19 – 30 January 2012
Our overnight trip from Barbados to Bequia was uneventful and quite pleasant. We had actually picked one of the best nights with around 15 knots of wind from behind, some moonlight to start with then a brilliant display of stars littering the sky. However that very uncomfortable rolly lurch we had for all of our Atlantic Crossing just wanted to stay with us, right till the end!
We had heard how beautiful the small island of Bequia was and how popular the anchorage is with visiting yachts and sure enough, as we came around the headland into Admiralty Bay at Port Elizabeth, we were met with a very busy harbour full of yachts flying flags from all corners of the world … some swinging on moorings … many at anchor. Our depth sounder picked a very bad time to have a brain failure with lots of shallow spots but we nudged our way in slowly and after a couple of attempts had anchor down. Not good odds so far on anchoring first time, where is all this lovely white Caribbean sand for us to dig into?
Bequia is a gorgeous little spot, the quintessential Caribbean island. Several dinghy docks for all their floating visitors to tie up to. One road running along the waterfront for about a kilometre with life's basic needs – all lined up in a row. There’s a walkway (under very much needed repair) that goes in front of several waterfront cafes and bars along the foreshore, the turquoise waters lap in, the coconut palms wave in the wind (note wind NOT breeze!!!) and it all has a laid back cruisy feel to it, just wonderful.
The days passed and more of our friends arrived. We hired a “taxi” one afternoon (open top truck with bench seats down each side) and along with Alan and Jean off Tuatara (NZ), David and Brenda off Bandit (NZ) and Andrew, Clare and Bronwyn off Eye Candy (Australia) set off to explore Bequia. It’s a small island so all the “highlights” can be taken in within a couple of hours.
It all looks green and fertile, and trust me they do get rain – even in the dry season, but it seems hardly anything is grown here and all produce is shipped in daily from neighbouring St Vincent, the locals say its too rocky but there is plenty of vegetation.
More kiwis arrived, Irene and Chris off Cuttyhunk brought the kiwi fleet up to 4 yachts, not a bad effort for a tiny island in the Caribbean. Cuttyhunk became very well known a few years ago as one of two Farr 44s (the other being Blizzard) that sailed from New Zealand to the America’s Cup in Valencia back in 2007. They crossed the Pacific, went through the Panama Canal, sailed the Caribbean Sea, bashed across the Northern Atlantic to the Azores then headed into the Mediterranean and up to Valencia, all in just 4 months - phew!!! Their return journey so far has been a little more relaxed with plenty of time for rum punches on soft white sandy beaches while the sun dips in the western sky.
It really was time to move on, but more reasons to stay kept popping up . The Annual Bequia Music Festival was kicking off with a 13 piece Elite Steel Orchestra to play at one of the waterfront restaurants. It was a rainy, squally, windy night but everyone came out in force to see this amazing teenage Steel Band. Mt Gay were excellent sponsors providing free rum for quite some time….always a bonus….can’t think of a better reason to support such events. I don’t know how many hours these young musicians spend practicing but they were truly amazing. They played nonstop for over 2 hours, without music and conductor, they just seemed to live the music and had it in their bones and certainly their soul. The young base drummer ‘steeled’ the show… maybe 13 years old, big smile… an absolute natural performer. It was an excellent night, they truly were talented young musicians.
There was one more reason to stay another night. American friends Rob and Dee off Ventana had just completed their circumnavigation having left the Caribbean 12 years ago. Truly a cause for celebration. Also Tony off Tactical Directions arrived that day on his way north. We met both of them back in Darwin in 2006 and have seen them on and off over the years but this was the final parting of the ways as they are both now heading north as we go south - more goodbyes were in order.
For Cruising and Touristy info for Bequia on our other blog click here