Bequia to St. Lucia (finally) Feb 12 - 24, 2012


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Published: February 25th 2012
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Viewing the Rain from a DistanceViewing the Rain from a DistanceViewing the Rain from a Distance

One thing about the rain here in the Caribbean – you can definitely see where it is. Luckily this evening it was south of Bequia where we were anchored.
We enjoyed our final days in Bequia listening to live music at some of the local restaurants and did our last provisioning for the trip north. We figured we should stock up on what was known vs. the unknown in the stores on other islands (you know bird in the hand). We planned on going directly to St. Lucia, however, we had heard about Cumberland Bay on the island of St. Vincent and decided we had time to stop to see it for ourselves. We were glad we did! We thought we’d only stay overnight and continue on, but it was so nice we stayed an extra night.

Cumberland Bay is a very pleasant anchorage tucked among the mountains of St. Vincent. It is a beautiful setting and a nice calm anchorage. One of the tricky parts of it is that you need to anchor with your stern to the shore so a line can be taken and tied to a tree. This is done so you don’t rock side to side with the surge (very unpleasant). We still rocked a small amount (bow to stern), but it was not unpleasant. “Boat boys” come out to meet any boats that
Sailor on her PerchSailor on her PerchSailor on her Perch

Sailor has claimed this “perch” - she seems to enjoy just watching from this spot. Even when it rains she stays up here and can look out the window, but stay dry.
are approaching the bay to guide you to a place to anchor and then take your stern line to shore. We hear cruisers in the Caribbean complaining about “boat boys” being “pushy”, but we have always found them to be pleasant and helpful. Alphonso (our 51 year old boat boy) helped us in and tied our line securely to a palm tree near his house. This made it easy the morning we left as we set our departure time for 5:30AM and Alphonso was right there on time to untie our line. The charge for this service was 20 EC ($7.50US), well worth the money and it supports the local economy.

Soon after we got settled, we had 2 visitors – a German woman we had met in the Grenadines and Susie, a British woman who has sailed this area for 10 years and had recommended we stop here. That evening we went ashore to catch up with Susie and her crew member, Gill. It is always interesting to meet up again with those that you thought that you might not see again. Even though there are so many islands and anchorages in the area, we keep running into
The Lemmings are Coming!The Lemmings are Coming!The Lemmings are Coming!

Whenever we see these “party cruisers” loaded with people we say “the lemmings are coming!” It is amazing to see these come into an anchorage and then have everyone jump into the water. They seem to really pack a crowd on these as you can see.
many of the same people. It's always interesting that no matter how long it has been since you've seen these people you take up right where you left off in your friendships.

We found that the people that live in this area of St. Vincent are very friendly. The following day we found out it was going to be a wind-less day so decided to stay and hike up to the village nearby. This island, like most in the Caribbean is volcanic and in fact has a live volcano on it. The hills (or are they mountains?) are covered with lush vegetation and the villages are perch on top. Now, for people who sit on their boats, hiking is a challenge and hiking uphill is downright painful. Of course we do it as often as possible for just that reason; not the painful part, the exercise part. While hiking up to the village we ran into a woman that introduced herself to us as a farmer. The farming here is very labor intensive because the fields are all on the side of the hills so tractors are out of the question. She owns 4 acres of land and grows
Final Bequia SunsetFinal Bequia SunsetFinal Bequia Sunset

We keep trying to stop taking photos of these, but we still can’t get over how beautiful they are.
pineapples, pigeon peas, tomatoes and bananas. She was one of only a few we have seen that carried her load on her head reminding us of Botswana. She eagerly stopped to visit with us and even gave us some ideas of how to cook a few dishes while balancing her load on her head!

When we arrived in the village on the top of the hill, we could clearly hear the students at the school. We found out that it was their lunch break. One of the kids spotted us and soon we had a crowd around us. They asked us our names, where we were from and quickly gave us lots of hugs. This school is a primary school run by the Methodists. In talking to one of the 6th graders we found out that next year he will have to travel to Kingstown, a 1 hour ride to attend secondary school. He is 1 of only four six-graders in the whole school. We were assured that it isn’t a one room school type set up, but has walls to separate out the different grades. All the kids went “wild” when we got out our camera; we never
Meeting up with friendsMeeting up with friendsMeeting up with friends

Having a sundowner with new friends that we met in Bequia, Susie from Spirited Lady and Gill who is crewing with her. We met up with them when we came into the anchorage at Cumberland Bay on St. Vincent.
were able to get a “class-type” photo, only ones where the kids are “hamming” it up. It is obvious that kids are kids the world over. When we decided to continue our hike, the kids started giving us big hugs and telling us that we were their friends for life. As we walked away, Bob mentioned that if we decided to ever stay on one of the islands for some time, we could probably find a place for ourselves working in a local school but not at the elementary school level – he couldn’t handle the noise level (our hats off to you again Margarete).

