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Banyan
The Adventures of David & Alexandra
Behind Closed Doors
Alex, raining with a chance of Turtles
September 23, 2014 , Brittania Bay, Mustique

Mustique is famous for being home to approx 100 villas owned by famous and perhaps not-so-famous, but all of them insanely rich people. Wouldn't you like a peek behind some of these closed doors?

****

The torrential rains went on for most of the night, and most of the morning as well. When we checked on dinghy during one of the dry spells, this is what we saw,



sure made us thankful that one of our routine evening inspections has us ensuring that the gas tank airlock is closed quite tight. No and's, if's or but's on that one!

The job at hand was then to remove the water, not by the iddy-biddy scoop, but by the very large bucket-ful !!



After a morning of WiFi and chores, followed by lunch, we noticed the rains had slowed to a light drizzle and the skies looked less ominous.

"Let's head out" I said, my legs itching to get moving !!



We came across this statue of,



The Lord Glenconeer, aka Colin Tennant, a Scottish Noble, who in 1958 bought the island of Mustique for the modest sum of £45,000.

Interestingly enough, Wikipedia states:

"The cost of running Mustique depleted Glenconner's family fortune and he took on business partners. Eventually, he went into exile on St. Lucia, where he ran for many years the "Bang Between the Pitons" restaurant (now sold to the adjacent Jalousie Plantation hotel)."

We came across this entrance to a hidden villa, this being the gate-house of sorts,



followed by this very ornate and impressive (and very locked) gate,



and what lies beyond as far as the camera could see.



Back out to the main road and further on down we come across an elementary school here, and a library,



and tennis courts and sports fields. Horse stables behind the white picket fence off in the distance,



a speed limit of 20 miles/hour and signs warning you to be cautious.



A few of these creatures that had come out to play, or rather, graze on the wet green grasses,



which truly makes me wonder what these guys looked like in pre-historic times?

And then finally, our intended destination,



the airport,



where we were hoping someone would be around to clear us out of St Vincent and the Grenadines. The Cruising Guide indicates that there is a 50-50% chance of being able to do so, and we thought with nothing better to do on this wet day, why not give it a try?

The very friendly lady behind the Customs desk waved us into her air conditioned office, and confirmed that yes indeed, we can check in/check out of Mustique, anytime.

So armed with the paperwork to complete we sat down to start the process, while she texted the Immigration guy to tell him that he would soon be needed and sure enough he was there within moments, way before we were even halfway through the form.



What an easy and pleasurable process this was, with very friendly agents and will sure save us a few hours of anchor down/prep dinghy/dinghy ashore/clear out/anchor up process in Union, before arriving in Carriacou.

We continued on our walk, and given the late start to the day, knew we would not be able to circumnavigate the entire North Shore with its array of private villa's,



like we had originally planned to do, so opted for a shorter circumnavigation around the airport grounds instead, visiting the (closed for off season) Cotton House



the oldest building on the island, now an exclusive hotel and villa rental.

Towards the beach (with what looks like it could be a private beach behind that cliff).



where even the foot baths are unique and inventive, n'est ce pas?



The grounds even this being off season were immaculate and groomed to perfection,



the rain having given added life to every flower and blossom,



and the Sugar Mill Museum, also closed (yes I double checked).



We walked down roads such as this,



peeked through gates that housed villas such as these,



and what? No signs for Turtle Crossings?



It was late afternoon and time to head back, but we didn't want to pass up a refreshing cold beverage at The View,



with What A View!! Two beers here for $10EC.

With a quick stop at the grocery store for a few things, although they were out of bread as the shop hadn't come in),

"Tomorrow, comeback tomorrow" said the kind gentleman as he handed me the eggs.

Back into dinghy and back to Banyan for a refreshing swim with the many diverse schools of fish that had been busy cleaning Banyan's bottom, saving us the chore.

Rain Day or not, we got alo done and it was fun to be out and about exploring, and peeking behind closed doors!!

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Does Mustique have a Mystique?
Alex,
September 22, 2014 , Brittania Bay, Mustique

You truly never know what might suddenly appear and photo-bomb the perfectly posed shot of an idyllic beachfront on the mysterious island of Mustique.

*****

Slick, from Mustique Moorings, dinghied over to our boat to welcome us to The Island.

"The fee is $200EC for one night" he explained. "But you can stay two more nights for free. You can drop your garbage off in the bins at the end of the dock, and we're the only island that recycles" he offered by way of explanation.

"Are there any restrictions at the moment?" Dave asked.

"It's low season now" replied Slick with a smile. Which means we were free to come and go as we pleased, and as there was no royalty around our cameras would not be hijacked the minute we stepped foot ashore.

"Everything's closed" continued Slick. "Basil's Bar is closed. You can eat at the local restaurant, The View, the white house up on the hill over there,



but they're closed today. There was a party last night and they're all tired and cleaning up today. You can also go to the Firefly, 5 minutes walk up that hill" he pointed up-that-a-way.

He handed us the receipt, and said "Enjoy your stay".

When Spanish sailors first sighted these small rocky islands they called them "Los Pájaros" (the birds) as they looked like a small flock of birds in flight. It was in the 17th century that the pirates, who used the sheltered bays to hide their treasure, renamed these islands The Grenadines.



