Hello faithful readers, yes we are still posting about the islands that we never had a chance to post about during the trip.
After leaving the Tobago Cays, we briefly stopped at Canouan, which was notable for being not ‘touristy,’ but really wasn’t very interesting, so lets move on to the main attraction of this post and our last stop in the Grenadines, Bequia.
We had heard good things about Bequia from many cruisers and we were all looking forward to getting there, but we didn’t really know much about it. Ultimately, what made Bequia special wasn’t any particularly amazing attractions, but just the pleasantness of everything: a nice-sized town, good restaurants, not too crowded or built up, and most important, a popular cruising destination where we reunited with friends we’d made elsewhere. It just had the feeling of the perfect island community.
There was a unique grocery / provisioning store with odds and ends shoved into ever nook and cranny. They make their own chocolate croissants there, which were ultimately the best of the trip (even better than the French islands). After trying them, Ted put in a special order for a dozen to pick up the next day, and informed the crew that four were for himself, and we could figure out how to divide up the other eight.
One neat attraction on Bequia is Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on the other side of the island. We decided to walk the couple of miles over to go check it out. On the way we saw many great vistas and beaches along the northern shore.
The turtle sanctuary sprang out of decades of effort and the dedication / obsession of one man without any public funding. His idea was to gather turtle eggs from the beaches and raise the turtles in captivity for the several years it takes them to reach maturity, and then release them to the ocean. This avoids the high-mortality period when the turtles are small and have many predators.
He has raised and released thousands of turtles over the years and the operation has grown into a small warehouse full of pools of different aged turtles. There isn’t much in the way of tracking or follow-up after he releases them, so it is hard to know for sure the impact, but regardless it was neat to hear the guy’s story about how he has dedicated his life to raising turtles. Note that these are a different species than we saw in the Tobago Cays (Hawksbill vs. Green). The hawksbill turtles raised at the sanctuary are critically endangered, because they were formerly harvested for tortoiseshell.
So, everything is going great on Bequia, it sure is nice here… *CRASH* in the middle of the night. Everyone scrambling up on deck, in pajamas, a couple hours before dawn, a light rain is falling, and a boat is smashed t-bone style across our bow, our bowsprit broken through their railing.
“IS THERE ANYONE ON THIS BOAT!” shouts Horatio. It takes time for them to appear, dazed, unhelpful, one just curled up and clutching his head. I guess it was up to us. Their boat’s weight in the wind and current pushed us tight on our anchor, the chain was straining and we couldn’t back up. Danica and Horatio jumped in the dingy, maneuvered into position against their port side, and let loose with the 25 hp outboard motor. They expertly push the other boat straight sideways, getting them off without getting our bowsprit any more tangled up in their railing or rig.
Oddly, their boat then began to drift slowly out towards the sea. Ted decided that we better go find out their name for insurance. And so he and I (Isaac) got in the inflatable and chased them out of the harbor. The dingy is bouncing along as we’re approaching more open waters, it is still dark beyond the range of our flashlights, and with the misty rain and lack of clothes, cold. Their name is hidden behind a swim platform, and they yell at us to come back tomorrow. It was pretty odd, so we wrote down their hull number and left.
Ultimately everything turned out okay. They hadn’t really been running away… we later learned they were all hungover (which is why they were no use during the crisis), and I still don’t really understand why they had seemed to be leaving, but they eventually came back and re-anchored. Though part of their rail was destroyed, Koukla sustained no real damage. But one thing we did come away with was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip.