Mustique, also known as Billionaire’s Island, is a private island owned by the Mustique Company who represents all its clients. The likes of Mick Jagger, Raquel Welch, and the late David Bowie have, or have had, homes in Mustique in addition to Princess Margaret. (Video below)
Aside from homes for the rich and famous the island also has a few extremely luxurious, and expensive, resorts. The Cotton Plantation on the north part of the plantation is one such five star hotel.
Before reading the full article, check out my Sailing to Mustique video below
Sailing to Mustique
Located south of St Lucia, you’ll find St Vincent and the Grenadines with Mustique under the island of Bequia (Read ‘Discovering Bequia‘). If you’ve ever been to Barbados, the Grenadines are the islands about 100 miles west.
We set sail for Mustique leaving from the island of Bequia
After filling our freezer with food from Doris’s in Bequia, we lifted anchor and set sail south for Mustique. Considering our recent Atlantic Ocean crossing our quick jaunts between Caribbean Islands seem so quick!
The sail down to Mustique took a couple hours only using our front sail
We headed out of Admiralty Bay in Bequia, rounded the corner, headed south and could easily spot the five square mile island of Mustique on the horizon.
The sail was very enjoyable – Hubby helmed, our daughter jumped around the cockpit being a goofball, our crewmember Eve relaxed and I read my book while intermittently staring into the deep blue sea.
The novelty of my ability to stare across the sea while watching my thoughts slow, and even stop, will never wear off (I hope!). When we haven’t sailed for a while I feel withdrawal symptoms. I miss the state of bliss I feel off and on throughout the journey.
That is, of course, when I’m not seasick and puking!
[As I write this I’m in the cockpit so not to disturb hubby doing homeschooling with our daughter – we trade on and off with that duty. I just looked up and saw thousands of minnows, or tiny fish, jump high into the air. The minnows went up in the air four times. I didn’t catch a glimpse of what was chasing them but this occurrence happens often in these waters. Whenever I see such a sight I can’t help but wonder what’s going on below us. I imagine a big fish chasing smaller fish, the smaller fish chasing even smaller fish and on and on down the food chain. I then feel grateful that I’m on the top of the food chain!]
Eventually, we furled our headsail, turned our engine on and motored into the mooring field in Mustique. Unlike Bequia, where I thought it was just another island, I could instantly appreciate the appeal of Mustique.
The whole island is visible from the bay and as my eye took in the backdrop I felt them smiling with visual delight. Starting from ground level, the sea was navy blue interspersed with light turquoise patches. Following up, I caught sight of light sandy beaches, beautiful maintained palm tree’s and loads of greenery – trees, shrubs and grass. Peppered throughout the island I then noticed mansions owned by the rich and famous in addition to resorts – all constructed in a manor not to upset the natural look and feel of the land.
A small town was visible showcasing small homes, colorful shops, boutiques and right on the water’s edge I caught sight of the famous Basil’s Bar. The bar is famous for it’s prominent visitors. For example, Mick Jagger has been known to get up and do a few impromptu singing sessions.
What really made my eye’s smile were the rolling waves hitting the reef along the coast
Not only where the waves of the kind that surfers can surf into, but the color was extraordinary.
Never have I experienced such a feel for sea foam green before!
Upon our arrival to an outer mooring buoy, a lovely harbormaster came to the boat to help Eve and I attach two ropes to the buoy. We always put a rope on the port and starboard side, run it through the mooring buoy ring and back to the same side (port rope goes down and back up to the port side).
Incidentally, a boat came in later offering the harbormaster only one line. A discussion ensued and after much commotion one of the crewmembers eventually brought out a second line. I think that mooring buoys are notorious for cutting through rope so if one line goes you’ll want to have another as a backup! It appears that the harbormaster forced the crewmembers to get another line.
Once we were tied down the harbormaster explained the rates
He said, ‘The cost of the mooring buoy is $200EC for one night however you can stay for three.’ In other words, he wanted $200EC regardless to us staying for one night or three. We thought that it seemed like a cunning plan to get sailors to stay longer and perhaps spend more money on the island. The plan worked on us – not only did we stay but spent a bit of money too (too much)!
