Born of the Sea

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

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
10 March 2024 | Deshaies, Guadeloupe
03 March 2024 | Monserrat to Guadeloupe
02 March 2024 | Monserrat

Union Island - Last Stop in SVG

14 May 2024 | Union Island, SVG
Donna Cariss
We set sail early from Saltwhistle Bay and had the foresail up straight away but the wind was just the usual offshore breeze and it died as we left the bay, so the engine went on and that was it for sailing today. We could see Nessa V, still at anchor in Saline Bay and then we left Mayreau behind. As we rounded to headland, into Chatham Bay, on Union, we were surprised to see that it was almost empty. There were just 3 yachts and 2 catamarans. The bay is large and has a long, sandy beach, fronted by a reef. At the southern end, there is a small hotel, which has a dock and mooring buoys and at the other end, there is Sunset Cove, a regular meeting place for boaties, at happy hour, 4-6pm daily. All of this we learned from the small boats that paid us a visit once we were at anchor. There are other bars and restaurants in between, all of wooden construction. There are no shops. We anchored close to the northern end, dropping the anchor on a sandy patch. Not long afterwards, the 2 catamarans departed, from closer inshore, so we moved to where they had been anchored, on another sandy patch. Pete checked the anchor and it was dug in. It's important to ensure you have a good hold here, as the katabatic wind gusts are frequent and strong. We went snorkelling for a short while and there were plenty of fish under the boat, as well as small shoals of bottom feeders, where the anchor chain was disturbing the ground. Pete had seen barjacks too, identified by the dark blue stripe over their backs and down the tail. soon after, Nessa V arrived, coming straight over to show off a large fish that they had caught on their way over. We were invited for tea - fish and chips! They anchored a bit further off shore but parallel with us, closer to the better snorkelling area. While Nigel gutted the fish and then Sara cooked, we went ashore for happy hour. First stop was with Seckie and Vanessa, who had told us they did discount prices and free nibbles. We were the only people there. Nibbles didn't materialise and when the bill came, the prices charged were full, no discount. Pete had ordered 8 beers to take-away, also charged at 10 EC a bottle, which we would collect later. We walked up the beach to Sunset Cove, which was busy with boaties and the beer was 7 and rum punch 10 EC, as promised. Pete bought his takeaway beers here, provided in a beer bucket and we returned to the dinghy and asked Vanessa to refund the 80 EC, as we no longer wanted her beers. Consequently there was no assistance carrying the dinghy back into the water. We took the chilled beers and a bottle of wine to Nessa V, where we enjoyed our fish, chips and homemade coleslaw and another good night.
There was a massive solar storm last night, measuring 9 on the KP Index. We were too far south to see the resulting northern lights but we saw all the amazing photos, from around the World, including our home town of Howden, on Facebook and other sites. Pete was gutted, as he is desperate to see the lights but is never in the right place at the right time.
In Chatham Bay, I would find a new routine, alongside Sara. The morning would start with paddle boarding, across the bay to the shore, where we would pull up our boards by Sunset Cove, before walking the length of the beach, hard work in the soft sand, to Calabash. On this first day, we made our way up the sand and into the hotel grounds, exploring the pool and bar area and checking out the fancy toilet block and outside shower. There was nobody around, although it was almost 10am. After a while, a lady came to ask if we were just having a look around and we asked if we could get tea and coffee and perhaps take a dip in the pool. She was welcoming and brought us a menu to order from. The wood oven fired rack of New Zealand lamb, with garlic and rosemary sounded amazing, even at US$56. After showering, we slipped into the infinity pool, with its lovely fresh water. Soft music came on and our drinks arrived. We stayed until around 11am, chatting and swimming, with no hotel guests evident at all. There are only 4 villas to the hotel, so it was a lovely, peaceful retreat. We rinsed off in the shower, making the most of fresh water on tap, before retracing our steps, chatting to Susan from one of the restaurants and then paddling back to the boats for lunch; no easy task with the violent gusts of wind. Mid-afternoon, Pete and I returned to Calabash, a Tenute hotel, for a beer and swim, so he could see what it was like. I took my shampoo and conditioner and washed my hair in the shower. Sunset Cove was the place for our happy hour sundowner, where we met Gary, Erica and Steve and also Paul and Tracey from Magic Pelagic, which we had seen many times before. Dinner was at Susan's, where we were the only guests. We had ordered early in the morning and our chicken had been slow-cooking most of the day; tender and delicious. Overfull and with strong, gusty winds and barking dogs, I had little sleep overnight.
12th May was the second anniversary of our friend's death. Higgy was taken far too young, at age 64 and is missed by us and everyone who knew him.
