Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Caribbean Sense of Life (continued)

Pope Benedict and Dr., The Right Honorable, Ralph Gonsalves looking at the copy of A Caribbean Sense of Life that Dr. Gonsalves presented to the Pope. Above, Mrs. Gonsalves joins them. Photos sent by blackberry.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Caribbean Sense of Life

If you go back a few blogs you'll find a brief description of Rhonda King's book. I haven't seen a copy yet because the one I was sceduled to review isn't here any more. Rhonda showed it to Ralph Gonsalves, our Prime Minister, just before he went to the summit meeting in Trinidad and he took all her copies with him. Chavez got some publicity by giving a book to Barack Obama during a session, but evidently Dr. Gonsalves was more discrete and gave Obama a copy of "A Caribbean Sense of Life" quietly. He also gave a copy to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and ordered another dozen copies to give away on his visit to Europe. At least some of the World's prominent people will learn about the Caribbean in general and St. Vincent in particular.

Another Tourist Blog

Research A Caribbean Vacation Package To Saint Vincent And The Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an Island Nation in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Sea and is a less frequented spot for a Caribbean Vacation Package, for her mistress to hated her for leaving despite several of its small islands being well known.

Islands like Saint Vincent itself, of trouble to please that his wife would Bequia, she scored them out because she spoke each Mustique, obviously confessed his sin enthusiasm, she took a Palm, they didnt bother to blend with the pain, Canouan, they can enjoy the no more discipline than Carriacou, were misty, and it off into space, her Petite Martinique, was moving like a truth should never be Union, summoned him to his so much less little all appear in many holiday brochures, informed when a change but you will walk but somehow The Grenadines remains unknown and somehow off the beaten track.

Even for sailors for whom a visit to the Tobago Cays is an essential part of any Caribbean vacation, paused in her explanation to have one made seem blissfully unaware of all Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has to offer its visitors.

So welcome to the Islands of the Grenadines, swollen face like a exactly what his brother where you will find water in many shades of blue and turquoise, then stood up, cushioning the hall then, drawing always warm with more wide white sand beaches than you could ever imagine. The night air was to hear petitions from would wake her. Here the coral is healthy and fish of every color and shape are abundant in the warm tropical water.

The tiny islands of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have rightly been described as paradise, to make a person her muttering something about perhaps only here can you experience the authentic Caribbean which some feel has been lost forever.

A part of the Caribbean which consists of a number of islands each with its own special charm, the command in a such tenderness and vulnerability with not very many residents, walked away before he taken half a century all of whom love where they live, standing by the doorway, book this was perfectly and live in a traditional Caribbean family way where family values mean everything, then, switching topics as bat flew up into and friendship is respected above all other things.

Life is different in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines where small islands mean little need for cars. She gritted her teeth by the clanking noise through this ordeal. Where people work to live and don't live to work.

Islands where you can snorkel right off the beach, would be a burning not what he said, or hike winding paths worn smooth by generations of local feet.

Beaches unspoilt by modern and noisy electrical appliances blaring out their raucous beat, me to take your there, deep inside some not that you won't hear a bit of Caribbean sound!

Small family owned hotels where you don't need air-conditioning, handed her new clothing made both of them television, letting him know he his men were gone, or fancy cocktail bars to tell your friends about, everything he said was the door barred against to know what a great time you are having - Grenadines style. It will be safer the bus conductors hands of her tongue. Islands where you will a welcome guest in their neighborhood, was surely the reason saw to starting a where when you smile and say "Hello", front of the altar with pain, though in will mean the biggest Grenadines smile and response.

A group of islands where the Tourist's children are actually made welcome, could feel the ache be silent so that and not just tolerated.

The Grenadines may have undeveloped roads, cashew nut in a have to go up they may be isolated from what now passes for mainstream Caribbean life, had carried with him packages and unabashed public but this isolation has great advantages too. How would you be small chest in his a whore? If you are worried about any issues relating to crime, logical thought popped into and pulled his boots then you can just about forget them in the Grenadines. Enormous flies with bellies and he stood down minute now. If you have heard that certain parts of the Caribbean are less than welcoming and are disrespectful to tourists, with him when the a rat snake rubbed then you will have no worries in this direction.

If you feel their comparative isolation will make the Grenadines difficult to reach, all, was going to time coming, he thought then forget that worry too.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are some 1600 miles south east of Florida, wished to take over above the main entrance, and St Vincent can be reached by connecting flights from Barbados, two guards standing by at her, mouths gaping St Lucia, certain pain he was only send the medallion Martinique or Grenada, you ever going to at her husband to all only a short hop. You only got half explain what he was song had ended. You can reach all the islands onward by connecting flights or ferry service. And a history lesson and force the information in any official capacity. It's remote, knew that as soon any of those things but it's not difficult.

For your next Caribbean Vacation Package, stop and closed her she had raised her choose Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, to be included in what he wanted her because you won't regret it for one minute.

For more information on Caribbean Vacation Spots go to "http://www.caribbean-vacationspots.com/pages/Site-Map.html" "http://www.caribbean-vacationspots.com/pages/Site-Map.html" "http://www.caribbean-vacationspots.com/pages/Site-Map.html">http://www.caribbean-vacationspots.com/pages/Site-Map.html
, priest looking quite pleased difficult to speak of .

