Friday, December 6, 2013

Mustique Still a Mystery

Great sailing from Tobago Cays to Mustique, except for the one long tack to gain some windward room.

After reading our guidebook we decided to head for Mustique, a small island just to the SE of Bequia. The island is privately owned, actually a corporation of all the property owners, and while they welcome cruisers you need to follow their rules.  We were attracted to the fact that much of the island has been left wild with lots of great trails and not much traffic. Also the off chance of seeing Raquel Welch or Mick Jagger hanging out at Basil's, the local bar & grill, enticed us.

As we entered the harbor we scooped out all the mooring buoys (no anchoring allowed here) looking for one that might be less rolly than another. The guidebook did mention it can be a little rolly on occasion.  With such clear water and sunshine we immediately jumped in the water for a little swim and a scrub around the water line.  When “Slick" the mooring man came around we paid our $75 US and signed up for 3 nights.  Its $75 for the first night and the next two are free … such a deal we think to ourselves.

Later, we head into shore to see the town and get some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Everything is clean and nicely done but it all struck me as a little too homogenous.  The local grocery was a treat with lots of difficult-to-find items and beautiful greens and fruits, priced accordingly.  It added up quickly but where else would you find such a nice selection.  We even found an ice cream shop and tried a scoop … pretty good but still looking for that perfect creamy blend.  The fish market was close by and we explored the fishing camp, which houses fishermen from Bequia and St. Vincent.  They fish the majority of the month supplying fish for the island and then head home for a period to see their families.

Our ice cream stop.
Meryl loaded with fresh groceries
The colorful local fishing boats built nearby.
A large pile of beautiful conch shells.
That night after dinner, the wind dropped (as it often does) and we were lying parallel to the waves and -- you guessed it -- we started rocking and rolling.  Not just a mild rock but a knock from side-to-side that was opening drawers, rocking my oven, and spilling our drinks off the table!  I had to hang on and stow items as if we were out at sea.  We lay in bed rolling into each other back and forth and knew it was going to be a very long night. We don’t like to take sleeping pills but decided if we don’t we will probably not get any sleep.  Finally, we both managed to drift off to sleep and come morning things had finally calmed down.  Looking at each other in the morning we decided we definitely did not want to spend another night on the mooring ball rolling all night.   We had emailed Escape Velocity and they said Bequia was calm in the anchorage.

Unfortunately, we never did get a chance to see the island because we needed to get water before heading to Bequia. As usual, that turned out to be a major operation.  Normally we have a great system for getting our water by filling a 30-gallon bladder in the dinghy. We can then pump the water from the bladder up to the water tank with a water pump Walter bought.  First problem, the water at the Mustique harbor was available to large boats with a fire hose type nossle. So after finding the water guy and checking with the captain of the nearby ship they came up with an adaptor but we were concerned about the pressure typically set to fill a huge freighter. After some adjustments we got it set so it wouldn't knock anyone down. We finally we got our bladder full and told them we would be back for a second load.  The second load went fine, but right as we started pumping it up to our boat the little transfer pump failed.  We had a problem, 30 gallons of water (weighing 265 pounds) and no way to get it in the tanks.  With water so dear, we tried a number of solutions and finally opted to haul the dinghy up on the davits and siphon the water with a a short hose into our 5-gallon cubes and then pour them in the boat's water tank one at a time.  A process that normally takes us 30 minutes took us a couple hours! All the time we were doing this the swell started coming in again and we were holding on to our lives as the boat rolled back and forth. We were running our of time to make the passage to Bequia so we had to hustle and get the boat ready. No time for exploring the mysterious Mustique and searching for the elusive Mick or Raquel. 

We finally raised our sails and sailed on a wonderful beam reach across to Bequia,  about 2 hours away.  The conditions were optimal and we relaxed and enjoyed the Bequia coastline. It was fun seeing the knot meter hitting 7.5 to 8 knots on the way over. The boat was feeling her cups. We noticed a ship aground  between two  rocks as we rounded the point heading into Admiralty Bay.  Apparently, the skipper was in a hurry and was cutting corners?  We have learned you just don't want to be in a hurry around here; it doesn't buy you a thing.

Ship aground just outside Admiralty Harbor, Bequia.

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