Sara and I followed our new routine, arriving at Calabash to find a man sitting on the deck with a massive Saint Bernard. We said hello and wandered round to the pool. The man got up, along with his dog to greet us and explain that there was no bar service until 11am, as there were no hotel guests arriving until tomorrow but he said we were welcome to use the pool and the wifi. He was the hotel manager and put the music on for us but he couldn't make coffee. He told us about his efforts to keep the beach and area behind the bars clean and tidy but said he was fighting a losing battle, as the locals didn't care and didn't help. He warned us not to give our trash to a local person, as they would dump it in the woods or in the sea, after taking our cash to dispose of it. The hotel would take our trash for a fee of US$5, which is what they are charged for disposal. The man also talked about the buoys in front of the hotel, which are free to use if you eat lunch or dinner at the hotel and how the locals are destroying the reef by bringing boats in to anchor as close to their own bar or restaurant as possible. The reef is nothing now compared to 10 years ago, he explained. After swimming, we walked back up the beach, in search of coffee but Susan was away collecting salt and Sunset Cove had the workmen in repairing their decking. Back on board, I wanted Turkish tea. The large bag, purchased in Turkey was still sitting, unopened, in the cupboard because Pete couldn't remember where he had stored the teapot with the strainer inside. He went to search the storage area under the bunks in the forepeak, where he not only found the teapot but also my noodle.
We decided to go to Calabash / Tenute for Sunday lunch; a treat, as it would not be cheap. We picked up trash from Nessa V and motored down to the hotel dock in the dinghy. There were 2 men in the lounge bar, sitting on opposite sides, not talking, so we took the seats further back. Almost immediately, the man with the green, knitted tank top, beard and hair in dreadlocks started engaging Pete in conversation, about the environment and politics. The other guy, an American, from a catamaran called 'Music & Lyrics', added his two penneth now and again. The first man really liked the sound of his own voice and the conversation was becoming heated, so I asked him to stop talking to us, as I had come out for an enjoyable Sunday lunch. This brought the conversation to an end for all of 30 seconds before he started up again and the American told him to shut up. Having ordered lunch, we decided to move to the dining area, on the other side of the pool. The hostess apologised about the man, saying he had been there all morning and never shut up. He was just lazing on the sofa, smoking weed and having an occasional drink, while spouting continually. Our lunch was fabulous, fried barracuda with fries and asian salad, with a glass of Chianti Classico. Afterwards, we stayed for a cocktail, sitting on the sofas in the dinig room, vacated by the manager and the owner for us, so we could continue to avoid the man in the bar. The American had left. Eventually the hippy left and we were able to settle the bill and leave too. In the evening, everyone congregated at Sunset Cove for happy hour and the steel band. Gerald, the German we met in Bequia was there and also his friends, Christian (German) and Kristine (Austrian) and their 2 young children. Christian turned out to be the person who first arrived at our boat when it dragged in Dominica. Being Sunday, after the steel band, the locals had a bonfire and the usual bang bang music started playing but luckily it finished at 10.30 pm. The night was less gusty and we slept well.
Monday morning, we cancelled paddling and coffee, having realised that Calabash would not open until 11am again, as their guests hadn't arrived yet. We departed Chatham Bay, for Frigate Island (Ashton), just around the headland. We motored, as it wasn't far and we would be head to wind and tide after rounding the headland and going east. There were mooring buoys here but we managed to anchor in sand between the rocks, after waiting for a German yacht to leave. Nessa V arrived at 1130 hours and anchored alongside. Sara and Nigel kept an eye on Muirgen while we went ashore and caught the local bus to Clifton to clear out. Clifton looked to be a pretty anchorage / mooring field, looking out across the reefs and turquoise sea to Palm Island, another luxury resort but it's windy, being on the east side, as well as tight and shallow inside the reefs. We cleared out with customs, 48.40 EC, where it was pointed out that our cruising permit expired in the morning. Immigration were at lunch, so we went to the Tipsy Turtle for a beer and a burger (not to be recommended), before heading back to have our passports stamped. The bus was waiting, so we hopped on board and returned to Ashton, where we bought a few provisions before returning to the dinghy dock. There we had a beer at the bar with the dock, before returning through the old mangrove swamp lagoon to the boat. Sara swam over for a chat and then we had sundowners on Nessa V. We had roast chicken with mash and Bisto gravy for tea; yummy! Tomorrow we would leave Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and clear into Grenada, in Carriacou.

