Allan & Ursula Ward: Port Owen, Cape West Coast, South Africa.

Shearwater 39:
- L.O.A. 43ft (13.22m)
- L.O.D. 39ft (12m)
- L.W.L. 34ft (10.3m)
- BEAM 13ft(3.9m)
- DRAFT 6ft(1.8m)



HOW IT ALL BEGAN .

I placed my order on Nebe Boats on the 19/10/1992 for what was initially planned to be a complete factory built yacht that l would sail home to Durban from Capetown once she was completed. Unfortunately due to the demise of Nebe Boats in the early days of her construction it did not turn out that way, so l decided to truck her home to Ramsgate on the KZN South Coast to finish building her in our garden at home.

For many years we could proudly boast that we had the most expensive piece of garden furniture in town, but at the time l had no idea of how massive this project would turn out to be. As anyone who has built a blue water cruiser will tell you, particularly if she is kitted out with all the systems and the equipment that a modern cruiser has onboard these days, it is a daunting task . Looking at the positive aspects of this project, l know the boat intimately in that l designed and installed the systems, so from a repair and maintenance perspective l have no issues carrying out the work that is necessary from time to time.



The big day arrived on the 29/8/2008 when we craned her out of the garden onto a rig to truck her through to Durban for launching . What followed was three months of preparations to ready her for the maiden voyage to our home port in Port Owen on the Cape West Coast.

We had a fast passage down the South African East Coast including a storm off the notorious Wild Coast and arrived in Port Owen in dense fog. Windward had passed her first test with flying colours and since then we have enjoyed some great sailing on the West Coast.


The master plan has always been to go cruising, so our plans are to leave for Brazil via Luderitz and St Helena Island at the end of February 2014. So far everything is on track although the “To Do“ list still grows each day.

The purpose of this blog is to record our adventure for ourselves, family and friends. Although it will probably end up being a brief summary of events while we are cruising, we hope you will enjoy and share some of our experiences with us.

LIVING THE DREAM .

Saturday, March 18, 2017

ST LUCIA . HELEN OF THE WEST INDIES .


Well it has now been confirmed , the weather has gone mad . This being our first full season in the Caribbean , who were we to judge but the strange weather started showing itself while we were in Grenada over Xmas and then again when we returned after sailing to the Grenadines to drop our daughter off at the airport. Officially the rainy season was over but we continued to get frequent rain squalls which even had the local Grenadians totally baffled . The positive feature was that our boat was regularly rinsed down keeping the salt off our topsides and deck gear .

During our inter-island crossings of which we have now done quite a number back and forth , the weather has been boisterous to say the least with our weatherman Chris Parker mostly referring to the conditions as “brisk & salty“ or “very brisk & very salty“. One charter skipper with many years of Caribbean sailing experience under his belt stated that this “ Christmas Winds “ season was the roughest that he had ever seen and referred to the inter-island passages and l quote “ like a washing machine on rinse cycle “ . This strange weather of strong winds and big seas is a hot topic amongst locals and cruisers alike .

Our 62nm passage from Bequia to Marigot Bay , St Lucia was no different particularly the crossing from the northern end of St Vincent to the south coast of St Lucia with the wind hard on the nose , blowing 20-25kns gusting to 30kn and a fairly decent swell to boot . Thankfully our boat goes well to wind but we have seen some cats really struggling , motor sailing into these confused seas . Chris Parker's description of “ very brisk & very salty “ was very apt but we made it in good time and Windward with her new genoa performed really well albeit she was covered in crusted salt when we arrived at the entrance to Marigot Bay . Having woken up at 3.00am and setting sail soon after our first cup of coffee , we were knackered that evening and after an early dinner at the Bayside Restaurant we hit the sack .

Our first glimpse of St Lucia while still well south at sea was awesome . The majestic , spectacular Pitons rose out of the sea in dramatic fashion . This pair of volcanic spires namely Gros Piton and Petit Piton received global recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are the island's most iconic natural wonders .
Gros Piton stands at 786m and has a 3km diameter base and Petit Piton is 739m high with a smaller base of 1km diameter . With its steeper sides Petit Piton appears much taller than it's bigger sister but these two eroded remnants of lava domes provide a distinctive landmark for seafarers . While gazing at these natural marvels l couldn't help thinking about how many sailors had seen this sight centuries before me and were just as grateful for having seen them in all their glory . The pics l took with our little Canon do them no justice at all .

