Bequia (pronounced Beck-way) is part of the Grenadines, a chain of over one hundred islands and reefs extending more than sixty miles between St. Vincent and Grenada. This is the least-developed edge of the Caribbean where small inns have not been replaced by high-rise resorts and golf courses; whirling fans outnumber air conditioners. The population supports itself from farming and fishing, not tourism, and the few airports accommodate only small aircraft. The entire area is a sailor’s haven as many of the islands are accessible only from the sea.
The ferry departs for the outer islands twice a day–an inexpensive and entertaining means of transport. When we arrived in Bequia, a crowd was waiting on the dock to greet friends, get mail, or collect the cases of soda, engine parts, furniture, and ten-kilo sacks of brown sugar they’d ordered. No addresses were on the items, only a name and an island. Enid Johnson, Canouan; Oliver Baptiste, Union. We stayed in the original wood and stone building of the Frangipani built in the early 1800’s, once the family home of the current Prime Minister. Our room, complete with mosquito net draped beds, overlooked the terrace bar facing the waterfront. This was one of the great meeting places in the Grenadines and we’d hear the sound of dice clicking on board games and ice clinking in glasses as we dressed for dinner. Yachters mingled with Rastafarians, expatriates with travelers, the young with the old. Everyone spoke with everyone. Kristen and I had never been anywhere like it.
“Main Street” was a path only wide enough for one person that meandered over sand, rock and through the water at high tide. We learned after the first night to only wear skirts or pants that could easily be hiked up and to never wear shoes. We passed small restaurants and shops that had wonderful names like Whaleboner, Gingerbread and Old Fig Tree. One couldn’t be in Bequia more than two hours and not hear about Mac’s lobster pizza.
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