April 1994 - Bequia to Antigua

1 April 1994 Bequia
I had an awful night and woke up with flu, 100° temperature, aching hair, the runs – everything! In the middle of the night, while I was half asleep, I was convinced that I had decompression sickness and then I was convinced that I had kidney failure and then food poisoning and then…….

Glenys and the boys had a nice time on the beach with “Wise Cat” while I stayed in bed, sweating, running to the toilet and wishing I was in a house!

2 April 1994 Bequia to Cumberland Bay, St Vincent
Feeling better today. We had a nice sail across to St Vincent and then had to motor up the west coast. We saw a group of bottle-nosed dolphins which were not very interested in us. Just after, we ran into a school of tuna and we caught three in the space of 10 minutes. The last two took the lure before I had a chance to pay it out fully!

We went into Cumberland Bay and I managed to get one boat boy to tie us up to a tree for 5 EC (£1.25). We then got surrounded by boat boys who were persistent but pleasant. I gave a 5lb tuna to one of the boys who promised to come back and give me $10EC for it. He came back an hour later insisting that he only got $10EC for it, but gave me the $10EC – I don’t know how he kept a straight face!

Brett and I went for a walk and saw an interesting cross section of the soil where they have created a small cutting by the road. There is a layer of laval pumice about 18” thick in between layers of soil which is like ash – definitely volcanic.

We all went to Stephens Beach Bar. He insisted on giving us a guided tour of his garden – aubergines, pineapples, ginger, bananas, callalai, etc. He gave us a big bag of vegetables and his wife gave Glenys cooking tips. We gave him a 5lb tuna which seemed a fair deal. We’ve still got more tuna than we can handle! I have been worrying about the hassle from boat boys and the mooring problem for days, but in the event it has been one of our most pleasant overnight stops.

3 April 1994 Cumberland Bay to Marigot Bay, St Lucia
Easter Sunday. Craig came padding in at half past six looking for his chocolate from Easter bunny. Unfortunately, Glenys had not got it out. When he finally “found it” he said – “that’s not very big”. He obviously doesn’t realise how difficult it is to get Easter eggs in the West Indies.

It rained as we motored up the coast of St Vincent but stopped as we started sailing across to St Lucia. It was a beat for 25 miles with winds up to 30 knots but at least the sun shone. We could smell St Lucia 10 miles out – a sulphur type smell like the smoke from burning coal. We went into Marigot which I should imagine was very beautiful once, but not with 50 boats crowded into the lagoon and the approaches. That’s not to mention the Marina and hotel and restaurants and...

The Customs office was closed, so we had to stay the night. We ended up anchored next to an American yacht who had a rope anchor rode and waltzed all over the place actually hitting a French boat and getting very close to us. It’s the first time that I’ve put fenders out at anchor – I didn’t sleep well!

4 April 1994 Marigot Bay to Soufriere Bay, St Lucia
Got up, cleared customs and left. I’m not left with good memories of Marigot. We motored-sailed around to Anse Chastanet and I went to the dive centre there. In the quarterly PADI Bulletins they are listed as holding instructor courses, but the last and only one was two years ago – typical Caribbean! I’ll just have to ring PADI and find out from them.

We did a bit of snorkelling on nice rock reef with very good visibility. We then went around to Soufriere Bay and anchored off the Hummingbird Hotel. We met Larry and Shirley on “Dad’s Dream“ (USA) – we’ve been seeing them all the way from Grenada, but never had a chance to say hello. While motoring towards Soufriere Bay I heard a rhythmic noise from the engine. I checked the exhaust and made sure that there was nothing around the propellor, Glenys then pointed out a tourist tripper boat about ½ mile behind us blaring out music with heavy bass!

We walked into Soufriere Town, had a quick walk around and watched a cricket match. The town is a bit rough and run down. We watched a guy climbing a 50ft coconut tree and bought one for 25p – very refreshing. We had great excitement in the evening when Craig discovered a tiny crab in the aft heads – how did it get there?

5 April 1994 Soufriere Bay
I did a dive this morning which was along a bottomless wall – amazing. We motor-sailed up the coast and anchored off the beach. Mark from “Sancho Panza” came across to say hello and went away with three tuna steaks – we’ve still got loads. Five little fish mysteriously appeared on our foredeck flapping like mad this morning – they are now fried, pickled and in the fridge awaiting consumption.

Glenys and I have had upset stomachs for a few days – perhaps all the fish we’ve been eating is working as a laxative. We had a quick look around the lagoon and Marina, then went to “Sancho Panza” for a beer.

6 April 1994 Soufriere Bay
We all took a bus ride into Castries. Glenys went off by herself to buy material for tableware which she hopes to make and sell to charter companies. The boys and I walked around, played in the park and (oh joy!) went to Kentucky Fried Chicken. I’ve still got stomach ache and sloppy poos – god knows what it is! Start of a new tax year in the UK. We’ve been out of the country for a complete tax year so that should help towards our non-resident status – I hope!

7 April 1994 Soufriere Bay to Anse a L’ane, Martinique
I cleared out first thing in the morning and to my annoyance I had to pay $30EC (£7.50) to clear out. We had a nice sail to Martinique. We arrived off Anse a L’ane at about four o’clock and decided to head there instead of going to Fort De France to clear in. We’ll go over on the ferry and clear in tomorrow.

It’s really shallow in the bay (3-4 metres) and there is a reef in the middle that we couldn’t see. There are regular ferries from a pier in the middle of the bay. We tried to keep clear but they appear to delight in “harassing” yachts at anchor – I’ll have to leave an anchor light on tonight.

8 April 1994 Anse a L’ane, Martinique
We all caught the ferry to Fort De France. Glenys went off with the boys while I went to clear customs and do some running around. I had a disappointing time – I expected to get information and prices on different ranges of diving gear and compressors but only found one dive shop.

The boys had a great day, elevenses in MacDonald’s and lunch in Burger King. After lunch we caught the ferry back to Anse a L’ane, exhausted. Glenys took the boys to the beach while I did some jobs.

9 April 1994 Anse a L’ane, Martinique to St Pierre, Martinique
Glenys went to the supermarket and bought 8 litres of cheap red wine then we motor-sailed up to St Pierre. As we arrived we spotted “Sancho Panza”, so I ended up doing two dives in the afternoon with them. Mark, John and Rowena came for a beer.

10 April 1994 St Pierre
I went raving mad in the morning and carried 60 gallons of water from a tap in the market square. We’ve now got enough water to get us to Antigua (I think!).

I did a dive on a wreck. My diving watch is playing up and I nearly had to abort the dive. I scrubbed the rudder while I still had some air left. I did a really good job of the starboard side and a quick scrub on the portside. The bottom of the boat looks awful at the moment - we have a lot of 1” diameter “spots” which are starting to join together. I’m interested to see how long it will take for the “spots” to appear on the rudder again. I must start doing a bit of scrubbing each time I go diving.

We all went for a walk around town to look at the devastation caused by the 1902 eruption of the volcano (Mt Pelee). St Pierre was the main port of Martinique at that time with 30,000 inhabitants, only one person survived the hot gases and falling rocks – he was in prison!