St. Vincent…..

February 4th – 8th, 2014 (-4 on UTC)


Dear F&F,

We had a bit of a bumpy departure from Bequia to St. Vincent for the short trip to the \”Blue Lagoon\”.
Blue Lagoon is an enclosed reef with a very shallow entrance on the south side of St. Vincent. The trip was only a few hours and it was nice to get inside the lagoon for rest on a nice mooring. This would be our main base for exploring as it was close to the Capital (Kingston) and very secure.
The shopping was just so so, but we\’re well stocked and that\’s not of much concern…..yet!

We took the dinghy for a tour of the area and went to Duvernette Island where the English placed cannons for defense on top of the very steep cliffs. The island is only a 3 minute dinghy ride around and about 250 feet high, but very secure defense for aiming down on unsuspecting ships. These were placed in the late 18th century and used primarily as defense against the \”Caribs\” who were very fierce and warlike; presenting the largest obstacle for European colonization of the Eastern Caribbean.

Just shoreward of Duvernette, was Young Island. This is a fairly exclusive resort that Bill Gates apparently rented out once upon a time. We had some nice drinks a mini tour of the island and it\’s facilities. Most of the island is cliffs, but the resort has a very protected nice stretch of white sand beach. A dinghy dock was a nice feature and their welcoming of \”yachties\” to use the restaurant. We met an M.D. from the US who was here as a volunteer surgeon in the local hospital. We\’ve met lots of volunteers around the world. They volunteers are always interesting, do great work and meeting them enhances our voyage.

The next day we hired a car and drove up to Georgetown on the windward coast to do the Soufrierre volcano hike. Soufriere in French means \”a place of sulfer\”. There are several volcanos in the Caribbean referred to as \”The Soufriere\”. Their is a new international airport being built along this shore as the current airport is a bit dodgy and cannot take the long haul aircraft. As we approached roads end to begin a bit of a climb up the lower east side of the volcano, we went over several detours and washed out bridges. This was the result of a short duration late season tropical storm on Christmas Eve.

We were told to drive to the parking lot and our guide \”Butcher\” would meet us. He was not as threatening as his name sounds! Quite a nice chap. This approach to the volcano is the easy way. A four hour round trip hike through the rain forest to the top. These mountain tops are often in the clouds and unfortunately, we picked a very cloudy day. Nonetheless, it was quite an exciting hike and I literally walked the bottom off my tennis shoes. I ended the hike in the tops of the shoes with my socks completely on the ground (photos to follow when I can!).

The hike was in the mist and the river was flowing, but not too much. When we got above the canopy, the rain came and believe it or not, we were freezing cold! Yeah, I know it sounds strange. The temperature in the forest was a humid 85 deg F. The top of the volcano\’s rim was about 60 deg F. Add the wind and rain and you quickly see the problem of wearing shorts and light shirts. When we got to the top, we were clouded out. We could see perhaps 100 feet down from the rim. We were told that on a clear day, you could see the existing lava dome forming and a bit of steam. A few people told us you can see where the lava is close to the surface. The hike from the leeward (west side) is apparently 6 hours round trip and quite steep. It was hard enough as it was!

After the excitement of the day, we decided to move on to Kearton\’s Bay, home of the \”Rock Side Cafe\”. Just before we left, we did a quick breakfast at the Cobblestone Inn in downtown Kingston. The experience was lovely and the most interesting thing was….there is NO PARKING anywhere. When they designed town, they literally forgot about where to put the cars. As such, it\’s a hodgepodge and quite daunting as we had to park inbetween two open drainage ditches in the middle of more than a great deal of traffic.

We checked out Walliabou Bay first, but all the mooring were taken or too close to each other and the anchorage was very deep. As such, we moved back around the corner to the Rock Side Cafe. The cafe is owned by Orlando and Rosi (Rosie). Rosie is an expat from Germany and Orlando a local chap. Due to the tightness of the mooring field, we had to tie up bow and stern. Only one other boat was there, he too from Germany. They knew friends Nancy and Burger Zapf of s/v \”Halekai\”. We enjoyed the meal and had a lovely nights rest. Just before dark, we had a customs vessel come by to check papers. A first in the Caribbean.

The next day, we dinghied around the corner to Walliabou Bay. This is the bay where the last \”Pirates of the Caribbean\” film was shot. There is a kitschy museum with the memorabilia and we took a few photos which would look familiar if you watched the film. The town was worth the hour we spent there. Their dock was severely damaged from a Hurricane in 2008, so it was a bit tricky getting in and out of the dinghy.

We decided to move on to the final bay, Chateaubelair, before our trip to St. Lucia. We anchored in the north side of the bay with several other boats who had the same plans as we did. The checkout ashore was very simple, but landing was not! Their town dock was also wiped out in 2008. I anchored the dinghy off the dock and Nikki stayed with it while I scampered up the dock and took our boat papers. The customs gal met us at the dock and asked why \”my daughter\” wasn\’t coming ashore? Nikki got a kick out of that! We were approached by a local guy (Boy Boy) with fruits and veg to sell. He made an arduous shore hike to get near the boat almost a half mile from where we met him. We took the dinghy to the beach where we bought Limes, coconut, nutmeg and papaya for 20EC (about 7$US). Boy Boy saw the stainless steel wheel struts and big tires I have on the dinghy and was insistent that he wanted to buy them. Right then and there!
I told him I needed them and he could look at them and copy the design with a local welder. He really wanted to buy them. He asked how much, so I flippantly said 1000.00 US. He didn\’t seem too dissuaded, but I again quickly re-iterated that I needed them and they weren\’t for sale. Yes, there are strange happenings out here in cruising land…:-)

The anchorage was tropical with high cliffs completely covered in jungle. There were goats and cows running wild and we could here them along with the ubiquitous tree frogs that have an unusual high pitch and are everywhere in the Caribbean.

We had a charter boat anchor right on top of our anchor and fortunately, the next morning had just enough room to clear his boat when we picked it up.
The winds were up and we had a blustery 25 mile sail to Soufriere, St. Lucia. The arrival there is breath taking with the Grand and Petite Pitons. More on that in our next installment.
Stand by!

At the time of this writing, I\’m behind. We have been onward to St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua and Barbuda! We are currently back in Antigua in a very private and calm bay with emerald green water; gin clear. We think our next stop will be to Montserrat.

I\’l try and catch up as quickly as we can, internet allowing!
Scott and Nikki (Ten Pound Bay, Green Island, Antigua)