"In 1958, Colin Tennant purchased Mustique. In 1960, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, accepted as a wedding present his gift of a 10-acre (40,000 m2) plot of land, where she built a residence called Les Jolies Eaux. In 1979, Mustique Island was transformed from a family estate into a private limited company with the homeowners as shareholders".

The Island is owned by the Mustique Company (which is owned by the island's home owners) and home to 100 villas, all available for rent.

Today villa homeowners include the likes of Shania Twain (whose house is currently up for sale), Mick Jagger, Tommy Hilfiger to name but a few...

It wouldn't be an island without dangerous and perilous reefs now would it and in 1971, the SS Antilles struck a reef (on the Northern Tip of the Island) while attempting to navigate Lansecoy Bay, the impact rupturing a gas tank and starting a fire. Everyone was evacuated, and the ship sank.

"The burnt out hulk could not be freed from the reef, so the ship lay there for several months, eventually breaking in half. Many years later she would be scrapped on the spot and moved just a few hundred yards to her final resting place in the channel offshore Lansecoy Bay".

The wreck site is submerged off Mustique and is barely visible on Google Earth at 12°54' 04" N, 61°10' 44" W; the mast protrudes from the water during low tide."


This is some of the history behind Mustique, and hereunder is our photo-journey along the main road on this sunny beautiful morning, in an attempt to find just what the Mystique is all about.



The place was indeed deserted, and only the crabs on the white sandy beaches were around to greet us.



We made a sharp left turn and followed the one and only road down towards Basil's Bar, which was, as Slick had mentioned, closed and being renovated.



The well manicured landscape before our eyes was truly, in the morning sunshine, picture perfect,



everywhere we looked,



but let's not forget to pose for some fun, right?



We stopped to visit the store,



that held some pricey bottles of wine and knick-knacks that, dommage, wouldn't fit on a boat, and double dommage, Sweetie Pie, the bakery was also closed for a month, from mid-September to mid-October, so no Croissants au Chocolat for us.

We continued on,



giving the stairs a pass and choosing to stay on the road instead. Locals driving by offered us a lift, and just smiled when we thanked them and told them we would keep on walking... we needed the exercise!



At the top of the hill, we made some friends with the tortoises,



up close and personal,



and walked through the village of Lovell, the shacks on precarious stilts overlooking the lovely bay. Mustique has a population of about 500 local residents.

It was too early for the local restaurant, The View to serve us up some brunch, however the owner did invite us in... It was only 10:00 and we declined with promises to be back later, we had more walking to do.

Whad'y'aknow, the fruit and veggie stand is closed for the month as well,



and beyond, the fishermen were busy repairing their nets,



and the beachfront waters mesmerizingly clear as the slow and gentle surf washed over the sands.



We noticed recycling bins everywhere. We noticed barely noticeable entrances to driveways marked with "private, no trespassing" signs. We didn't have eyeviews of any outlandish villas, there were all perfectly hidden amidst the green leaf foliage.

Back down by the dinghy dock, we chose to keep on walking the other way and explore the beachfront,



that lies just in front of our home, trying to snap the perfect shot of the herons that were fishing along the shore,



and bend the trees a little more, why not?



Time to go back, and this time we turned inland and followed the sinewy road straight uphill, and sure enough, a very hot and sweaty 5 minutes later had us reaching the side street that led us to the privately owned entrance to The Firefly

The bartender invited us in, and said with a smile, "don't mind the construction", the building of some new rooms and a porch-patio overlooking the Bay.

Dave enjoyed a local beer ($15EC),



and although the various Mustique Cocktails sounded quite enticing ($40EC), it was way too early and I opted for some ice cold water instead.

We breathed in the lovely views and enjoyed the breezes coming across the open doors in posh surroundings chatting with the bartender and the workers. There is a current half price special on the rooms, only $500US per night if you were willing to put up with 7 a.m. construction noise.

Does this mean I belong to the Champagne Club ??



And so, if but for a moment, we were hob-knobbing it like the wealthy, rich and perhaps even famous peeps who come here for some time away in idyllic surroundings. The bartender confirmed that during peak business times, there be only standing room here.



He confirmed that they receive a list of guests on the island so they can prep and prepare in advance.

"And who owns that white villa on the top of the island there?" I asked, to which he respectfully provided a name, a "Mr So and So... He's into kitchens".

We smiled and nodded our heads... indeed, somehow, somewhere we strayed from the kitchen employment path that might have had us owning a villa here.

It was lunchtime and we were hungry, so it was time to head back down to the shore and dinghy home.



A home where for the moment we share the same views, in the same sparkling clear waters, and sometimes even sit in the same bar stools and couches, as might the rich and famous.

Dave BBQ'd us some Bubba Burgers nestled on toasted English Muffin buns and I served it up with Crispy Sweet Potato Patates Frites with Curried Mayo. Don't matter how you say it, it was delicious.

Below us in the crystal clear waters, we watched the schools of Blue Tangs and Sergeant Major fish swim aimlessly by, and knew that they didn't quite care what kind of wealth the people that walked above, had.

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