Gren and Elaine friends from the UK flew out to St Vincent to join us on our discovery of the Grenadines. This sailing area is one of the world’s best cruising grounds and often features in yachting literature and folklore.
After they stayed in the famous Cobblestone Inn in Kingstown we met them there for the taxi ride to the marina. We then went off to provision the boat on the famous local busses and stopped on the way for a beer and lunch. A delightful roadside shack clearly sold beer but we asked if they did lunch to which they replied “no the shack next door does”. We went next door and asked if they did lunch and were told, “We only have macaroni or rice.” Not very tempting but there was no choice. So 3 rice and 1 macaroni were ordered and we were then asked if we wanted fish, meat or chicken with it!!!!! What actually came out of the kitchen was rice, macaroni, salad and random meat no matter what was ordered. The drinks shack was more than happy for us to take our food over to them and rums and beers were consumed. After a mediocre pizza at the “Driftwood Restaurant” in the evening we set sail the following day for Mustique. It was an easy beam reach and took a couple of hours. The island was ‘closed’ because VIPs were in town. Yachties were allowed ashore but only to a small section of the beach and cameras were banned. As Raymond put it from Blue Lagoon- “They are not trying to separate the rich from the poor, they’re trying to separate the rich from the very rich”. We had dinner at the famous Basil’s Bar and a good buffet meal it was too. The next day we departed for Tobago Cays and it lived up to all the hype. Not only is it a truly impressive sailing area but the blue, turquoise, and green seas are breathtaking. The small islands lie behind horse shoe reef and there is a turtle population who are tame enough to swim with. So we did. That evening one of the Boat Boys convinced us to have a lobster BBQ on the beach. I am often wary of these tourist attractions but it was truly memorable. Not only was the setting fabulous we were with great friends, we had our own drinks and all of us agreed the lobster was the best we had have ever tasted. Done simply over wood coals with no stupid thermadore sauce that is often used to conceal the tiny amount of lobster in the meal. These were no tiny lobsters. We had 3 huge ones between us! The next day we set sail for Canouan and picked up a mooring ball just off the hotel. A rather deshelved local in a boat tried to get us not to go to the hotel but visit “Mangrove” a local restaurant. He said the beer at the hotel was double the price. We ignored him as the hotel was a stone’s throw away so quickly settled down for a beer, glass of wine and a rum and coke. When we saw the prices of the meals and Gren asked for the bill for the drinks we were soon out of there and off to Mangrove. We should have taken local knowledge. Mangrove turned out to be a crazy place. It was Friday night and the locals were getting down. The DJ was hilarious as he spotted us tourists, not a hard thing to do here, and told us not to worry the locals were just off their medication! Boy did they party. The food was great, the drinks cheap and the music loud and impossible not to dance to. In the morning we headed North for Bequia and arrived at Friendship Bay where we intended to stay the night. We anchored but it was soon clear the place was deserted. We pulled up the hook and sailed round to Admiralty Bay the large yachting community. The place was buzzing and there was a huge choice of bars and restaurants. We went to the famous “Jacks Bar” and we were the only people there. The meal was very good being a sort of French/Caribbean fusion and was the most haute quisine we had had since leaving St Lucia. We asked why it was so quiet and they told us everyone was on the boat. We nodded as if that made sense to us but later in the evening we discovered what she was talking about. In the port area one of the ferry boats had the largest sound systems known to mankind. You could feel the groove and Gren decided to go and check it out. Luckily he did not get too near because it soon set off. We could hear it for miles as it made its way out of the bay. At 2am the sound returned as it sailed back in. This is apparently a twice-yearly locals party boat then goes around the island to much alcohol and music. We had a second night before our friends left so went to the Gingerbread restaurant that had good food and live local folk type music. It was great hearing some traditional Caribbean music all unplugged. I was so enthused I bought a CD for myself and one for Gren. Mine turned out to be blank so I hope he had better luck. The next morning Gren and Elaine had to make the 9am ferry to Kingstown to catch their evening flight to Barbados and then onto Manchester. There was a 1pm ferry but it was marked as “unreliable”. It was great to discover some of the Grenadines and luckily we have time to do it all again at a slightly slower pace. For now we are holed up in Bequia and we await the Easter Regatta.