Whilst we are waiting for the winds to drop and we can be underway for our next leg north, we find ourselves in Bequia for at least 10+ days. This isn’t all that bad as this is a gorgeous little island (7 sq miles) with a population of about 5,000 in St Vincent and the Grenadines. It is our fourth visit and we always enjoy it. The island has everything we need; some nice restaurants, a good anchorage, great fruit and veg from nearby St Vincent, friendly people and picturesque scenery.
The first few days we caught up with other cruisers we knew and general stuff like provisioning after a few days at Tobago Cays where there are no shops. Sunday it rained on and off all day and we didn’t go ashore once so by Monday we were ready for some exercise. So we joined up with 4 Coconuts (Toutou, David, Maya and Tyler) and Notrie Vie (Sunny and John) plus two of Sunny & John’s friends, Angela and Neil and took a gorgeous walk to the Hawksbill Turtle Sanctuary on the north-east coast of the island. It was a sunny day but the walk was along the main road which had good tree coverage providing some much appreciated shade. As we left the main town of Port Elizabeth, a stray dog decided to tag along much to Tyler and Maya’s delight. They quickly named him Potato and he spent the whole day with us. Tyler asked him if he’d like to become the 5th coconut! He was a lovely dog and waited for us outside everytime we went in anywhere. Mal subsequently named him Red Dog after the dog in the Australian film of the same name. On our way back to town we stopped at The Firefly Plantation for lunch and a swim. There didn’t appear to be any guests so we had the beautiful grounds to ourselves. Originally a volcanic island, the soil is very fertile and this hotel uses much of the fruit and veg grown here.
Whilst we’re waiting for the weather-window, we can do some jobs and make some significant Black Box deposits! A friend of ours, Mike Sweeney from One Love Catamaran Charters, refers to Black Box deposits as jobs to do before they actually need doing. Our job list has been getting longer and longer so we decided we could probably do one a day for the next few days and put a seriously big hole in the list. Mal has been polishing, checking fuel levels, cleaning windows, etc, whilst I’ve been replenishing the damp-rid, which we place in each berth during the summer months, and cleaning the odd mildew spots that crop up with the humidity.
On Friday I joined Jo from Serenade, Diana from Serenada and Mary from Night Watch, for a girls’ day out! We had a most successful day enjoying a spot of lunch and visiting every boutique, gallery and hair salon that Port Elizabeth had to offer.
We’re very excited to use the new boardwalk (almost finished) linking Tony Gibbons Beach (aka Princess Margaret Beach) to the main beach at Port Elizabeth. It’s a pretty walk and quite convenient for us.
Today Mal and I joined the abovementioned girls and their partners, Greg, Gill and Ralph, for a good walk across the hill to Friendship Bay to visit the Whaling Museum. Bequia has a strong history of whaling and they have an Agreement from the IWC that they can take four whales per year. The whaling season is from February to April and the Agreement is that they must hunt in a traditional manner. This involves using a hand-thrown harpoon from an open sailing boat and, we understand, there are fewer and fewer people available with these skills, resulting in no whales caught during 2013.
The walk was pleasant enough along the roads but the Whaling Museum was closed so we continued on and came across a lobster co-operative. As we stood there, boat after boat arrived with their catch of very large lobsters which were transferred into floating holding crates. They informed us that they provide the local market and restaurants on the island and export to Trinidad and as far away as Japan. A local was making a lobster trap and was charging 5EC ($2.50AU) per trap.
We then continued on down the road to the airport when a tropical downpour arrived. We hailed a local bus and got a ride back to town. We then had a much-needed lunch and beer at the Whaleboner Restaurant before hiking back to our dinghies and heading home.
Looking at windguru.com it looks like Thursday 27th is our window of opportunity and, at this stage, Plan A is a very long day-sail straight to Marin on Martinique, approximately 90nm. This means bypassing St Vincent and St Lucia. We are then looking forward to some playtime on a French island whilst waiting for my sister, Annie, to join us. Very exciting 🙂
Until next time, keep well, Sue & Mal xx