We have spent a very enjoyable week with Patsy and Roger (Lindsay’s sister and brother-in-law from Australia). We hired a car last Monday to pick them up from the airport at the southern end of St Lucia. The drive across the middle of the island and then down to the capital of Vieux Fort gave us a glimpse of the interior and the fishing villages on the wilder west coast. It was all very luxuriant with bananas everywhere, unsurprisingly since it is the main earner apart from tourism.
The next day we left the marina and its sophisticated ambience and had a lovely little 2 hour sail down the west coast of St Lucia to spend a night on a buoy in pretty Marigot Bay. We did the same thing the next day to Soufriere where we admired the most famous landmarks in St Lucia, the tall, spiky “Pitons” which rear straight out of the sea (below).
On Thursday (March 14th), we had a longer sail down to the first of the Grenadine islands, Bequia (pronounced Beckway). We left at 8am and after an hour’s motoring had a lively sail across to St Vincent and along its windward coast. Its main (and active) volcano was hidden in cloud but we had good views of the rugged interior and the numerous little settlements that spread along the coastline. We had decided not to stop on St Vincent but head to Bequia which came highly recommended. After a final 2 hour motor, we took a buoy in Admiralty Bay off the main little town of Port Elizabeth at 4pm. The bay was incredibly busy with hundreds of boats and was a bit of a disappointment to us after all we had heard and read, but we warmed to the place later after going ashore and discovering its waterside restaurants and bars! After a meal in one of them called “Whaleboner” (the islanders used to be excellent whalers), we strolled along the beach front and found where the local young males were dancing and smoking quite a lot of dope whilst listening to a DJ playing loud techno music. Meanwhile, the tourists were treated to the usual Bob Marley hits plus a bit of old calypso.
We spent the following day in the same spot and had a good walk across the island to a so-called “turtle sanctuary” run by a Bequian. We suspected his wildlife credentials and whether he was really doing anything useful to help the turtle population, but accepted that he had “raised awareness of the conservation issues amongst the islanders”. On the walk we passed some lovely, landscaped homes and deserted beaches (below) so it was worth the trip. That evening our meal ended with a bowl of soursop ice-cream which we had been wanting to try for some time. It was a great flavour and we hope to have it again somewhere.
On Saturday we had a short and windy motor to the south of Bequia where we escaped the crowds in Friendship Bay. It was lovely to share the bay with only 2 other boats and we had a great swim to shore in the afternoon and a walk/run along the beach. When we arrived the local lads were playing cricket by the water’s edge which added to the scene. En route there, our guest, Roger showed off his considerable fishing skills by catching us 2 fish for supper – wonderful!
We are now on the famous privately owned island of Mustique (above) which we reached yesterday morning after a fast hour’s sail. We took a mooring buoy in the stunning bay here with its incredibly clear turquoise waters and really felt we had found paradise. A fantastic snorkel with gorgeous colourful fish everywhere in these protected waters, only added to this conviction. We had a very interesting walk around the island’s salt lagoon which has been carefully conserved for the wildlife and eco system to flourish and were impressed by what we saw and the efforts taken here to look after the island’s natural resources. Lindsay was just a bit disappointed not to spot one of the local wild tortoises however!
We have been pleasantly surprised by how welcoming this place is and not at all snooty to us offshore visitors. After all, the island is home to about 100 villas which dot the hills around and start at around 10 million dollars a pad. We joined the crowd of locals and yachties in the famous Basil’s Bar (below) which sits out over the water and sampled their rather strong cocktails whilst people watching and taking in the views. >From here, when we can tear ourselves away, we will move on to some of the other Grenadines including the Tobago Cays which are said to be stunning. We will let you know if we agree!