I like Bequia. The people there are friendly, move slowly and smile a lot. When I bought a coconut from a guy selling them from a barrow and mistakenly left it behind, he came running after me with it. That’s the kind of place it is.
The anchorage is large, sheltered and free of navigational hazards. Ashore, the tiny town is accustomed to cruising sailors. Rather than car parks, the waterfront bars have jetties so that you can tie-up your dinghy right outside.
Just outside the bay is a shoal area called the Devil’s Table, presumably because of the number of ships it’s claimed in the past. There’s only two meters of water for a sizeable area and it’s alive with colourful coral and fish. I spent hours there.
After a few lazy days, though, the inevitable question arose: where should I go next? I had looked forward to sailing around the Tobago Cays and Grenada for a long time. But although they weren’t far away and I still had a couple of weeks left before the start of the hurricane season, somehow I just didn’t want to do it. I think there were two reasons for this.
Firstly, there’s the sailing. Sailing among the Caribbean islands is great. Most passages are completed in a single day, sailing fast in twenty knots of wind in the gaps between the islands, eking out progress in light airs and flat water in their lee. But I’ve done a lot of that now and, well, I wanted to go to sea again. Properly.
Secondly, I was getting tired, and tired of always moving on, too. It would be nice, I thought, to get somewhere, drop my anchor, and stay put for a while.
I had previously thought long and hard about where I should spend the hurricane season. Indeed, it’s a common topic for conversation among sailors here. I’d narrowed it down to two options: Trinidad or the ABC islands. Each has pros and cons, but after an email discussion with my friends aboard their boat Bella, I elected to go to the ABCs: Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
The decision made I left almost immediately, and it was an ideal departure. I popped ashore in the morning to get some fresh fruit and vegetables and to check out with Customs and Immigration. Back on board I had lunch, deflated and stowed the dinghy and swam around the boat a couple of times to cool off. Then, with water still dripping from my shorts, I hoisted the sails, hauled up the anchor and headed for the horizon.