Mon 3 Mar 2008 16:44

N14 44 357 W061 10 676

Bequia favorite place so far, could have spent a lot longer there. Had a trip around the Island to get a better look, visited the Turtle sanctuary and the whale museum. The whale museum was a small collection of photos, harpoons and very large bones. It was situated up a hill with a marvelous view of the sea, which also provided a great observatory for viewing passing whales, alas we did see any. The man running the museum was the museum, he was a retired whaler who came from a family of whalers with the trade handed on from Father to Son. His eyes lit up as he described his adventures and the catches, the boats used where tiny and are still in use today. The number of whales they are allowed to catch is limited, although we were unable to get an equivocal answer as to how many that was as different people gave me different numbers, it was somewhere between 2 and 5 a year. They usually only catch one and every part of the whale is used.

The Turtle sanctuary was run by a retired fisherman, he described how at a very young age he was taught to dive for these beautiful creatures without realising the damage he was doing to the environment. He was absolutely devoted to passing on his knowledge about turtles and the need to protect them. He collects the newly hatched turtles before they are taken by a variety of predators (he described sharks as predators and man as killers) and nourishes them until they reach the age of 5 – 6 and lets them go. He is desperately trying to educate the children and to get the government to outlaw fishing for turtle and the use of turtle of shell to make jewelery and souvenirs.

From Bequia we went to St Vincent and stayed at Wallilabou Bay, this has to be one of Kate and Molly's favorites as it is the location for the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean. As avid fans of P of the C Kate and Molly put on their pirate costume before going ashore and acting out bits of the story for themselves. The treated to a divine moon rise as we watched it slowly edge it's way over the top of the magnificent mountains, beautiful waterfall and lots of lush green vegetation. Would have liked to have spent more time on St Vincent, but were put off by stories of how unsafe it was!!

From St Vincent headed North to Martinique, the sailing has got much better as we approach the leeward islands with winds now off the nose. This makes the trips between islands much more pleasant.

We have been in Martinique for 8 days, couple of days in St Anne's and Marin, couple of days in Grand Anse and Saint Pierre. We have met up with a few boats with children on board so Kate and Molly have been extremely busy with sleepovers, jumping/diving in off booms and making life rafts out of fenders, also not to forget swimming with a huge turtle. As this is France! We have made the most of the shops and replenished our food and drink stocks. Saint Pierre is an interesting place, in its 'hay day' it was described as the 'Little Paris of the Antilles', this was before the volcano eruption of 1902, which decimated the town and it's people apparently only one prisoner survived, he was locked up cell (with extremely thick walls) below ground.

Heading North towards Antigua at a relatively rapid, for us, pace. Need to do about 160 miles in the next ten days whereas we have been doing about 20 miles a week in recent times. Several boats are meeting up with us in Antigua and Tom and Mary are coming out from Dublin for a week.