BEQUIA - What can we say once the dream starts to fill our minds?

  • Background Who, what, how, when, and why Bequia?

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A map of Bequia

St. Vincent and The Grenadines, West Indies (map)

Some Images of Bequia



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Background

In 1990 the Canadian component of the worldwide recession was busy discarding ill-founded notions of lifetime professional security or for that matter even simple blue collar job security. I had planned from the time I was 15 to get out of the regimented work-a-day rat race as soon after I was 40 as was feasible. I was 45 and weary of fighting really dumb battles for reasonable small business financing requirements. I was an accountant, (CMA) Certified Management Accountant (1976), and had done my professional best to prepare for early retirement. Freedom at last! Don't get me wrong, I was one of those weirdos who liked the work I did. The recession expedited the process and off I went without that tapering out period of several years with 4 months or so of work for peace of mind. I was on the road, not only without my planned security blanket, but halfway through building a house in a Third World foreign country which was radically different from the Canadian norms with which I was accustomed. Believe me, St. Vincent is still very much Third World but has made tremendous strides in development with the very capable and dedicated efforts of former Prime Minister, Sir James (Son) Mitchell. The government in power now, since March 2001, had been conscientiously taking a conservative approach to change, while holding tourism in high priority for consideration of impacts. The drive to build a 'white-elephant' airport on mainland St. Vincent has seen the government selling off land willie-nillie on Bequia to pay for it. It does not bode well for keeping Bequia as a haven from the hectic pace of life in the first world. Enjoy Bequia now before it is spoiled.

Well, Lois and I, finished our home on Bequia in 1991 and we now try to spend about 5 (winter) months there each year. We had sought to build because we couldn't find acceptable houses for rent. That is certainly no longer a problem. We've seen a lot of house construction on Bequia in the last five years. The years 2005-2009 have seen a dramatic increase in construction activity. Here's a little on our own building experience almost 20 years ago.

Here's a little on our tropic paradise island, Bequia.

I was trading messages with Leigh Burrows of Hamilton through the local BBS network and the following material was from that initial discussion. The page has been updated and expanded regularly since inception.

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I just love that brilliant tropic blue water!

Most Caribbean islands can offer some beautiful coral sand influenced colour in the water. St. Vincent has mostly black sand volcanic beaches, sand that is so silky it makes your skin purr. Looking up to the rising mountains, raw and awesome, you really know you are in a different world. However, the St. Vincent Grenadines do have that magical coral white sand.

The Grenadines all have coral sand, lagoons and the best sailing in the world. You always see the next island but get to feel the open sea between. The Tobago Keys just overwhelm first time visitors. The dream of tropical lagoons is embodied in this small cluster of uninhabited islands. A flight in a small aircraft between Union Island and St. Vincent is a memory to treasure. You see the whole panoply of tropic splendor, lagoons, white sand, coral reefs and the islands of the Tobago Keys, Mayreau, Palm, Cannouan, Mustique, Bequia and the stunning approach to St. Vincent and its rugged grandeur. The new American Eagle flights from San Juan landing at Cannouan provide the opportunity to take the commuter connection from there to Bequia which should also give you that absolutely stunning view of the Tobago Keys.

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Do you keep a boat there?

Keeping a boat and a home would be asking too much of the pocketbook. There are always several boats begging for charter business in the bay. Try contacting one of the charter operations in my own listing. The Bequia Tourism Association can direct you to many reputable charterers. You have to keep in mind that Admiralty Bay on Bequia is one of the top selections for landfall on transatlantic crossings from the Med. Now if you can't find one to suit, you could always check with Tom Hopmann's Grenadines Yacht Brokerage to buy a yacht right on Bequia at the Compass office on Back street.

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I gather there is no great crime rate? Can one walk safely after dark?

There are absolutely no concerns about safety. Walking is the norm and the hour of day or night totally irrelevant. However, remember that Bequia has a favoured yacht harbour and receives visitors of all kinds from all over the world. Use normal common sense and you should be safe. If you are wary after dark, then there are quite reasonable taxis to take you wherever you like. Every once in a while the island suffers from petty thievery, pirates for ancestors, you know, but it is usually resolved in short order. Everyone knows all on a small island. We've been spared the criminal influx, thank goodness. Not commercial enough. Theives target villas in remote areas like Spring and Friendship and the areas along the shore like Lower Bay and the main road (easy pickings).