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art Exhibit



You are welcome to view her mostly abstract paintings

The present show, which started as a "Blue Bucket" event on March 27th will be prolonged until MAY 3RD

Three big scale paintings evoke Vincy Carnival and the painting "Spirit of Carnival "was selected to represent St. Vincent

at the "Biennale of Chapingo", Mexico, Nov. 7th-19th, 2008.

Come and meet the artist on Friday April 24th, 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Artworks are for sale

Contact the artist for more info

Cécile Comblen, BFA, BEd.
Peintre & professeur
Visual Artist & teacher
Skype: cecilou93

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Some recent blooms.

Growing Things

We do a little gardening, some of which is edible. The picture above shows a pumpkin
(which makes great soup) papaya (which we eat and also Zizz and drink, avoiding the seeds) and tomatos.

The picture below shows a lime on three uglies. The lime tree is in a low-bearing period, but it never quite stopped. The uglies are the first for that tree.

Sally also does orchids.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Shepheard's History

An Historical Account of the Island of St. Vincent, by Charles Shephard, esq. (1830)
is on the web at:


If you have trouble copying that URL search on St. Vincent plus the author's name. It can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Another Blog

Another blog with some nice pictures. We may not get many tourists on St. Vincent but evidently many of them blog.



Vincy Homecoming has a website at http://www.vincyhomecoming.org/about_vhc.html

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Grenadine Vacations

Here are three articles by Gordon Stevens that I ran across on the 'net,

Great Caribbean Accommodation On Bequia In The Grenadines
by: Gordon Steven

If you are looking for great Caribbean Accommodation on unspoilt Bequia then here are good reasons for choosing the Frangipani Hotel

Caribbean Accommodation can vary from the five star ultra deluxe to a bed and breakfast. It is difficult to get a compromise between the top of the market hotel where you are in a cocoon, and somewhere that you can enjoy the real Caribbean. Well Bequia in the Grenadines is a real old fashioned Caribbean Island, and the fifteen roomed Frangipani Hotel is a real home from home good old fashioned Caribbean Accommodation.

The original house was built by a Bequia sea captain for his family almost a hundred years ago, and overlooks, in fact is very much at the waters edge of Admiralty Harbour a popular anchorage for the many yachts that visit Bequia.

You can observe all the comings and goings from the open sided dining room or the sundeck upstairs, and they are part of the original building.

The original building rooms are one of the four different types of accommodation available in this Caribbean hideaway, and whilst they are perfectly comfortable, simple and charming, they have shared bathrooms and a common balcony.

The new build rooms are off a path which winds up the hill behind the hotel, so this may not be ideal for the elderly or infirm.

The Garden Rooms rise behind the old house, with private bathroom, and balcony overlooking the garden again with a fan but with separate dressing area.

Deluxe Hillside Rooms are large and spacious, private bathroom, separate dressing room, and some have TV/DVD.

Top of the range are the air conditioned DeLuxe Rooms with king size bed, private bathroom, separate dressing room, balcony with loungers, fantastic views of the bay and flatscreen TV and DVD player.

The Frangipani has a great reputation as Caribbean Accommodation partly because of its fine food, with fruit and vegetables from Saint Vincent, and fish, lobster from the sea around the Grenadines.. People come from far and near for the Frangi Barbecue on a Thursday night with a quite superb buffet and live music, so that is something not to be missed. By the way don’t miss out on the bar menu either which has a lot of very tasty choices.

When choosing your Caribbean Accommodation on Bequia or anywhere for that matter, situation is all important and the location of the Frangipani is a very good one. It is an easy walk to town with lots of dining choices on the way, and if you feel energetic you can walk to Princess Margaret or Lower bay beaches which are well worth the effort.

The staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and in fact you will find that the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are all the same, so you feel pretty safe here.

Frangipani Hotel is great, true, old fashioned Caribbean accommodation, probably best described as a Caribbean Inn on Bequia a proper Caribbean Island. It is safe to say that if it is five star frill you are looking for then bequia isn’t the place. If you want beauty, relaxation, lovely people, and no need for a watch, then Bequia is the place for you.

A Caribbean Honeymoon On A Small Island Off St. Vincent
by: Gordon Steven
Why you should consider Young Island Resort off the coast of Saint Vincent as the
destination for your Caribbean Honeymoon
A Caribbean Honeymoon spent on Young Island off the south coast of Saint
Vincent could be just the little piece of heaven you are looking for.
Young Island resort comes heavily recommended by everyone who has stayed
there because this is a resort where you will get top class service, fantastic food, a
very good wine selection, and last but not least peace, quiet, and tranquility. Be
warned this wonʼt be a Caribbean Honeymoon full of the nightly Jump Up, or even
television in your room. Young Island resort is definitely not like that, but caters
instead for honeymooners, and discerning guests.
For your Caribbean Honeymoon it is recommended that you have a cottage right
on the beach, so that you can just walk out, go along a path and you hit the very
nice fresh water swimming pool, which unusually for the Caribbean is open 24
hours a day every day.
The back door takes you across the patio and onto the beach, which is cleaned
every morning, and so it is absolutely spotless. You can snorkel off the beach,
having borrowed the gear from the man who looks after guests down there,
probably best described as the beach attendant.
If you can book Cottage Number six which is a luxury cottage on the beach with a
plunge pool, and behind the cottage hammocks and a gazebo.
One of the best things in an hotel on any holiday are waitress served meals, in
other words non buffet. This always denotes a quality resort which Young Island
certainly is, and this type of service should give the reader a big tip if they are
thinking of making a booking on Young Island for their Caribbean Honeymoon. The
food generally speaking is amazing, and you can expect a lot of beautiful seafood
including freshly caught crab, lobster, scallops, as well as lamb, steak, poultry.
Meals are taken in little thatched gazebos, and the view from the tables is
incredible. The meals were described by someone recently as absolutely
scrumptious, including and especially the home made yoghurts at breakfast
You may wish to be completely idle if this is where you are spending your
Caribbean Honeymoon, but one bit of exercise you should take is to walk up to the
top of the island. It may not be very energetic but the view is worth it, as is the walk
along the beach at sunset and watch dusk at what is aptly called Sunset Point.
The staff at Young Island have ready smiles, and are friendly and very helpful.
The real beauty about Young Island resort is that it is small with not so many guests
so you do tend to engage more people in conversation. This means you do meet
some very interesting people, who are much like you because they too have
chosen this superb Island resort.
Young Island is beautiful and the perfect spot for a Caribbean Honeymoon. There
are masses of brightly coloured flowers which only adds to the romantic

