We motorsailed north to south down the leeward coast of St Vincent, wondering where the wind we’d experienced the previous night in Chateaubelair had gone. It was as calm as a mill pond, as Peter would say. We figured it might stay that way as we crossed the 4 or 5 mile channel over to Bequia (said “bek-way”). Boy, were we wrong!!!Once we passed the southern tip of St Vincent, where the capital, Kingstown, sprawls out along the coastline and up the cliffs, the wind picked up. And up and up. The swell started coming in fast, and quickly turned to waves. We had the mainsail and jennaker all the way out when it first hit, but we could see that the boats crossing in front of us had reduced sail and were seriously heeling. The wind kept increasing, with gusts in the 35 knot-range, as waves starting breaking over the bow. We were vulnerable with all sail out, but had to wait for the right time to bring some in. One particularly strong gust nearly had us jibing, but Opsimath held fast and came back in line.We eventually reduced both mainsail and jennaker, but the whole crossing was pretty strenuous. The wind did not let up, and the sea continued crashing down around (and over) us, drenching us and the boat. That made what happened next even more surprising!
Stock photo of Kenmore Henville on very calm seas – not on the day he photographed us!
As we approached Port Elizabeth, Bequia, we saw a guy heading towards us, standing up straight in a small dinghy amidst the crashing waves and wild winds.
He was pretty far from the mouth of the bay, really out in the channel, way too far to be a boat boy. I thought “who is this crazy son of a…?” I grabbed the binoculars to get a better look, and I realized this guy was not only standing in his dinghy, he was holding a large long focus camera in his hands and photographing us!
Now, I know that with our tans, it’s easy to mistake us for Brad Pitt and Angelina Joli (pre-breakup, of course), so I thought he was just another crazy paparazzi trying to get a saucy shot.
You just can’t escape the paparazzi these days!
Then it dawned on me that he’d probably be coming to see us with photos the next day, and indeed he did. Local photographer. Kenmore Henville has specialized is yacht action-photography for nearly 20.years, and in spite if his totally insane tactics, the man knows what he’s doing!
That day, he photographed us and 4 other boats, and the next day, came around with a handsome signed print and digital photos for purchase. They did not come cheap, but it’s hardly surprising given the quality of the images and the work involved!Thus we arrived in Elizabeth Port, Bequia, once again shaken and stirred, and were lead by a boatboy to a buoy in the windiest possible pace in the harbor, as far as possible from the cute little port town. As it was late Sunday afternoon, we decided to stay put, but decided there and then to be much pickier and not just go where the boat boys put us. The next day, we moved to a much better spot, right across from the lovely Whale Boner restaurant, and Monday, we discovered this very cute little town (which also cost a fortune, sailing is ruinous, I don’t recommend it!).
Port Elizabeth is small and charming, if very busy. The main street is lined by cafés, bars, shops, restaurants, trinket sellers and fruit and vegetable stalls. More importantly, there’s this guy: this is Corney. Corney makes a pretty mean barbecue chicken, served with salad and fries, for only about 5$. And it feeds 2 (well, it feeds the two of us, I guess that depends on your appetite). We went back everyday to pick up lunch. Cornelius (to those in the know) is a really sweet guy and he opened up his little joint, aptly named Corney’s, about 2 years ago.
The business plan is simple: Bbq of the day, and whatever sides he’s got. Small or large portion. Cold drinks by the bottle.There’s also a very pretty Anglican Church on the main drag, simple as it can be. Mom, check out the stain glass windows, it seems some of the Wallace clan made it to Bequia…
We took a local bus to the other side of the island to check out Friendship Bay, where we thought we might anchor the next day, to save a few bucks on the buoy and have more quiet. It was beautiful, and despite the rather strong looking surf, the swimming was good. But far too much swell and waves for authoring.
I don’t have any photos, but while searching google maps for the best places to get groceries, I came upon Doris Fresh Food & Yacht Provisioning . I found some pretty interesting reviews of the place, which promised a veritable wonderland of groceries from around the world – a boutique with shelves laden with any and all foodstuffs your heart could desire, including packaged goods, spices, condiments, teas and coffees, wine, fruits and vegetables, meats, cheeses and fish. The google reviews were enticing, and even a bit intriguing, including this one (see Denise’s review!) in which a woman describes trying to return an expensive bottle of wine that turned out to be vinegar, and being chased out of the store and the front yard by Doris’s husband WITH AN AXE. Now, you know me, I had to go see this for myself.Peter and I went there, and there is no doubt about it. Doris has everything to eat or drink that you could ever dream of. Like a hoarders lair, the place is stacked floor to ceiling with groceries from around the world. A pretty amazing place, there is no doubt. But of course, you have to be able to pay the price! A package of Starbucks French roast will run you 20€. The cheapest bottle of vino? About 30€. A hunk of cheddar? 10€. We did a “recky” (reconnaissance mission), and then checked out what was available for less elsewhere.I came back later, sans Peter, and treated us to fresh, tender endives and bright green broccoli, a chunk of wild salmon, a fresh greek yogurt, some chocolate, and a few other sundries. While perusing the veggies, I asked a friendly man who appeared to be a regular (a fellow boater) where the prices were marked. He smiled and said “If you have to ask…” In any case, for a select few items we really had a hankering for, it was well worth it. FWIW, Doris’s husband does look like a bit of a sociopath. While Peter and I were perusing the wines, he was definitely giving us the hairy eyeball. Luckily, no axe in sight.We did manage to catch some local music, and these guys were a hoot. They could play any damn song you asked, though all the songs pretty much sounded the same. Still, a good time was had by all at The Fig Tree. By the end of the third song, Peter was ready to go home :).
One of the fun things about this port is that everybody communicated using VHF channel 68, which we’d never seen before. Between boats (we heard some funny stuff that has now become part of our schtick, ask me about Baylor and Jeff), and also with the local restaurants and services. One of these services is run by Miranda,
and she’s got quite the business. She has her boatboys tending the buoys, but she also does laundry (picked up and delivered to your boat for a fortune – but if you have to ask…), taxi services, and water delivery. We had laundry done and water delivered.And then, it was time to move on. We decided to skip Mustique, the private island made famous by Princess Margaret and stars like Jagger, and head straight for Mayreau. I’m sure they were disappointed, but we have to make choices
A final sunset in Port Elizabeth, view from our back yard