Bequia

(2-May-2015)

Please bear with me, this travelogue was written over a period of 2 weeks and did not get sent promptly due to lack of wifi at some of the islands. We left Rodney Bay Marina (with it’s great wifi) 2 weeks ago, but turned around after we discovered that the mainsail electrical winch wasn’t working and we couldn’t raise the main sail. It is a big powerful 2 speed winch that I normally operate with my toe while I stand on the upper mounting so that I can see the entire sail, while Ruth keeps the boat headed directly into the wind. Actually, we could crank the sail up by hand but that is the most work of any function on the boat. This is our 3rd Catana catamaran and they have all had electric mainsail winches. We are spoiled! We turned around so that I could buy more 25 Amp fuses, and besides we were off on a late start. The Custom office closed yesterday at 4PM just as I arrived to check out, so we had to wait for opening this morning to check out. We get up at about 6 everyday, when the sun shines into the window, and we like to get an early start, so that we can arrive at our next anchorage before dark and in time to get a good spot, and don’t forget happy hour. Ya just gotta have a good anchor spot that is secure and you (both) are happy with. I do all of the grunt work up front with the chain and anchor, it also has a powerful electric windlass, while Ruth pilots the boat to exactly the right spot with the two engines. If you are married you understand that choosing this exact spot requires some negotiation. We never shout, I give hand signals and Ruth goes where she likes. Not really. We usually negotiate early on the way into the bay. We like plenty of room between boats, since our catamaran swings to the changing wind more and faster than most monohulls.

Next day - After a good nights sleep we put the sail up at about 6:30 and had a great sail in the lee of St. Lucia, sailing past the capital city , Castries where we dodged a huge cruise ship that was just coming into Castries. We sailed past the majestic Pitons, very steep high hills. The entire island is very mountainous, and green. They grow lots of bananas, passion fruit, mangoes breadfruit, coco, papayas and coconuts. We rounded the south tip of the island and motored into 20 knots of wind on the nose. Marvin hates motoring and complained during entire 2 hours of motoring. We could have sailed, but would be crashing and smashing 20 miles instead of motoring the 10 miles directly. We anchored in the bay at Veux Fort and are the only boat in this lovely spot with crystal clear water. Went swimming and explored the jungle hillside. Beats watching the stock market, on a down day!

This anchorage is strange. In one hour we have slowly swung a full circle, 360 deg. The wind keeps clocking around. It has been gentle, but still! Try having your bed do a 360 while you sleep peacefully! Lots and lots of old fashioned fishing boats here. These are 20 ft home built wooden boats with 25 hp outboards and usually 2 men aboard. There are other smaller boats that paddle around and throw or drag nets gathering smaller fish. It has to be a tough life out in this tropical sun and wind all day. We know!

We left Veux Fort at 6AM in the rain and headed for Bequia, 50 miles south. We chose not to stop at St. Vincent. The guide book makes it sound maybe a little unsafe, and the anchorages are deep and tenuous. I remember being there 15 yrs ago and had to anchor in 60 ft of water and tie the stern to a coconut tree. I do not like doing that. I believe they now have moorings set into the deep water. Our sail was on the east side of the island was entirely in the open ocean. With a single reef in the main and genoa, we averaged 6 knots arriving in Bequia about 3 in the afternoon. It wasn’t the smoothest, but for open ocean sailing it was OK. Bequia is a very friendly quaint place with houses perched on the steep hillsides. We anchored in the bay in 6 meters of water. Later the next day the wind really got up and we found that we were now sitting is 11M of water. We quickly, cranked up the engines, took in the anchor and came across the bay to take a mooring. It is a bit more secure but the cost for a mooring here is about $22/day – a bit more than usual.

After lollygagging around Bequia for 3 or 4 days, we had a great sail 20miles to Canuoan in winds of 15-20 knots, making 6-8 knots. Enroute we ran the water maker and Ruth did a load of laundry in the washing machine. Ain’t technology wonderful? Traveling along with the wind, autopilot doing all the steering based on what the GPS tells it, while we make pure drinking water from the sun. Upon arrival we anchored in the quiet bay with very few boats and clear water. Went for a swim to checkout the anchor then read books the rest of the afternoon/evening very peaceful and relaxing. All systems seem to be working at the moment. During the night we had a visitor – when we got up at 6AM we saw the wet foot prints in the main salon. The only thing that we could find missing was the 3 or 4 bananas that were in a basket on the table. We also found Ruth’s small USB flash drive chip on the back swim step. Ruth’s purse was sitting on the shelf and was undisturbed. Our laptop computers and cell phones were sitting about the cabin where we left them. Strange!

We next sailed around the corner and down to the Tabago Cays. This spectacular reef is now a national park, and has an area where one can swim with the turtles. You can either anchor or take a mooring, behind the reef in crystal clear water. There is no hiding behind an island, we are facing the open ocean, with only the reef for protection from the waves and wind coming from Africa. We can actually smell some of the smoke from the huge African forest fires. We know about the fires since we listen to the weather on our SSB radio coming from a ham operator in Puerto Rico each day at 7AM.

A bit bouncy and wind screeching all night the first night, but then it settled down and has been spectacular. Great snorkeling on the reef. We have been snorkeling twice each day. Saw several large turtles and lots of colorful fish. Life has been really tough the last month or so – I have had nothing to repair and all has been working well. Both fridges work so well that we have ice for our drinks from one, and keep the gin cool in the other. Been reading great books and really getting in to this cruising thing. I would not want to do this forever – too laid back, but for awhile really relaxing. The world really gets buy without us!!

Yesterday we saw a kite surfer that was riding on a small carbon fiber foil going about 30 MPH in 20 knots of wind. He was about a foot above the water going absolutely smoothly. When he made a turn he sunk into the water a little, but quickly came back up headed the other way. Spectacular! A person needs to be out in clear water to do this. He is probably looking up at the kite most of the time – hitting a small island, a reef or a sailboat at 30 MPH could smart.

If you receive this we are now in Clifton Bay, Union Island, and they have wifi. Here we will check out of the Grenadines. Next stop should be Carricou where we check into Grenada. We plan a couple more stops along the way south to Prickly Bay, Grenada.