One of the odd aspects of St. Vincent life is the way that pronunciation becomes such a vexing problem, which is not totally surprising when you have an island whose names are mixed between English, French, and Crib antecedents, none of which are languages noted for being easy to pronounce. There is another aspect of life in Bequia which is important to note, and that is the way that since I have arrived in St. Vincent my computer has been inundated with advertisements for property to purchase and develop on Bequia for reasonable rates (at least by Caribbean resort standards). It just so happens that my observations of the island (more on that below) lead me to think that the inhabitants of the island are mastering the art of trying to fleece foreigners, but that is not the sort of skill that I tend to appreciate, and Bequia, as beautiful as it is, is not a particularly exciting place as of yet, although it definitely has a wonderful beach where I spent some time in the water.
So, how does one get to Bequia. There are two options, seeing as the island is the largest of the Grenadines to the south of St. Vincent in terms of both population and area. There is a small airport that has expensive flights from Barbados (as well as St. Vincent), but the cheapest way to get to the island is to take either the ferry or a private boat between St. Vincent and Bequia, which takes about 45 minutes to an hour or so, depending on the speed of the boat, which is by no means a difficult sea journey. The ferry to and from Bequia goes into Port Elizabeth, which is the largest population center on the island and offers some businesses but nothing worth justifying the taxi ride that is required to get there if one does not want to take an arduous hike there. I went there with my mother when we were on the island, and I would have been able to make the walk with my trusty cane, but my mother found the uphill walking to be far too much for her, which is a shame. It was worthwhile to explore the town, though, even if it was not a particularly happening place to be in terms of what offerings it had. I suppose I could have stopped at the bookstore, as none of the other stores were that interesting, but I wasn’t too interested in staying around or adding more weight to my luggage.
Most of the people spent at least some time around Jack’s, which was the restaurant where we landed and had lunch. Lunch was very good, with both chicken as well as fish (barracuda, which have fins and scales, and this is the first time I had barracuda, which is quite tasty for such a fierce fish) along with salad, cinnamon plaintains, stewed eggplant (which I did not try) and ginger rice (which I did). Other than drinks and our meal deal, the restaurant appeared to be making money by renting out chairs as well as offering hair braiding, which some of the young ladies took advantage of (seeing as most of the guys, like me, didn’t have much hair to spare). I enjoyed the water, though, as there is a sheltered bay right in front of the restaurant which offered some wonderful wading, diving, and swimming, depending on what one was interested in. I managed to avoid bad sunburns and only got a bit red in the arms and some of the people were able to tan a bit and a good time was had by most, until it was time for the boat ride back, which was enjoyable as well. All in all, Bequia is an island that offers great swimming and considerable if rigorous natural beauty in its hills and greenery, so long as the people don’t acquire the worst habits of fleecing foreigners with overpriced property and taxi rides and foods and turtle sanctuaries before they provide enough entertainment to make it worth the while of foreigners to be happily fleeced.