Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bequia to St. Lucia

When we finally departed Bequia, we proceeded north past St. Vincent to St. Lucia. 

 Admiralty Bay, Bequia

We left at first light trying to be as quiet as possible so as not to disturb our neighbors.

St. Vincent

Like many other cruisers, we always give St. Vincent a pass because of security concerns.  The U.S. State Department warns, “Crimes of all types, including violent crime, occurs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  From time to time, property has been stolen from yachts anchored in the Grenadines.

St. Vincent Passage

I am not sure what this sailboat was doing for wind, because we were not experiencing much.

St. Vincent Passage with St. Lucia’s Pitons in the background

Most of our day looked like the picture above.  It had to be one of the calmest passages we have experienced.  There were no wind waves to speak of, and very little swell.  Additionally, the current was in our favor, so we made a fast passage.

The island of St. Lucia offers several options for cruisers.  Vieux Fort at the south end is a charter boat base.  The anchorage has experienced boat robberies.  A single handler has his boat broken into, ransacked, and his computer stolen.  The robbers turned on his movie camera and then dropped it on the floor managing to video themselves.  Even with the video, the local authorities were not too interested solving the crime.

Soufriere, St. Lucia

We visited Soufriere and the Pitons on a previous pass (see: blog archive, Migration North dated 12/2/2012).  The city has some interesting older architecture, but seems to have fallen into being a bedroom community for workers for the nearby resorts.

Entering Marigot Bay

One of our favorite stops is Marigot Bay.

Cardea a DeFever 56 RPH

On this stop, we found that our friends Marilyn and Kent had beaten us there.

Marigot is a busy little bay with an active charter boat business and a hotel serving as a vacation destination.  We think we have checked into a resort when we visit Marigot.

Rainforest Hideaway

There are numerous restaurants ringing the bay.  The Rainforest is rated as one of the best in the Caribbean, however it is rather pricey.

RJ’s Restaurant

This time we settled for dinner at RJ’s where Pollie had the jerk chicken and I had the maui maui.

Our next stop on St. Lucia was 9 nm north of Marigot Bay at Rodney Bay Marina where we plugged into “condo mode” for a few days.  Rodney Bay is a modern marina that can handle megayachts up to 250 feet.  It has its only little village with restaurants and various specialty stores.  But, our main reason for stopping was fuel.  Motivator took on 2,070 liters – ouch!

Jambe de Bois Waterside Café

Our favorite café requires a dinghy ride out to Pigeon Island.  The funky little Jambe de Bois serves some great curried lamb.


The highlight of our visit to St. Lucia was the Unicorn.  The Brig Unicorn was built in Finland in 1946.  She was the Black Pearl in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and was also used in the TV series Roots. 

 “Junior,” the bartender, on the Unicorn

Today she is a bar.  But, more on the Unicorn at a later date as I intend to write an article about her.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Book Reviews

Author Charles Brewer signing Pollie’s copy of Moonhole at the Fig Tree Restaurant

Our stop in Bequia turned into a literary experience culminating in attending the launching and book signing of Moonhole: The Rise and Fall of an Island Utopia, by Charles Brewer.

Mo with Sir James Mitchell, former Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Earlier in the week, after breakfast at The Frangipani Hotel we met the hotel’s proprietor and the longest serving prime minister in the Caribbean.  After a very interesting conversation, Sir James told me about his autobiography, Beyond The Islands.  Of course, I had to have a signed copy.

I haven’t been able to pry Moonhole out of Pollie’s hands, but that is okay because I am still enjoying Beyond the Islands.  I have only gotten to the place where a young James Mitchell returns to his birth island after college in both Trinidad and Canada, and working and traveling in Europe, but so far it is a look at a very interesting life.

A Canadian cruising couple that used to have their boat in charter service told me about the Secrets of the Conqueror, by Stuart Prebble.  The manager of the St. Vincent charter base, Narendra Sethia, where they had their boat is the main character in the book.  The book is a genuine page-turner. 

 Bequia Bookshop

I downloaded the Secrets of the Conqueror from Amazon to my Kindle.  Moonhole and Beyond the Islands might be harder to find, however both are available through the Bequia Bookshop.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Grenada to Bequia

Windward Islands

Our first leg north from Grenada was to Bequia in the Grenadines.  We could have stopped in Cariacou which is part of the country of Grenada, but we have been there before (see: archive posting, Migration North, dated 12/2/2012), and frankly we were not enamored with the island.  Other cruisers enjoy the island and stay there for extended periods.

Clifton Harbour

Most cruisers stop at Clifton Harbour at Union Island because it is the first (and last, south bound) place in the Grenadines that you can clear customs and immigration.  On previous stops there we found it a little rough around the edges with aggressive and unscrupulous boat boys. Additionally, a recent security event there (see; archive posting, The Dark Side of Cruising dated 10/9/2012) dissuaded us completely.

The islands North of Union Island in the Grenadines that are visited by cruisers are Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Canouan and Mustique.  Previously we have skipped Mayreau and Canouan due to security concerns.  Mayreau’s Salt Whistle Bay has unfortunately gained the nickname “Robbers Bay.”  Tabago Cays requires very settled weather to be enjoyed (see: archive posting, Turtle Watching dated 7/14/2013).  Mustique is interesting and should not be missed (see: archive posting, Mustique dated 11/26/2012), but for us it did not have much replay value.