Arriving at our approach waypoint off Marigot Bay our first sight of the place was quite deceiving in that there is a lot more of the bay tucked away than initially meets the eye . The bay lined with mangroves is completely sheltered and is famous as a hurricane hole . A palm fringed narrow sandspit juts out creating a narrow entrance to the marina and mooring field which is all part and parcel of the ultra-luxury 5 Star Capella Marigot Bay Resort . The bonus is that with our yacht berthed in their marina we got the full use of all the resort's facilities and if your pocket is deep enough you could easily get hung up here for a while sipping complimentary fruit punches while lazing at one of the three pools in the resort or attending free yoga and pilates classes each morning before breakfast . Cool spot no doubt .
We enjoyed a unique dining experience at the Rainforest Hideaway waterfront restaurant where we contributed to relieving a huge problem by ordering Lionfish which are decimating the local indigenous reef fish . This fish species which has no natural predators is flourishing here in the Caribbean but the more we eat them the bigger the demand and local fisherman will be encouraged to target them in their catches . Fortunately they are slow moving and easy to catch.

Marigot Bay is idyllic and made for cruisers with it's perfect backdrop of mangroves lying at the foot of steep surrounding hills providing perfect protection. Legend has it that a British Admiral hid his fleet in the secluded bay from the pursuing French fleet of warships by getting his crew to tie palm fronds up in the rigging as camouflage to disguise his ships . Apparently the French sailed by without spotting them , smart move .

After a relaxing time spent in Marigot Bay we sailed north to Rodney Bay where we had arranged to collect out UK Transit Visas . Obtaining these visas became a major issue but that story could be a post on it's own . Fortunately perseverance paid off and they were finally delivered to our boat . Three months of frustration and aggravation to enable us to sit at Heathrow Airport for a couple of hours waiting for our connecting flight back home to Capetown in June .

While in Rodney Bay we met Naitram who took us on a tour of his island . Fellow cruisers Tony and Connie joined us for the day visiting St Lucia's sites including the Diamond Botanical Gardens and the active volcano which falls within the Soufriere Volcanic Centre . The iconic Pitons are St Lucia's famous landmarks .
While visiting the Sulphur Springs our chatty guide told us of a tour guide who while walking amongst these bubbling springs fell in but fortunately although badly burnt survived to become a celebrity guide telling people about his experience of being boiled alive .

St Lucia is home to lush tropical rainforests , beautiful beaches and volcanic mountains . Much of the island is still undeveloped which endows it with it's natural beauty .

Now with our passports stowed onboard we were ready to sail to Martinique , a totally different French experience .







ST LUCIA . THE HORNED ISLAND .

ONCE AGAIN IT WAS A HARD BEAT UP TO ST LUCIA WITH OUR NEW GENOA DOING US PROUD.

THE PITONS .
THE ICONIC FIRST SIGHTING OF ST LUCIA .

THE HUGE RODNEY BAY MARINA .
230 BERTHS WITH EVERY FACILITY YOU COULD IMAGINE .

GIN PALACES LINED UP IN MARIGOT BAY .

GREAT DINGHY DOCK RIGHT OPPOSITE THE PUB .

THE ULTRA LUXURY CAPELLA MARIGOT BAY RESORT .
THEY SERVED US COMPLIMENTARY COCKTAILS WHILE WE RELAXED AT THE POOL .

THE PERFECT HURRICANE HOLE .

THE ENTRANCE LEADING INTO MARIGOT BAY .

A REGULAR VISITOR TO OUR BOAT .

A CLASSIC WINDJAMMER .

THE STERN-TO DOCK IN THE MARINA .

TAMING THE RAW POWER OF OUR 2HP HONDA OUTBOARD .

