Roger had his Crown safely fitted and, toothache free, we left Margarita as planned on Saturday 1st December and headed off for Bequia in The Grenadines. We were very glad that we hadn’t been leaving a week earlier as we had, by now, missed the heavy winds and, luckily, the big Sea swells had finally died down. As it turned out, we had very flat Seas and ended up motor sailing most of the way – our excuse was that we were testing out our new AutoPilot who we have now affectionately nicknamed “Dwight” and who steers a much better course than we do…. We covered the 200 odd miles easily and arrived in Bequia on the 3rd December – well in time for Roger’s brother, David, who flew out to St. Vincent on the 6th.
David On Tour
Having made such an effort to get to St. Vincent on time, we were rather unimpressed to have to wait over 2 hours at the Airport for Dave to arrive but, hey, we guess it wasn’t really his fault and last time we were due to meet him (in The Azores) we didn’t even get there !!
We left St. Vincent for Bequia to show him the sights of this lovely Island. On arrival, Roger & Dave set off for the Beach whilst Vicki stayed behind getting Dinner organised. Unfortunately, Roger forgot how big the swells can get sometimes on Princess Margaret Beach and, between the two of them, they managed to half drown Dave and semi-scupper the dinghy !! Happily, all’s well that ends well and they managed to row back to El Vagabond safely. Whilst Roger fixed the Outboard, Vicki & Dave emptied out the sand from the dinghy which was about a quarter full !! So, a pretty eventful start to Dave’s holiday – oh well, these things happen but, maybe, not too often in London….
The following day we set off for Mayreau where Dave swam over to the shore – we think he felt safer swimming than being in the dinghy again !! Then, to Union Island where we decided to eat out at the Bougainvilla. This is a lovely Restaurant owned by a Frenchman set right on the edge of the water. They have a huge Aquarium covering an entire wall and also a separate Lobster Tank. Dave happily ordered Lobster to eat but did look decidedly guilty (and a little peaky) once he realised that they were going to pluck a live Lobster out of the tank and wave it in front of him before they killed it – needless to say, we did tease him unmercifully about going swimming afterwards as Mummy & Daddy Lobster would be chasing after him for eating their baby !!
Our next Port of Call was the Tobago Cays which are a National Park consisting of a group of small deserted Islands protected from the Sea by Horseshoe Reef. This reef is the second largest in the Western Hemisphere (after Belize) and is the only thing between the Islands and Senegal in Africa. The snorkelling here is excellent and the water a beautiful deep clear blue.
Unfortunately, Dave had brought the rain over from the UK with him and it was therefore impossible to see anything in the water as the clouds were so dark grey in colour. We stayed for an extra day hoping that the weather would clear up enough for us to go snorkelling but this was not to be although we did have a very nice warm swim in the rain…
There are a number of Traders (Boat Boys) from Union Island who frequent the Cays selling their wares to the Tourists on Charter Boats. They quickly spotted that Dave didn’t look much like a liveaboard (we think his skin colour gave him away but not sure…..) so they all came over to try and sell him a T-shirt. In the end, he just hid down below every time he saw a pirogue coming towards us !!
We decided to head back North via Canouan as Roger wanted to investigate the Golf Course there pending Nellie and Alan coming out to see us in January. We had a lively sail beating into wind of 35-40 knots and the rain kept on coming at us in nasty squalls - not quite how Dave had imagined the Caribbean. We dropped anchor and went ashore for a very energetic walk up the hill towards the Golf resort which is a joint venture between Donald Trump and Raffles with a Championship Golf Course. Unfortunately, the green fees matched the resort and a round costs about US$300 – a tad too expensive in our minds !!
From Canouan, it was back to Bequia for a lovely Curry at the Gingerbread Restaurant (courtesy of Dave), a wander around the Town (well, village really) of Port Elizabeth and then another lively beat North to St. Vincent to get Dave on his flight back home.
Birthday on Mustique
Unfortunately, Dave didn’t take the rain back to the UK with him. This was our main thought as we sailed down to Mustique where Roger and Vicki’s Mum had kindly booked us into the Firefly Hotel for 2 nights to celebrate Vicki’s 40th Birthday.
The Firefly advises that it is “Not an Hotel but an experience” which is definitely true. The Hotel is just fantastic. Despite the rain, the room, the service, the facilities and, above all, the ambience were all perfect and we will certainly remember our stay there.
What made it even better was the number of cards that arrived in the post on Vicki’s Birthday together with a bottle of Champagne from our friends at Hardway and a beautiful bouquet of flowers from Graham & Belinda. It certainly brought a few tears to Vicki’s eyes over breakfast thinking about what wonderful friends we have even if they are over 3,000 miles away…
The Firefly even surprised us at Dinner with a Chocolate Birthday Cake (Yum, Yum – Vicki’s favourite) !!
In the evening, they had a chap tinkling on the Piano (no, not Phil Collins on this occasion) who played, amongst many other things, “Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner” and “My Old Man” both of which made us a tad homesick and made us think of Fi and Dave Dog now that they have become ‘Honorary Londoners’. We are hoping that they will have sailed over here to join us by this time next year…
Sadly, our stay in luxury was far too short and it was time to leave Mustique and head South to Grenada for Christmas. We arrived safely and are now looking forward to a Christmas Lunch aboard Malarkey with Trevor & Jo and Brian & Sue (Darramy). All we have to do is cook some Roast Spuds so it’s a pretty good deal…..
On Boxing Day, Ken & Jan arrive and we will be cruising around Grenada with them for the next couple of weeks…..
Christmas on Malarkey
We woke up on Christmas Morning to a lovely blue sunny sky and decided to take the Dinghy out for a Christmas sail after opening our pressies. Unfortunately, by the time we got up, the weather was a bit squally so we decided not to bother but to make our Christmas phone calls instead…..
