When we were sailing from Trinidad
the wind was of course coming from the wrong direction and we left at
springs as well, so there was no possibility to sail directly to
Grenada. That is why, after 32 hours of plugging away we covered only
120 nm and anchored off Mayreau. From there we tacked on to Bequia.
During the next days the wind backed even further, which is very
exceptional at this time of year, so we decided to wait for a windwindow.
Port Elizabeth is Bequia's “capital”; cheerful and attractive but we
have been there so often (the anchor bay is perfect) that boredom has
struck since long. Sailor’s
pubs, delishops and arts & crafts; it is a tourist's paradise and
now suddenly a center of religious fanatism as well. The rasta’s are not
but now a screaming reverent is yelling over the bay every evening; we
can hear him on our boat and we are far away from the crowds.
So what can you do when you are in Bequia for the umpteenth time? We
took a bus (designed for 9 persons but it accommodated 18) to Paget Farm,
a sleepy fishing village on the south coast where tourists don't go.
Pity for them but for us a
relief, as Toko serves in “Step Down” (you
literally step down to the sea)
not only icecold beer but also delicious fish, lobster and shellfish
that are caught almost on his property. Toko also knows how to tell
interesting stories, for example about whaling. Bequia is historically a
whaling island and still the men go out in a 20-foot sail/rowing boat,
to harpoon whales that are 3x the length of the boat. The number of
whales they are allowed to catch, is limited and manual work is
obligotory. Every time it is a true fight and when the animal eventually
is harpooned, they drill a vertical hole through its nose and chin. Then
they tie the mouth closed with a rope, to prevent that water comes into
the belly thus letting the whale sink to the sea bottom. When finished
they call for assistance of a bigger boat to pick the animal up, as no
way a 6 meter rowing boat can drag all these tons of whale meat ashore.
When the catch is safe, the barbecues are fired up because the best
steak doesn't even come close to fresh whale meat, Toko says. By the way,
the cell phone is an indispensible item in furthermore traditional
whaling: when Toko (in his kitchen) spots a whale, he calls his pals in
their sail/rowing boat so they can hurry there as quickly as possible.
Together with friends we went
to “Step Down”
again, this time to have dinner and now the small bus took 20 people. Toko
would have loved to serve us whale, but even he can't make everything happen
as that day the whalers lost three whales. But he treated us with shark, lambi (lives
in a giant pink shell) and... sea turtle.
Texture and taste are close to a fine kind of beef, and it is delicious. But
turtle and whale will never be part of our daily menu because in our opinion
this is historically local food and we, as tourists, do not have the right
to eat these animals (same as in Suriname iguana, monkey and land turtle).
We also took the ferry to St.Vincent as Friday is market day
in the center of Kingstown, characterised by arches that should give the
town some magnificence, but alas.
Anyway we bought fresh vegetables and fruit, and went for a roti or sandwich
to Mr.Mac, with his shiny American Mac Snack-car and his neat presentation.
We had a roti AND a sandwich, and very respectable a lime juice, but when we
noticed that the snackcar contained all kinds of drinks... a gin &
tonic with ice. After all we are in paradise and this should be enjoyed to