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Bequia   

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Bequia seems to have the perfect balance. Isolated and beautiful, yet also lively and modern. It blends new with old, creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It is also an island of sailors, with an active whaling station, they're proud of their history of fishing and sailing, making Bequia even more attractive to the yachting community. 

May 4th - Arrived at 5pm in Admiralty Bay after a 10 hour sail from Soufrie in St Lucia. We we're welcomed in by Dalton off 'Quietly' who'd left us in his dustin St. Lucia, and arrived 3 hours earlier then us! And by 'Cheshire Cat' who we haven't seen since March in St Martin, as we anchored we waved and yelled hellos back and forth! So we're all reunited again, 'Willow', 'Cheshire Cat', 'Quietly' and 'Gallant' for the first time since St. Martin.

path1.jpg (94073 bytes) < The main walkway from the town, along the waterfront.   Gingerbread.jpg (85884 bytes)< The Gingerbread cafe.

chatting.jpg (56600 bytes)< David chatting with John and Brenda from 'Willow' by the dinghy dock.

road 2.jpg (82364 bytes)    Mount Gay tree.jpg (118008 bytes)   impossible road.jpg (92524 bytes)   road.jpg (88702 bytes)< The town of Port Elizabeth.

 

May 6th - Mike's 60th Birthday! The reason we had whizzed down here was to celebrate Mike's birthday, and it turned out great! We had a potluck on Princess Margaret beach, right next to the anchorage. There were about 10 boats all together, including the usual crowd from St Martin, but also some new ones. Everything worked out perfectly, we had just the right amount of food and drinks, and everyone chatted as the sun went down. Then the time came for Mike to blow out the candles on his cake, and we all sang Happy Birthday! A lovely evening on the beach, that then carried on to Willow's boat! The group from St Martin, as well as 'Itza Purla' and 'Moody Fin' all squeezed into the cockpit and we sang songs and talked until the wee hours.

atmosphere.jpg (71568 bytes)    chatting 1.jpg (56868 bytes)    chatting 2.jpg (77227 bytes)      < Everybody chatting and munching away!

talking . . . . .. ..jpg (59372 bytes)    sitting in the dark.jpg (41879 bytes)    cut the cake.jpg (73025 bytes)    hug.jpg (66252 bytes) < Mike cutting the cake!

Mike birthday 07 group.jpg (85780 bytes)    The cruising crowd on the beach!

 

May 9th - We took a walk today with Charles and Caroline from 'Itza Purla' and Dalton from 'Quietly'. It was roughly 3 miles up and down the hills of Bequia, to get to the town of Spring on the opposite side of the island. We followed the main road, and walking on the concrete was hot, but there were amazing views along the way of the coconut plantations, and of the windward side of the island. After about 90 minutes we rounded the corner and came upon the Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary, a single building, surrounded by sheep and some cattle, with the beach a stroll away. We met Brother King, whose been running the place for 8 years and has since released over 600 turtles back into the wild. He was originally a fisherman for 50 years before he opened the sanctuary, in '97, to raise awareness about the dwindling population of the local  Hawkbill and Green turtles.

The walk there: flowers path.jpg (73857 bytes)    view.jpg (79583 bytes)    walking.jpg (50151 bytes)    coconut trees.jpg (99063 bytes) < A coconut plantation.

santuary outside.jpg (96069 bytes) < The sanctuary.    sign.jpg (81562 bytes)    tanks.jpg (83411 bytes)    baby turtles.jpg (47715 bytes)< Baby Hawkbill turtles

holding turtle 1.jpg (80429 bytes)    flapping turtle.jpg (59614 bytes)    holding turtlre 2.jpg (61208 bytes)< Brother King showed us some of the injuries the turtles have, a well as how to tell between male and female turtles (the shell is different.) This one had an injured flipper, is nearly a year old and is a female.

green turtle.jpg (82659 bytes)< The Green turtle.    busybody.jpg (55904 bytes)< Busybody, Brother King's favourite turtle, she's 7 yrs and has a ticklish shell!

red legged tort 1.jpg (81139 bytes)    red legged tort 2.jpg (81315 bytes)< He also has some local Red Legged Tortoises that originate from the Amazon, he looks after them, and sells them as pets, but only if he thinks you'll make a good home for it!

ickle tortoises.jpg (48056 bytes)< Some very young tortoises eating Papayas.

king chatting.jpg (72895 bytes)    listening to king.jpg (93067 bytes)< Listening to King's knowledge and wisdom.

What does Oldhegg mean? Well we asked Brother King, he explained that it's the name local people give to a person or thing that's a nuisance. Fisherman also call runt turtles that, because they're smaller and slower they live in the shallower reefs, sometimes getting caught by fisherman, making holes in their nets, and being a nuisance to them. King named his sanctuary Oldhegg, because his grandfather, who was also a fisherman, used to call everyone oldheggs! He also wanted a memorable name, which it certainly is!

