Day 9 March 11, 2015 Bequia and the Finale
Bequia was, to us, the most picturesque island that we visited. No cruise ships ever visit this island. The beaches were pristine; and, of course, the water in the Caribbean is so crystal clear.Once on the island, we drove in open-air covered trucks which gave us a good view. We visited a turtle sanctuary. The man, who started it, like so many environmentalists, was a fisherman who took people out to fish and dive. He remembers his father taking dynamite, throwing it into the water and letting it explode. The fish floated to the surface so no work was involved. Of course, it not only killed the fish you wanted to eat but others as well. In addition, he captured hawksbill turtles and sold the shells. He said, he about gave the meat away but the shells were worth good money. However, as he took people diving over the years, he noticed that the reefs started to change. There was fewer numbers of every species and the reefs were dying. He changed and started to save the baby turtles. He learned that only a few in the thousands of turtle eggs hatched make it to adulthood. Then the few that do survive need about twenty to twenty five years before they start laying eggs. No wonder the hawksbill turtle is endangered.
He keeps the babies for five years and then starts turning them loose on the beaches. He does mark the shells with two holes in the shell placed so no harm comes to the turtle. He says that he receives almost daily reports now of people who have spotted his turtles. He has now released so many turtles off of Bequia that he realized that it was going to be too many turtles, so started releasing turtles on other islands. I asked him how the turtles would find their way back to the beaches on basically foreign islands to the turtles. He said that when he releases the males they just hustle into the ocean. However, the females look each direction, stop, check the surroundings and then just before entering the water eat some of the sand. He is convinced that the females are marking their territory and will know where to return. Probably one of the best things he does is have frequent field trips where he teaches children the importance of saving the environment.
He also raises goats. Unfortunately for the goats, it is not a goat sanctuary, but they looked fat and sassy and are most definitely free range so to speak. He had a lot of baby goats and they ran to meet us trying to see of our shoes or anything else we had was edible. They were so adorable. He also had a menagerie dogs. The dogs also looked cared for unlike the poor dogs when we first arrived on the island. Interesting it was one of the very few islands that had dogs.
Once back in town we walked along the beach. It was a beautiful walk and called for us to just sit and become one with the gentle surf lapping the shoreline. We did not succumb to the thought and went back to the ship. They were predicting rough water because we were going to leave the protection of the Windward Islands and we wanted to shower before the ship started to rock with the waves.
When we set sail in the afternoon, boy did the old Sea Cloud pitch and heave. It was great fun for us standing on the deck by the bridge. The bow almost went under the water and then would raise way up. When she came back down the waves splashed over the decks. Now everyone did not consider this fun. We are very fortunate that this didn’t bother us one bit. The only problem was walking from one place to another. During evening cocktails before dinner the Sea Cloud’s Captain told us as long as we didn’t see him in a life vest we had nothing to worry about. You may have noticed no letter yesterday because when the ship is moving that much, she has trouble picking up satellite connections.
Today we docked in Barbados and were given a tour of the island. It was very interesting. Barbados has 20 billionaires who live there at least part time and several hundred millionaires. It has hotels, condos, and apartments complete with draw bridges and marinas with yachts that would blow you away. We traveled up to an old sugar plantation that is now museum but also still squeezing cane to make rum. We actually got to see them making sugar. The man who runs the museum/mill found old videos from his around 1903 of how the plantation was run then. It was most interesting.
The woman giving the tour had an entirely different slant on slavery than we normally teach at home. I would not have thought to ever say anything good about slavery. However, not her take on it! She was a descendant of slaves that worked the plantation. Near the end of slavery, the owners had to list each slave along with all of the other property that he owned. She showed us a list of slaves and how young, strong, smart slaves were worth a great deal. She showed us one slave that was worth more than most of the equipment used to make sugar. She was proud of how hard the slaves worked. She added, “Just look where she ended up today. Now she lives on a beautiful island and has job being a tour guide where her ancestors once worked.” We then boarded a plane to Miami and are spending the night in Miami and driving home tomorrow.
We came on this trip for the thrill and nostalgia of sailing on one of the last hand sailed square riggers in the world and were not disappointed. We shut down the engines and sailed every day but one and never got tired of watching the mast crew set the sails and at night take them down. We are still overwhelmed by the opulence of the “Sea Cloud” and the food and service was 5 star in every respect. It is still hard to comprehend that this 4 mast, 361 foot sailing yacht and its crew of 70 was for the sole private use of Marjorie Merriweather Post, her husband E. F. Hutton and their guests. What an era gone by!
This will be the last email from this trip, but will be posting a video slideshow of the trip after we sort through the 1000 plus pictures and hours of video shot on the trip. We will post the slide show on www.tomjed.com and send out an email when it is posted. Till then “Life is Good Today”.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
The end of this trip
Tom & Holly