The harbormaster then explained the layout of the town, told us to avoid the many turtles that rise up from the weed beds for air and pointed out where the reef was for snorkeling. He also explained that we weren’t allowed to fish as it’s a protected area.
Preparing for our friends sailing to Mustique
While the harbormaster was along side we asked if he’d be kind enough to reserve the mooring buoy next to us for friends that would be arriving within the hour. Fortunately, he took one of our fenders and tied it onto the next mooring buoy indicating a ‘reserved’ sign.
It didn’t take long for us to clean up the boat, get our bathing suits on and jump in the sparkling clean water. Swimming with the backdrop of Mustique is an amazing experience. I couldn’t help but feel that I was swimming in heaven.
Our friends eventually arrived; we let them settle in for a bit and had the children over to play with our daughter, Sienna. We made arrangements to enjoy a drink at Basil’s Bar ashore at 5pm.
Eager to explore the island a bit, we all loaded into our dinghies and headed for the dingy dock. With a short commute, we ungracefully rolled ourselves off the dingy and walked a short distance to Basil’s Bar. I thought the view of the island from the boat was amazing but the view from land was also incredible!
I’m not sure if my eyes had ever smiled so much
The children played at the beach collecting conk shells and using them to line the outer area of the entranceway. Baily’s Bar is on stilts so the entrance is like a dock with areas for decoration along the edge.
Us adults enjoyed one of the many cocktails on offer while discussing the days sail
The ambiance of the bar was magical
Considering the rich and famous people that frequented the bar I didn’t feel like it was pretentious or out of my league. Often when I go to celebrity hotspots I don’t feel comfortable – I feel like I have to sit up straight, use the right spoon and dab the napkin on my face rather than wiping it.
For me, Basil’s Bar was just a normal Caribbean Bar offering great drinks, good food and live music
On another evening we wanted to enjoy the Basil’s Bar BBQ and live music night however the start was too late for the children. I would have loved to have heard the Mustique Blues Band play…perhaps another time?
Early in the morning, my friend Sarah from a neighboring boat, and I headed to the dingy dock. We decided the night before to walk into town early and go for a nose around the island. We enjoyed passing all the closed shops, heading up the hills and gaining views from the top of the island. We walked around the community, saw the Police Office, peered into the Post Office and happened upon several large slow moving tortoises.
Upon finding the other side of the peninsula we watched lovely rolling waves crash upon the shore. I couldn’t help but get caught up watching the waves and listening to the ebb and flow.
Sarah and I chatted about all sorts of things that boaties talk about – children issues, hubby frustrations, life and recipes that are fast, easy and taste good. By the time we made it back to the little town all the shops were open so we then had a snoop around the grocery store, bakery, boutiques and discussed connectivity options with the Digicel woman (Internet).
Both Sarah and I ran out of Internet credit when we arrived to Mustique
Although we were told that you can top-up online it didn’t work. After five visits to the Digicel woman and finding the location of an obscurely hidden ‘self care’ page we finally got a connection again. Having Internet on the boat has been the bane of my existence since we started sailing around the world! It’s by far the most frustrating part of my life.
We enjoyed a coffee at Basil’s Bar and then went to the dingy dock to grab the tender and head home. I noticed that the tenders were really being tossed around – if I had a choice I wouldn’t want to leave a tender for fear that damage could be done.
During the day the children went swimming, played with toys and watched a movie
With the swell getting up I relaxed in the cockpit and read my book. Our fresh water pump decided to run and run and run. Hubby looked at it for a while and then I looked at it and after an hour we were none the wiser.
Eventually, Simon figured out the problem and then a friend from a neighboring boat came over to check it out. In the end the two boys fixed the problem – the huge smile on their faces were priceless.
I think they felt productive for the day!
In the late afternoon we decided to head into town for dinner with our friends so there was no need to worry about sorting food out.
For dinner we all went up the hill to ‘The View’ restaurant.
There were three options – fish (Yellow Fin Tuna), Pork Chops or Chicken. Three of us had the fish, one had the pork and another had the chicken. It was all good! The children enjoyed chicken wings and fries.
And the view was just as great as the food!
