New Year in Mustique
29:12.11, 12:52.65N 61:11.37W
We decided to spend New Year in Mustique – the retreat of the rich and famous (but scruffy boat folk are allowed too).
Mustique is a pretty small island – you can walk from one end to the other in a day. It is privately owned although part of the St Vincent Grenadines and it is managed by the ‘Mustique Company’ – it’s been like this since about the sixties. So – a little different to Bequia and the other islands across the Antilles. Good news that they are happy for yachts to visit though still – it isn’t like a gated community.
It is a strange island though. The south side has been left a lot to nature and has some nice trails. The far north is a bit dominated by the Cotton House Hotel and its grounds and is more ‘kept’ and much less wild. There are about 90 large villas on the island, plus the Cotton House Hotel, a guest house and a beach bar (Basil’s). Apart from the rest is nice but a bit like toy town – there is a police station, a school, a church and a few little shops – bakery, couple of boutiques for swimwear and house stuff, little veg stall and a general grocery. Also a ‘fising camp’, a very small airport for light aircraft only and a village – but it is all perfectly manicured and kept.
We had to pay to stay there – luckily for us we arrived early enough to pick up a mooring buoy in the bay as anchoring was proven to be difficult by all the yachts that tried! – about £50 gets you 3 nights in the bay, still – that is only the price of staying on a mooring on the isle of Wight! But to visit was worth it.
We spent one day hiking over the south and east side of the island – the contrast between the Caribbean and Atlantic coast is amazing.
Below – the Caribbean beach in the bay where we stayed – of course, it was raked and tidied every day by the staff who live in the ‘village’ in Mustique. .. .
The east coast is rugged cliffs and cacti.
Tortoises are everywhere on Mustique. Walking through the village we saw a car doing a 3 point turn. . . horror – tortoise In the road. I had to shout ‘TORTOISE!!!’ - the passenger got out and picked up the offending reptile, depositing it unceremoniously on the grass by the road.
Tortoise on the path. . .
There are a few cars on Mustique, not many – most people drive around in souped up golf carts and little electric cars, but this means the roads that do exist are very quiet so it is nice for walking about.
We walked to the north side of the island and past the cotton house on NY eve and saw how the other half live. The Hotel Grounds are very beautiful but quite un-caribbean – huge lawns with lily ponds down to the little white sand beach. Like an English country park not a Caribbean island. Happily though most of the island is left to do what it likes.
NY Eve we went to Basils’ – parked the dingy on the beach and had a great night as there was a live band on and lots of dancing to be had – really good evening. Basil's Bar below by day. . .
And the singer from the band leading the dancing in the evening - he looks very intense
Some excitement at about 1am – we went for a walk down the beach to get some fresh air and I though someone had a bonfire – it was acutally the contents of a little truck was alight and the owner had dumped it all by the road and was trying to put it out. Adam offered to help and at first the guy declined – but after carrying about 10 buckets of water from the sea he was knackered so accepted Adam’s second offer. Smart shorts were then soaked as Adam took over being chief bucket filler. I found another receptacle in a fishing boat and assisted. It was strange as about 15 people stood around and watched. Anyway – the fire was put out, and we returned to the bar stinking like bonfires. The chap came and found Adam about an hour later and got him a drink – it was after that drink I we had to go, 3 am and the last drink Adam’ had was more rum than anything else. Nice of the guy to bother to come and find Adam though and surprised he recognized him as it was really dark on the beach.
We had an interesting time launching our tender . . . I drove as I was less drunk but it took ages to find the boat – seemed like we went round every boat in the bay to find ours. I think the music from the bar finished at 6am.
Sailed back to Bequia today to do a couple more dives and refill with water etc. Mustique was definitely worth visiting – very pretty, if a bit too ‘kept’ in places but at least they are very welcoming of visitors and a great place to spend New Year hence the anchorage was packed. Not everyone has inflatable dingies for tenders . . . some people have helicopters. . .