St Vincent Week 1

Our COVID tests came back after the promised 48 hours. Negative, of course, because all the islands we’ve visited have successfully controlled their outbreaks. St Vincent, for example, has had 29 cases total, all recovered, and no new cases for two weeks. So, American Reader, when you see maskless photos below, think not that people are being super irresponsible; conditions are different here. (Also different: people are somehow confused about Jazz’s gender; possibly something to do with cognitive dissonance around a female captain…)

So, cleared of viral threat, we were free to explore the island! This is good, because Captain was getting restless waiting.

We only had a few hours on the first day, so we took a short walk to the nearby grocery store, which was a little harrowing as these roads are very much not designed for walking. So we came back and had a nice welcome-cocktail at the French Veranda.

The next day was Satuday, and we got up and hopped a short disco-bus ride into Kingstown. We spent a little while walking through the downtown, looking at all the market stalls and many churches. And we managed to get me a much-needed haircut.

Our main objective for the visit was the botanical garden, which was lovely. Our guide pointed out all kinds of different species, and told us when they would bloom and what their culinary uses were, and you can guess which of those things I remember.

We walked back down the hill into town, pausing to make some healthy choices at the supermarket.

And we stopped again for a late lunch at Basil’s, which served us this cheekily-named “Big Mistake”, as well as some tasty food and coffee. We were the only patrons, which was the norm this week.

We took the bus back to Young Island, a bit more crowded this time..

And we took the dinghy over to Blue Lagoon to see if the chandlery was open. It was not, but while we were there, we figured we should stop and check out the local beers at Flowt – and the signs in their washroom.

And we took Captain for a walk.

As often happens, walking Captain led to meeting new friends, and we found ourselves invited to a beach barbecue the next day. This was our new friend’s niece’s 17th birthday party, and we had a great time hanging out, burying the kids in mermaid tails and octopus tentacles, and eating the constant steam of delicious things coming off the grill.

Meanwhile, not to forget about our obligations, our hydraulic steering system had leaked out most of its fluid. We were trying to track down replacement seals, but meanwhile, we had to tie the emergency tiller down to keep the rudders from flopping back and forth and banging into the rudder stops. We took a somewhat harrowing walk down the road to a cluster of stores, looking for replacement fluid, and ran into some interesting things along the way.

We came back home and relaxed with the Captain.

We took a side trip up to Wallilabou bay, a backdrop featured in several Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Normally we’d have taken the boat, but with our steering on the fritz, we opted instead to take the bus. This involved changing buses in Kingstown, and a slightly-less-harrowing-than-usual ride along the coast. We bought beers for the ride, which inspired our seat-mates to get out and buy several more than we did. This was smart, as it was a long ride.

The bay feels small from the shore. (It’s actually also a point of entry, so were it not for COVID we would have checked in here. But they’re not set up for testing.) The remaining movie set has been absorbed into the marina/bar that takes up a big section of the shoreline. Like everywhere else on the island, they claim to have the best rum punch.

On the way back, we stopped in Kingstown and had an excellent local-tapas style dinner at the Flow Wine Bar, where once again we were the only patrons. Do we blame our early sailors’ hours, or the lack of cruise ships?

The next day we cleaned up the boat to host Kimmy and two of her sisters for a sundowner. We ended up catching a snack on shore first, with more of the glorious Krew cider. We made it to the boat, but the roll in the anchorage is harder to handle at night, so we ended up calling the night early on the seasickness mercy rule.

Still fun though. Few pictures because, as you can see above, Jazz did not dress appropriately for the sunset photo shoot.

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