After another enjoyable stay in Rodney Bay- which we’ve spent so much time in, it’s a little bit like being home- we set off to Marigot Bay, a whopping 8 miles south. It was a beautiful sunny day but we didn’t bother putting the sails up for such a short passage, so we simply turned the engine on, set the autopilot and enjoyed the short cruise along the coast.
Marigot Bay is a tiny inlet which is completely invisible pretty much until you’re upon it- and even then the peaceful and gorgeous inner harbour is hidden around a bend. Legend has it that a British admiral hid his fleet from the French here by tucking themselves in and tying palm fronds to their masts to disguise them.
There’s an anchorage in the entrance, but we decided to pick up a mooring buoy in the inner harbour. The guide warns against those who come and meet you in their dinghy’s, trying to guide you to their unofficial mooring buoys or help with your lines, and so we were a little mistrustful of these offers of help- but the marina moorings are reliable and so we radioed them to ask for assistance. One of the blokes who’d just come up to offer help answered on the radio, and was like, “Yeah, it’s me!” Whoops! Sometimes you can be a little TOO mistrustful…
Anyway, once we were all tied up and had paid the lady at the office, we took stock of our surrounding. Marigot Bay is truly stunning. It’s small, and has a very exclusive feel about it, largely due to the impressive Capella Resort which occupies one entire hillside. At night all their villas light up and it looks like Rivendell or something.
Unfortunately prices reflect the fact that there’s an expensive hotel nearby and we had quite a steeply priced lunch in Chateau Mygo, looking out over the bay. If you ate a meal here, you could use their pontoon to tie your boat up for free- but as we discovered, even their cheapest option was more expensive than what we were paying in the lagoon, and we got use of the hotel’s facilities with our buoy.
So, determined to take full advantage of the cost of the mooring buoy, we changed into our swimwear and spent a very pleasant afternoon by the pool lounging about in this pod thing that had lots of comfy cushions and sofas, marvelling at how ridiculously lucky we actually are…
However, we decided to leave the next morning. As always, the weather was the main dictating factor in our decision making process, and there was high winds forecasted for Wednesday, a few days away. We wanted to be protected in an anchorage that had good holding well before the weather set in, so we made the decision to leave for Bequia first thing. We comforted ourselves by promising to return to Marigot Bay on the way back north.
Heading South At Last
It was 60 miles and, after a delayed start thanks to the customs guy turning up an hour late, we got going at about 10am. It was, shall we say, an interesting sail. The winds were anywhere between 25 knots and nothing at all. We spent the entire day not only trimming the sails for various wind strengths and angles, but putting in then shaking out reefs, turning the engine on and off, and periodically dumping the main whenever we caught a sudden gust and the boat heeled over. Once again we had several breakages: a couple of apples and a bottle of beer. At least the basil plant survived (this time!).
Once we got out from the lee of the land and were sailing between the islands it was more consistent, but sailing along the coasts of St Lucia and St Vincent required a quite a bit of concentration. Still, it was fun and although the day started out very cloudy with occasional showers, by the afternoon the sky had started to clear and we quite enjoyed ourselves.
We thought about stopping in St Vincent, but decided against it as we just wanted to get south. However, the island looked absolutely stunning as we sailed past, and there looked to be some gorgeous anchorages, so we hope to have time to stop there as we return north (whenever that might be!).
Unfortunately this all meant arriving in Bequia after nightfall. As we approached the wind and swell increased and there was also a strong current we had to contend with. The lights of Admiralty Bay became clear, but as always the dark night wreaked havoc with our senses. We were still a way off when Nick suddenly said, in some panic, “What the hell is that massive ship coming towards us!?”
“What? Where! What?” I look wildly around, climbing all over the cockpit to get a good view around the sails.
“There! A couple of points to port! What the hell is that?”
“Which one!? Where? I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING!”
“There, right here, look in front of you woman! There’s something coming straight for us and it’s huge and I can’t see it on the AIS!”
I look where he’s pointing. “Do you mean the three masted tall ship I pointed out an hour ago?”
“Er… the one with the blue lights?”
“Yes. The one that hasn’t moved for an hour, and is anchored in the bay we’re heading for?”
“That’s the one.”
So we came into Bequia’s Admiralty Bay in the dark and we timed it perfectly so that the full moon disappeared behind a cloud just as we were trying to negotiate our way through a sea of anchored yachts, looking for a space to drop the anchor. Eventually we decided on a spot, and it was fine, but boy, what a nerve wracking experience. I won’t be doing that again in a hurry, not in a busy anchorage we’ve never been to before.
John and Sandra then turned up for drinks as they happened to be anchored nearby, and we had a couple of hours of sleepy conversation before they cleared off and we went straight to bed, exhausted.
The next morning the strong winds had well and truly set in, and we were swinging all over the place. There was quite a bit of roll, and we realised how far away from town we were- our little dinghy really isn’t up to trips longer than a few hundred metres! Especially not in harbour chop! So we moved to a more sheltered spot closer to Bequia town and the boat seemed much more comfortable.
Bequia is a well known favourite amongst yachtspeople. In town there are more yachties than locals and many businesses obviously depend on yachtspeople as there are more dinghy docks that footpaths! The town- actually more like a little village- is very sweet with lots of colourful huts and palm trees. There’s plenty of stalls selling trinkets and jewellery, souvenir and dive shops, and restaurants line the harbour front, each with their own dinghy dock. We’re stuck here until the windy conditions pass through, but I couldn’t think of a better place to be!
[…] towards the USA. A distance of about 80 miles and a reluctance to risk arriving in the dark (after Bequia’s experience we vowed never again if it can be helped!) meant only one thing: a night sail. (Or […]