A dramatic evening in Bequia

Salsa af Stavsnas
Ellinor Ristoff Staffan Ehde
Sun 13 Jan 2013 00:17
As it became dark we started to prepare putting the kids to bed etc.
Suddenly the radio (VHF) is bursting with cry for help, the ferry between St Vincent and Bequia had caught fire as it entered Admirality bay.
I jumped in the dinghy with our handheld VHF and drove over to other side of the bay, there was no doubt there was a problem, lot's of smoke coming out of the back of the ferry. The sailing vessel Athos took command and a very calm experienced voice started to organize the rescue.
When I arrived to the ferry the scenery was dramatic, people could not get down to us, they had no life boats and thick smoke came out.
Soon somebody got a rope out and a lady started to let herself down painlessly slow. I suggested we should back off the dinghys (by then we where about 5-8) so people could jump in the water, but a women suggested that most probably cannot swim. Another rope came out and more dinghys filled up around. Somebody did jump in the water and climbed a dinghy. People started to throw their luggage on the dinghys below and we had to shout to stop it and soon I had three people in mine, one guy was huge so I did not dare to take any more people. They where very scared, and soon I could let them off ashore, they thanked and thanked but I just told them they where safe and took off for a second round.
Passed Salsa to get mor gas if I had to do a lot of rounds and did not want to end up in the darkness with no fuel.
As I approached the ferry again it was now empty on passengers and the crew had to stay on board. The sailing community did a great job in my opinion. It was a lot of luck thatt nothing happened between the islands and that the word came out so fast. The coast guard came from St Vincent and when they arrived everybody was safe ashore.
Other than that we had a great day taking a long walk to the other side of the island with two other Swedish families and a bunch of kids.
The theme today seemed to be collecting coconuts and drink them, and eat the cocos inside.
Regading the schedule and how long we can stay here, we have looked at it and it is not realistic to stay til next year and catch up later.
We have now to plan on moving south and then west towards Panama. Hopefully we can make it by passing Tobago and the ABC islands.