Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Grenadines: Bequia & Mayreau

June 4, Saturday  Bequia in the Grenadines

Pulling out at 5:30 am, with some help untying our shore line and a mooring line from local fishermen that Andy flagged down, we were on our way to the Grenadines about 8 or 9 hours away.  The Grenadines, 32 islands strung along 50 miles in the Caribbean Sea, were created long ago as a result of volcanic eruptions in the larger island of Grenada. 

We will not stop in St. Vincent, the ‘capitol’ of the Grenadines as boater after boater said, “Do NOT go there; do NOT stop there’.    It seems that lovely island grows the coveted ganga - a marijuana type plant and has become an off limits type of place.   Druggy type folks abound and security has become a real issue for boaters at anchor or in town.  So, OK, I give up and will let caution lead the way here.

Speaking of marijuana - Scott from RASMUS was asking us if we noticed all that whistling back at the Pitons.  Nope, never noticed.  He said when we were all walking around the town, over and over he heard the whistle.  When he looked around he would see someone who had just whistled at him, holding up two fingers like you hold your fingers if smoking a joint.  Seems that is the universal sign - Hey, dude, want to buy some pot?  Scott said he has seen that on nearly every island.  Humm, no one has whistled at Andy and I.  Clearly, if they did, we were clueless and never noticed.  I suspect no one whistled at us - we’re not their target market! 

Another funny --  while walking last afternoon in Soufriere with Brittany & Andy, several of the local guys were hooting & cat calling at Brittany - a drop dead beautiful young blonde woman about 32 years old.  One was yelling, ‘Lady I marry you’.  Walking behind Brittany and Andy, I turned to the guys and said, “I’m her Momma. Bug OFF’.  The crowd of guys shut up instantly.  Old age and Mommas do carry some universal respect.

Bequia, Grenadines
Dropping the hook off Tony Gibbons Beach in Admiralty Bay at Bequia (pronounced BeckWay) we cleaned up and cleared in.  Our passports are running out of stamping room - every island stamps in and out!  Wandering about town, with most everything closed today and tomorrow, Sunday, we found an ice cream shop on the beach and settled in to cool off.  Not much here....We’ll see on Monday what around here.
Sweet kids welcomed us

Phew - too hot to sleep at anchor.  Once the generator is off - which means the A/C goes off - it hits high temps.  At midnight, I bailed to the fly bridge, sleeping fitfully til the rain woke me up at 5:00 AM.  I have noticed, however, one major benefit to all this moist air we now breathe - Andy is NOT snoring.  I can’t remember when he last snored.  Humm, when we get back Stateside with the drier air, maybe if I keep spraying water in his nose, it will help his dry membranes????  Worth a try for me but maybe not for Andy......Maybe he won’t notice?

Sunday, June 5, Bequia  (Pronounced BeckWay) Northern Grenadines

Model boat building is a large industry commanding high prices
 Bequia, ‘Island of the Clouds”, at about 7 square miles, is the largest island in the Grenadines with a population of 5,000 of Scottish descent.  Their history is one of whaling, trading and boat building - all of which is still an ongoing enterprise today.
A shop and a museum

We spent an hour admiring the art work

Scott in the boat shop

  Lazy day, doing nothing.  Never got off the boat.  Why are we so tired as we seem to be on vacation every day?  Catching up on boat chores, never getting ourselves cleaned up except by jumping overboard to cool off, working on the computer, with sporatic wifi, and doing laundry consumed the day.

Amazingly, this island still has an active whaling community (Feb - April for humpback whales) comprised of descendants of settlers who came from North American aboard whaling boats.  These descendants are legally allowed to take up to 2 or 4 whales a year - grandfathered in, if you will, under heritage treaties, rules and regulations, much like our First Native Indians in the NW and NW Canada.  Scots, French and slaves from Africa also were original settlers long ago.  

WHY ASK is the name of all the whaling boats
Bequia harbor

Bequia, in the Northern Grenadines, seems to be popular, with a number of boats at anchorage - although we have not seen much activity - they must be as lazy as we are!  
House & store front

Tables with jewelry, trinkets & homemade boats strung up high
The small town seems well populated with stores and services, mostly located along the waterfront.  We shall see when we go exploring tomorrow.

Monday & Tuesday, June 6 & 7, 2011
Still pretty much bone tired for some reason - it was an effort to go ashore to look around, but we did it anyway.  We found a different dingy dock, sans boat boys looking for tips to tie your dink up.  I feel nickeled and dimed to death - I hate it.  With mixed emotions, I realize folks are just looking to make money to survive around here.   I realize some are full of good information and I do enjoy meeting locals....but it gets OLD, I feel harrassed and these practices chip away at OUR cash flow.

Wandering about we found a number of shops selling the same stuff, several small grocery stores, bars & restaurants - all mostly empty.  This is the quietest town ever, meaning ‘dead’.  We are so obviously out of the season & behind schedule as we dawdle around.    All the boaters heading south out of the hurricane zone are gone - hunkered down safely in Grenada and beyond.  

