20 Dec. 2011
We left fairly early, heading for St. Vincent; many people recommend bypassing the island due to problems in the past but they are missing the opportunity for some fantastic nature sights. I sometimes think that the conventional wisdom has not kept pace with reality. Our original intent was to visit Wallilabou Bay as the customs office is located there, but the swell in the bay was too much after last night so we motored to Cumberland Bay just to the north. Cumberland is everything a Caribbean Bay should be, no high rises or condos, just some small local restaurants on the beach with palm trees surrounding the small bay.
I had to get my digicel phone sorted , as last years sim card had expired, so Tony, Keith, Mike and I took the bus to Kingstown. The bus was full and the 40 minute ride took us along the coast allowing us to see some beautiful scenery on the way. Kingstown is an older Caribbean town and it was buzzing with activity. We took care of the phone straight off and then took a walk around. Our first stop was the market where we picked up some fresh fruit and had a glass of fresh cherry juice from one of the vendors. I really love the freshness of the produce that you find on the islands. We left to return to the boat as the day shift was letting out so the bus was very crowded, 23 people and a box that appeared to contain an apartment size refrigerator, suffice to say we all felt like contortionist by the end of the ride. Dinner was on board, I had brought a whole beef tenderloin with me that we cut into steaks, accompanied by couscous with carrots and red pepper and potato wedges. Afterwards we had some drinks in the cockpit under a sky filled with stars. During the night a squall blew through and Dan got up to close the hatches and make sure all was Ok topside. As he came out of the boat he saw there were many local people fishing for Tri-Tri, a small shrimp like thing that is a specialty and highly favored at holiday time. They would lay their net in the bay then would lure them in with torches fashioned from cans lashed to sticks. Dan made arrangements to buy some in the morning for a little snack.
21 Dec. 2011
We awoke to a beautiful morning with sunshine and a nice breeze blowing through the anchorage. Dan and I went ashore in the dingy to pick up our Tri-Tri. Last nights catch had already been sold to the local fish vendors but a group of locals were fishing in the stream for more. We picked up a large bag of the bug like creatures for 20 EC and dropped the off with Joseph who runs a small restaurant on the beach.
We had made arrangement with Abe (pronounced Abby) to take a water taxi to Baleine Falls, however due to the sea state the driver said it would be too dangerous. We opted instead to visit Dark View Falls located in the north of the island. I must say what a beautiful place, after arriving we each made a 5 EC donation at the information center and took the short walk to the lower of the two falls. It was nice but could not compare with the upper falls with its natural pool. The water cool and refreshing, after a short time swimming we all felt remarkably refreshed. The taxi ride takes along the coast road with magnificent vistas of the sea and the jungle.
The trip cost 30 EC apiece for the ride and a small tip for the driver. We always use Abe to arrange our excursions and he takes great care of us, his number is 531-0237 if anyone would like to use his services. We retrieved our Tri-Tri cakes from Joseph then slipped the mooring and were on our way to Bequia. We enjoyed our Tri-Tri with a garden salad and some of last night couscous. The patties were fried to a nice crispness and tasted like fish cakes. They are so highly prized by the locals that they often dry them in the sun and send them to family members living , overseas so they can enjoy them for the holidays. We sailed under jib alone as the wind between St. Vincent and Bequia can be really brisk. It was a prudent decision because as soon as we were out of the lee fo the island we found ourselves sailing along at 8+ knots in the 35+ knot breeze. Luck must be on our side as we were able to get a mooring ball just off the dingy dock in front of the Whale Boner, a bar with barstools made from whale vertebrae and a large whale rib gracing the front of the bar. After the boat was secured we all went for a short stroll around town, Tony and I stopped at a small bar for conch fritters and beers. Bequia is my favorite stop on the trip, just the right blend of civilization and “off the beaten path” for me. I will be posting pictures of our trip to the falls on a separate thread at some point so stay tuned.