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Bequia – The Windward Islands Gem

December 3, 2017

We knew the first time we sailed into Bequia it wouldn’t be the last time.

Which way should I go?

Bequia is a long way from anywhere. We first came here in March and returned again in July on our way south to Grenada for the hurricane season. This time our return was dramatic; sailing past the south-western point of the island in yet another squall and in company with two other boats.

I am still looking for the owner of this boat as I have a few other pictures to share with bim/her

I first read about Bequia in a sailing magazine back in the 1970s. It was an article about the traditional boatbuilders of the island. Although one still sees some of the old sailboats around there aren’t many.

A classic Bequia sailboat which may have been, at one time in its life, could have been a working fishboat

Where most of those skills are evident is in the fishboats. These are coastal fishboats best designed for skipping over the east trade winds chasing the mahi mahi and barracuda.

But that’s not all they catch. Bequia is one of the few areas left in the world where the hunting of whales is legal. We went to visit one of the villages on the east coast, Paget Farm, to see what evidence there is of whaling. Taking the local bus for EC $2 we were treated to a 20 minute ride over the hills to the east and a short run out and along the west coast with the blaring soca music to a small village close to the airport.

We got off the bus at Toko’s Bar and walked back through the village which creeps up the steep hillside bordering the rocky coastline. Tucked into the shoreline are a few places where local fishermen can drag their boats out of the water for protection. Here, there was evidence of whaling.

Is this the place where they keep the whale oil and ambergris?

Not only on doorways was there evidence of whaling but stories abound if one listens, and believes, the local folklore. I think though what happens these days is best represented by the boat below. When they do hunt and kill whales they still use traditional methods and are in open boats. Not a task for the unitiated.

Aptly named

Walking through the fishing fleet we caught a few glimpses from the boat names signifying who they put their faith in to return from the sea.

Jah takes the prize. Jah keeps them safe and Jah brings them back from the sea. I’m now wondering if I should have a portrait of Haile Selassie up on the bulkhead?

Looking for a little relaxation we headed back to Toko’s Bar, a place we had heard about on one of our previous visits but was also featured in a recent travel article in the Guardian. Toko’s is tucked under the shade of several trees and perched on the beach across from the small airport runway. There is no menu, lots of beer, friendly faces and a welcoming cook who greets you with the words “what would you like to eat today”. Of course, it has to be something from the sea so for the first time in a restaurant we said ‘lobster’ and lobster it was.

So good she won’t even look at the camera!

A huge plate of lobster with several salads and a Hinano for EC $90 for two!. Here we sat enjoying our meal with soaring frigate birds grabbing chunks of fish thrown to them by the fisherman and a very lively table of staff from the electric company having a liquid lunch with raucous and ribald conversation.

The kitchen window at Toko’s

Getting late so time to head home with stomachs full and a smile on our faces. That’s not hard to do in Bequia.

Connie just can’t let the political side down.

Cheryl , the owner of The Fig Tree restaurant, getting ready for the evening flood of customers and the yachties amateur jam session

5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2017 16:06

    Tony:
    You continue to tantalize us. Awesome! Is that a sunken deep sea in the photo of the yellow cutter?
    Fred

    • December 3, 2017 17:02

      Yes a freighter but I don’t have the story. I’d say 20 years on the rocks.

      Tony GibbOnboard Sagehttps://www.sageonsail.comOn the move in the Windward Islands+1 758 720 1233

  2. Darrel and Loretta Smith permalink
    December 3, 2017 20:43

    Another colourful and informative update. Thanks!

  3. Barrie permalink
    December 4, 2017 03:41

    Back here in BC we tied the record for rainy days for Nov at 27 out of 30. Dec isn’t doing much better. Wishing we were there! Barrie and Sandra SV Passat II

  4. December 4, 2017 14:21

    I love the tropical floral arrangement!
    Annie B.

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