the side of the boat, and all we saw was something fly through the dark into the sea, so I decided to let mine off down the companionway into the boat and a huge amount of coloured foil streamers flew magnificently into every nook and cranny. We’re still finding them now (and John found one in the fridge two weeks later).
The next morning, our hopes of a lie-in were dashed when someone on the shore near where we were anchored started blaring out music at 7.30am. We all blundered about in a sleepy daze for most of the day and each had a snooze after lunch.
A swim in the afternoon helped to wake us up and we spent a quiet and relaxing day catching up on internetty stuff and making phone calls on Skype.
After dinner, I taught John and Becky how to play Rummikub and spent the rest of the evening losing abysmally to them.
It rained all that night and we didn’t sleep well as we had to keep all the hatches and windows shut, making the boat very hot, and so on Saturday morning when we headed into town to do some grocery shopping, John and Becky had a coffee fix in a café by the shore. We enjoyed the view out into the bay and meandered around the town until lunchtime when we enjoyed our final Bequia conch roti before heading on to St Lucia.
We took the dinghy across the bay in the afternoon to snorkel by some rocks, but the water was very cloudy so we headed back to the boat and swam over to the nearby mooring barrels to see if anything interesting was in residence there and found two moray eels and three small lobsters.
Determined to get some sleep, we all had an early night as we were planning to be up early in the morning to sail to St Lucia.
The next morning, we got up at 4am and left for St Lucia just before 5am. Due to some security concerns, we decided not to stop at St Vincent and sailed past Wallilabou Bay where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed and on up to St Lucia. It was a long day, but not too rough and other than a rain squall in between St Vincent and St Lucia, it was a good sail, with dolphins joining us for a short time behind the islands.
(Sailing past The Pitons, St Lucia)
We sailed into Marigot Bay at about 3pm and were excited to arrive in the country well known for it’s friendliness to be greeted by shouting and screaming coming from a ferry at the town quay and soon realised that a fight haad broken out on the ferry and there were as many people jumping off the ferry into the shallow water to escape as there were people climbing on board to join in.
We headed back out into the bay and picked up a mooring buoy well away from the excitement and opposite the small beautiful beach where Doctor Doolittle was filmed.
(The beach at Marigot Bay)
A waterside bar beckoned and we went ashore in the evening for dinner. We picked a very nice table in the open restaurant next to the waters edge and enjoyed watching the world go by as we supped our rum punches.
A nearby table was occupied a short time later by an American couple and for the entire time they were in the restaurant, including throughout their meal, the lady called a long succession of friends on her mobile phone to tell them all the same story about her house in America being broken into while they were on holiday in St Lucia. I wasn’t sure whether she was shouting because she thought she had to as she was calling from a long way away or just because she suffered from the common American affliction of having her voice volume control stuck in the ‘Annoyingly Loud’ position, but I wanted to punch her in the head either way. Why she was burgled in the first place still baffles me as I have no idea why anyone would want to steal neon boob-tubes (with diamante detail) and four tonnes of make-up (possibly Polyfilla) with accompanying application trowels.
As Becky’s boyfriend Jono was due to fly out the following day, I decided to spend Monday cleaning, tidying and re-organising the boat.
John and Becky went ashore and checked us in with Immigration (as they had been closed when we arrived the previous day) and took a walk up to a viewing point and small village at the top of the hill. They had a nice walk and Becky was quite a hit with the local young men who all wanted to kiss her!
In the afternoon, we explored the marina area and to our immense excitement we found some free showers, the first showers (apart from the grim bug-infested ones on Union Island) since leaving Europe!
After spending a VERY long time in the showers, we had dinner and a quiet night on the boat.
On Tuesday morning, we went ashore via Doolittles restaurant across the bay to have a look at their menu so we could decide where to eat that evening. The restaurant looked great but their dinghy dock wasn’t very good, with the swell in the bay making the dinghies bang against the pontoons. A very nice waiter came over to talk to us, told us the specials that would be on offer that evening and said if we didn’t want to bring the dinghy over, we could call them on the VHF radio and they would send their ferry to pick us up from our boat.
We carried on ashore and found a nice café in the marina where we enjoyed pastries and ice-cream and watched some finches stealing the packets of sugar left by finished coffee cups on nearby tables. The finches have obviously become addicted to the sugar and in a couple of years they will all be the size of cats, too fat to fly and their beaks will have fallen off.
There were a few nice shops in the marina and John bought a pair of shorts in one of them, much to mine and Becky’s relief as all his shorts keep falling down (due to him losing rather a lot of weight since we set off) and there are only so many times a day we could cope with seeing his pants.
I liked the sound of the viewing area that John and Becky visited the day before, so we headed up the hill to take some photos and enjoy the fabulous view of the bay.
(The view down to Marigot Bay)
There was a café next to the viewing area which had more signs telling people what not to do than I have ever seen, including (amongst other things) No Smoking, No Littering, No Loitering and No Barebacking (no I have no idea either and yes, it does sound a bit kinky).
Jono was due to arrive in the afternoon, so we headed back to the boat and when his taxi arrived from the airport, John and Becky when ashore to pick him up in the dinghy.
Jono got in my good books very quickly by giving us some ginger biscuits, the latest Harry Potter film on DVD, some Playmobil pirates (although I was a bit distressed when they were labelled ‘John and Ann’ as they both had beards) and DVDs with the Dr Who episodes broadcast over Christmas and New Year which he had recorded for me.
Having decided to eat in Doolittles that evening, we called them up on the VHF as instructed, but after trying for half an hour we had no response from them so we tried calling them by mobile phone (at great expense) and they agreed to arrange to pick us up on the VHF. After getting no response again, we finally gave up and went back to the bar we had enjoyed the night before for a pizza.
