Heading to Bequia was a move that went down very well with all of our crew. When I was out here last time this was one of my favourite islands, a small very chilled out island which to the suprise of many still engages in whaling having such a very strong heritage of it, although dont worry here the whales definatly have the advantage, as they historically have. Here whaling is still done using small rowing boats and traditional equipment, which has led to it being one of the few sustainable forms of whaling still around, they also use all of the animal rather than just the meat.
Whaling aside this is a lovely island in itself with a small set of shops and stalls along the front just off the pontoons and a nice selection of bars and resturants along the waterfront. The first day there we headed ashore to make use of the free time as we would be on duty the next day, Edward chilled out in a bar while I went for a quick dip in the water or at least that was what I intended to do… When swimming I got a passing hi from a couple swimming a little further out, I replied to them and they observed that I must be english. Im not sure how this was deduced but it was definitely true… so I stopped to agree and ended up having a half hour conversation with the woman, a lovely lady who was Norwegian who spent half her life in Canada and had married a white local guy and had lived in the carribean for the last 40 years or so, splitting their time between here and Canada.
She told me about their house on the hill, just out of sight behind the trees, her husbands childhood home, now a famous resturant/bar on the water front the Frangipani and we discussed the differences between what the island had been like when she first arrived. There had been only two cars on the island, one of which gave them a lift up to where their house was to be, on roads which required the driver to reverse back at the corners as they were such tight switch backs, they had also arrived from st Vincent by the ferry which was a sailing boat, the schooner Friendship Rose, which now acts as a day trip boat out of the harbour. When she was crossing over the first time they loaded a car onto the deck of the Friendship Rose as this was the only way to bring anything to the island.
After realising how much longer my swim was taking I headed out, promising to keep an eye out for D and her husband when we returned to st Lucia as they would be there visiting friends, and headed back to where Edward was in one of the bars. We moved bars to try and connect with the outside world through internet, stopping in at the whale boner bar which not only did food and drink but had a small boutique selling clothes that had been made on the island and silk screened by the employees of the bar/boutique. This produced much nicer tourist tops than the traditional ones sold on every island, alas none were in my size, neither were the dresses that they sold 😦 One day I will have to go back to get something from there.
We decided to stay out for dinner that evening as we would be on duty the whole of the next day and so wouldnt get a chance to go ashore again, so we headed out to look for food, spotting a number of our crew in a waterside bar/cafeteria we ‘joined’ them at the next table, splashing out slightly on the meal and taking advantage of the Caribbean’s love of seafood getting a half lobster and seafood platter to share between us. The lobster out here is spiny lobster and is deliciously meaty, but somewhat lacking in garlic butter, and cheap not only was the lobster less than the steak, lobster + seafood platter + a beer and glass of wine came to about £20 each.
The next day we were running boats for everyone else to go ashore, some of our crew headed out to the Bequia Music Festival and others just enjoyed the beach.