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I presume that summer is not the best time to go, too hot . . . NOT!

July is a beautiful time, I am told by many who do go then. The winds are very light and the temperature only a couple degree higher than mid-winter. (winter highs 28C/82F lows 22C/72F)(summer highs 32C/90F lows 25C/77F) You do not get the unbearable heat of Texas nor the humidity of Florida and the Carolinas here in the Windward Islands. Europeans would find Bequia a vacation paradise with none of the unbearable summer crowds found near any European coastal area. The bonus is that the flowering bushes and trees are out in all their best plumage. The cruise ship crowd is generally absent and you get the chance to feel like you are part of the local scene instead of another tourist for the day.

Following a usually wet June, July is a comparatively dry month with August falling winds and normally increasing humidity and wet leading into the fall rainy season, which incidentally both Lois and I love better than any other time of year in Bequia. My interpretation is somewhat confirmed by the rainfall statistics so kindly provided by Bill Sadler.
Hurricanes have not hit the area directly since 1921. It is just below the normal path they take. Still, boat owners use to move their craft a little further south to Trinidad after July just for a little extra peace of mind considering that the insurers use to cover them if they are within or south of Grenada waters. Since Hurricane Ivan, the insurability line has been moved to Trinidad so bye-bye off-season yacht refurbishing and storage business for poor Grenada which is still suffering from the economic impact of the wayward abnormal path of Ivan.

October can be very pleasant indeed, with most of the flowers and trees out in their delightful glory, but the weather can be just a bit unpredictable. The prime season really is November through May, for northerners. May is often just a bit too warm, for my northern blood, although usually relatively dry with the most crystal clear of waters. Anyone in the USA, south of the Mason-Dixon line, would find Bequia May to October weather heavenly in comparison to their weather.

Here's a comment from one Bequia visitor regarding 'rainy season' weather in Bequia:

From: Andrew

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 20:38:59 -0300

To: filman@295.ca

Subject: I presume that summer is not the best time to go, 
          too hot . . 


Hi Russ!

Andrew in Halifax here - 
                      just planning a trip back to Bequia!

.....{deleted}....

Anyhow - back to the original subject of my email!  I am 
often asked about when we went to Bequia and if we had 
nothing but rain.  Also, in the rec.travel.caribbean 
newsgroup it seems that every second post is a question 
about rain in the summer yet there are no posts like, "Oh, 
I went down to {insert island name} in {insert 'rainy 
season' month} and it was terrible!"

Well, to bolster your opinion on your site, we were in 
Bequia  from August 6th to August 19th, 2000.  I think you 
can find historical meteorological information on line, 
but we kept a  diary.  Guess what? It rained on ONE day!  
We were there for two weeks and it rained one day (during 
the daytime).  I remember the day vividly:  we were 
returning from the Tobago Cays on Passion.  We hit Lower 
Bay beach (literally if you're familiar with Passion!) and 
as we jumped into Noel's Taxi, it started to pour!  This 
was at 5:30pm.  The whole day had been brilliant, as you 
can see from the 'Cays pics on my sites, it just rained 
for about 2 hrs after we got back.

To be fair to the meteorologists, it DID rain on other 
days...from 1am to 2am, from 3:30am to 4am, etc.

Feel free to refer anyone to me via email that may be 
hesitant about booking in the summer in Bequia.  Granted, 
their mileage may vary, but I consider myself to be rather 
unlucky! :0)

Cheers for now,

Andrew
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What about kids, would they be bored out of their minds?

For the kids, and the big kids, boredom can only be personally inflicted. There is endless snorkeling and hiking, scuba diving, if you like, kayaks, small Bequia dinghys to sail, Hobicats or Lasers, Windsurfers, all available for rental along the Admiralty Bay shore. Some of the locals can just blow your mind the way they make a Windsurfer dance. There are fishing boats from the basics to full charter sailfish hunters. Then for the ultimate, there is sailboat chartering from bareboat to full luxury crewed nirvana. There are 3 fully certified dive operations on Bequia.

