Full circle in the Grenadines

Espen Aalstad
Wed 30 Jan 2008 20:40
13:00N 61:14W
Quick stop in Bequia to check out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Somebody has calculated that if you spend a season in the Caribbean you will spend time equal one work week just checking in and out of the islands. Then comes the money in fees. No wonder the yacht cruising industry is now the most important source of income for most of the islands: more so than the big cruise ships.
Let's hope there will be easier ways to move around than hours at the immigration and customs. Some are working to create a 'free movement union', but until drug trafficing is more under control this may be far off. The absence of visible police is peculiar, and perhaps best shows the financial strain many of these governments are under after recent hurricanes and growing populations. We have though not missed any security: the warmth and friendliness in these islands are perhaps the most attractive!
Even if 'Caribbean time' is slow, the last month since we came into Bequia and the Grenadines has passed very quickly. Our moves and rythm has become slower as we eat/school/fix/provision/explore/meet friends yet the days run by. A perfect place certainly to break away from life and stress back home.
Hopefully these islands can retain their slower pace and beautiful environment even if tourism and development is fast accelerating. We see noticeably more people and construction since we were here just two years ago. Big contrasts are developing. Tourists and retierees are flocking here with a strong Euro, while the infrastructure and local salaries lags behind. Massive villas in the hills as second homes while the shanty towns struggle to get over the last earthquake.
We worry about every garbage bag we must leave here and see sadly that the reefs have become less colorful.
What a challenge to the leaders and the wonderful people here!
No wonder we have had a wonderful time!
From Union's top with Tobago Cays and its reef in the East. This is actually taken from the medical clinic...often set on a top (for the breeze we think).