St.Vincent   Click for the chartlet of our first Caribbean trip
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The Carib-indians called St.Vincent Hairoun (“Land of the Blessed”). The local beer carries the same name and tastes wonderful, especially as it is served icy-cold. This is standard practice in the Caribbean and you will never get a glass with it because this would allow the beer to warm up.

We wanted to anchor off Kingstown, because JW really wanted to shop in a supermarket and according to our pilot guide there was an anchoring spot with a small beach. Yes it WAS there, as our pilots originates from 1996 when the anchorspot was not yet sacrificed to masstourism personalised by a gigantic cruiseships terminal. Dropping our anchor next to the slums was also not a very good option, so we hoisted the sails again and sailed along the leeward coast to Wallilabou Bay. A cute little bay surrounded by impressing rockformations. The bay is extremely deep (when we were already in it, our depthmeter still gave no reading, thus depth was more than 100m) and the shore is very steep. Anchoring isn't really good possible. The bay's restaurant has (very smart) laid out 7 moorings, free if you dine at the restaurant. Boatboys – some less than the other anticipating clients  are waiting in their rowing boats to tie your bow to a mooring and a stern rope ashore to a tree. Of course they also sell ice, bread, fruit, lobster, jewelry and island tours.
Obviously our pilot guide also didn't mention that Wallilabou Bay was the filmset for “Pirates of the Caribbean 2”. The restaurant is real, but the other old “houses” are part of the decor and are façades only.

We wanted to make a tour around the island but this would cost about 100 euro's, which is outrageous. Also because a tour to the vulcano was not to be included as there is no road. You can take a hike but the hiking takes about 3 to 5 hours and we are not very much into hiking. There is only one road on St.Vincent and this one leads along the coast from west to east, the north is not accessible. As cruiseship passengers give taxidrivers the idea that the stars are the limit, we decided to make the tour off our own bat; i.e. by ordinary bus and this was a great success! First to Kingstown. This 14-passengers bus with maniac driver turned out to be very elastical for we counted 23 passengers. St.Vincent is extremely rugged and steep and the roads are all of the hairpin-type. They are so steep that you have to ride with a breakneck-speed and every moment you can run into an oncoming car. The horn is used frequently but with these speeds it will always be too late. In the bends the buses are heeling dangerously, especially when they carry too many passengers. We heard a story about a bus falling over... Anyway, as a passenger you have to face the road with total contempt. But we arrived unharmed in Kingstown.

After a stroll through the town and lunch we wanted to take a look at the petroglyphs that are mentioned in nearly every touristical brochure. These are rock carvings, made hundreds of years ago by the Arawak-indians, the original inhabitants. But not anybody we asked (location) knew what we meant. So we skipped the plan and took a busride along the windward coast. The surf distincts this coast clearly from the leeward coast where we are with Miep. Charles the driver really liked us and drove a little bit further to show us some nice spots. Then the bus was transformed into a schoolbus and we picked up kids from school. For only 20 euro's including meals and drinks for ourselves and Charles and the conductor, we had a great afternoon.

St.Vincent appears to be a lot poorer than we expected. We already noticed this in Barrouallie (pronounce: Borelly), the next village where men are sitting lazy in the shadow of the almond trees and drinking beers, and also in Kingstown it was striking. And in the meantime the women hustle to bring some cash about the house.

If you want to explore something on St.Vincent, you have to prepared because all bus drivers (except Charles) drive like maniacs. During the ride they hang out of their window, one ear glued to their cellphone, or yelling to everybody on the street. The buses carry names such as
“Redemption” and “Advertised”, but JW's thought that something like “Bonecrusher” and “Instant Death” would be more appropriate.
We risked our lives once more and visited the Botanical Gardens, established in 1765 and the oldest botanical garden in the western hemisphere. Beautiful and well maintained and we came by many plants and trees we knew, for instance a giant version of the “spider plant” that sits on our aft deck; but also new ones such as the blue water lily. The most extraordinary was the Cannonball Tree, a giant with tiny little branches coming out of the trunk, and on these grow the most beautiful flowers. The buds look like balls, hence the name.

Time to go on to St.Lucia. Clearing is extremely bothersome over here. There is a Customs office in Wallilabou Bay but it is only open from 1600 to 1800. This means that they always charge overtime fee! And furthermore you still have to check uit with Immigrations in... Barrouallie, the next village and this is a stiff walk. You can also clear in Kingstown, but here Customs and Immigration are separated as well and the Immigrations-officers have never heard of efficiency, so there are long queues.

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