Boat jobs done – despite the rain!

Friday morning we go into customs and immigration to extend our original visas, which expire on 1 June. These covers all the islands in the St Vincent and the Grenadines chain as we continue to move south so will relieve us (thankfully!) of having to do any more paperwork until we leave for Grenadian waters towards the middle of June. Unexpectedly the answer is “no, can’t do it…you are too early”. I explain that we are planning to leave Bequia before the original one expires so she says – fine, organise the extension at the next island! I explain (through gritted teeth) that we do not want to surrender our passports at a future island as we don’t know whether we want to stay for three days in any of them yet! But we do know we will be staying here in Bequia to get our work finished……which is why I’m trying to organise it now. Finally, she decides that she can do it next week so we have to take them back on Tuesday. Oh well – best we could hope for I guess!

Back on board after a frustrating morning and Winfield is now doing the final coat of varnish….. Sitting in the cockpit feeling really good that all is finished – and we are celebrating with Winfield when, of course, the heavens open. Can’t quite believe it….but we are hopeful that the varnish was dry enough not to be ruined…will have to wait until Saturday to find out. So we had all flexible body parts crossed for good news!

Friday night we headed off to Fish Friday at the Fig Tree again with live music – and Chris had some others to jam with him this week – and all the staff were in party mood. Great night had by all.

Saturday morning and Alex came by to make the template for the canvas work and Winfield came to inspect the varnish. Phew – got away with it – a few bits and bobs to touch up but finally we’re survived the soggy weather! He is going to come back on Monday to start taking the masking tape off once the varnish has hardened and to reinstall all the stainless so we have a quiet day on board with just the two of us. And of course the wind howled and the heavens opened again after another beautiful sunset and the appearance of a supermoon. Early night and went to sleep listening to the sound of the rain pounding on the coachroof above us…

Sunday morning it was still raining cats and dogs and we had a white out in the anchorage for a while…. We did a few boat jobs and, finally, in the afternoon the sun came out and we quickly went ashore to spend the rest of the day chilling and bobbing at Princess Margaret beach. We had another quiet night on board whilst enjoying a particularly spectacular sunset.

Monday morning Alex came by to deliver the cover for our newly varnished cockpit table and to check out the new panels he has made … all from the old material and zips we had salvaged from our original bimini. He had to take away our dodger and the infill piece to get the connections done and we watched the grey skies anxiously thinking we are doomed to stay below in the heat if the rain comes again as we have no protection. Luckily it stayed dry – albeit overcast – and they brought it all back at 6.30 pm as they didn’t want us without it overnight. Really great service….. Winfield came back in the afternoon to start removing the tape which went well. We pointed out some things we wanted him to look at that had got affected by the rain….and he is going to do a bit of touching up later. As we had spent the whole day on board we were keen to get off the boat and catch up with the internet – so went ashore for a simple local dinner at the Fig Tree. Overnight it poured again….. Please give us a break – this is getting us down now… It is so humid and I’m fed up with being so hot (not to mention sweaty!) all the time……and with all the hatches closed the cabin fans really aren’t enough…. Whinge over!

Tuesday morning still soggy after a rainy night but at least it was clearing up a bit – and Alex was back to install the final touches to the additional canvas as well as delivering our brand new binnacle cover… Nice work! We went ashore for some shopping as we need to have provisions on board to sustain us until we get to Grenada….and dropped the forms and passports off and told to return on Wednesday… What? Thought it took three days… Oh well, not going to complain if they can turn it around in 24 hours! On the way out we noticed that the beautiful tree outside the customs office – is it a walnut or an almond tree?? – has blossomed and looks stunning. Let’s hope it is a good omen!

Winfield came by in the afternoon and did some final touching up and re-installed all the stainless…. He is such a perfectionist though he is going to come back tomorrow just to redo the top of the companionway as he isn’t happy with it!   Absolutely stunning transformation.

In the evening we had been invited by Chris and Linda to have a pizza supper with them. We were joined by another cruising couple that we met on the dinghy dock and a nice time was had by all. You can tell we are turning into cruisers – Richard asked for a takeout of the leftovers – not something he would ever have done before!!! But it was great pizza…. The rain fell heavily again while we were out so back on board for an early night with a very wet bum from the dinghy ride home….

This morning (Wednesday) it is very very windy and overcast again….with rain coming and going. We went back into the customs house to get a progress report and, wow, job done and visas extended to 1 July – all for EC $120 (about £30)…. Hurrah!!! We are now free to leave when we are ready – which could be as early as tomorrow, weather permitting. Winfield is back on board now doing his absolute final bits and pieces while we are reorganising all the ropes and generally getting the boat ready for sea.

