As much as I may want to time-hop to a day when sheltering in place or being on lockdown (as it’s called in the Caribbean) is a thing of the past, I can’t. But I CAN enjoy reminiscing about pre-COVID-19 life on Nancy Lu as I bring the blog up to date…It feels like another sailing season altogether.
So here we go…Oops, I just scratched my nose! That’s a hard one!
Our first stop after Grenada was Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. We had a nice sail there, and anchored “next door” to our friends, Hal and Marcia, on S/V Eagles’ Wings. Little did we know that we would be anchored with them for 42 out of the next 50 days… and counting! We got anchored just in time for the weekly, Sunday afternoon gathering for Mexican Train Dominoes at a restaurant on shore. We weren’t in Carriacou for long (hard to imagine a short stay somewhere in this COVID-19 time), but given the mere 2 full days there, we did a lot OFF the boat WITH other people… Monday- noodling (ocean aerobics with a pool noodle) and Tuesday- yoga in the morning and burgers at Citi Grill in the evening (YUM).
Our next stop was Union Island,
and tiny Frigate Island, to be exact. Our big plan while there was to learn how to kite board!
I immediately took to this pretty anchorage where every morning, there was a colorful show of kites flying in the waters off the shore of Union Island,
and just to the other side of Nancy Lu, out our starboard portholes, the view of Frigate Island was a picture of tranquility!
In the past, we had always chosen to bypass Frigate Island because of a violet crime that happened there 5 years ago. With plenty of boats in the anchorage during our stay, we felt comfortable with our choice to give it a try. The late night theft of our neighbor boat’s dinghy was a disappointment that caused the beautiful anchorage to lose a bit of its luster, however! Even so, we had a great time for the 6 days we spent there.
It was nice to jump right off the back of Nancy Lu for a swim and a little starfish “collecting”!
On a snorkeling expedition with Hal and Marcia, who arrived at the anchorage a couple of days after us, we encountered a sea creature that, until then, I had never happened across and I would just as soon never come that close to one of its kind ever again! I was so thankful that none of us got tangled in the Portuguese Man-Of-War Jelly Fish’s long tentacles.
We took only one dinghy trip into town besides Mark’s solo trip to clear into Saint Vincent and the Grenadines of which Union Island is a part.
We took the bus to the town of Clifton where we were on a mission to sign up for kite boarding lessons—mission accomplished!
After we got that taken care of, we had a nice dinner at a cute little place, The Snack Shack!
We made it back to Nancy Lu in time to enjoy the sunset,
just the first of several that we enjoyed over dinner while we were anchored in this kite boarder’s paradise!
We began our 3 days of kite boarding lessons the next afternoon…
Will, our instructor, came and picked us up from Nancy Lu, and we were off on our latest adventure!
First, we learned how to get the kite and other equipment ready…
Then, we worked on kite control from the shore. At this time, my shoulder was still quite compromised from my Grenadian hash mishap. I almost bowed out of giving it a go, but I’m glad I didn’t! Kite boarding is surprisingly easy on the shoulders.
By the end of that lesson, both of us had learned how to body drag. This means we could control the kite well enough to let it drag us through the water where we wanted to go.
That was fun and about as proficient as either of us ever got!
That’s not to say that we didn’t try hard for the next two days…
Getting back in the dinghy after a turn at the kite board was a feat in itself! We’re both used to having fins on to give us the extra umph to make it in. It’s much harder without them!
We each had about a half-second’s worth of success,
but I give us an A for effort! Maybe next year!
After our kite boarding interlude, we sailed on, along with Eagles’ Wings, the short distance to one of every cruiser’s favorite islands,
beautiful Bequia! (I would consider myself remiss not to use that alliteration)!
Our activities became more in line with our age while we were in Bequia…
A few of these activities took place at Ms. Cheryl Johnson’s restaurant, The Fig Tree! She graciously hosts yoga on mornings when someone from the anchorage is willing to give a class, invites volunteers to take part in her Saturday Reading Club (13 years in existence) for all children who would like to attend, and
the annual International Women’s Day gathering…men not excluded (two husbands attended)! That was an enlightening experience. I was happy to see and get reacquainted with Azifa, Mrs. Johnson’s granddaughter, at each of these events. She and one of her friends were the children that I got to read with a few years ago when I first had the pleasure of joining the Saturday Reading Club. What a difference a few years makes!!
