The Mystique of Mustique

Planning to go to Bequia, where we had arranged a reunion with the Gobow team, we made a spur of moment decision and took a turn to the left - ending up in the island for the rich and famous - Mustique.

En route, Matt put me in a frantic state for at least a minute or two!! I thought he had gone overboard as he was on watch and was suddenly nowhere to be seen. I quickly checked his favourite haunts - to no avail! Fearing the worst, I started shouting just to make sure. Suddenly a head popped up out of the sail bag. I was so relieved you can’t imagine, and I have to say I cracked up as he looked so funny!

After an initial calm run out of the Cays (complete with hidden skippers) we ended up heading into fairly rough seas as we headed to Mustique. I hadn’t taken any pills, but by staying in the cockpit for this short run, I managed to make it back to calm waters without feeding the fish - feeling quite proud of myself!

One of the things we had read about before arriving in the Caribbean is the poisonous manchineel trees - every part of them is poisonous so even to stand under them in the rain is a bad idea and warned against. Here, on Mustique, each manchineel tree is marked with a big red sprayed on band so there is no excuse!

It is also an island that is frequented by the very wealthy and / or very famous. A tour of the island goes something like this: “That’s Mick Jagger’s house, that’s Tommy Hilfiger’s house, that’s Bryan Adams’ house, that’s where Kate and William stay, you know the car Ferrari? That’s his house, that used to be David Bowie’s house……and so it goes on, and on!

What is the mystique of this island then? For these rich and famous, one assumes, it is the simplicity that they love - no golf courses, street signs, traffic lights and so forth. Only a few restaurants and places for people to stay exists, unless like us they come in a yacht. There is a (most expensive) bakery and a boutique, alongside the fresh fish and fruit and vegetable market. The beaches are beautiful and there is plenty of walking if you are so inclined. And that’s about it. If you ask me, they couldn’t have done better if they tried.

So how did this come to be?

The island was originally purchased for peanuts in 1958 by Lord Glenconner as a cheaper means of surviving the Scottish winter than heating their castle, there were then just a few settlements, a couple of estates and some sugar plantation ruins. After a couple of years, he had created enough infrastructure for affluent friends to come to the island as a secluded getaway. A gift of 10 acres to Princess Margaret sealed the island’s fate.

Fortunately, yachties like us are able to anchor and enjoy walking the beautiful beaches, take in the spectacular views, and spend time eating at the famous Cotton House, or the equally famous, Basil’s Bar - more conveniently located right on the anchorage and in the perfect spot for the magnificent sunsets we witnessed!

I am so glad we came. I really like this place!