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Monday, December 21, 2009

Port Elizabeth to Wallilabou Bay

We woke up this morning and got our dive gear ready. For me, this meant my mask and snorkel, but for Lisa, this meant her BCD, wet suit, and regulator/octopus as well: she had recently (and tragically) inherited that gear from a friend with identical height and build who passed away from breast cancer without fulfilling her dream of diving in the Caribbean. Lisa would fulfill that dream for her.

Along with Noah and Josh, we were dropped off at the Gingerbread House ferry dock, just a short walk away from Bequia Dive Adventures, a dive outfit that Norman recommended. They were prepared to take us diving right away, but Noah and Josh had to do some serious pool work first, so Ron told Norman not to expect us back until 1pm. This was fine with the rest of the crew, since they wanted to go shopping for food anyway.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Our first dive in the area was to be the Moon Homes. These were a set of homes built out of flotsam and jetsam off the coast of Bequia, and were used as artists' retreats (albeit rich artists, as the rent is quite high). When we dropped down into the water, it became obvious that Lisa's new dive gear was very good stuff: while in rented equipment she frequently had a hard time achieving neutral buoyancy, with this gear, she had no problem keeping a consistent depth, and achieving whatever she wanted under water. I attribute this to the integrated weight belt and the closer fit of the wet suit.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

While I had lots of complaints about the visibility from the beaches on Bequia, the diving bore no such complaints. Here, we got the classic 70 foot visibility that I associate with the Caribbean. The water was calm, and the fish and coral plentiful. I was very pleased with the dive, and made a note to return for more diving since we were scheduled to be in Bequia for the New Year.
When we were done with our dives, it was Noah and Josh's turn, since they had completed their dive training, so we went to town to get some snacks for the sailing trip, since we knew we would not be stopping for lunch. Alena and Sarang went to the Princess Margaret Beach, while Sue and Ron walked all around town.

We got back to the Illusion around 1:00pm, and immediately got ready to set sail. From Bequia to St. Vincent was a short sail, but we were going all the way to Wallibou Bay. Norman decided to give Noah and Josh lessons on navigation, while Sue was given the helm. Sailing into Wallilabou Bay around sunset, we had views of the Arch made famous by The Pirates of the Caribbean.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Anchoring was an involved process, because Norman wanted to park the boat with the stern facing Tony's, a bar right on the beach. Right in front of Tony's was the left-over facade from filming the movie, including a declaration of the Pirate's retreat. A man with a rowboat rowed out to greet the Illusion, picked up a mooring buoy, and then a line from the bow was run through the mooring buoy. Then a line was carried off the stern by rowboat and tied to anchor points on the shore., and then tied off. This arrangement made sense after Norman wired up the skiff with two lines: one line would be pulled to move the skiff to shore, and another would be pulled to bring the skiff to the Illusion. This allowed us to get on and off the Illusion without using engine power, and independent of each other.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

We went ashore to get some drinks. Just like everywhere else in the Caribbean, the Coca-Cola served in St. Vincent is made with real sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup, and was a real treat. The others tried various drinks including Tony's Rum Punch.
From St. Vincent and the Grenadines

After dinner, Sarang asked Norman about his time in jail for manufacturing amphetamines. This was a long and involved story, including descriptions of suitcases of cash, how the drug as cut, and how many people were involved. It was all a lot of fun, but left me scratching my head over a few details. We were going to have an early morning the next day, since the hike up the Volcano was to start at 6:00am, so we turned in early.


Stacy said...

Hey - could you elaborate on the better gear? I'm thinking of taking up Scuba this year - and could use the guidance on the difference between lousy, adequate, and awesome.

Piaw Na said...

Lousy: wet suits that don't fit well. Too loose: water leaks into the wet suit, so you don't stay warm, plus it catches current.

BCD: the integrated weight belt BCDs are much better than the separate weight belt tied on separately. The weight is better distributed, and you don't end up sagging.

Dive computer: Much more accurate information, no need to rely on watches.

Of the lot, the BCD is the most important. I'd rather have my own BCD and rent everything else, if the rental gear isn't working out.

I hope this helps!