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Swingin' on a Star
Ship's log for the circumnavigating Saint Francis 50 catamaran, "Swingin on a Star".
Mustique
Randy
07/23/2007, Britannia Bay

We took a short sail over to Mustique this morning. The skies were threatening but it was a nice trip all the same. Mustique is a private island and the planed maximum residency of 100 mansions is almost in place (I think there were 98 up with the last two being built when we were there). Shania Twain and Tommy Hilfiger both have nice shacks here and about half of the houses may be rented. It is a quiet place and vessels with more than 25 passengers are not welcome.

The waters around Mustique are a conservation area so moorings are the order of the day. All of the yacht moorings are in Britannia Bay on the west side of the island. We picked up a ball near the beach a couple spots over from Kelp Fiction. Moorings are 75 EC for three nights (a little over $9 US per night, which is pretty cheap).

There's only one hotel on the island, The Cotton House, which is beautiful. The island has a small village where island employees live and there are a few places to shop and eat near the harbor. We had lunch at Basil's bar right on the water which was fun.

In the afternoon we took a little island tour. The entire island is picturesque. We had a nice dip at a beautiful beach on the Atlantic side and witnessed many spectacular vistas out over the perfect blue waters surrounding the island.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Friendship Bay
Randy
07/22/2007, Bequia

Today we motored around to the south side of the island to try out Friendship Bay. Along the route we passed by Moon Hole. This little settlement is the embodiment of a vision had by late architect Tom Johnson. The development is a no-power, all natural, sprawling set of stone structures built into the bones of the rocky cliffs. It spreads out along the western tip of Bequia with the original structure located inside a stone arch, known as the Moon Hole. A boulder fell from the top of the Moon Hole a while back and made that unit a bit less desirable. The project has since spread over a considerable area and consists of organic lines and stone construction with no right angles to speak of. This is one of the places that we really wanted to visit but didn't get a chance to. We did get a 360 degree view as we motored all around the point and the trip was worth it just for this.

Friendship Bay was a great surprise. It is just a short walk from Lower Bay in the Admiralty Bay area but a world away. There were literally no cruising boats here other than Kelp Fiction II and Swingin' on a Star, compared with close to one hundred in the greater Admiralty Bay area. The only other boats in Friendship Bay were three small fishing boats on moorings, and only one of those moved the whole time we were there. Friendship Bay can be rolly for mono hulls so a stern anchor is a nice idea. This is not a problem because there's plenty of room, at least in the off season.

After securing the big boats we all went ashore to visit the Friendship Bay resort and Mosquito Beach Bar. The resort is picturesque and out of the way. It has lovely grounds with well cared for gardens. Mosquito was just as you would imagine an idyllic isolated Caribbean beach bar to be.

We were the only clients in the Bar the entire time we were there, and we were there for about six hours! We had a relaxed lunch just feet from the beach. We were also very happy with the cuisine especially the fish. After cooking our lunch we saw the chef walk out to the beach and take a swim. I want his job.

After lunch we retired to the bar which has swinging chairs hung from the ceiling all about. We enjoyed each other's company and had some interesting discussions with the chef and the Bequia folks as the afternoon waned. Mosquito also provided free Internet access so we all spent a bit of time browsing and catching up with friends in other places.

As the sun began to set the place got crowded, two folks from the resort came to the bar. What?! Now there would only be a ratio of one staff per client. Intolerable. We left before it got too dark and dinghied back to the big boats for a contented nights sleep.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Princess Margaret Beach
Randy
07/21/2007, Bequia

It was a busy day yesterday so we slept in a bit today. Or tried. At 8AM I heard a knocking on the hull. There's no one on deck and no one in the saloon. I'm sure who ever it is will go away. More knocking. Persistent bugger, pull sheet over head. More knocking. Argh, perhaps it is really important.

I got up got dressed and went out to see what the emergency was. Lo and behold a glorified boat boy. This one was Bequia style, not wearing a loin cloth and paddling out on a surf board, but wearing a polo shirt and standing up in a 17 foot skiff with an outboard. He began to explain his services to me and I thanked him and told him we were not interested. After a few more attempts to sway me met with clear no thank yous he departed pleasantly. I wonder what he would have said to me if I had come to his house at 8 in the morning and knocked on the door for ten minutes until someone answered just to try to sell him some aluminum siding?

Later in the morning we took Little Star to the dinghy dock just north of the government pier and, after a one block walk, had another no hassle clearance at Bequea customs. Hideko and I walked around town afterward and found a really interesting bookstore. The shop was filled with Caribbean literature. They had Caribbean fiction, lots of history, books on politics and anything else you could think of.

Just behind the book shop is a juice bar. We stopped to talk to the proprietor who was a friendly lady from Saint Vincent. She gave us a sample of some fresh squeezed juices and we were sold. We had a guava and a sour sop juice. Sour Sop is kind of a funky mushy sort of fruit. I can't quite get used to eating it straight. As a juice it was awesome. The owner of the juice bar told us that you could get Sour Sop ice cream too but we have yet to find it.

