Reading time: 36 minutes
Finally, time for a snapshot again.
There’s just been no point, as most weeks have had highlights and fun, but also a lot of blah days.
Bequia life goes on. We’ve continued to be social, and even made it out on a rum shop tour. We had a very memorable soaking taking friends Evan and Alice to Daffoldil’s for dinner. We found new cruiser friends on SV Bouzy and enjoyed a drink with them. And we’ve managed to catch up with our friend Kathy again, which is always a pleasure.
I’ve now finished work – no more logging on at 7am, which is a relief. Aside from the adulting I spoke about in my last blog, we’re now free to enjoy our last few weeks onboard. I’ve completely failed to get back to the gym (my toe is still broken), but I’ve made some other healthy changes in my life in its place.
This week is an exciting week for us – my dad comes onboard for the best part of a fortnight. We need to strike a balance of enjoying Bequia and getting out sailing around the Grenadines. And we need to make sure Dad is comfortable. This is only his second trip to the Caribbean, and his first time doing more than a half-day sailing trip.
We’re hoping it’s a couple of weeks of laughter and fun…
Sunday 20 March
We’re both awake before 7:30, which doesn’t feel right for a Sunday. I’m still struggling with insomnia. I’ve found that I can get sleeping pills that work cheaply and easily at the town pharmacy. But, after getting through my last week of work on them, I’m trying to use them less. In theory, not having an early alarm anymore means that if I can’t get to sleep I can at least lie in. That’s not playing out so far…
The wind is still howling outside. It’s been like this for days, almost weeks. We’re getting used to the reassuring tug on our anchor. The chill in the breeze coming through our portholes at night is bliss.
Cleaning out my closet
After some phone poking time and breakfast, I automatically start on chores. I had planned to leave all the pre-guest cleaning until tomorrow but we’ll also have lots of errands to run so I might as well get started.
I’ve been cleaning out a lot of spaces. If things go to plan, in exactly 7 weeks, we’ll be landing in Heathrow. It’s a while off, but it makes sense to start when I have the motivation.
Yesterday, I sorted through my clothes. I made piles for donation here, and things I’ll be taking home. There are also things I wear all the time to keep handy, and things that will be too worn out to keep. If Dad has some room in his luggage going home, we can send some things ahead with him.
Kathy told us about how she collects clothes to donate through the church. A large bag is ready to go to her when Colin goes to meet her cousin at 10am. Kathy has made us up some paratha so we can make roti onboard when Dad is here. We were talking about our love of roti at dinner the other night. We can manage a good filling but haven’t mastered the bread, so she offered. Colin also takes her some lateral flow tests we bought her in Martinique, and saucisson we’re struggling to get through.
The purge continues
Today, I’m working on reorganising our food stores so it’s more clear what we have to use up. I also get rid of anything that’s expired, and make sure what’s left is in order. Again, we have items we want to take home – mostly guava jam – so I’m identifying what we have. In between all this, I do a final load of laundry. Because we’ve had guests frequently and it’s been so windy we’ve been taking laundry ashore recently, but I have some silks to wash so might as well get everything up to date.
Through all of this, Colin works on getting our cockpit lights working again, and on sorting out some of our electronics detritus.
We’re foraging for lunch, so Colin has some out of date ramen and I have some slightly stale tortilla chips and the last of our cremé de camembert from Martinique, now only half edible after being frozen in the fridge. After eating I start on cleaning and finish the laundry, and Colin has a call with a potential Mirounga buyer. We get word-mid-afternoon that Dad has landed safely in Barbados.
I’m not feeling great so call it a day on the chores and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing. I’m currently working my way through the US version of Queer as Folk and spending far too much time playing Drag Race Superstar on my phone. It’s a bit of a coping mechanism when I’m stressed, I always want some kind of mindless distraction…
A chilled evening
We make the most of our last evening alone by watching two episodes of The Walking Dead. We also finish Space Force, and catch up with Central Park. Dinner is of course truffle mac and cheese, our penultimate box. It’s a late night, and a sleeping tablet one. I want to be rested for a busy day tomorrow.
Monday 21 March
The sleeping tablet did its job so I’m happy to lie in until after 8am. Colin, as usual, was up earlier. He has a job interview at 9am, so I take my tea and breakfast to have in bed and leave him in peace. Afterwards, we start to form a plan of attack on the day.
