Bequia beckons

Michael & Amanda Dyer
Thu 20 Mar 2008 20:30
The journey from The Pitons to Bequia is approx 55 miles with only 12
hours of daylight. We decided to leave at 0400. We motored to clear St
Lucia and by 0830 the wind had picked up to 15 knots. We had a pleasant
sail with one reef and then full main. St Vincent is to leeward of St
Lucia and we made the decision not to go to St Vincent as it has recent
reports of boats being boarded by armed men. So steering 180 degrees we
left St Vincent to starboard. The sea was calmer than of late and we
experienced a current against us of 1 knot at times. Once clear of
St Vincent we sped towards Bequia under full main alone. We were
heading downwind, (the first time since the crossing), and the jib will
not fill without being poled out. We were doing 6.5 knots under main
alone and almost there. A commercial vessel from St Vincent had been on
collision course for some while and we expected him to speed up or slow
down to avoid us. Ah no, we were just off the entrance to Bequia and
we had to gybe at the last minute to avoid him. We couldn't harden up
as there was not enough water to port! It was a massive gybe with the
full force of our huge main. The boomlock line broke but other than that
everything was ok. We were a bit shaken though.
We arrived in Bequia at 1700 and an hour and half til sunset. Admiralty
Bay is a very popular anchorage and was very crowded. We found a spot
to anchor and took in the vista. It reminds me of a cross between
Freeman's Bay and Falmouth Bay, Antigua.
At sundown, there is a phenomenon known as the green flash that can
sometimes be witnessed if the conditions are right. As the sun dips
below the horizon, the second it disappears a green flash may be seen.
I witnessed it as a spot of green light just where the sun had been.
The other ritual that goes with this event (or non-event), is the rum
punch!! Whilst waiting with camera in hand to capture the illusive green
flash the accompanying rum punch should be ready to celebrate it.
(If not, the passing of another day in paradise will suffice).
I have experimented and this is my recipe for a good rum punch.
1 quantity of sour (Limes, squeezed and then a section in the punch)
2 quantities of sweet (grenadine-lovely colour and flavour)
3 quantities of strong (rum)
4 quantities of weak (fruit juice)
and lots of ice, cheers!
Whilst in Bequia we did some snorkelling and saw a Southern Puffer about
a foot long and a scrawled Filefish as well as the many more common reef
fish. It was also my birthday and Morgan and Wilbur bought me a book on
identifying reef fish. We celebrated with a meal in the Gingerbread
Hotel and a bottle of bubbly!
We walked to Friendship Bay and had lunch at Mosquito Hotel, very nice, (we had hamburgers and fries,lovely). On the way back into town we bumped into Jane off 'Pouncer',a 28ft Twister. We had met Jane and Charlotte in Sopromar's yard in Lagos. There was great excitement as she, (Jane), went to find Charlotte. They had sailed fro Portugal to Madeira, then to the Canaries and then to the Cape Verdes before crossing the Atlantic to Barbados. They were about to start the journey home via Antigua Regatta in which they are taking part in the Classic racing. We spent an enjoyable evening with them and had a good laugh. Jane is irish and Mike does a good irish accent. We also met their friend Frank on 'Samadhi', who lives aboard.
We visited the Turtle sanctuary in the north of the island. The turtleman also keeps sheep, goats, chickens and guineafowl.
He rescues baby turtles and rears them on a diet of tinned tuna. He releases them at the age of 4 or 5 years. These are the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. He cannot rear the Leatherback as they only eat jellyfish. His objective is to highlite the importance of turtles in the wild and to educate the fishermen, the children and the politicians to respect turtles and realise they are endangered. Their role in the food chain is vitally important as they eat jellyfish and green algaes that grow on the reefs. We have seen a few Green Turtles surfacing in various anchorages.
Before leaving Bequia we said goodbye to 'Pouncer' off on her journey north an promised to give them a special welcome when they arrive in Dartmouth in June.