We joined Fred and Cindy for lunch at a new beach bar and restaurant at the east end of Princess Margaret beach. We spent the rest of the day snorkeling on the reef right by our boats. It was good to be back in the islands. I'm getting to the point where the big islands feel like the mainland. The grenadines are more Bahamas/BVI in character. If I can't hike to the other side it is too continental. Humm.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Willilabo and Bequia
Randy
07/20/2007, The Grenadines

We motored out of the early morning calm inside Marigot Bay and turned a button hook to raise the main. The wind was in the high teens and we had the full main and jib up. We reached down the coast of Saint Lucia taking a last look at the graceful Pitons enshrouded in low clouds. Our destination was Willilabo in Saint Vincent.

We sailed across the channel at nine knots and quickly had Saint Vincent in sight. As an island it reminded me much of Dominica. Unfortunately, Saint Vincent is an island with a drug problem. Don't get me wrong, Dominica and Saint Vincent grow their fair share of marijuana for internal use. It's seems that it is more of a cash crop in Saint Vincent. Walk into the wrong field of crops and you may not walk out.

We arrived in Wallilabo and were immediately mobbed by boat boys. The cruising guide author Chris Doyle describes the glare you get when you deny their services as a "Calcutta Look". Very accurate.

It is a fun looking little harbor. The bay stared as Port Royal in the Pirates of the Caribbean and enjoys a nice new, but old looking, dock for the trouble. There are lots of caves in the cliff walls and the town looks wild and intriguing. Unfortunately the anchorage is poor. You pretty much have to pick up a mooring and tie back to a palm tree or an old quay. The whole bay is fairly deep with the exception of the small shelf running in front of the beach.

The mooring hassle and the mob of boat boys eliminated this anchorage as an option for us. On the way out I suggested that a guy rowing a skiff should not cut off a 15 ton cruising yacht. I could still hear him cussing me out as we turned south in deep water. These boat boys seem to think that they are entitled to get in the way, provide help that you don't desire, and then charge you what they like for it. Other notable adjectives would include rude, intrusive, and nasty bordering on threatening. As we left we watched seven boats pass Saint Vincent by on the way to the Grenadines from Saint Lucia. I wonder why...

There are spots on the south side of Saint Vincent you could anchor. Kingstown, Young Island or the Blue Lagoon for instance. Kingstown is the capital and a big shipping port. The Blue Lagoon is a Sunsail base. Nix. So off we sailed for Bequia.

Bequia is a wonderful little island which acts as the northern gateway to the Genadines. The large and well protected Admiralty bay is littered with yachts and commercial craft of all types. Bequia has a yacht friendly customs facility and many restaurants and beach bars. We entered the anchorage around 16:00 and cruised around a bit to scope things out. We ended up selecting Princess Margaret beach for its picturesque white sand beach and its distance from the main town. Close but not too close.

Kelp Fiction joined us after a bit and everyone took a swim in the blue water. It was nice to be in a new country. Customs was closed for the day so we climbed back aboard and shut down for the night, after dinner with a Star Trek episode, of course.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Dinner by the Bay
Randy
07/19/2007, Marigot Bay

If the Moorings base packed up, and there were no crowds (which there aren't off season), and there were no boat boys, Marigot Bay would be one of the most perfect anchorages in the Caribbean. I mean, hey, they filmed Doctor Dolittle here! It is a really beautiful place. Before we knew it three days had gone by.

We were set to leave tomorrow with a good weather window for Saint Vincent. We cleared out without any problems at the Marigot customs office right next to the Marina Village.

We went to dinner at a very nice restaurant nestled up in the northwest corner of the mangroves. It is the fine dining restaurant for the Discovery Resort and had just reopened. Fred and Cindy joined us for cocktails and I enjoyed a great Cuban cigar. Dinner was splendid and the ambiance was extraordinary.

Saint Lucia
Rainy
Randy
07/18/2007, Marigot Bay

It has been rainy and overcast the past few days. There is a kind of neat low cloud covering the bay with little fog patches about. The water is still.

Hideko and I went for a dive with the local dive shop to see the southern reefs. It was a nice time but it rained a lot. The dive shop was good and they served a full buffet lunch between dives.

We got home from the dive and dried off then regrouped to go to the bakery. Just about then Roq fell in the bay. He was trying to jump into the dinghy. I jumped in and fished him out. I don't mind impromptu swims but I prefer to stay out of murky mangrove water.

Saint Lucia
Marigot Take II
Randy
07/17/2007, Marigot Bay

After a long lovely stay in beautiful Saint Lucia we are finally on our way south. Today we sailed down to Marigot Bay to spend a day or two. It was nice to visit again because last time through I never went ashore except for dinner at Mygo.

We walked all through the Discovery Resort today and it was an impressive setup. Good food and a gorgeous setting with two nice pools and a small marina. The Marina Village, where the Moorings base is, has a nice bakery/cafe, a grocery store and lots of other essentials.

Saint Lucia

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