St Lucia to Grenada

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Sun 15 Apr 2007 23:15

To my surprise and great pleasure the computer battery arrived from China.  As soon as the quoted delivery time was up I penned a rather querulous mail to the Chinese supplier, expecting it to get lost in the ether.  By return I received a charming reply from Amy advising me in so many words to keep calm, all was under control, just make enquiries at my local post office.  I took a copy up to the marina office to ask what to do about it.  The lady took one look and fished out a ticket from under the counter which had arrived an hour earlier.  The package was waiting for me at the central post office in Castries.  Hooray!  Another happy E-Bay experience.


We fitted the new g.p.s. and installed the chart for the Caribbean.  It works a treat and will provide a very comforting back-up.  The Pacific charts were out of stock at the Florida supplier so are being sent on to a friendly company in Grenada.


Farewell to Rodney Bay marina


From Rodney Bay we sailed to Bequia (Beck Way), the largest island of the Grenadines and part of St Vincent and the Grenadines.  Everybody advised that this island was not to be missed and we had high hopes. It certainly has some good features but the anchorage was rather breezy and roly and we were given poor service twice within half an hour of getting ashore.  We realise that these things are very subjective, depending often on the weather or our mood.


One activity of interest was the Easter regatta; a local event very reminiscent of the small regattas that used to be held all round the shores of the UK in the 1950s and 1960s.  This one included a class of twenty or so local boats - double-enders with a large sail area demanding considerable athleticism from the crews.  In so many places where we yachties turn up the locals provide invaluable services without taking part or apparently having much idea of what makes us tick.  In Bequia at any rate there is a keen competitive sailing tradition among the locals that was a real pleasure to watch.


Easter Regatta Local Double-Enders


We stayed four days and then sailed to Clifton harbour, Union Island, the jumping off port for trips to the Tobago Cays.  The harbour is rather utilitarian but bustles with comings and goings and boasts a good French restaurant.  Cheek kissing all round and excellent service.  We liked it even though I fell in.  I was climbing down into the dinghy from a rather high jetty when the slippery boat nipped underneath just as I was transferring my weight.  A French speaking charter party leapt to our aid and hauled me out of the drink and into the dinghy by my belt.  It was good to be the cause of so much innocent merriment.  Ho ho!


To check out of St Vincent and the Grenadines you visit customs and immigration at the airport.  A large notice is fixed to the wall declaring that SVG does not permit commercial flights in single engine aircraft and therefore does not regulate the maintenance of such aircraft.  Anyone taking a commercial flight in a single engine aircraft does so at their own risk.  In spite of dodgy dinghies sailing seems safer.


Now we are anchored in Prickly Bay, on the south coast of Grenada.  Hurricane Ivan took a terrible toll here in September 2004 in an area that was thought to be outside the dangerous box; the previous hurricane to strike Grenada had been in the 1950s.  The island was devastated, the prime minister’s house destroyed and the prison so damaged that most of the prisoners escaped.  The two marinas in this bay were terribly damaged with most of the boats on the hards thrown over.  Superficially all is getting back to normal now but we met people who were still carrying out repairs to their boats.  Apparently, local houses are still missing their roofs and a taxi driver told us that the cost of basic building materials had doubled in the last two years.


We have found a new capacitor for the generator and the electronic charts are waiting at Fed-Ex.  Mags is going diving tomorrow and has been doing some serious swotting.  We then hope to meet up with Alex and Joy who are due to sail from Trinidad on Kormoran of Dart.  However, they are currently weighed down with “electro-mechanical troubles”.  We know all about that!