13:00.240N 61:14.586W BEQUIA
19 February 2007, Monday
Went with John and Duncan to Kathy and Daniel s for coffee and biscuits in the morning. They were on the pontoon for a few days for maintenance work, so needed some cheering up. It rained all day and we came into the bar and I left the boys to it. They actually went back and cooked some of those pies I have been donating all over the Caribbean.
20 February 2007, Tuesday
I went to the shops early, as they shut at 12 in this carnival week. Stopped off at John s for a cup of tea on the way back with croissants. John cut my hair with a shaver, I wanted ½ “ off, but I have been left with ½ “ on, (Irish – say no more). It is very short, luckily he left the fringe, so it is ok. I then went to Jim s for another cup of tea and to deliver the loaf I had bought for him, less the slices I had donated to John. After waiting for the rain to stop, it was off to the bar for the internet again. Sad though we are, all sitting here with computers. When I went back to the dinghy pontoon, Jim s dinghy was deflated on one corner and the outboard was about to go under.
21 February 2007, Wednesday
I checked on Jim and his dinghy and then headed in to check out for an early start tomorrow. Then once more to the shops to buy stuff for the BBQ tonight on Duncan s boat, which is out at St Annes. Moved the boat out to St Annes, so did John and Daniel and Kathy. Afternoon start to the BBQ and carried on into the night, much too much food, but the boys can cope with that.
22 February 2007, Thursday
Up and ready for an early start to Bequia. I said I would do pancakes for breakfast, but there was a decided lack of awake bodies. Duncan took Lucille into the marina and roused Grover at 9. Everybody had things to do and it was difficult to say whether they were holding me up or the other way round. Then Kathy and Daniel came over to say goodbye and John wanted to get the photos off my camera, so it was time for another cup of tea. Kathy gave me a packet of biscuits, not any biscuits. These were the nice Breton ones, the last packet in the supermarket, probably my last packet before returning to the UK. I felt really guilty, but Daniel and Kathy are hiring a car on Friday to go to Carrefour to buy more biscuits, they may also take the opportunity to tour the island.
John was going to take photos of my boat under full sail as I went out. Duncan came to steer while I got the anchor up and the sails out. I got the dinghy aboard and the anchor up and Sandra told John that he needed batteries for the camera; slight delay, a good thing his boat was out here. I tidied the rope, but in haste I pulled the wrong end only to see the unattached end up above the spreaders. Duncan offered to climb up and retreive the rope all we needed was a spare rope up the mast to tie him to; but the dangling end WAS my spare rope up the mast. The only alternative was to take off the topping lift, which meant cutting off the knot after 3 years under stress. Duncan valiantly climbed and John stoically winched him, both extremely well done under normal circumstances and, considering the night before, quite impressive. Duncan was not allowed down until he had turned to the camera and smiled, this was more difficult than you would believe and I hope to see the photos soon.
Having saved the rope it was time, again, for the off. My whole organised routine for departure was falling apart, I usually do one thing at a time and the main goes out last when I am well clear of everything and in deep water. Noon start and I was under full sail, doing over 5 knots in under 5 metres of water. I hope there are some good pictures. It was a long way out of the bay before the water started to go over 5 metres and as the seabed dropped so did the wind.
Wthin 2 hours the wind had disappeared and I needed to top the batteries up anyway, so I put the engine on and motor sailed. I put the watermaker on and, using the bucket to bucket method, filled the tank and about 30 litres in bottles. Having crossed from Martinique to St Lucia I had to decide whether to anchor for the night, Pidgeon Island was my only chance otherwise I had to go on. I decided to continue through the night.