We will be sad to leave Bequia – it has been an amazing experience – from the beauty of the island; it’s interesting whaling history; it’s friendly and welcoming people; and absolutely fantastic workmanship. But we are also more than ready to get back out there…..

Bye for now.


Oh what a night…

Monday it rained pretty hard most of the morning….and Winfield decided to just prep the boat as it was clear there wasn’t going to be a long enough dry period for him to varnish. So we went ashore for a while – amazed by the Bank Holiday crowds in town on a day trip from St Vincent – and then went back onboard for a lazy afternoon. John and Georgina joined us for sundowners and we had a really nice evening with them. They have headed off south now, so we hope to catch up with them again later in our travels.

We awoke to a cloudy day Tuesday but it was dry – hurrah! Winfield turned up early and got on with it straight away….. That’s the fifth coat of varnish done… It is starting to look really good. We had a quiet night on board and enjoyed another beautiful sunset.

Wednesday we are excited about the last coat of varnish being done….almost finished…. Winfield turned up at 7.15 am as he is eager to get this job over with too. Good job he’s not on a daily rate with all the weather delays and also that we are not in a great hurry to be on the move again. Well…he had virtually finished the whole boat…and the heavens opened. Not just a few spots but a tropical downpour. Winfield retreated into the cockpit with his head in his hands – not again – all ruined! He’s going to have to do most of it again….only the companionway and the bowsprit are potentially salvageable…… We cheer him up with a cold beer and he goes on his way. Have to say I would have been in a really bad mood at this point – but he’s really philosophical and chilled about it all and says that this happens sometimes…. Having a quiet night in the cockpit and the wind starts howling and the rain comes back with a vengeance. Oh ho….this is some storm….with lightening flashing around too, although thankfully at some distance. The wind builds and the noise is deafening and we have 35 knots blowing through with horizontal rain to accompany it. We stay up for a while until the worst is over and then retire to bed thankful that the anchor has held steady.

Thursday morning and we are shocked to see damage on shore – there is a large tree down at Jacks which has taken out his cabana and blocked the dinghy jetty. The Fig Tree restaurant has lost one huge branch of their ancient old fig tree and has demolished some tables and the guard rail leading to the boardwalk…. Thought we would have heard trees coming down – particularly the one at Jack’s place as we are not anchored that far away – but the noise of the wind and the rain drowned everything out. Winfield came by and, again, decided not to risk the varnish so just did all the preparation ready for Friday with fingers crossed for a dry day.

During the storm when we were in the cockpit we realised that we really need some additional canvas to protect us as we struggled to keep dry…… So when we went ashore we arranged for a canvas maker to come on board to give us a quote for the work later in the day. In the evening we had Chris and Linda over for a home-made curry night, including popadums… Had a really nice evening just chilling and chatting – although we did have to snuggle together a bit when the rain came down!  Definitely need that extra canvas…. 

As we were washing up after our guests had left suddenly we were both absolutely shocked by the deafening noise that appeared to be coming from somewhere in the saloon…..    Couldn’t find it immediately and then suddenly we spotted that it was the high water bilge alarm – we hadn’t heard this one before and wow you won’t miss that one!    So we looked in the bilge and yes there was a lot of water in there….so I went on pumping duty while Richard checked all the pipes etc…    Eventually we checked in the lazarette to find that the external shower hose on the transom was leaking into the bilges – Winfield had used this to clean off before he left us today and had forgotten to turn it off!!!   Phew….we’re not sinking then……panic over!    But frustrating to realise that we had lost at least a quarter of a tank of fresh water – so will have to run the watermaker a lot in the coming days to replenish our stocks…… 

This morning we have woken up to bright blue skies and Winfield is here in a positive mood – so fingers crossed that we get it done today…. It won’t be the end of the job as he will still need to come back and reinstall the stainless and clean up the hull etc….but at least that isn’t weather dependent. We are also going to go into the customs house to get our stay extended which will, no doubt, require copious amounts of form filling. We only found out last night that they keep passports for three days during this process so we won’t be out of here until potentially the middle of next week now….  And we are both really keen to get going again now….Mustique is calling.   Will keep you posted.

Bye for now


Still chilling in Bequia….

Thursday we came back on board to see that Winfield had done a great job – third coat of varnish applied now….. Looking amazingly shiny, I can’t imagine what it will look like when done. Thursday night had a really nice evening onboard Shamal with John and Georgina – great hosts, and another beautiful sunset.


