Born of the Sea

Preparing for a phased retirement on the sea. Muirgen (Gaelic for 'born of the sea')

26 May 2024 | Ile de Ronde, Grenada
21 May 2024 | Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
22 April 2024 | Saint Vincent
15 April 2024 | Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
08 April 2024 | Saint Lucia National Parks
06 April 2024 | Rodney Bay / Gros Islet, Saint Lucia
31 March 2024 | Sainte Anne, Martinique
13 March 2024 | Iles des Saintes

Bequia - Meeting Place of Friends

01 May 2024 | Bequia, SVG
Donna Cariss
Four months ago, on arrival in Antigua, we had never heard of Bequia but it would soon become our favourite island in the Caribbean. We had a fast and beautiful sail from Young Island to Bequia, averaging around 7 knots, on a beam reach with one reef in both sails. In an hour and a quarter, we had arrived in Admiralty Bay, Port Elizabeth. Pete wanted to anchor on the north side of the bay, closer to the town but it was too deep outside of the mooring field, so we dropped the anchor off Princess Margaret Beach, with 5 metres under the keel and the anchor held first time. The windlass handled the job ok. We were surrounded by British flagged boats and just one German boat, all with their anchor balls up, as only the British and Germans do.
The meeting of friends soon began, as Nigel and Sara, from the Westerly Typhoon, Nessa V, came alongside in their dinghy and invited us for drinks at 5.30pm. They were anchored about 150 metres behind us and had been waving at us when we came in but we hadn't seen them. Not long afterwards, we had a message from Peter and Ingrid, on Ocean Deva, inviting us for sundowners at 6pm. We called by on our way back from town. They had plans on Tuesday but we agreed to keep Wednesday free, just in case they hadn't left to head north by then. Back on board, Annemarie, from Freebooter of Poole, anchored next to us, came over on her paddleboard to introduce herself and husband, Steve. Bequia was going to be a very social place. Drinks and nibbles with Sara and Nigel were lovely and we got on very well. We invited them back the following night, when Nigel would bring his guitar and give Pete some pointers.
On Saint George's Day, a few yachts flew England flags on their port side, so we flew our Yorkshire flag. Nice to see some patriotism! I stayed on board, while Pete went to town for beer, wine and nibbles for tonight's sundowners. He bumped into Peter and Ingrid, having coffee, who confirmed that they were leaving in the morning, to catch a good wind up to Martinique. After lunch, we checked out Jack's bar but only stayed for one beer, as it was hot there, out of the breeze and swimming was needed on our return. In the evening, Nigel and Sara stayed over 4 hours and we had a great time, first chatting and then playing guitar and singing. We introduced Nigel to Joe Francis / Winter Mountain, whose music he hadn't heard before. Something new for him to play on the guitar.
It seemed to be breezy all the time in Admiralty Bay, with strong gusts of wind and the boats swung widely on their anchors. Pete snorkelled to recheck our anchor and it was now dug in to the hilt. We weren't going anywhere. We bought croissants from a passing boat, swam and relaxed on board and paid a quick visit to Bar One, the floating bar, after lunch. There the wind blew away the drinks menu and Pete's beer and it was a bit expensive. Nobody else stopped by, so we just had the one drink. Pete practised his guitar chords, for 'I'm Free', his favourite song, by Keith Urban.
Next morning, Annemarie came over and invited us to go noodling at 9am, over by Jack's bar, as they had two spare noodles. It was great fun, as well as good exercise, with Steve leading the way. Pete snorkelled instead. Afterwards, we all headed to Sugar and Spice, for coffee and cake. This would become the routine until Freebooter left on Sunday, with Sara also joining us from tomorrow. Pete and I explored the town more thoroughly, checking out which supermarkets sold what and the prices, which could vary greatly. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and the small town had a lovely feel to it. In the evening, we took the dinghy over to the Plantation Hotel, for happy hour, 5 to 7pm. It's a lovely boutique hotel, with little wooden villas and pretty pool, a spa, restaurant and pizza place, right on the beach. We had left our dinghy at the dock by Jack's Bar and walked along the wooden boardwalk and over the little headland, to get there. Next to us at the bar, were the Canadians from the Horizon Yacht Charter catamaran that had loaded up with booze in Blue Lagoon the previous week. We chatted to them for a good while. Then there was a wedding on the beach and it was the people we had met at Young Island a few days ago. Later, we would chat to them, as they had their wedding breakfast, under a canopy, surrounded by solar powered candles, on the beach. Steve and Annemarie turned up at the Plantation, so we ended up going to Mac's with them for seared tuna, which was delicious and highly recommended. The walk back along the boardwalk was dark but we had the head torch with us.
Pete took me to noodling in the dinghy and then returned to inflate the paddleboard, bringing it back for me. While snorkelling, he found a large, dead turtle, which had been killed for meat, just off the beach where we were noodling. I was surprised that I could stand up on the paddleboard and paddle, after so long , especially as our board is very twitchy. Annemarie had a go and agreed it was very unstable compared to her board, which was wider and flatter at the ends. I paddled it back to the boat but kneeling up, as the current and wind were really strong and the waves about 30 centimetres, making it very hard work. I had earned my coffee and cake this morning. Afterwards, we shopped for fruit and veg and visited Dockside Marine, for diesel bug treatment and holding tank freshener. It was an English guy in there and he and Pete got to talking about real ales. Pete was given 2 cans of Old Speckled Hen, free of charge, from a slab in the back. He was crowing about it for a while and Steve said he was going to raid our boat for it when we weren't on board. Pete said he could have a can so, at 4pm we took the beer and the noodles over to Jack's Bar and had a beer float, which involves sitting in the water with the noodle between your legs and resting the can on the end of the noodle. We had just finished when I spotted 2 familiar little dogs coming to the pontoon in a dinghy. It was Dave, from Joyful Surprise, last seen back in Antigua. Late last night, Maurice and Jackie, on Fiddler's Green, last seen at the beach barbeque in Portsmouth, had also arrived, so we paid them a visit too. Everyone was within 150 metres of our boat. In the evening, there was live music on at Coco's, so Nigel, Sara, Annemarie, Steve, Pete and I, plus a couple from a Canadian flagged boat, Barfly, went to Sailor's Bar for drinks and then Coco's for dinner. The band were good and we enjoyed some dancing before paying our bills. It turned out rather expensive, as the menu prices didn't include the 16% VAT and then there was a 20% service charge. We wouldn't be going there again and the food wasn't spectacular either. Being on the north side of the bay, it was a long dinghy ride back, in the dark, dodging the empty mooring buoys but we made it without incident.