It starts with more tidying up and cleaning, and getting the guest cabin ready. Late morning, the yellow barge from Daffodil’s appears alongside and we quickly tie on fenders and empty lockers in preparation. Filling our fuel tanks is not simple, we find it’s very slow using the filter necks. Instead, we open our cockpit lockers, unload them, and open up the inspection hatches on the fuel tanks to fill up from there. The process takes only minutes this way, and we know we’re well fuelled up for sailing south.
After we wave off the fuel barge, we gather ourselves and head into town. We stop into Aaron’s pizza hut for a slice, then do the rounds of the shops to get all of the groceries we need. Bequia is one of those places where you come to know where to go to get each item. We take everything back to Mirounga, then Colin speeds off again to dispose of garbage, fill up a petrol tank, and visit the Hairoun depot. This is the place to return old glass bottles and collect a new crate of the local beer.
Meanwhile, I finish the cleaning and bake some banana bread. By the time Colin is back, Mirounga is guest-ready, and I have just enough time to shower and watch an episode of Queer as Folk before we have to go pick up Dad.
We’ve arranged for Terrence the taxi driver to meet us at Gingerbread Hotel, so we leave the dinghy there. We go with him on the 15-minute drive to the airport, and even though Dad’s flight was only due to land 15 minutes before we arrive he’s already waiting. We quickly hug then load back into the taxi for the drive back.
Instead of going straight to Mirounga, we stop at Mac’s to have a sunset drink. The sunset is truly spectacular, one of the best arrays of colours we’ve seen, and it goes on forever. But, we have to drag ourselves away to get back to Mirounga before the light fades totally. Just our luck, it starts to rain heavily just as we set off, but being a Caribbean shower it’s over in minutes.
Back onboard, Dad starts to unload – two whole cases of Punk IPA! Colin is very happy. We also have some new flags and light bulbs for the boat, some clothes I wanted, and amusingly only one half of my contact lens order. Dad has never worn lenses so didn’t realise that each eye has a different prescription!
We show him around the boat and help him settle in, then Colin goes back to Mac’s to pick up a pizza. We dry off the cockpit enough to eat out there, and head to bed full and exhausted.
Tuesday 22 March
We’re awake in time for the morning cruisers net at 8am, and have a slow start while Dad gets familiar with the boat. The banana bread I made yesterday makes a quick and easy breakfast.
It’s a beautiful day, with calmer water than we’ve had in weeks. It’s not long before Colin has tempted Dad onto a paddleboard. He’s not ready for standing up but manages to paddle on his knees and get back to Mirounga with only one dramatic dunking. We’ve booked a dive tomorrow, but Dad has an ankle injury and isn’t too sure that he’ll be able to swim enough. We kit him out and jump into the water together. It’s a definite no – his ankle is too sore, and he’s having trouble getting a seal on his mask because of his moustache.
At 11am, we head into town, parking at Gingerbread so we can have a chat with Bob at Dive Bequia. He agrees that it doesn’t sound like diving is for Dad this time (“go hang out at a bar instead” is his very true-to-character advice). We walk along to town and have a slow amble around, giving Dad a chance to see Port Elizabeth. Then we head back to Gingerbread for a quick drink before we’re due to meet a taxi at 12:30.
Elson is waiting for us, sent by his brother Terrence who we had booked to take us to the Firefly Plantation. He greets us warmly and chats happily as he drives. Colin and I have wanted to come to Firefly for months and we’re glad to finally be making it there.
At Firefly, we’re greeted by lovely friendly dogs. We’ve booked in to have lunch and take a tour. The hotel is beautiful, with the restaurant a relaxed cool terrace overlooking the pool, set amongst gardens. There are views towards Spring Bay on the windward side. Colin and I went to the (now closed) Mustique restaurant run by the same people and loved it. The atmosphere is very similar, and I’m daydreaming slightly about being able to afford a stay here.
Lunch is incredible. We all have different starters – stuffed crab for me, conch chowder for Colin, and pumpkin soup for Dad. For the main course, it’s lionfish salad all round. We always try to eat lionfish when it’s available to do our part in ridding the Caribbean of this harmful invasive species. This is probably the best dish we’ve ever eaten with it in, beautifully flavoured and cooked perfectly. Now I want to stay here even more. Throughout the meal, we’re interrupted by happy canine faces. One dog, Jack, is very keen on chin scritches and an opportunity to chew on a hand. It’s lovely.