Return to Mayreau

10 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
Donna Cariss
The 30 minute sail from Tobago Cays to Mayreau was a pleasant downwind sail under the foresail alone. As we rounded the headland, to Saltwhistle Bay, we were cut up by Zephyr, a catamaran we had seen many times and which was under engine. He was racing to get a good spot in what might be a crowded mooring field and anchorage, so early in the morning. However, we found a great spot to anchor, behind the Dutch yacht, Amanzi, which we had also seen many times before. Pete snorkelled to check the anchor and pronounced it to be 'on well'. He also said there were large trevalli under the boat, so he soon had his rod out to fish. He was getting bites but nothing took the hook.
The coastguard rib came into the anchorage and headed directly for a Canadian yacht to the side of Amanzi. They boarded the yacht and were there for a good while. We can only assume that they hadn't cleared in but we never found out. The coastguard didn't visit anyone else. Pierre and Carol, stopped to chat, on their way ashore, from the catamaran behind us. They were also French Canadian, so said they would ask the other boat what the coastguard had wanted of them. While sitting in the cockpit, I saw an eagle ray jump out of the water, behind the boat. Hopefully it was luckier than us when catching fish! We went ashore in the dinghy and had a drink at Coconut Beach Bar, where we met Clare and Mark from Amanzi. I spotted that there was a supermarket behind the restaurant next door and we managed to buy fresh ginger and sugar, so Pete could try his hand at making ginger ale. We spent a pleasant evening on board, having lifted the dinghy in preparation for our sail to Union Island tomorrow.

Tobago Cays - Petit Rameau

09 May 2024 | Tobago Cays, Grenadines
Donna Cariss
On arrival at Petit Rameau we had a choice of a couple of buoys but the one nearest the south island was quite close to a yacht at anchor, so we took the buoy close to the north island. We realised that Nigel and Veronica were still here but on the other side of the little island, so we paid them a quick visit in the dinghy, getting very wet from the chop on the way. They were leaving at lunchtime, so we didn't stay long but it was good to see them again. They were on a buoy right next to the area buoyed off for snorkelling with the turtles and there must have been 40 boats there. They said there had only been 3 of them on their first night. They told us the beach barbecue was fantastic and not to be missed. Back in Young Island Cut, Mousey had told us to use his father, boat name Desperado, for the barbecue and we spoke to him as we returned to the boat, along with Captain Kojak, who also wanted our business. We had food for that night so would book the BBQ for the following evening. Having paid 90 EC to the park warden, 60 for the buoy and 15 each for park fees, we went ashore for a beer in the barbecue area and a walk through to the other side of the small island, a distance of about 200 metres. We met Captain Neil, also related to Mousey and Desperado, a family affair. Back on board, a 60 foot catamaran came to take the buoy right behind us, which would have been dangerous as the boats were all swinging differently in the current. Pete managed to put them off and they anchored further away. It was a windy night and a bit rock and roll on board.
During the night, a catamaran moored up, stern to, on the buoy behind us but it was smaller and it left quite early to move to a buoy on the other side of the island. With several boats having left, we moved to the buoy closer to the southern island where we could get to the barbecue without getting too wet. We snorkelled on the reef around the island. There were a few more living sea fans and soft corals than other places and the usual reef fish but it wasn't spectacular. I felt vulnerable snorkelling here as the boat boys would charge by in their boats, so we returned to the boat. There was a large ray under the boat with an impressive tail. Despite passing us several times, the park ranger didn't come for the fees today, so we went to the barbecue without paying for the buoy or the park. There weren't many people at the BBQ this evening, mostly big groups from the charter cats and we were left sitting on a table alone. We had ordered ribs and they were somewhat dry. With 3 beers and a couple of rum punches in small, plastic beakers, the bill was 310 EC, which was a bit of a rip off, although we understand that everything has to be fetched and carried from Union Island each day. We packaged up half the meal and took it back to the boat for tomorrow's lunch. It was another rolling night but we slept well with the cooling breeze and we were up at 7.30am to make our escape before the return of the park ranger.

