The late March 2017 Colgate Sailing Adventures Flotilla Cruise in St. Lucia and the Windward Islands was a delightful respite from cold winter days. Offshore graduates and friends set sail on three Moorings 4000 catamarans with cruise leaders – Nate and Heather Atwater as their guides. They reported it was a delightful cruise, with variable winds and great scenery. If you missed this one, consider the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, coming up next!
A Delightful Cruise in the Windswept Windward Islands
by Heather Atwater
We started our flotilla off Saturday, March 25, 2017 with a Skippers meeting at The Moorings, led by Moorings base manager, Lene, Then we all took part in boat checkouts and headed to a fun Meet and Greet Party at the Bread Basket, conveniently in Rodney Bay Marina where our boats were located. We all got to know one another a bit and enjoyed some good local fare. A nice time was had by all but, traveling can be exhausting, so we had an early night sleeping aboard at the Moorings docks.
Sunday, March 26 — 18 NM to Soufriere and the Pitons
We had a few things to take care of at the Moorings and then the Skippers had to check out of Customs and Immigration, as we would be leaving the country of St. Lucia within 24 hours. We left the docks at 10:30 am to sail to the Pitons. Finally out on the water! It was a nice sail to start with light winds NE 7-10 knots, power sailing the last bit to get to the Pitons and find a mooring ball. We moored between the Pitons just off Sugar Bay Resort. Most of our group went ashore and took a water taxi to the mud baths and sulfur springs. Upon return from the mud baths and to celebrate Scott’s late arrival, an impromptu cocktail party ensued on our boat. We went over the navigation for the next day, as it was to be an early start. Dinner aboard our boat was chicken teriyaki, salad and potatoes, Delicious!
Monday March 27 — 51 NM to Bequia in Admiralty Bay
At 6:30 am we dropped our moorings, Winds were SE 8.5 knots, building to 20 knots as we sai closehauled on port tack to the island of St. Vincent. Once in the shadow of the Island the wind dropped and turned west at 4 knots for a lovely sail into Bequia in Admiralty Bay, around 3:30 pm. We called ‘African’ (yes, that is what he likes to be called) on channel 69 for three moorings. He sent a boat “Blessings” with a nice woman who helped us to our moorings. The Captains went ashore to Customs with passports from everyone on their boats, to check in at Immigration as we were now in the Grenadines. The rest stayed aboard and enjoyed a lovely swim. Nate and I dressed for dinner and went ashore beforehand to have a look around and made reservations for two of our boats at the Fig Tree at 7 pm. It was a very sociable dinner with good local food: curried goat, curried conch or Caribbean fish. Jackets Required had lobster aboard from one of the local boat boys. Nice!
Tuesday, March 28 — 24 NM to Tobago Cays
Early rise and Yoga on the bow. Nate went boat to boat for the daily navigation session and check in, then we went ashore to see the town before leaving Bequia. Shopping included a wonderful batik shop, local fruit and vegetable market, local vendors along the street-side and model sailboats. We enjoyed a beautiful port tack beam reach in 25 knot ESE winds, it was a glorious sail, nice and sunny! In we went like ducks in a row through the narrow channel passage to Tobago Cay. The mooring boys helped us secure the last three moorings. We had a nice swim then everyone came to our boat for 5:30 cocktails. We served up our fresh pineapple, mango, breadfruit and bananas in tasty blender drinks. Brie and crackers were served. We took our group photos and all had a good time. We served dinner aboard; shrimp scampi, potatoes and vegetables. Noone went hungry!
Wednesday, March 29 — Tobago Cay and then to Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau
Early rise, Yoga on the bow again. Nate made a lovely fritata for us all aboard All In. Some folks went snorkeling and turtle watching. I had planned for a 12:30 beach BBQ so we all met up ashore and ate a glorious lobster feast with garlic potatoes, vegetable with rice, and banana bread for dessert. We departed Tobago Cay at 2:30 pm to power around the corner to Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau. “Black Boy” (that’s his name) only had two moorings so All in anchored in a sandy spot. Ashore we went to Black Boy and Debby’s beach bar and had a beverage, walked the beach shopped the sarongs and beach knick-knacks. Everyone was invited to lively cocktails at 5:27 pm aboard ‘Calico where dancing and music ensued.
Thursday, March 30 — to Mustique
The climb back up to St. Lucia began today. We picked up our anchor at 7:45 am for a lovely sail to windward in an easterly 10-17 knot breeze. In Mustique we went ashore and got some groceries. Basil’s was under construction but there was a Basil Pop-up Bar where the ice was cheap. We had 7 pm reservations at the Firefly Restaurant, with an amazing panoramic view of Mustique harbor and beyond. Everything from the coconut water, served right from the coconut, to the tasty gazpacho soup to the bananas flambé was delicious, it was a very special place.
Friday, March 31 — back in Bequia
Calico sailed the whole way and reported a lovely sail. We arrived at Admiralty Bay around noon. When Jackets hit the mooring after suffering steering issues, a collective hurrah went around, and it was a relief to have them safe at mooring. We decided we were going to spend the night here again to get everything repaired. Before long we had water alongside to fill up our port tank and Jackets’ too. Aboard Jackets the mechanic replaced a hose and repaired the steering. We had a delicious dinner aboard – blender gazpacho, tilapia, steak, potatoes, vegetables, and chocolate with whipped cream for dessert for Paula. We were early to bed for a 5:30 am start the next day.
Saturday, April 1 — 61 NM to Marigot Bay
April Fools! Nate got us all by saying the airport was closed, haha. 6:05 am we dropped the moorings in Admiralty Bay. We had a nice early morning sail across to St. Vincents. Then in the lee of the Island we power sailed as the wind died. We were at Wallabou Bay at 8:15 am. At the north tip of St. Vincents the winds cranked up to a steady 25 with gusts to 32 knots and waves around 5-6 feet. We power-sailed through and after about 40 minutes of this ride it calmed down a bit. We rolled the genoas back out and made the crossing to St. Lucia. We motor-sailed past the Pitons and up the west coast of St. Lucia to Marigot Bay. We arrived at 3:20 pm and rushed into Customs before they closed for the day at 4 pm. Folks swam and went ashore in the picturesque hurricane hole of Marigot Bay. It was time for our final dinner at Chateau Mygo, where did the week go? The food was good and we had another festive evening.
Sunday, April 2 — Back to the Moorings Base in Rodney Bay
We took a vote and power-sailed up the coast arriving at the base at 11 am. It was sad to see our flotilla come to an end but all good things must, as we’re told. But wait, there’s much more to enjoy. Take a look at the next flotilla, this June in the beautiful Gulf Islands of Canada’s British Columbia! Join us!