We plan to leave the Grenadines from Bequia. In addition to being a nice place to be at, it is possible to check out from the country and it is possible to do a PCR test before sailing to Antigua.
As usual, here in the Caribbean, it will be a fast sail in the strong trade winds and it only takes a few hours from Tobago Cays until we anchored off Princess Margaret Beach in the bay at Port Elisabeth on Bequia.
Small sail delaminations
Since we had sailed with reefed sails from the Tobago Cays, I rolled them out after we anchored to be able to roll them in evenly all the way. Then I saw that the outer laminate had released a bit in a joint between two warps, both on mainsail and genoa. Since the delamination was small and in the joint, I thought that there was probably no major danger of continued delamination. It would turn out that I was wrong, but more on that in a later story.
Canvas protection to the dinghy
We intend to get canvas protection for the dinghy, partly to protect it against sharp edges on piers, but also as protection against sunlight. We had heard that the sailmaker Grenadine Sails here in Port Elisabeth could sew such. We went there and talked to them and got a quote and a promise that they would be done with the cover in 2 days. Since the price was OK we ordered and would come back with the dinghy in 2 days to get it fitted.
Installation takes about 2 hours, and the cover is really neat with the perfect fit. I can really recommend Grenadine Sails for this type of job.
To get to Antigua, we each need a negative PCR test that is a maximum of 5 days old. Here at Bequia, it is close to everything and we can do PCR tests at the hospital which is located 100 from the center of Port Elisabeth, walking distance in other words. We are first on-site and the whole procedure takes no more than 30 minutes and afterward we reward ourselves with a visit to Mac’s Pizza.
As usual, it is always a nice time together when we meet for ”sundowners” and enjoy when the sun goes down.
We leave Port Elisabeth sitting on the platform of a Toyota pickup of some kind. After 10 minutes we do not come anymore, there is a car from the island’s power plant across the road and there is no chance to drive past. Our guide goes out and talks to them and tells them that they will be ready in 15 minutes or so, just wait until they are ready. When the work car is gone, we continue towards Spring View, a private lookout point that the owner has made available to the public. Up here, the view is amazing. You can see the entire steep northwest coast of Bequia. It looks really wild, with wooded mountains that plunge steeply into the sea.
After Spring View, we continue towards The Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary via steep and winding roads down from the lookout. On the east side of Bequia, there are nice beaches that are protected by coral reefs and the road goes past the beaches inside Sugar Reef.
The Old Hegg Turtle Sactuary
At Park Estate is a breeding ground for an endangered turtle species called Hawksbill which lays eggs on a beach here on Bequia. When the eggs hatch, the newly hatched chicks are collected before they have time to go out to sea and you place them in these pools. They are raised here for 5 years before they are large enough to be put back on the beach where they were collected. Some turtles bite on the others’ rear swimming fins and are then moved to their own pools so as not to harm the others. There were several turtles with damaged swimming fins and hopefully the fins will grow back.
Since the start, about 1000 turtles have been released. It was not clear how many of the collected turtles survived until they were released again after 5 years, or how many females came back and laid their eggs on the beach. I felt sorry for the turtles as they swam around in the shallow and bare pools.
We have time for a short visit to the southern part of the island where La Pompe, the airport, and Paget Farm are located. There are a few bars along the way, it seems to be mostly for those who live here. Not at all as touristy as in Port Elisabeth. After the airport, there is a private road so we have to turn there.
Pepe’s restaurant and bar
When we return to Port Elisabeth after a few hours, we are both thirsty and hungry. We decide to visit Pepe’s restaurant run by a Swede who has settled on Bequia. Pepe’s is located high with a view of the entire anchorage bay at Port Elisabeth and up here it is nice to breathe. As usual, the staff is friendly and the food is good. Today we finish with dessert, waffles with jam and whipped cream. Mums, that was a long time ago!
In the next blog, we leave the Grenadines and sail up to Antigua.