Leaving Port Louis was an adventure in itself as we’d been static for 6 months but as we left the marina Clive thought there was something wrong with the power. We anchored in the bay and I dived in to look at the propeller and it was covered in barnacles. Great! Clive got the dive gear out and set to work with a chisel and hammer so it was another hour before we finally set sail, at a greater speed.
We anchored for the first night in a sheltered bay further up the coast and then sailed over to Carriacou the next day where we met up again with Debbie and Stephen on Amelie. This island is part of Grenada so we checked out with customs before going to our next stop, Union Island which is part of St.Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Here we checked in with immigration and customs before settling down to enjoy the hospitality of the locals. We anchored off a coral reef where a very resourceful guy called Janty had made an island out of conch shells and built a bar ontop of it. The only way to reach the bar was by boat or to swim over to it. We spent a few hilarious nights there, Debbie ending up behind the bar making a rum punch for Stephen.
We needed a courtesy flag for SVG as our old one was in shreds. A tall, lanky guy called Charlie Brown offered to go and get one for us while we waited in one of the bars in town. When he finally turned up he wanted 40EC for the flag and 25EC for his walk! Clive haggled a bit before paying but that’s all part of the fun.
Here we met up with some friends from the UK who’d done the Atlantic crossing the same time as us last year. They’d left their boat out of water in St.Lucia for the hurricane season and were now heading south.
Once we were checked into SVG it gave us scope to go exploring the many islands of the country. The first was Petit St.Vincent which is an exclusive resort island. We anchored off the shore which was dotted with little thatched beach huts. We spent a couple of nights at anchorage there, eating at the Goatie’s Beach Bar which is a lot smarter than it sounds. We were even treated to an open air classic film night, 2,000 Leagues Under the Sea which was projected onto a huge inflatable screen on the beach.
Opposite was another tiny island called Petite Martinique which was only a short dinghy ride away and where we hoped to get some cash out from the bank. Slight problem, the bank was no longer there! We found a restaurant on the beach that opened up just for us one evening and a bar where we had a few rums and played dominos, otherwise there wasn’t much on the island. We went snorkelling off a reef and also dinghied over to a stretch of sand with a thatched umbrella on it. The place is called Mopion and quite tiny, I can’t really call it an island but it was very picturesque and ideal for snorkelling.
As we hadn’t been able to get any money out, due to the lack of a bank, we went back to Union Island for another night. We took the opportunity to stock up on diet cokes as I know from experience that a lot of the islands we’re going to revisit don’t have it.
We sailed around to the other side of the island to a very calm bay where I was able to get my paddle board out and go turtle spotting. It was the perfect location and we kayaked over on my paddle board for lunch at the beach bar. It was here that I was attacked by sand flies. I didn’t feel anything at the time but overnight I came out in a rash. They call them ‘no see ems’ over here. So just when we’d got rid of the mosquitoes we had another little flying menace.
Our next island was Mayreau where we anchored in Salt whistle Bay and then Saline Bay. We had an energetic walk around the deserted beach on the windward side, via the Last Bar Before The Jungle for a rum, and then up into town. We stopped off at another bar run by a friendly Rastafarian called Robert. He showed me and Debbie around the bar, kitchen, dance area and he was very proud as he’d built it all himself. We noticed in one of the side rooms there was a camp bed which he obviously slept on. I didn’t like to look but Debbie said his pillow was a pile of neatly folded clothes.
After a few days here we upped anchor and sailed over to Tobago Cays where we picked up a mooring ball from a couple of young lads in a boat called Romeo and we booked a lobster beach barbeque with them for Clive’s birthday. We spent a couple of days snorkelling with the turtles and clambering up one of the sandy hills to look at the iguanas. There were some real beauties up in the trees, with their colourful spikey backs and various coloured bodies.
On Clive’s birthday we went over to Amelie where we were treated to a full English breakfast washed down with bucks fizz. We went to another deserted island for a picnic lunch sat on a white sandy beach under the shade of a palm tree. This was the island that had been used in The Pirates of the Caribbean when Jack Sparrow had been left marooned on an island with a hidden rum stash. After a sumptuous meal we were entertained by the hermit crabs who Debbie and I decided liked cheese slices more than cheddar Pringles. After a brief pit stop back on board we were collected by our hosts (Romeo) who took us ashore and cooked us lobster on the barbecue.
Next stop on our whistle stop tour of SVG was Canouan. This is quite a sleepy island and we were shocked that the luxury hotel on the beach had absolutely no guests booked in, the week before Christmas but were still fully staffed, it was quite eerie.. We had a lovely meal in the restaurant and bought quite a few goodies from the attached deli there.
Clive and I had to go back to St.Vincent to export the cats and so we set off for Blue Lagoon to re-unite with some lovely people who we’d met up with in April on our way down to Grenada. Stephen and Debbie headed straight to Bequia where we were due to meet them again for Christmas.
Blue Lagoon had undergone quite a lot of redevelopment, the Black Pearl Restaurant no longer existed and a new restaurant was due to open a few days after our arrival. Our friend Raymond, the sail maker, was now working out of different premises. We took the opportunity of asking him to make a plastic cover to put over our flat screen TV in the lounge for when we’re sailing and he had it back the same day. A truly customised, speedy service!
The vet came and inspected the cats twice while we were there. Once to import them and then again to export them. So much paperwork and red tape!
We stayed for a few days and were able to go into Kingstown which is one of my favourite cities and totally unspoilt. It didn’t disappoint with the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas. We had a lovely Sunday lunch with Raymond, Nicky and their gorgeous children. They were cute and so well behaved.
We arrived in Bequia 3 days before Christmas which gave us just enough time to re acquaint ourselves with the bars and shops.
Christmas Eve was Debbie’s birthday so there was much celebrating, eating and drinking. She’d requested that we take Peri and Thornton over to Amelie for her birthday breakfast and the boys loved it. They’d not been aboard before and took great delight in exploring every cabin, nook and cranny. Peri found the laundry basket to sleep in and Thornton chose the master bedroom (on Stephen’s side). Stephen was very tolerant, managing to cook breakfast with the cats wandering around under his feet. We got a taxi over to a fabulous beach hotel on the other side of the island and had the most spectacular lunch washed down with Chablis. Somehow we found the energy to go out again in the evening and Debbie and Clive ended up having a tequila slammer shoot off.
Christmas day involved the usual turkey fest for lunch. We went ashore to have a Caribbean brunch and try to skype family. Back on Sephina we started with a magnum of champagne courtesy of Debbie and Stephen and tucked into our meal about 3pm. Clive had cooked lobster bisque from scratch. I refused to allow any slaughtering on board so he’d bought a cooked lobster from a local restaurant and googled a recipe. It was the best lobster bisque I’ve ever tasted and we’ll definitely do it again some time. Clive cooked the turkey so that it was lovely and moist and everyone helped out with the trimmings. There was just enough room for ice cream as we settled down to watch It’s a Wonderful Life.
We left Bequia the day after Boxing Day and sailed all the way up to St.Lucia and are now tucked into Marigot Bay again, the scene of last year’s Christmas day celebration. From here we return to Rodney Bay Marina our first port of call after crossing the Atlantic last year. We will celebrate New Year there and then start to sail north some time in January.
I hope all our followers had a good Christmas and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for 2015.