Sunday, 27 March 2016

Towards St Lucia February 2016

Towards St Lucia February 2016

We leave Tyrrel bay Carriacou for a quick hop to Chatham bay on Union Island for an overnight stop, then on to Bequia.  We spend a few days in Bequia waiting a good weather window. (Why is the wind always in the NE when you want to head north?)

While we are in Bequia we catch up again with ‘Crazy Diamond’ who had spent a few days in the Tobago Cays. We are planning to go there on our way back south after St Lucia. 

Tranquil Bequia -  A contrast from last time!

In Bequia we met another OCC boat (Whisper HR), Australians Kevin and Mei. We are all discussing going to stop in St Vincent on our way to St Lucia. 

Bequia shoreline

There have been no reports of crime on the west coast for the season so we think we will stop in Cumberland Bay on the way. The scenery always looks stunning, so we will give it a go. 

We enjoyed looking at the squid behaviour while snorkelling between Princess Margaret beach and lower bay. Not sure what they were up to but probably something to do with mating. We also saw a frog fish!

Not always easy to spot as frog fish just look like a piece of sponge!

Bequia sees another first - Richard takes a turn as the net controller for the Bequia cruisers net. I don’t think anyone can fill the shoes of Cheryl with her ‘morning show’ but it is a workmanlike performance! It also feels good to help by giving Cheryl a few days break.

The 'mini pan band' at the Fig Tree

Leaving Bequia with a fair forecast we stop at Cumberland Bay in company with Whisper HR. The bay is really small, extremely pretty and the water very deep.

It is amazing just how fast we can go with the elements in  our favour!

We are met by Kenny in a rib who will tie us to a post ashore. This way we will not swing as much at anchor. In this bay, frequent wind changes are common due to the geography and boats swing in all directions.

Our misty arrival in Cumberland  bay

They can also fit in more boats this way as the bay is not very big.

Kenny taking our line ashore

We drop anchor and go slowly backwards. Our line is not long enough to reach shore but he ties us to a ruined jetty. A first time experience for us, so we were a bit worried but Kenny made it easy. It will be easier to leave in the morning. Kenny assures us he will be there at first light to cast us off, somehow I doubt it. (We were right!)

No sooner are we tied up when we are visited by Wesley selling fruit and veg. We bought some and then along comes Charlie with more fruit and veg. Charlie also has some craft jewellery and a slightly different selection of veg so we buy a bit from both to keep everyone happy. Charlie asks us if we ‘smoke’ as he has ‘cigarettes’ -  we politely decline his offer. 

After lunch we are visited by Maurice wearing a ‘pork pie’ hat and rowing a tiny plastic dinghy, he is touting for the Mojito Bar and has a laminated menu. He tells us he trained at the Raffles resort on Canouan. We ask him if he is the chef, he replies “No, I just do the sales and marketing”. It is difficult to keep a straight face.
The weather has turned out wet and we don’t fancy a walk in the rain. Whisper comes over for a drink and to get some info on heading north.

Our impressions are very favourable -  friendly professional people doing what they do, the Mojito Bar is fairly quiet with just a few locals. Their menu looked interesting so next time we will stop here and eat ashore. It is a shame that the crime reports have kept so many people away.

The Mojito bar in Cumberland bay

Footnote – While we were in St Lucia we heard reports of a German yacht boarded in Walliabou Bay, just south of Cumberland . One man was shot dead and others injured.  We can only assume robbery was the motive. Suffice to say this will regretfully be our first and last visit until this sort of thing is completely resolved.

An early start (zero dark thirty!) we are off to St Lucia. Richard had to pull himself ashore in the dinghy to undo the shoreline, but not much of a hardship. We have to motor to the north of the island where the wind really pipes up as does the sea. Our forecast 15-20 kts is exceeded as we have up to 27kts at times. 

Fortunately the tide is with the wind so the seas are no bigger than 3m! They were predicted to be under 2m. The skipper described the passage between St Vincent and St Lucia as ‘exuberant’!  The crew described it as ‘extreme’!

We arrive a bit west of our track at the bottom of St Lucia only to be headed by the wind. Our options are motor to Soufriere, or motor to Rodney Bay. If we are motoring we might as well motor towards our final destination. 

At anchor in Rodney Bay

We arrive in Rodney Bay to a terrific rain squall and decide to wait until it passes before finding a spot to anchor. We are just in front of ‘The Landings’, next to our friends on ‘Badgers Sett’. Dropping anchor at 1615 we have sailed 64 miles in 10 hours. A good average for us.

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