St Lucia, St Vincent & Bequia.

Route: Martinique to Bequia.

After checking out of Martinique on Monday the 29th June 2020, we lifted anchor and sailed from Anse Caritan at midday. A light 12 – 15 knot easterly with a medium sea swell took us the 22 nm to St Lucia, where we anchored at 4 pm after a relaxed sail. St Lucia was still in lockdown, and there were only 20 other yachts in Rodney Bay – usually the bay would be packed with boats, particularly at the finish of the ARC rally across the Atlantic in January.

Enroute to St Lucia: Sargassum seaweed invading the Caribbean.

St Lucia: Entering Rodney Bay.

Rodney Bay: Almost deserted.

Similar conditions prevailed the next day, allowing us to sail down the west coast of St Lucia and visit beautiful Marigot Bay and the Pitons with hardly any yachts around, before anchoring at Vieux Fort on the southern tip of the island by mid afternoon. In fact, in two days of sailing we saw only two yachts underway, one north and one southbound – courtesy of Covid-19?

Motoring into Marigot Bay.

Beautiful Marigot Bay.

Marigot Bay village – almost deserted.

Sailing past the Pitons.

The 31 nm crossing to St Vincent was a repeat of two days before, with a medium swell and strong westerly current. We anchored in Chateaubelair bay with three other yachts for a quiet night and left at 5:30 am the next morning to sail the 14 nm to Young Island Cut, to tie up to a mooring buoy at 08:00 am.

Approaching mountainous St Vincent.

Anchored in Chateaubelair Bay.

Chateaubelair Bay sunset.

At 10:00 we went for our PCR Covid-19 tests, at USD 60 per person, USD 75 for the agent, USD 25 for Customs and USD 20 for the mooring = USD 240, to enter St Vincent and the Grenadines! The test results were emailed to us 28 hours later – both of us tested negative. Happy days!

Young Island offshore on the south side of St Vincent.

Boats awaiting Covid-19 testing in the Young Island Cut.

Annie’s PCR test.

Sometimes when your children work abroad, you try and picture these places. Karen has worked in hospitals in Cape Town, London and St Vincent. I was happy to discover that St Vincent is quite organised and civilised and not the ganja smoking Rastafarian Island I had imagined.

Leaving St Vincent for Bequia.

At 3 pm the next day, we cast off the mooring buoy in Young Island Cut and had a relaxed, short 9 nm sail to Bequia (pronounced Beckway), where we anchored in Admiralty Bay off the main town of Port Elizabeth, with a suburb called Pretoria – also historical and original city names in South Africa, but now renamed Nelson Mandela City and Tshwane, in the new improved SA.

Arriving at the dinghy jetty.

First stop in Bequia: the Frangipani restaurant for coffee.

View from Frangipani across Admiralty Bay.

Bequia is quite special and alluring, with some well preserved Victorian homes and quaint shops and restaurants. The island has its own flag which has a whale on it, because New Bedford whalers settled on the island way back. As a result Bequians became great boatbuilders – a craft that continues on through today. The whaling has pretty much come to an end. Following are some photos of Port Elizabeth.

The Whaleboner bar next to the Frangipani – showing their whaling history.

Grand old houses turned into upmarket accommodation.

Motoring into town long the shore.

View across the bay from Maria’s bar .

Local taxis are utes with bench seats at the back.

The harbour is busy with ferries coming and going.

Boat building has slowed down, but model boat building fills the gap.

This old house is in need of new timber shingles.

Another fixer upper.

This old Rastafarian uses his house as a notice board.

Youth dinghy sailing at the yacht club on Saturdays.

I was going to check out the Penthouse Pets, but Covid-19 has closed down the bar.

There was still no indication of Trinidad opening before their general elections in mid August, so we decided to have some of the work planned for Esprit, done here in Bequia. As a result our first week in Bequia was quite busy with getting quotes for canvas and stainless steel work, measurements done for a new mainsail boom bag, taking the mainsail, jib and bimini down for repairs and having a template made for a new canvas cover (chaps) for the dinghy.

The view from our anchorage to Jack’s bar and Princess Margaret beach.

Walking along Princess Margaret Bay.

Lower Bay.

Dinner at Mac’s pizza bar – really tasty pizzas!

The quaint local church.

 

The cruisers at anchor here, are quite active socially, with a radio net, walks, pot luck and music evenings and BBQ’s. Our first get together at the Open Deck Bar on the Saturday was quite a liquid affair, wiping out any attempt at doing the 14 km hike on Sunday morning. Annie, again ending up in the water after a late night failed gazelle like leap from the dinghy onto the boat.

Potluck BBQ at the Open Deck Bar.

A jam session at the Open Deck – great sound.

During the following week, we managed to get the repairs to the mainsail and the jib, as well as bimini canvas repairs done by Grenadine Sails in Bequia. They also made us a new boom mainsail bag and UV cover for the dinghy.

Calvin the master sewer, with the new dinghy cover he made.

Our new boom sail bag. The old one was totally knackered after 5 years.

The week was wrapped up with a climb up the mountain, for a great view down to Port Elizabeth, followed by sundowners and dinner at Jack’s Bar later in the day.

Our hiking group halfway up the mountain.

View down and across to Port Elizabeth, from the top.

Here we are at the top.

We still have some steel and aluminium welding to be done here in Bequia, so we plan to be here for a while before sailing further south in the Grenadines. Until later, keep well and safe wherever you are.

Cheers

Annie and Dirk