DOOLITTLE'S RESTAURANT & BAR .
SCENES FROM DR DOOLITTLE WERE SHOT HERE .

WINDWARD HANGING OUT WITH THE SUPER YACHTS .

THE FRUIT & VEGGIE GUY DELIVERS TO THE BOATS IN RODNEY BAY .

CASTRIES HARBOUR COMPLETE WITH TWO CRUISE SHIPS .

TONY & CONNIE OUR CRUISING MATES WITH THE PITONS IN THE BACKGROUND .

THE BEAUTIFUL TROPICAL PLANTS FOUND IN THE BOTANICAL GARDENS IN SOUFRIERE .

DITTO .
NOTE THE JADE VINE ON THE RIGHT IN FULL FLOWER .

THE HOT WATER SPRINGS .
TOO HOT TO BATH IN .

THE BOILING SULPHUR SPRINGS IN THE SOUFRIERE VOLCANO .

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A BLAST IN BEQUIA .


I decided to call this post by this title not only because we had a blast with some good friends while in Bequia but also because for almost an entire week while anchored out in Admiralty Bay we were blasted with continual strong gusts of wind sometimes gusting well into the thirties keeping our wind generator very busy pumping out the amps . The result is that we arrived with our 720AH battery bank on 100% state of charge and left eight days later still fully charged.
At times during the strong squalls our windgennie was delivering up to 35amps and we got quite used to watching our friends boat Kibo anchored ahead of us , tacking back and forth on her anchor .

Bequia is known as “ The Sailor's Island “ and has a long history with the sea with some of the traditions still continuing today including the art of scrimshaw and model boatbuilding . The island even has its own flag with a whale on it . Boats are still built on the beach in the shade of palm trees

They have an active whaling station but through an agreement with the IWC they are only allowed to take four whales a year between the months of February and April . This is the time of year when the humpbacks migrate south from their northern feeding grounds to mate and give birth to their young . According to a local lady that we met they have not killed a whale in the last two years which we were really pleased to hear . The only thought l could not get out of my mind was of a calf trying to find it's way back to it's feeding grounds without it's mother to guide it . She could not stop praising the virtues of how wonderful whale oil is for your health and she claimed that the people from the south of the island who are the whalers have beautiful voices because of it . I take it that they must swallow a sluck of whale oil before they sing .
It all started with the New Bedford whalers amongst others who settled on the island and started whaling . Boatbuilding was a natural progression and still exists today . The islands first ferry Friendship Rose still sails although she is now a day charter vessel taking tourists to various local islands . Last year l saw her on the hard at Peakes in Trinidad having work done on her hull .

Bequia is also home to the Caribbean Compass , a monthly publication in the form of a newspaper . It is an absolute “ must read “ if you are cruising the Caribbean as it is packed full of important information about everything you need to know . Sally and her husband Tom Erdle own it and I spotted her sitting outside the Gingerbread Hotel with an elderly gentlemen so l introduced myself . After complimenting her and telling her how informative her paper is to us cruising yachties she introduced me to the old guy who turned out to be Sir James Mitchell the ex-prime minister of St Vincent & The Grenadines . He served as PM for four terms (16 years ) and told me that he goes by the name of Son . He is a great story teller and when he found out that we were South Africans he went on to tell me that he had met Nelson Mandela , Oliver Tambo and Thabo Mbeki . We could have sat all evening discussing politics and current issues plaguing the world but we eventually excused ourselves and after much handshaking we bid him farewell .
This cruising life brings you into contact with all sorts of people including prime ministers .

Getting back to the island , Admiralty Bay is the main harbour and we anchored off Princess Margaret Beach . Port Elizabeth is the main town and there is a walkway which runs along the entire waterfront connecting all the little hotels and restaurants along the way . The buildings are quaint and have a lot of character with dinghy docks extending into the water where we were able to leave our tender and head off to explore the area . On one particular day we bumped into some fellow South African cruisers at a local watering hole and while we put a serious dent into the tavern owners Carib stock we discussed current political problems back home . Call it drowning our sorrows in beer .