Friday morning up early as usual and Winfield arrives on the dot of 8am. We have realised that our insistence on him not taking away our companionway boards as we need to lock the boat up at night, is giving him a bit of trouble as he can’t hang them up to dry so he rests them on cans each day and ends up with rings… So we decided to get some temporary boards made up so that he can take the original ones to his workshop. Richard measured them up, drew diagrams, and then we headed out to the wood yard. Yep – no worries – will be available later. Went back to collect them and realised that something had been lost in translation as they have made us 6 not 3, one of each! Oh well….never mind….at least the ones we brought back with us did actually fit!

Friday night is fish night at the Fig Tree restaurant;  Pnut the travelling chef is doing the BBQ;  and we have booked a table with John and Georgina. Chris is doing his acoustic guitar set too – supported by Linda. There was dancing, singing, and general fun…. with Cheryl (the owner) strutting her stuff; Pnut entertaining us with his Bob Marley rendition; and Mr Prince (didn’t catch his first name) wowing us with his great voice. Really good evening had by all – and we had a late night!

Saturday Winfield is back again bright and early as usual. He rubs down, varnishes the companionway first as always and heads off to start the bowsprit. Just finishes it and the heavens open…. He just sits with his head in his hands in the cockpit – totally despondent. Apparently rain on wet varnish causes holes and ruins the finish, so he will have to do this bit again…. And although it is only 11 am he actually takes the offer of a beer very gratefully! So we sat around chatting for a while – he is an interesting guy – and the rain cleared up. Hurrah…so he was able to finish the rest of Morphie. Not going to take any more photos of the varnish now as they are starting to look the same….will wait to wow you with the finished product! In the afternoon I went off on my own to the Fig Tree to take part in the reading club. Cheryl – as well as the Fig Tree also runs a bookshop in town – and is passionate about getting the local kids to read. On the cruisers VHF net each morning she has been appealing for cruisers to come by and join in…. Well I got the nine year olds – and had a crowd of eight – and we read a book called ‘Preparing for a hurricane’. During the reading they were a good bunch – when it was over they turned into monsters! Pinching, kicking and general unruliness…. Why did I have to get this lot!?! It took all my energy to keep them under control when each group was doing its summary of the books they had read and particularly when Mr Prince (who it turns out is a bit of a local celebrity) did his animated reading of a poem called The Banana Man. Shame the poem had to diss white tourists as pale and stuck up though….. Oh well – done my bit. Later on, we went onboard Troubadour for sundowners and an evening of Mexican train dominos. We finished in third and fourth place….was holding my own at second for a while but this game is mean!

Sunday is Winfield’s only day of rest so we decided to have a beach day – we feel the need to get off the boat for a while as during this work we have been getting a bit stir crazy…. So we really enjoyed lazing around in the sun, bobbing and chilling with our favourite brew and watching the local kids playing in the surf. And of course admiring Morphie in the anchorage alongside her large catamaran neighbour…. Chris and Linda swam ashore for a few bobbing beers too…. The funniest thing we saw was the lady from the Whalebone bar – she had two boys with her and they had a kayak. The kids upended the kayak and cleaned the growth off the bottom using sand and had a good time generally playing with it. Then it was time for them to go home – and the mum paddled off round the headland and left the kids to walk over the rocks to get back to town!

Back on board for a quiet dinner and an early night. During the night the heavens opened and it is still raining this morning, Monday.   A tropical wave has been coming off the coast of Africa – so this is probably the start of it?  Potentially I think rain might stop play today….although Winfield has arrived on time, even though it is a Bank Holiday here!  

Bye for now


Chilling in Bequia…

Sunday, luckily, was a non-working day for Winfield and his guys as it rained quite hard all morning, so we had a lazy time on board. Around lunchtime the weather improved so we took dink ashore to Princess Margaret beach and gave him a good old scrub…. We even took off his engine and cleaned his bottom… We also met some other English cruisers and a lone holidaymaker as they enjoyed wandering the beach. Looking much better, dink not us, and now branded with our UK registration number on both hulls – we went back aboard for a quiet night, quite shattered and enjoyed a spectacular sunset with an almost full moon….. And I mean a quiet night, as we haven’t had a drink all weekend and were tucked up in bed by 8pm!

Monday morning and Richard went off to collect Hanky from the dock at Ocar to bring him on board to rub down the recently sealed woodwork. Winfield wasn’t coming today as he had an appointment in St Vincent. Anyway, Hanky was there when he promised and came on board. We had got a bit bored sitting down below last week so we were going to come and go today – but always leaving one of us on board as we needed to leave the boat open for the companionway to be done.

