A while ago, the watermaker broke down, and luckily it was possible to fix it. In the long run, spare parts are needed to make a more permanent repair. The only place nearby we could send the parts to was the Horizon Yacht Service in the Blue Lagoon on St Vincent.
I tried to find someone on Bequia who could receive a package from Trinidad, unfortunately, they could not or did not want to but referred me to an agent in Kingstown. As a foreign private person, I need a deputy who has the right to pick up packages from customs, a so-called customs agent, and Horizon Yacht Service could arrange that, but we had to pick up the package from the Horizon office in Blue Lagoon. Now the package has arrived in Kingstown and we are sailing there to pick it up.
We could have anchored at Young Island 1 km west of Blue Lagoon. But since it is both calmer in the lagoon and closer to Horizon, we chose to moor at the marina inside the Blue Lagoon, despite the narrow inlet through the reef. The passage through the reef would prove to be a memorable experience.
Flying Penguin is already there and when we approach Blue Lagoon we are met by a man in a small rubber dinghy. It turns out that this is the guide I was going to call, and Håkan at Flying Penguin has already arranged for him to come out and meet up.
I follow him towards the reef and a few boat lengths outside the breaking waves he signals to stop, we will wait for the right wave before we drive into the inferno of breaking waves. He has a rubber dinghy and we a 20-ton heavy boat, we do not have quite the same ability to stop quickly so we almost run over the dinghy.
When he signals that it’s time, he gasps like a thousand and wants us to follow as quickly. I give full throttle and we just catch up with the wave and surf in through the reef opening at over 8 knots. With a high level of adrenaline and a pounding heart, I try to follow his wake and at the same time I see how the depth decreases from 10 m to 5 m, to 3 m and finally, it turns at 2.8 m and gets deeper again, pooh!
The waves come a little from the starboard side and when they break on the reef, the foam continues with the wave out over the deeper channel. On the port side, the waves also break, so all the time there is only white foam around the boat and the narrow channel itself is impossible to see, you have to know where it is and have good landmarks to steer towards. One of the more exciting moments I have experienced since we started sailing long distances.
There are quite a lot of boats in the lagoon and we are instructed to lie by one of the marina’s buoys. We eat at the restaurant by the marina and then we enjoy a cloudy sunset. Tomorrow Thursday, our customs agent has promised to pick up the package and hand it over to Horizon, which can deliver to us on Friday, perfectly!
Of course, that will not be the case, we are in the Caribbean during a pandemic, there are many things that can go wrong and will go wrong. It turns out that the pandemic has caused long queues at the two authorities the agent must visit to obtain the necessary documents to import and collect the package from customs. I did not ask why the agent did not know. On Friday, he will go to customs. When I hear from them on Friday afternoon, I am told that they do not have a package yet, the customs were closed because corona decontamination was in progress. They are open on Saturday and then he will pick up the package.
When I contact Horizon on Saturday, they still do not have a package, but it must be collected and available from the agent. They arrange for the agent to leave the package to them on Saturday night and I will receive the package on Sunday morning. That’s how it will be and we can sail on as we planned.
Together with Håkan and Mirja, we take the opportunity to visit an old fort that is located at the top of a small and high island just west of Blue Lagoon near Young Island. The jetty where you go ashore is anything but dinghy-friendly so we moor the dinghies far out with anchors that keep them out from land.
The fort was built by the British in the late 18th century. In 2011, it was restored with the help of money donated by Finland. According to writings in the cement in the staircase, it was built in 1969 and has certainly not been restored since. So you might wonder what was restored in 2011?
The cliff is 60 m high and the stairs up to the top have 255 steps, we will feel all steps in the legs when we are up.
We had planned to rent a car together with Håkan and Mirja to do a tour of the island. But with a little thought and control of the alternative, hiring a guide who will take us on a tour, we decided to hire a guide. It does not cost much more than car rental and is much more comfortable and we get someone who can tell us a little about what we see. We will only have time for one side of the island for a day and choose the west side. Then we will have time for a visit to Dark View Falls, which unfortunately is located in the red zone around the active volcano. There is no danger according to our guide, no one has been evacuated yet, they only have heightened preparedness.
Dark View Falls
The guide took us to the start of the path up to Dark View Falls and said he was waiting in the car while we went there, it is only a few kilometers to walk. Compared to the hike up to the first waterfall ”Chute du Carbet” on Guadeloupe, this was a much easier and shorter hike.
Once up at the fall, the others took the opportunity to swim while I was filming with the drone so I had to swim myself when the others were already done. On the way back we stopped and enjoyed the beautiful bamboo forest that grows along the path.
Wallilabou (Pirates of the Caribbean)
On the way back from Dark View Falls, we ask the guide to stop at a restaurant near the road where we can have some food. It will be at Wallilabou, a picturesque beach that was used when filming Pirates in the Caribbean. We are the only guests and we are grateful that they are open anyway. Nice beach and quite a cozy environment despite all the relics from the filming. The food was so-so, we have eaten better, but probably they can not use fresh produce with so few guests.
On the way back, we ask our guide to stop at a grocery store so we can buy some stuff we are missing on our boats. You have to take the opportunity when you have the possibility to buy some bulky items.
In the next blog, you can follow us to Mustique, a private island southeast of Bequia.