Mayreau

07 May 2024 | Mayreau, Grenadines
Donna Cariss
We departed Mustique at 0900 hours, about 30 minutes after Nessa V and the sails were up almost immediately. A catamaran also left just before us. Sara and Nigel were going to Mayreau (pronounced Myrow) and heading down the west side of Canouan, whereas we planned to go to Tobago Cays and down the east side of Canouan. To begin with, we had the better point of sail, as the wind was almost directly behind Nessa V and eventually the wind came round on the beam and we were tramming along. However, the swell had increased to around 3 metres and not really knowing the Cays, we thought it may be uncomfortable there, around the small islands and reefs, so we made a late decision to change course for Mayreau. This put the wind and swell almost directly behind us, so I hand steered, pinching away from the land when I could, in the hope that we wouldn't have to jibe to avoid the north west tip of Canouan. Luckily, the wind came round, blowing off the land, as we closed in, allowing us a comfortable passage round the headland. Now we were on almost a beam reach again so I put the autohelm on. That lasted about a minute before the wind started to veer, drop, veer, increase, gust and I had to take over the helm again. We were crossing a large bay and the wind was everywhere. It was a frustrating 15 minutes until we picked up a steady wind again and made it round the most westerly point of Canouan. It was then a good sail across to Mayreau, with the wind back on the beam and a 1.5 metre swell. The catamaran that had left before us and continued to head down the east side of Canouan was now coming around the bottom of the island and heading for the new marina there, which seemed a little strange. As we passed Saltwhistle Bay, at the top of Mayreau, we could see Nessa V but we continued to the next bay south to check out the free moorings in front of the hotel there. Pete wanted to stay there but nobody else was there and you should never be alone in an anchorage, so I said we would go back to Saltwhistle Bay. There we took a buoy, close to the sand spit, where the wind would blow through and keep us cool in the night. Nessa V was at anchor in the shelter of the trees. The buoy was 60 EC for a night, or 120 EC for 3 nights. I paid for 1 night, with an option to increase it to buy 1 get 1 free the next day. We went ashore and walked the length of the beach and were met by Nadi, who persuaded us to visit her bar, which was behind those on the beachfront. Back on board and having spoken to Nigel and Sara, we agreed to go to Coconut Beach Bar for BBQ that evening. They ordered lobster, as Mayreau had been given a 3 week extension to sell what they had previously caught, I had tuna and Pete had mahi mahi. I don't especially like lobster and Pete didn't want to be eating a small one. Cheeky blackbirds kept coming onto the boat and almost inside the galley, looking for food and we had been warned that the bats might come in at night if we left fruit out. We would see them at dusk but none would enter the boat. Before dinner, we saw Novara pass by the other side of the island, on their way to the Cays. At 6pm, we went on board Nessa V for a drink and then rowed ashore for dinner. As it turned out, the lobsters were massive and Pete was sick that he hadn't ordered it. The fish and all the side dishes were delicious, if a little pricey but small islands have to import everything. On board, we had a refreshing breeze through the cabin overnight but Sara reported that they had no breeze at all and it was hot and sticky.
Mayreau had a great vibe but was a little dirty behind the scenes and there was a lot of rubbish on the seabed. We left at 8.30am, by which time Nessa V had already gone. We were just about to pick up a buoy in the next bay south when we had a message from Sara to say they were in Saline Bay, it was lovely and calm and there was plenty of room to anchor, so we headed round the corner to join them. At the second attempt, with Nigel, who was snorkelling, moving our anchor from the tiny patch of weed it had landed on, onto the sand all around it, we got good holding and went snorkelling ourselves. When we returned, Nigel said that the boats had swung in different directions and been only 7 feet apart, so we lifted the anchor and moved further north, with the anchor holding well. Around 2.30pm, we all went ashore in Nigel's dinghy and then realised Pete hadn't brought his flipflops. We were going to walk up the hill to the village and Pete came barefoot until the road became too hot. He returned to the beach and swam back to the boat for his footwear before coming to catch us up. We were in a tiny little bar, Arthur's, that was being repaired by the man himself. There we met Brenda, behind the bar, who turned out to be from Huddersfield. Her parents lived on Carriacou and she had met Arthur some years ago and came back to visit from time to time. There was a little shop which sold an eclectic mix of goods, from disposable razors to engine oil and an extractor fan. There was also Yorkshire teabags for sale, which Nigel purchased. We are still using the boxes we put on board before leaving the UK in 2020. Pete joined us for a beer and then we headed to the bakery, which was out of bread and then to the supermarket, which opened at 4pm. A delivery was just coming in from a ship on the dock in the bay. Having completed our shopping, we went back to the beach, calling for another beer at a small bar overlooking the sea. In the evening, Nigel and Sara came over for drinks and we had another enjoyable music night.
Next morning it was wet and miserable at first but cleared up before too long. We left Saline Bay at 0830 hours and motored round the headland between Mayreau and Union. Here we had wind and tide against us and there was a swell, making it slow going but we weren't going far. Nigel, plus other reviewers on Navionics, had said that Windward Bay was a lovely anchorage, in settled weather and the Ranch Escapade restaurant, on the beach, was fantastic. We made our way between the reefs and located the best place to anchor but with the wind blowing 17 knots we decided not to stay as we were on a lee shore. At the same moment, we had a message from Sara to say they were staying put in Saline Bay as Nigel had hurt his ribs. We left the bay through the reefs at the north end, getting down to 1.2 metres below the keel, with the reefs visible on both sides. It was just a mile across to Tobago Cays.

