We have been enjoying our stay in Bequia once again with old and new friends coming and going.
Port Elizabeth is such a nice town to wander around. There are many interesting buildings, such as the beautifully restored church. Simple inside with touching stained glass windows celebrating the lives of local people, the door is always open. Birds fly in and out so they protect the altar with plastic sheeting rather than close the doors. Bequia is famous for the fortnight long Christmas festival and seeing the church, I imagine the carol singing is quite something.
The Gingerbread Hotel is very pretty, with Maranne’s ice-cream parlour, the posh wine shop and an excellent coffee shop in the grounds. They also sell ground coffee including the Starbucks brand, if you want to pay 14 GBP per small packet. Bring your own filter coffee from home if you need to keep drinking it here as we have never found cheap coffee! Another relaxing place to lime in the sun.
We walked north and passed a great mobile food stall, with a brilliant painting!
We carried on to the Model Ship Shop, another of Bequia’s famed tourist stops. The models are intricate, well made and a great souvenir of the island’s maritime heritage, which started with the scottish in the 1800’s and supporting their whaling industry. The shop was set up in 1966 by the Lawson brothers and continues under the Sargeant family. They use mahogany, white pine and gum wood, fashioning each by hand over many weeks. A small one was priced at 600 US dollars but Timothy mentioned it was low season and a deal could be struck, so we will consider it. It would make a lasting family heirloom. HM Queen Elizabeth II was given one in 1985 when she visited Bequia and it was on display in HMS Britannia.
Some of the roads on the island are incredibly steep and I can still remember a year back, having to turn around at the top of one, it being a dead end and the jeep feeling like it was going to roll sideways down the hill. Not pleasant!
Outside The Fig Tree we spotted a couple of carvings. There are decorative pebbles and glass cemented into the walkway and all around the town there are stalls with carved whalebone trinkets, colourful clothes and local jam.
We decided to remain here a few more days as there is so much to keep us busy but we will sail the 4-5 hours to the Tobago Cays on Tuesday as the swell and winds drop a little then. It would be nice to spend a few nights in the Cays but best in calmer weather, so we can swim and see the turtles. The reef protects the anchorage from some of the swell but not the winds and the latter often whip up the water into small waves, which make swimming more unpleasant. Hopefully we will be lucky this time, as we were suffering 28 knots of wind in January when we were last there.
Since writing the above, both Rob and I have contracted Chicungunya, carried by a mosquito, so just 1 bite managed to ruin the last 4 days. We both awoke early Friday morning to pain in every joint and barely able to stand. Taking anti-inflammatory tablets helped and we did have 3 packets of ibuprofen on board already, fortunately. Another piece of good fortune was having friends in the bay who kindly offered to fetch more pills and anything else we might need and they checked in on the radio every day to make sure we were OK. I was more comfortable in bed, so stayed in our cabin but Rob preferred the fresh air outside, so that was us, just lying flat out, trying to find a position where the aching wasn’t too bad and drinking as much water as possible.
The first night we both had raging fevers and began to wonder if we would need to get to hospital. Rob had unlocked our hatches, just in case someone needed to get us out of the boat but in the end we didn’t need to leave Beyzano on her own at anchor in hurricane season (couldn’t get much worse than that!) and started to feel better after day 3. Not 100% but 70% and able to get to shore at last to provision and check the weather. We would still like to sail the 20 miles south tomorrow to Canouan before going on south below 12 degrees 40, where we should be for our insurance by now. It is still too windy for the Cays, so sadly we’ll have to skip them but we can stop in Saline Bay or Saltwhistle Bay in Mayreau or Chatham Bay in Union.