22 Dec 2010

[Cruise News] Back in Bequia ..... again ..... but it's worth it!

Once Paul recovered from whatever fever had ailed him for four days (Dengue?) we treated ourselves to an island tour .... which took all of two hours!  Gives you a bit of an idea about the size of the island .... and we were driving slowly at that!  Anyway, the views from Mount Pleasant down through the Grenadines were spectacular and we can fully understand why so many people choose to live here.

We also visited the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary on the windward side of the island.  Founded by Brother King over 30 years ago, this place rears turtle "chicks" until the age of about 7 years when they are released into the wild.  One man's vision to save a persecuted species sees him feeding canned tuna fish to the hundreds of baby Hawksbill turtles he collects as hatchlings every year, whilst the older ones eat sprats.  The oldest resident is Old Hegg himself, a deformed Hawksbill who is 14 years old.   

In the wild only one in three thousand of the hatchlings would survive to adulthood!   These creatures don't reach maturity until age 40 and live up to 200 years .... but they're aggressive little devils, forever nipping at each other and so Brother King treats their wounds with gentian violet on a daily basis .... the man is suprememly dedicated to his task and a world authority on turtles, Hawkbills in particular.

As we have decided to spend Christmas in Bequia, along with up to 400 other yachts in a normal year, we decided to enjoy a couple of days down in the Tobago Cays before then for a change a scenery - a lovely down and half of the way back.  The water was just as turquoise as last time and the stars incredible.

We're having our first "dinner party" tonight .... not quite the gastronomic feast we could attempt at home but the best we can achieve with two gas rings and an oven!  So a Greek salad to start and then bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts for main.  I'm even toying with making a good old bread and butter pudding laced with rum - if we don't eat it, it will be nice cold for a mid-morning or afternoon snack when we're sailing along and need an energy boost.

So our first Christmas in the Caribbean approaches, but it's too hot and sunny to feel truly festive - obviously too many years in a cold climate.  That said, a number of the boats have trimmed up with fairy lights which adds a splash of colour at night-time and the local restaurants are offering special Christmas Day menus ... but not a brussel sprout in sight!