The anchorage off Port Elizabeth in Admiralty Bay is one of the nicest town anchorages you could wish for. There is plenty of good holding in sand or sand and weed and plenty of space for all from moorings up nearer the town down to anchorage off Princess Margaret Beach and further down to Lower Bay.
We took a walk up to Fort Hamilton to enjoy the views of the town.
There are good craftsmen available here and prices are reasonable. We are having the external wood work rejuvenated (thanks Winfield) – see the before and after pics!
We also had some of the canvas restitched and some new zips put in (thanks Alick). Kerry is repairing our wind generator (the bearings died) and will also help us with swapping out the remaining (up mast) halogen lights for LED.
We had some excitement with Tropical Storm Bret coming in off the Atlantic towards the Windwards. We prepared as best we could – let out more chain to 40 metres, tied up all the sails and canvas and then set a watch and an anchor alarm. Fortunately, the storm track stayed south along the Venezuela coast and we only experienced winds at anchor of about 32 knots, which our well dug in Rocna anchor handled with ease.
Liz managed to finish reading “The hundred year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared” on her watch – a book we both thoroughly enjoyed and recommend.
During the blow overnight, an old rust bucket of a motor yacht broke loose from her moorings and went out to sea (fortunately not crashing into the moored and anchored fleet). We saw her being brought in later by a tug. She broke loose a second time later and almost ended up on the rocks to the south.
We walked across to Industry (the island regions are named after the old plantations, now gone) to see the Turtle sanctuary.
The poor turtles looked unhappy with their lot but we consoled ourselves that although they have boring concrete water pens to live in, they WILL be released back at the beaches from which their eggs were collected and their survival and release contributes effectively to the survival of the Hawksbill Turtle species.
The boat museum, after a walk to Friendship Bay, was interesting and we purchased the booklet “Blows, Mon, Blows” by Nathalie F.R. Ward which is a fascinating record of the history of shore based community whaling in the Grenadines and Bequia – spearing whales by hand from 26ft wooden sailing+rowing boats and sewing up the mouth so that the whale does not sink while they row the boat ashore. The whaling has now ceased but this was part of the living subsistence of the community, not a massive scale commercial slaughter of whales and it made an important contribution to the welfare and cultural history of the people of Bequia.
There has been plenty of time for enjoying the pleasant beaches.
Provisioning has been good here. We buy what we can from the local street vendors (had some lovely Strawberry Grouper the other evening) but there are well supplied stores too, including one of obvious good taste:
The fish life is prolific amongst reasonable coral and good clean water for swimming.
Made Fisherman’s Soup from Fish Heads at the insistence of the vendor on the dock.
Gently fried chopped garlic, onion and red pepper
Sprinkling of herbs
Dash of olive oil
Dash of Rum
Dash of coconut milk
Dash of honey
Bring to boil then simmer until all the flesh falls off the bones which you remove.
We walked up the hills behind Lower Bay to get to Peggy’s Rock which provides great all round views. Peggy was apparently a lady with great eyesight who used to sit up on the rock and spot the fish movements and signal the information to the fishermen in their boats below.
There was a festival to choose the “Bequia Queen” whilst we were here – excuse for a humungeous street party that went on all night and could be heard right across the bay. Lots of sore heads were seen the next morning.
To be contrasted with the cool tranquility of the local church:
Having learnt what we could from trying to make our own plastic water catcher, we stole the best ideas from what has been done on other yachts and got Alick to make us a combination shade awning and water catcher covering the area between the mast and the end of the boom.
It provides good shade on deck and has two channels down the port and starboard sides with a through hull fitting stitched in to a reinforced section and hose joined to a T-piece and a further section of hose which can run directly to the water fill or 7 gallon water can. We can fit a filter in line if we want to. It catches rain very well – filled the can in 15 minutes during a modest rainfall.
One of the features of this anchorage is the pleasure of watching gentle sunsets.
As the light grows gentle, you notice white/pink blossoms floating downwind on the water – they come from the white cedars that line the shore and catch the eye at that time of night.
The 2nd of July dawned and I was 65! We started the day with a 4 hour walk from a dingy dock in Port Elizabeth past the turtle sanctuary and on to the northernmost tip of the island, where we could see the coastline of St. Vincent and to the east, what looked like an impossibly small sloop making its way determinedly down the windward coast of Bequia, past Mustique and south.
Back to the boat, a refreshing swim and off for a birthday lunch at Jack’s, off where we are anchored.
We had a fine lunch and the waitresses gave me a delicious passion fruit cheesecake “on the house” for my birthday.
My birthday present from Liz was a Pansy Shell collected from the seabed on one of her swims.
The woodwork varnishing is almost complete now. It is looking great. We give the guys space by dingying across to the beach to sit in the shade, sip the odd cold Haroun and read our books (there are great book swaps in Bequia) interspersed with a cooling dip every now and again. Tough life.
There is yet another depression forming off the Cap Verde islands off Africa that we are watching. It has been numbered now – Depression 4 (that’s a lot for this time of year). It is moving slowly north, north-west so should go north of us.
Nobody here noticed 4th of July but WE noticed (and celebrated) 5th of July because Andrew got notified that his Green Card was on the way! Congratulations Andrew!!
Today (6th July) the first test SA versus England started at Lords – Liz let me slip away for an hour or so to Maria’s Café to watch a bit.
On one of our walks, we saw a guy tending beehives up on the slopes of Spring Hill. One of the boat vendors offered us some – 750 mls of fresh local honey in an old rum bottle. Yummy!
Boat names are always interesting – this one takes first prize for honesty.