We had made some new Scottish friends in Antigua, John and Janet from Ventoso. We found out that they were great cricket fans and we told them we were heading south to Saint Lucia again in time to watch the semi finals of the World 20/Twenty Championship due to be held there mid April. We only had a few days to cover the 180 or so miles so we would have to be making a few early starts to get there in time. John and Janet wanted to see the cricket too so they decided to do the same thing.
Even though we were in a hurry, we were determined to see a little more of Guadeloupe this time so we spent a couple of days in Deshaies. This is a pretty little town with pleasant streets and squares. Just above the town is the Jardin Botanique where we walked to one morning with our German friend Carina from Bellatrix We first met Carina and Gerwald in Rabat in Morocco two years ago and they crossed the Atlantic at the same time as us but they went to Brazil first and came up to Trinidad last year. We have visited many botanical gardens on our travels and we must say that this was one of the most impressive. Not only were there many examples of various trees and flowers, but the whole garden was set out exquisitely, with information boards (in French only - thanks for translating many Carina). Another bonus was various walk-in aviaries where you could feed the birds yourself. Much fun was had fending off greedy Rainbow parrots!
We left Deshaies and sailed down to Les Saintes on the 4th May. We were just heading for the anchorage in Le Bourg, Terre-De-Haut, where we had stayed before, when we got a call on the radio from Bellatrix. They had anchored off the Islet a Cabrit just before Terre-De-Haut and Gerhard had caught a large dorado fish on the way down and would we like to join them for a barbecue that evening? Yes please!
We left the next morning and anchored for a couple of nights running without going ashore in Dominica and Martinique before arriving in Le Marin in Martinique again. We took advantage of the laundrette there and stocked up with cheeses and sausage before finally reaching Rodney Bay on Saint Lucia again on 8th May.
The cricket was due to start on the 10th, running through 11th, 13th and 14th. We found you could buy tickets very cheaply, about £10 for the first two days (which included two matches) then less than £15 for the two semi final days. The women’s semi finals were being held on the same days so we still got two matches for our money. The ground was very near to Rodney Bay at Gros Islet, just up the road. Janet and John came to most matches with us. We had met up with old friends Titch and Stella on their new boat Whistler when we arrived in Saint Lucia. We first met them on the river Guadiana in Spain back in 2007. Stella is not a cricket fan but Titch attended a couple of matches. John also brought an American friend, Kennedy, who had never seen a game of cricket before. He was absolutely taken with the game after watching the thrilling semi final between the Australians and Pakistan. Right down to the last over. Kennedy said it was a much more exciting game than baseball! Mind, the atmosphere created at West Indian cricket matches is unique. You are bouncing in your seat all game - great fun!
After the cricket finished (England taking the title - we had to watch that on TV as the final moved back to Barbados) we caught up on a little maintenance then we spent a morning on Pigeon Island. Pat had visited it with Barbara back in February and managed to climb to the top of the hill this time! We enjoyed lunch at the Jambe de Bois restaurant on the island and both of us indulged in the pudding - banana crumble - delicious (although it would have been even better with custard)!
We finally left Rodney Bay on 22nd May intending to sail down the east coast of St Vincent to Bequai, one of the Grenadines, but were thwarted by the weather. We spent a couple of nights at anchor in Vieux Fort, on the south east corner of Saint Lucia. We did try to leave after the first night but had to return after a few miles of beating against the heavy swell and south easterly wind. We finally left on 24th May but couldn’t make the east coast of St Vincent, so decided to clear in at Wallilabou Bay, halfway down the west coast - and were we glad we did. Wallilabou is a very sheltered small bay and it’s greatest claim to fame is that much of the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was filmed there. Some of the sets are still in place and the Anchorage Restaurant has clothing from the film for visitors to be photographed in. We found the people to be very friendly, even the iniquitous boat boys were polite and didn’t bother us unduly. Tony runs a small bar restaurant, Pirate’s Retreat, at the northern end of the beach. He is a real character and proudly displays visitors books and a collection of caps from visiting cruisers. Mike gave him his old England baseball cap to add to the many on show. We walked around to the next bay, Keartons, and had a drink in the Rock Side Cafe where we met the owner, Rosi, a German lady married to a Vincentian, Orlando. They have moorings for visitors and we told her that when we returned next year we would definitely visit them. After a couple of days we sailed down the coast to Young Island Cut, another sheltered anchorage on the south coast. We caught the bus into the capital, Kingstown, and walked up to the Botanical Gardens, founded in 1765, the oldest in the western hemisphere. There are many rare species here and we were ably shown around by our guide, Sinclair. We left festooned with spices, fruit and leaves. We also visited the two adjacent cathedrals. The dark grey stone of the catholic St Mary’s contrasts with the light facade of the Anglican St George’s.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines consist of the island of St Vincent and the 32 small islands and cays of the Grenadines. St Vincent is 18 miles long and 11 miles wide, with an area of 133 square miles. It is lush and green and mountainous and was one of the last islands to be colonised by Europeans. The country has a population of around 104,000, the vast majority living in St Vincent itself. Only about 9,000 live on the other islands. The original Carib settlers called St Vincent ‘Hairoun’ which means ‘home of the blessed’. This is now the name of the local beer and very good it is too!
In 1675 a Dutch slave ship sailing to another island was wrecked off the coast and the warlike Caribs took the slaves as their own. These slaves, however, were very fierce themselves and became a problem. The Caribs tried to control this by killing all the male black children and this caused a revolt. The slaves killed as many of the Caribs as they could, stole all their women and ran away into the mountains. They became known as the ‘Black Caribs’. They were joined by escaped slaves from St Lucia and Grenada and gradually took over much of the land from the original Caribs. The island was eventually colonised by the French and the settlers lived in harmony with the Black Caribs as slavery had been abolished in France. When the French finally conceded the island to Britain in the 1783 Treaty of Versailles there began a period of violence which was known as the Carib Wars. This carried on until 1797 when over 5,000 of the Black Caribs were rounded up and deported wholesale to a small island off Honduras. Some of their descendants still live in the villages of Sandy Bay and Fancy in the north of the St Vincent.
We stayed for three days at Young Island then made the short crossing to Bequai, only 7 miles away, and are now at anchor in Admiralty Bay.
We will tell you about Bequai next month.
Photos and just a few movies below as usual.