Shipwreck near West Cay with the cruise ship Silver Whisperer in background anchored in Admiralty Bay.

So, we skipped most of the Grenadines and headed straight for Bequia.  We have visited Bequia three times before (see: archive posting, Entrepreneurial Island dated 6/22/2012) and have found we enjoy the island more with each visit.

 The Frangipani Hotel and the Whale Boner Bar

What is not to like?  The eastern shore of the well protected Admiralty Bay is lined with restaurants and bars.  Most are good, but I would give Tommy’s Mexican Food a pass, especially if you have spent any time in New Mexico and are use to really good Mexican food.

Motivator’s Verde Chicken Enchiladas

We were so disappointed that we had to make our own Mexican food a couple of nights later on Motivator.

 Fritz on Phat Shag (PIC, politically incorrect)

We met the larger than life Fritz on our first visit to Bequia, every time since we have used one of his moorings.  When you see Fritz regularly don a scuba tank to look at the moorings, you feel comfortable with their use.  Besides, it seems if you are a Phat Shag customer, no one is going to mess with you.

Everything you need is a short dinghy ride from your boat.  The town, Port Elizabeth, has several small grocery stores, ATMs, and a drug store.  There is a large Rastafarian produce market, but we have found they try to “rip your face off” with their prices, so we use the smaller ones east of the ferry dock (Blackie’s is best).  Tony Gibbons Beach (or Prince Margaret Beach depending on who you ask) is a nice place to swim and cool off.  You can tie your dinghy to the dock adjacent to Jack’s.

The French Navy under the watchful eye of the St. Vincent and Grenadines Coast Guard delivering a canoe for the Bequia Maritime Museum.

Just being in the harbor watching all of the activity is a real treat.  Yes, there is the occasional wake from the ferries, but we have had much worse.  Watching the charter boats come and go is always entertaining.  The vendors selling bread, produce, fish, laundry service, and yacht cleaning are always polite.

Moonhole, ‘70s utopian housing

We had planned on only being in Bequia a few days, but there were strong winds and waves predicted, so we decided to stay on a little longer.  Then Pollie discovered there was going to be a book signing for Moonhole: The Rise and Fall of an Island Utopia, by Charles Brewer.  “We must stay!”

I decided to use the delay as an opportunity to have a sunshade fabricated for the stern of Motivator.  It seems that here in the trade winds we always have our stern pointing west in the afternoon making the back deck untenable for reading.


Chris and staff at Bequia Canvas measured, fitted, and sewed up a shade in only a few days.  Why didn’t we do this on one of the other three visits to Bequia?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Leaving Grenada

I am not sure if we wore out our welcome, but we sure wore out our Grenada courtesy flag.  This concludes our second season in Grenada hiding from hurricanes.  With three years of fulltime boat living/cruising under our keel(s), we have spent more time in Grenada than anywhere else.

In preparation for the long trek back to the United States, Motivator moved from her summer home at Port Louis Marina to the south end of the island to Spice Island Marina where she was pulled from the water.

The bottom was sanded and recoated with two coats of new bottom paint.  All the zincs were replaced and the running gear was cleaned and polished.  Additionally, I had the gentlemen with big arms and big buffers clean and polish the hull below the toe rail.

With constant supervision, Motivator was ready to go back in the water in only 4 days.  Considering the “island time” factor, that may be a new record!  Overall, we were very satisfied with the work performed.

Back in the water, we decided we were ready for some quiet time before we left Grenada.  So, our first stop was about a half a mile from Spice Island Marina at Prickly Bay Marina where we took a mooring ball for a few days.  Prickly Bay provides easy access to Grenada’s bus system and three good restaurants.  The Dodgy Dock Restaurant quickly became our favorite breakfast hangout.  But, the anchorage is very rolly, so we were ready to move.

Our next stop was Mt. Hartman Bay which is very quiet but not as handy to shopping and services.  Boats are protected from swells by reefs that guard the bay and make the entry a little challenging.  Our only shore neighbor was a small fishing camp (blue skiff) where in a week’s time we saw only one guy fishing on a Sunday morning.

Mt. Hartman Bay is one of those places where a good dinghy comes in handy.  “Little Toot,” Pollie’s name for our dinghy, served us well for trips into Secret Harbour Marina.  Also, we could easily go around the corner and through the reefs to Roger’s Beach Bar on Hog Island, Whisper Cove Marina (best steaks ever from Meat & Meet), and Clark’s Court Bay Marina.

To stage for our departure, do final provisioning, and to check out with officials we moved back around to the anchorage outside of St. George’s Harbour.  We also managed to get invited as guests to one final swim/happy hour at the pool at Port Louis Marina where we said goodbye (for awhile) to the friends we have made in Grenada.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out there.”
                             Captain Ron Rico

Friday, November 8, 2013


On October 9, 2013, I posted an article titled the, "The Dark Side of Cruising" about an attack on cruisers near Union Island in the Grenadines.  Below are two follow-up articles.

Visitors injured in brutal attack in Union Island return to help stakeholders find solutions

Injures Christina Curtin suffered in the Oct. 3 attack.

To read the follow-up article by Kenton X. Chance, St. Vincent and Grenadines I-Witness News, click here

For another perspective on the incident, see Cruising World Blog,  "When Bad Things Happen in Paradise," by Brittany Meyers, click here.