It's leap year and our charter company has thrown in an extra day for free. This gives us just enough time to sail from St. Lucia all the way to the Grenadines and spend a full day in the Tobago Cays. We put in a couple long passages, like the one from St. Lucia all the way past St. Vincent to Bequia. Some of the shorter "uphill" runs take a long time, like the trip from Mustique to the southern tip of St. Vincent. But our experienced sailors love it, and our novices feel that they're in good hands.
A highlight of this trip is our return to the lovely anchorage between St. Lucia's Pitons. We find the place's natural beauty unchanged, but the human presence has altered considerably. The Jalousie Plantation Resort hotel is closed. Walking the grounds is like visiting a suddenly abandoned town. The boat boys, agressive and competitive in 1994, are now organized. They wear matching t-shirts and their boats are marked with official designs. The first to approach us helps us with moorings, accepts our mooring fee and a tip, offers supplies, and leaves us in peace. It's a startling change.
Another change is the moorings themselves. On our previous trip, we struggled to find a way to keep the big metal balls from striking the bows of our boats all night. The metal balls are gone, replaced with small floats that behave perfectly.
We are tickled by one more advancement between the Pitons: A wirey young man, his boat loaded with produce, palm fronds, flotsam, shells, and fish, motors out to us to do some business. In 1994 Gregory paddled out on a surfboard loaded with the same products. But he still charges a dollar for a photo. Business has been good!
The Tobago Cays in the Grenadines are the same paradise we remember from 1992. We spend a full day diving, snorkeling, and relaxing, and have the locals bring us barbequed lobster for dinner. Pointing the bows north we head for Mustique and visit the famous Basil's Bar, then call at Kingstown, St. Vincent, where we've heard the film White Squall was filmed (in a later viewing we also recognize the Pitons). Our last port in St. Vincent's waters is Wallilabou Bay, where we have the misfortune of being among the first boats of the season to come in. We're met by the first boat boy, rowing his skiff, at least 1/4 mile out. An industrious man catches hold of one of our dinghys and climbs in. Our skipper orders him off with the memorable: "What part of 'get out of my dinghy' do you not understand?"
Walking back from the local waterfall we are caught in the mother of all squalls. We present ourselves at customs and immigration soaked through. After that we need a drink at the bay's one restaurant. It's dark by the time we're ready to return to the boats. We're surrounded by a hoard of children anxious to help us back to our beached dinghys, from which we are now separated by a torrent of runnoff. We all feel small hands grasping to "hold" our flashlights and wet clothes. As we anxiously load it up Michael gives one child a handfull of change. This starts an argument among them and creates an opportunity for us to get away from the beach.
Our arrival at the Pitons the next day is like returning home. We urge the boat boys there to take their organization down to Wallilabou.
Friday: Marigot Bay to The Pitons
Saturday: The Pitons to Bequia
Sunday: Bequia to the Tobago Cays
Monday: Lay Day in the Tobago Cays
Tuesdayday: Tobago Cays to Mustique
Wednesday: Mustique to Kingstown, St. Vincent
Thursday: Kingstown to Wallilabou Bay
Friday: Wallilabou Bay to The Pitons, St. Lucia
Saturday: The Pitons to Marigot Bay
A Piton Beer to toast our return
to St. Lucia after cruising the Grenadines.
Bananas to fenders,
Gregory stocks it all
in his 10-foot boat.
Our divers know to let
sleeping sharks lie.
Scott, Peg, Chris, and Lewis come under the Macarena spell at Basil's Bar, Mustique.
In the light of day we're able to resist the urge to dance: Michael, Sandy, Mia, Janet, and Scott.
Janet, Scott, and Sandy flake the main
for the last time.
Copyright © 2001 Mia's Mar Vista News