Having read our guide book’s warnings of criminal activity made us a little bit apprehensive about our planned visit to St. Vincent but we decided we would take extra precautions anyway. Many cruisers that we met, gave it a wide berth because of the rumours. We had a lovely fast sail from Soufreire where the hot springs were on St. Lucia. We tried to do a bit of snorkelling around the Pitons before leaving, the two big hills at the southern end of the island, but we were chased out of the water by annoying jellyfish and stinging plankton. Sebastian identified one of the jellyfish that we described as a Portuguese Man of War. It had a big purple sail rather than a blue one. Now we hear that they are quite common in the Caribbean. We arrived in Chateau belair on St. Vincent and was shown to a good anchoring spot by a young lad, George.
He didn’t want any money from us for that, he just wanted to guide us to the waterfalls for a very small fee the next day. He gave us a discount because we lived on our boat. He surmised that we couldn’t afford the same price he took from the charterers. (I gave him a tip of a new jar of Nutella and seeing his eyes light up at the gift was totally worth it).
We met Eric and Lynne off the big Australian cat, Amarula, when they came to inform us that the customs check in was a bit of a shambles and the police had reluctantly stamped their passports. Thomas went ashore to do battle and they refused to serve him until he said that we’d spoken to the Australians. Then they stamped our passports too. We invited Lynne and Eric over for sundowners that evening. It was a great evening and we found their tales of the last 14 years or so in South Africa intriguing. Lots of stories of piracy, kidnappings and bribery that were enough to scare even a hardened sailor. I don’t think we’ll be travelling there for a few more years anyway.
The locals rowed to us to offer us their services and their home grown fruits. John gave us a huge bag of juicing oranges and four coconuts for 15EC, (we gave him 20). He came on board and showed us how to crack the coconuts. The juice was delicious. I’ve had it lots of times before but this was better than most. We went for a walk the next day with George to the waterfalls. No one would take us to Trinity falls because they all said that too many tourists die there. Apparently a group of tourists had got caught in a flash flood and drowned. I don’t know how many years ago but the memory still haunts them.
Our next stop was Wallilabou where Johnny Depp had stepped off the bow of his boat onto the wharf in the Pirates of the Caribbean. We were hounded by the locals for about half an hour with them trying to sell us their wares. When we didn’t buy anything from them they would ask for a cold beer. Of course Thomas being the sweetie that he is, obliged. One guy just asked for any old clothes we might have. The island is very poor but the people we met were trying very hard to be honest and were very reasonable about doing business. All except one fellow who intercepted us on the way to Wallilabou and informed us that the bay was closed due to a movie being shot and advised us to turn around and go to another bay. He eagerly said he would help us to tie up at the other bay and when we told him no thank you, he told us we may as well try Wallilabou then. No harm done but he was trying to get us into his bay instead where he could make some money. There was no movie shoot happening in Wallilabou. I guess he will learn the hard way of how to run a viable business.
Wallilabou was pleasant and we had a good snorkel along the rocks at the northern end where remnants of the movie set were being kept alive – or dead. On the way back to the boat I saw my first Golden Spotted Snake eel. It was aptly named as it sure looked like a snake to me. However, the Caribbean has no known species of sea snake, (I looked this up afterwards). Eric and Lynne from Amarula arrived so I went to the local waterfall with them. Thomas had been there before and didn’t think it was worth the hike. Any chance to have a pleasant stroll in the countryside is worth it for me. The locals had made a small park with sitting areas around a small waterfall with funds from the European Union. I would have liked to have hiked up the eastern side of their big volcano, Mt Soufreire, but the beginning of the track is a 4wd trip from anywhere on the island. Maybe next year when we visit at a cooler time of the year.
A nice quick sail across to the island of Bequia, which is part of the Grenadines, had us there in time for lunch. There is a beautiful big harbour and the water was crystal clear. They have a reading club for the local children at one of the restaurants, The Fig Tree, every second Saturday and we’d missed it. So we stayed for another week so I could participate. In the meantime we wandered over to another bay, snorkelled and had Eric and Lynne over for dinner. Unfortunately, their dinghy was either taken or went adrift that evening. After an unsuccessful search in a moonless night, we have still been trying to find out any news about it. Despite our efforts we still haven’t heard anything. Lots of people are keeping an eye out for it including the Coast Guard. I think it will turn up in Aruba with the way the wind was blowing. That’s if it wasn’t taken. We are hoping for a happy ending to the saga.
We did have time for a bit more socialising and we met Rhian and Rob off Beyzano and joined them for ‘Fish Friday’ at the Fig Tree. The local fruit vendor is also the chef for this and I captured a wonderful moment when his angel appeared before him while he was barbecuing. He was pretty happy with the snap but responded with, “I don’t believe in nothing but cooking. Cooking is where I am happiest.” He was a sweet down to earth man. Thomas had a mixed fish grill which included a bit of BBQ conch. I had grilled veggies and a lovely helping of Tofu in a sauce. It was one of the meals we’ve had out. The Fig Tree had a visiting cruiser doing a bit of singing and a local Disaster Management Coordinator joined him to make some great sounds. It was a friendly entertaining evening, (And we were in good company if any disasters were about to occur).
The reading club was a lot of fun and it was nice to meet some local kids. You can really see the soul of a country through the dreams and joy displayed by the children. I also spent a day at a local primary school to fill in some time. The teacher really appreciated my help as one teacher was away and they just gave her the two classes to teach for the day. I was able to get around and mark work and keep the kids focussed on what she was teaching. She gave me all forty-two for the last hour of the day while she caught up with individual children. We were both pretty wrecked by the end of the day. Thomas kept himself busy doing the videos for Youtube and chilling out on the boat.
We have now moved on to another small island in the Grenadines, Canouan. Thomas had a rest in the sun on the way here and woke up with a hand mark on his stomach – priceless. We called into a small bay for lunch and a snorkel and now we are being entertained with loud music in front of the town. There is a huge lagoon on the other side of the island that we plan to visit for a swim and snorkel. Crazy squalls are passing over the island and it is the first wave of summer winds that are being monitored. We’re having a day on the boat I’m on fire getting things done; mending, cooking, defrosting the freezer, writing blogs, reading etc. I am pretty excited that we bought a sewing machine in Martinique as my hand sewing wasn’t keeping up with the heavy toll that Thomas puts on his clothes. Sheets, curtains, work shorts and shirts all got a touch up today. I’ve come to figure that a sewing machine is one of those necessary items on the boat. We’ve got some freshly baked bread straight from the oven and we had nachos for lunch. Nice on a ‘cooler’ day. Good cuddling weather too.