It’s hard to turn down dessert (with chocolate samosas on the menu), but we do as we need to go for our tour and we’ll be eating out tonight.
We rouse ourselves and say hello to Ezra, our tour guide. He walks us through the grounds, starting with the glass cabinets used to dry seawater out to harvest sea salt. He shows us the new building on the ruins of the old sugar mill, which will be a lovely home I’m sure.
Ezra walks us through the gardens (which double as a golf course), showing us the plants and fruits. We taste sugar cane and he shows us the traditional low-tech way of harvesting cane juice using a metal spout mounted on a pole, and a stick. We also eat wax apples, fresh almonds (which he breaks open with a hammer), sour cherries and all manner of things I can’t remember the name of. As we swing on the tire and wooden swings in the shade of a tree, Ezra cuts down a coconut each for us to drink, and hands us mangoes to take home. We’re grateful to him for showing us around, and for the wealth of knowledge he has.
After the tour, we thank Ezra and pop our heads into the little Grenadine Sea Salt shop. We taste the different flavours, named for the different Grenadine islands. Dad buys me a bottle of the extravagantly priced body polish (which I promptly forget about as it’s to be saved for my birthday), and Colin and I buy a small bottle of cinnamon and nutmeg salt.
All in, it’s been a fantastic experience, and one I’d definitely recommend to visitors to Bequia.
We decide to walk home, knowing it’s past the hottest part of the day and mostly downhill. Every so often though, Elson drives past, calling “you alright Pops?” to Dad and telling Colin and me that we should be giving him a piggyback.
We manage the walk comfortably and the exercise is helping Dad’s sore ankle. We pass lovely looking cows with calves, a cockerel perched in a tree, and sheep munching on a prickly pear with no mind of the spikes. People say hello as they pass, and it’s generally just lovely showing Dad the island we love and why.
We’re ready for some refreshment by the time we reach town, so we stop into Rendezvous for a drink. Cruiser friends John and Darcy are there too, so we say hi before we head home.
We don’t end up with much time onboard, but we do have a chance to sit and watch the sunset after a shower and post some of our photos from the day. Then, in the last of the light, we pile into the dinghy and drive across the bay to Daffoldil’s. The wind has started to pick up again, but we avoid getting too drenched.
Stuffed – again
We’ve chosen to come to Daffodil’s as she let us know it was a buffet night and she had a large booking. It’s always nice to see the restaurant busy, and we like the atmosphere. We also know that on buffet nights Daffodil is more likely to get more help in the kitchen, and thus have more chances to pop out for a chat.
As usual, the food is above and beyond excellent, and vast in quantity. Rather than have a buffet table, we’re served all of the dishes at our own table. By the time all the plates are out the table is full. Despite having eaten lunch only a few hours ago we make a gallant effort, and Dad gets to try some local specialities like callaloo, and Daffodil’s amazing mango chutney. In fact, there’s so much mango chutney on the table that we cheekily ask for a jar to take the leftovers away in!
After dinner, we chat with Daffodil at the bar for a while, and at one point she brings us out a raw conch so we can see what it looks like. Certainly not like something I’d find and want to eat… It’s a good job the cooked creature tastes good. After a hug from Daffodil, we have a slow, dark, but thankfully dry motor across the bay. After a drink, we’re all ready for bed after a busy day.
Wednesday 23 March
The plan for the day had been brunch and a dive, but as the dive is cancelled we take things more slowly. It’s a fairly lazy morning, with all of us managing varying bits of admin and computer poking. Late-morning, Colin drops Dad and me off at Jack’s dock so we can walk along the Princess Margaret trail to Gingerbread for brunch. Colin goes on ahead to park there as we want the dinghy closer to town. It’s around noon when we meet. Unfortunately, we seem to have caught everyone at the cafe having a rest after a morning rush. It’s half an hour before anyone even acknowledges us. We had at least popped inside and asked for a menu. When we do manage to order, it’s more like lunch rather than brunch. Oh well.
We spend the afternoon wandering around town. I had been saving looking at some shops for Dad’s visit, so it’s probably mostly for my benefit. We’re ready to buy our final Bequia keepsakes. We pick out a couple of batik cushion covers from the Garden Boutique to go with the one we bought in 2018. On front street, I stop by one of the stalls that sell locally handpainted fridge magnets and buy a “2022” one to go with our existing 2021 one.