So I take the dinghy ashore on my own and went shopping. As you can imagine on a small island such as this there is no one supermarket selling everything – so I ended up shopping in six places to get some basic provisions, including Darkies for my fruit and veg. Quite enjoyed myself and even did a bit of international rescue taking a local fisherman ashore from his boat on the way back! When I got back Richard went off to the chandleries to get a few more bits and pieces. Eventually Hanky was done and Richard ran him ashore while I prepared some snacks as we have Chris and Linda from Troubadour coming on board tonight for Sundowners. Well – the heavens opened again. This was torrential……and they radioed to let us know that they would be over when it passed. Well, it didn’t really, but they managed to get a small window to make the short dinghy trip across the anchorage. Nice quiet alcoholic evening had by all and we were late to bed….

Tuesday morning and up early for a swim before Winfield came by at 8.00 am. So we left him in charge and went ashore for breakfast at Gingerbread. Yummmmmmm….. Back on board at 11.00 and we went down below and just lazed around and read books for the rest of the day until he had finished. Well – this was first coat of varnish day – and the results were amazing….. Another beautiful sunset while we were having a quiet dinner on board.

Wednesday morning and the weather was a bit grey and threatened showers – and Winfield is worried about rain coming down after varnishing. Apparently he needs a two hour window post varnishing otherwise it gets damaged and he has to start again…. So he spends most of the day sanding again…. It seems counter-intuitive to varnish, make it beautiful, and then rub it all down again – but apparently this is essential to get a real good finish and to ensure that it adheres and doesn’t peel off. Learn something every day! So another quiet day on board although we were lucky enough to be able to get an internet signal so caught up on some online stuff. Another quiet night and we managed to stay up until just gone 8pm!

Oh yes, did I tell you, we have been in the wars as Richard has an ear infection, I’m on the third attempt to fix my diving mask, and I managed to catch my finger in the locker door giving me a huge blood blister… well as my back which keeps twinging…. So feeling a bit sorry for ourselves – but everything is put into perspective when we get bad news from home about a younger friend who has passed away suddenly. RIP Michelle – you will be sorely missed.

Thursday morning and we have gone ashore for breakfast again and have our fingers crossed for a second coat of varnish as the weather appears to have settled a bit. Winfield reckons we’ll need six coats – so this will be going on for a while yet – and we hope to leave Bequia towards Mustique our next destination some time next week….. Watch this space. Anyway, we are looking forward tonight to sundowners onboard Shamal with John and Georgina..

So nothing much to report – just chilling here in Bequia. Bye for now


Still enjoying Bequia

Wednesday morning up bright and early as we are going diving again. As we are getting ourselves ready the travelling baker came by so breakfast and lunch question resolved – fresh croissants and baguette to take with us on the boat. Really nice thing about sitting at anchor – never sure what the next boat boy is going to bring you!!!

The dive boat came and picked us up from Morphie and again it was only Ed (from New Jersey) diving with us today – along with Jessie and Miranda the divematers. First dive of the day was to the Boulders, a deeper dive at 30 metres with interesting topography with large boulders, vibrant soft corals, some gorgonian fans and loads of nooks and crevices for things to hide in, behind and under. I particularly like the multi-level aspects of this type of dive site. Again there were loads and loads of beautifully coloured little fish around – of all shapes and types – but sadly no big critters. Starting to wonder whether they never get a chance to grow into big specimens as the locals rely on fishing for much of their diet? Anyway….had an interesting mooch around…and came across a very large greenback turtle sleeping in a cave. Peered back at us for a little while until he decided we were no threat and then he closed his eyes again…. A real treat. There was also a small nurse shark under another shelf but he managed to sneak further back into the gloom so neither Richard or I actually saw him. Oh well never mind. 50 minutes later and it was time to surface.

The second dive was to Devil’s Table – a shallow dive at only 8 metres – and is just really loads of sea grass with the odd bit of reef scattered around and more sea urchins in one place than I’ve ever seen before….  We had to be careful not to kick up the bottom here as it just kills the visibility for everyone else – and because much of it is just sea grass and mud / sand we can actually kneel on the bottom and stay really still if we find something interesting and want to spend time studying it… Well – we had an amazing dive. Small critters were on the menu and we were luckily enough to see two frogfish – one pink and one orange….looking like spongy coral rocky things rather than fish with their weird colouring, their rough texture, their spiky bits on the top of their heads and their webbed feet… Oh yes – they are pretty ugly too!!!! What a treat – couldn’t believe it.

