Friday, February 25, 2011

The Nautical Nomad Natalie

Our niece Natalie was coming to visit us in St. Lucia, her 3rd visit in 13 months!
Does she really miss her uncle and aunt or is she just getting hooked on the Caribbean?
Our weather window shut down the day after we arrived in Bequia.  Boats that had sailed to St. Lucia emailed that "Merengue shouldn't try to go, the seas were too rough."  Weather reports were showing 10-12 ft. seas in the channel between St. Vincent and St. Lucia. 

We only had to sail about 50 N.M. from Bequia past St. Vincent to Vieux Fort on the south coast of St. Lucia.  So near and yet so far.  This is hard for non-sailors to understand.  If you're living on land you would hop in your car and travel that distance in as little as an hour.  At sea it's a different story.  As Jim put it; "We've been out in 12 ft. seas before, but never intentionally."
We couldn't make it to St. Lucia.  This is a risk we take when we plan to meet family and friends who fly in to see us.  We've always been able to make it before but not this time.
Initiate plan B.  Natalie arrived in St. Lucia Monday evening, took a taxi to the Castries airport to catch a flight to St. Vincent Tuesday morning, then another taxi to the ferry terminal for the ferry ride to Bequia.
We took her out for pizza and beer and then let her sleep for the next 12 hours.  She needed it!

 Arriving by ferry in St. Vincent to meet Natalie.

Missing St. Lucia might have been a disappointment but we were excited to have Natalie see Bequia.  It's a beautiful place.

Enjoying breakfast at the Gingerbread Hotel.

Noodle-floating with a beer.  Life is good!
Of course Jim and Natalie both complained that the 80 degree water was too cold. (wimps!)
Jim also cooked up some great Caribbean dinners with a common theme.  They all contained rum.
Drunken Rum Punch Chicken Stew, Coconut Rice and Peas with Rum, Coconut Chicken, and Jerk Pork.

The weather improved later in the week so we were able to take Natalie sailing to the Tobago Cays where she could swim with the turtles.

The sailing was great both ways.  The only down side was the terrible swell that developed both nights we were there.  Natalie got a taste of what it's like to rock back and forth in a rolly anchorage.  It doesn't happen to us often but it was sure bad those nights.  Back to Bequia.

Some more time hanging out, swimming, snorkeling and the week was gone.  Too fast!
This time we were able to get her a flight directly from Bequia to St. Lucia and she made it home all in one day.

Jim talked her into having one last beer with him at the airport.  It was 9:30 in the morning.  Oh well, it was 5:00 somewhere!

Which island next time Natalie?