Remember this is a long inhabited island with 4,000 permanent residents. Kids will make local friends readily. You know, they might even learn how to play cricket. Soccer is big too. In July, they are all out of school. Organize a group trip to climb the Soufriere volcano on St. Vincent. Wow! Maybe a group daytrip to the falls of Baleine up the north leeward coast. Try an easy drive up the leeward coast of St. Vincent for a daytrip. Send the kids out camping with a bunch of local kids to Ravine or Anse de La Chemin right on Bequia. They can get the real feel of the Caribbean. They don't even have to miss pizza, the best in the Caribbean at Mac's Pizzeria. Can you even imagine "Lobster" pizza? Making myself hungry! You could even see some of the stars over from Mustique (David Bowie, Mick Jagger, etc.) at Mac's. There are lots of restaurants to tempt you.

There is even a Whaling Museum once maintained by Athneal Ollivierre at his La Pompe home on the main road to Paget Farm. Athneal was the last of the truly heroic whalermen. Listening to his renditions of the whales he had taken and the history of the whaling industry on Bequia could be as enthralling an experience as anyone could want. He would happily give the story behind each lance, harpoon or any of the many items he had on display. We will miss his presence on the island, but he will certainly live on in our memories. Let's hope someone continues the museum and verbal history tradition that he embodied. The whaling activity was the principal means of support for Bequians for the better part of a century, so it is deeply rooted in their psyche. It is only recent tourism development that has provided a viable economic alternative.

A trip out to the "Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary" maintained by Orton "Brother" King at the isolated Park Beach is well worth the trip not just to see the turtles and talk with Mr. King but also to see the beauty of a still wild Caribbean beach. Just try to ignore the unbelievable menagerie of farm animals gathered in the coconut groves behind the beach. It's like Robinson Caruso all over again. Check under your vehicle before moving there. The chickens love to shade under anything solid.

Try a taxi tour of the island which can be both fun and a source of many new contacts as you stop off at various places and discuss the island with residents and tourists along the way.

But...here's a fair description of a typical day for someone who really just comes to Bequia to just relax and enjoy life: www.travelgrotto.com's Bequia

Where is the best snorkeling on Bequia?

Some say the snorkeling around Bell's Point from the western end of Lower Bay is the best. Others say the drift along the windward reef from Shark Bay west as far as Spring Bay is the best. Some dive boats take people to Lower Bight off Moonhole and others like the shore area near the buoy marking the headland at Devil's Table entering Admiralty Bay from the Bequia Channel. There is such a selection that you will do a lot of snorkeling before you can make up your own mind. These things are very personal because of the variety of swimming capability and energy level each person demonstrates. For beginners, just try the reef around the point at the eastern (Port Elizabeth) end of Lower Bay. There is aways a variety of sealife to keep you distracted. Some of our house guests have raved about swimming with large rays off the Adams Beach approaching Moonhole. There are more snorkeling choices than you can imagine. Check on some of the dive sites from Dive Bequia's website here just to see the variety available for diving many of which are also relevant for snorkeling which you can also do from the dive boats for a minor fee.

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How's the shopping?

Bequia is not a shoppers mecca. Being an out island is not conducive to good reliable supply of product. However, there has been an ongoing flow of artisticly oriented visitors whose influence can be seen in the selection of goods available. The island has been a favoured stop for the better yachting crowd and for the exclusive small sailing cruisers such as Windstar, Mandalay and Sea Cloud as well as the upscale modern small cruise ships of the Sea Goddess ilk. This has encouraged the shops to stock a satisfying selection of items for a more discerning clientele. There is a fair share of the run of the mill items also. Some of the shops just should not be missed such as Solana's right at the dinghy dock or the Bequia BookShop or Island Things, by the Anglican Church, or along the Belmont walkway, Local Color where the cats meow in T-shirt's and tropic wear grab your imagination, or the exotic conversation pieces of Noah's Arckade, or the lovely artwork in Claude Victorine's studio at the end of Lower Bay, or the beautiful artwork creations by Sam and Donna MacDowell displayed in their studio and home on the main road just east of Paget Farm (by appointment only). Just before that in La Pompe on the main road near the whaling museum, you can review some of the artwork by L.D. Lucy and boatcraft made by Kingsley Prop King at The Boathouse. There is enough to keep that shopper's mania under control.

If you need a rental car or taxi check some of these sources in Bequia.

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How do you get there?

