Bequia and Beyond

Posted March 28th, 2012 by Nick and filed in Uncategorized

P2250011, originally uploaded by melandnick.

We arrived in Bequia (pronounced Bekway) in mid February after our adventures in the Tobago Cays (Nick’s blog to come soon). I thought it wasn’t possible, but Bequia is even more beautiful, and on top that, a little more tourist friendly than some of the other islands, with a huge choice of restaurants and beautiful beaches right next to the anchorage. My favourite place on the journey so far.

The first day we took a trip into the main town to buy some food and check it out. We wandered into the fruit and vegetable market and encountered around 10 stalls with very friendly and enthusiastic vendors. Two of whom were real characters. The first was a rastaman who tried to sell Nick some local ganja and was very funny, his sales pitch included gems like ‘they put it in da cakes, give dem to the guests at da parties and everybody go crazy’ and then turned to me and put his face 2inches away from mine and loudly rejoiced with a big smile ‘It’s all about de ganja’! All the while the other vendors looked on and rolled their eyes. We still laugh about it nearly every other day.

The second was an elderly lady running a small stall, she approached Nick and tried to sell him a Soursop (a tasty local fruit), she held her little finger up to him and said ‘It make your little mon stand up’…we laughed a lot, but passed on the soursop!

We also dropped into a local fishing tackle shop and I spotted the perfect T-shirt for Nick, with the logo ‘Don’t Buy Dem, Catch Dem’ which of course, we had to buy 

Nick’s mum & dad kindly gave us some money for Christmas to put towards a hotel for a day or so as a treat for us to stay away from the boat, in a nice proper bed with a shower for the first time since we left. So, I did some research immediately upon arriving in Bequia, and found us a beautiful small hotel (4 rooms) called the Sweet Retreat, located on a hill overlooking Admiralty Bay. The owners, Shelby and Roger really looked after us and helped us do a mountain of washing too! It was a beautiful place, and our balcony over looked super yachts including the Royal Navy ship that brought Prince Edward to town whilst we were there, and another huge motor yacht believed to be owned by Roman Abramovic as well as little Borne, a small spec in the distance. We had amazing dinner there, against a backdrop of singing tree frogs, and for breakfast feasted on fresh fruit salad and freshly cooked muffins (Shelby cooks approx 4000 muffins per year)! We felt great for having had a good night’s sleep without kicking each other and hot showers, luxury!

Also in Bequia with us were lots of friends including Maarten and Daan, Robert and Anna, and a number of other German and Dutch boats who we’ve met along the way, so all in all we had a great time there.

The last thing to say about Bequia is that on 29th Feb I asked Nick to marry me and he said yes…after coming this far, how could we not?

On 1st March it rained, all day…so we decided to sail to St Vincent?!?! We went directly to Walliabou Bay, which is one of the main sets where the first Pirates of the Caribbean film was shot. To be honest, it was quite run down, and many of the buildings used for the film were ruins, which was disappointing. However, there was good snorkelling, and we met some real characters in the locals who made us laugh. Robert and Anna were there with us and we enjoyed a BBQ with them where we saw some huge bats flying around the boat, at least 40 cm wing span.

Another evening we went to the bar directly onshore from the boat, which served famous ‘Jack Sparrow Rum Punch’! We were chatting to the owner and another local called Bagga, and realised that all the men have two names, their own, and an alias. So, with the help of the bar owner, Robert is now known as ‘Robert the Hood’, and Nick as ‘Big Mac’.

Our time in St Vincent was only a few days, and then we moved on to St Lucia. We had a horrendous sail that took us 12 hours, during which time we were slapped by huge confused waves and big gusts off the northern tip of St Vincent. We’d read this was likely in one of the pilot books, so we were prepared, but we still hated every minute of it. So much so, that we decided on that passage not to sail Borne home, and instead, have her shipped back to Southampton from the US Virgin Islands. This will cost a few pennies, but for us well worth it as the sail back to the UK will be colder and longer than the way here.

St Lucia was a tale of two halves. We arrived in Soufriere, in the south directly next to the famous Pitons, which are huge (the photo’s just never seem to show this effectively) and very beautiful. We could see them for miles before we were anywhere near the island. Robert and Anna joined us the next day, and together we walked to the Sulpher Springs which is what is left of the crater of the main volcano on St Lucia. The smell was awful, but after the obligatory tour, we bathed ourselves in a mineral rich hot mud stream, which sounds gross, but I’m sure would cost £100’s in a spa, and then rinsed off in the outdoor showers. I must admit, that my skin did feel amazing afterwards, even if I did smell of ‘eau d’egg’ for the next 24 hours.

One evening in Soufriere, Nick and Robert decided to head to shore to talk to the locals fishing on the beach to find out about their techniques. Armed with a bottle of rum and a number of cokes, they approached them and soon became firm friends (Anna and I sensibly remained on board). They learned some fishing techniques, before another local turned up who makes his money by walking up 100-150ft high palm trees, to pick coconuts for tourists. He demonstrated his talent of walking (not climbing) up these trees to Nick and Robert, when one of the fishermen said to them “They call him the ‘Lizard’”. Big Mac and Robert the Hood by this time were fearless (through drinking a few rums) and of course tried to climb up themselves, but fortunately didn’t get high enough to do any damage!

Then, after months of ‘raw Caribbean’ (which was lovely but by now we’re craving western food), we encountered civilisation again in Rodney Bay. We needed to go to the marina there, which is the first big proper marina we’d been to since Gomera (there is one in Grenada too but we didn’t stay there). It was a very welcome break. We could walk off the boat onto dry land without having to use the dinghy, and the marina had lots of different restaurants, all of which were just like you’d find at home i.e. a fantastic pizza place, great cheeseburgers, thai, sushi, deli’s etc, etc. Heaven! Not to mention hot showers! They also had big supermarkets, some of which sold Waitrose branded products, so we stocked up!

Robert and Anna were there too, and we went to a mad street party which happens every Friday night in a nearby village. The main street is closed, and at one end a wall of huge speakers is built belting out reggae and latest hits, whilst locals bbq on the side of the street and sell drinks (beer and rum mainly) out of cool boxes. There were lots of tourists there but also locals and it was a lot of fun. We left earlyish, and decided to go to the casino in Rodney Bay to continue our night out. Robert the Hood did well and managed to play for a long time after Nick and I were out of funds, but unfortunately we all left empty handed.

We left St Lucia a couple of days later, heading for Martinique, our first French island, where many adventures, good and bad, have taken place…check out the next blog coming soon…

Mel x

One Response to “Bequia and Beyond”

  1. Paul Hogan says:

    Hi guys, awesome trip, you should be so proud of what you have achieved. I heard Nick is sidelined at the moment. Hope he feels better soon and you can get back in to action. Paul @Rossi

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