Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bequia over Christmas and New Year

To be back in the water after three months in different houses on land and over a week in a dirty, wet and hot boat yard, felt wonderful. This is where Irie belongs and Mark and I as well. As long as the seas are manageable and the anchorages comfortable! We barely spent a week in Prickly Bay on the south coast of Grenada, before moving on. We needed that time to get the last preparations done so Irie would be “sail ready” again. We also had to catch up with our friends Sim and Rosie on Alianna and make Christmas plans…

According to plan, we made our way north, stayed a couple of nights in Carriacou and continued on with a full day of great sailing, until we reached the small island of Bequia in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a few days before Christmas. The most popular spot to anchor in Admiralty Bay is off pretty Princess Margaret Beach, where we dropped the hook in crystal clear water. Not too close to the beach, since there is no need for that anymore without Darwin. And, were we glad we didn’t! After two days in the anchorage, the waves started building and an enormous swell rolled into our part of the bay, starting to break pretty far out. All the boats were lifted ten feet higher than “normally”, up to a point it became a very scary and dangerous situation...

When 5 pm came around, it was really time to move! There was only one problem: right in front of us, another catamaran was anchored above our anchor, so we couldn’t pick it up. And, nobody was home to move the boat forward. A stressful moment, that required a solution before the sun went down. After waiting around for a little while, we decided to let go of our chain (with a float attached) and leave our main anchor behind, hoping it would still be there to pick up when the conditions settled down. That done, we started heading out, climbing over the massive waves, only to see our neighbors return… Back we went, dealing with the anchor and picking it up in an awful swell, urging the boat owners to nudge their boat a bit forward. I was at the helm, needing to get close to the other boat, where the anchor was, and, at the same time, trying not to get smashed on to it by the towering waves. Mark and I were a great team and we managed to get out of this hairy situation without damage or hurt, but our nerves needed a little while to settle down again!

Irie found a nice, cozy spot in a calmer part of the bay and Christmas came around. Sim and Rosie brought English style dishes, while we offered the American version of a Christmas dinner. Our friend Dave from Tatia had taken care of the hand made decorations, which took him days to produce. The atmosphere was festive and all five of us had a wonderful time. After the appetizers of freshly made pâté and Devil’s Eggs, we moved on to the buffet of roasted chicken, pot roasted beef, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, two kinds of gravy, cranberry sauce and home made stuffing. By the time we had stuffed ourselves, there was no room for dessert (assortment of Belgian chocolate)!

The week between Christmas and New Year was a combination of chores, internet work, celebrating Rosie’s birthday and some quiet time. One afternoon, our friends Tom and Angie surprised us with a visit. They had just arrived from the Canary Islands (Spain), after being 25 days at sea and hadn’t even been ashore yet! Another reason to just stay put until early January! New Year’s Eve was a bit less decadent food wise and also took place on Irie. All our friends brought an appetizer - or two - to share and we were accompanied by Tom and Angie as well. After dinner, we planned to go to shore to party, having saved some money by not eating out.

From the moment all of us were settled in the cockpit with a plate full of food, however, it started pouring! We moved inside and stayed there until midnight. At exactly 12 am, the rain took a break and we watched some spectacular fireworks (yes, we were all impressed; Bequia is a small Caribbean island after all) from Irie’s deck. Then, the drinking continued, people started making accessories out of paper, with a paper boat race as a result and - unlike previous years where we barely made midnight – at 3 am, Mark and I went to bed! Happy 2011 to you all!

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