“Canouan” means “turtles” in
Carib-indian language. There are many of them and even ashore turtles
seem to have set the pace. A relief after the touristical Tobago Cays
where it is full of expensive yachts. Though some arrived after us and
on top of that Canouan has a branch of
The Moorings (charter boats), a resort (invisible from the village) and
a luxury hotel on the beach with internet service for 5 USD per 15
minutes. But village life is still unaffected. No souvenirshops. No
cafés and posh restaurants. No special prices for tourists as on Union Island.
There is all-in-all 1 little restaurant where you can eat local food. We
with fries and salad, a few rum-and-cokes and coffee with cake and the
bill was less than 14 euro's.
On this island tourism and authentical village life is still strictly
separated. But it won't take long, we gloomy predict, as the first signs
of development (for us downfall) are already visible: a brand new small
and expensive supermarket and an airstrip under construction.
Snorkeling is great but diving is the real thing. It gives you the
opportunity to float for quite a long time under the surface among fish and corals and
this way experience a oneness with the colourful underwater nature. It
is a pity that good diving spots are often difficult to reach. But Canouan
has a great and easy to reach dive spot in Corbay, a tiny little and
very protected bay where Miep exactly fits into. So we dived on the
N-point of this bay. Depth 8-10 meters, little current so it was an easy dive
to start with after 2 years, as we expected that our practice would have
become a little rusty. After the dive we tried to refill the airbottles
with our own aircompressor, but this one had become rustier than we were
after 2 years.
Mustique is no-go area as it is inhabited by British royalty, popstars
such as Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Elton John, filmstars and Arabian
sheiks. If you want to stay overnight, you have choice between two hotels: 900 USD per night or only 480 USD; the bathrooms of
the last one are probably crowded by cockroaches. Guesthouses and apartments
don't exist on Mustique, but you can rent a villa from 3000 USD per
day; the most expensive costs 30,000 USD but then you can stay the
whole week. If arriving by sailing yacht, you will be obliged to take a
USD). In short: enough reasons to skip Mustique and on top of it all the
name seems to be derived from the word “mosquito”...
“Bequia” is also Carib-indian language and
it means “Island of the Clouds”. Indeed there were some clouds over the
island when we sailed in. By the way (it gets boring!) this was another
pleasant sailing trip of 18 nm, beam reach, speed over ground more than
8 kts (probably there was a favourable current), marvellous!
You pronounce Bequia as “Beck-way”. Bequia is indeed quite Backway for
such a big island, judged by the variety of food in the supermarkets. Euramerican welfare has
not yet arrived, although there are many charter boats.
But along the beach you will find a link-up of coloured boats on the
sand, entertaining beach bars and restaurants, and even the more
pretentious (2) are still casual and crowded with local people. Our
first impression of Bequia: pleasant. Our favourite beachbar is the
Frangipani, lovingly nicknamed Frangi. Delightful benches to sit or hang in and bartenders who come around at exactly the right moment
to re-fill our by then just empty glasses.
A paved footpath leads along the beach so there is enough to see (and
discuss) during happy hour.
The favourite drink is Grenadines rumpunch: 1/3 rum, 1/3 mix of
grenadine syrup, pineapple and orange juice (or grapefruit), 1/3
icecubes, a dash of
Angostura aromatic bitter, a little nutmeg because we are so close to
Grenada and if desired a maraschino cherry as this looks so pretty.
Delicious, but after 3 rumpunches you are totally smashed.
Bequia is famous for its traditional open double-enders. They are the
pride and glory of their owners, neatly polished
and they are raced extensively. For the Eastern Regatta (when the whole
island is upside down) we were two weeks late but fortunately the
double-enders are sailed during the whole season.
In the meantime we have discovered that there is little do do on all
those small Caribbean islands. Obviously you already suspected this, but
that's mere jealousy. Fact is that watersports are incredible here.
Sailing: great. Swimming, snorkeling, diving: splendid. And all through
the day as temperatures are pleasant as of early morning until late
evening (averaging 30°C). But on the other hand... Bequia is one of the
largest of the Grenadines and all in all there are not many shore
activities. At a certain moment you have had it with all those T-shirt
and handicraft shops; most articles are more of the same in bright
colours; the really beautiful things are scarse and show the beauty of
the natural materials they are made from: coconut, turtle shield, coral.
There is an interesting architectural
project by the name of “Moonhole”
and the name refers to the fact that the moon shines right into a
certain hole only twice a year. It comprises 18 houses which are
built as a unity with the surroundings; in 1970 this was called
organical architecture. This gives us the creeps as it reminds us of
goat's woolen socks. And it is also not such an original idea, on Gran Canaria
cave's dwellings are perfectly common and created for practical
(cool in summer, warm in winter).
The Oldhegg Turtle Sanctuary seemed more interesting.
Here Orton G. (Brother) King
saves a.o. the Hawksbill turtle. This type of turtle is threatened with
extinction and it is Brother King’s goal in life to raise turtle babies
(in natural surroundings there are too little who survive until
adulthood) and release them when they have grown up, so the population
will grow again. In twelve years he already released 838 turtles into
the sea. The man is an idealist, for 100% dedicated to his work; and
unselfish as the project doesn't bring in any money for himself.
Brother King has a roofed space with several bassins in it. The turtles eat
canned tuna and sardines and lettuce. There are separate bassins for
each age category, as the bigger turtles try to rule over the smaller
ones; and obviously the babies need special care (on
have a personality. They are curious, especially lively Busybody (11
who is so domesticated that she can't yet be released as she will be
On the long term she will be released after all, but only when she is
mature enough to lay eggs - at age 25. She then still has a long life to
live as turtles can live for 200 years.
Hawksbills are not the sweetest of turtles. They even can be a little bit
aggresive, unlike the Green turtle, who is peaceful and quiet. The Hawksbill
always dashes away (in the film you can see how fast they swim). His beak
looks like the bill of a hawk, hence the name.
The marking of their shield is also louder than the Green turtle's is.
We spotted many turtles near Mayreau and the Tobago Cays and P
(fond of the animals) already noticed that you can swim quite close to them,
dive down and look into their eyes; you can even touch them, as long as
you don't scare them.
Movie Hawksbill turtles (1,12 Mb)