We have never seen these before and they are amazing things to watch. Really happy about this – then to top it all we came across a beautiful little browny-grey seahorse gripping onto a bit of tube coral with his tail – and Ed found an octopus lurking in a hole. I found a large caterpillar type creature with loads of legs and a hairy back – maybe a nudibranch variant? –  we also found the smallest spiny lobster I’ve ever seen hiding under a rock! On top of all that we also came across a scorpion fish and a iridescent coloured flatfish lurking on a rocky outcrop. Jessie was lion fish hunting again and killed three but you could tell he was really uncomfortable when it came to the baby one just sitting there hovering around….but it had to go. Sad this – never thought I would end up diving when fish were being targeted and killed – as it goes against everything a diver learns when training. We ended up spending 75 minutes on the bottom and only gave up because it was time rather than because we had no air. Certainly a dive to remember for a long long time……

While cleaning off all our gear disaster struck…. I clumsily managed to drop my mask. Well – anyone who knows me knows I’m completely useless without glasses and my mask is a prescription one. And yes, the frame cracked. Damn…..but at least the lenses are intact. Looking at it closely it is only the bridge on the nose and the rest remains unblemished – so I use clear silicone mastic to fix the break and leave it to set…. Late afternoon we met the dive crew at the Whaleboner bar for sundowners. On the way we did a bit of international rescue too as Pnut – our fruit and veg boat delivery boy – had broken something on his outboard. So we towed him ashore. He was very grateful… and tried to pay us in mangos for our help!!!

The Whaleboner’s entrance from the dinghy dock is too large whale ribs and the surface of the bar itself is made out of another one while the bar stools are made out of vertebra bones. Really interesting place!!! Had a really fun evening with Jessie, Boutan (not sure on spelling – sorry), Miranda, Ed and his non-diving wife Ellen. We were also joined by another British couple who are doing their diving qualifications with Dive Bequia this week. Enjoyed another beautiful Bequia sunset and after sundowners we headed off to the Fig Tree to take advantage of their internet again. 

Thursday was boat jobs day….My pink job was housework down below and blue job was Richard scraping off the growth on the hull again which had grown vigorously whilst in the marina in St Lucia. I did cheat a little by using the VHF to get Daffodil to come and collect my washing rather than waste fresh water doing it all by hand – well that’s my excuse anyway!!! We were also waiting for Winfield to come by – he does wood finishes on boats and comes recommended in the cruising guide. Morphie has always had Cetol on her teak rather than varnish as it was easier to manage in a charter fleet. But the last coat done before we took her from charter was a rough job and we have had stuff peeling off ever since – particularly under the rail. As a result – everywhere we go – we have had offers to get the wood varnished ‘for a good price’. This wasn’t on our list of priorities yet as we had vague plans to do it later this year. But Winfield was insistent that he would give us a good price – and would include our companionway, our drinks holders and our cockpit table in the price. Oh well – let’s see. Well – the price he gave us was less than half of the amount we know for sure another cruiser paid for theirs in St Lucia and we have loads more to do…. Really was an offer we couldn’t pass on…. So we’re going for it which means we’ll be staying here in Bequia for at least another week or so. Agreed for him to start on Friday – so here’s a few ‘before’ photos….

Thursday night we met Ed and Ellen and went to the Frangipani for their Caribbean night with steel band and a BBQ. Had a really nice evening in their company and so to bed. Was careful on the alcohol intake as we are diving in the morning again….

Friday morning comes and Winfield turns up as planned – he is going to get all the old Cetol off today…. We sort out our gear and my mask looks good and solid – let’s hope it holds. Dive boat comes alongside and off we go. We are heading off to the north of the island – Long Point – to do a dive off the ledge at a site which hasn’t been dived for two years by the dive shop, and certainly not by the divemasters who have only been working here for three months. We really enjoyed the fast boat ride to the site and the scenery so close to the rocky shore…

The sea is pretty rough today so looks like entry – backward roll off the side – needs to be carefully timed to avoid getting bashed on the head by the boat coming back down on the swell. All kitted up – all go in simultaneously – and we start to descend immediately…. Almost straight away my mask flooded, but wasn’t worried as it did appear to clear and I was hoping that the pressure as we went deeper would keep the mask together. But it didn’t…. Oh no… we are in about three knots of current pulling us along and down and I’m completely blind – I can’t see anybody or anything (let alone my instruments) and am trying desperately to kick up as I don’t want to hit rocks either… Richard realises I need help and kicks up against the current to help me and we decide to abort. As I need to be led (literally by the hand) Jessie is coming with us, and quickly we are doing our three minute safety stop and surfacing – into a whirlpool of currents / tides and big swells. We all get back on board safely and it takes me a while to calm down – bit shaky – and my eyes are completely red raw and oozing from the exposure to the sea. But although the ‘dive from hell’ as Richard has coined it, it did prove that the buddy system worked well and we just have to mark it up to experience!!! After a surface interval driving to another site Richard went in for his second dive of the day buddying up with Ed – while I had to sit it out. But I didn’t mind having a lie down on the boat and taking a breather. But I was a bit nervous as this was Richard’s first ever dive without me and I wondered how he would fare. But of course he was fine – let’s face it he almost 100 dives logged now – but it was still nice to see him surface.


