Wednesday 16 January 2013


Britannia Bay in Mustique is full of clear blue water dotted with white mooring buoys. We slip two lines through the swivel on the top of the buoy and switch off the engine. The clouds have vanished, the sky is blue and the scene is perfect - well, almost.

During the northern Atlantic winter, storms rage down the Eastern sea board of the United States, creating a sea state that pushes its way south all the way down to the lesser Antilles. This northern swell is the bane of all sailing yachts in the eastern Caribbean because it works its way into every bay and harbour, rolling the largest yachts at their moorings, disturbing sleep, spilling drinks and making the most idyllic anchorages uncomfortable. The only bays that avoid the swell are those that are deeply indented on their northern point with a protruding headland that acts as a breakwater and these bays are much sought after when the northern swell is on - and today it is. Despite the beauty of this island and the best efforts of its wealthy residents, Britannia Bay is open to the north and the swell rolls through the mooring field, rocking us from side to side with just enough momentum to make us want to go ashore to seek relief.

I call Mustique Mechanical Services to rent a mule for the day. A mule is half jeep half golf cart, the perfect vehicle for seeing the island and i have promised my mother a trip to Macaroni beach, one of the great beaches in the world with big atlantic rollers which break on a deserted shore. However, i am told that they no longer rent out Mules to visitors on yachts and i can feel the clique of Mustique closing ranks. I suspect the next step will be to stop yachts anchoring in the the bay.

Disappointed but determined to see some of the island, we tie up at the dinghy dock and leave our rib riding the swell of the waves crashing against the sandy beach. We follow the lane along the shore, past Basils Bar decked with flags to celebrate its 35th anniversary and on to a genteel row of shops, painted in shades of purple and green and framed in blossoms of bougainvillea, plumbago and oleander against a backdrop of perfect green coconut palms swaying in the breeze. There is a small supermarket selling Gevrey Chambertin for 250 US dollars a bottle, a testament to the tastes and means of Mustiques exclusive residents. I marvel at the success of this curious island where an acre of land can cost 5 million dollars, whereas only a few miles away on the island of Union, a beautiful plot of land comes free to anyone willing to start a commercial enterprise that will generate income for the locals.

Later in the evening we go to Basils Bar for dinner, enjoying the waves crashing under the foundations of the restaurant which stands on stilts over the sand. Dinner is pleasant but we leave thinking that on balance Mustique doesn't justify the price of dinner and the exorbitant cost of the mooring for the visiting yachtsman. The swell keeps us awake for most of the night and after a swim to the beach we are glad to be heading for the shelter of Admiralty Bay on Bequia.


  1. What a swell time!
    Looking forward to seeing Juno again on 2nd March ..... Windsor's now booked up...hooooray

  2. Hehe, got to be on the inside track, it seems, when it comes to Musters. Say hi to Bequia or us.
    N and C
    Ps nice pics of Fatty

  3. Gevrey Chambertin is US$150 at the Firefly. that's served at your table ...not bagged!!
    Sometimes difficult to judge a whole island on one visit to the supermarket and a meal at Basil's