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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
Bequia Ferry
Elizabeth
05/25/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

We are loving Bequia (pronounced beck-way), finding lots of accessible dinghy docks, beautiful beaches, friendly locals and a sun that has beamed all day long. We met a local woman today, Cheryl, who sponsors a reading event for school age children two Saturdays a month who needs volunteers to either read with the younger children or listen to the older children and then help them make sense of the book they've just read. We told her we'd be happy to offer our time tomorrow. She's also sponsoring a poetry reading Sunday night which we hope to attend as well. She owns the Fig Tree Restaurant and is a beautiful woman with long dreadlocks and a welcoming smile who seems eager to invite us into her community. Everyone has been very friendly, with the exception of the man who yelled at us about the garbage on Young Island the other day. We're still not sure what that was about, but he was yelling at Ed and Ed finally yelled back when the man continued to yell even after Ed said, "OK, we'll take the garbage back with us to the boat!". At that very moment, the long snake crossed inches from our toes--rememeber me mentioning the snake? It was chaos for a moment or two. Since then, no one has yelled, the snakes have ignored us and the boat vendors have been pleasant and helpful. Tomorrow one of the vendors, Miranda will come by to pick up our laundry on the boat.

Tonight we've been invited to have cocktails and dinner on s/v Sapphire with Caroline and Moby, the couple we met in Dominica who also have a Bristol 41. We're looking forward to visiting with them again. We actually saw them in St. Lucia as well but didn't have the opportunity to get together.

Tropical Wave
Elizabeth
05/24/2012, Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Here we are again, in the midst of another tropical wave, bringing us an abudance of rain, squalls and gloomy skies.

I am reading a fascinating book called The Dovekeepers (I highly recommend it) about the Jews who held out against the Romans on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert nearly 2,000 years ago. It is a fascinating, fictionalized account of how they lived, loved, fought, survived and ultimately were slaughtered. It would be wrong to say Ed and I live in a similarily primitive way as these people did, yet as I read of their lives, I am struck by how the elements control us in a way it did them, how they heeded the whims of nature as diligently as we do. They were completely dependent on whatever nature gave, floods, droughts, fires, storms, wild and ferocious animals. We are truly civilized in this life, yet every day we watch the skies, read our weather information, guess at what might come along. We watch the ground for slithering snakes who cross inches from our toes (like this morning). We read the faces of the locals to see who we might trust and hope the fish take our bait so we can eat without spending any more of our dwindling money on monthly provisions. We study the local produce vendors to see what we might use, study the surrounding water to determine its ability to replenish our supplies. I am constantly reminded of how different our life as cruisers is from when we had all creature comforts at our fingertips. Life is more simple in many regards, yet far more complex in others. Awakening to a beautiful sunrise or the sound of water lapping at your hull, that is simple. Pure. Nature at its most kindest. Moving to new locations when we're ready and the conditions are right, that is pretty darned simple. Getting the dinghy unsecured and Luna brought to shore in the midst of a sudden squall, being yelled at by locals who warn us not to deposit our garbage in the public bins, waiting in the rain for a government vet to examine our dog and permit her ashore without real or imagined threat to her life by the authorities, finding groceries (when the fish don't bite), ice, garbage disposal, laundry services, a place to land our dinghy---these are the complexities of life now. Trying to set the anchor only to have it drag when we are tired, hungry and damp from the saltwater waves during a passage, those are times we feel nature's authority. Having the neighboring sailboat's anchor drag in the midst of a mighty squall when sleep whispers its seductive call to us, or running out of fresh vegetables when we crave a large salad, these are some of our daily challenges. What we don't have to contend with are enemies like the Romans to the Jews, intent on destroying every last one of us. We don't live with that fear day in and day out, although as I read this book, I can't help but think how cruel mankind still is, dating as far back as anyone can record and how many people in the world live with that kind of threat and daily terror. Some things, like nature, remain the same. Perhaps the nature of mankind with its continuing desire to rule, control and dominate has remained unchanged since the beginning of time. I need to remind myself often that in all life, what contains bad also contains good. It is the same for goodness; it, too has another hand to play. My next book is going to be a hysterically raucous comedy.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Elizabeth
05/23/2012, Young Island, St. Vincent

I have been diligent in entering our new lat/lon, so check it out if you're interested. This photo is of the south coast of St. Vincent, just beyond Kingstown and en route to Young Island where we are meeting with the government vet. Luna has been holding her bladder since last night at supper time so we hope she'll be polite and not empty it while the vet is examining her. Wouldn't that be unfortunate? Technically we aren't allowed to have her off the dinghy or dock until after she's examined but she seems reluctant to go on her "pee towel". Last night when we arrived at Bequia and finally got the anchor to set (after about 45 minutes of trying), Ed took the dinghy down from the davit and scooted off to customs. Luna was confused, running to the bow and watching him motor away, not understanding why he wasn't taking her ashore. It took his returning before she finally got that the towel was her only option. We feel for her when she's unable to get off the boat for long periods of time. But then again, I haven't been off the boat since we dropped NJ off at the taxi day before yesterday. Am I complaining??

Goodbye Saint Lucia
Elizabeth
05/23/2012, Between the Pitons, St. Lucia

We set sail early in the morning, leaving Saint Lucia and all she has to offer with this beautiful image of the sun sneaking through the mountain sides. It was another moment of thinking, "If only Nancy Jo could see this...". We arrived in Bequia late in the day but had to leave again early, early this morning in order to meet the government vet at Young Island. They don't examine dogs in Bequia and that's the bad news. The good news is they have issued a pet import permit for Luna and only have to examine her. When Ed checked into customs yesterday, he saw a large sign posted for cruisers which stated that any animal not permitted into the country who was found onshore would be subject to being shot. It's chilling every time we see notices like this, or hear of any such things. Countries that are rabies-free (virtually all of the UK-governed countries) take this matter very seriously. We have learned to take it equally as seriously and so far, so good.

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