After diving we paid up as we are not sure if we are going to do any more and said hi to Charlie the dive shop parrot.  When we got back on board it was great to see that Winfield had managed to get some of the wood back to it’s natural state and was working away hard….

Friday afternoon we had invited Ed and Ellen on board as it was their last day before they flew home on Saturday. Had a really nice time bobbing in style on our floating chairs and drank far too much rum… Was fun…..   Marvelled at the Golden Hind wooden boat that anchored behind us whilst enjoying the sunset and we let Ed drive the dinghy back to the dock to drop them off….with arrangements to go to dinner later.

Later on we went to the Fig Tree for ‘Fish Friday’ where Pnut – who is also known as the travelling chef – was cooking… Ed tried the curried conch whilst Ellen and Richard went for the tuna. I bailed and had Creole beef stew! There was also entertainment in the form of Chris from Troubadour who was playing and singing. Interestingly we have been following their blog for a while but this is the first time we have actually met them! Really good time had by all – and thanks so much to Ed and Ellen for picking up the tab at dinner. Wasn’t necessary….. Time to say goodbye – safe journey home.

Saturday morning had to be up early as Winfield is coming today to do the sanding and sealing. So we left him to it and went shopping for some boat bits – still trying to find some particular stainless steel screws, buy something to properly fix my mask with until I can get a new one ordered, and to try the second place to get one of our gas tanks filled…. Whilst we were out wandering we came across a really scary road and an unusual takeaway eaterie……  Also saw a rasta man treating two puppy dogs really cruelly when washing them down in the sea – but in the area we were in with people watching, didn’t feel able to take him to task.  Tears welling….and Richard made me leave quickly feeling really sad.

When we came back on board Winfield was working in the cockpit, along with his employee Hanky, so we went down below, opened the hatches, turned on the fans, and read and dozed….. Some areas are now sanded and sealed……. Had a quiet night on board once they had left….

Bye for now.


Bequia beautiful Bequia

Saturday woke up to a bright and sunny day and went ashore to have breakfast at the Gingerbread house… It was lovely – real china, pots of tea, fat toast and a nice omelette and sausages. What a treat! Wandered around a little more in Port Elizabeth and got some basic provisions from the local vendors. Also enjoyed watching the local lads play cricket on the beach.   Shocked at the price of bread and potatoes! Back on board and I have a lay down as my back is playing up a bit…. Richard was keeping himself amused with boat jobs and decided to change the filters in the water maker for the first time. Very soon after he started I get called to assist as water is pouring out into the bilges from the charcoal filter. Luckily it is fresh water so we know we are not going to sink but disconcerting to say the least – so I am put on bilge pump duty while Richard tries to sort it out. Finally a lightbulb moment and he realises that he has left the water pressure turned on – so flicks the switch and it all stops… Phew!!! After finally switching them out he decided – thankfully – not to tackle any more boat jobs today. In the evening we had Graeme and Margaret from Dockbrief onboard for sundowners. It was nice to have some company for a couple of hours. After they had left we turned in for an early night.

Sunday my back was still playing up so it was another boat job day. This was more successful as Richard managed to fix the bow running lights (again!), the arch flood light and the compass light – all were suffering from corrosion. He also serviced some winches and blocks that had been complaining under load. So a successful morning and we went for a wander around town in the afternoon. Being a Sunday this place was really quiet but we had a productive time in the FigTree using their free wifi doing some business on the internet and also fixed an island tour for Tuesday. Also enjoyed the sight of the new large neighbour that we had in the anchorage….   Back on board before dark to enjoy a nice sunset and a quiet evening after we had sorted all our gear out for diving in the morning.

