Monday, 7 April 2014

Small Island, Small World


 On Bequia nothing is very far away, though we can’t tell you exact distances as our one road map has no scale and each of the islands seems to be drawn the same size. After the morning net on Wednesday we set off on a hike to the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Having been told it was a taxi ride, someone else said it was 45 minutes to an hour along the “main” road.

Up the hill and down to the windward (Eastern) side of the island, the narrow concrete road provided stunning views across to other islands and down to coral reefs and sandy beaches. We took a small diversion past some cows across short springy turf through a grove of tall, spindly coconut palms to a beach deserted except for a red golf buggy parked on the sand some distance away, a couple of local sailing boats and some fishing nets. Over another bluff there was a short cut across a beach missing out the lovely gardens of some seriously big homes which we spotted on our return via the road.
Picture perfect beach

The best grass is obviously in the ditch!
After the next little headland was the Bequia Turtle Sanctuary where rare Hawksbill Turtles that have hatched on the beach are reared. After five years they are judged big enough and have lungs developed enough to fend for themselves so then are released into the sea. The sanctuary also cares for a few injured or deformed turtles including one pretty Greenback. The lad in charge was very knowledgeable both about his young brood and turtle conservation.



An 18 year old Hawksbill

A tiny 6 month old Hawksbill

A four year old more interested in eating fingers

Another resident of the baby turtle tank - a conch
(taken with Kevin's waterproof camera)

Another underwater snap - a greenback turtle
Walking back afterwards, it was hot almost midday and we were wishing there was a taxi when a 4x4 pulled up. “You guys want a lift to town?” Kingsley is a part time resident with a house in Springs, the settlement close to the turtle sanctuary, his other home is in a Bedfordshire village close to where Susie was brought up! It is a small world indeed. Further down the road he stopped and picked up another couple, Swiss holiday makers who had also walked out to the sanctuary.

Spot the hammock!
Deciding what to do next is hard – there is the Bequia Regatta over Easter weekend, Tobago Cays (if the weather ever improves, next week’s forecast is not much better than this weeks was), Kevin has an opportunity to help trial a brand new double ender which its genial owner Andy (the former SVG prime minister, Sir James T Mitchell’s son) is hoping will be ready in time for the regatta. It was being spray painted yesterday at the boat builders in the grounds of Port Elizabeth’s Anglican Church!!  Also seven or so miles away is St Vincent with the capital of SVG, Kingstown with some beautiful countryside, waterfalls and botanic gardens to explore. Shall we sail over there for a few days or stay put until after the regatta? Should we leave Temptress and take the ferry, it’s only an hour each way? Everyone is so friendly here; we are getting to know a few locals and acclimatising to the fierce rain squalls that sweep down from the hills once or twice a day briefly preceded by a bank of black cloud but with little other warning. Plus where else in the world can you purchase a spark plug and a case of beer from a single store? And we haven’t yet managed to walk over to Pagets Farm where the airport, boat museum and the other harbour are located either.

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