Last year, after I bought a scanner to digitise my 35mm film negatives, I discovered a box full of developed APS film and prints. I was excited when I found a roll containing images from the last time I visited the land of my birth. I quickly sent off the rolls to be scanned. It would be less work than scanning the prints myself. Here are some of the photos I took during that week. I apologise for the quality of the photos. I was technologically ignorant of photography at the time and bought into the hyped behind APS (compact and easy) without understanding the downsides (low quality, expensive). The APS canister was kept in poor conditions in my basement and didn’t age well. I was also a terrible photographer, and whatever point-n-shoot thingy I put these rolls through was probably cheap.
Decades ago, Bhavna and I were on a long trip for my younger brother’s Shane’s wedding in Antigua in August of 1998. After the wedding, we hopped on a charter flight to visit St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I wanted Bhavna to experience the islands where I was born and raised.
Dad was still working for Barclays Bank, PLC at the time. Bhavna and I stayed with my Dad and Mom at the bank house near Kingstown as my parent has rented out the family home. We took a few days to explore St. Vincent, but I was excited to get to Bequia. Bhavna had heard so much about this magical island that was lost in time, and I wanted her to meet Mom’s mother, who the grandchildren affectionately called “Mama”.
My cousin, Cashena Wallace and her husband, Elvis Gooding, operate Admiralty Transport Company Ltd, one of two ferry services between St. Vincent and Bequia. Around 9 AM, we took the ferry leaving from Kingstown Harbour. Bequia and St. Vincent’s distance is about nine miles, and depending on the weather, it takes about one hour from port to port.
As we arrived at the dock at Port Elizabeth, memories of summers long past flooded into my mind. The noise level in the ferry increased with the chatter of passengers readying their belongings for departure.
We were greeted at the dock by Mom’s cousin, Emmanuel Corea, who runs a taxi service around Bequia. In Bequia, a taxi is any vehicle that can seat six or more passengers, typical a Kei van or minibus imported directly from Japan. These vans tend to be smaller than the vans in the USA. In between fares, most of the taxi drivers sit under an Almond Tree in Port Elizabeth.
After a 20 minute drive, we had arrived at my grandmothers home in LaPompe. I spent most of that day hanging out with my grandmother. We took a vigorous hike to visit the ancestral home near the mid-section of Monkey Hill. It was like old time. I followed my grandmother around as she tended to her chickens and goats. Bhavna took the camera to capture some snapshots and enjoyed the views. It’s always windy at the top of the hill. In the distance, we could see Petit Nevis.
I’m not sure if it was the next day or later that week, but two of Mom’s cousins had spent several days crossing the Caribbean Sea in a speed boat from Grenada (or maybe it was Carriacou) to dive for lobster. The next day they took us over to Petit Nevis, a private island owned by my mom. Bhavna enjoyed the cool breezes of the Trade Winds while we hiked around the island. Later that night, I dined on fresh lobster meat while Mom’s cousins regaled us with tales of their recent adventures.
Later that week, we visited my Great Uncle Athneal Ollivierre (my grandfather Louis Ollivierre’s brother) at his home, a part of which is a whaling museum. When I was a lad, Athneal was the most heralded of the Yankee style whalers in Bequia. He died several years ago, and though my family is no longer involved in whaling, the tradition continues.