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?

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