As l have mentioned before , when arriving at a new island what works really well for us is getting to do an island tour as soon as possible in order to get the lay of the land and to find out about what's available to us to enjoy during our visit .
Not that it has ever happened to us but there could be nothing worse than finding out about something unique to the island after you have disappeared over the horizon onward to your next adventure . Talking about something unique , when you get a moment Google “ Moonhole in Bequia “ . We spotted this very different development while sailing up the coast on route to Port Elizabeth .
Regarding our island tour on this occasion l was looking for a specific person in the form of Lubin Ollivierre , guide extraordinaire . His claim is that his forefathers built Bequia and for the past six generations his family has been involved in whaling , boatbuilding , fishing , farming and developing the islands infrastructure .
He once was the proud owner of a 50ft schooner but tragically she was lost while in port during the aftermath of Hurricane Lenny . He is still repaying the original loan today that he received from the bank to build her .
He explained in detail while at the Whaling Museum about how these tiny traditional sailboats would hunt and then kill a whale . An unbelievable feat in such a small boat and having been involved in the whaling he knew of all the tricks of the trade right down to the lead piece in the stemhead to lubricate the heavy line as it peeled over the bow when the harpooned whale dived to escape.
This line is coiled in a rum barrel amidships and the crew continually dowse it with seawater to prevent it from burning and without the lead piece the line would literally saw the boat down the middle . Whaling involves many members of the community as there are also those who stand high up on the hills looking for whales and then using a system of mirrors flashing in the sunlight they direct the boats to the unfortunate whale . These spotters also kept an eye on the well-being of the whalers as one flick of the tail from a 40 ton animal would destroy a boat easily . What l find fascinating now that l have seen the boats used to hunt whales is how using relatively small sails and oars they somehow managed to tow these huge animals back to their whaling station .

He told us stories about his life on the island as a growing child and how the sea was the major influence in their day to day living . They would row small boats from island to island knowing exactly what the state of the tide would have to be in order not to be swept out into the open ocean . It is such a privilege to meet such a person and tonight he is picking us up and introducing us to one of his mates who owns a seafood restaurant on the waters edge in his local village. Eating with the locals gives one a sense of how people live in these islands and l have no doubt that another lobster will find a home in my belly , rinsed down with a couple of Carib beers .

P.S. Before l go l need to tell you about my unusual experience that took place at Toko's Restaurant . After giving us a tour of his rustic establishment and little museum he seated ourselves and our friends at a table outside on the stoep . He brought us a round of drinks and mentioned something to me about the island's radio station . The next minute he handed me his cellphone and said the radio station's manager wanted to talk to me . We started chatting and he wanted to know who l was and what we were doing on the island . He seemed really interested so we had this lengthy discussion about all our adventures to-date and he asked my opinion about various issues including how l felt about the people of the Caribbean not recognizing their roots in Africa . At one point during the conversation l could hear this voice booming over the restaurant's sound system so l walked around to the back of the building so that l could hear him better on the phone .
Eventually Toko appeared and tapped me on the shoulder saying my food was getting cold and that he thought the islanders would like to get back to the music.
That was when l realized that the entire conversation was “ On Air “ and the booming voice on the sound system was in fact mine .
Later that evening the man himself arrived at the restaurant and after telling me about how much he had enjoyed our conversation he boasted how his radio station not only airs to the island but streams via the internet to the States and Europe . So without realizing it l became a radio celebrity overnight .
We all had a chuckle when Lubin arrived to take us home and mentioned that he and his family had listened to the entire conversation on the radio while sitting at home waiting for our call to pick us up from the restaurant .


Strangely , l have had no calls from the media nor have l seen any paparazzi hanging about . They must have all missed our broadcast , what a pity .  

BEQUIA . THE SEAFARERS ISLAND .

BEQUIAN SUNSET .
VIEW FROM THE GINGERBREAD HOTEL'S RESTAURANT .

THE VIEW OF CLASSIC SHIPS FROM OUR STOEP .

WE MET UP WITH THIS CLASSIC BEAUTY IN A NUMBER OF ANCHORAGES .

THE WHALING MUSEUM .
THE LOWER HULL SECTION OF THIS BOAT IS MADE FROM A SOLID TREE .