We continued to hike up past the school and were rewarded with fabulous views of both Cumberland Bay and the mountains toward the interior. The island is quite impressive and we were pleased with how well we were welcomed by all that we met. We know that there have been stories of “security issues” in St. Vincent which has kept many cruisers away. We are glad that we didn’t listen to old information and had a great time visiting with the people of St. Vincent. We have learned that we have to be careful
Bananas EverywhereBananas EverywhereBananas Everywhere

Bananas plantations are quite prevalent on St. Vincent. These appear to be plantains which are served cooked.
when we listen to cruisers, the word-of-mouth network is not always accurate and unfortunately bad news takes forever to die. Case in point: before arriving in one harbor we were warned by cruisers that there had been an attack on a boat where the captain had been badly beaten up and the woman he was with threatened with assault. After we arrived and talked to a few people we found out that in fact the boat had been anchored in the bay for a long time and the assault was a result of a long time local dispute involving the woman and was not directed at “cruisers” at all. The entire time we were in that anchorage we had nothing but positive experiences with extremely pleasant people eager for us to enjoy our visit to their home. We must say we have found positive information to be far more accurate.

We took time to enjoy one of the beach bars and restaurant. There are a couple of them located in this Bay, but we chose to visit Mama Elma’s. The first night we were there we went in to have sundowners with people we had met earlier. When we
Walking her goat?Walking her goat?Walking her goat?

This woman is not really walking her goat – she is moving her from one grazing area to another
were ready to leave, we both received hugs from Mama Elma herself! The next day when we finished our walk up to the hilltop village we returned around 2pm and decided to stop at her place to see if she served lunch. We were told that she did and we could have anything on the menu. We were treated to a delicious freshly cooked meal that was fit for a king and big enough for an army! At one time she came out to apologize for how long it was taking to make, but assured us that every dish is made up fresh. We definitely didn’t mind the wait as we had a fabulous view of the bay and it was a great place to rest. Not only was the food great but we had enough that we didn’t have to cook dinner that evening – a real bonus!

5:30AM the next day we left Cumberland Bay and sailed to St. Lucia. We originally planned on going to one of the anchorages farther south on the island, but once we got sailing we decided to continue on to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. The wind was good, the waves were
How old is she??How old is she??How old is she??

We were very impressed with this 61 year old farmer. She had walked to her 4 acres of land and picked tomatoes which are what she was carrying on her head. She keeps her age very well and was very friendly and willing to stop and chat.
big, and we had a wet and wild ride. We saw two fin whales headed south which was exciting. In the past we have seen dolphins and humpbacks but these were our first fin whales. We put down the anchor at 4:45PM, it was a long day, but it was good to get to Rodney Bay.

Remember from an earlier blog that we had problems with our credit card. Well, as we never received the ones in Bequia we asked for them to be sent to Rodney Bay. We went to shore and found out our Fed Ex package was there. We were so happy until we opened it and found that the bank sent 1 and not 2 as we had ordered. Luckily we had some extra time here so back on the phone to straighten this out. A week later the 2nd card came so we are now all set! One of the extra tasks that we had with this mix up from the bank was that we now had to change all of our auto-pays. All has been accomplished and hopefully we won’t have this problem again. It is hard enough to do this when you
Lush Vegetation HereLush Vegetation HereLush Vegetation Here

The island of St. Vincent is very lush and is very mountainous as you can see.
are in the US, but when you have to call using Skype and there isn’t a good connection this type of business takes a bit longer. Oh well, all has been accomplished. The other major task was to find someone to take care of Sailor while we return to the US. Luckily we found someone that works at the marina that is willing to do this. That was definitely a load off our mind (of course any that know us are aware it was more of a worry of Janice and not Bob!) With extra time in St. Lucia we went by bus to Castries, the capital city which has a great market for fruits and veggies. As always we enjoyed walking around and visiting with the vendors and buying great fresh produce.

Every Friday night in Gros-Islet (the village located at Rodney Bay) has a fish fry and "jump up" so checked that out. It was great to see that there was quite a mix of locals and cruisers enjoying the food and festivities. One thing we knew was that the music was going to be loud from the anchorage. We found it much more fun to be
Fording the streamFording the streamFording the stream

From the anchorage you need to ford this stream to get to the road. Luckily it isn’t too deep and it is very refreshing.
there enjoying it in person than listening to only the base notes. Bob was fortunate that one of our friends was willing to share a very large lobster tail with him - he was in heaven!

