Sunday, July 19, 2015

St. Lucia to Bequia

With a favourable weather report for the next few days we prepared Mowzer to start moving south again, but not before the weather gods had one last kick at the can.  Thursday morning brought on the most intense storm we’ve seen so far with heavy rain, thunder and lightening.  I’m sure that just as we’ve acclimated to the heavier winds, we will get more used to this type of weather this summer but it feels pretty intense when it is so new to us.

Once again, we are so thankful for our heavy duty Rocna anchor and are reminded afresh of just what we need to do to stop a few drips and leaks around the place.

Our first stop down the coast of St. Lucia was Marigot Bay.  This palm-fringed hurricane hole has been described in the past by James Michener as one of the most beautiful bays in the Caribbean, and more recently as Mosquito Bay by a fellow bar patron.  I would have to say that both are correct.  The bay is surrounded by rainforest tumbling down the steep sides of the valley and despite the plethora of buildings also tumbling down those hills, the little lagoon is idyllic.  I also have a wonderful collection of most itchy bites from our one night spent in the anchorage.

Our "backyard" view in Marigot, with the sounds of soothing jazz wafting across the lagoon from Rainforest Hideaway - a restaurant on the edge of the water.

Before leaving we treated ourselves to a hike up to the ridge above the lagoon for some wonderful views of the surrounding area.

Should we not disturb the dog, or be cautious because there is a bull mastiff?  Regardless we saw no evidence of the scary beast so on we proceeded.

I might need a few more rum punches before diving becomes a risk.

And up we go... note the solid ropes for hauling ourselves straight up this trail.

Yucca's in bloom.

Slip-sliding down one of the slopes.
Location or instruction?

Lots of choice at Fork Thomas, which way to go?

We headed to the lookout and were rewarded with this beauty of the lagoon and the beach.

On the descent we entered the Oasis development, a quiet haven of tropical lushness.

This little funicular awaited to glide us to the bottom of the hill.

Down, down, down we went...

And once at the bottom headed back to Mowzer in the lagoon.

We then moved on once again just a little skip down the coast to Anse La Raye for the night and preparation for a travel day on Saturday.  This would lead us past the southern end of St. Lucia. past the island of St. Vincent and into The Grenadines with Bequia (pronounced Bek-way) at the northern end of the island chain.

Sunrise saw us lifting the anchor and as we headed south the magnificent pitons came into view.  Under some wispy cloud and the morning sun these iconic hills rise up as a protective bastion, not unlike something seen in Lord of the Rings!

Sunrise? Sunset?  This one is sunrise just as we're leaving Anse La Reye.

In the growing light we discovered the flying invasion we gained overnight.

The Pitons coming into focus.

With the sun risen just above the tip of Petit Piton to create the most majestic effect.

As the day unfolded so too did the most perfect sailing day.  We had 60 nautical miles (111 km) planned with the passage to St. Vincent, down the coast and then a shorter, but more notorious passage to Bequia.  I guess many others had the same idea as we saw numerous boats making the same passage.  Our patience of the last few days had paid off with the seas settled to just 3-4’ and the winds in the 15-20 knot range.

No pictures of us today, but this boat is the a sistership and looks quite happy in these seas.

The last jaunt had us arriving around The Devil’s Table and even the notorious Bequia Blast was settled to a sedate ‘blow’.

After 11 hours to the dot we arrived in Bequia with the anticipation of a few weeks of exploration in the islands know as The Grenadines.  This chain spans the distance between St. Vincent and Grenada and like the BVI is a huge cruising ground for charter boats.  Pulling into the anchorage last night we felt like we’d arrived back in a cruising haven with so many boats in the anchorage.  Our arrival beer after checking in with Customs & Immigration however was had at Papa’s Bar with a couple of local business owners who gave us the quick run-down on the local scene.  Fun getting the inside scoop from a British ex-pat and a guy from New Jersey who both run businesses in this small Caribbean enclave which sounds like small-town politics on steroids.

Arrival beer and wifi - ahhhh, got all the bases covered :-)