We had a lovely sail from St Lucia to the very wild and mountainous St. Vincent. The sail took us longer than calculated, and we ended up stopping for the night at Chateaubelair, where we anchored in very deep (10 meters) water for the night. We were, of course, greeted by the typical welcoming committee, but as we chose to anchor, we did not have to pay for a buoy. Still, as a gest of good will, we gave them a small tip (buying their good graces?). The rocky shores were lined with palm trees and the scenery was indeed spectacular. A little daunting was the arrival of about a dozen shaggy-looking locals who seem to swarm new arrivals, making their way out to the boats on anything that floats to say hello and try to find some way to maybe make a penny.. They aren’t aggressive, but that kind of attention does give you pause when you come into a new place. Arriving in a new anchorage or mooring is stressful, even when its entirely uneventful. Their arrival did undoubtedly add to my angst. It’s also hard to see people who are obviously struggling to get by, when you are so relatively fortunate.
We decided we wouldn’t stay in St Vincent this time around, and we left the next day. Not because of anything that happened. Mostly because we’d heard great things about our next stop, Bequia (pronounced Bek-way) and we were in need of some low-pressure peace and quiet and a few easier days.
The night brought with it very, very strong winds and an unpleasant, rolling swell. Peter spent most of the night on deck, because of the noise, and perhaps also because we were not entirely reassured about the locals and possibility of theft.
Surely we’ll visit St Vincent in the future. For now, each stop requires customs, dealing with the welcoming committees, and figuring out how things work, so it’s simpler not to hit every single island on our way down. Minimize the hassle. Sailing life is not so much a “vacation” or “holiday” lifestyle as it is a voyage, constant traveling, and nomadic living that entails constantly adapting. There’s a lot of unpredictability and discomfort. Sometimes it seems every thing you need to do requires multiple steps to achieve it, and yet they’re not always the same steps for the same goals. It’s tiring.
Luckily, there are many moments that make it worth it. The scenery, the people you meet, the great days at sea, pushing the limits and seeing what you can do…
The photo above was taken by daredevil photographer Kenmore Henville. When we were approaching Bequia, we spotted a guy standing up in a dinghy, in huge waves and wind, way outside of the bay and heading towards us. Before long, I saw the telescopic camera in his hands pointing at us. He got a series of beautiful photographs that he came to offer us the next day. More on that in the next post.
About half an hour after this shot, as I was reeling in our fishing line (I’m now in charge of fishing duty), and IT HAPPENED! I felt the unmistakable tug of our first catch on the line!
Ok, so it was another one that got away. But I managed to reel it in until it broke the water’s surface. Then, panicked, I called Peter to take over. We both got a good look at what was probably a 30 to 40cm long Wahou before the fish managed to pirouette and unhook himself. He must have taken the hook while I was reeling in the line quickly and the lure was zipping along.
I think it was a good thing we didn’t get him on deck. We absolutely were not prepared to actually catch something. No gloves, gaff, net, club, knife at the ready. Both in swimsuits and barefoot (wahou have razor sharp teeth and dorsal fins). No plan in place for how to deal with this powerhouse of teeth, fins and muscles, fighting for its life if we did manage to bring it in.
So, now that we know that we can hook a fish, it’s time to step up our game and be ready for the next one. Proper tools at the ready, protective gear, etc. My brother John told me that deep sea fishing gets really violent when you get that fish on deck, and we’ve heard this echoed by a lot of other people out here. Point taken.
Stay tuned for more!