I pop into Knights to get some bagels, and we check to see if Doris has Diet Coke (no luck). We visit the cashpoint, and then head along to Bequia Threadworks. We haven’t seen the new collection, and Colin is finally ready to buy himself some shirts. In the end, he walks out with three very well-fitting shirts. I choose a dress, some shorts, and a vest. It’s an expensive shop, but it’s the first time we’ve paid full price here. We’re also very happy supporting this non-profit which does great work in Bequia.
We check a couple of more supermarkets, and none have Diet Coke or Coke Zero. On a whim, I suggest a store that our friend Kathy mentioned and we’re delighted to see 24 packs of Coke Zero. Un-caffeinated Colin is not fun. As we walk, we bump into friends Chris and Louise and catch up.
We realise we forgot to take our garbage, so work out a plan. Dad will walk along towards Jacks, and we’ll take the garbage to town. Then we’re close enough to the store to borrow their trolley and load up on Coke. I guard the dinghy at the town dock, and Colin comes back with three packs. We speed back to Mirounga to drop off our shopping, then to Jack’s to meet Dad.
We stop in at Jack’s for a drink and a portion of conch fritters. As we leave, Max the beach dog comes to say hello. I stop to give him some of my water from the silicon bowl I carry in my bag. Then he trots along with us awe walk to the end of the beach. We continue on over the bluff to Lower Bay, and walk along the road.
I get a message from our friend Alice with a photo of a catamaran moored off Lower Bay Beach. She thought it might have been us. Of course, it isn’t, but I recognise her perspective and realise she’s at De Reef, which we’re approaching. We pop in for a chat and try to persuade her to come out tonight. Her friends (two of whom we met on the rum shop tour on Saturday) do the same but to no avail. Her phone has been playing up, so we leave her my charging box and cable in case it helps.
It’s getting late, so we walk back along the beach. Max is waiting at Lion’s Den and raises a sleepy head as we pass.
A lively evening
Back onboard, we quickly file through the shower and head out as the sun sets to Papa’s Bar. We eat dinner there, then move on. As we walk down the hill from Papas we see two cats and stop to feed them the kibble in my bag. After we’re done a local man comes over and thanks us for being so good to the cats. He says all animals should be loved and we’re doing God’s work. We agree with his sentiment if not his belief structure.
We walk along through Ocar to Sailor’s Cafe. It’s already lively and full, as it’s the Wednesday night jam session. Dad has brought along a baritone ukulele so quickly starts to play along. It’s hard to believe just how many people there are that we know here. Chris and Louise are there, as are regulars John and Darcy. Nate and Donnika, who we met through Evan, are there and Nate greets me with a hug. Gaby, who we saw a lot last year, is with them, so we catch up. Alice’s friends are here, and Colin is greeted by Alex, one of the local fishermen we know from last year. That’s just the people we know to talk to, there are many more familiar faces and people who say hi. I don’t even know this many people in my hometown!
Dad is soon ushered onto the stage by Darcy, though he’s not too confident with the ukulele. He says as much, and someone disappears and brings out the owner Elfic’s guitar. John has a go on the uke, and it’s passed around the local guys with enthusiasm. Dad is invited to lead on a couple of songs, so he plays Fields of Athenry, which we get to hear with a steel pan for the first time. He also plays Sloop John B and I’m surprised that more people don’t seem to know it. Of course, Dad manages to find the other Scots at the bar – a couple who moved over from Fife 30 years ago who play keyboard and sax. Later in the evening, they collaborate on a couple more songs, including Wild Mountain Thyme.
Dad has to apologise to Elfic when he finally emerges from the kitchen to play as he finds his guitar tuning tweaked! He continues to join in with the ukulele, and Colin even gets a chance to play when Darcy hands him her drum. He’s gracious as ever. The music on stage starts to wind down at around 9:30 but a couple of players are keen to compare Dad’s uke to the quatro used by one of them. We end up with them carefully working out how to play the instruments in harmony and sing a couple of songs. Gaby lets me know that Dad’s folky tunes were the highlight of her evening. I think seeing Dad and a local guy playing together is mine.
We really have to drag ourselves away in the end as everyone seems happy to have had Dad around. We assure them we’ll bring him back next week.