I do not like the dinghy on the coachroof as it is over the solar panel and in front of the baby stay is better, although I have to prepare early and get it out of the way to anchor. When it was getting dark I moved in to the dinghy for the night watch. This is a very good position, right at the front to see lobster pot markers, boats and rocks; the cockpit cushions make it quite comfy. The navigation light shone on the inside of the genoa, this was a nuisance to me, so I tightened the genoa sheet and it was on the outside. When the wind was really light the genoa started to flap, which is not good for it, and it kept slapping me on the side of the head, so it was put away. It was very cold and I had already resorted to socks, but that was not enough, what I needed was a duvet cover; a wave over the front would not have been welcome. I had to make sure I did not nod off. At one point the engine sounded like it was about to stop and so I changed over to the main tank, I must check the auxilliary tank to see if it is empty. I must also check the pre-fuel filter and the oil, some things just will not wait for Trinidad.
Just before 1am, near the end of St Lucia the wind picked up. There is no excuse for motoring between the islands. I checked the batteries and even after hours of running they were down to 10v, I am going to have to investigate this too before Trinidad. The state of the batteries meant that I could not use the autopilot I would have to use the wind steering and would have just enough power for the nav lights. The current and the strong gusts meant that I had to hand steer to stay on course for St Vincent. It was really quite busy with yachts passing and one cruise liner. I had to cross in front of the liner, or wait and go behind it. The radar was not working, I do not know whether it was low battery power or wiring, but that too can be investigated in Trinidad. That meant I could not use the MARPA, which would have told me how far off and how fast the liner was going and in how many minutes we would collide. I crossed in front anyway and the moment when you can see the bow and both nav lights is always a worrying one, but it was ok. I would not have liked to have been much closer, but even that would have only meant him turning a degree to starboard to miss me, that is assuming that he had seen me. Steering kept me awake until I had got to St Vincent and was secretly hoping for the island to block the wind. 5am I got my wish and was justified to put the engine on and the autopilot. 6.30 I had no wind and had to put the sails away.
St Vincent is green and very mountainous and sparsely populated on the West side and it was very dark with few lights. I stayed a couple of miles out until daylight. There were a few bays with anchored yachts and soon it was very busy with yachts going up or down the islands. 9am I reached the channel between St Vincent and Bequia and the wind picked up to 20 knots. I put the genoa out and sailed as close to the wind as I could to Bequia. The wind was still strong, but I had to turn right to get into Admiralty Bay and did not arrive until noon.
The boat boys were out trying to get me onto a buoy, 40EC$ a night or 30 a day for a week, the previous one had said 25, but I would anchor if I could. I anchored in 6.5 metres in the cheap seats, right at the end of the bay. There is a small secluded beach; ie cut off from civilisation and it is open to the West and the water is clear. I had a shower and put the outboard on the dinghy and set off for the formalities.
I could not get the outboard to work, which meant a long row against the wind into town. I parked the dinghy on the jetty and went to the bank and changed my euro notes to EC$; I still have 50 euros in change, as I should need them on the way back up in December. Then I went to customs and immigration. They are very efficient and it was easy. There are about 30 islands in the Grenadines, but I can now go between them without formalities until I check out in Grenada, when I will have to pay for how many nights I have been. I have paid for 7 nights, but at only just over £1 a night it is not expensive. I rowed back, but it was more of a drift with oar steering. Due to recent difficulties finding the boat I had taken special note of my surroundings. There was a huge square rigger in the bay and I was a couple of boats in front of that. They mush have waited for me to head into town and then left. That was annoying, but there was also what I imagine is going to be a beach bar when it is finished at this end of the beach and I am just in front of that and that had not moved in my absence. I was exhausted and by the time I had had a rest it was time for bed. I will eat properly tomorrow.
H, D not out. Under 5 m over 5 knots. Believed Duncan ok. Got sorted tramped out, wind dropped as depth increased. Motored, made water.sailed between islands. Early hours wanted wind to drop so I could motor. Just held out till daylight. Wind upto 20 to come in. Buoy 40 ec, 30 for week – other guy had said 25. Anchored in the cheap seats, right up end. Batteries problem, under 12 after hours of motoring. 12 Dinghy out, outboard on. Showr and set off for shore.o b not work, rowed,long and hard Bank changed euro to ec. Customs and imm easy check out in grenada, all other islands ok. Rowed back, spark plug? Sleep. Up in time to go to bed.