ONE OF THE ORIGINAL WHALING BOATS WITH IT'S TENDER .

THE NEW WHALING STATION .

OUR LEGENDARY TOUR GUIDE LUBIN OLLIVIERRE . GREAT GUY .

LUBIN'S FAMILY , SIX GENERATIONS .

ONE OF THE MODERN WHALING BOATS READY TO LAUNCH .
THIS IS WHAT THEY HUNT AND KILL WHALES IN .

ADMIRALTY BAY .

THE OLD FORT LOOKING OUT OVER THE BAY .

THE ANCHORAGE OFF PRINCESS MARGARET BEACH .

FRIENDSHIP ROSE .
BEQUIA'S ORIGINAL FERRY STILL SAILING TODAY .

TOKO,THE RESTAURANT OWNER SHOWING US ONE OF HIS ONE MILLION ZIM DOLLAR NOTES.

GOOD FRIENDS & GOOD TIMES .
THE NIGHT I BECAME A FAMOUS RADIO PERSONALITY .

SEA CLOUD .
ANOTHER CLASSIC BEAUTY .

JK7 VELSHEDA , THE ICONIC J CLASS YACHT  .
IN THE BACKGROUND IS HER OWNERS PRIVATE MOTOR YACHT WHICH FOLLOWS HER TO ALL THE REGATTAS AND EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD .

Sunday, March 5, 2017

EVEN PARADISE CAN TURN UGLY .


Two significant events took place during our visit to the island of Mustique .

Firstly , after having been in existence for 40 years we were able to attend Basil's Bar's final “ Jump Up “ session for which he is famous for which basically amounts to a fine buffet and live music played at his famous old venue over the water down on the beach . This marked the end of an era and although they are going to build a new venue his staff and the locals say it will never be the real deal Basil's again .

Secondly , the second event wasn't half as pleasant . After having been ashore all day trying to find Mick Jagger to hand him my autograph (joke) it was late afternoon and we were back on the boat enjoying a cold beer and taking in the view . Just after sunset l noticed a light breeze had filled in from the west which l thought was quite odd for the Caribbean where the easterly trades blow day in and day out . Two hours later the light breeze was now a stiff breeze and we had a sizable swell rolling into the anchorage effectively creating a dangerous lee shore which was not too far behind us .

Standing on our bowsprit and surveying the surrounding fleet of yachts pitching wildly on their mooring buoys things were getting out of hand . The problem with being moored to a buoy in shallow water is that the swell was fairly steep and with relatively short lines to the buoy , when the boats rise on the swell the heavy mooring gear wrenches the bow down and buries it into the trough of the following wave . At times l was towering above the water and then the next thing l was ankle deep in water . To prevent our bowsprit from coming down and slamming into the large float on the mooring buoy l eased our port and starboard bowlines to create enough room for our bowsprit to plunge between the V formed between the two lines leading from either side . This worked perfectly while the boat lay square to the buoy but now with the increased swell size whenever we were at an angle to the buoy our bowsprit would duck beneath a bowline and pick up the line on the following vertical rise on the next swell . On the end of our bowsprit we have a meaty cap fitting which has two large loops welded on either side which is where we attach the tack gear for our gennaker . They are almost vertically orientated so once the bowlines were snagged that is it . To save the day the trick was to wait for the bow to plunge and then quickly lift and drop the bowlines .
The problem with our bowlines getting fouled on our bowsprit is that when our heavily ladened 13 ton boat rose on the next wave the lines now being vertical from the water to the end of our bowsprit would impose huge loads on the sprit and the forestay which effectively supports the bowsprit when it is being yanked downward .
I spent the next ten minutes on the end of our bowsprit rigging a line on our pulpit to prevent the bowlines from fouling these large loops . Since this evening l have a new respect for rodeo riders on the backs of bucking broncos as that is how it felt on the end of our bowsprit .

