To Canouan and Beyond!

Day 2 of the trip. We wake up early to find all these colorful local fishing boats in our bay. They have nets out and are gathering the small fish that they will use to catch the big fish that they will sell at the fish market in Kingstown and to the occasional charter boat. They are there for minutes and then they are off and we have the bay to ourselves again.

We have a bite to eat, it’s a long sailing day and after last nights feast no one is really that hungry. Chris and Michael get in the dinghy and paddle out to retrieve the anchor, this goes surprisingly well!  They are back on board and we weigh anchor and head south along the lee side of St Vincent and prepare for the passage to Bequia. This is known as the Bequia Bash because of the winds that can blow off the high peaks of Bequia. We are ready for it. The wind is at about 20 knots and builds to 25. Our sails are reefed and the boat is sailing fast and balanced. As we pass Bequia we notice another boat off to our starboard side and not too far away, it’s a race! Whenever there are two boats in close proximity and going in the same direction it’s an unofficial race, that’s just part of sailing! I look over and they are looking at us looking at them. Michael tweaks the sails, Capt. Mel is at the helm; we pick up an extra bit of speed.

Canouan

Two hours later we have the other boat eating our wake as we sail past the top of Canouan. We head into Charlestown and look for my favorite sandy spot to anchor. We are approached by an interesting looking vessel. It has yellow pontoons with purple trim and a piece of plyboard between the pontoons. Mounted on top is a leather captain’s chair complete with swivel. The driver asks if we want a mooring ball, I say no we’ll anchor. He directs us to my favorite spot and tells us it’s sandy, “thanks” I say!

After we anchor we meet Wilbur, the brother of the water guy Marcus. Wilbur has been fishing and since I recently took up the sport we start talking about lures.  I show him my new lure and he tells me it’s no good that I need new hooks and other stuff which I won’t go into. He tells me he will take me into town to buy new hooks and wire. Before leaving he shows me an old chewed up rubber lure with a rusty hook, “this caught two fish today”. “Really?” I say. I propose a trade for one of my new lures; he checks it out and agrees. We do the trade and my crew looks at me with a puzzeled expression, I say “it’s lucky, it might catch us a fish!”

Wilbur climbs in the dinghy with me and we head off to shore. We tie off the dinghy to the pier and walk through the beautifully manicured grounds of the resort, palm trees, bougainvillea, and gardenia are everywhere. We exit through some trees and now we’re in town. At this point I’m thinking that maybe I should not have gone off with this funny man, but everyone we met on the street knew him and called to him. So I thought, ok, it’s cool. “Hey Plupy”, “evening Plupy”. “What are they calling you?” I asked. “Plupy” he said it’s his nick name, in the islands everyone has a nickname. We turn down a side street and find not a store, but a house.  He calls in the window and we interrupt a family having dinner.  He tells them we need some fishing hooks.  We walk around to a porch and enter the living room of the house. There are shelves and isles and a cooler in the corner. They are selling everything from canned corn to car parts. I buy the hooks and as we’re walking back I ask him if he knows where a good place to find conch is. Ever since leaving the Bahamas a month earlier I wanted to catch some conchs, not that they are that hard to catch, but you have to know where to find them. He tells me he will show us tomorrow, great it’s a date!

Canouan

The next morning I pick Plupy up at the dock at 8:00am. He has snorkel gear and a spear gun with him. He gets in and takes over. He drives me back out to my boat and we pull up anchor. He is taking us around to the windward side of Canouan. He’s on the bow giving hand signals for me to alter course from left to right, slow down, speed up, someone observed that Plupy likes to be in control! We approach a narrow shallow cut between the shore line and a small island, I’m a little nervous and slow down to a crawl, Plupy is waving me forward. After looking at the cart for the umpteenth time I determine that I would not normally choose this path, it’s a little risky, but Plupy seemed to know the waters and so far so good. We made our way through, now the wind was really blowing and the waves were rocking and rolling, we dropped anchor. Chris and Melissa decided to go diving for conch with Plupy. As much as I wanted to go, I decided to stay on board with the yacht, it was just too windy and I didn’t want to come back to find our yacht on the beach. I watch the dinghy head out to the reef, till I can’t really spot them anymore. It seems like hours, but they finally come back with a dinghy full of conch and a few starfish.

Canouan
Canouan
Canouan

The deal was that Plupy would clean the conch and I would make the conch salad for our lunch. He quizzed me to see if I really knew what I was doing, I guessed he approved my recipe! Rather than go on about it I will just show you the photos. It was an amazing day! The Conch sushi was awesome. By now it was 4:00pm and we have to get to the next island because a friend was planning grilled lobsters on the beach for dinner and we certainly couldn’t miss that! We drop our new friend off on the beach and I tell him I’ll see him next week. He assures me he has more secrete places he will show me when I come back with my new crew. We sail south, still laughing and grinning about our day so far, but wait… there’s more!