January 27th – February 3rd, 2014 (-4 on UTC)
Bequia to Bequia via a loop of the Grenadines…..
The Grenadines are a part of the nation of St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The Grenadines are a group of 23 islands which run north and south. They are as a group, north of Grenada by only 15 miles or so with Union Island as the main southern island stretching to Bequia about 30 miles to the north. North of Bequia is the largest island, St. Vincent. 7 of the southern islands are actually politically part of Grenada.
Last we left you, we were enjoying the Bequia Blues and Jazz fest. Despite being a bit over marketed, we still had a lovely time. The thousands we expected turned into a few hundred and a good time. Thank goodness there weren\’t more of us! Alas, all good things must move on and we wanted to get to the exotic Isle of Mustique (only about 10 miles away). It seems a bit silly, but there is lots to see in the Caribbean and we do have to keep some eye on our travel time to get to Florida before Hurricane Season in June/July.
We waited an extra day to leave Bequia as the winds were up in the channel and our pick was a good one. We sailed past the \”Moon Hole\” homes as we began our backtrack through the Grenadines. An American architect, Tom Johnson designed this unique community which attempted to use the natural rock setting incorporated into the homes. You can google it here! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonhole
Right next to it is an ominous small cargo ship, wrecked on the point as you depart Admiralty Bay. I\’ll post a photo of this soon.
We arrived in Britannia Bay, Mustique after only a 2 1/2 hour trip. It was a bit bumpy, but we\’re learning this is normal for the Caribbean. After all, the windward side of all the islands is the open Atlantic; trade winds, swells and all it\’s glory. About 30 of us on the moorings and a few mega yachts anchored out.
The open bay had moorings which were 75.00 USD for three days. The famous \”Basil\’s Bar\” was on the beach next to the dinghy dock and would become a nice hangout while ashore. The music fest was more or less coming to Mustique along with us and it was a much nicer venue and more relaxing at Basil\’s.
95% of the island was currently off limits as Prince William, Dutchess Kate and future King George were here. No, we did not see them. Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Sheryl Crow amongst others of the \”R&F\” (rich and famous) have homes here. There are only 90 or so homes on the islands and being a multi millionaire is essential.
Upon going to shore a few days ago, we discovered our dinghy battery was dead so hand starting techniques were perfected. The guys ashore at the harbor office tried to trickle charge it for us over our first night, but no joy, we\’ll need to find a new one soon.
We had a lovely but extremely pricey lunch at Firefly\’s 1/2 way up the valley overlooking the bay. Five rooms and a restaurant and very exclusive.
We then toured town (takes about 20 minutes) as much as we were allowed to and explored a few lovely boutiques with the upmarket prices to go with them.
We bought a souvenir pencil for 1 USD!..:-) There was also a lovely bakery/coffee stop where we enjoyed first breakfast the next morning.
The highlight was Basil\’s Bar – Mustique Music Fest night. The music was not quite as screaming loud and a nice dinner show was put on. We enjoyed it.
As we were ready to go into shore for the music, our neighbor charter cat with no one aboard swung around and bumped us. We dropped our mooring and re-located. No harm, no foul.
Off to Canuoan. This is a little \”C\” shaped island about 12 miles south of Mustique. It appeared to be an up and comer in the tourist world as they are extending it\’s airport runway and it has a few high end beach resorts. We heard the hike to the top of the island would take a few hours and had great views. We were not all that enthralled and were anxious to move on to the famous Tobago Cays, so we only stayed one night in Charlestown Bay, Canuoan.
We found a lovely specialty food shop where we got sandwiches and ate on the deck at the Tamarind Resort. There appeared to be few guests, but it was a lovely spot.
We motored off to Tobago Cays (note: all spellings of Cay, Quay, Key are pronounced \”Key\”). This is a lovely group of low islets surrounded by classic atoll type reefs. They are exotically named \”horseshoe reef\” and \”The Reef at the End of the World\”. The later is a reference to the fact that seaward of it there is no land for about 2000 miles! Despite it\’s being gorgeous with all the blues and greens of the spectrum, it\’s pretty windy and more annoyingly, quite crowded. There were about 40 boats in an area that would have seemed crowded with 10. The moorings are in a protected reserve and they prefer you use them though you can anchor if they are full. They were full! Our 4 neighbors were all close enough to have a conversation with. We took a dinghy tour and grabbed the snorkel gear, but it was just either too windy or too many people on the nice areas. We decided on our second day to try Salt Whistle Bay on the very nearby island of Mayreau.
About mid-day we motored through the reef system to Mayreau, Salt Whistle Bay. A very pretty spot, lovely views and crowds! The moorings were almost full when we arrived. The nice one was too close to other neighbors for my comfort and the back row mooring upon inspection had 2 of the three lines of \”three strand\” cut though. Of course the locals don\’t care if your boat breaks loose, tough luck. They just want their mooring fee! We anchored near the entrance and it was on coral rubble plate. I dove the anchor and realized the holding was marginal at best. The next morning we had slipped about 100 feet. I don\’t think any anchor in the world wouldn\’t have and our \”Rocna\” is (as far as I\’m concerned), the best anchor ever designed!
The other thing of note here is that it\’s a local day trip spot that does a lot of cooking on the beach. The flies were legendary! I\’ve never seen so many.
We left early the next morning with intention of staying the night at Clifton Bay on Union Island. The trip was another very short motor and we did a grand tour of the bay. It was again, way too crowded, bouncy and frankly, town looked more than a little bit run down. As such, we decided to sail all the way back to Bequia which as it turned out, was our favorite Grenadine.
The wind was a bit close, so we motor sailed some of the way, arriving back at the same mooring we were on off the \”Gingerbread Hotel\”. We went ashore that night to Papa\’s Bar which had a big crowd watching the Super Bowl. We spent a leisurely day including a dinghy ride to \”Jack\’s Bar\” on Princess Margaret Beach for lunch. We enjoyed our time in the Grenadines (despite the crowds) but were anxious to head to St. Vincent, about a 12 mile trip to the north.
Next, our arrival in St. Vincent, touring and our hike up the Soufriere Volcano.
Scott and Nikki