On Friday March 21st , the anchor is up at 6:10 AM in the small town of Canaries, St. Lucia which serves an overnight staging area for our departure to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Cloud cover and early morning backlighting provide one final dramatic view of the Pitons before we bid farewell to St. Lucia.
Today’s 68 mile journey to the island of Bequia takes us southeast about two miles off the lee shore of St. Vincent. Today proves to be another robust day of trade wind sailing with 19 to 25 knots of breeze on the beam in the open ocean cut between St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Approaching Baleine Point on the northern tip of St. Vincent, the “cape effect” delivers ten minutes of 35 knot wind gusts before diminishing to 12 knots in the lee of the island. Most cruisers still consider St. Vincent off limits as a sailing destination, choosing instead to proceed directly from St. Lucia to Bequia. Today, there are a few yachts anchored in the protected harbor of Wallilabou where our course shifts slightly to the south east, placing Cutter Loose on a close reach across Bequia Channel to Admiralty Bay and the town of Port Elizabeth. This tighter wind angle insures yet another layer of salt on the foredeck. At 3:45 PM, Cutter Loose is anchored comfortably near Princess Margaret Beach with another satisfying day of sailing now in the record books.
Bequia is the northernmost island in the island chain known as the Grenadines. Admiralty Bay is the principal anchorage in Bequia. This harbor is filled with cruising boats from many different countries. Ferry service is provided from Port Elizabeth to Kingston, St. Vincent and several islands in the Grenadines. In addition to cruising boats, crewed charter boats are well represented in this anchorage. They arrive late and leave early in the morning on their whirlwind trip to and from Tobago Cays to the south.
On Saturday morning 3/22, the first item of business is to clear Customs and shop for fruits and vegetables at the public market before stopping at Doris’ market. Doris’ husband is the butcher and the baker. His fresh bread and spinach/feta croissants disappear rapidly, which attracts the early morning cruising crowd. Today, our lunch destination is restaurant row on Belmont Walkway, a narrow ribbon of stone pathway that passes along the water’s edge. The Gingerbread House is a popular place for cruisers to gather for coffee and conversation, and to catch up on e mail.
On Sunday, 3/23 we are among the first to arrive at the 9:30 AM worship service at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Port Elizabeth. This church was constructed in 1829 on the site of an earlier structure that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1798.
During this two hour service, Rector J. Everton Weekes delivers an inspiring message about life’s choices relative to good and evil. He functions as a roving Rector, responsible for churches on the islands of Canouan and Mustique as well as Union Island.
On Sunday afternoon, a hilly hike to Friendship Bay on the east coast of Bequia provides an opportunity for a stroll along the beach and a visit to Bequia Beach Hotel. Upon our return to Admiralty Bay, Princess Margaret Beach is active with families enjoying a relaxing day outdoors.
The more time we devote to exploring the nooks and crannies of Bequia, the more we have come to enjoy this northern gateway to the Grenadines. Bequia is the starting point for a slow-paced tour of the Grenadine island chain. On Monday, we set sail for the island of Mustique.