Al had been dreaming of Salt Whistle Bay at Mayreau Island ever since we reached St Vincent. We had been there in our previous visit, so we had to come again. The passage was very pleasant, about four and half hours, except the very last bit, while passing by the Catholic Islands. The current was in our favour, winds strong and steady, while sailing on the highway between Bequia and Mayreau. It was funny to see that many boats were on a collision course with us coming from the other direction, but gave way to us probably because we were on the port-tack.
When we came close to the Catholic Islands, which had visible reefs extending towards the mouth of Salt Whistle Bay, a storm cell reached us, which changed the wind strength and direction. As well, strong currents started to push us onto the reefs. First thing to do was to drop the already double reefed sails. Waves were chirning like in a washing machine in that small area. Then we reached the lee of the island, and entered the bay, which was quite full. A boat-boy helped us get a mooring ball. We got used to getting this service lately; I did not fish for a ball for so long.
This bay is what the posters about Caribbean show; a light blue water, white sand, palm trees. The tip of the island is so narrow that windward side is two minutes away. One can see the raging waves on the other side while swimming in the calm water of the bay. Despite the concentration of the boats, the water looks clean, so we did not hesitate to swim, like all the other boaters. We are amazed about the chartered boats being full of children; it must be because of the Easter holiday. It is so entertaining to watch the children having fun in the water and on the trampolines of the catamarans, and listen to their laughter.
Al learned from the boat-boys that we could top-up our telephone sim-card at the village in Mayreau, which was supposed to be “twelve” (not ten or fifteen) minutes away, so we started. One of the young boys warned Al that the way was hard, but we did not falter. It was a concrete road going straight up to the mountain, so we were a bit out of breath at the top, but after sitting so long in the boat, it was a welcome change. However, when we got to the top, we saw that the village was close to the other bay, the road going sharply down. We passed some bar/restaurants, but could not see any grocery store, where the telephone cards could be sold. I saw a decent looking restaurant, and went in to ask about the place to get the card. It turned out that the owner of the place was selling them. Luck or sixth sense, I always know whom to ask! The young and cute islander girl told Al that the owner was not there at the moment, but she could ask her by phone. When Al gave his telephone number, which he had obtained in BVI, the lady first thought she could not help us, but after learning that it was a Lime (Caribbean supplier) number, she tried again and did it. Al was ecstatic!
That was the highlight of our first day here. We might spend another day, then pass to our destination, Grenada, the country of which starts at Carriacou Island. Al sent an e mail to the Grenada Marina located at St David’s Bay, Grenada to reserve a storage spot during the summer months, and immediately received confirmation. Their prices look reasonable, especially for the work we need done on the boat. First and foremost, we have to get the bottom of Ruyam II painted. We shall see.
In the second afternoon, we watched people coming to the bay to anchor, and got appalled by the mistakes some of them make. All the mooring balls are taken, so the newcomers try to anchor in the small spaces in between, or close to the reefs that line both sides of the bay. We saw one hitting a moored boat without any damage, thanks to the quick thinking wife of the owner who put a fender to its side, seconds before the impact. The same boat was almost hit from the other side, this time by a chartered boat with a hired skipper. The same lady came to the side and said something to the skipper (I presume she asked the skipper to change the position of the anchor or something), but he shrugged his shoulders, and just put a fender to the side. I could not believe that people could be so irresponsible. I really felt sorry for that lady, who became extremely uncomfortable, standing at the side to keep a watch. Moments later a big mono-hull appeared on our starboard side, almost touching us. It was Al’s turn to run for a fender. Both of us shouted that it was not a good place for them to anchor in such close proximity, but they laughed and promised to monitor it. Then I took a picture of their boat to have a reference, capturing their name. I think that scared them, because they left immediately afterwards. I do not want to stay here anymore; we need peace of mind while sleeping.