When planning a sail, we look at the distance and route between the two points, plan for an early daytime arrival, and work backwards to a departure time and sailing strategy.Â We get very frustrated when we arrive at our destination with not enough daylight left to make the approach and land the boat safely.Â In that case, we are forced to heave-to and wait until dawn which can be a very long night monitoring traffic and maintaining an acceptable position.Â The sailing time from St. Lucia to Grenada is fairly short, but while passing by the Grenadines island chain, we had to plan for the nighttime lee effect and some other idiosyncrasies.Â As such, we started to consider the possibility of a stop along the way.
St. Vincent is by far the largest of the Grenadines, but we dropped it from our itinerary after hearing some less than flattering reviews mostly involving gangs of impoverished, disenfranchised, and armed young men.Â We knew about other super fancy islands of the Grenadines â€“ most notably, Mustique, where Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous spends a lot of time with the likes of Mick Jagger and Paul Newman, but I’d ratherÂ visit Mustique duringÂ the extremely impressive Blues Festival.Â However, we heard many good things about Bequia and decided to stop there.
Meaning “island of the clouds” in Arawak, Bequia (pronounced beck-way) is the second largest island of the Grenadines.Â Our cruising guides indicated that the bay in Port Elizabeth is a charming anchorage, and though our upcoming cricket commitments prevented us from staying for the annual Easter Regatta, we decided to pull in and check it out.Â Distance-wise, Bequia was the perfect intermediate stop since we left St. Lucia in late afternoon and dropped anchor at Port Elizabeth around 9:00 a.m. the next morning.Â The night’s sail was really nice and uneventful — Will shared impressions (examples here and here) of Billy Birmingham imitating famous Australian cricket announcer Richie Benaud, which had us in fits.
The anchorage turned out to be insanely crowded, but Andy and I put on a pretty impressive display of anchoring.Â We then woke Will up and put him on anchor watch (since he hadn’t taken a night watch), and Andy and I slept for several hours.Â With a power nap behind us, we prepared to go to shore, which, from a distance, looked fantastically charming and quirky.Â Andy and Will started pumping up the dinghy.Â After further investigation of the Jost van Dyke incident, Andy and I have a sneaking suspicion that our previous episode with the dinghy might very well be attributed to a combination of user error and Dread Fox (for Melissa) and Sly Fox (for Andy) cocktails.
As such, we inflated the heck out of the dinghy, jumped on it, double checked all the valves, listened for leaks, and made sure the hand-pump would come to shore with us.Â We lowered it into the water and all systems seemed a go.Â Unfortunately, the stupid outboard wouldn’t start this time.Â I had just tested it in St. Lucia, where it was fine.
After trying the string about a thousand times, we began the disappointing chore of deflating the dinghy and putting everything back together.Â Stuck on the boat with plenty of daylight left, we decided to make a quick meal on the boat, pull up anchor, and head to Grenada knowing that we had enough time for an early daylight arrival.Â Will got to experience a sadly typical passage â€¦ so much of the trip is low on glamour and high on frustration.Â In any event, the little we saw of Bequia looked spectacular!
The sail to Grenada was pleasant and uneventful with good wind in the headsail.Â I went to bed early and got up around 4:00 a.m. for watch.Â As such, I watched the sun come up and the island come into view as we passed by it to get to the preferred bays to the south.Â It was an absolutely spectacular morning — mist on 2756-foot Mount St. Catherine provided breathtaking rainbows, lush tropical rainforest, blue sky and bluer ocean, and dolphins welcoming me with my morning coffee.