We anchored back in Bequia off Jack’s Bar on Saturday the 15th August. On Monday the 17th, Annie and number of the cruising ladies, took the ferry to the main island of St Vincent, to do some shopping and have a long lunch.
The menfolk enjoyed the opportunity to get on with some work and chatting over coffee, before hitting the Rendezvous bar next to the ferry dock to await their beloved’s arrival at 5:30pm. The ladies were suitably lubricated in the ferry bar on their ferry return journey. The Covid pandemic has much to answer for.
During the following week we had our bimini infill panel fitted with new zips after the wind shredded the existing ones in the Tobago Cays. For most of us, a valid credit card is a necessity today – to my relief, a replacement Visa card for the next four years arrived in Bequia from Australia, during the week.
Most Caribbean Islands grow sugar cane and they produce rum with an alcohol content of 40 – 50%. Supermarkets stock more rum brands than beer or wine, with 5 litre casks of cheap rum on their shelves. A lot of locals supplement their income by running pubs or rum shacks from home – like speakeasy’s or shebeen’s elsewhere. Boredom having set in, on Saturday the 22nd August, 12 of the cruisers went on a rum shack tour through town.
Having started at 2pm and visiting 7 local rum shacks, where the music was pumping and dancing the rule, we finished with dinner at the Rendezvous at 9pm, thoroughly sozzled. I have a confession to make: my first meeting with the demon drink at 18, had me motherless on rum and coke. In the 55 years since, I haven’t touched rum. In the spirit of supporting the local industry, I re-acquainted myself with the local rum punch, but it will be while before touching it again!
Esprit has not been out of the water for 18 months, since her last haul out in Greece and maintenance work was becoming urgent.Trinidad informed us during the week that due to a spike in Covid infections, we won’t be able to enter, to haul out our boat for the foreseeable future. I emailed requests for quotes, to boatyards in Carriacou and Grenada, Venezuela, the ABC Islands and Panama. Grenada Marine came back with a detailed and reasonable quote for the work required, so we decided to make Grenada our next stop.
The problem is that Grenada is in the process of changing their current 14 day Covid quarantine protocol at the end of August, hopefully to follow the SV&G protocol for PCR testing on arrival and free movement afterwards for persons testing negative. Currently St Vincent and the Grenadines have had 60 Covid-19 cases, all recovered, with no deaths, whereas Grenada has had only 24 cases, all recovered, with no deaths. That may just require us to be quarantined on arrival. So we are waiting for the 1st September for answers.
In the meantime, our younger daughter Michelle settled into her UN role as a protection specialist in Papua New Guinea, flying to the southern highland province, to conduct training of her team of community mobilisers in the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children, and to convene with the provincial council of women.
It also allowed her to attend the opening of a new village hall, partially funded by the UN, with the local people in tribal dress and body art, to celebrate the event. Her weekends are busy with pottery classes and a kiteboarding club.
A tropical disturbance developed over the windward islands with heavy rain setting in at our anchorage over the weekend of the 30th August.
Wednesday evenings the Figtree has roti’s on the menu and Samuel playing the violin, so we decided to step out for a romantic evening. The roti’s were excellent and Samuel had us almost in tears.
The 1st of September came and Grenada started the SeaClear system for entry, which means you have to register on this database and then have a Covid-19 PCR test on arrival, which if negative, allows you to enter without quarantine. We tried, but couldn’t register on this site, despite numerous emails to their software support people. By the 4th September, we decided to leave Bequia and go anyway.
We stocked up with provisions, had dinner with friends on the 4th at the Figtree and set off on Saturday the 5th to sail south. We had an excellent 30 nm sail to the Tobago Cays, where we anchored inside Horseshoe reef.
This was followed by a stop at Union Island to check out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. We then enjoyed a relaxed sail past Carriacou, overnighting at Ronde Island (right next to “Kick ‘em Jenny” an underwater volcano), before sailing down the West coast of Grenada to tie up in St George’s for check-in.