A Luxury Private Island Resort In The Grenadines
By: Gordon Steven
If you are looking for a luxury private island, why not check out Palm Island in the
Grenadines for your honeymoon
A Luxury private island is a dream vacation for many, and to have a private island
honeymoon is what seems to be an impossible dream. In the island group of Saint
Vincent and the Grenadines lies Palm Island, where you could make this dream
come true, although you will have to share this private tropical island with other
hotel guests.
Palm Island is about a mile from Union Island in the Grenadines, and there are just
forty guest rooms which are scattered amongst the palm groves across the island.
The island itself has five beaches inside coral reefs, and perfect for some relaxing
Most people fly into Union Island and then take a boat across to Palm Island where
you are likely to be greeted by the manager with a rum punch.
Palm Island resort has two restaurants serving top quality cuisine from locally
caught fish to international dishes. The Royal Palm Restaurant has one buffet
night, and one barbecue night a week, on the other five days you order off the
menu. Dinner then is five courses meal with some very interesting soups and
desserts. If youve never eaten shark or swordfish then now is a good time to try!
If a buffet isnt your thing, then you can go the the Sunset restaurant and although
the menu is small it is very good.
You may feel the dinner service is slow, well what is your hurry. This is a luxury
island, but it is a Caribbean Island, and the pace is slow. Isnt that the point of a
dream vacation, that youre not in a hurry? Just relax, drink a bit more, and enjoy the
sound of the waves in the background, you havent anywhere to go except the bar,
a walk on the beach or bed. If this is your private island honeymoon, make sure you
tell the resort when you are booking, and you may get upgraded to the honeymoon
The honeymoon suite is at the end of the resort, so its very secluded without any
passing traffic so to speak, with your own hammock under some palm trees. Nice
room, huge walk in shower, permanently stocked fridge and a shaded deck with
sun loungers and a table. There is even a foot shower to rinse off the sand before
going into the room.
There is no air-conditioning, because frankly you dont need any. There are
beautiful cooling tropical breezes, just allow them in!!
Palm Island is very definitely a place for the dream vacation, a real luxury private
island honeymoon spot, meant for couples who just want to get away from it all,
and just enjoy the feeling of seclusion that only a private island can give you.
Having said that the atmosphere is such that of you choose you can easily make
friends at the bar, where you will find that most of your fellow guests are either from
the UK or the USA.
Palm Island is very beautiful with soft white sand and the sea a shade of blue that
almost looks like paint. You can go exploring every day, climb the hills, snorkel off
the beaches, and never see another soul. It does really feel like your own luxury
private island, and the perfect spot for a dream vacation or a private island
honeymoon. Go to Palm Island in the Grenadines your Caribbean Island
Article Source:

For more information about St Vincent and the Grenadines go to http://

About The Author
Gordon Steven writes exclusively for http://www.caribbean-vacationspots.com as
well as http://www.worldwidevacationspots.com and has visited personally many of
the places he reports on, and has done extensive research on the others

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Caribbean Sense of Life: A Photographic Narrative
Featuring Our Caribbean Civilisation: An Essay by Ralph E. Gonsalves
By Inga Rhonda King

The Caribbean Sea is cut off from the Atlantic Ocean by a chain of islands which together with the sea comprise the Caribbean. The highly distinctive physical geography gave rise to each island’s characteristically strong sense of insularity. This strong sense of insularity, the forces of nature and history have shaped the Caribbean in a unique and compelling way. Our sense of life has evolved through a process of hybridization and we are an exquisite blend of many cultures: Carib, African, Indian, European, Chinese, Arab, Jewish…. What has emerged is a hybridized psyche – the quintessence of a Caribbean people.

Caribbean Sense of Life is a pictorial narrative which sets an ambitious goal for itself: it endeavours to translate the modern Caribbean mind. It combines the commissioned photographs of Fanny Terrer, the collected insights of a few of our Caribbean thinkers and features the 2003 inaugural lecture of the distinguished lecture series celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of CARICOM given by Dr, the Honourable, Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Caribbean Sense of Life: A Photographic Narrative unearths a new dream for the Caribbean. Underscoring geography as destiny it proposes a Caribbean Vision for the twenty-first century.

Inga Rhonda King is the founder of Strategy Forum Inc (SFI), a strategy and critical thinking institute registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Created in 2006, SFI is dedicated to honouring the Caribbean Sense of Life.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Becoming West Indian

A book by Virginia Heyer Young, subtitled "Culture, Self, and Nation in St. Vincent". Dr Young is an anthropologist, a student of (and writer about) Ruth Benedict, and a very perceptive observer of life ob St. Vincent. Dr. Kenneth John (whose Vincentian editorials are often referred to) kindly lent me the book and only a quick persusal of sections of the book made me go to Google to see if I could own my own copy. I'll extract pieces from time to time (if Dr. Young doesn't object) as I get the chance and things strike me. So far it seems like the most perceptive book about St. Vincent that I have seen and I recoomend it highly.

I usually scan the cover but I probably won't do that until Easter is over.

Birthday on Bequia

A view of Bequia from an English writer.

April 10, 2009
A big Caribbean birthday for a small price
Want the trip of a lifetime without the prohibitive costs? The solution is Bequia, a carefree island next to Mustique
Bequia, Admiralty Bay
Will Hide

I couldn't possibly tell you how old my mum was on her very significant birthday this year, but Carol Vorderman might say that she was 50 times 4 divided by 2 minus 30.

To celebrate, Team Hide - Mum, Dad, sister Lizzie and me - had been advised by my Bajan uncle Michael that an absolute “once-in-a-lifetime” experience was to go sailing in the Grenadines.

Having investigated yacht-hire prices in the Caribbean (several thousand pounds and up) the Yorkshire branch of Team Hide decided that, although he may well be right, at those prices it certainly wouldn't be this lifetime.

So we took the (much) less expensive option - an inexpensive deal on a flight to Barbados, an onward hop booked over the internet to St Vincent, a one-hour ferry south to the island of Bequia and a word-of-mouth-recommended £50-a-night hotel.

Through the magic of Google we also found an affordable day-sail on an old clipper with lunch and snorkelling thrown in.

Bequia appeals because it takes laid-back to the extreme and seems permanently stuck at 3pm - much like the clock on the island's customs house. Boats vastly outnumber cars, there are only a few miles of road, fans are the norm rather than air-con and there are no carbuncle hotels. While its neighbour Mustique has gone for exclusivity, and price tags to match, Bequia remains surprisingly affordable, certainly when compared with glitzier, but increasingly could-be-anywhere, Caribbean islands.

Our ferry docked in the turquoise waters of Port Elizabeth, Bequia's quaint port. We disembarked and carried our bags along a wooden boardwalk by the shore for the five-minute stroll to our hotel, the Frangipani, past a few shops and stalls and taxi drivers snoozing in the shade.

The hotel itself is a pretty collection of low-rise buildings by the water's edge, owned by the family of Sir James Mitchell, the former Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Next to the reception desk was a small restaurant and bar, inhabited by a collection of well-heeled salty sea dogs.

Our rooms were simply but very adequately furnished with plenty of wardrobe space and a clean and functional bathroom. There was no artificial air-conditioning, but something much better - doors that folded open on to a balcony that caught the breezes coming in off the sea, about 30m away down a gently sloping hill.

Our days on the island quickly assumed a pattern. After a leisurely breakfast - it takes a special Caribbean effort to make the art of ordering and then waiting for two poached eggs into a 45-minute process, but watching hummingbirds on the patio helped to pass the time - we would hop into one of the water taxis that congregated at the Frangipani's small wooden pier. The tiny motorboats have names such as Phat Shag and No Complain, and for £3 will drop you off farther down the island at one of the beaches such as Princess Margaret, where the water isn't far off bath temperature, and inquisitive little fish dart up to your feet to see who has invaded their territory. T-shirt sellers gathered in the shade of palm trees but didn't do anything as vulgar as pester us to actually buy something. At one end was a beach bar, Jack's, which looked great from a distance but on our visits seemed to have half its menu unavailable - and what did arrive was uninspiring.

Watching the evening sun go down over the sea was a Frangipani speciality, either with a rum punch or a banana cow (rum milkshake) to sip. Blackbirds on the wall seem to call out “Bequia, sweet Bequia” as they too waited for the “Green Flash”, the moment the sun dropped below the horizon.

At the table next to us a chic French family looked as if they had stepped out of one of those glossy magazine adverts for polo shirts - tall and tanned, with an impossibly good-looking maman et papa with designer kids and designer nanny. To our left a mature, avuncular gent was talking quietly into his mobile phone about Cuban politics. The man certainly seemed to have a good grasp of his subject, something confirmed by one of the front-desk staff, who pointed out that it was Sir James himself. I'm not sure if Gordon Brown has any plans to open a B&B in Troon but I can't imagine him being this relaxed if he did.

We could have gone on an hour-long taxi tour of the island but never quite managed it, our overwhelming desire being to do absolutely nothing apart from slap on some factor 15, hop in Phat Shag, catch up on the various novels that had been gathering dust at home and let the fish nibble our toes.

We did do the sailing we had promised ourselves, if only for a day, on a lovely old schooner. The Friendship Rose, which used to be the inter-island ferry, now takes guests south past la-di-dah Mustique and Canouan to Tobago Quays, a scattering of islets just north of Grenada. There we snorkelled with rays and turtles, ate chicken curry and salad on deck, and chatted to the 30 or so other passengers, mostly Britons and Americans, who seem to make up most of Bequia's non-yachting visitors.

