Southern Caribbean Islands - Mustique
The mystique of Mustique. The one square mile of island where after 100 days of drought the vegetation remains lush and green. The white sands polished and dusted, not a piece of seaweed in sight. High maintenance is an understatement. The manicured scene is what continues to entice those who seek privacy, escaping their otherwise public lives.
Seventeen days of suspense whilst crossing the Atlantic, ideas were building up in my head, especially as the crew talked so much about our destination. The first sighting of land, All Awash Island and The Pillories, barren spikes that tackle the brunt of the Atlantic swell. The picturesque, palm tree image I had pictured remained a figment of my imagination. Until I saw the glassy turquoise waters that surrounded the white shores of Mustique. From afar it looked barren, just rainforest and low lying hills; but as we neared the land, reaching our final waypoint set on the Raymarine, private beaches, infinity pools and beautified mansions sprung into view. We hadn't just arrived in another country, we had sailed into another world.
We were moored in jewel coloured water for two months. In our 'backyard' we had the worlds biggest swimming pool, a short paddle board ride to the beach, neighbouring turtles, giant string rays and the odd shark.
The tender was my transport to the market in the next bay. A ferry would transport goods from St Vincent first thing in the morning - but it was always late - the Carribbean vibe is very relaxed and laid back - 'don't worry bout a ting'. The local fishermen would return to the island in their colourful wooden boats around lunch time. Their small crafts, without protection from sun or rain, head out into the Atlantic swells each day. These guys are tough, thick skinned and determined. No fish, no money. Barracuda, Tuna, MaiMai, Kingfish, Wahoo, Lobster (not as nice as European Lobster) would be lined up on the concrete in a hut by the beach. Flies having a field day in the heat! (Buying a fish; you want firm slimy flesh, clear eyes, bright red gills and no fish smell.)
Caribbean fruit is incredible! Giant sweet Mangos, drinkable Coconuts, Passion Fruit, Genips (giant limes), spiky Soursop, bundles of Bananas, Pineapples, Papaya, Plantain, Okra,Tamarind...the list is endless ! The hardest decision is to know when to buy them and when to eat them. Its not easy, especially on a boat. The locals are full of useful tips and recipe ideas.
I would usually return to the boat with a tender full of drinking water and food. This was always a wet trip, going against the waves, especially if the swell was big! Clinging onto the precious eggs that are always in short supply on the island.
Tobago Quays for Christmas and a very wet party at The Cotton House for New Years Eve - this years theme was Pirates of the Carribbean - ideal. The boat was within firing range of the firework display, so we moved the boat for the show. It was magical, an incredible view from the sea. Returning to our mooring by twelve thirty, all three crew scrambled onto a one man kayak, we paddled to shore, for what was a very messy night!
I really enjoyed the bumpy sailing trip to Bequay, St Vincent and St Lucia. The real Caribbean. I'd often be the only 'White girl' walking around the small towns whilst searching for fresh fruits and fish. Shopping for food that sold on the streets, locals waiting around the docks sorting through rubbish, looking for a dollar. Fish bones line the harbour waters where the local fisherman sit filleting 40 kilo, deep sea Red Snapper and Dolphin Fish.
Walking the circumference of the island is a must if ever visiting Mustique. Its rocky cliffs that separate each beach are lined with a carved out pathways where the sea rushes over your feet. We started at Endeavour Bay and headed to North Point via Point Lookout. We dipped our feet in salt lagoons, wondered through rainforests, admired immaculate villas, tripped over tortoises, got stung by poisonous plant (they hurt), watched 12ft waves crash over rocks on the East side of the island and finished the adventure admiring the sun setting with a green flash.
The island is a fantastic place for running. That would be my escape. Early morning or late evening jogs. It would clear my head of the never ending to do list. I would head to the other side of the island and only stop when I reached the top of Emerald Hill that looks over Macaroni Beach. I'd watch the giant Atlantic rollers hitting the offshore reefs and the sky turn vibrant red, orange and pink whilst catching my breath before returning back to the boat.
The small, secluded island of Mustique would be a dream come true to anyone, but after two months of Basils Wednesday night jump ups, living on a moored boat, where the only way to get on and off the boat is via tender and never more than the odd afternoon off work we had had enough. By the end of January we renamed the island Muscatraz. The crew and myself were ready to set sail again and head north to Antigua for a new adventure.