At 8:00 in the morning, Cheryl (from the Fig Tree Hotel, Restaurant and Bar) hosts a cruiser’s net on VHF cannel 68. Although she sounded a little sleepy at first and forgot the weather until reminded, she shined with a lot of personally that is sorely lacking in some of the other cruisers’ nets we’ve heard. She is welcoming, friendly, and appreciative of the cruising community. She is working to make Bequia a cruising favorite and we think she is on the right track. After the net (and Dave and Steve’s much needed coffee), we dinghied ashore and followed a really cute walkway along the shore to the customs and immigration to clear into the country. There were a number of restaurants and shops that we passed along the way, so after a relatively simple clearing in, we further explored the town. I hit up the fruit and vegetable stands, scoring some nice avocados, tomatoes, bananas, apples, and some free plantains to try cooking. Everyone seemed very friendly and the town was pleasant and enjoyable. First impression of Bequia? We like it.
We ended our walking tour at the Fig Tree. We wanted to meet Cheryl, the personality behind the net, and ask about hiking trails for the guys. We ordered some food and visited with her for nearly two hours. We loved her! She is even more of a character in person. She asked if the vendor lady that came by selling “clothes and bling” had any thongs. Steve asked if she meant the shoes. “Oh no, honey, I mean the underwear, of course!” Her friendly flirtations had Steve blushing an adorable shade of red. She asked if he needed someone to go cruising with him and explained that she cooks and cleans. I thought, hey, what a great deal for a single-handler. But then she mentioned that she might forget to put on her wrap! Now we are all picturing her cooking and cleaning in the nude. What an image! She had us all cracking up. She runs a childrens’ reading program that Steve would like to volunteer at, but we just don’t have time to stay that long now. I look forward to visiting with her again, if not this trip, then when we return after Grenada. Because we WILL be back!
Steve came over for happy hour and we watched the sun go down behind his boat (pictured top of page). The guys made plans to go hiking the next day. See ya! I’ll stay and write blogs.
I wasn’t there, so I can’t do their story justice, but Steve took some nice pictures. This one showing the concrete walkway that follows the shoreline around Port Elizabeth, the town we anchored at in Bequia.
These stairs lead from sea level up the nearest hill, where I assume they started their hike.
I’m not sure where this was along the way, but one story they told me was of a woman living on the mountainside. They followed a trail that led directly to her house. They asked her if they could keep following the trail through her backyard. This turns into a conversation and they mention what a fabulous view she has. “You think this is nice, you have to come see it from my porch.” The lady invited them into her house and showed them her view. She said it was too bad her husband wasn’t home, because he would have liked to join them on the hike. Dave and Steve are tripping at this because back home women would be saying something more like, my husband is home but he’s working at the moment. She showed absolute trust and faith in these two strange men, showing them hospitality unheard of in the states.
They crossed through her backyard and continued up the mountain. Once on the other side, they didn’t see another way to come back. So they followed around the backside of the island until they came upon a turtle sanctuary. I’d like to have met the lady and seen the turtles, but these guys hiked nearly the entire island to do it. No thanks. We all really liked Bequia. We didn’t have any problems. The people were friendly and the vendors (street or boat) were not pushy. The island is beautiful, though somewhat dry, the town is cute and colorful, and Cheryl is really working to make it a great cruising destination. Steve liked it so much, he wants to return and stay a month next cruising season to volunteer at the reading program. Advice to cruisers: don’t let fear dictate your stops. Be smart and be careful, but some of these cautionary stories grow like fish stories.