Another quick day sail of 15 miles and we arrived in Bequia. Several other World Arc boats were already there and they sent out a man in a skiff named Don't Worry to help us tie up to a mooring ball very close to shore. We were delighted to be in another much protected anchorage with what seemed like a tremendous amount to explore - shopping, dining, beaches, etc. Bequia did not disappoint.
The anchorage is Bequia is quite active and every morning you can expect people checking in to see if you need anything. The bread man offered fresh baguettes and croissants. Daffodil Marine Services was happy to pick up your dirty laundry and return it later in the day clean and folded. They would also bring you ice and pick up your garbage. On shore there was a man offering us fresh lobsters and would even cook them for you and deliver them to you. There didn't seem to be much that you couldn't get here in Bequia.
Several boats joined forces for a tour the day after we arrived. The island is 7 square miles and has about 6,000 people living on it. The main industry for the island is tourism with the second being fishing. Bequia continues to be an active whaling station and local whalers are allowed to take up to four whales per whaling season, which is only during February and April. We saw the whaling station which is on a very small island next to Bequia and we also saw one of the whaling boats. It was unbelievable to think that a boat so small continues to be used to hunt whales. It seems quite dangerous to me!
Of great interest to our tour group was the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia. Orton King is a 75 year old Bequian who started the sanctuary in 1995. Since that time, he has released 913 turtles back into the waters around Bequia and other Grenadine islands. He takes turtle eggs and raises them until they are around five years old and able to live on their own. The turtles which are the endangered Hawksbill turtle live to be 200 years old, not reaching maturity until they are 40 years old. Once full grown they are able to stay underwater for three to four hours at a time. These turtles can only see and hear, they have no ability to smell or taste. They eat jelly fish when they are young until they are able to dive deep enough to eat food off of the coral reefs. The turtles we saw had such personality. We all were quite captivated by the turtles who were quite curious of our presence.
The views from the higher elevations on the island were quite striking. Its topography was quite varied for such a small island. From Fort Hamilton built in the 1770s, the views of the water and its coral in Admiralty Bay were particularly striking. These beautiful views just never seem to get old!
While in Bequia, we also organized a trip to Princess Margaret Beach which reportedly is the best beach on the island. It is a quick dinghy ride from the anchorage and on the beach is a delightful restaurant called Jack's. About fourteen of us spent the day there and we enjoyed swimming, a fantastic lunch and several beach games. Hannah (s/v Working on a Dream) introduced us to the Swedish game called Kubb. It is a game where you knock down sticks sitting on the sand with baton like sticks. It was great fun as was our traditional game of bocce ball which has become a real favorite. We swam repeatedly as it was very hot and again we ended up doing some pyramid gymnastics in the water.
Hannah (in the Panama hat) who taught us Kubb gets ready to throw
Unfortunately, the time in the water had repercussions for me. I did remember getting bitten while I was in the water but no more so than several others who also felt a little bite or two. The next morning, I had red welts covering my entire body, apparently the work of sea lice. I tried to count but gave up at about fifty bites, most of which were on my belly, which was curious seeing as I had on a one piece bathing suit. For those of you who are faithful blog readers, you may remember a similar incident while we were cleaning the bottom of the boat in the Marquesas Islands. In our trusty medical kit I found Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream. I used both liberally but found that dousing the bites with vinegar was the best way to relieve the itchiness. Despite the unbelievable discomfort of the bites, I will always remember more fondly a fantastic day on a beautiful beach full of fun!
We thoroughly enjoyed our five days in Bequia. We stayed there longer than expected due all of the enjoyment we were getting on the island. We decided to skip St. Vincent Island due to the reports of great crime on the island. We were sad to miss Wallilabou Bay in St. Vincent which continues to house a set from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Several other boats did stop there and said it was fun to see. We instead decided to make the long trip directly to St. Lucia from Bequia which required us to leave at 6:00 am in order to get to Laborie by nightfall. We did arrive in Laborie in plenty of time. It is a very small and quiet anchorage with a tricky entrance lined with reefs. We entered safely with s/v Anastasia and s/v Spirit of Alcides. We enjoyed sun downers on Anastasia and a one night stay before sailing to Marigot Bay in St. Lucia. There would begin the end of the World Arc activities and the celebration of our circumnavigation.