After noodling, the next morning, Sara and I went standup paddle boarding, round the little headland, along the boardwalk. The current round the headland was too fierce and turned us round so we knelt and paddled back to our yachts, across the chop. Dodging torrential rain showers, Pete and I went ashore to start provisioning for 'after Bequia', when there would be no shops available for several days. The provisioning would be a 3 day job, with fresh and frozen foodstuffs last. At 3pm, we had drinks and played Mexican Train with Dave and Shani, a great game played with dominoes. At 6pm, we all went ashore for happy hour at the Plantation.
On Sunday morning, Pete went fishing with Dave and I waved goodbye to Steve and Annemarie and later watched Nigel and Sara depart the anchorage. That was the end of the noodling, for now. The fishermen came back empty handed. We went ashore and had coffee and muffins, straight from the oven. The shops were all closed, so we couldn't continue our provisioning and we could hear the lovely gospel singing coming from the church. In the afternoon, we took the dinghy into a tiny little beach, between St Margaret's beach and Lower Bay and snorkelled. The valve had stiffened in my snorkel, so I had to abandon as I was breathing in salt water. Pete went looking for lobsters. He again returned empty handed, having found many but they were too small to take. Around the corner, we went ashore and visited the Original Lion's Den, a bar owned by Lennox. It was little more than a frame built from tree branches, covered with pieces of old sails, topped off with thatched grass, with a couple of picnic tables and coolers but the beer was cheaper than in the supermarkets and Lennox was great fun. Later, we headed to the Plantation for happy hour and to listen to the live Reggae band.
Monday was the day we had planned to leave Bequia but having just caught up with Dave and Shani and knowing that Nigel and Veronica were on their way down, we decided to stay another 2 days. A German man that we met in the Lion's Den had told us that the sailmaker had made him a new sprayhood in 2 days, so we walked round the bay, to the north side to see whether they could make us some sun shades. Unfortunately, as it was a public holiday on Wednesday, they were too busy and would then be closed, so they couldn't do anything until at least Friday. Another piece of information gathered at the Lion's Den was that you get cash back on empty beer bottles in SVG. Pete must have thrown away 100 in our time in this country so far. Next stop was the bank with its air-conditioned ATM. We needed to have plenty of cash available for the small islands, to pay for buoys, boat boys and bars, as they mostly don't have card payment facilities. At 3pm, we were back on Joyful Surprise for another round of Mexican Train. Nigel and Veronica arrived while we were there, so all 6 of us went to the Plantation for happy hour and pizza. 2 Aussies, 2 Kiwis and 2 Pommes! The chicken and cranberry pizza was something special. When we returned to the dinghy, Pete couldn't find the kill cord, which he thought he had left in the boat. Had another yachty stolen it or had he dropped it? We will never know. Nigel and Pete managed to rig a rope to get the engine started and I had to hold it in place while we took Nigel and Veronica back to Novara. Nigel had several spare kill cords, so donated a couple.
Tuesday morning, we were awoken by the ping as one of Pete's guitar strings finished rusting and broke. Luckily he had a spare and could continue practising his chords. We went ashore to complete our provisioning, finding Doris's, which isn't cheap but sells foods from all over the world. We bought gravy granules; I still hadn't been forgiven for not bringing any out with me. Other purchases included curry pastes, yoghurt and cheeses. From a roadside stall we bought fruit and vegetables, including a soursop, which everyone said was their favourite local fruit. It's about the size of a melon, green and spiky on the outside. The man said it would be ripe tomorrow or the next day. Final stop was Knight's, the best supermarket in Port Elizabeth. We had a beer with Maurice and Jackie, on Fiddler's Green and a quick one with Dave and Shani, as I took 'Still Life', a beautiful novel, over for Shani. Veronica and I had both loved it. Back on board, we took a water delivery from one of the facilities boats, then prepared everything for tomorrow's departure, so we could get an early start. Being a public holiday the next day, the locals were out in force, playing loud music on the beach. It went on until 4am and started again at 6am, although they did turn it down. I can cope with the music, although some of it is terrible but I hate the klaxon that they like to sound constantly.
Next morning, we had messages. Sara and Nigel were still in Baliceaux and asked if we would join them on our way to Mustique and Nigel and Veronica hoped we might call for coffee before we left. Unfortunately we didn't have time for coffee but we waved to them as we motored by on our way out of the anchorage. We agreed to go to Baliceaux. Bequia had been a beautiful place and we had managed to meet up with almost everyone we had met so far on our journey, as well as making new friends.

Comments
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
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Photos are limited as the weather was dreadful and was mostly a white out. Photos are from the phone as too wet to take the cameras.
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The Beautiful Kvitsoy
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Weekend with Hommersak Divers at Kvitsoy
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Mad creatures
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Getting to Norway and waiting for Donna to fly out
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Buying Muirgen
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