Mustique to Kingstown by Ferry
Kingstown Travel Blog› entry 1 of 7 › view all entries
Friday morning I headed out in the rain at about 6:50 to Britannia Bay to begin my journey to St. Vincent, also called the main land as it is the biggest island. I bought my ticket at the wharf, and headed over to board the Endeavour. As I stepped onto the short catwalk, a man with a cardboard box taped at the seams was just ahead of me. The box slipped from his grasp and leaked what appeared to be milk all over his shoes. The walkway, being only a few boards across, seemed a bit narrow to go past, and the poor guy was trying to sort out what to do with the box which was now spewing white liquid from every seam as he kept picking it up and it kept slipping from his hands and back onto the wooden planks. More people are in line now wanting to board and the tall rasta man behind me says “Nobody dead, nobody dead” as he squeezes past me and the poor bloke with the broken box.
As the Endeavour is mainly used for shipping product from St. Vincent to Mustique, luxury for passengers is not at the top of the list. There is a bench seat on the top deck which might squeeze a total of ten people. Since about a hundred people or so were boarding, the other ninety or so of us stood next to the cargo and found something to hold onto to keep our balance even though the boat was still tied to the dock as there was a not so subtle swaying back and forth. I stood in the middle of the ferry and while the rain had subsided for awhile it now started to pour and the engine roared preparing for departure.
We head away from the wharf, the boat picks up speed and I am surprised at how fast it goes. The ride is a bit rough and it is hard to maneuver anywhere without losing your balance. I carefully make my way toward the side so I have a better view and Mustique soon becomes a grainy dot on the horizon as we approach the island of Bequia (pronounced Beckway) an island I rode a speedboat to the weekend before so for their annual music festival. I would like to go explore Bequia further, and an inexpensive suggestion to get there was to pay a fisherman to take you in one of their boats.
A little over an hour and a half or so after we set sail St. Vincent was within sight. There was a huge cruise ship at the port and the wharf had several ferries docked already. Though the weather was gloomy, I wasn’t bothered, as I was ready for whatever the long weekends adventure might bring. The overcast skies didn’t help the camera to capture the colorful backdrop of the Carribean houses and hotels, but I couldn’t help but to snap away. A little boy who came to one of the after school programs was on board as well, and he asked if he could take a photo of the cruise ship.
I stepped off the boat and into the streets with the rest of the crowd, handmade backpack out of feed sacks looking like it had been sewn by a kindergardner in tow, and headed into Kingstown. The city smelled of diesel fuel and dirtiness and after about ten minutes I was ready to get out to the countryside. I am not a city girl at heart as it is, but after the fifth or sixth skinny, mangy, scared of human contact dog I saw sleeping in the streets or under a car, Kingstown lost what little charm it had for me.
Before leaving on my trip I had emailed with Stina-- the director of Richmond Vale Hiking Center where I had reservations for a room-- several times and she had suggested a place to have a cup of coffee in town while I waited for my ride.
I asked directions to the restaurant called Bounty as Stina had suggested so I could get out of the streets and wait for my ride. On the way there I passed by numerous street vendors selling beaded necklaces and other trinkets as well as spices and fruits and vegetables. To my surprise there was a large Kentucky Fried Chicken but no McDonalds.
After several wrong turns and having to ask directions from several locals in the streets I finally found the two story building that was home to the Bounty Restaurant and Art Gallery. I walked up the uneven concrete steps leading to my retreat from the city, and at the top was a quiet little café style restaurant with a small gift section and local paintings hanging on the wall. On one side there were large open windows next to the colorful tile-top tables for seating. It was pleasant as there was a breeze every now and then from the open windows and I could watch people passing in the streets below.
I got the phone call that Raymond was waiting downstairs to give me a lift. When I got back to the street I was greeted with a warm and friendly smile belonging to a local who worked for Richmond Vale as their farm manager. Raymond looks to be about twenty or so, and seemed a bit shy, but very nice. He led me to a two door Suzuki vehicle that had seen better days. He had a couple more errands to run so I saw a bit more of the city, including several of the schools, which must have been on their lunch break, as kids inundated the streets or hung out in the school yard. I couldn’t believe how may kids there were. As traffic in the city moved about as fast as molasses coming out of a jar, we didn’t head out of town for more than an hour.
As Raymond drove us around the narrow and hilly roads, dodging oncoming traffic and making hairpin turns, honking the whole way, I was able to take lots of pictures. I was surprised at how many of them turned out and I was glad, because the scenery was really interesting. Raymond wasn't a terribly chatty guy, but I asked loads of questions, nonetheless, which he was kind enough to answer.