For International flights travellers can check Bequia Tourism's website travel here page.

There is a new inter-island (Grenadines) fast ferry operating now from Kingstown to Bequia to Cannouan to Union and back daily intent on connecting with the Carriacou - Union ferry service making it possible to take ferry service between St. George's Grenada through to Kingstown St. Vincent or any of the islands between. This is great news for the wandering traveller. The website for the Jaden Sun fast ferry service is http://jadeninc.com/2010/08/starting-monday-23rd-august/ .

Between Barbados and Bequia, we have used Mustique Airways shared "schedule" charter flights. They use a fleet of twin engine BN2 Islanders (noisey and slow), or twin engined Aero Commanders (nice luxury and fast).

Another St. Vincent based air charterer we use is SVG AIR at phone (784)457-5124 or (784)457-5777 or (784)456-5610(traffic Arnos Vale) or (784)456-4942 or (784)457-2364, fax (784)457-5077 or SVG Air e-mail reservations at res@svgair.com with many years experience including an air ambulance service. SVG Air has 'shared charter' flights between Barbados and Bequia/Mustique and between Grenada and Bequia. Both Mustique Airways and SVG Air also connect Bequia to Canouan and Union Daily on requests since they fly over Bequia on their way to both of these Islands four times daily. They also have 20 scheduled flights per week between St. Vincent and Mustique. They fly BN2 Islanders, Aero Commanders and some comfortable and speedy 6 passenger Cessnas as well as co-op 'scheduled' flights using 19 seat Twin Otters AND ... SVG Air's latest Cessna Citation CJ3 Jet. Check their website for pricing and reservations.

The one difficulty presented with self-booked 'scheduled' charters is that they limit baggage per passenger to 44 lbs. per person which means that most international scheduled carrier passengers are overweight on their baggage. The surcharge is US$1 per lb. for extra baggage in excess of 44 lbs. per person. LIAT is morally bound to carry the international carrier's baggage weight allowance limits if you book with them through to St. Vincent so you may not run into surcharges with them but you are limited to landing on and departing from mainland St. Vincent with them. It is well worth the price difference and potential inconvenience if you are more than 2 passengers or carry maximum international baggage weight. When booking your International flight check to see if your carrier has an onward agreement with either LIAT to carry your full International weight allowance. If they do then it is prudent to book your entire flight right to/from St. Vincent (SVD) with the International carrier.

These final flight legs all take less than an hour without having to stop overnight in Barbados for connections, usually. If for some reason you do end up overnighting in St. Vincent due to late flights, rooms in St. Vincent are both plentiful and quite reasonable particularly in general comparison to Barbados and this allows you the freedom to tour mainland St. Vincent or do some serious grocery shopping and/or take an early ferry to Bequia in the morning.
LIAT is the long established Caribbean interisland carrier once owned by the various island governments. Liat's intransigence in providing reliable service has generated many new regional air services being started in competition. Liat's St. Vincent phone is (784) 457-1821 fax (784) 457-2000 or their Reservations Direct Phone (268)480-5610 Fax - (268)480-5625 for the latest information. The last I have is from Jim Lynch, who indicates the Reservations Department is at liat.res.control@candw.ag.

I believe LIAT has a fare of about $US224/pp return, between Barbados & mainland St. Vincent, in conjunction with connecting air flights if booked in advance. You will have to verify that; these things tend to change rapidly. The problem is that you have to take the ferry from St. Vincent to Bequia EC$25/pp. The last one each day is at 7:00pm weekends, if not then 6:00pm week days. The ferry docks are a EC$30 taxi ride of about 15 minutes from the Arnos Vale airport.

Both SVG Air and Mustique Air do handle private air charter business from many Caribbean islands. You can private charter a flight between Barbados and Bequia. This way the connecting aircraft is waiting for you on arrival and smoothly transfers all passengers and luggage without going through the nuisance of customs or immigration at Barbados. You clear at Bequia. You would have to verify cost with SVG Air at their website at www.svgair.com, email link at res@svgair.com or phone/fax numbers above, or for Mustique Airways with (800)419-1635 (Toronto Canada agent - Travel Advantage [for Mustique Air] at email: travel@totaladvantage.com ) or direct to Mustique Air (784) 458-4380 fax (784) 456-4586. The latest Mustique email contact is info@mustique.com or website at www.mustique.com. On Bequia Island, call Grenadine Travel (784) 458-3795 fax (784) 458-3775. Ask for Mustique's booklet/magazine! It will wet your appetite to the max.

