Kevin to the Rescue

One squall that missed us as we were out for a walk!

Life is always varied and to quote or misquote Monty P “one should always expect the unexpected”:

On our first Saturday in Bequia we visited The Green Boley for a cheap supper (rotis are a just a few $EC) and some live music. Late in the evening Kevin was at the bar when the old guy who owns the place started to collapse in front of him. He reached across the bar and held him until the man’s son took the now limp body and gently lowered him to the floor behind his bar. Kevin then dashed over to the band and asked them to make an announcement asking if a doctor was present. One of the guitarists was a doctor here on holiday so aid was quick. Meanwhile the local GP was called and sometime later the patient by now conscious enough to protest he didn’t want to leave his bar was taken by wheelchair down the waterside walkway to a car and on to the clinic in town. We popped in a few days later to see how he was and his son-in-law told us thankfully he is now at home recuperating.

Kevin on an idyllic beach as long as the coconuts don’t fall
– apparently they kill more people than sharks do!

Then one afternoon just as we were climbing into our dinghy to cross to one of the beaches on the Belmont side, either Princess Margaret (apparently she took a dip here in the fifties) or Lower Beach for a swim and snorkel, we spied a charter boat in some sort of difficulty. They’d tried to anchor close by us but made the same misjudgement we did when we first tried to anchor off Hamilton; here in places the bottom steeply shelves away from 3 or 4 metres to 20 or more and an anchor won’t hold on the steep part. For them though the real problem was that on pulling the anchor back up it got stuck with the shank only partly above the water and from on board though they guessed something was hooked on it they couldn’t see what. The entire crew were peering over the side mystified. We motored over and took a look for them, an old rope mooring with presumably a large weight at the end held them fast. The German crew were experienced sailors and quickly passed down a rope end which Kevin threaded through the obstruction. With both ends of their line firmly attached to their boat they then lowered the anchor. In theory it should then come free but in practice the shank of the anchor was still jammed solidly in the tangle of heavy rope loops that was the old mooring.

Crescent Beach, Bequia

Kevin came to the rescue. He took off his cap, sunglasses and t-shirt, donned his snorkel and mask then stuck his head under water. After a few minutes tugging the anchor started to move. The Germans hauled up the mooring rope tangle a little more then tried to lower the anchor again and this time it swung free. They were very happy, we swapped introductions and left for our swim with a promise from our new friends that they would buy us a beer before they left. That evening we went out for supper at L’Auberge just across from the anchorage. The place was busy as Wednesday night is live music night – blues jazz and a few old favourites. Great food, friendly attentive staff plus an amazing view from their balcony across the bay made for a night to remember. Just as we were wondering whether to have a night cap here or back on Temptress one of the waitresses arrived bearing two brandy snifters of local aged rum, mindreader we thought. “A digestif from the table over there” she smiled. We looked up and there were the German crew waving at us. They too were just finishing their meal so we joined them for the rest of the evening and some more rum!

On Thursday (April 3) Kevin spent the day helping new acquaintance Scott from the USA re-wire his boat’s solar panels after Scott had put out a request for assistance on the local VHF Net the previous day. Scott repaid by not only helping to wring out a particularly heavy bit of laundry (our mattress cover) but also treated us to rotis a large helping of curried meat, fish, conch or lobster wrapped in thin bread for lunch at the Porthole Cafe. The Net or properly the Cruisers Net is 10-15 minutes of weather forecast and short classified ads for local business etc broadcast at 8am on VHF channel 68.  In Grenada listening in is an essential part of the cruisers day so you know what the local lunch specials are or where volunteers are needed to help with school reading schemes or whatever, here is a little less hectic and more laid back, with just the weather and some other info but useful none the less.

Fishing nets drying – love the colour!

Then on Friday as we were finishing lunch there was a pan pan on VHF68* as someone had spotted a 43 foot charter boat dragging its anchor out to sea, possible next stop if it made it past the long rocky arm that forms the south side of Admiralty bay would be Cuba. A second call was for local businesses (who all listen to/use VHF 68) to alert the crew who were somewhere ashore (it turned out they were immigration checking out of SVG). Meanwhile Temptress’ skipper took practical action and dashed off in the dinghy to rescue the yacht before it became a worse problem. He got the anchor up, another yachtie also turning up to help before the charter yacht’s professional skipper arrived. Once the drama was over the errant yacht’s professional skipper wasn’t particularly grateful for the help he’d received, not even a grudging thanks. Ah well.

* VHF Channel 68 is used by the cruisers here as the hailing channel to keep Channel 16 clear for commercial and coastguard traffic.  If calling Mayday a boat should, if time, use both channels as there is little safety rescue cover and cruisers are more likely to be able to respond than any authority.