By the time we’re back on board we’re exhausted and ready for bed. A neighbouring Catalante charter cat is having a loud deck party well beyond acceptable hours, so it’s an earplugs night.
Thursday 24 March
Today marks a year since we left Scotland. I can hardly believe it.
It’s a sailing day! Dad’s first real experience of sailing beyond very short trips.
We’re up at our 8am alarm, and ready to set off by 9am. The wind has picked up yet more, so we have a lovely fast, comfortable downwind sail to Canouan. It takes under 4 hours. It feels like we’ve barely set off when we anchor at Glossy Bay. Dad has taken it well, but is feeling under the weather – I suspect he hasn’t been drinking enough water.
We had planned for him to come into the marina with me to do some grocery shopping, but I leave him to rest. It means I can drive the dinghy fast and nip in, despite the uncomfortable swell. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the supermarket closes for 3 hours in the afternoon. Doh. I speed back out, catching myself and slowing down in time before hitting the big waves in the bay. Securing the dinghy to be raised on its davits and climbing back out in this wind and swell is not fun!
We use the foresail alone for the short journey over to Saltwhistle Bay on Mayreau. We’re surprised to find all but one of the mooring balls full, meaning it’s also too busy to anchor. We take the last ball with the help of a local restauranteur trying to drum up business. We don’t want to go out for dinner, so we give him a tip for his help. The ball we’re on is further out than we like and getting a lot of the wind. When the park manager comes to take our mooring fee we let him know that if another ball closer in becomes free we’ll be moving.
Dad goes to lie down, and Colin and I sit on deck eating some coconut bakes (a local fried bread) for lunch. A guy on a kayak who sells local crafts comes by, and when we remind him we bought something from him last week he just hangs out for a chat.
We’re just having a tidy up when I spot that a ball by the beach has become free, so we quickly move over. A different restauranteur comes out this time. Although it’s helpful to have him take our lines and feed them onto the eye of the mooring ball, he manages to catch his pirogue between the ball and our hull. There’s a scuff of yellow paint on our Gelcoat, but no real damage thankfully. We tell him that no, we’re not coming ashore for dinner.
I have a shower and curl up to watch some Below Deck in bed. I’m feeling like I’ve had enough sun as I’ve caught it on my back a little. While I’m resting, a revived Dad and Colin paddleboard ashore for a walk on the beach. By the time they’re back, the afternoon is wearing on and I need to go sit on the nets for my weekly therapy session. This is something new I’m trying, using live chat with a therapist through the Better Help app.
An understated evening
We don’t do much in the evening as we’re all tired. I cook us corned beef and sweet potato stovies for dinner, and we eat outside. We start to play dominoes, only to be rained off. It unusually seems to be raining a little in the early evenings right now, every day. We don’t feel like watching a movie or anything, so we have a fairly early night.
Friday 25 March
We’ve had a peaceful night, but we’re woken up by loud music from the beach before 8am. This happened last time we were here, and we’d forgotten. We don’t mind too much, but it would be nicer if it wasn’t so early!
We have bagels for breakfast and then motor around to Tobago Cays. It’s a bumpy ride as we’re heading straight into the wind, but it’s mercifully short. We anchor in our usual spot, on the shallow sand near Jamesby. I stay onboard as Colin and Dad drive the dinghy over to Baradal, where they can beach the dinghy and swim with turtles. It makes more sense for me to stay onboard as I’m not that fussed about swimming. It means not leaving the boat soon after anchoring, and the dinghy ride for them being faster.
While they have a swim, I do laundry. When they return, I make bacon, eggs, beans and fried banana bread for lunch. They had a good swim, albeit short, as it was a bit rough to snorkel without a fully dry snorkel. Dad is getting on better with our spare equipment after shaving off his moustache, but the snorkel is unfortunately only a semi-dry design. I’m glad he got to swim with turtles though. It’s definitely feeling like a “chores” day for me. I’m on to the second load of washing when we’re ready to leave, and we sail on the foresail around to Saline Bay on the other side of Mayreau.
This is the first time we’ve brought Mirounga to Saline. We came here years ago when we were bareboating on Pelican Pete, but I barely remember it. It’s a shame, as it’s a beautiful, peaceful bay. Anchoring is easy once the American guy on the charter cat beside us stops yelling at us where to drop because he’s taking up rather more real estate than expected.