We dinghied over to Malarkey about 1.30pm for pre-luncheon drinks and then had a wonderful Christmas Lunch which Trevor and Jo had kindly cooked – we provided the Roast Potatoes and Sue (Darramy) had made fresh Cranberry Sauce which was delicious.
We had also made some homemade Crackers and not sure who was more delighted – Trevor with his new goggles (they have both just passed their PADI Open Divers) or Jo with her new Shower Caps !!
We spent a happy afternoon and evening eating and drinking. It was a huge change from our 2006 Christmas Day which we spent mid Atlantic trying to keep our food on our plates – so, a big Thank You to Trevor & Jo.
Ken & Jan Partying in the Sun
Boxing Day was a nice quiet day getting ready for our next guests – Ken & Jan Mizen – friends from Hardway. Basically, we made up their bed and then spent the rest of the day relaxing, swimming in the lovely warm water and reading….
We had been invited over to Darramy for Boxing Day Sundowners which offer we had accepted as Ken & Jan weren’t due to land until 6.50pm so we had lots of time before they were going to arrive at the Tiki Bar in Prickly Bay (8ish)….. or, so we thought. We left Brian & Sue at about 7.30pm and, as we got out of the dinghy, we saw a blond head that looked remarkably like Jan and who was sitting next to 2 large travel bags !! What made it worse than our being late (which they had come to expect from knowing us at Hardway) was the fact that the Bar had run out of Rum Punch !!! A few Rum and Cokes later, we made our way back to El Vagabond for a few nightcaps to welcome them to Grenada.
The following Day we introduced them to the local buses and visited St Georges, the Capital of Grenada and indulged in a Lunchtime Roti. On Friday, K & J did the Island Tour whilst we got a few jobs done (after all, we’re not on holiday !!) and then it was off to Gouyave for the Friday Night Fish Fry. This was the third time we had been to this event and, yes, it did rain again !!
We couldn’t have guests in Grenada without going to Hog Island for the Sunday Barbeque so off we tootled on Sunday Morning around the corner with Aid & Jan (Squander) not far behind – they had arrived from Trinidad a couple of days earlier. Not long after dropping anchor, we saw a small boat drifting out of the Bay so Rog & Ken, in true “Batman & Robin” style, chased after it returning it to Roger (the Chap who owns the Hog Island Bar coincidentally named “Roger’s Bar”). After a quick swim, it was over to the Beach for some food and drink. Numerous Rum & Cokes later, we retired back to the Boat only to find that it was still only 7.30pm and we were all sleepy !!
New Year’s Eve saw us having Sundowners on Squander followed by a Party at the Monmot Hotel. This was a lovely Buffet Dinner accompanied by a Steel Band and a Local DJ. We danced the night away and left the Hotel around 1.30am. Aid & Jan had kindly given us a lift ashore in their Caribe so, not only did we not get wet, the journey was a lot quicker.
We sailed up to Carriacou to Tyrell’s Bay which was about a 35 mile journey and en route Ken set up our Fishing Line off the back of the Boat. We had been meaning to do this since we left Puerto La Cruz when Trevor & Neil had both given us some Fishing Gear to get us started. The first catch must have been a big one as the line broke before we could reel it in but, on the second attempt, Ken caught a Flying Fish.
By the time we had whooped and cheered and taken photos, despite our decision to throw the fish back, Ken’s warm hands had killed the poor thing (by accident) and it was dead by the time it hit the water !!
We took the 2 hour tour around the Island of Carriacou and were amazed at how many really nice houses there were with fantastic views over the neighbouring islands. Apparently, the Grenadians who have been living in England often retire back to the Island and can then afford the lovely properties (Costing about £40K).
That evening, Jan cooked a wonderful Corned Beef Hash for us and didn’t bat an eyelid when we also invited Aid & Jan to join us. What a girl !!
The boys washed up and Ken also cleaned the Cooker so a very nice night off for the two of us.
From Carriacou, we went to Sandy Island and seeing a Turtle whilst snorkelling made Vicki’s day. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Turtle who scurried away as quickly as possible !! What should you drink on a beautiful deserted Island ?
Champagne, of course and Ken produced a rather nice bottle of Veuve Cliquet to mark the occasion…..
We spent the night anchored off Petite St Vincent (PSV) and took the courtesy boat into the Palm Beach Restaurant on Petite Martinique where Ken & Jan treated us to a lovely Dinner. Halfway through, we were aware of Roger twitching and fidgeting and we wondered what on earth was going on. At this point, a huge Grasshopper popped out of his sleeve – it had been crawling around under his shirt for about 15 minutes and he thought it was a Mosquito !!!
It soon became time to head back down to Southern Grenada so we sailed down the Windward Coast (to Circumnavigate the Island). We had a super run down to St. David’s where, of course, we enjoyed the infamous Happy 3 Hours and Dinner at the Bel Air Plantation (again!!). Being the ever polite hosts, we offered our guests the dining chairs with the view over the water forgetting it was now pitch black and their only view was that of our rather dim anchor light !!
The last night of K & J’s holiday was spent in True Blue Bay. The 2 weeks had gone so quickly and we all wished they were staying longer. They adapted well to the Cruiser’s Lifestyle, their company was fantastic, they even enjoyed playing Scrabble (or pretended to) and having them to stay was effortless. Hopefully, they will visit us again…….
We are presently in Prickly Bay letting our livers recover. We are leaving here tomorrow (Sunday 13th January) for the Grenadines so that we will be in St. Vincent on Wednesday when Nellie and Alan Thoy arrive whereupon, no doubt, our livers will get another bashing...