South to Bequia

23 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
It’s great to have a hardware store and a chandlery so close to us.  We bought spare parts for the toilets, varnish and bilge paint.   We’re dumping old spare parts and junk out of our cupboards and filling them up with materials for the various projects to be done over the next two months. 

While we’ve been cruising in remote places around the world, we’ve had six 105Ah batteries.  A few weeks ago, I found that three batteries had failed on us.  I calculate that we use 150 Amps per day when at anchor and 200 Amps per day while at sea (the autopilot sucks up a lot of power).  

A Marine Toilet

The Caribbean is sunny and has lots of wind, so I think that we generate 100-160 Amps from the solar panels and 80-120 Amps from the wind generator.  This means that our batteries are full for most of the time, so I’ve only ordered one more battery.  This gives us 420Ah in total, which will last for nearly three days without any sun or wind, which is fine.     

In the afternoon, I finished off repairing the front toilet - at the end of the messy job, I’m pleased to report that our toilets are working better than they have for years.  Glenys meanwhile is on a mission to polish all the stainless steel on deck, which is looking very tired after three months and 5,500 miles at sea.

In the evening, we went for dinner and a few beverages on “Dream Catcher”.  Martin and Maggie with their crew of Jeremy and Nicole are leaving for Martinique tomorrow and will then be heading off to the Azores next week.  They still have 3,700 miles to go until they can put up their feet in La Linea, Spain.

24 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
We went shopping in the morning to get some more parts and I picked up our new battery.  Back at the boat, I fitted the battery and generally tidied up ready to leave in two days’ time.  It was a fairly nice day with light winds, so Glenys jumped in the dinghy and cleaned the stains from the hull, which we’ve accumulated over the last few months.

Stunning Sunset

I’ve been in touch with a Yacht Broker in the USA and he’s suggesting that we should try to get up to the Annapolis Used Boat Show in April next year.  I’ve looked at the weather at this time of year and it’s only 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, which is too damn cold for us.  We’re now planning to arrive in the USA in May, when the temperatures should be more civilised.  If we start in December, that gives us six months to sail up from Grenada via West Indies, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas - a nice leisurely cruise.

While sipping a cold beer in the cockpit, we watched a stunning sunset.

25 April 2018   Rodney Bay, St Lucia
The plan is to sail to Bequia tomorrow, so we went to the shopping mall to buy provisions.  We’ve been having trouble getting cash from the ATM in the Bank of St Lucia.  The Scotia Bank at the mall worked ok, but it charged 13 EC (£3.25).

In the afternoon, I cleared out and bought some petrol, which is nice and easy at the marina.  We had a quiet afternoon and evening, watching a fabulous Caribbean Sunset.

26 April 2018   Rodney Bay to Bequia, St Vincent
It’s 70 miles between Rodney Bay and Bequia, so we left at 04:30 and motor-sailed along the leeward side of St Lucia and past the impressive Pitons.  Once we cleared the south end of the island we were out into 20-25 knots on the beam with 2 metres seas, so it was bouncy roller coaster ride for a few hours.

Crowded Bequia

After 30 minutes of slightly higher and gusty winds in the acceleration zone at the north end of St Vincent, we were suddenly back to motor-sailing in the flukey winds.  The channel between St Vincent and Bequia is only 10 miles, but it’s notorious for strong winds, so we motored east along the coast of St Vincent for a few miles to give us a better angle.  Our strategy worked and we skimmed past the reef at Devil’s table and sailed into the huge Admiralty Bay.

It was heaving with boats in the anchorage - I would estimate 100 yachts and catamarans dotted around.  We anchored off Princess Margaret Beach, which was also crowded.  The sea bed is a mixture of good holding sand with large areas of coral rubble.  We had a bit of trouble on our first attempt and I snorkelled down to find that we were on coral rubble, but I could see a big patch of sand further ahead.  We finally anchored at 13°00.19N 061°14.61W in 7 metres of water - by the time that we’d settled, it was 17:00.

The customs office is open until 18:00 every week day, but they charge overtime if you clear in after 16:00. It’s a bit of a scam because most people will be arriving in the late afternoon.  The officers have been known to get really annoyed if you arrive before 18:00 and don’t clear in immediately, but I couldn’t be bothered to try to rush ashore and then have to pay overtime - I cracked open a beer.