Mustique

05 May 2024 | Mustique, Grenadines
Donna Cariss
Mustique is the domain of the rich and famous and Princess Margaret had a home here. Many yachties avoid it, as it's known for being expensive and people believe that they are not allowed to wander around on shore. Anchoring is not allowed and the charge for taking a mooring buoy is US$85 or 220 EC, for boats up to 70 metres in length. However, having paid for a night, you are gifted up to 2 extra nights free, such that the charge for 3 nights is actually cheaper than 3 nights in Tobago Cays. Nessa V and Muirgen would be staying for 3 nights. Only around 6 of the 20 buoys were taken, so we managed to pick up buoys close to the shore and just south of the jetty and Basil's Bar. There is a reef along the beach, so I went snorkelling with Sara and Nigel, for an hour. Much of the coral is dead or dying but there are still plenty of fish and turtles galore. We saw a massive (5 or 6 foot) barracuda, hovering, alone, over the reef, with its mouth open, showing its impressive set of teeth. We also saw an eagle ray, which flew away from us and off into the murky waters, where the waves crashed onto the reef. Reef fish included sweetlips, parrot fish, angel fish, box fish, butterfly fish, wrasse, snapper, jacks, including a large barjack (good eating) and flying gurnard. On the sand, we spotted rays and several turtles. In the afternoon, it was ridiculously hot and we spent it dipping in and out of the water. We also ate some of the soursop, which was delicious but I couldn't get on with the texture. At 5pm, we went ashore for a sundowner at Basil's, where we were joined by Sara and Nigel. The prices on the menu seemed reasonable and we ordered a beer and a cucumber mojito before noticing the small print at the bottom of the menu, which stated that prices were in US dollars and a 12% service charge would be added. The actual cost was 3 times what we would usually pay. Consequently, we didn't stay for long.
I was up at 6am the next day and it was raining, so I spent some time updating the blog, before having a swim, while Pete slept on. Sara and I went paddleboarding along the reef. We could see the fish and turtles, as the water was very shallow. The offshore breeze started to freshen and we were beyond all of the boats and mooring buoys, so we turned round and paddled hard to move back inshore. Nessa V had to move buoys, as there was going to be a ship coming in the bring fuel and they would be in the way. Then they went ashore to walk, soon to be followed by us. We walked south, along the coast, sometimes in the water and other times under the palm trees. Along the way, there were picnic tables, with straw unbrellas and other shelters, which can be reserved by the residents or the hotels, for lunches and dinners. Nothing was reserved for today, that we saw, although Sara and Nigel did see one all set up for lunch in Lagoon Bay. The island and shoreline were beautiful and picturesque, as well as being very quiet, as we were no longer in peak season. We found a lagoon, with an island made entirely of conch shells and here we spoke to a ranger about the coral and the increased sea temperature, as well as el nino. He said they had lost a lot of coral last year and were planning to move their coral nurseries out to deeper, cooler water, to try to save them. He also commented that, although they had never had a hurricane there, the team had had a hurricane meeting that morning. It is generally expected that the season will start sooner then usual and be more active than usual, due to the unusually high water temperature. We had reached a 'private property' sign so turned back and took shelter from the sun under an umbrella. There, Nigel and Sara caught us up. They had gone beyond the sign and found a path around the saltwater pond, where there was a ground plaque for HRH and a glitter ball hanging in the trees. The 4 of us climbed the hill to go inland, passing the gated driveways of private villas and then turned left, downhill again, to the Depot, Mustique's hardward store. It sold everything from homewares to plants and aggregates but were out of stock of everything we wanted, including noodles for exercising. We continued down the hill, turned left and over a small rise, before turning right into the local village of Lovell. Uphill again, we were getting our exercise today, we