Also in Bequia,
there was noodling and Mexican Train Dominos of which to be a participant. Anywhere Hal and Marcia are to found, present quarantine excluded, there will be dominoes on Sunday afternoon! But that’s not all…
We had a couple of rare “fancy” nights out at Mac’s Pizza where we never ordered pizza, but savored every bite of the scrumptious dishes we did order and also enjoyed the live entertainment and the company of friends!
A lunch spot that we never miss when we’re in Bequia is a hidden away, local favorite, Sweety Bird’s!
A few streets over is a special place to pick up some harder to find grocery items.
Bequia has never been one of my favorite places to snorkel, but I had seen pictures on Facebook of a fellow boater’s snorkeling session where they saw Octopi! I have only seen an octopus once, and it was very small, super shy, and very deep so I was only able to get one lucky picture of it. After yoga one day, I remembered (an accomplishment) to ask another friend who was tagged in that Facebook photo to tell me where they were snorkeling, and she pointed out the spot! Then, of course, our own snorkeling trip was on the agenda!
The coral was not impressive except one bit of Elkhorn Coral, but I found the OCTOPI!!
First, I spotted the small one just ambling along the ocean floor. When I would swim towards him, he would change to the bright and beautiful whitish-blue color, but once he calmed down, within seconds, he would fade back into camouflage. He was much smaller than he appears in the close-up photos—about the size of a large platter when splayed out with all 8 tentacles curling gracefully around him. He finally found his way to a good hiding spot in some tube sponge.
When Mark swam close to where I was obsessively photographing the little octopus, he pointed out a big one. This one looked rather worse for wear. He had some tentacles missing, but it was my first sighting of a an octopus the size you normally think of them being! I was excited!
One last thing Bequia boon to share is something that we’ve come to expect when we visit that little island:
Yummy produce! It was time to let the eating of mangoes and making of passion fruit juice to commence in earnest. I ended up freezing some! Happily, these favorite fresh fruits are also in season in Martinique where we are now quarantined!
After Bequia, we made a hop to St. Lucia, spending the first night between the iconic Pitons.
We had a nice sail there, and
as always, I was impressed by the majesty of Petit Piton off our bow and
Gros Piton off our stern.
We flew the yellow quarantine flag as is proper to do before you check into a country. Little did we know how much we would be hearing the word quarantine in the near future.
The sunset was lovely, and
we had the special treat of seeing the beautiful sailing cruise ship, Sea Cloud, making its way, presumably, to Bequia where we had seen it anchored every few days while we were there.
The next day, bright and early, we sailed the short distance north, leaving The Pitons in our wake, to Rodney Bay where we checked into the country and encountered our first real experience with the Covid-19 world.
First, we had to be checked out by a nurse before we were allowed to clear in. At that time, there were no cases reported in St. Lucia. Also, we ran into a fellow cruiser on the docks near customs who, like us, stores their boat in Trinidad. They were making plans to sail straight there the next day, anticipating that the borders would soon close and they wouldn’t be able to get back to the states. This was March 12. We were still holding out hope that our daughters would be able to go through with their plans to fly and join us March 26 in Martinique; although, we knew it was likely that they wouldn’t. Our main reason for stopping in Rodney Bay was to take advantage of the easily accessible, big grocery stores there in order to stock up on the more American type groceries available for Amy and Claire’s visit. So that’s what we did that afternoon! We were ready to leave bright and early the next morning, fully stocked. Little did we know that our ample stores of food would not be used for our daughters’ visit, but for our quarantine time!
I remember sailing into the beautiful harbor here at St. Anne, Martinique (where we are still anchored) on March 13 feeling a sense of joy and excitement as I thought about sharing this country and Dominica further to the north with Amy and Claire! Little did we know…