Port Elizabeth, Bequia

From Young Island Cut in St Vincent, we took a short sail down to Admiralty Bay, Bequia’s biggest sailing mecca. Our hydraulic steering was on the fritz, and the seals we needed to fix it were on their way to Dockside Marine, but by topping up the fluid at the helm we were able to get the rudder moving, and it held for the couple-hour sail.

We got in and took a little trip around the harbor by dinghy, then stopped in town to see some goats and flowers. We also had probably the saddest meal we’ve gotten out since the Bahamas, when we accidentally went next door to the (closed) restaurant that we’d been recommended.

Since we’d been putting it off, and because we had a strong recommendation, we sent out a TON of laundry…

And then took the cat for a walk along the dock, ending up at the Plantation House for happy hour and a pretty tasty sunset, while we watched a very pretty cutter come in under sail.

Happy hours seemed to be the places to be, and Captain seemed generally welcome wherever we went, so here we are the next day at Jack’s for another sunset.

And again a day or two later, Da Reef, where we showed up too late for the music, but not too late for beer, rum and friendly dogs.

With all the carousing, we didn’t forget that this was at least partially a working stop. Here we are at the Gingerbread Cafe, where I look salty because I’m on the phone with UPS trying to figure out what happened to the package they were supposed to bring us back in May. The food was good, but Captain was totally nonplussed about the tables being in sand.

The work part got a bit interrupted as Tropical Storm Gonzalo threatened to become a hurricane and hit us, so we left and came back again; we’ve already written about that stupid adventure. The last thing we managed before that was a walk up to the fort on the hill overlooking the bay. We left Captain behind, and were glad we did, because the walk up is all along the road, and would have been no fun for him at all.

The trip up the hill gave us a chance to take some pictures of the typical taxis you see here.

So we left, and we came back, and then there was more fun, as we tried to relax a little, and a holiday weekend blocked us from getting much done on the boat anyway. There were sunsets:

And Jazz made a lot of this under-ripe mango dish that we’ve learned may be called chow-chow.

We had some excellent food at Laura’s. The first time, we brought Captain along. The second, he stayed at home, because it was Carnival of Ravioli day, and we wanted to be able to focus on the carnival. Of ravioli.

And, while we’re doing food porn, we had pizza at Mac’s, which is definitely the best we’ve had since leaving the states, and maybe before that. They also had a DJ for the long Emancipation holiday weekend, and we met up with our friends from St Vincent for a little bit of dancing.

And we had some good food at the Fig Tree, the highlight of which was definitely the samosas.

There are always some logistics. I got my hair cut. We restocked the pasta, and washed some lettuce… and Captain took a lot of naps.

And, eventually, we got to the bigger projects. The webbing holding the tack of our mainsail together had ripped off, and while sailing with a reef in isn’t terrible, we figured we should put it back together. Thankfully, the damage was almost all stitches ripping out, so we didn’t have to replace any of the dacron panels. We figured since it was off anyway, we might as well replace the webbing, and extend the pieces a little further for some extra strength. The Sailrite managed to sew through the assemblies, but this was definitely the hardest it’s ever had to work. There were several times that I had to manually rock the balance wheel back and forth to get the needle through the material. And for the final set of stitches around the corner, I think I broke five needles.

That felt like cause for celebration, and nature delivered with a cool jellyfish and a gorgeous sunset.

Project two: we had to buy some terrible diesel in Union Island, where the gas station had burned down and fuel is now sold out of somebody’s shed. This prompted us to clean out our tank, which had been a while. Tyrone has a fuel polishing setup, and came by to pump out the fuel and take a look at our engine. (He pronounced it healthy and happy.) With the tank finally empty, we took strips of sheets, rubbed them around the inside of the tank, and pulled out a surprising amount of dark chalky gunk.

With the tank cleaned out and the filters swapped out, we were able to fill the tank again, which meant some trips back and forth to the gas station. This kind of task is generally an I/we: Jazz has many talents, but she is just not built for carrying heavy things around.

For our final Serious Project, we needed to fix that hydraulic steering ram, and we brought in a professional because we just don’t have the tools. With the new seals in place, the bearings cleaned out, and the system flushed with new fluid, we finally had steering back! And as an added bonus, the guy helped us get a stubborn nut moving and re-align our rudders.

And once again, nature rewarded us for our efforts with a stellar sunset.

A few other vignettes. I don’t think the rest of this post really captures the extent to which Captain is always around. He’s staring at us when we wake up, staring enviously at our human dinner, and generally having his needs attended to.

Jazz would like you to know that sometimes the moon is just too bright.

As we got ready to go, we took a trip to Kingstown on the ferry to visit the bigger grocery stores on the mainland. This was something of a recon mission, and it proved to be a real bust. (And not just because of the flying fish we found in the cart when we opened it up.) We did find a dinghy dock, meaning it’s feasible to come to Kingstown via Villa. But it turns out it’s not worth doing. We had visited the supermarket in “the suburbs” in Arnos Vale by mini-bus and found it excellent, so we expected the Kingstown markets would be similar. They were not even in the same ballpark. We found a couple of things, but by and large, for what we found we could have just shopped in Bequia. When we need to provision here again, we’ll sail to the reasonable anchorages in Blue Lagoon or Young Island, bus to the big Massy, and take a taxi back with the loot.

And finally, here’s a baptism we walked by on our last day in town, with singing, drums, costumes, and repeated full-body dunks in the ocean.

We saw this and decided we needed an English breakfast. Here’s… one take on that. Those are bananas. Where is my fried tomato!?

And here’s Dinkus giving a tow to a stranded local who ran out of gas.

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