Monday morning we were up really early and got ready for the dive boat to come alongside to pick us up. We did two dives – both reef drift dives for about 60 minutes each. Only three divers – including us – and two divemasters in the water. Great pristine dive sites with beautiful colourful soft corals and thousands upon thousands of tiny tropical fish….but no bigguns. Really weird – not even the usual suspects like large parrots and triggers… We did see two very large puffer fish, one large trigger fish, a reasonable sized barracuda and a lovely eagle ray…. But the lack of larger specimens didn’t really matter as the diving was great and we loved being surrounded by all these tiny little critters who were playing in our bubbles when they thought we weren’t watching! The divemaster had a speargun with him to kill any lionfish that we came across as they are really trying to eradicate this imported menace – the end result was Divemaster 5:0 Lionfish. They are also trying to get local fish to realise that they are tasty to eat – so we tried feeding some dead lionfish to some moral eels and lobsters but they weren’t really keen…… Before we got dropped off back on Morphie we organised to go again on Wednesday. After a relaxing afternoon on board we went out for dinner and had a nice quiet evening ashore for a change. It was lovely to sit on the balcony watching the night draw in having a cold glass of wine. The season is really coming to an end here – which is much earlier than normal – and very few boaters are actually going ashore to eat. Most of the waterfront restaurants and bars are empty all night – not sure how they survive…..

Tuesday morning our first job was to re-anchor. There were a few boats around us who we thought were a bit close – so we picked up and reset easily. Task achieved – and having checked we were secure in our new spot – we went ashore and met Elson and his little safari bus. First stop was Mount Pleasant where we could look back at the anchorage and then went on a circuitous route to Friendship Bay which is where the whale museum is located. Bequia is the only island in the Caribbean chain that retains its right to kill whales. They only kill humpbacks and only four kills are allowed per year. They also still use traditional methods in local wooden boats and harpoons. There is also a small island which they use to butcher the whales. Not sure how we feel about these beautiful creatures still being hunted but this goes back hundreds of years and every part of the animal is used – the oil, the meat and the blubber…. At least the Bequians have not granted rights to the Japanese who are very active over here trying to secure this through the injection of funds into various local building projects….

The island of Bequia is tiny – only seven miles long – with 6,000 people living here. It is volcanic and lush with vegetation – with very very expensive houses being built tucked into the hillside. Apparently if you can afford to buy and build then you are welcomed – irrespective of your nationality. So Elson pointed out houses that belonged to British, Latvian, Dutch, Polish, Russian, American, New Zealand, French, Canadian etc etc etc…. Interesting how it was easy to spot the British houses from the cultivated lawns, the white picket fences and pretty planted gardens along the verges…. Wasn’t sure how Elson felt about rich foreigners moving in – but he did say that they provided work and an income for locals as the houses needed to be built, maintained and landscaped along with other domestic type jobs…. The main industry here is fishing and tourism – with the local fishermen selling their catch to other islands in the St Vincent and the Grenadines chain. Most of the locals lived either in the fishing village or the capital and they looked to have reasonable brick properties – not the tin shacks without facilities that we have seen elsewhere… Funniest thing we saw was a cow attempting to have a drink from a swimming pool – not sure he was meant to be there! 

Stunning views abound as you go up and down the main road which is precariously cut along the cliff top at times…. including out to sea to Mustique, our next destination. The Atlantic coast looked pretty rough and beautiful too…. We visited a place called Moonhole which is where houses are all built purely from stone including all the furniture with no glass in the windows and no electricity or communications…. People either rent or buy here – everyone to their own. Stunning views out to sea as these properties nestle into the cliff. There is also another brand new development being built at this end of the island and we were lucky enough to have a quick look around – don’t think that even a lottery win would get us one of these!

Moving on we went to the turtle sanctuary – where they are looked after from birth through to five years old and they have been responsible for almost a 1,000 releases to date. The baby turtles are tiny and you have to be careful not to touch the water as this could make them ill with bacteria from our hands. But you are allowed to touch the bigger ones – and, guess what, they like being tickled!!! Honestly…. It was lovely to get close to such beautiful creatures… As we were leaving the sanctuary Richard spotted a pen of tortoises – so he got close to them too – I think the photos are great! And then we came across baby goats sleeping….. Really cute…

Back into Port Elizabeth and we stopped for a bit of lunch before heading back on board. Having a lazy afternoon in the cockpit enjoying the space around us – and guess what….grrrrr… – another catamaran drops his hook and sets his anchor so that we have lost our privacy again. What is it with these people???? Another 50 foot of chain and he would be sitting behind us. Oh well… Was going to go ashore for sundowners but couldn’t be bothered as we had a short rain shower so we have lifted dink up onto the davits and now are getting ready to go diving again tomorrow.


Bye for now….