We knew that our good friends, Denise and Jean-Pierre, from Montreal were at the neighboring island of Martinique. A bonus was that Steve & Lynn from Celebration were anchored at St. Anne as well. We figured that we could afford to leave St. Lucia for a couple of days to visit both couples. You might wonder how we know where our friends are. We have a SSB (single –sided band) radio on board which is used for long distance communication and every morning there is a cruisers net called the Coconut Telegraph. The purpose of this net is to help cruisers stay connected with each other. At 8AM each morning we tune into the Coconut Telegraph and check in by calling in our boat name, the names of people on board and our location. In this way you can find out where various friends are located and if you wish you can ask to speak to them. On Tuesday, February 21st we left
A Place to Roost at NightA Place to Roost at NightA Place to Roost at Night

We were fortunate to be anchored next to a tree used every evening by egrets and blue herons. What a great view and sound we had to listen to at dusk.
St. Lucia and headed north to Martinique. We had a pleasant 5 ½ hour sail to St. Anne’s. The winds and seas were going to pick up later in the week so we would left have to leave on Thursday to return to St. Lucia. It was definitely a short trip so didn’t explore the area at all. The purpose of our trip was to catch up with friends and we accomplished that. We even got a chance to meet some new people, Brigitte and Michel on Sea Kite. They are Canadians that own the same type of boat that we have (only newer) so had a great visit with them as well. While at St. Anne’s’ we did get to shore a couple of times. The first night we got a chance to see some of the Carnival parade (the celebration last for 4 days and we were there for Fat Tuesday which had the theme of red devil) and ate some local foods while the next morning we got coffee, croissant and Pain au Chocolatfor breakfast. It is after all a French island so we had to indulge! Bob figured he would go to shore the morning of
Flowers EverywhereFlowers EverywhereFlowers Everywhere

Flowers seem to grow like weeds around her e – we saw these climbing up the fence while on our walk at Cumberland Bay.
our departure to have just one more croissant, but he decided that he really could survive until we return after coming back from the US. Such willpower!

We are now safely back in St. Lucia with some time before we fly back to the US. We hate the thought of digging out winter clothes and suitcases, but it is a job that needs to be done. Needless to say, those are in “DEEP” storage so we will have tear the boat apart getting to those hidden areas under our bed and quarter berth. As always on a 40 foot sailboat when you get into one area, it definitely has a major impact on the other areas. We will tackle that job in the next few days.

Shortly after getting back to the US Janice will have surgery on her wrist and as she has been designated the “blog master” by Bob (Bob’s editorial note: Janice of course has completely forgotten about the fact that in the beginning he did the blogs until one day he made a comment about her sitting back and eating bonbons while he was working in the bilge - that was the end of
Hill or Mountain?Hill or Mountain?Hill or Mountain?

They call the village at the top of the “hill” Coulls Hill – we teased them that it should be called Coulls Mountain. It really wasn’t a bad hike, just quite a change from being on a sailboat – always good to stretch those leg muscles.
him doing the blog) you probably won’t be getting another blog update for some time. Bob may be dragged kicking and screaming once again out of the bilge to fill in, but don't hold your breath. We wish you all the best and will be back in touch after Janice’s wrist is back to “normal” and we are back in the Caribbean.


Additional photos below
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School lunch breakSchool lunch break
School lunch break

The kids at the school spotted us walking by. They were on their lunch break and we were surrounded by them – we walked away with lots of new friends and we got great hugs from them all.
PineapplesPineapples
Pineapples

As you can see they use as much of the land as possible for farming even if it is on an incline. This is a field of pineapple being grown by the woman we met on the road.
LandscapingLandscaping
Landscaping

The houses in Coulls Hill were well maintained and many took pride in their landscaping.Most of these plants we recognize from dish gardens back home!
The sun was perfectThe sun was perfect
The sun was perfect

The sun helped in showing off the yellow tube sponges.
More sightsMore sights
More sights

We saw quite a lot of brain coral (in front), many feather dusters (segmented worms) as well as brilliantly red coral.
More SnorkelingMore Snorkeling
More Snorkeling

We got in some great snorkeling while at Cumberland Bay, St. Vincent. There was quite a bit to see and the water was great.
No, not moon rocksNo, not moon rocks
No, not moon rocks

No, those aren’t moon rocks – we saw lots of these coral while snorkeling.


26th February 2012

You guys...
...have no idea how much I admire you. Living la vida. Que bueno!!!!
5th March 2012

Love your blog
I love reading about your adventures. Good luck toJanice with surgery .
24th August 2012
What a hill top village

nable string
thank you very much for that photo.

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