Filmed this whilst enjoying a nice cool beverage, contemplating how grand life is…Hope you enjoy.
Yesterday, arriving in the port of Bequia, it felt comfortable, protected and welcoming… This morning used the services of of Daffodil Marine Services (on VHF channel 67) to supply me with some fresh water (yes, the Water Maker on board suffered a glitch, and in a couple of days it will be serviced) what a great service they provide..
Then I started reading somewhat more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bequia) and all of a sudden some red lights flashing… Bequia is allowed to catch 4 humpback whales per year??? What is that all about. As I feel it as my duty, will try to investigate this… and so I did…sort of…
Not many people know this, but indeed Bequia has an official/legal (?)quota of max. 4 whales (humpbacks) per year. The animals are caught say the old fashioned way… wooden boats, brave men, real Capt Ahabs (Moby Dick) and so on… I did ask around but the specialist regarding this issue was not found. I did find some YouTube short movies (here is one.. )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L63Qow7WKHA
The people I talked to were saying that it is an old tradition, and that the technique(?) had to be handed down to younger generations, otherwise the skill would die out etc etc..Now, with all due respect, to me this doesn't hold. On the island I was born (Ameland, the Netherlands) back in the good old days, a lot of families survived by catching whales…needless to say, that they don't do that anymore… so yes, that skill is lost, as so many other skills and trades (blacksmith, operating windmills, harvesting agricultural produce by hand etc). And to me that is ok, things change, circumstances change. And here in Bequia, do the people really need to kill 4 whales a year? I mean are they hungry and needy.. No, not really. Bequia major income comes from the tourism industry, and to me it seems that this whale killing thing is something from the past..Heroic stories, but not to been done in the 21 century. If you compare this whale hunting the old fashioned way, with what countries like Japan do every year…. no comments… However, I do like sashimi.. Does this make me a hypocrite?
Tomorrow morning, set sail to Grenada, where I pretend to arrive in the afternoon…
All the best and keep it real..
A quick recap of the latest movements of the Onda Boa…
Arrived in St Pierre in Martinique, once known as the jewel of the Caribbean, the Paris of the Caribbean but.. the eruption of the volcano on Mt Pelee in 1902 made an abrupt end to this. Almost 30.000 people died, and the city was greatly destroyed. The reason so many people died was that the mayor had told people not to worry (he was pressured by local business people to do so, otherwise those enterprises would loose a lot of money they thought…I mean, all people evacuating from the city and all.. ) well, it didn't go as expected, and look what happened…I visited the small museum and saw items they managed to pull out of the ruins… Extreme hot ash and such rained down on the city, and these high temperatures made that glass wear just melted… unbelievable.. The city is trying to get back on their feet again so that is a good thing. Also there are a few wrecks of (cargo) vessels that sunk during the blast.. Also caught up with Reinhilde and Frits from SV Bella Ciao (will meet them in various locations as they are heading south as well.. www.bellaciao.nl).
Anyway, on my way to Fort de France (capital of Martinique) to get more provisions (groceries) etc, and do get the latest weather info, as internet was almost not possible in St Pierre. The weather is rather funny lately, lots of rain and so under grey skies arrived in the capital. Groceries done, weather checked, and all ready for a mega early start to set sail to St Vincent.
Anchor was up at three in the morning, and calmly headed south.. Until say 6-7 o clock the wind wasn't really good and the current was against at this point of the Island, so no good progress, later on however, 20-25 knots of wind (East) and waves of say 2m (also East).. so Onda Boa was flying again.. 7-8 knots (main sail third reef, and also genoa reefed).
A nice sail, with the occasional wave slamming side ways into/onto Onda Boa.. Then all of a sudden, St Vincent ahead.. clouds covering the high peaks of the mountain, and underneath the green slopes ending abrupt in the Caribbean Ocean.. lovely view…
Decided to stay in Wallilabou bay (back drop of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean (2 and 3)… a boat boy Nicolas helped me to my anchor place.. (all this of course in yet another downpour..), then two other boat boys/vendors approached the Onda Boa.. selling fruit… in order to keep everybody happy, purchased some at both vendors… and so I am over stocked on fruits (some I have to confess, I don't even know their name…)…
The next morning, went to see the props the film makers left behind and talked with Chef of the Wallilabou Anchorage Restaurant and he confirmed that everybody was greatly happy with the film activities, as all profited from it (from restaurant keepers to taxi drivers..).
The immigration was only going to be active between 5 and 6 pm at this location, so decided to give that a miss, and sail to Bequia (pronounced as “Bekway”… Again, a fantastic sail (good winds and waves) and Onda Boa was just gliding along at 8 knots.. Entering Elizabeth Bay (of course again during a squall, heavy rains and winds (short lived though) but still), I couldn't help but remembering Buzios (in Rio de Janeiro State).. the setting, the hills, the port.. it kind of looked the same… however much less wind, and much greener, and much more sailboats.. so hmm it doesn't look like Buzios at all.. anyway.. decided to stay at a mooring, and after organizing some stuff on the boat, went to shore, just to be 10 minutes too late at the immigration office, who did charge me overtime, rules are rules I guess..
Tomorrow will check out this lovely, sympathetic island, and then… further south again to Grenada..
Take care, enjoy
With a group of 12 (from 4 different sailboats), the hike was to the so called Boiling Lake. An old, or is it only dormant, volcano features a rather large lake formed in its crater… being face to face with those geothermal forces is awesome… rather difficult to express the emotion. Seeing (and smelling) up close and personal boiling water and mud in different pools, and almost getting intoxicated by the sulphur fumes…being on top of an enormous amount of energy….One has to admit that it is all about energy.. It took three hours to go up, and almost the same to go down…that also took a lot of energy, it was indeed a rather heavy hike, making the climb up Mount Scenery in Saba look like a walk in the park….
As the weather wasn't so good, my pictures didn't come out all that well. I suggest to check out on Google Earth (Dominica) and locate pictures from the Boiling Lake (East from Roseau).. awesome..
I made a very short film, and you can check it out here: http://youtu.be/A0s39A-evQI
This Island does not feature relaxed snow white beaches and so on (maybe there are, but this time wasn’t able to explore), but certainly for those of you that like unspoiled nature you really should check it out. In fact you can actually hike across the island as there are very good hiking trails.
Today, goodbye to Dominica and its wonderful nature, and so friendly people. Next stop, Martinique…
Have a great week, and enjoy