Back to the cruising lifestyle….in Bequia

Tuesday morning and – guess what – it’s raining again!  We do a few boat jobs and get Morphie ready to go to sea.  By sunset the weather looked like it was improving and we planned to go to the Boardwalk for the start of the Jazz festival as they had a live band playing – but the heavens opened again and it was torrential – it hammered down continuously. Decided not to bother and so stayed aboard for a quiet night. It was really really hot and humid with all the hatches closed and the rain was relentless pounding on the coachroof above our heads.  Not nice…

Wednesday morning and amazingly we have some signs of a blue sky behind white fluffy clouds – so looks like the front has finally moved away. Hurrah….  The water in the marina, however, was sludge brown due to the rain run off from all the hills around – yuck!!!!   We paid our marina fees, checked out of customs and got charged overtime fees again – didn’t know it was ‘labour day’ ie a bank holiday over here….grrrrr… Anyway, finally slipped away and first stop was the fuel dock for diesel and some petrol for dink and our Honda generator. As we had checked out already we were able to buy this duty free – didn’t make much of a difference, but made us feel better! Saw our friends Dan and Ruth’s catamaran Evensong on the hard so we patted her on the hull and wished her the best for the forthcoming hurricane season…

Finally left Rodney Bay marina around 11.15 am and motored out past Barrel of Beef rock (who makes up these names????)….and then got the sails out. Had a really nice reach right down to the Pitons where the wind died on us. The scenery is spectacular here…and we really can’t believe that we are anchored under one of the most beautiful sights we have seen in the Caribbean… And on our own boat… Pinch me now!!!!  Had a quiet (and dry!) night at anchor and were pleased to see that the marine police are patrolling this area as there have been problems in the past. Stayed on board – ate healthily for a change – and had an early night.

Up before the sun at 4.00 am and we set sail for Bequia at 4.45 am…. No dramas in the dark – although we did come across a cruise ship moving really really slowly towards Castries…. Said goodbye to St Lucia and the Pitons as the sun started to come up… Magical moment.

Sails up and flying between 6 and 7 knots in relatively flat seas on a beam reach… Winds relatively light to start with….    Wonderful sailing – still no dolphins or whales but hey…. Then as we almost reached the coast of St Vincent the seas and the winds picked up, which this area is renowned for….so we reefed down and enjoyed the ride. Weird though – as soon as we got into the lee of the land the wind completely died and there was nothing – then it switched to the other side – but still not enough to sail. So the engine went on and we had to motor down the coast of St Vincent. We decided not to stop in St Vincent as it has had so much bad press in terms of aggressive boat boys and security on board with numerous boat burglaries and dinghy thefts in recent months…. This was a shame as the island looked really pretty and dramatic from the coast and this is also another Pirates of the Caribbean filiming destination… Particularly Wallibou Bay where the film sets are still standing albeit not maintained….. 

Rounding the bottom of St Vincent the wind went southerly…. Guess what, we are going south!  Damn…..can’t sail this either…. And we are feeling weary so decide to continue to motor to reach our destination. After 10 hours at sea we finally reach Admiralty Bay, Bequia. As we were looking for a place to anchor we had to avoid the large turtle that kept surfacing in front of us – and also had to tell the local boat boy who was trying to sell us fresh lobster that we were a bit busy right now! Anyway….having set the hook easily…. we quickly tidy up ourselves and Morphie and go ashore to do customs. Guess what – more overtime fees!!!! After 4pm it is overtime… Oh well….never mind….let’s boost the local economy. But, to be fair, the process was pretty quick and easy and only cost us around £40 for a month’s stay!!!

Went ashore to Jack’s bar on Princess Margaret’s Beach for sundowners and admired the view across the anchorage. Then back on board for a quiet night…..and slept very well as the motion of being back on anchor rocked us to sleep….. 

Friday we were up at a reasonable hour, had a leisurely breakfast and had a snorkel around. Went ashore to dump some trash and to explore the town a bit – Port Elizabeth is the only real town on Bequia. For such a small place it is very noisy – the market in particularly loud – but no-one bothered us as tourists. Although loads of market stalls around selling t-shirts, jewellery and local crafts – there was no hard sell…. Quite refreshing after St Lucia – perhaps we have started to look like cruisers who are renowned for being tight!!!! Anyway….we went to the tourist office and got some brochures, fixed up some diving for Monday, and wandered down the shorefront walkway having a look at all the bars and restaurants that we may frequent while we are here….

This afternoon we had a bobbing time back at Jacks and got chatting to a local guy who was off fishing. we came back on board before dark and had a steak and salad dinner…. Then the fisherman turned up to sell us some fresh fish which he had also filleted for us – so we now have four sizeable fillets of fish in the freezer waiting for a tasting session later in the week. We are not sure what it is – but we were told it’s really tasty – but if you don’t hear from me again then you know why!?!?!

Saturday more boat jobs and more exploring planned…..

Bye for now