It was hard to leave the Tobago Cays, but we were out of laundry and supplies, so we sailed back up to Port Elizabeth to take care of business. Sailing seems to result in napping, and all my favorite people passed out.
We arrived on a Wednesday (Aug 26th – I should probably put more dates in these, if only to be honest about how far behind we are), and Wednesday means Laura’s has their special dinner, which did not disappoint.
So we took care of the necessaries, like getting the laundry done, and getting Jazz’s hair updated. The hairdresser was just visiting the island, working from a house up on the hill, which meant Jazz got some great views down over the bay. Villa is in the bottom center of both shots – note the ferry traffic, also par for the Bequia course.
We found out that there was going to be some live music Friday, so we tied up at the town dinghy dock and walked over. We made a pit-stop at a bar with this excellent clock, and met some friends we’d run into again later.
We arrived “on time” for the music, which because we’re on an island meant we were about an hour early. Everyone else got the memo. But eventually the place did fill in, and we listened to some decent “jazz” music. Apparently here, “jazz” is a catch-all for any genre that’s not Soca, which this time turned out to mean mostly reggae. Anyway, you can see the place filling up, and as the rum kept coming we did as well.
The band finished up, and as we’d had to keep drinking to keep our table, it was now time to go home. We wandered down the road and ran into our new friends, a pair of Romanian real estate investors and their local advisor. Rounds of beers appeared, were answered, and the night turned into a Hairoun-fueled bar crawl, which was lots of fun. I remind you again, American reader, there are no COVID cases here.
We got back to the dinghy in the wee hours to find we’d been burgled: someone had opened the “locker” (which does not lock) and removed our dinghy’s navigation light and headlamps. Honestly, who steals safety gear? They’d also take the carabiner we use to clip the boat to our big boat; the only part I’d imagine has any resale value. The most annoying loss was probably the rechargeable batteries, which are next to impossible to find here and will almost certainly get thrown in the trash. So that was not a great end to the night. We posted about it on the local cruiser’s net, and woke up to a bunch of “well you shouldn’t have worn a short skirt”-type replies, which was even more disheartening. How do you expect me to lock a carabiner? Ah well. People are people. We replaced it with one that will at least take a small effort to steal.
We woke up with hangovers we hadn’t planned on. Big, solid, painful hangovers. But we’d already bought tickets to an all night paint party called Mojito on Saturday, so we did our best to sleep all day and put the theft out of mind. As night settled in, we headed back to shore and hopped on a shuttle to Park Bay in the northeast corner of the island. After a masks-required pat-down and temperature check, we were issued reuseable cups and glowsticks and released into this miniature Soca music festival. We were surprised to see that they were selling drinks at market rates, despite their monopoly. But maybe there would have been a local rebellion if the drink prices were as jacked up as they often are at American music venues.
We had expected to be the old people at the party, but found a surprisingly wide mix of ages. (And, for people used to San Francisco festivals, a surprisingly narrow selection of foods, ranging from chicken wings to barbecue pork, and I don’t know why I wrote “ranging” because that’s the whole menu.) It rained sporadically all night, and I ended up playing dress-up as a tent post to try to fit more people under the tarp behind the barbecue. Eventually we gave up on keeping Jazz dry, but breaks in the rain still allowed for the firework show.
We were pretty proud of ourselves for making it to morning. And, to boot, we mostly avoided getting painted; we’d worn black to discourage it, and most people were pretty polite about asking. Even the people who painted us were, I think, trying to be welcoming to the obvious tourists dancing alone near the back. There was a LOT of paint going around. Remember those plastic cups at the door? Nobody was serving disposable drink containers, so that pile of trash in the picture is almost entirely discarded bottles of paint.
Between the paint and the mud-pit that formed in front of the stage, the crowd that trickled out as the sun brightened was pretty filthy, but the shuttle drivers let us all back into the vans anyway, and we made it back to town, and to our dinghy, and finally to the boat. Tired, but victorious.
On Monday, we stopped by the police station to file a report. They were very much not interested in doing this, but we persisted, and after about two hours getting eaten by mosquitoes in the sweltering office, we walked out with pictures of our statement and a promise that the incident would go into the log book. (We didn’t and don’t expect to get things back or anything, but reporting is important to establish patterns. #civicduty and that.)
We had a lovely dinner with some friends on Jace, which Captain was thrilled to attend. And we tried the local street corn, which smells like popcorn but is actually pretty terrible, before a final Bequia sunset.
The next morning we took a quick sail up to St Vincent, where we would revisit some of the places we loved the most, and provision for a longer stay in the Cays. We anchored near Fort Duvernette and took Captain hiking.
We took buses to and from Kingstown, where we found an excellent wine shop that delivered, and to the better grocery stores in Arnos Vale.
We took care of logistics, like getting some hair removed and buying sugar in unmarked plastic bags. And finally caving and buying a case of the local beer.
And now a special treat for those of you who made it to the end. You may know how much Jazz loves local newspapers. Well, we found a lady in Kingstown selling three, and I wish I had a picture of the face she made when Jazz asked for one of each. We sat and read them while we waited for our wine, and had to share this gem of an article with you.