Itchy Foot enjoys Bequia, Twice

After leaving St. Anne in Martinique, packed with the provisioning and kids boats, we started our journey south. We made a short stop at Rodney Bay in St Lucia and Jon and Teo went to speak with a distributor about a water maker and few other errands. The next day gave us good conditions for a sail to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

We had to make a technical stop in Marigot Bay which is right around the corner but managed to get everything sorted in a short time and were off again. Thankfully the horrifically expensive sound our engine was making was just a bit of plastic rubbing against the alternator – phew. But our stops slowed us down and as the sun was setting, we were just outside a small anchorage in St Vincent and we thought we would stop instead of arriving at Bequia in the dark.

We were approached by some boat boys and they, as usual helped us pick up a mooring. During the process Jon asked how much the mooring would cost and who he needed to pay, it was a reasonable price and he was told by the boat boys that they would take the money. Later, as Jon went ashore to check-in with customs, he got chatting to the bar owner who’s mooring we’d taken as he was told that he would have to pay him the same again. Jon explained that he has already paid and wasn’t going to pay twice… and then tensions rose and the mood of bay turned sour. The bar owner got angry (not at Jon, at the boat boys) and was talking about taking matters into ‘his own hands’. Not wanting to be in the middle of something nasty, Jon came back to Itchy Foot and said “We’re leaving!” The beauty of living in a moveable platform is that if a place doesn’t feel good, or safe, then you can just pick-up and leave. In fairness to the rest of the locals, they were very apologetic about the behaviour of the boat boys and reassured us that we could get our money back if we complained in the town. But, we felt it wasn’t worth getting in the middle of something for 15 USD. So we had a lovely night sail down to Bequia.

Night sailing isn’t always ideal as we are careful to avoid all the fishing gear, but as it turns out, the temperature and the conditions were perfect and we enjoyed our sail, so much so we decided to do a planned night sail again soon.

We arrived in Bequia just in time to get an early night and we were all excited to see Blue Zulu and Pierina the next day. Everyone really enjoyed seeing each other, so much so that Pierina changed heir plans and stayed an extra week, how lovely! The women thoroughly enjoyed slipping away for walks to explore the island. The walking and talking being equally important! And we all got together for Tim’s birthday which was great fun, especially  watching the kids try to keep it a secret! I love that birthdays in the cruising community are filled with hand made cards and small tokens of affection and small surprises.

The kids were also very happy to see each other again, too! so much so that Pierina changed their plans and stayed an extra week, how lovely! We had a super time in Bequia with the kids visiting each other, playing, running around,  and doing lots of swimming and snorkeling. Teo is really enjoying the snorkeling and is getting very good at swimming. Also, we did lots of good boat school and started using an online program for math which is great if we are online because Teo is very motivated to earn points to upgrade his dragon. We even had an educational seminar on Blue Zulu with the topic “Ocean” where the kids did some research and held presentations. And another highlight in Bequia for this kids is reading club organized by a lovely local woman called Cheryl. She invites all kids to come to the Fig Tree restaurant and do some reading, draw a book report and later tell the group about the story. She splits the group up by age group and usually gets some adults to volunteer and the kids really respond to reading with adults who are not their own and fun day is had by all.

We spent extra time in Bequia as we gave Itchy Foot some extra love as well. Jon was approached by a man with a van, I mean a boat. The price was right, we got a recommendation and hired Winfield to help us do some varnishing. Every morning he came and sanded and added a coat of varnish as we spent the rest of the day avoiding the companionway (which is our only really doorway. We also didn’t want to leave Itchy Foot out of our sight as we couldn’t lock up without our wash boards. Anyway, Winfield did and excellent job and was a wonderful presence as well (there is something special about someone who whistles or sings as they work) and he gave Mia some pointers and let her try her hand so she can take on a few varnishing jobs in the future. And Winfield and Teo really hit it off, they have plans to take his boat into space to pick mangoes.

We stayed in Bequia longer than planned and had a short break in the middle to hide from Brett back up in St. Lucia, but very much enjoyed this lovely community and would happily go back sometime!

Our Village on the Sea

Written by Mia

Back in May, Jon went home to Newcastle for a short week and before he left we spent some time deciding when would be the best time and where would be the most suitable place for Teo and me to look after Itchy Foot on our own. On a macro level we wanted a protected place that would shield us from any weather that could come our way and we wanted the trip to be sooner rather than later because we are rapidly approaching hurricane season. And we wanted to have some boat company so I could ask my hysterical questions. So, end of May in St. Anne, Martinique with lots of friend boats nearby.

On a micro level, there are a lot of things to think about when you live on a boat: Are the batteries charged to a healthy level? Is the anchor light on? Have we remembered to turn everything unnecessary off so the batteries are happy when the solar panels start charging them in the morning? And is that catamaran anchored WAY too close?

We rented a car and I took Jon to the airport. Sometimes it’s a long way around when you book a ticket using bonus points… still it was funny that he was in South America before I got back to the dinghy.  Teo had a sleepover on Emerald Bay so we didn’t have to wake him at 4:30 am, for Jon’s early flight out, and he barely batted an eye when I got back at lunchtime. The lovely Emerald Bay fed us and later took us to the beach On the way back I wanted to see if I could haul the dinghy up on the back of Itchy Foot all by myself…. and I did. But still I was very happy that Emerald Bay were waiting patiently nearby in case I needed a hand. They also brought pastries and bread on Mother’s Day.

We had just gotten back to Itchy Foot on our own and I was wondering if that catamaran WAS too close and what Teo and I could do to lighten the mood when we got back to the empty boat when Pierina appeared to check on us and offered to take us ashore for ice cream…HOOOORAY! The kids have paper airplanes in common and spent a couple of hours flying them in the village square. The adults had a lovely chat, too and we enjoyed ourselves so much we stayed for dinner.

Element were nearby and they checked on said catamaran for us, also they hosted an evening onboard and the kids watched a movie and staged a performance for the adults. We also swapped teaching materials and earlier I hitched a ride with them to do some shopping.

Blue Zulu went out of their way to come and watch over us as well. We were all invited onboard for pizza. Le Marin has a pizza boat that comes out to St. Anne on the weekends and jumped on that opportunity. Teo has a ball playing with the kids and thrives in a smaller group of kids. We had a wonderful afternoon with them walking through the little town, eating Floups (French popcicles) and walking to play on the beach for the afternoon.

Our new friends on Flip Flops were also lovely company and picked us up and took us to the beach, stopped by and called on the radio to make sure everything was OK.

These lovely people checked on us and looked after us, it was incredible! They offered to do our shopping if we were missing anything, made sure we had lots of opportunities to get off the boat to stretch our legs and that Teo had lots of time with other kids. I feel SO fortunate to be part of this lovely community and it really showed when Teo and I were on our own. At this time of the year it also seems that everyone has a lot to do as we all move towards our chosen hurricane season places, especially in Martinique which is the place to provision before heading to other places. But despite having lots to do, everyone made time for us and we are very grateful 🙂