S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bequia News

Thursday, June 8
Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines

The impending hurricane season has begun to put a dent
in our ability to explore the windward islands as
thoroughly as we would like to. We keep promising
ourselves that "on the way back" we will spend more
time at our favorite places. The trouble is that
nearly every place we have been is a place that one
or both of us feels we need to return to for at least
twice as long. The islands of the Grenadines are yet
another one of those locations. The wind has continued
to howl for the past few days, giving us a chance to
relax in Bequia, but we will have to bypass the rest
of the islands and head straight for Grenada tomorrow
(sorry Mick Jagger, we won't be able to pop in for a
visit on Mustique).

Admiralty Bay is just touristy enough to have a few
of the things we love: wireless Internet access; a
sail loft for minor genoa repairs (the genoa in this
case is a big jib, not a salami); a few cheap
restaurants along the waterfront; and access to fuel
and water. But it is still small enough that you
don't feel like you have stepped into an amusement

Yesterday we took a long walk to the other side of
the island to visit a whaling museum we had heard
was there. The island of Bequia allows whaling.
The islanders are allowed to take up to four whales
a year, though the whales are uncommon enough now
that they feel lucky to take one, as they did this
year. The museum, on first blush, was not quite what
we expected. Signs led us to an old bar and grill
that had closed down, but in the covered patio area
there was an ancient, skeletal man asleep in a
lounge chair next to a wall of artifacts from the
days of whaling. This man was the nephew of "the
greatest whaler of all time," a native of Bequia.
He explained that, since his uncles death, most of
the museum's pieces had been sold off, and that he
was working to buy them back.

We got the feeling that this man was ready to spend
the day with us, telling stories about his own
experience hunting whales, and talking about the
handful of harpoons, guns, and whale bones that
were still in the collection. However, we were
ready to go after about twenty minutes. So we
walked back out to the road and flagged down one
of the omnipresent minivans that tour these
Caribbean islands as private buses, finding
creative ways to fit yet another passenger in the
back, and charging extremely reasonable rates for
the ride. In the Dominican Republic these vans
were called guaguas. In the French islands they
were TCs, or Taxis Communale. I don't know what
they were called here, but they were easily
distinguished by the creative paint jobs on the
outside. Etiquette demands that, when you get on,
you must wish the whole vanful of passengers good
day, and they will respond in kind.

The ride back to town cost four of us a total of
EC$4.50. That's under $2 American. Needless to say,
we are very pleased with the buying power of the
American dollar versus the Eastern Caribbean dollar,
after watching our money dwindle pathetically
against the Euro in the French islands.

We were especially pleased by the exchange rate when
we brought our genoa (again, the sail) to a local
sail loft for some restitching of the sunbrella
covering. The repair was fairly minor, as the
covering is not a critical part of the sail, but
it had to be done to prevent further wear on the
sail. I would guess that this minor work would
cost about a hundred or so dollars in the U.S.,
plus endless weeks of begging for the work to be
completed and the sail returned. Here we dropped
the sail off at a reputable loft in the morning
and picked it up in the afternoon. The cost was
about $35 American.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let you know, the taxi vans on Bequia are called 'Dollar Vans' because you can go almost anywhere on the island for a dollar. They also have extremely loud sound systems which regularly woke us at 7am when we stayed there in May 2007.

8:30 AM  

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