21 Feb 2012
As planned we stayed one night at Admiralty Bay. Not a very scenic place, more of a bus stop to us. Customs and Immigration were very nice is allowing us to check in and out in one visit as long as we left in the morning. We knew we needed to head north to avoid the worst winds and seas, a day sooner would have been nicer but we hated to miss out on some places like Petit St Vincent. So we dropped the mooring and headed out. Set the mainsail at about half and set a ¾ genoa. Getting out past the lee of the island took a little while but once out we had great sailing. 20 knot winds in the right direction and seas were about 6 feet (2 meters) but nice rhythm. The trip to the next island, St Vincent is short and we really travelled well. At times we were at 9.5 knots with a half reefed headsail and main. Nice pace and the boat just drove through the waves without much effort. As we approached St Vincent the winds dropped as expected but the seas remained large and now a bit of a pain. But once to the west of the island we had no waves and of course no wind as expected. So sails in and motor on to keep moving north.
As we began to round the northeast side the open sea had its way. Winds grew but really too much on our nose to really make progress unless we fell off a lot and headed too far west of St Lucia out target. At the northwest side of St Vincent the seas were huge, at least 3.5 meters (11 feet) and not a nice rhythm. Hull slapping and waves over the entire boat was the normal routine. We had not been in seas this large since the Bay of Biscay. We just continued to motor through it at 7 knots and forgot about any sailing. In this type of seas the damage to the sails and rigging is not worth the effort to sail. The motor is safer and less harrowing.
It took hours to get through the rough seas before we got in the lee of St Lucia near the Pitons. We were originally going to take a mooring again at the Pitons but this time with the rougher weather we decided to head to the Hurricane Hole called Marigot Bay. I called them yesterday and they had a spot for us. When we approached they responded immediately to the radio hail and helped us into the berth, a Med moor which we are very comfortable to us, unlike most North Americans. Marigot Bay is a postcard bay. It was used for several movies including Dr Doolittle and Blue Lagoon. The marina is small but well done. The resort hotel and the marina blend into the hillside. They even kept the mangroves in place and built the wharf outside the trees giving both a nice natural feel as well as preserving the benefits of the aquatic trees and fish breeding grounds. Great staff at the marina and they even give a nice welcome package.
Use of the five star hotel fitness center and small pool come with the berth. Several nice restaurants and cafes on the hotel grounds. Glad we came.
61 miles to get here in 8.5 hours. Totally salty boat that handled the seas very well and the sprayhood allowed me to never wear a raincoat, I did get a little wet but nothing bad at all. Pat was more practical and put on a light rain coat. Good design by Beneteau for this center cockpit and sprayhood.
Daffodil’s service vessel at Admiralty Bay in Bequia. Yes they deliver water, diesel and ice to your boat. Since some of the diesel is from Venezuela they filter it twice to deal with the poor storage tank quality. Obvious to a petroleum person they have little control over sulfur and cetane values but it does work fine in most marine diesels.
Marigot Bay from the second floor restaurant. This is the entrance to the marina and it provide great protection during storms including hurricanes. The marina can take huge vessels. While I thought it was tight, two 180 foot motor yachts came in as well as two 150 foot sailboats. The staff is great and knows where to place the boats as well as verifying depths with a long stick just like measuring the level in an underground gasoline or heating oil tank. Mooring lines are stout and the underwater concrete blocks are huge making it safe for these large boats. They have both 50 and 60 cycle electricity at most berths. Much better place than the Google maps or other websites would indicate. And it is quiet and calm, no ferries.
Just a quick shot of the marina village that has a small grocery store, laundry, boutiques, bank, cafes, bakery and WiFi.
My morning pest. He demands to be fed each morning, cashews in my case. If I do not know he is around he will fly through the open cockpit hatch and shout his presence. So I come up on deck and place a few broken cashews for him and his friends on the cockpit rail. This one is the most aggressive and will eat from my hand. He is a Lesser Antilles Bullfinch, St Lucia subspecies.