The next day we had a very pleasant short sail up to Rodney Bay and anchored outside the lagoon, next to Pidgeon Island and had a very quiet and relaxing day swimming around the boat and watching an old wooden ship anchor nearby which was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean film.
(Rodney Bay anchorage)
On Thursday we moved into the marina and found a space near Ron’s boat. It was a bit awkward to tie up as it had a very short pontoon and a post in the water that we needed to tie the stern to, but Ron spotted us coming in and helped us tie up. We hadn’t seen Ron since we were in Madeira and it was great to see him again.
As soon as we had tied up, a local chap came over and asked if we needed someone to clean the hull of the boat for us. We hadn’t cleaned the hull since the Atlantic crossing and it was caked with salt that had dried on. We declined his offer and decided that we really should try to clean it ourselves as it was looking a little on the scruffy side.
Unfortunately, a marina worker told us we couldn’t stay where we were as the berth belonged to a charter company and we were allocated a berth elsewhere in the marina, which was a lot further away from the shore, but was a much bigger berth, so we were happy with this.
We popped ashore and stocked up at the small grocery in the marina and booked a hire car for a few days the following week so we could explore the island.
In the evening, we caught up with Ron over a drink in one of the marina bars and stayed for a very nice meal.
On Friday morning, Becky and Jono fetched croissants for breakfast from the bakery in the marina and then headed out to spend the day on the beach.
My mum’s friend Annette, who lives on St Lucia, came over to see us in the morning and we exchanged gifts of marmite (brought just for Annette all the way from England) and mangoes (brought just for us all the way from Annette’s garden!).
(Exchanging gifts of Marmite and mangoes!)
We had a lovely day together on the boat and planned out a couple of days exploring the island with Annette when we have the hire car.
Jono and Becky arrived back in the afternoon having caught the bus back. I asked how much the bus fare had been and they said it was $3.42, so they gave the driver $3.50. This seemed rather an odd price and Annette explained it was usually $1.50 for a short trip. It then dawned on me and I asked if the driver had just said ‘Three four two’ and they said yes. So that will be THREE (dollars) FOR TWO (people) then!
Later in the afternoon, I had a quick attempt at cleaning the salt off the side of the boat with hot soapy water, with no success whatsoever, while John tried to change the oil in engine with no success whatsoever (other than transferring a small amount from the engine to himself and the floor of the boat) and we both decided to give up for the day and try again tomorrow.
In the evening, we walked to Gros Islet with Ron for the weekly Friday night Jump Up.
(With Ron at the Gros Islet jump up)
The streets were lined with stalls selling drinks and local food, while huge stacks of speakers blasted reggae music, along with the occasion cheesy songs such as Mambo No. 5 and tunes from Grease thrown randomly into the mix and a local chap had set up a homemade drum kit on the main stretch and was playing along to the loud music.
(The homemade drumkit!)
We met up with Ray and Ali, who are friends of Charles and Penny (who we spent a lot of time with in Spain and Portugal), which was great as we never quite managed to meet up in Europe and kept missing each other.
It was a great night, John sampled the local food (and I pinched a bit to feed to a stray dog which had befriended me) and we drink bottles of beer which were cheaper than in the supermarkets.
(Theh Gros Islet jump up)
We danced in the crowds of people and carried on dancing during a very refreshing rain shower, except John of course, who ran away to find some shelter (along with all the other sensible people – John) and didn’t come back until it stopped.
(Becky boogying at the jump up!)
We walked back to the marina wet (except for John!) worn out and having had a fantastic time.
After a late start the following day (we’re FAR too old for all this late night partying), we got the washing done in the morning and then decided to have another go at cleaning the hull and changing the engine oil.
I scoured internet forum sites for hull cleaning advice, while John scoured the hardware stores for a new oil extraction pump-thing (as obviously the previous day’s disaster had been the pump’s fault).
The general consensus on the internet forums was to use white vinegar to clean the salt off, so I bought some from the supermarket and found that it worked remarkably well.
By the end of the day, John had changed the engine oil (with only one minor expletive-inducing spillage incident) and I had cleaned the salt off the boat, although it had left the hull looking rather dull.
In the evening, we had drinks on the boat with some friends and then went for something to eat in one of the marina cafes with Ray and Ali.
One of the downsides to being in the marina rather than at anchor is the mosquitoes, which drove us all mad in the night, so we all woke rather late in the morning after not much sleep.
John had bought a fly killer in the hardware store the previous day, which resembles a tennis racket and zaps any flying creature it comes into contact with (and the different parts of John’s body he kept poking in it to test whether it was working) and he kept waving the bloody thing around all night, making me flinch every time it flew past, centimetres away from my head. This was marginally more annoying than the mosquitoes and both John and his fly-killer nearly ended up in the drink.
Becky and Jono went for a walk to the nature reserve at Pigeon Island and John and I spent the day polishing the hull of the boat to get it back to its shiny best. The side of the boat next to the pontoon was easy, but we had to use the dinghy to clean the other side. We both got in the dinghy and John decided the easiest way to do it would be for him to hold on to the boat while I did the polishing…..! This worked quite well (as John is rubbish at polishing anyway) until he sneezed and let go of the boat and we suddenly found ourselves drifting away from the boat and across the marina. Thankfully, the oars were in the boat, and I decided the easiest way to get back would be for John to row, while I watched him.
After a shower in the marina facilities, which I shared with a friendly lizard, we had a quiet night on the boat and thanks to some mosquito netting and several gallons of insect repellent, we finally enjoyed a good night’s sleep.