I finish the laundry and put some banana bread in the oven, then settle down to catch up on writing. Colin makes some roti skins for dinner (unfortunately the ones Kathy made didn’t survive in the heat long enough). I break to shower, but it’s after sunset and Colin has finished preparing dinner by the time I stop. We always plan to eat outside but tonight it starts to rain just as Colin is serving so we opt for indoors.
He’s made a delicious meal of barracuda roti. If you’ve never had it, Caribbean roti (from Trinidad but available throughout the islands) is a curry made of potatoes and meat, served with (or wrapped in) paratha bread and often with mango chutney. This is as good a roti as any I’ve had and goes brilliantly with Daffoldil’s chutney.
After dinner, it’s still wet outside so we settle in and watch Bo Burnham’s Inside. This is the second viewing for us and the first for Dad. We’re all nodding off by the end, so head to bed before 10pm.
Saturday 26 March
It’s been a lovely calm night, and despite some music late into the night, we’ve all slept well. I’m pleased that I’m finally managing to sleep well enough without sleeping tablets. We have bagels and banana bread for breakfast, and after taking in the washing we head ashore.
A wander around Mayreau
Despite having stopped at Mayreau many times, we’ve never actually been ashore on the south of the island or walked through the village. Ashore, there are a few businesses lining the beach, but everything is sleepy and quiet. We stop and chat with the guy we know from selling crafts in Saltwhistle Bay. Today he’s waiting for the dive boat from Union to pick him up to go coral planting. As we chat, he points out the area where sea moss is harvested.
The Ranch Escapade
After saying goodbye, we walk slowly, and first head over to the Ranch Escapade Restaurant and Bar on the windward beach. Friends have told us great things about how beautiful the location is.
On the way, we pass the generators and solar panels that provide power to the island. Amazingly, Mayreau has only had mains electricity since 2002. Inside the fence of the generator, we can see some goats grazing. They’re tied up, but one has coiled its rope around a root and is stuck. It’s crying, but we don’t think we can get to it to help it.
We go on to the Ranch Escapade, which is indeed beautiful. We have a little wander around, then stop to drink virgin coladas (it’s only 10:30) on the little deck by the water. It’s lovely and cool, and a stunning, if not rather expensive, stop.
Goats of Mayreau
On our walk back, the trapped billy goat is still crying. Colin goes to see if he can get someone’s attention, and finds the gate open. When it seems like no one is around, he walks along to the goat. He’s in the process of freeing it when a local man comes up. We don’t know if he’s going to disapprove, but it’s the opposite – he thanks Colin for going to help the goat. Apparently, the owner doesn’t check on them enough. Because we don’t know how long he’s been caught, I come into the compound so we can feed him some water. Once again keeping a collapsible bowl in my bag pays off. The goat is clearly very grateful to Colin and nuzzles and gently buts him, but is warier of me. We’re glad we could help it.
We walk back towards the main road chatting to the man, then head up the hill towards the village. It’s a lovely walk, and as we go we pass lots of friendly, chatty goats. Colin even picks up a kid for a cuddle until its mother bleats her objections. We stop and have a conversation with another very vocal creature.
People of Mayreau
Mayreau might be the friendliest island we’ve visited, and we feel more warmth from the people in the village than we’ve felt on our many visits to Saltwhistle Bay. Everyone says hello, and plenty of people let us know their bar is open for a drink. One guy, whose second name is David but fails to tell us his first, takes us into Robert’s Bar to show us the view from the deck at the top. We let him know if we need a drink on the way back we’ll stop. One canny kid even catches Colin mentioning the bread we have onboard for lunch and asks if we need bread.
With stopping to talk to so many people it’s a slow walk up the hill, but we finally make it to the Catholic church at the top. We know that here we can find the best views to Tobago Cays and to the south. After a look inside the beautiful 1930-built church, we amble back down the hill.
This time, we stop at Robert’s Bar (formally known as ‘Righteous and De Youths’) for a drink. Our friend soon disappears into the back room and comes out with two drums. He insists on Colin playing with him and then grabs a friend for a little jam. It’s loud but great. We pay them a tip for their entertainment, and pay for our drinks (again, more expensive than we’re used to), then head onwards.