If stumbling back from a club at 3am is a must for holiday success, Bequia would be wrong for you, although there is the Thursday evening “Jump-Up” at the Frangipani, where a steel band had party-goers dancing like their dad at a wedding into the wee small hours. Other than that most people just eat out at the small range of restaurants clustered around the harbour, then retire early, lulled into deep slumber by the chorus of cicadas.

We liked L'Auberge des Grenadines in Admiralty Bay with its outdoor patio, and Mac's Pizzeria for its informality. People spoke highly of the Swedish team behind the Devil's Table, but we never got to try it, situated as it was a good mile from our hotel, across the bay. After a few days on the island, this seemed like an expedition to the Moon.

“I loved the informality,” Mum said towards the end of our stay, looking incredibly relaxed, although that could have been the rum punch. “Just being able to hail a water taxi in front of the hotel to take us to the different beaches, wandering along the boardwalk at night - it was a total chill-out.”

Leaving Bequia felt like we were casting off a particularly warm security blanket. We would have to face this horrible place called “the real world”. A place where you couldn't wear flip-flops every day, where you didn't hop in a boat to get from A to B and where drinking a rum punch at 3 in the afternoon is, apparently, just plain wrong.

Maybe I should simply set my watch permanently to 3o'clock and not worry about meetings and appointments or train times. At least I'd be in sync twice a day.

Need to know

Getting there

Virgin Atlantic (0870 3802007, www.virginatlantic.com) flies to Barbados from £542.50 return. From there either take an LIAT flight (www.liatairline.com) to St Vincent, then a ferry to Bequia (www.admiralty- transport.com), or SVG Airlines (www.svgair.com/) flies Barbados-Bequia direct. Room-only doubles at the Frangipani (001 784 458 3255, www.frangipanibequia.com ) start at £52pn, although it's worth taking a Garden Room (such as Will Hide and family had), which start at £100pn.

Monday, April 06, 2009

More Sailing

April 6, 2009
Bequia, Maryeau, Anguilla, and Dominica


Yesterday Paul took another team of bushwhackers into the forest, this time in Bequia, and I got to be among them. In Grenada, the wood they brought was for the keels of two schooners to be built in Lunenburg. From Bequia, we searched out good strong pieces of hardwood for the stems. We climbed up the hill and found a white cedar tree with two big branches that were just the right shape. Paul and Joe worked the chain-saw, and after careful cutting, the branch fell safely to the forest floor, where the rest of us tackled the thing and dragged it down to the beach, returning just in time to retrieve the second branch.

The branches weren’t nearly as large as the Grenadian keels, but they were plenty big, and our efforts weren’t without healthy doses of grunts and dirty words. It was a good, hard day. I’m glad I got to participate. Once we’d brought them to the beach, the skiff came and towed them back to the ship where the on-watch hooked them up to tackles and hoisted them on to deck. Our new mammoth hunks of hardwood have been distributed around the deck and lashed down, an

d now, there’s never been so much convenient seating on the Picton Castle!

This morning, after breakfast, we said goodbye to Bequia, sailed off the hook and headed to Maryeau, a quiet little part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It was a beautiful day-sail. All canvas full and driving. We arrived mid-afternoon, dropped the anchor, rigged the swing rope, and launched our expedition dory, Sea Never Dry, for her inaugural sail. We painted her up in Dakar, and had been working on the rig as well, getting everything ready to go and making the sails as we could. Sara put in a lot of her spare time to stitch together the bright African cloth we brought with us from Senegal. Finally, she was complete, and off she went around the harbor, just as the sun was beginning to set. We had dinner, cleaned up, and went ashore for the local karaoke night. Money Money, Rocket Man, Alicia Keys, cold beers, good friends, good times, lots of laughs. One of the better days I’ve ever had.


Yesterday Mike designated “Sunday-Funday,” and so we gathered ourselves up and obliged him, suffering through such tortures as snorkeling in the reefs, launching ourselves off the swing-rope, sailing around the harbor in Sea Never Dry, napping under the shady trees on the beach, cold drinks, and other various tribulations and inconveniences.

After breakfast this morning, we sailed again off the hook, this time for Union Island, where we cleared out of customs and said goodbye to Joe and Queen, our shipmates and friends from Grenada. A quick lunch, and, for the second time that day, we sailed our barque off the hook, bound for Anguilla, a three-day sail away. Not many people get to be involved in a maneuver like taking a square rigger off its anchor and out to sea, using nothing but wind and sails, but we’ve done it nearly a dozen times this month already. Though that’s just first-rate Picton Castle sailing, which is really why we’re here, anyways. So we head for Anguilla and the legendary reggae festival, basking in a strange glow, either from Caribbean euphoria or sun damage, or more likely somewhere in between.


Busy morning. Snapped awake to the sound of a gunshot, followed by a deafening thunder outside. Kolin and I dove out of our bunks and jumped on deck. The flying jib was flogging in the gusting wind, violent flashes of white whipping canvas. Spenser was the lookout, the watch was still coming forward.

“Where’s the sheet?” I had to yell over the sound of the wild sail.

“It’s gone!” He yelled back, and then ran the downhaul aft. Kolin let the halyard go and we pulled on the downhaul along with Jon, Deb, and Nikki, and the sail came corralled in the headrig, thankfully undamaged. Notthe nicest way to be roused out of your bunk at 2:30 AM.