American Eagle had setup and operated daily service connections to and from their hub in Puerto Rico. The SVG government altered the E.T. Joshua air terminal at Arnos Vale to meet the new carrier's requirements. Unfortunately, the FAA has denied American controlled flights permission to land in St. Vincent since February 2001 under extremely dubious premises, which are being contested at last notice. That meant that American based flights must land elsewhere, such as Barbados, St. Lucia or Grenada forcing their passengers to take local carriers from that point to St. Vincent, or to Bequia direct. It has had a substantial negative economic impact on tourism for St. Vincent and the Grenadines which certainly isn't a concern for USA bureaucrats but they should at least be considering their own loss of competitive service advantage. American Eagle has replaced the Arnos Vale landing site with one at Cannouan so that provides another alternative now, although certainly less satisfactory than the former Arnos Vale alternative. SVG Air and Mustique Airways both run 'scheduled' flights between Bequia and Cannouan to tie into the American Eagle flight arrivals and departures but the ongoing landing light and air controller scheduling problems at Bequia sometimes make it impossible to make the transit to Bequia that same evening so it entails an overnight on Canouan. LIAT now flies daily between Canouan and mainland St. Vincent where you can catch the ferry to Bequia. There is now daily ferry service from Cannouan but timing is awkward.
See Russ' SVG Places to stay for an overnight in Canouan or Russ' Barbados recommendations for an overnight in Barbados if the unforgivable of a late flight happens.

Coming out of Grenada, a new service offers air connections in and out of Grenada and Bequia, including daily scheduled flights from Grenada twice daily to the Grenadines. SVG Air has a fleet of 8 to 10 aircraft operating from bases in St. Vincent, Bequia, Barbados and Grenada. For more information contact Paul Gravel at tel (784) 457-5124, fax (784) 457-5077, or visit their website at www.svgair.com.

The latest service available into mainland St. Vincent is provided from San Juan daily by LIAT which makes it fairly convenient for many flights arriving from the USA to connect.

If you land in St. Vincent, you can also use either Mustique Airways or SVG Air to do the five minute hop to Bequia for about US$335 for the plane load (5 seats). SVG Air has a scheduled commuter flight SVD to Bequia at 10:10 daily for US$35 per person one way returning at 17:50. Check with them on current pricing and availability.

If you just have to have a taxi pre-arranged to pick you up at the airport or ferry on Bequia or want to rent a car, check these sources on Bequia. There are always taxis at the airport or ferry anyway.


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How would one find out about the homes for rent?

Please note that I do NOT make personal recommendations for accommodation. There are several home and villa rental and general travel agents on Bequia to serve your needs whose contact numbers can be obtained from the various tourism offices listed below or from sources in Bequia listed in my own web pages.

Bequia is still fairly reasonable in comparison to other destinations. The only excess cost is the return flight from Barbados (about EC$1,200pp/US$450pp return all incl., less in summer sometimes, generally considerably less if you fly into St. Vincent mainland instead and ferry over to Bequia [1 hr]).

After resisting for many years, we now do rent our home out in the off-season (May - September) but we are in residence most of the winter. There are lots of homes and apartments available and for those who prefer the hotel experience there are several small hotels with prices lower than the norm in the bigger islands. These are very small (22 units or less) and personal service hotels, definitely not the package tour monsters you find elsewhere.

If you like friendliness and lovely beaches, walking trails and no hype, Bequia is the place for you. Bequia is one of the best snorkeling and diving destinations in the Caribbean.



There is a good selection of small hotel and guesthouse accommodation in my own listing.
More are listed in Tony Mitchell's SVG in the Bequia section. The official St. Vincent and The Grenadines Hotel Association has it's hotel & guesthouse listing

For these and more contact: The Bequia Tourism Association
Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St. Vincent .. phone (784)458-3286 or (784)458-3964
website at www.bequiatourism.com

Dept of Tourism P.O. Box 834, Egmont St., Kingstown, St. Vincent, W.I.
...... telex 7531 FOREIGN VQ .. phone (784)457-1502 fax (784)456-2610
UK phone 44 71 937-6570 . USA Dallas (800)235-3029 . NY (800)729-1726
website: discoversvg.com .. email: svgta@discoversvg.com

St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourist Offices elswhere - including overseas http://discoversvg.com/index.php/en/contact/contact

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Non-Profit & Cultural Organizations

Three non-profit social and educational development efforts in progress at present might be of interest to those inclined to seek a closer involvement with Bequia and Bequians.