As we walk down to the bay, Jason pops his head out of a shop and asks if we want any vegetables. As it is, we do, so we pop in and buy tomatoes, callaloo, flavour peppers, plantain, cucumber, and bananas. Then, it’s time to head back to Mirounga.
Lunch onboard is tinned dolmades, leftover roti skins and some wakame seaweed salad I make up quickly, and fresh bananas. Then we ready ourselves and the boat and leave the bay soon after 2pm. As it’s a short journey, we don’t bother with the mainsail and just use the foresail again.
The channel between Mayreau and Union Island has an unusual southerly swell so it’s a rolly start. It soon becomes comfortable when we pass into the lee of Union. It’s a gentle, peaceful sail around to Chatham Bay. This is our first visit, despite many people telling us how much they love it. We just haven’t made it to Union very often.
It is indeed a beautiful bay, and relatively calm where we anchor tucked into the north not too far from the beach. It takes two attempts to set the anchor, then we’re secure. The guy from the Sunset Cove restaurant hovers as we set, and waits politely for us to invite him up for a chat which is a nice change. We’ve already decided that we’ll be eating at Seckie and Vanessa’s on the recommendation of John and Darcy. We tell him as much but say we’ll pop into Sunset Cove for a drink.
Colin and Dad decide it’s beer o’clock so we sit and chat for a while before I write and we all have showers. It’s approaching 6pm when we dinghy ashore. We check out the dinghy “dock” outside Seckie and Vanessa’s. John and Darcy have already warned us off using it, and we can see why. It’s a concrete structure set over, and in line with, the reef that lines the beach. The risk of smashing the dinghy against the reef is too high for us to risk it, so we head further up the beach to Sunset Cove. Here the man we spoke to earlier is there and helps us quickly and easily pull the dinghy onto the sand where we can anchor it in place.
At Sunset Cove, we have a drink and some delicious swordfish fritters while we watch the sunset, which is another stunner. The colours in the sky persist as we walk along the beach to Seckie and Vanessa’s bar, where we have a dinner reservation. Apparently, there’s occasionally a jamming session on a Saturday here, so we have the ukulele. In the end, it seems a bit quiet for it to be happening. There’s one party of 6, and another of three, plus us.
I watch the last of the sunset from a swing on the beach, then we find our table. We’re surprised to see that the other guests are braving the dinghy dock. I realise that buoys have been placed so that a dinghy on a sensible length of painter (dinghy rope) is held off the reef, and ponder whether the dock isn’t as bad as it looks. Then, halfway through our meal, one of the two parked dinghies becomes unattached and floats off to get stuck on the reef. The other circumvents the buoy and also gets stuck. There’s a rescue mission, but the sight of a dinghy sat on a reef is enough to make us glad we beached on sand.
Dinner is wonderful – mahi-mahi, rice, plantain, breadfruit and salad. I have to choose the thinner cuts of fish as I prefer it more cooked through, but the local style green herb seasoning is perfect. A friendly dog turns down an undercooked bite of my fish but soon digs up a saved bone to munch on. I’m a little disturbed seeing out of the corner of my eye a live lobster on the grill, still moving. This is why I no longer eat lobster.
Under the night sky
After a piece of coconut cake we say our goodbyes and pay, then walk back along the beach in the dark. I’m glad I’m using a headtorch to light our way when we see a spiny sea urchin washed onto the beach, standing on that would not have been fun. We’re very proud of ourselves for getting the dinghy back in the water with all three of us still dry.
Back onboard, we stargaze from the nets for a while, then end up going to bed well before 10pm.
And on to next week…
It’s been a busy week, and I’m feeling a tad frazzled as I write this on Sunday morning.
Around all of this activity, Colin has accepted a job offer and signed a contract, so that’s one of our ducks lined up. I’m still waiting for an update on my own potential employment situation.
We’ve also got a deposit in escrow on Mirounga. The hopeful buyer is flying down to Bequia from Canada on 12 April to sail down to Grenada with us. It means we know we get a little longer in Bequia, but that our last passages will be spent getting a new owner settled in and comfortable sailing Mirounga. We still have a lot to work out beyond that, like finalising the sale, handing over ownership, and working out when we will move off the boat and onto land for our last days/weeks.
It’s been great having Dad on board, and he seems to be improving in fitness and more able to enjoy the experience as it goes on. I’m going to keep writing about our time together, so expect another weekly blog next week…