Ocean Science's blog
Fri 2 Mar 2018 22:43
Friday morning sees us in light winds en route to the neighbouring St Vincent island of Bequia, as different from Mustique as St Kitts is from St Barth (see January 2017 blog). We arrive; we are back in the real Caribbean again.
On the way we pass a British boat under sail with two young children being towed in the dinghy - what fun for them
We had spoken to this family late last night. Our jet boat on shore would not start and we would not have been able to get back to Ocean Science if they had not towed us out. There was a very heavy surge in the dock, but the family, including the two little girls, were completely unconcerned, leaping into the bucking boat. We had seen the girls before, when their yacht was at anchor, scampering up the lines like geckos. The boat was clearly a second home. Thank you Alastair, Melanie and girls.
Bequia is a proper boatie place. There are chandlers, and boats are still built here, a tradition that goes back a long way. Scots boatbuilders came here in 1800. And strangely, Bequia is one of the few places on earth that has a licence to take whales. The International Whaling Commission allows the islanders to take up to 5 humpback whales each year, provided they are killed in the traditional manner, with hand-thrown harpoons. The skills to enable this are dying out. Bequia is a flourishing and vibrant town, with markets and bars, along with various businesses connected with the sea.
We had already had some dealings with Bequia before we came here. Back on Mustique we got a tight-lipped “No, I won’t” from Mr Perkins when we turned the starter. Blocked fuel feed again. Nothing we could do – and there were lots of things tried – could persuade our lorry engine to leap into life, so we summoned a diesel engineer over from Bequia. This was Tyrone Caesar, who arrived piloted in a wicked speed boat with a javelin-sharp prow. Leaping on board he tried this and that, and then played a winning hand – a squirt of insect repellent and then brake disc cleaner into the fuel line. This was volatile enough to make a nice big bang when under compression, and the engine started to suck fuel. Thanks and bye bye Tyrone. And bye bye 800 US dollars.
The dock people at Bequia were as pleasant and helpful as could be. We had run out of water, and filled up – now no need to chuck a bucket of sea water to flush the heads (boatie word for loos). There was a big lump of debris floating near our hull, and it was steered away by the harbourmaster and pals using something that might have been a whaling harpoon. We got a nice stern-on mooring on the dock. Note the step-off box. I have never had one of those before.
A quiet lunch on the boat (what, we had to make our own lunch, whatever next?), then a mosey ashore to find a part for the generator cooling pump. Located at Pipers Marine chandlery and rigging shop,in a pleasing tangle of back streets. In fact his street is called Back Street. The shop is for sale. He had the part (an impeller). Glenn bought 3 of them.
And here is just one of the markets dotted around the place. More exploring to be done tomorrow, Typing this on Friday - the joint is starting to rock. I feel like an extra in a Bob Marley docudrama.