All the while l had noticed that there was a lot of activity going on at the dock where the big inter-island ferry was tied stern-to the concrete with her anchor set keeping her off the dock . The captain had decided that he was risking the ship by being attached to the dock and his crew were working feverishly getting her ready to sail . They finally dropped their stern lines , hauled in their anchor and steamed out into the bay where they sat all night on anchor . A couple of yachts that were anchored near the entrance channel got a little frantic when they saw the ferry leaving the dock and there were plenty of torches being flashed to attract attention to their positions .

By far the worst situation that was taking place was a yacht that had broken its mooring chain and was drifting towards the reef . Earlier that day we had met the owners who are fellow OCC members and they own a beautiful new Oyster 48 . With the continuous pitching on the buoy the chain snapped below the float putting them adrift towards the reef until they finally went aground . It was really distressing to see them in this situation but very fortunately after putting out a May-Day call on their radio the resident Mustique Coast Guard launch went to their rescue . After what seemed like ages they managed to secure a line to their halyard ( effectively the top of their mast ) and between the two boats they managed to free her from the reef after heeling her to reduce her draft . We felt a huge sense of relief but l cannot imagine how they must have felt once they were back into deep water . Apparently they suffered some damage to their keel and prop but nothing too severe that prevented them from sailing off the next morning .

Chatting to the Harbourmaster the next morning , he claimed that in all his years of working on the island he had never seen conditions as severe as what had taken place the night before . There were many people who were ashore at the time visiting Basil's Bar and when they returned to the dinghy dock there were scenes of chaos as they tried to clamber onto their tenders while they were being tossed about like paper cups . He mentioned some poor fellow who when he stepped into his dinghy it dropped beneath him and he landed on his face on the dinghy floor . At lunch the same day we met a local guy who's powerboat had climbed up over the police launch and he was forced to rescue his boat and motor around until they could find him a mooring for the night . He also confirmed what the Harbourmaster had said in that over the eight years that he had worked on the island he had never seen anything close to the conditions we had experienced.

Apart from damaging a muscle in my arm from having had the bowlines ripped out of my hands ,we suffered no damage at all and we are grateful .


So while l sit here nursing my painful arm , isn't it strange that after all these years of reading cruising articles and checking out the exotic pics you never seem to hear much about the ugly side of paradise . 

GRENADA WORKBOAT REGATTA .

THE FIRST MATE ALWAYS BACKING THE BRIGHTEST COLOURED BOAT WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE THE EVENTUAL WINNING BOAT .

GRAND ANSE BEACH IS WHERE THE ACTION TAKES PLACE INCLUDING THE AFTER PARTY .

BOATS FROM ALL OVER GRENADA COMPETE FOR NATIONAL HONOURS .

THE RUNNING STARTS ARE FAST & FURIOUS .

AND THEY OFF .
IT IS AMAZING HOW WELL THESE HEAVY WOODEN CLASSICS SAIL .

TIGHT FINISH BETWEEN FIRST AND SECOND LEAVING THE REST OF THE FLEET IN THEIR WAKE.
THE SPECTATORS ON THE BEACH AT THIS POINT ARE SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS FOR THEIR BOATS .

THE BIG GUNS ABOUT TO HIT THE WATER .

 GIMMICK OF THE DAY .
BEER SPECIAL . 4 FOR $20 or 6 FOR $30 .
IT IS INTERESTING TO NOTE HOW MANY PEOPLE WALKED OFF WITH SIX BEERS AND WERE THEN SEEN LATER OFFERING THEIR MATES THEIR EXCESS BEER THAT WAS NOW WARM .

LIMING AT THE BEACH BAR WITH A PERFECT VIEW OF THE RACING .

" HERE COMES TROUBLE ".
THIS BOAT LIVED UP TO IT'S NAME CAUSING ALL SORTS OF PROBLEMS FOR THE COMPETITION.

FINAL RACE OF THE DAY BEFORE THE BIG PARTY BEGINS .

Saturday, February 25, 2017

MUSTIQUE . WHERE THE RICH & FAMOUS HANG OUT .


The one thing that l really enjoy about the Caribbean is that there is always a breeze and the sailing is fantastic . The easterly trades blow consistently around 15 – 20kns occasionally gusting up to 25kns and all this amounts to exhilarating passages , every sailor's joy .