  • Interested in local newspapers? Then check Russ' SVG News Media
  • Would you like to read an excellent book on Bequia? Then try the book "Bequia, sweet, sweet" by Pat Mitchell, 1994, The Macmillan Press Ltd, London and Basingstoke ISBN 0-333-60952-2 .
  • Check this booklist for further recommended reading, some taken from ";Bequia, sweet, sweet" Page 102
  • If you are going to Bequia, and need a place to pickup and send email or faxes, then there are several available also,Surf 'n Send Internet Services, Port Elizabeth , 784 458 3577 above De Treasure Shop next to Bequia Venture Hardware and another in Ocar across from Grenadine Yacht Equipment (GYE) R.M.S Internet Services, Port Elizabeth, 784 458 3556 and Cyber City, Port Elizabeth, 784 457 3161.
  • Need really professional website help on Bequia? Try the Mac specialist, Wilfred Dederer, at Outhouse Graphics. He can usually be found at the Caribbean Compass office on Back St..
  • Check here for a grab-bag of miscellaneous Bequia and SVG Web links./k

  • Another writer's impression of Bequia

......... With dreams from paradise, Russ



There is never enough nothing to do!


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Yahoo . . . Google

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From: wmartin@spaceworks.com (Woodson J. Martin)

*from Newsgroup rec.travel.caribbean
*Subject - Try Bequia Date: 26 Nov 1995 17:27:10 -0500
*Message-ID - (49apju$d9i@mars.spaceworks.com)
*NNTP-Posting-Host - mars.spaceworks.com

I suggest that you give Bequia (in the Grenadines) a try. I have never sailed to it, but I spent a week there with my wife on our honeymoon. It is a small island (7 sq miles) and is home to some of nicest people I have ever met. On Wednesday nights at the Gingerbread house, you will find one of the finest Caribbean bands accompanied by a bunch of local guys who beat out the rythms on ashtrays and beer bottles. A great entertainment.

For diving advice, see Bob Sachs at Dive Bequia. There are lots of great dive sites around Bequia and the snorkeling off Princess Margaret Beach is the best I have ever experienced. All the restaurants we tried were good.

.................................................

Editor's note: there are several other Dive Shops available on/from Bequia as well, Bequia Dive Adventures' facilities comes to mind.

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What do rental cars cost on Bequia?
I checked with Handy Andy Rentals in Port Elizabeth (ph 458-3722) who rent jeeps for US$350/wk and mules (4 wheel golf cart like vehicles with a canvas shade) for less . Mokes, somewhat like mules, are available for rent, price negotiable, at phone 457-3238 or 458-3279. Curtis Olliverre Challenger Taxi ph 458-3811 rents his red Suzuki Sidekick softop jeep for US$55/day (or US$50/day on a weekly basis). B&G Jeep Rental (ph/fax 458-3760) and Phil's Car Rental (ph 458-3304 fax 458-3812) also have rental vehicles. You can also contact Raleigh Bynoe Jump-In Taxi for vehicle rentals at 457-3086 or 593-3631 or 530-6833. Of course, you will have to check on current pricing in all cases, particularly since a Value Added Tax is being implemented in January 2007 with an adjustment to customs duties and/or consumption taxes on all imported items such a vehicles and repair parts, and HUGE increases in fuel costs.

What do taxis cost on Bequia?
Taxis are quite reasonable and are usually either a pickup truck converted for passenger carrying (Alvin ph 458-3356 and Roland's Fummy Taxi ph 455-8429) or an enclosed van such as that operated by Alvin's son Autry. It's only EC$20 (US$8) from Port Elizabeth to Mount Pleasant and EC$25 (US$8-10) from Lower Bay. From Spring to Port Elizabeth it's about EC$15-20. The airport is the long haul but even it is only EC$40-50 (US$15-20) to Spring or Mount Pleasant (less to Port Elizabeth). You could make 30-40 trips a week by taxi at those prices for the same money it would cost for a rental car, but it does change the style of living and psychological flexibility, particularly for car-bound North Americans. Maybe a holiday is the time to kick the car fetish for a while. Again the new VA Tax will be a consideration as will the HUGE increases in fuel costs which may raise taxi fares too!

