May 2011 - Bequia to St Lucia

1 May 2011 Bequia
It’s Sunday today, so we had a relatively chilled out day reading, swimming and doing a few little jobs.

I finished off the mounting for the life-raft by fitting a couple of pad eyes to lash the life raft down. This was very awkward as I has to reach into a 3 inch high space under the deck to fit nuts to the pad eye bolts – took about an hour to fit eight nuts. I then replaced the self-tapper screws on the new bimini fitting with proper bolts, so it doesn’t look so bad in the aft shower now. Glenys started the cover for the life raft, which is a complex curved shape – it will be interesting to see how it comes out.

A French boat came in yesterday afternoon and anchored very close to us – they were about 10 metres to our starboard side. This anchorage is very big and there’s no reason to be so close – it drives me mad. We were hoping that they would bugger off today, but at eleven o’clock, it was obvious that they were here to stay. So we re-anchored even though we were here first. What a relief it was to not have them squatting next to us.

Mutton stew for dinner – yummy.

2 May 2011 Bequia
I got up this morning with a bee in my bonnet about publishing this diary and the photographs that we have taken to our web site. I’ve had the web site for about six months and have never finished it off. The Internet connection is so slow and flaky that it is hard to do any administration on-line, so I backed up the live application and database and restored it to my local PC. I worked on it most of the day.

The only other major thing that I did was to finish off the life-raft mounting which only took about 20 minutes. The life raft is now lashed in place and looks like it’s meant to be there. I also had a good poke around under the front berths, found the Storm Parachute and two warps. I’m going to use the shorter rope as a shore mooring line when we go to St Vincent. I still haven’t found the jigsaw.

Life Raft in Position

It started to rain about eleven o’clock and continued most of the day. In the late afternoon, it rained for about an hour solidly. We were trapped on the boat, so working on the web site was ideal, if very sweaty below.

We had to have dinner below since it was raining so heavily. I managed to get the website running on the live server and sent off an email to family and friends by about half past ten.

3 May 2011 Bequia
We went into town and bought a few bits and pieces, food and another case of beer. Our mail still hasn’t arrived.

It started raining at lunchtime and carried on most of the day – hot and sweaty down below. It’s Tuesday today and the weather forecast is for showery weather until Friday. Our plan is to go walking tomorrow morning and then go over to Wallilabou on Thursday, check out and sail to St Lucia on Friday.

Sergio sent me an email telling me that he’s got the jigsaw in London. Fortunately, we’ve got some friends (Mike and Rona Johnson) coming over to St Lucia at the end of May. I rang Mike to get him to pick up my jigsaw (and our mail) from Gareth before he comes out here. I spent some time working out how to wire up the compressor. I need some specialist electrical bits for it, so I’ll get them sent to Mike as well.

The rain was torrential from about three o’clock until seven and we’ve discovered a few leaking hatches. There are two of the side hatches leaking in the saloon - one is directly above the aft comfy chair so it drips on you every ten seconds – very irritating. The biggest problem is that the porthole in the aft cabin is leaking onto our bed in two places – one for each of us. I seem to remember Sergio saying that he had replaced this porthole. The leaks are from the mounting screws, so I’ll probably have to remove it and seal it correctly.

The rain was so torrential that it has created some rivers through Princess Margaret’s Beach and washed away quite a lot of sand.

4 May 2011 Bequia
Guess what? It was raining this morning, so we hid down below. Glenys worked on some side panels for the bimini to keep the rain out of the cockpit and I reconciled our bank accounts (yawn!) When the rain finally stopped, Glenys put up the cockpit cover, which fits under the bimini to give us a dry area in the cockpit.

After lunch, we went for a walk to Paget’s Farm. It started raining after about 30 minutes, but we had our waterproof jackets and at least the torrential rain is warm. We got soaked to the skin, but it was good to be off the boat for a change. The locals thought that we were mad walking past them in the rain while they sheltered under cover. The road that we were following went past a quarry and then petered out to a path, then up a stream bed and ended up at a house on the hill. I’m sure that we could have gone around and carried on but we gave up and turned back. We were out about 2 ½ hours.

We had dinner in a nice dry cockpit.

5 May 2011 Bequia
We had our first mosquito last night. It dived bombed me a few times and I had to get up to find the plug-in Mosquito killers. I also sprayed myself with insect repellent before getting back in bed.

The weather looks a lot better today (Thursday), but the forecast is for isolated showers today and tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday look much better so we decided to stay another day, go across to Cumberland Bay tomorrow and sail to St Lucia on Saturday.

Hiking to Bequia Head

We went for a hike to Bequia Head. We left Port Elizabeth just after nine o’clock, walked up the hill out of the town to a cross roads where I took a wrong turning, so we ended up in a place called Cinnamon Gardens. It had a nice view of Port Elizabeth and the Bay, but we had to retrace our steps back to the crossroads. We walked along roads until we passed the turtle sanctuary, then the road turned into a rough track through a quarry and up through low trees.

Eventually it turned into a path which led to a dead-end in thick undergrowth which it would be very easy to get lost in. Retracing our steps, we came across a tortoise ambling along the path – amazing to see a wild tortoise. We followed another path that took us to Bequia Head – three hours of walking. Bequia Head it wasn’t as spectacular as I would have liked- I was expecting dramatic cliffs, but the path just ends with a view of St Vincent. However, the hike to it was interesting and the last bit along a faint path is great fun.

We only took a litre of water with us, so we ended up rationing it and were very dehydrated by the time we reached a beach bar in a place called Industry. Unfortunately, we had only taken $52 EC with us so the slap up meal and loads of drinks was severely restricted to a sandwich and a coke each. We then had a one hour walk back in the beating sun with no water. We arrived back at the dinghy after six hours – a lot longer than I had thought.

We had a very lazy afternoon because we were pretty knackered and dehydrated. The only thing that I did was to tighten the screws on the aft cabin porthole which seemed pretty loose – hopefully it will have stopped the leak.