Saturday, 16 February 2013

The last post!

Tuesday, 5th February
Up at 0650, breakfast and tea. Up anchor and under sail by 0745. Heading for Bequia (pronounced Beckway) about 30 miles NNE of Union Island. A long beat north in a NE 15-20 knot wind then tacked eastward to Admiralty Bay. Arrived at 1445 and put down anchor - miles out. Motored ashore in the dinghy  to book in with customs and immigration. Colourful stalls all along the harbour front but we got ripped off buying fruit in the market. The luxury three masted sailing ship that came into Chatham Bay last night is now at anchor in Admiralty Bay, Bequia. It is called Mandalay - must look it up to see about prices for a two week trip next year for Jackie's birthday or our anniversary.

Three masted cruise yacht Mandalay

Looking down on Admiralty Bay, Bequia

After booking in with customs Chris went back to the boat while Simon and I stayed ashore to do emails and have a look round. Chris said he would pick us up from Princess Margaret beach in an hour. We soon realised we couldn't walk along the shore to PM beach, but a local man told us we could get the 'dollar bus' and promptly whistled to the driver of a hand painted purple mini bus that was standing stationary about fifty yards away. The bus reversed back and we climbed aboard. The road was winding and hilly and well worth the one dollar fare (East Caribbean dollars are about four to the GB pound). We got dropped off at the end of an unmade track leading down to PM beach, which is a 300-400 long white sand beach. We waited on the beach waving our arms occasionally at L'Esprit de La Mer moored in the distance (pre-arranged signal!) and eventually Chris came and picked us up in the dinghy. The bay and its beaches are really beautiful but as a consequence very popular with yachties, so the areas in front of the town and beaches are quite crowded with boats, many of them charter boats.
Princess Margaret Beach, Bequia

Chris made turkey surprise for dinner (chunks of turkey breast in a sauce he concocted with green beans and rice). Very tasty but far too much of it. Chris stated he was full up and threw most of his over the side - then suggested we should have cheese and biscuits!

Thursday, 7th February
Last night Chris announced a change of plan! We are having another day here at Bequia then going back SE to Mustique on Friday. Will have to get a T shirt there to go with the Bequia one I bought yesterday.
Robinson Crusoe? Or just Mike on the beach at Hope Bay, on the Atlantic side of Bequia?

Up at a reasonable hour this morning and after we'd had breakfast Simon rowed me ashore to catch the ferry to the island of St Vincent. Ferry times are not very reliable but we left at 0940 and the crossing to Kingstown took about one hour (45Eastern Caribbean dollars return - about £10). Spent a couple of hours wandering around looking for fresh fruit: St Vincent is the place to buy fruit, apparently, as they supply all the smaller islands, but all I managed to get was a bunch of seven bananas for less than £1 - no sign of any ripe mangos or pineapples. Got the 1300 ferry, which actually left at 1345, back to Bequia and must have fallen asleep on passage - I woke up as we were docking.
Kingstown Ferry Terminal, St Vincent
Once back on Bequia I bought five ripe mangos for 10EC  dollars (about £2.50) and a coconut-and-cherry ice cream which I ate as I made my way to the Internet cafe.  
Sent e mails then caught bus to Princess Margaret beach and started waving my arms  at Espirit de la Mer to be picked up(our usual signal).  
There is a problem with generator - it starts but cuts out when any electrical load is applied to inverter. We spent all evening trying to decide where the problem lies but were unable to resolve it.

It now looks as if we will be heading up to St Lucia tomorrow, rather than Mustique, as there are boat yards there with electricians and chandlers where we may be able to sort out the generator.

Friday, 8th February
Spent the morning taking various bits off the generator to see if we can find the fault. No joy. Went ashore to PM beach to snorkel and sunbathe. Back to boat for lunch then more work on generator - still no joy. We decided to move on tomorrow to St Lucia so went ashore to book out with customs and immigration. Chris thinks he can get spare parts for generator shipped out from the UK or Italy if they're not available in St Lucia and if it costs too much for repair work there we may return to Trinidad, where he is confident the work can be done much more cheaply. If spares/repair can't be obtained/done Chris has suggested the Pacific trip may have to be cancelled/postponed as he is not keen on doing the crossing without generator/water maker.
Spag bog for dinner.

View from cafe across Admiralty Bay, Bequia
Saturday, 9th February
Up at 0730 and usual breakfast. Weighed anchor and mainsail up by 0830. Lovely sail across to St Vincent then up the west side of the island. Very light wind here so engine on and motor sailing. Once N of St Vincent the wind picked up again and we had a brisk sale up to St Lucia. The Pitons mountains on the SW corner of the island make a very dramatic sight. Continued up the west coast of the island and eventually reached Rodney Bay at about 2300. Spag Bog for a late supper and bed at 0015.