passed the post office and the police station and asked for the Embassy Bar, which we could see on Google maps but couldn't see an entrance to. We were actually stood outside it but needed to walk down the side of the house and round the back. Inside, although this was obviously a bar for the locals, there were film posters signed by Hugh Grant. The locals were buying lottery tickets and having a quick beer and lunch. We opted to have the chicken roti on offer, with a couple of beers apiece. The bill was 61 EC, about £18, so a bargain and there was a lovely view from the balcony. We walked downhill, passed the grocery store, the cafe / bakery, the boutiques and the fish market, all closed for lunch between 1pm and 3pm, passed Basil's to the dinghy dock. Pete went snorkelling for a short while and then we had a snooze before I went snorkelling with Sara and Pete listened to the rugby. Sara and I saw a few rays and many turtles, including one that raised itself on it's front fins to look up at us before swimming up towards us and beyond us. Sara got some decent photos on the Go Pro. As I reached the boat, Pete was just returning in the dinghy. He had been to the Coreas store for beer for the second half of the match. Sundowners were on Nessa V and we had another lovely evening.
Next morning we had a visit from security to inform us that the ship was coming in and they would be running a pipeline from the ship to the shore, so if we wanted to go to the dinghy dock, we would have to go around the ship. While they were with us, they gave Pete a telling off for having lifted the buoy up to the anchor, which he had done because it was constantly banging on the side of the boat and leaving heavy, black marks. Pete released it but lifted it again later, when the ship and security had left. Sara and I paddled to the beach, with Sara being thrown into the water as the wave crashed her board sideways up the beach. We pulled the boards up under a tree and laid them face down, fin up, before heading to the bakery for a coffee and croissant and to buy bread. It wasn't cheap but not extortionate either and we spent a pleasant hour there before browsing the boutiques. It was great to do girly things for a short time. Bread and belongings went in the dry bags and we paddled back to our boats.
After lunch, Pete wanted a beer so, the ship having gone, we took the dinghy ashore and walked up the steep hill to the Embassy Bar. We found a shortcut up some steps, that came our near The View restaurant and bar. The Embassy Bar was closed, as was the View, strange for a Saturday we thought. As we needed to wait until 3pm for the Coreas store to open, we had to have a beer in Basil's. We drank it slowly! The Coreas store was well stocked and we bought beer and provisions. I decided not to buy wine at those prices though, as they sold top end wines. We returned to the boat but not for long as we had agreed to meet Sara and Nigel at the Embassy Bar for sundowners. Pete phoned to make sure they were open as we didn't want to climb that hill again, if not. On the way there, we went to Purple House, one of the boutiques and I bought a dress and a UV sailing top. When Sara and Nigel arrived, some time later, they reported that there was some great Reggae music coming from Brookies Bar, just down the road, so we decided to give it a try. As we approached, we could smell barbecue. The bar was little more than a corrugated iron shed, which housed a bar, a pool table and a bench seat at the far end and it was full of locals. We ordered drinks, beer for the boys, rum and ginger for the girls. Pete and I hadn't eaten, so decided to order food. The choice was chicken or pork, 15 or 20 EC respectively, so we went with the pork; a portion to share. We all sat down on the bench at the rear and proceeded to watch the pool tournament, picking our favourites and cheering them on. The food arrived in a takeaway container, with pasta salad and it was delicious and plentiful, all for £6. We had more drinks and a local man came over to speak to Pete. He said they were really happy to have us there and joining in and then, because I was jigging around in my seat, he got me up to dance. It was a fantastic night out and cheap as well. We would have definitely gone back, had we been staying longer in Mustique. We returned down the steep hill and took the dinghies home.