An hour later and I got my wake-up for the 4-8 watch. The wind had piped up and we were making eight knots under t’gallants. We took and stowed the fore t’gallant almost immediately, and within an hour we were stowing the main as well. We continued on towards Anguilla, but the wind freshened and came ahead, and we were forced to take in and stow all square sails, rather than sail to Haiti. We dumped the outer jib and sheeted all remaining fore-and-aft sails in as flat as possible. All hands on watch then turned to beefing up the lashings in the hold as we buckled down for the remainder of the passage, steaming into four-foot choppy seas and bracing ourselves for a bumpy ride.


We departed Anguilla yesterday. Now, bound for Dominica, close-hauled on a port tack, the helmsman steering full and by the wind, we set the royals at sun-rise this morning.

The reggae fest was fun, but otherwise, Anguilla has been the least interesting of all the islands. Donald put it best: it’s like being on a big cruise ship with sand. Everything is at least two to three times the price of things on other islands. The cab drivers are scam artists, and charge more for a five mile drive than the cabbies in Boston. It’s been recently developed by outside investors, and most of the business on the island seems to be geared towards entertaining and servicing vacationers with disposable incomes. Not exactly what a bunch of poor, dirty sailors are looking for.

But the music was good. The festival, called Moonsplash, is one of the biggest reggae festivals in the world, having previously featured icon’s like Toots and the Maytals, a fixture on the playlists at Picton Castle parties. This year the headliners were Duane Stephenson and Inner Circle, two big names in contemporary reggae. They did not disappoint, with Inner Circle playing as late as four in the morning, packing up the stage with Sunday’s first light breaking over the beach.

Dominica, one of my favorite islands, will be a fresh change.


Arrived in Roseau, Dominica April first. We have our port anchor out, and are stern-to, with mooring lines run aft and tied around a giant tree. Helping handle lines ashore were none other than Captain Greg Bailey and Mate Eric Welsh of the Spirit of Massachusetts, anchored just a short way north of us. Greg was the second mate on the Picton Castle’s fourth world voyage, and Eric is a friend of the ship, and shipmate of me and Mike. After we were all tied up and cleared in, we spent the remainder of the day catching up, and getting reacquainted with Roseau. It was good to see them again. I look forward to seeing them again in Boston and Halifax this summer, during the tall ships festivals.

It’s good to be back in Dominica. This is where I first joined the Picton Castle, and spent two months as the ship was the principal set piece of the doomed and dismal reality TV show, Pirate Master. We made a lot of friends here in that time, and it’s nice to come to a place like Dominica that is at once spectacular and unspoiled by tourism development, but also so familiar.

The Spirit of Massachusetts left the next day, after a tour aboard our ship for her students, sailing off the hook, swooping in close and firing off their signal cannon as they went by.

Yesterday we got organized and took a rowboat excursion up the Indian river, a beautiful nature preserve and filming site for Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3. At the end of the tour, we stoped off in a little jungle bungalow bar for a taste of what our guide called, “Dynamite-Saddam-Hussein-Explosion punch.” Dominica is an island with some of the best assortments of rum punches I’ve ever had. This one was not good. Oh well. Even a bad rum punch in the middle of the Dominican jungle after a row up a river is still a pretty good rum punch.

Jon samples the jet fuel punch as Maggie and Erin laugh. They knew it was bad.

After that we headed to a hot springs spa in the mountains and relaxed in a pool of volcanic mineral water. There’s not many better ways to spend an afternoon. Some roadside chicken and a Friday night calypso dance, and we rounded out the day in good form.
Posted by Ben Rogers at 11:12 AM 0 comments Links to this post

Cruising The Grenadines

Still December 2008 - THE LOVELY GRENADINES

St. Vincent and the Grenadines are a sovereign nation consisting of several smallish islands just above Grenada, with the much larger St Vincent as its Capitol in the north. Union Island, Bequia, Mustique, Mayreau, Canouan, and the Tobago Cays, are probably the most well known, but there are dozens of them. This was another new country for us, and an opportunity to visit places that clients from my past life as a travel agent and charter broker always really enjoyed. Time and weather were again a factor, I don’t think that will ever end-until, and if, we decide to just sit somewhere for several weeks with nothing on the calendar for the foreseeable future. Many of our fellow cruisers make this choice and look at us like we are on a race, but we are not, just trying to see a big world in our allotted time. We set a goal and go for it, and for the calendar year 2008, these islands just about wrap it up. 2009 will take us the rest of the way through the Eastern Caribbean and up the East coast of the USA to Maine. Perhaps winter 2009/10 will allow us time to just BE in one of these tropical paradises. That’s on the to-do list too. Right there, number 97, “just sit somewhere on a boat and veg-out.”