We would love to take a tour of Bequia. Is there a taxi/tour service that does that?
Almost any taxi will happily provide a tour of Bequia. They almost all belong to groups that do just that for cruise ships when they come to the island so they are all experienced at doing so. There really isn't any need to pre-arrange. Once you come off the ferry or a yacht, many of the taxis are on the jetty or at the foot of it under the large almond trees (there are taxis at the airport too). Pick any one you feel an affinity to and ask how much for the tour. It usually runs about EC$50 per hour and you can expand it or terminate it as you go along. The driver should be able to describe where he is taking you and what you can expect to see and you can choose what you want. Everyones taste is different so this allows for the needed flexibility.

Need a taxi on St. Vincent? Or, if your travel plans take you through St. Vincent we recommend Chez Norris. They offer Bed & Breakfast, taxi, tours, and airport pick up and drop off. Contact them at gotalife@vincysurf.com or phone: (784)457-5237.

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From: "Janusz Gdaniec" (mate@renc.igs.net)
*Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 22:45:30 -0500
*Subject: Bequia wedding

Hello Russ,

It's been some time since our last communication but I think you would like to know this.

Lori and I got hitched on Bequia on May 4.

On April 28 we sailed from St Lucia's Rodney Bay to the Pitons from where we continued on the next day to Wallilabou on St Vincent. It was a very exciting sail. I walked from Wallilabou to Barrouallie where our passports got stamped at the police station. In order to get St Vincent's marriage licence a 3 day residence is required and a stamped passport is good proof of the arrival date. (Editors comment: the wait period has been reduced to overnight in recent legislation)

The whole crew (10 people) made a day trip to Trinity Falls and later we sailed to Petit Byahaut. On Friday May 2, Lori and I went to Kingstown to get the marriage licence while the rest went to the volcano. It took us a whole day in Kingstown. We dealt with scores of officials including a notary public as well as employees of 3 ministerial departments. Our hike included also the post office. We criss-crossed the town as every office was in a different building. But we got our paper!

On the 3rd of May we sailed to Port Elizabeth and met with Fr Gerry in the afternoon. Gerry was great! Very helpful and understanding (we were very nervous). He talked to us about the Church's teaching and outlook on marriage as sacrament, we completed several forms and had a quick wedding rehearsal - all within a couple of hours time.

Lori and I stayed for the night at Keegan's Guest House in the Lower Bay.

The next day we attended the morning mass at 8:30 with the whole crew who had never been to a Carribean mass. They were so overwhelmed!

The wedding was scheduled for 4:00 PM. We arrived from Keegan's on the back of an open pick-up truck taxi. The bride's maid whose job was to arrange for some flowers for Lori did a splendid job. She got some local flowers from a blossoming tree. Later she noticed that the branches were oozing sap so she wrapped the twiggs in a handkerchief using dental floss to hold it! Fr Gerry surprised us by arranging a choir and invited his best singer to sing Ave Maria. Later he told us that she had never sung solo before. Neither the girl nor the organist could read music notes which is even more impressive.

The whole ceremony was wonderful and Fr Gerry's sermon was magnificent. Everybody was very emotional, touched and happy! It was absolutely a spectacular occassion. After the wedding ceremony we had a reception dinner at the Plantation House and were very happy to have Gerry with us. He revealed that his rum punch has no competition anywhere (apparently you can not have more than 3 if you are to maintain the vertical position). Do you know anything about that?

The rest of the trip went as follows: Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, Palm Island, Petit St Vincent, Petite Martinique, Carriacou, Sandy Island, St Georges and a tour of Grenada and at last Prickly Bay where we returned the yacht.

