There are different ways to travel. By car, by plane, by foot, by bus. You get the picture. But one thing that I’ve discovered on this trip is that there is nothing quite like arriving in a new country on a sailboat.
Before I go any further here, let me start with a caveat: there are parts of traveling by boat that suck. We get frustrated, feel stupid, and wish we were anywhere else besides sitting there alone and in charge of our own transport on the Ocean. My friend Brittany over at Windtraveler captured this perfectly in her recent post about failing to get an anchor to set properly. We’ve been there on this trip too more than once, although not with screaming toddlers in tow. It can be very humbling.
But then you have moments like we did arriving in Bequia for the first time and it all seems worth it . . . .
Making Landfall-Bequia, Admiralty Bay
Bequia is a really cool place. The best term I can come up with to describe it is idyllic. The island is only around 7 miles long. It’s safe, sparsely developed, and you can walk everywhere. It feels unspoiled. In an age of giant cruise ships and all inclusive mega resorts with big fences, this place is different. And what makes Bequia even better is its people. Some islands we visit don’t seem to pay much attention to the Ocean that surrounds them. It is almost an afterthought to local people, or a thing to fear during hurricane season. But not Bequians. These are Ocean people. Boat people. Many of them are descendants of the whalers that came to the Caribbean from Europe and America hundreds of years ago. They still ride the Ocean and get their livelihoods from it. It’s in their blood.
We traveled up to Bequia from the Tobago Keys, a distance of around 25 nautical miles. We left around 8:00AM, motored out behind the keys after breakfast, hoisted sail and pointed our way north, on a close haul that would allow us to sail the entire way–even with the west setting current–without a single tack. Jimmy fished, Sarah did laundry in our cooler (this was by choice mind you) and I sat at the helm and watched Bequia come into view on the horizon. We hit some gusty wind on the way that ripped open our our main sail and caused a minor fire drill, but otherwise the sail was fantastic. We set our own timetable for the day. We could stop where we liked; point our boat any direction we wanted. We were riding the ocean.
Four hours later, we rounded the southwest point of Bequia, dropped our remaining sail and motored into Admiralty Bay. Should we anchor off the big beach to the west of town, or right in close by the marina? We dropped off the beach. Jimmy dove the anchor and confirmed we were set.
Anchor Set and Boat Shipshape, Dad
We ate a quick lunch bobbing there a few hundred yards off the beach and poured over our guidebook to decide what we wanted to do over the next three days. Turtle sanctuary. Whaling museum. Hike to Industry Bay. Pizza at Macs. Callie’s Fruit & Veggie Stand. Agenda set, we took the dingy into Jacks bar for our number one priority-Internet and reconnection with our family after four days sans the Interwebs.
As we stepped foot on shore, it struck me how cool it felt that my last footfall was on Baradal Island yesterday in the Tobago Keys. And here I was stepping onto a new rock, full of exciting new things to do and see.
Getting Internet at Jacks
Perspective in life is everything. Bequia has a new airport. We could travel here directly from our house in Waunakee. It would be a long, crappy day. Maybe two days. We’d have multiple flights. We’d be hot, thirsty and tired. We’d be worried about what we forgot and sick of lugging our bags from taxis and through airports and custom lines. We’d be impatient and anxious. The day would feel like a necessary evil.
But instead, we got to step foot here in a completely different way. On our own and using the power of the wind (at least most of the way). It felt truly magical and set the tone for three wonderful days on Bequia, until we decided to pull up our anchor and point the boat north again to St. Vincent. Another adventure awaiting us. It makes all of the bad anchoring, boat problems, rip off artists, etc., all worth it.
I could get used to this . . . .
Landfall without the TSA
Our First Walk into Admiralty Bay
Bequia Bus Stop
Turtle “Sanctuary” I’m not sure whether this is a sanctuary or a zoo . . .
We Liked the Goats Outside Better than the Turtles in Enclosures
This Guy is a Whaleboat Captain-Yes, They Still Hunt Whales Unfortunately
We Left Jimmy on the Boat One Afternoon to do Homework
Sundowners with Dominos
Until We Meet Again