Self explanatory:  Note the writing on the wall

Whalebone Bar & Restaurant (real bones)

Local beer

Bird - Name unkown
So many pretty local boats

Local Boat

Local boats in busy harbor

Loved this hand painted boat!
Deciding the local produce market was better than the stores, we entered to shop.  Getting quite an insight into ‘the ways of the market’ by one of the locals - “lady, you buy a little from each one of us’ spread our $$ around.  That I did, loading up on red peppers, PawPaw, tiny Key limes, bananas, mint unlike any I’d seen before; and a few unknown fruits.  The mystery of what I just learned was Passion Fruit was solved.  Spotting these little round apple looking things, but yellowish in color, I asked what it was.  Huh, I’d purchased a couple of these last week, cut them open, threw out the slimy looking seeds and tried to eat the rind.  Nasty.  Oops, I threw out the EDIBLE part - one eats the slimy seeds and throws out the rind.  The local Rasta got quite a kick out of me telling him what I’d done....He had me eat one properly right then and there.   Ummm, quite tasty and the seeds melt in your mouth! 

Waking up Tuesday morning, we found our friends aboard RASMUS anchored near us, having slipped in during the wee hours of the morning from Rodney Bay.  Sharing a combined effort meal aboard Finally Fun, we learned they have changed their itinerary & will now be at the same marina in Grenada as us - great! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Pulling out early  - easy to do now, as the sun is bright and in our eyes at 5:00 am every day - we headed for Saline Bay off Mayreau (My row), the smallest of the islands along the Grenadine chain.  As we zipped along at 8 knots, blowing past Canouan and Mustique, I added them plus the Tobago Cays to the TO DO list for our return trip.  The list is getting so very long, it will take us forever to get back.   

BINGO!  Setting out the rods, we quickly had a hit and managed to land what I realized was a good sized barracuda -- nasty teeth in that mouth.   Sorry environmentalists - I let him die before getting the hook out and throwing him overboard.                

No, I did not want to hack him up for bait either....Then, totally screwing up my line, making a huge ball of tangles as I let it get away from me while trying to hang on as the boat bounced wildly in the currents and wind, something hit the other rod hard!

Fresh yellow fin tun
 Screeching loudly for Andy as my hands were full of rod and tangled line, he slowed us from 8 knots to 4 and between us, we finally were able to land a good sized yellow fin tuna!    Yippee - dinner!  Grabbing my spray bottle, I filled it with gin, quickly squirting it in the tuna’s gills till he died a happy beating a fish about the head for me! 


Having just enough time to ice the fish down, we dropped the hook in Saline Bay and waited for RASMUS to catch up to us.  Lured by the offer of a fresh tuna dinner, over the VHF, Scott graciously offered to fillet the fish for us and I’d accepted.  My way of filleting is to pretty much butcher....slinging blood and yuck everywhere.  Andy just stays out of my way!  

Saline Bay is beautiful - the tan sandy beach is lined with coconut palm trees  and the water clear as the gin I’d squired earlier at the fish.  Picture Perfect!  Swimming about, cooling off, Andy & I floated about, just relaxing.  Try as I might, I could not get deep enough to pick the sand dollars off the bottom - some 20 feet down-- there were plenty! 

Scott cleaning the fish off the back of Finally Fun
RASMUS sailed in, dropped the hook and promptly swam over to Finally Fun!  Scott got to work on the fish.  As fast as he’d cut off a hunk, Brittany had it washed off and she & I stood in the galley, popping the freshest ever sushi into our mouths.

So very good!!  In no time, sea gulls swarmed us, scooping up the morsels Scott threw overboard.  Four huge fillets later, as the guys cleaned up the cockpit and swim platform, I marinated the fish and tried to make mojotos (light rum, soda water, lime & simple syrup).  Brittany muddled the strange looking mint I’d purchased in the Bequia market- are we REALLY using mint???  Following the recipe in a bar book, we tasted our concoction.  OMG, the drink burned our throats all the way down.....Handing the drinks over to the guys to taste - both guys, eyes watering, said  “what the hell?! “ Seems I’d grabbed a bottle of 150 Proof Rum....didn’t even know there was such a thing - how did we buy that??

Watering the 2 drinks down into 4 with more soda water , simple syrup and key limes, we settled in to rest and wait for the fish to marinate.  Then, just three or four minutes skidded across the grill and that fish was perfect!  Loading our plates with the fish, caribbean rice with pigeon peas I’d made up and left over cole slaw, we feasted.  Dishes piled high in the one butt galley, we planned our itinerary to Grenada and all hit their respective sacks - pooped and full.
Rasmus as the sun sets in Saline Bay, Mayreau


  1. Yeah!! Now I am officially a follower!! Thanks for all the nice notes (I'd say "Drop dead gorgeous" is a stretch). Love you guys!!

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