In the Caribbean, you can navigate safely. Each island is near. But if you wanted to give priority to the only navigation rather than exploration of the lands of the Caribbean, you can also choose to reach the farthest island avoiding to stop several times along the way. We live so complete pleasure boat, knowing however not to risk anything. But the Windward Islands, an old doubt is always able to revive the soul of each team, for which you choose to stop and start, stop and restart …
Each time from a distance I could see the outline of a grayish earth along the line of the sea, I sat in the bow and expect that the mysterious form is ingrandisse, as more and more. It was like watching the sun rise. It was the wait. It was the thrill of expectation with the slow changing landscape. Arriving in Saint Lucia, Bequia, Mustique to, Mayreau and Tobago Cays, the famous “land in sight!” The ancient adventurers returned on time to my mind, it is renewed each time in an ever-changing scenery. That cry of joy was no longer an image of my imagination: the two mountains, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, were taking shape and color. At dawn the two imposing ghosts of Saint Lucia had become real. Completely covered with tropical forest, these unique volcanic cones worth visiting in depth by those who had the time to make the trek.
We moored in Marigot Bay, a picturesque cove surrounded by greenery, so sheltered as to constitute a major anticyclonic shelters in the entire Caribbean. The British, in the period of colonization, to escape to the French, they hid their ships so conceal trees with leaves of palm trees.
Anse La Raye, a small town nearby and easily accessible by boat or car, people welcomed us hospitable and cheerful. We walked aimlessly through the wooden houses, small and colorful. We savored the tranquility and simplicity of the place so different infernal Castries, the capital. From there, watching the nets hung between the old fishermen, the sea seemed to me out of time. The huge banana plantations, the fumes of the volcano, waterfalls, streams, rain among dense trees of the forest, the atmosphere left by the English and French in the small towns, the batik fabric of the city, everything, with its mysterious magic, he had moved away from the sea. Someone on board had noticed: with some anxiety, he complained that he had still enjoyed the warmth of a white sandy beach. The hinterland of Saint Lucia had pleasantly distracted, but in the Caribbean, after all, all of us were looking for only the embrace of the wind and the contact with a transparent, turquoise sea. We decided to avoid St. Vincent, the third largest of the islands, to head towards a land smaller and calmer, Bequia, which in ancient Caribbean language means “Island of Clouds”. But to welcome us, instead, well after 61 miles, it was a splendid sun. Before nightfall, we were able to swim to the beautiful beach of Tony Gibbons, in Admiralty Bay. It was the first time that not moored at the dock. The perfect and very organized marine of Moorings were long gone. As we descended toward the Grenadines also we trace the influence English and French were disappearing and the islands seemed to us more and more naked, in their real identity. Everything was more awkward, but more exciting. A Bequia were literally assaulted by numerous canoes of vendors, with great insistence, they showed objects of coral, turtle, t-shirts and local fruits. We understood only later that to keep them at a distance would be better to buy something immediately, and those guys would no longer have reason to cling to our boat, risking to ruin the hull.
I knew that the island lived the last whale hunter. I managed to get the address of Athneal Ollivierre, grandson of the French Joseph who first, Bequia, in 1870 began the hunt humpback whales and sperm whales. I went with a local bus on the east coast. The ancient hunting tools, harpoons, historical photographs of ancestors, some ivory carvings: the tiny museum-house Athneal had a special charm because soaked memories and stories that the character, tirelessly, I had told him in front of the rock Petit Nevis. Bequia is an island of calm and still quite intact, where the old and the new coexist in harmony. The Bequiani are a proud people, descendants of settlers who came from the North American whaling, which came from farms in Scotland, Africa, descended from French pirates. They are intrepid navigators and skilled boat builders. Many of them, in fact, we met again in Mustique: early morning, aboard small rowing boats, were to sell the bread. Here, twelve miles from the island of whales, finally found the first real white beaches. A Britannia Bay, the only possible place for anchoring, our Moorings 500 was long abandoned its mark. The sand, the sea and the palm trees were irresistible. Several times the wave on the shore covered the footprints left by our barefoot and carefree … Lens had reached the tip of the island. Seawater, that we have been waiting for three islands, do not let us down. It was so turquoise that could color the white belly of seagulls flying above us. No coincidence that many ultra-wealthy have chosen Mustique to establish his residence: Princess Margaret, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Rachel Welch, to name only some of those who have a dream of 80 residences scattered throughout the island. Yet, strangely, next to a world so sumptuous, fishermen have kept intact their origins and with them their simple kingdom, consists of a few small houses clustered in a picturesque village. Friendly and nice, they are often seen lying on the boats with bright colors or you meet them as they walk casual with his tools sewing a network.
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The Caribbean do not have the time to become attached to the atmosphere as the next overlapping always, almost erase the previous emotions. In the short navigation you feel tossed between the recent past and the immediate future, but you do not belong completely one or the other.
Mayreau, after 19 miles, there appeared spartan and primitive. Two beautiful crescents of white sand bordering the back, shattered in a flash our fond memories of Mustique, and we were again caught by something extraordinary. At night, under the stars, standing on the thin strip of land separating the two beaches, it seemed to hear the echo of one of the two seas. The pace dell’infrangersi wave of one of the two bays was broken by the breaking wave faster than the other. So, in a ceaseless melody, the two waters are responding indefinitely. The memory of Salt Whistle Bay was the only three days after our departure from Mayreau, remain indelible in my mind despite the arrival of the Tobago Cays. This magnificent group of uninhabited islands is protected by the sea dall’Horseshoe Reef and is a national park. No houses, no mountains, nor inhabitants descended from European settlers. Nothing at all. Remains, in a sea completely left to itself with its intense turquoise rippled constantly by the roar of the wind, the last islands of our Caribbean we were shown all the faces of beauty.