Our passage up to Mustique was no different and we made good time with Windward and her blemish free bottom trucking along in excess of 7kns all the way . There was a distinct African vibe offshore with accompanying yachts Madiba off our port beam and Zanzibar taking up the rear . Common amongst cruisers is the absolute denial that we are competitive but it just takes another yacht or two to be on similar courses and the game is on .

Getting back to the beautiful private island of Mustique , made famous by the likes of Mick Jagger , David Bowie , Bryan Adams , members of the Royal family and a host of celebrities and wealthy dudes , who now own about 100 large homes mainly situated on the northern half of the island . The guy who owns Adidas/Puma owns what appears up on the hill to be a small hotel with a view of the Grenadines before him . Britain's late Princess Margaret put this small private island on the map when the original owner Colin Tennant gave her a 10 acre plot of land as a wedding present . Lord Glenconner ( Colin Tennant ) purchased the entire 1400 acre island in 1958 for $67500 and set about developing the copra , cotton and sugarcane but today after selling off the island to private buyers they have restricted any further development which has turned the place into a glamorous hideaway . Although private and exclusive we were given a special tour of the island by a lovely lady we met while clearing in at the airport . She manages a private villa along with staff and she explained how the island caters to guests who rent these private villas when the owners are away . She drove us around the island to some of the most pristine beaches in the world , one in particular called Macaroni Beach is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world . On the windward side of the island one magnificent beach is where Mick Jagger , Bryan Adams and Tomy Hilfiger have homes , all side by side . What is really appealing about this island is that much of the land has been left wild with some beautiful trails and most of the transport around the island are golf carts and mules , a similar but more robust type of vehicle .

The main spot for socializing is the famous Basil's Bar right on the water's edge which hosts the equally famous Mustique Blues Festival which sadly we missed by a couple of weeks . This event is held during the first two weeks of February and has become a major drawcard featuring musos from all over the world .
Our lady friend explained how fortunate we were to see the current Basil's Bar as this rustic eatery is about to be demolished after existing for 40 years and will be replaced with a new building apparently because the current structure is falling apart . She believes that this legendary bar will never be the same again and that it will be the end of an era . We managed to time our visit to attend the final “ Jump Up “ which Basil is famous for where they serve a buffet dinner while live music sees you through the night . They charge $10US to sit at the bar but if you pay $100US for the buffet , they will waiver the cover charge . Great deal( joke ). I suppose if you are an aging rock star , supermodel or the like that would be small change .

The Cotton House , Mustique's grand hotel was once an 18th century cotton warehouse but today is a super luxury resort with only the best on offer even offering 11 kinds of pillows to choose from . Only upon request will a TV or DVD be installed in your accommodation , the whole idea is to maintain perfect peace and tranquility . After experiencing a charter boat full of party goers who were all totally out of it , singing and seeing who could whistle the loudest throughout the night , the Cotton House became an attractive option .

We really enjoyed Mustique for it's quaint Caribbean charm and brightly coloured buildings . The tennis club and horse riding facilities are immaculate along with it's little airport where the rich and famous fly in to be collected by their staff driving golf carts and mules . Even the police station and school have the same characteristics and with it's unique tropical ambiance , Mustique wouldn't be too difficult to call home . Although walking around exploring the island , every entrance leading up to a large villa is clearly signed “ Private Property “ and apparently at times particularly with visiting royalty certain parts of the island are restricted to keep the paparazzi out . We don't keep up with the celebrity who's who so we have no idea who we passed while wandering around the island .

Last but not least , we had a little interaction with nature again . After stepping out of the shower and into the saloon l noticed our fruit basket was under attack .
We had a fruit bat sitting on a paw paw just about to feast on it . We have a special folding net cover to protect the fruit from insects ( not bats ) and after closing it this poor bat spent three hours flying around inside our boat trying to work out how to get inside to the fruit .


Before getting into bed l left a lone apple in the cockpit to hopefully satisfy our little friend and the next morning the apple had disappeared but he/she had left a couple of droppings on our settee to remind us of its visit .