Monday, November 26, 2012


Petit Nevis is a small island, less than a couple hours sail from Admiralty Bay, where an old whaling station was. The remnants of it can still be seen along the coast line including a ramp that they pulled the whale up onto for butchering. The old wharf is evident as well but mostly under water at this point. With it's Royal Palms, rock faces and sharp incline up to a fairly dramatic peak the island was picturesque in spite of it's history that wouldn't find much favor today. John had remarked on how good the snorkeling was here and there was no doubt it was the best so far.

We had good visibility, very little swell and plenty of sunshine when we went the first time. It was ….well the pictures, again, will tell the story! It was difficult to chose what pictures to include.

John's comments I have visited this tiny island before and always found the crystal clear waters with the abundance of fish life and the paucity of charter boats attractive. But it was the first time I had seen so many squid.
My pics do not show the initial line up as they were all hanging in the water at exactly the same angle. Just like a display team.

In the last pic see if you can find the Peacock Flounder. I snapped him within a second of him alighting and he had already camouflaged himself.

Mind you the best sighting of all was a pair of odd looking fish or just possibly they could be whales. If so they were keeping a good look out for the Iron Duke and Nollie Simmonds.

Why well whaling in Bequia today is done just as it was when William Wallace, started it. The whale is hunted from an open wooden boat, like the Iron Duke, launched from the shore and powered by sail and oars, with a hand harpoon and a lot of rope.

Nollie is the last of the hand harpooners.

We will do more on the Iron Duke and the traditional Beqia built double enders.

WALKING ON PETIT NEVISAfter getting out of the water and having a bite to eat we decided to take a walk on the island.
Thanks to all the experience John has had landing with the dingy we managed to get ashore without any trouble. We pulled the dingy high on the shore and tied up to the wharf-one story up! The wharf once extended out a 100 feet ot so to allow for the cargo boats with building materials to be landed.
But nature got there first and reduced man's great plans to so much broken concrete.

We were rewarded with an interesting walk seeing an abandoned fishing camp (a mess!), a beach that was totally made of coral
that had washed ashore,
an old road that we followed for a while until it became more rock than road, and a tortoise.
The poor tortoise had plenty to tell the relatives about his afternoon. After going airborne, turned upside down with comments on his sex life and color scheme from a couple of tourists!! Last we saw him he was speeding along into the tall grass.

We saw many trees all sporting the same general shape.
Any questions about what direction the trade winds blow can be answered by a quick glance.

And 'yes' the dingy was still there when we went back to retrieve it. Always a good thing.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Half a century ago the trade routes of the West Indies were still being plied by wooden sailing schooners built on the island of Bequia. Today only one remains.

The Friendship Rose was built entirely by hand on the beach at Friendship Bay, framed with solid Bequia white cedar and Guyana green, she is strong and sure. Norway pine masts, replaced this summer as one broke through rot, 80 feet tall as fat as two rugby players, brace the 600 yards of sail that power her. Took 3 years and 4 men to build her. Built strong she was. Searched Bequia's tallest hills to find the right trees they did. Still strong she is, after 40 years of work.

Built to carry cargo between the islands. She was the Bequia to St Vincent ferry, the mail boat, a working trading schooner She continued to work as the mail boat, carrying goods and passengers, under sail until the early 1990's.

This entirely traditional, gaff rigged, two masted, wooden sailing schooner is now being maintained in Bequia using the same local timbers and traditional methods.

Where planks are being replaced on the Friendship Rose the original spikes are found in great condition, tight in the timbers. The replacement traditional boat nails are being supplied by Glasgow Steel Nail Co Ltd.

Sailing in the old time way on an old time wooden sailing schooner is hard work. Raising 600 yards of canvass and the upper boom, in a gusting wind, takes skill and muscle. There are no winches and powered gear as in a modern sailing boat. Manpower lifts the sail as winds wrestle the canvas and its rigging says captain Lewis, “40 years sailing.

One, two, three, and pull. Tighten the grip and take up the slack, Ley is falling on his back. Tighten the grip and take up the slack. Pull the sheet to set him back. Tighten the grip and take up the slack, hoist that sail before we tack.!.

"She was launched without an Engine”, he explains, “but after we drifted for eight days with no wind on a trip to St Lucia, we added the engine”.

The Friendship Rose now enjoys a more relaxed life, making day sails for visitors to the nearby Tobago Cays and the island of Mustique.

Turtle Man It was with great apprehension, after our previous experiences on Grenada, that we hired a taxi to take us to the windward side of Bequia to see The Turtle Man. As it turned out the taxi was spotless, as was the driver....and he was gentle with his cargo. The drive was scenic as we passed some posh homes with lovely landscaping as well as an old sugar mill that was part of a plantation along the way.

The original 'Turtle Man',
was located on a breathtakingly beautiful section of shoreline. Housed within the simple building were tanks holding various ages of turtles from six weeks to 15 years. For the whole story we will invite you to go to:

Most of the turtles we saw were Hawksbills with a couple of Green Turtles and a small collection of land tortoises.
They were exceedingly beautiful creatures to see, especially the Green Turtles. One of the key discoveries that Brother Orton made was that baby turtles could be raised on canned tuna fish. The pictures will tell the rest of the story of our visit!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Love Divine
a cargo boat registered in Dominica ran aground between Western Cay and the next island on the 22nd of August 2012. What was the helmsmen thinking about! The diesel tanks have been pumped dry and there is talk of removing her but it does look like she has been driven onto the rocks at speed so is probably holed. Between seeing the wreck from the bow, then be able to view the stern,
Jan noticed we had a fish on so it was in with the lines as we rounded the point. On the way into Admiralty bay
we passed the magnificent folly that is the Moonhole and the surrounding buildings. Built in the days when there was no road, water supply or electricity there and stuff came in by boat and was carried up by muscle. Were they hippies? Did the marijuana suppliers get rich. Was there free love. Who cares! It is a cool spot to have a house.