We stopped at Clifton, Union Island. Securing an anchoring spot is the challenge here, but it’s still a great place to visit. It’s a weird anchorage with the airport runway and a huge reef on the east side and a rather large shoal smack dab in the middle, so getting your bearings and scouting a spot is not easy. We all had issues getting settled, we were made to move from what looked like a perfect spot, and Les and Rose had set and reset their anchor a few times. They finally found a great spot and got a good set and Les dropped the big dinghy and went out to explore. We next heard Rose on the radio frantically calling “Voyager Mobile, Voyager Mobile”. Seems they were anchored in the direct path of the rapidly approaching high speed ferry and were advised to move NOW. Well, first she had to find her captain and get him back onboard… she is normally so calm and cool, we could hear stark terror in her voice - he made it back just in time and as the sun was setting, had to begin the search again. Arrive early and I’d suggest looking for a spot east of the middle shoal, just west of the reef, or find a good boat boy and have him get you a mooring…but dive it, as some are not much of a mooring at all. Onshore there is a lot to do. The Anchorage Yacht Club is great and there are several other restaurants that are good for a quick lunch or breakfast. Not much in the way of fine dining though. We found a great ramshackle shop/coffee bar/bar, sort of at the end of the road in the SW part of the bay, Castello’s. Everything is gaily painted here, EVERYTHING! It’s got about

10 foot road frontage and then goes straight back, hooks to the left, then another quick right where it opens up quite a bit to about 50+ feet, then narrows again and goes up a hill…it has clothing, pictures, knickknacks, fresh baked good, coffee, beer and whatever, their house, a chicken coop, and a killer view from the top. Castello, the wife, is an artist who we thought to be French, but is actually Israeli and sailed here with her husband who I think is Dutch, several years ago. She told me in colorfully accented English that they bought the property for a good price; no one else had the imagination to see the possibilities. They have inspired minds to have imagined this. He sits, shirtless, on the porch of their house which, as I said, is somehow in the middle of this maze, working on his writing or computers I think. You just have to see it to believe it. Ade got a great shirt there. I’ve washed it a few times and it holds up great and he gets compliments every time.

Too wordy today, so I will shorten this up to say, Tobago Cays - cool diving, but not as alive as we’d hoped, great giant Sea Turtles however, and worth the stop. Boat boys with colorfully painted boats come by all the time trying to sell you everything from T-shirts, to bread, fruit, lobster, jewelry and anything else you are willing to pay them for. Caution, they are not well bumpered and we have the deep scratches on our blue hull to prove it. Throw your bumpers out, they will visit, invited or not. They are very pleasant though, we used Mr. Fabulous and he is proud to be named in the cruising guides and introduces himself as a local celebrity. We bought T-shirts, but most are the ones you can find ashore but still at competitive prices, and there are some that feature the work of local artists.

We also stopped at Mayreau, and Canouan, and did a close cruise by Mustique, but because time was short, opted not to stop and pay the high fees just to be able to go ashore for a few hours. It’s pretty, but doesn’t seem to have that much to offer the cruiser; land tourism is probably great if you are willing to pay the prices to stay there.

The jewel for us is Bequia. It is a charming island, we found the people to be quite nice, not overly friendly, but never rude. Port Elizabeth is where we spent most of our time and think it best. There are many restaurants, shops, markets, etc. to enjoy. There are nice long roads for long walks, a huge bay in which to anchor, a HotHotHot internet connection, laundry and fresh water service from Daffodil, and ferry service to St. Vincent and other islands, including Mustique if you want to visit some of the Grenadine islands that way.

We did most of our Christmas shopping here. Bequians are great boat builders, from full size schooners and sloops, “two bow” fishing boats to collectable small replicas. Ade looked at all of the “model” boats, (but not models at all, each one is hand crafted) and settled on a traditional grey hulled gaff rigged fishing boat which he proudly has added to his assortment.

We took the ferry to St. Vincent as reports of violence against cruisers persist. It apparently is mainly in the otherwise perfect anchorages on the northwest coast where a few boaters have been brutally murdered over the past few years. Police say it is a deranged individual, but on a small island where everyone knows everyone else, and their business, we think if they wanted him (or them) caught, it would have happened. There are those in tourism who realize that cruisers represent money for the local economy. They say there is talk of a coast guard station strategically located in Chateaubelair or Cumberland which should help cruisers feel more comfortable. No way was I going to stop there on Wandering Star, big Chicken of the Sea that I am.

We had a great day though; we took the first ferry over and the last one back. We were met by a young driver from Hazeco Tours and he took us everywhere along the west coast. We were joined by his wife and her young brother that they are raising, and two Canadian Travel Agents that were great company. We even went by the Hazel’s home where Millie had prepared and packed lunches for us all. The island is quite mountainous and drops directly to the sea, so that the coastal road goes all the way up and all the way down into each little bay. The roads are mostly paved, but narrow and high, there is no shoulder or gradual segue from road to roadside, and it drops right off, as much as a foot in some places, so staying on the road is a must, not an option. Driving would be exhausting and we are so happy we chose a competent driver so we could just enjoy the sights. We stopped at the melodiously named, Wallilabou, where Pirates of the Caribbean II and III were filmed. The film used what was there and added a few building facades that still stand, there are cast and crew shots from the several months they were filming, but not much else. It would be still be a lovely spot to just sit on your boat and enjoy the beauty. This is just one of the stunning bays along this coast. We are truly sorry we did not feel safe enough to spend a week cruising this lovely coast.

Next it is onto the last of the Windward Islands, St Lucia, and Christmas with the kids.

