St Vincent ( the dangerous island)
27 June 2016
Most sailors bypass St Vincent. It has the reputation of high crime. In fact a German sailor was killed there several months ago. Being from a major U.S. City, murder is nothing new so we decided to make a stop in st Vincent. We didn't go to the western port towns where the troubles were reported, we sailed south to Blue Lagoon. This is the yachting area of st Vincent and the charter boat base.
Blue Lagoon is a beautiful, enclosed basin with a shallow enterence. Too shallow for uproar so we took a mooring in the neighboring Young Island cut. Sparrow came out in his workboat to collect the $20/night but there was none of the hype or salesmanship we endured in st Lucia.
Young Island is a private island resort, tres chic! There are about 30 rooms, mostly separate bungalows. they have a 24 hour water taxi which transported mostly workers to a d from the mainland, 1/4 mile away. They had only one guest, a Greek engineer working on their power plant. This is the slow season.
We mentioned to Sparrow that we needed to have Sophie visit a vet for clearance. We were quite surprised the next day when he told us the vet was on the dock waiting for us. I picked up Movette from the dock and dinghies her out to Uproar. She wasn't that comfortable with boats but was good natured.
Turns out she was there to check in a dog from another boat. She was a captive on Uproar so we coaxed her to examine Sophie and start the paperwork. We were to travel to Kingston to pick up Sophie's clearance the next day. In the meantime we had some delightful snorkeling, walks ashore and a climb to the top of the fort behind Young Island (picture from the top).
The ride to Kingstown was on a local bus. These are large vans with a driver and a packer/hawker. I'm sure they compete to see who has the loudest music! My left ear hurt for two days. It was a bit sad that the elderly ladies and children on the bus were subjected to this music with decidedly x rated themes and language. I did enjoy one song, "I am a rum head' yes I am a rum head."
The assistant got us off at the ministry of agriculture and charged us about $.80 each for the ride. Movette completed our paperwork and Sophie became a legal visitor. We told Movette we would like to visit the city and she showed us a school yard path that was a shortcut to downtown.
Kingston is definitely a third world town. It was not that clean or well kept but it was interesting. The open markets flowed with fresh vegetables and fruits. There was also a huge fish market. We were often approached by vendors to buy their wares and they were most polite. One rasta-looking guy thrust some small, grape sized plums in our hands. He called them jungle plums. They were delicious. We bought a bag for $.40. We ate them all as we walked.
We endured another loud but cheap ride back to our dinghy dock. It was an exhausting but enjoyable day.
We visited Barefoor Charters. John and Darcy Dillon charter from them every year. Our friend Nancy Hancock (Moondancer, hung out with her in the Bahamas) used to be a sailing instructor there. They are a friendly and professional outfit. This would be a great place to charter a boat to visit Bequia, mayreau, etc.
We enjoyed st Vincent and will return. We may even visit some of the western harbors.