 

May 11th - Our outboard engine had been doing funny things, and needed a serious look over. So we decided to make a day of it, at the beach! We sat in the shade and read our books, then Brenda from Willow swam over, followed by Cheshire Cat, and Itza Purla! Now that David had some company he started working on the engine, with some help from Charles (IP), and Mike (Cheshire Cat). Meanwhile Andrea, Alex, Brenda, Deirdre and Caroline chatted and built a sandcastle! The time went by, the engine was fixed, and we were getting hot, so we all said goodbye and motored home.

lying down.jpg (75946 bytes)< Taking it easy.    hovis.jpg (75303 bytes)< Brenda says hello to our friend, who we named Hovis (cause he kind of looks like a piece of toast!), whilst we chat.

working on motor.jpg (65825 bytes)< David and Mike working on the motor.    sandcastle.jpg (45265 bytes) < Andrea building sandcastles!

dinghy view.jpg (40707 bytes)< the view, with a beautiful tanker in the background.    bye bye.jpg (90067 bytes)< Saying goodbye to 'Itza Purla'

 

 

May 13th - Dive Bequia offers a free introduction to diving, so off we went to see what all the fuss was about! We met Jan, a friendly Dive Master Instructor from Yorkshire, along with about 8 other new wannabe divers. She showed us how all the equipment works, and explained the basics, then we  got to try it all out. . . . in 5 ft of water. 

    

Now you see them: group.jpg (48440 bytes) . . . . gone!.jpg (46101 bytes) Now you don't!

A+D diving.jpg (52605 bytes)    Andrea dving.jpg (50447 bytes)< Andrea getting kitted up.  dad dive 1.jpg (45125 bytes)    dad kneeling.jpg (54699 bytes)< David getting used to the equipment.

After some initial scares, and discomfort, we started to enjoy it, then the question came: do you want to do a 50ft dive?! We ummed and ahhed, but figured, why not? Then we spent the rest of the afternoon with out trusty instructor Jan, at 50ft down! Now you can call us official divers! (well sort of!)

That night we had to go to yet another potluck on the beach! So we all arrived around sunset with our plates of various treats, and talked about the usual boat stuff. The food was great, with dips, chips, rice, and pasta dishes, and for the first half hour we all congregated around the table! 

diggin in.jpg (82717 bytes)< digging in!    rubarb and custard.jpg (105143 bytes)

Eventually after our appetites have been satiated we settle down to really talk. For some reason, at these potluck, gathering things, we always split up into groups of men and women. The men talk boats, generators and sail trim, whilst the women chat about provisioning and making gourmet meals from tins! Tonight was an extreme example, with the men all hanging out by the beer and food, and the women sitting on the dinghies by the water! I had to get a picture!

man talk.jpg (90296 bytes)< Boy talk.    girl talk.jpg (85373 bytes)< Girl talk.

Suddenly the girls chatter was interrupted by a local dog, Brown Boy, coming to say hello. Then Mike (Cheshire Cat), broke all protocol, and came over to the women's group, and tried to get his tummy tickled, like Brown Boy had managed to do! 

mike and Brown Boy.jpg (61994 bytes)< Maybe another day Mike!

girl talk 2.jpg (47929 bytes)    sunset.jpg (35027 bytes) A beautiful end to a great evening!

 

May 14th - Last night one of our local friends, Shelton had come over the potluck and organized a cricket match, Locals vs. Cruisers! At high noon all those willing to play showed up on the beach, and we set up the pitch. This consisted of some branches, collected by Shelton, for wickets, and a bat cut from a plank of wood! The Brits attempted to teach the Yanks the basic rules, and realized that no one really knew the rules, oh well! 

    Half the pitch was very waterlogged, we'd set up a bit too close to the water, and the fielding was really sluggish on the out field, it's hard to run in waist deep water! We considered bringing a dinghy in to speed things up! There weren't too many runs, and not too much hitting of the ball, but all in all it was a fantastic day! Shelton and Willy, a vendor on the beach, made up the locals, and i think they scored more then all the cruisers put together! When it got too hot we all cracked open a cool beer and dived in the water, it couldn't of been more perfect. A great day that we'll never forget!

john batting.jpg (59895 bytes)< John (Willow) swings the bat, but misses the ball!    owzat!.jpg (49397 bytes)< Alan gets bowled out.

running.jpg (77683 bytes)< Run!    shelton.jpg (65844 bytes)< Shelton diving for the wickets.    alex running.jpg (61297 bytes)< Alex going for it.

dad falling.jpg (48372 bytes)    Go Mike!.jpg (59431 bytes) < some action shots.    john. . .you missed!!.jpg (59248 bytes)< John dives for the ball, and misses!!    

paisty tourists.jpg (67015 bytes)< After we'd finished playing, Shelton and his friends carried on, to an audience of pale tourists!

smile everyone!.jpg (86182 bytes)

The Cricket Crowd.

 Back row: Charles and Caroline (Itza Purla), Tom and Jenny (Annie B), Mike and Deirdre (Cheshire Cat), Andrea, and Brenda (Willow)

Front row: David, Alan and Jan (Coral Moon). Missing, John (Willow), and Alex (taking the picture!)

 

May 16th - Everyone was invited to a proper dinner tonight, at Mac's Pizza Place. All 13 of us piled in to the restaurant, and we munched on some of the best pizza yet! 

cool table.jpg (73027 bytes)< L to R: John, Charles, Brenda Jenny, Deirdre, Tom, Caroline, and Mike.

Andrea + Deardrie.jpg (72232 bytes)    alex + Dedrie.jpg (65329 bytes)    Mac's.jpg (49994 bytes)    

 

May 17th - It's time to move on. Bequia has been one of the nicest islands so far, and we've met lots of new people, and have been busy! But there's more of the Grenadines to see yet, this is only the beginning, so we're leaving today in the morning to go to Mayreau, just to the west of the Tobago Cays.

Crack on to Mayreau . . .