Monday, 8 February 2016

A very festive Festive Season in Bequia.

A very festive Festive Season in Bequia.

We left Carriacou on Tuesday 15th of December, sailing in company with Mahalo to meet Paw Paw for Christmas.  They will be leaving on the world ARC so this will be the last time we see them for a few years. As we sailed past the Sisters, Uwe (our engineer) phoned to say the injector had finally arrived but he thinks it is wrong again! We decided not to turn back as this is the only decent weather forecast for going north until after Christmas. Also we suspect not a lot would be done about it over the Festive Season anyway.

We spotted a pod of pilot whales south west of Bequia and called Mahalo to tell them to look out for them. Then we heard My Way call Mahalo. Obviously we were too far away for her to reach us and was checking if we were heading for Bequia too. With Paw Paw’s friends on Ti Sento meeting in Bequia as well we now have 5 boats together for Christmas.

A Deceptively calm anchorage

After snorkelling to check the anchor and spotting a juvenile Jack Knife fish and a turtle, Lew from Suzanne came to meet us, they are friends of Exit Strategy. And then there were 6! We all decided on a quiet night and to meet up for sundowners on the beach the next afternoon. 

Sundowners on the beach

After checking in, we met Platinas crew on the dingy dock – we had met them previously in Carriacou. And then there were 7! Back on Galene we saw Infini re- anchoring ahead of us. And then there were 8! It was time to get ready for sundowners when Maia arrived and anchored ahead of us. And then there were 9!

SVG Coastguard to the rescue - This boat was one of many towed back and put on a mooring or re-anchored by the coastguard over Xmas. They also rescued several dinghies that went 'walkabout'. - Well done the coastguard!

Our anchor had dragged a bit at first but now we were well dug in. Another boat dragged that evening and this set the pattern for our entire stay. It was very windy by now, 25 - 30 knots with stronger gusts and boats were dragging all over including a small freighter and one of the cruise ships. Fortunately there were only two collisions (that we know about). Unfortunately one crashed into Maia but luckily no damage.

We had nearly three weeks of great fun, in spite of the strong wind and getting paranoid every time a new boat came in hoping they were not going to anchor in front of one of us! The ladies all joined in Noodling (water aerobics) and our last morning we persuaded the men to join us which was hilarious. They just don’t seem to have the same sense of balance as the ladies. Lews comment was the best “This is a lot harder than watching you from the boat.” 

The Xmas lights

On the 19th it was the turning on of the Christmas lights. In ‘Bequia This Week’ it said at “about 6:30pm” so we all met ashore at about six. We hung about near the stage at the Almond tree (Where all events in Bequia take place) watching a lot of activity like wiring and connecting sound equipment. With it looking as though not much was going to happen very soon, we decamped to the new bar just over the road.

We had a few drinks and sampled the street food on sale and watched everyone wandering around. Of course, there were many children all dressed up and excited. Eventually the little ones were being carried and then falling asleep! About 9pm the compere came on and after a prayer from the vicar and thanks to the organisers she said “We are going to move on to the lighting ceremony shortly.” Then followed about an hours’ worth of speeches from everyone involved! All the locals did not seem to mind at all and clapped and cheered. Eventually the children sang a carol and the lights came on at about 10pm! They were very good for such a tiny community. Then we had a band and we left at about 11:00 with the party still in full swing. We just felt sorry for all the little ones who had not seen the lights come on.

Christmas Eve we had booked to go to the Frangipani who were doing a BBQ with a steel band. It was a very good evening, meat or fish nicely cooked and a fabulous array of salads buffet style.

Xmas lunch - Caribbean style

Christmas Day we all went to the Fig Tree restaurant. We were joined by another boat with a family on board as well. They were closed but Cheryl said we could use her veranda area and even her BBQ if we wanted. We had decided to do a traditional Christmas dinner with everyone bringing a dish or two. We had ham, turkey, chicken, pigs in blankets, roast potatoes and an array of vegetables. Cheryl and her grandson joined us which was nice. To complete the meal we had three different desserts, a real feast in a lovely venue overlooking the sea. As a small thank you to Cheryl we collected some cash to go towards her Reading Groups.

After more sundowners on the beach and on various boats it was Paw Paws last day. We went down to Lower Bay to De Reef where they have a band on Sunday afternoons. A fun farewell and then time to organise New Years Eve!

We started at The Plantation House, recently reopened, with pizza for supper and then a few drinks on Mahalo, before a few of us decamped to Galene to watch a really good firework display over the bay. They seemed to be using a few presumably out of date flares as well as some of them lay burning on the water for quite a while! A bit dangerous considering how many boats there were in the bay.

A variety of boats in the bay.

There was a constantly changing backdrop of interesting boats in and out of the bay, old and new. We looked up a few including one of our favourites we had seen before in the Virgin Islands. It was James Dyson’s Nahlin, a small retro cruise ship built in 1930. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor had sailed on her. Another was a lovely 4 masted barque, Sea Cloud built in 1931.

Tenacious arrives in Bequia

Gradually all our friends were leaving, mostly heading north. We, of course have to go back to Carriacou! Leaving on Tuesday morning, the anchor windlass was not working! Richard investigated for ages and discovered that it was the solenoid. He had to haul the chain up by hand and add another job to the list!
We had a brisk sail down to Chatham Bay 32 miles in 5 ½ hours. Not bad. We saw tropic birds and red footed boobies, which you only see off shore but no whales this time. Chatham is a lovely calm bay with very clear water and many pelicans, brown boobies and terns fishing. We want to spend more time here but not now. Raising the anchor next morning, the winch worked again! Now we can cross a job off the list for a change!

A glorious sail south

We sailed 13 miles to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou in 2 ¼ hours and anchored easily – it almost feels like coming home now! Richard went to check in and meet Uwe and check the injector....... You guessed it, it is wrong again!