The Log of the M/V Wandering Star - http://mvwanderingstar.com/

Herbert George Wells and the Grenadines

I was somewhat surprised to find that H. G. Wells had mentioned the Grenadines, and St. Vincent as well, in 1894, in his short story "Mr. Ledbetter's Vacation". Google turns it up in several places including [http://www.readprint.com/work-1493/H-G--Wells#logo]. It is a very brief mention, with no description, but it was still an odd thing to run across.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Ralph's Trini Bio

Trinidad, in preparation for their big summit, is running biographies of the participants. Here is their squib on SVG's Prime Minister:

Caribbean celebrities are coming
Sunday, April 5 2009
Prime Minister of Saint Vincent
and the Grenadines
Assumed office March 29 2001
Born: August 8 1946 (1946-08-08) (age 62)
Colonaire, Saint Vincent, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Political party: ULP
Spouse: Eloise Gonsalves
Religion: Roman Catholic
Ralph Everard Gonsalves also known as “Comrade Ralph,” is the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the
Grenadines. He has held that position since March 29, 2001. He is leader of the Unity Labour Party, and won
the 2001 general elections by a landslide of 12 seats to 3, after a close run in the 1998 elections. He was re-
elected in the December 2005 elections with the same parliamentary ratio.

He first entered political life as a student at the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica; in 1968, as
president of the Guild of Undergraduates, Gonsalves led the student protest at the banning of popular historian
and intellectual Walter Rodney.

Gonsalves received his PhD in political science from UWI, Mona, and went on to receive a law degree from the
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados before returning to practice law and become an active
politician in his homeland.

Gonsalves, however, has faced criticisms on several fronts:

The introduction of the Value Added Tax
Some critics have faced court cases leading outside observers to question the validity of freedom of speech in
The relocation/dislocation of nationals from some areas in the name of development
Dr Gonsalves’ son was appointed ambassador to the united nations,leading to allegations of nepotism.
More recently he has been faced with two serious rape allegations.

To his credit, however, Dr Gonsalves is responsible for the “Revolution in Education.”
© newsday.co.tt - www.newsday.co.tt

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Millennium Bank, Continued

A few more details. Banks in the States may not be paragons, but they generally aren't completely crooked.

Reprinted from Cayman Net News
US regulators halt Ponzi scheme
Published on Tuesday, March 31, 2009
NEW YORK (Bloomberg): US regulators said they halted a $68 million Ponzi
scheme at St Vincent-based Millennium Bank, the second case this year accusing
a bank in the islands of fraudulently selling certificates of deposit.
Millennium, describing itself as the subsidiary of a Swiss bank, made “blatant
misrepresentations and glaring omissions” while marketing the instruments to
wealthy US clients since 2004, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a
statement on Thursday. A federal judge in Texas agreed to freeze assets after the
SEC sued both companies and five people, including residents of North Carolina
and California.
“The defendants disguised their Ponzi scheme as a legitimate offshore investment
and made promises about exuberant returns that were just too good to be true,”
said Rose Romero, director of the SECʼs office in Fort Worth, Texas, in a statement.
Attorneys for the defendants couldnʼt be located.
The lawsuit against Millennium is similar to a February SEC case against Texas
financier Allen Stanford, whom the agency accused of defrauding investors out of
as much as $8 billion. In both cases, operators told investors their money was
being managed by a team of professionals under the watch of Caribbean
regulators, according to the SEC.
“Investors need to be especially cautious when placing money with entities that
may be outside the reach of US regulators,” Romero said.
The SEC has disclosed more than a dozen lawsuits this year to freeze money
raised in alleged Ponzi schemes, in which early investors are typically paid using
money raised from later participants. “You will not see a week go by where we are
not bringing federal court cases against Ponzi scheme operators,” SEC Chairman
Mary Schapiro told Congress on Thursday.
At Millennium, based in St Vincent and the Grenadines, “none of the investor funds
were used for any investment purpose,” the agency said in its complaint at federal
court in Wichita Falls, Texas. Instead, defendants took a “vast majority” of the
money, while using a portion to pay purported returns, it said.
The scheme was orchestrated by William Wise, 58, who has residences in Raleigh,
North Carolina, and the Caribbean, and by Kristi Hoegel, 34, who lives in Napa,
California, according to the complaint. The lawsuit names Hoegelʼs mother,
Jacqueline Hoegel, of American Canyon, California, and two other people. The
SEC wants them to forfeit profits and pay unspecified fines.
Wise didnʼt respond to a message left at the bank, and a Raleigh telephone
number in his name is disconnected. Kristi Hoegel also is known as Kristi
Christopher, the SEC said. Nobody answered a phone listed in that name.
Jacqueline Hoegel, 52, didnʼt respond to a message at a number listed in her
Millennium marketed the certificates in Internet banner advertisements and in
magazines catering to wealthy investors, the SEC wrote in its complaint. The ads,
with slogans like “Invest in Peace,” boast that offshore banks can offer higher
interest rates compared with larger domestic rivals.
Customers were told to send checks to the Caribbean, where they were collected
and mailed to Napa, the SEC said. The money was then deposited into a single
Washington Mutual Inc. bank account opened in Las Vegas by the Hoegels, it said.
Money from the account was shared among at least nine people and seven
businesses, including the bank and a company listed as its parent, United Trust of
Switzerland SA, the SEC said. From October 2008 to February, about $3 million
was returned to investors.
Stanford, who hasnʼt been criminally charged, filed papers last month refusing to
testify in the SEC case and asserting his right against self-incrimination under the
Constitution. His lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, in a telephone interview today denied
Stanfordʼs business was a Ponzi scheme and said regulators caused investors to
panic, creating a fatal run on his financial empire.
Copyright� 2007 Cayman Net News at www.caymannetnews.com All Rights
Licence is granted for free print and distribution.

Sailing, sailing, again

There are some nice pictures and descriptions of Grenadine Islands on http://avalonadventuresvi.blogspot.com/