The Pitons, St Lucia

Sunday, 10th February
Email to Jackie:
Hi Pongle,
1100hrs and sitting in cafe with Simon in Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia while Chris books us in with customs and immigration. This is a fabulous place filled with super yachts, a Sandalls Resort Hotel, lovely beaches and lots of fancy, expensive beach-side houses.
The luxury sailing cruisers all look very nice but I agree with you about chartering a yacht next year and doing our own thing. There are loads of 40ft catamarans and monohulls for charter which would give us loads of room to romp about and we could sail up from Grenada to Union Island, Bequia then back via Mustique (which we haven't visited).
Did you have a nice meal with Jim and Maureen? Have they any plans for sailing this year?
I think we are going to move into the marina for a couple of days while Chris tries to get the generator repaired so I should have good access to Internet for a while. I'll try Skyping you later.
Fresh fruit seller, Rodney Bay Marina
Sunday, 10th February
Up just before 0800 and took photos of monster luxury sail cruiser, old sailing boat and Sandalls hotel resort. Quick swim around boat then we moved to other side of bay to go ashore and book in with immigration and customs. Rodney Bay Marina is very plush and not as expensive as you would expect. Sat having a coffee while Chris booked us in. Used wifi connection, sent emails and had Skype conversation with Jackie and Rose (six-year-old granddaughter).
'monster' luxury sail cruiser
Walked around bay to find electrical engineer's premises so Chris can go there tomorrow morning, and back to marina where we watched the last 15m inutes of England v Ireland rugby match in the Six Nations Tournament.
I told Chris that although I have really enjoyed the trip so far,  I have made the reluctant decision to return to the UK rather than carry on to do the Pacific crossing, although I am willing to stay on as far as Panama if needed. He is going to see if his American friend, Eric, can fly out to here and join the boat to get experience before the Pacific. If that happens I will probably fly home from StLucia (apparently there is a daily flight to the UK from here).
Back to the boat for cheese, tom and cu sarnies for lunch.
Roast beef for dinner followed by further discussion re my decision.
We are moving into the marina tomorrow morning for one night.
Monday, 11th February
Didn't sleep well last night. Up at 0715 for cereals, mango and tea then moved into marina (berth E8).

Couldn't log into marina wifi servers so ended up going to Elena's cafe, buying a cup of coffee and using their free(?) wifi. Had nice long Skype conversation with Jackie.

Three bags of laundry to 'Suds' - 50ECdollars (about £12.50) ready for collection in about two hours.

Returned to boat and made beef, tom and cu sarnies for lunch.

Electrical engineer had been to boat in the morning and it looks as if the generator can be repaired here. He or his boss was supposed to come back later but he didn't turn up!

Simon and I went shopping in the afternoon.

Pork chops for dinner with 'christophers' (a sort of courgette) and rice - delicious.

Tuesday, 12th February
Email to Jackie:
Hi Pongle
Repairs to the generator are likely to take up to a couple of weeks and Chris still doesn't know when or where Eric will join the yacht. Since the boat is not going far I am coming home, as I don't see much point in sitting here in the marina or at anchor in the bay outside.
I have booked a seat on British Airways flight number BA2158 leaving St Lucia at 2025 on Thursday, 14th February and arriving at Gatwick at 0830 on Friday, 15th February. Will get a train from Gatwick back to Fishguard. Will call you when I get back to the UK to let you know I have arrived okay.

Wednesday, 13th February
Up at usual time and went for a shower - water not very hot. Back to boat for usual breakfast.
Booked taxi to take me to the airport tomorrow afternoon.

Simon and I caught the local bus into Castries, capital of St Lucia, and spent quite a long time wandering around the market. Lots of fruits and spices as well as local craft stalls etc. Bought several bits and pieces to take home.
 Very big tree in the centre of Castries, St Lucia
Even bigger tree in Derek Walcott Park, Castries
Derek Walcott OBE is a St Lucian poet and playwright who recieved the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He is currently professor of poetry at the University of Essex.
As if he would! Mike shopping in Castries market, St Lucia on his final day in the Caribbean. 
Got the bus back to the marina and Chris made sarnies for lunch. Out to the beach at Rodney Bay for a final swim in the Caribbean before leaving tomorrow.

Simon is making dinner tonight - pork chops, potatoes and salad - I think.
This is the final entry of my trip - I hope you've enjoyed reading it! If you'd like to carry on reading about the rest of the round-world voyage of L'Esprit de la Mer, you can follow Dr Chris Bates's blog at 

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