Thursday, December 30, 2010


We had a sweet landfall, literally sweet. We had grand visions of launching the dingy, checking in and having a lovely meal on shore to celebrate our safe passage and Christmas. Instead, we struggled with finding our balance and allowing ourselves just to stop. This always happens to us after a long passage. We are tired but can't sleep. Awake but not enough to really motivate to do much of anything, can't even read. Excited about where we are but somewhat antisocial and need a day to get back to ourselves before we have the juice to interact with other people. It's not that we're cagey or freaked out, although we'd be the first to admit we do feel a little strange after so long at sea. In some ways we just have to take the time to slowly adapt without all of the stimulation landfall brings.

Dropping the hook in the back of the pack of over 200 boats in Port Elizabeth in Bequia, we assumed we would slip in anonymously and sort ourselves out. While we were resetting our anchor (we were a little closer than we wanted to be in gusty squally conditions) we waved to one of our neighbor boats, one of the few Americans in the anchorage, Tim, on Osprey from Portsmouth, RI. Once we were settled again and sitting in the cockpit watching our new world, boats zipping back and forth, guys selling "Lobsta", charter boats having issues anchoring, and boatloads of people zipping here and there, Tim sped over with a delivery. Pumpkin Pie! This sealed the deal, we were definitely staying on board for the night. What a kind gift on Christmas, "Welcome home," he said with a smile. We were again in the Americas, and what a better way to acknowledge it in our post passage stuper than to stay on DK and celebrate our homecoming with a gift of Gar's favorite, pumpkin pie. A sweet landfall indeed. Thanks Tim and family!

So, after a celebratory meal of mahi mahi, the last of the wilted cabbage and sprouting carrots, and pumpkin pie, we fell into a fitfull sleep. I woke up with every wind change, gust, and squall, and Gar rolled around throughout the night. At 5 am I cracked open my eyes and gave thanks for a full night in bed with my love. By 0700, the dingy was pumped up and the engine lowered. Wouldn't you know it, after letting the sun climb higher into the sky we took off and our engine sputtered for fuel just minutes after leaving the mothership. It wasn't the first time the outboard has given us grief. It is the carburetor, always the carburetor. After an hour of wrenching and cleaning, Gar got him purring again and we were off (yes, a new carb is finally on order).

Zipping to one of the many piers in Bequia we were absolutely overstimulated. There were people everywhere. The dock we chose, in the center of town was also the dock for the cruise ship passengers coming and going all day. There were security guards with mirrored sunglasses, perfectly pressed uniforms, and nary a smile, rasta-men just outside the gates with long ropey dreadlocks hanging down their backs or sitting under their handcroched tams (hats), local women swished by with tight lycra dresses and old ladies paraded past like peacocks in their sunday best, wearing hats with feathers and veils, high heels and suits and floral dresses. Cars and taxis painted in wild colors putted past and tourists were everywhere. The colors though, perhaps those are always the most shocking. Greens popped out from the bushes and trees and flowers glowed orange, fuchsia, and yellow. There seemed to be more colors in the world than I last recalled. There was a faint smell of earth but not the intently rich smell of land I remembered from the Marquesas. I couldn't smell it from the sea as I have so many times before.

Our legs remembered how to work without difficulty and we climbed above the anchorage, weaving on upper roads, passing flowering mango trees. The colors were brighter from there and we could see the shallow and deep parts of the anchorage clearly, aqua running into deep blue. We took a side road down and strolled some more. Check in was easy. With only one form to fill out and both customs and immigration in the same office, it was a breeze.

Everything is easy in the Caribbean, simply sweet. There is a Rasta fresh fruit and veg stand at the end of town and they sell whatever is growing in St Vincent, not much is productive on Bequia after the hurricane. Passion fruits, mangoes, papaya, bananas, green beans, ginger, avocados... The three or four grocery stores all stock something different and they seem to have everything for a price. And then there are the restaurants. Our first meal was lobster salad and a snapper burger. We could have followed that with lobster pizza and grilled pork ribs but instead we wandered to gingerbread (a quaint cafe with a delectable selection of sweets), gingerbread among them, coffees, teas, and beer. Beside it was another great place, Marianne's, a homemade ice cream shop. In addition Marianne sells fresh yummy yogurt and local honey. We took two quarts of yogurt and and to pints of honey.

After a couple of days of sleeping, wandering, and eating our fill of fresh food we were we were off. Like I said, things are easy here in Bequia. We could have had Daffodil Marine pick up our laundry, deliver ice, fill water, or fuel but for a very high price, $6 US a gallon for diesel. Instead we motored to the fuel barge and had the easiest fueling we've ever had. After half of an hour our tanks were topped up with 110 gallons for only $3.35 a gallon, the cheapest diesel since Egypt 7 months ago. We rose the mainsail, unfurled the jib, and followed the gusty trade winds out of the harbor. We were off to the Tobago Cays.

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