“Bequia had the trees and the skill to make boats”, says Captain Lewis. “We were always seafaring people, whalers and fishermen, living on the water’s edge. We don’t build big trading schooners now, but there is an active whaling station with much boating still. The Bequia Easter regatta with the double enders, a whaling boat styled after the Iron Duke, is a big event in the Grenadines. We are all descendants of the Arawaks, Caribs and seafaring people. The sea is in our blood”.
What’s the word for a person who hasn’t visited their place of birth in over thirty years? What am I? I have forgotten.
Rounding West Cay, we head up the southern coast of Bequia until we reach Semple Cay, at the mouth of Friendship Bay, where The Rose was built some 40 years ago. There was much excitement in town the day before – everyone was talking about the whale that had been caught. For well over a century Bequia has been a whaling community and still tries to carry on that tradition. The IWC allows St. Vincent & the Grenadines to take up to four whales a year, but in many years the Bequia whalers catch none. They whale the old way, in 26-foot engineless, open, hand-built sailboats, throwing their harpoons by hand, a very hazardous practice. We could see men working on the remains of the whale as we sailed past. We’re not happy to see it, but can nonetheless respect their long-held traditions.
What’s the word for a person who hasn’t visited their place of birth in over thirty years? What am I? I have forgotten. After reading this I am feeling sadly nostalgic for a life left behind. Tabanca