On Saturday, we released our moorings in Anse D’Arlet, Martinique for an overnight sail to the island of Bequia in the Grenadines.This meant we would pass right by St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Although we’d love to spend some time on both, we avoided them (especially St. Lucia) because of the frequent crime against cruisers in the area and the hassle from some of the people. The Grenadines have also seen their share of recent crime, including a couple of violent incidents. We planned to avoid certain islands in that group because of this. It is unfortunate that this is the case. Cruisers miss out on beautiful cruising areas, and the local economy takes a hit because we avoid the area.
For the first time in a long time, we were able to kill the engines and sail. And, sail we did! The seas were about 4 feet and just aft of the port beam. Winds were about 15 knots and we were averaging around 6 knots of speed over ground. It was about six o’clock when we were visited by a pod of extremely playful and acrobatic dolphins. Several were leaping from the water in unison and doing flips in the waves. My enjoyment of their aquatic antics was short-lived, however. Just after their departure, we were hit with the most intense squall we’ve experienced under sail. Fortunately, we already had a reef in the mainsail. My wind indicator isn’t working so I don’t know exactly how strong the gusts were, but I’m certain they were at least in the 30-35 knot range. The gusts hit and my boat speed accelerated to almost 10 knots. We quickly put a reef in the genoa and turned down wind a little bit until the squall passed. Once the leading edge of the squall passed, the rain continued, but the wind subsided and we could relax a little. A second squall hit about an hour later, but it lacked the intensity of its predecessor.
The overnight portion of the trip went about as well as could be expected. We continued to sail along at between 6 and 7 knots except for the times when we were in the lee of St. Lucia and St. Vincent. In those areas, the winds would get fluky and light, so we’d fire up the port engine for two or three hours to sustain our progress. As soon as we were out of the lee, we’d shut off the engine and enjoy a fine sail. There were, thankfully, no other incidents en route. About 6:30 in the morning we pulled into Admiralty Bay, a huge, well-protected bay with Bequia’s only town, Port Elizabeth, at its head. We dropped anchor in about 20 feet of beautiful, clear water, made sure it was firmly set, and then slept until noon.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines together make up one country. St. Vincent lies south of St. Lucia, and the Grenadines are small islands which extend southward from there. Bequia is the largest of the Grenadines, and one with an active whaling station. Local whalers can take four whales a year from February to April, the time when humpback whales leave their northern feeding grounds and head south to mate and bear young.
We were tired and I was ill upon arrival to Bequia. You may recall my “very advanced” hike from Hades which totally wiped me out a few days ago in Dominica. At first, I thought that my symptoms were a result of overdoing it. But, then, the day after the hike I started to develop a splotchy red rash on my upper legs, buttocks, and axilla which then spread to the rest of my trunk, arms and legs. I have been extremely fatigued and weak. With minimal exertion, I get lightheaded and, at times, must sit down. I’ve not had a significant fever, though it’s possible I’ve had a low-grade one. I’ve had no headache, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea. All in all, after several days of this, I think I’ve contracted some jungle virus. Dengue? Chikungunya? Zika? Some yet to be discovered virus? Who knows? Certainly not me!
Anyway, we’ve not done much in Bequia, except to rest and relax. On the afternoon of our arrival, we went into Port Elizabeth to clear in to the country and then had pizza at Mac’s (Not bad!). On day 2, we went into town in the morning to visit the post office and then spent the rest of the day on board. I really haven’t felt well enough to do anything else. The water is so inviting, but I’ve not event felt like jumping into the water off the stern of our vessel. At least, Admiralty Bay is quite beautiful and a picturesque setting in which to convalesce from a viral illness. And… at least we’ve had very good wifi on the boat when I’ve not been able to do much else.
Today, my symptoms have further progressed. Now I have swelling and pain to my joints, especially my fingers. What next? We decided perhaps it might be time to get to a place where I could get some medical attention if needed. So, around 3 p.m., we took Dalí into Port Elizabeth to clear out of the country and have our last meal in the Grenadines at the Tradewinds Yacht Club. Early tomorrow morning, we’ll weigh anchor and cover the last 65 miles or so of our intended journey on this leg of our travels. Tomorrow night, we’ll be tied to the docks at Port Louis Marina in Grenada. In addition to the medical reasons for leaving tomorrow, our insurance demands that we be south of 12°40′ by June 1st, the beginning of Hurricane Season. Being in Grenada will accomplish just that.