Normal 7:15am wake up, 8am all hands muster. We spent the morning in watches doing various jobs around the ship including raising the anchor, setting the sails and waving goodbye to Dominica.
At 11:15 we were stood down and told to muster for our normal watch times.
4pm, On lookout first followed by a talk from the captain about Bequia. No one on scullery so each watch has to look after the appropriate meal time. We set up for dinner in the Salon as there are squalls in the area and rain happens in seconds.
Sat on the quarterdeck with my watch in the pouring rain eating fried chicken and salad. Water dripping off my hood into my food bowl. Still it’s not cold, the rain is warm.
Bed after watch just after 8pm. Wet through to my underwear.
4am back on watch. The wind has died down, very slow sailing. At 6 am I was on helm when a squall hit. I had to keep changing course to work with the changing wind directions. Sails had to be taken in. I was soaked again, trying to keep my hood up as the rain was rushing into my ears.
Before we finished watch we had to take in all the sails and start up the engine. We are going so slowly that we need to punch on to arrive in Bequia this afternoon and before dark.
We have sailed back past Martinique. Past St Lucia and St Vincent on route to the next destination.
Bequia pronounced bekway.
Small Island of only 7square miles. Population 5000.
Came ashore on Sunday and immediately got a taxi driver to give a tour of the island. It is so beautiful here. Exactly what you would expect of a paradise island. Fruit trees everywhere . Bright flowers growing up the sides of buildings. All the houses are so pretty and painted in so many colours.
We visited a turtle sanctuary. Orland King started the place in the 90’s as the survival rate of new born turtles is as low as 1 in a 1000. In addition to that the local fisherman catch them as they taste fantastic apparently. They are heading towards extinction. He now watches the beaches and collects babies as they appear and keeps them until they are 7 years old before returning them to the wild. He has put over 900 back since he started his program. Not sure if I really thought he was doing the right thing. Yes they need saving but maybe not they way he is doing it. He keeps the turtles in large tanks of salt water, however they fight quite a bit as they are solitary creatures and many of them have lumps missing from there feet, bitten off during scuffles. He may be helping to save these wonderful creatures, but may not be going about it in the right way.
Three of us found a lovely place for lunch. A local had recommended the restaurant, we had asked him for somewhere with good food but cheap. The place was closed, however the lady that owns the place said she would cook us lunch as we were there. Lobster quesadilla with a cold beer. Yummy.
I then found a guest house to spend the night in rather than go back to the ship. It had a great bar that made amazing cocktails. My room was swaying as if I was still on board that night.
Next morning I walked along the main road that runs along the shoreline and bought lots of fresh fruit and salad items, a large baguette and some drinks and headed for the beach. I rented a chair and laid about all day reading my book listening to music and just chilled out. There were many more from the ship on the beach but they all went further down where there were no chairs. It was total bliss. So perfect. The water was cool enough to be refreshing. I spent ages just bobbing about in the crystal blue waters, watching fish swim by.
Had a quiet supper before heading back to the ship for the night.
All hands at 8am. Sail set, anchor up and off we went to Mayreau. There’s not a lot there but it’s great for small boat sailing. Or so we where told. We anchored up. My watch was on duty, the rest went ashore. The wind picked up and the sea swell was massive. By the morning we upped anchor and left. It was too windy for the small boats. I never got to set foot on Mayreau.
Arrived a few hours later at Ashton, union Island. We have been split into two watches and each watch into two divisions. Got ashore about 2pm. There is nothing much at Ashton so 10 of us jumped into a mini bus and went a mile or so down the road to Clifton. It is so amazingly cute. All the houses are tiny, multi coloured and with tin roofs. So pretty.
A crowd of us found a wine bar with an upstairs balcony. We laughed so much. The place is so alive, we all felt happy and relaxed. I then got a taxi back to Ashton as we had to return to the ship on the 8o’clock skiff. Some returned early to the ship for dinner rather than spend extra money. I found a local restaurant that was closed, but agreed that I could sit on there comfy armchairs and read my book with a drink. The owner then came and asked me if I wanted Chicken, Fish or Pork. I ordered the fish but also reminded her that she was closed. She answered that ‘the lady must eat before she goes back to her ship, So I cook for you Lady’. Fish, chips and homemade coleslaw. Gin and tonic before dinner and a rum after. All for about £12. Delicious .
Each of the Caribbean islands are very similar but all have there own uniqueness. Each new island seems prettier and and nicer than the last. I can’t explain it but they are all wonderful. We are moving around and so busy it’s hard to find time to write.
Up in the morning, the people that were on watch last night have been given 3 hours ashore. We are due to leave Union Island at midday. All of us on board got the ship ready to sail.
We had all the chores completed and the sails loose. The Captain ordered a swim call. It’s so hot, jumping off the side of the boat was brilliant and just what we needed.
The rest of the crew returned, the skiff was hoisted up out of the water and the sails set.
One of the small sailing boats with a group of 8 sailed ahead of us to Petit Martinique.
Hard days work finished off with another swim call.
Although I am on watch today, which normally means that we don’t get to go ashore, we have been given a 3 hour shore pass this evening as we won’t be staying here for more than a day. This way everyone gets to go ashore and explore.
It was dark when I went ashore so can’t tell you much about the island. The people are beautiful as usual for the Caribbean. We have been working so hard, and playing hard. Long days, hot sweaty nights. A whole crowd of us ended up in one beachside bar, they had disco lights, loud music and cold beer. We danced and laughed until returning to the ship at 10pm. I know that doesn’t sound late, but when you are spending every minute of the day in full sunshine being physically active its late enough.
This morning the list to sail the small boats was called out. I was one of them. At 8:30 we boarded the 24ft wooden sailing boat. We set sail for Cariacou.
It’s a seven mile crossing from one island the the next. we then had to come round to the opposite side of the island to drop anchor and re connect with the ship. On route we stopped for a swim on a proper deserted island called ‘Sandy Island’. It had a beach and a few palm trees, true cartoon tropical island.
I am now spending the afternoon sitting in a bar drinking rum punch, listening to reggae music with the sun shining on turquoise sea. Perfect. Oh and there is a chicken walking up the main road. I will explore the island on my next day off.