To Bequia

Like Mustique – I could never see the weather coming. – Lady Anne Glenconner, Lady in Waiting

We were ready to leave Mustique for Bequia – only a few miles to the west – except we were already regretting it and glaring at each other. It’s true; Quest can make us a moody bunch. The captain had even formally given up the position. I’d stared at him. Fine.

My head was filled with Lady Glenconner’s memoir, especially this line in her last chapter. Like Mustique, I could never see the weather coming. She’s right, I thought. It is hard to see the weather coming here.

We’d been working since dawn. Among other things, side panels off, kayak put away, washing line down, dinghy and outboard up. Then black clouds appeared out of nowhere. Well, just the other side of the dark green hill actually. The wind hit us like a carnivorous attack.

It poured down. Quest swung mournfully on her mooring buoy. While everyone sheltered, I went outside and had a fully-clothed shower in the rain. Some people call rain ‘liquid sunshine’ in the Caribbean. There was no sunshine for me though – not today. I enjoyed the brutal sting of the raindrops.

Perhaps Mustique made a last dash effort for us to stay. But as soon as the weather calmed, Jack appeared from his cabin. He went upstairs and smelled the air. Hmph. I blew through my nose. Now he wants to be captain?

He turned the engine on. Took off us the mooring and pointed Quest out of Britannia Bay. He got the genoa out on his own and we started bouncing toward Bequia. This time the wind was coming from behind. Very unusual for Quest. Feeling this, I came outside. I had to.

Boats like to sail this way. It forms whole global sailing routes: Europe to the Eastern Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean to the Latin American coast. Through the Panama Canal and out through the Pacific towards New Zealand. It’s the classic downwind adventure. So many boats we’ve watched do it.. and with a dash of rueful thinking. Downwind sailing is so much easier than being close-hauled.

This is how we went today – with just the genoa out. Quest would have been pitching less if we’d gotten the mainsail out, but hey ho. I’d been on crew-mate strike at the time. And we were still touching 7knots of speed. That’s decent mobility scooter speed.

Meanwhile, seabirds were all around us – squawking, diving and circling above the rolling liquid indigo. This choppy sea must also be a productive one. I noticed Jack didn’t put the fishing line out? Oh boy. The fishing rod was his mood.

The wind started to scream as we headed into port. Hitting 40knots. What was happening? Bequia was supposed to be a popular yachtie hangout. Here it felt we’d just turned up in the wind-torn Cape Verdes. How would we anchor here – in this belting wind? In the end, we scooted to the side, near the beach and the wind went from 40 to 10. Just like that.

As soon as we dropped Quest’s hook, we looked around. We were in a wide bay encased by hills. Not exclusively beautiful like Mustique, but solidly Caribbean. We could hear roosters crowing and dogs barking – now that the wind had died down. And our moods lifted – just like that. It struck me that this is the reality of travel. No one likes to leave. But we all like to arrive.

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