Looking out over our boats below, we enjoyed good home-cooked Caribbean food, excellent conversation and great memories.
The View restaurant offers inexpensive authentic cuisine in a very relaxed atmosphere. The tables are plastic, the TV will be on in the background and locals come and go. For me these are the type of places I like best.
The next day Simon and I went to shore with crewmember Eve and enjoyed a coffee while getting wifi at Basil’s Bar. Upon our return the dingy we discovered one whole side was deflated.
My earlier premonition about the dingy dock being dangerous was right
There was a huge hole in the right-hand side of the dingy and the inflatable part ripped apart from the hard boat element.
Simon and I managed to motor the dingy back to the boat, lift the outboard off the back of the dingy and place it on the sailboat. We then used a halyard to life the dingy out of the water and place it on the foredeck for inspection. We did all this before the darn thing sank!
Having a special hoist on the aft deck is so valuable
We simply hooked the clip on from the hoist and Simon and I were able to get the very heavy outboard onto safe grounds. If you ever consider sailing as just a couple, make sure you can lift your outboard – if not, have a system in place to get it off the dingy when disaster strikes.
After the dingy debacle we decided to head back up to Bequia to seek out a repair kit from the chandlery and get out of the increasing swell. Lucky for us our friends had repair patches and we had dingy cement. After a massive patch job and 24 hours I’m happy to announce that our dingy has survived. If it hadn’t we would have headed back up to St Lucia to seek a new one.
So what did I think of Mustique overall?
You’d think that I’d give it a 10 out of 10 regarding my write-up above but overall I’d give it a six.
Yes, it was beautiful. Yes it was awesome to get a glimpse into the surroundings of the rich and famous. Yes the food was good…however…
It just didn’t have an overall nice feel to it
I’m being all girly now and talking about my feelings here…I just didn’t feel all that welcomed. No one was rude but no one seemed happy to see us either. I felt as if we (meaning boaties) were tolerated.
For me I need all the pieces to fit together to have an overall good time. I thoroughly enjoyed Mustique but I don’t feel like I ever have to visit the island again.
Is sailing to Mustique a must-do?
I don’t think so. Between Bequia, an island that has great food, people and sights AND Tabego Cays, and island that is outstandingly beautiful I’d give Mustique a miss if I had time constraints.
And some tips…
– If you’re going to walk around the island, or perhaps go to the restaurant, The View, for dinner, make sure to bring a flash-light as it’s pitch dark. We ended up using our iPhone flashlights to climb the large dark hill up to the restaurant.
– Mustique is not a great anchorage when a big swell comes in – try to visit the island when the waters are calm. And if you want to get your moneys worth and stay for three-day look ahead at the weather and sea forecast.
– Don’t park your dingy on the dingy dock when the swell is in. A nail punctured our dingy and the one next to us was so swamped with water it was sinking.
– There’s no ATM or cash point on the island however the supermarket and Basil’s Bar took credit card. The View, however, was cash only.
– If you want to check out of St Vincent & The Grenadines you can do so at the tiny little airport. It’s not easy to get to so sailors usually check in or out in Bequia, St Vincent or Union Island.
– Nothing is cheap on Mustique – the food both at the restaurants and the grocery store are expensive.
– During the month of January the whole island goes on ‘lock-down,’ from what I’ve been told. Many of rich and famous enjoy the island knowing that the roads will be closed and the mooring options are limited. After January, however, the island opens up a bit more.
– While on the mooring buoy we were not offered any fruit, bread or other goods by enterprising locals. It was the first time we were not approached by local service people. Perhaps it’s not allowed in Mustique?
– There’s a tiny fruit and vegetable stall along the side of the road across from the grocery store. There is also a small fish stall at the water’s edge.
– When you get off the dingy dock there’s an advert for a Firefly Restaurant. Friends of ours enjoyed a lovely evening overlooking the bay, hobnobbing with Oracle owner, Larry Ellison, and paying $70 USD for a simple curry and rice. Errr..actually the didn’t go up to Larry as he looked like he wanted to be alone. They said the view was spectacular put the cost of the food was very high for what you got.
Is there anything I missed about Mustique? If yes, please leave a comment below 🙂