Baliceaux

02 May 2024 | Baliceaux, Grenadines
Donna Cariss
It was May Day in the Grenadines and the day started with torrential rain but it didn't last for long. The engine was on at 0730 hours and Pete brought up the anchor, the first time since the motor had been repaired but all was fine. We motored round the headland, passing the derelict homes of the 1960's eco community, Moonhole. This is now a private reserve. We continued to motor, heading east through the narrows between Bequia and Petit Nevis, with the 18 knot wind and the tidal flow on our nose. We were down to 1.5 mph at times. We avoided the overfalls to the north and south and in big seas, we raised the mainsail, with a reef in. With the wind and tide as they were, we would have been tacking all day, under sail alone, to reach Baliceaux, so we motor-sailed with the wind at around 30 degrees. We were still making slow progress, with 3 metre swells but it was more comfortable with the sail up than it would have been without and the sail generated some lift. About 3 miles out from the island, the sea started to calm and the current did likewise, as we came into the shelter of the land. The wind also came round, such that we didn't have to tack to reach the anchorage, where Sara and Nigel were waiting, on Nessa V. We arrived at 1130 hours, dropping the anchor on sand, in 3.9 metres. We had tuna melts for lunch; delicious and then Pete did some snorkelling.
Baliceaux has a horrific history, courtesy of the British colonial authorities, who orchestrated a genocide on the Garifuna (black Caribs) in the 1790's. Around 5000 Caribs were exiled to the island, which has no fresh water source and more than half of them died from disease and starvation. The 2500 survivors were then removed to the island of Roatan, Honduras and their descendants live as the Garifuna people in Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the US. The graves of those who died have never been properly marked, or excavated and the island is essentially a graveyard and unlikely ever to be developed.
Sundowners and fishing were on Nessa V but nothing was caught, despite Nigel having caught fish every other day that they had been there. There was no moon and the night sky was incredible, with us sighting the Plough, upside down. In the early hours, the rain came down in torrents and the morning dawned grey and miserable but by 9am there was a hint of sunshine. At 0930 hours, we lifted the anchor and hoisted the mainsail in the anchorage, before motoring out between the reefs. The winds were light and fluky initially but we let out the foresail and I helmed the boat. The wind filled in and we had a great beam reach the rest of the way to Mustique, touching 8 mph, an hour and 15 minutes, door to door. It was lovely to cruise in company with Nessa V, 2 Westerly Typhoons together.
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Make/Model: Westerly Typhoon
Hailing Port: Hull
Crew: Donna and Peter Cariss
Muirgen's Photos - Sainte-Evette to Concarneau
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