Thank you again for your help.
Janusz and Lori




From: "Suzanne Gabriel"( suzanne@acaribbeanwedding.com )
*Date: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 9:48am

Hi Russ,

...... I would like to mention that the email From: "Janusz Gdaniec" .... *Date: Tue, 13 May 1997 Is now out of date as the administration waiting time has been reduced from the 3 days to just overnight. You still have to criss cross about town and visit several offices, but with the help of myself I can cut the procedure time in half and get your license in just 90 mins.

Here are some of my clients views.

I wanted to take a moment at this milestone to again thank you for everything you did and all the services you provided to make our day special and truly enjoyable. I was able to enjoy the moment and not worry or think about anything. I know that I have you to thank for that. Leslie Quammie Hodo, St Vincent/Florida USA.

Our hearts are filled with gratitude. Thank you for all that you did to make our wedding so wonderful. We have beautiful memories that will last us a lifetime and we owe it in part to you. It couldn't have been more perfect. Daniele and Monica, Milan, Italy

Again I'd like to say thanks for all your help, we really had a good time on our trip & a lot of that was due to your hard work. David Huntsville, Alabama, USA

Thank you for everything! The wedding was wonderful and unbelievably easy with all your help. The photographer was also great. Anyway - thanks again for all your help. The whole trip was grand Joan, St Charles, MO, USA

Thank you again for your support, it was fabulous. .

Thank you so much for your help, you made our special day go by without a hitch. Carolyn, California, USA

Your special touches and fantastic organization skills really made our wedding day superb. Thank you. Julie, Toronto, Canada.

Thanks again for all your help in coordinating everything for us. We thought the wedding on the beach worked out so well, the photos were great. We loved Bequia, and there's a good chance we'll be back. David, Rowayton, CT, USA

We wanted to thank you for the superb job you did coordinating our wedding. The day was perfect. It was wonderful having you to take care of everything so we didn't have to worry about a thing. The photos were great! You are definitely highly recommended. Joyce, Florida, USA.

We had a great time in Bequia. Everybody is very impressed with the photos and everytime we show them to friends we experience the whole trip again. Thank you once again for everything and I am sure we will return to Bequia again. - Vincent, Munich, Germany.

I only wish Suzanne lived in Massachusetts I would like to have her with me at every wedding. Suzanne is a real team player and we would be very fortunate to have her as a member. Her professionalism and ability to think and ad quickly was key to making this wedding come off without a hitch. Any bide who hires Suzanne can rest assured they are indeed in very capable hands, she is indeed an angel. The Wedding Directory, Massachusetts, USA

The reason for this e-mail is to thank you for all your work in making Jo and Wayne's wedding day a very memorable one. It all went so smoothly. What a wonderful venue for the ceremony. Even better, I did not have the stress that goes with all the arrangements. The hotel, staff, food and service could not be faulted.Once again, thank you very much for all your efforts (by the way, any chance of the recipe for the wedding cake?). Heather, London, England.

Until then, thank you, thank you, thank you for arranging and orchestrating our beautiful wedding. It really couldn't have been any better. The setting was amazingly beautiful, the ceremony was just what we wanted, and the restaurant afterwards was superb! I loved every second of it. Bevin New York, USA

We have no problem if you wish to include some of these in your site.

Thanks again for your page and I know it can be difficult and time consuming to keep it current.

Regards Suzanne Gabriel




If you want help in preparing for a wedding on Bequia contact Suzanne Gabriel at www.ACaribbeanWedding.com or phone (784)457-3209 or Fax: (784)457-3505
But don't forget to review Pleasant Top for that all important decision on where to spend your honeymoon. It is one of the most romantic and comfortable spots on the island, particularly to watch those unbelievable Caribbean sunsets as the sea swallows that glorious orb each evening.




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Recommended reading

Dana Jinkins and Jill Bobrow: St. Vincent and the Grenadines: A Plural Country,
W.W. Norton, New York, 1985

G. W. Lennox and S. A. Seddon: Flowers of the Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (London and Basingstoke), 1978, ISBN 0 333 26968 3

S. A. Seddon and G. W. Lennox: Trees of the Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (London and Basingstoke), 1980, ISBN 0 333 28793 2

Virginia Tate Sandrock: Caribbean Ways,
privately published account of the 30 year life experiences on Bequia of Ross and Virginia Sandrock
If anyone has a copy of the book or can provide a source for the book, it would be very much appreciated as a treasured addition to the Bequia Library collection in particular and to me of course.

Thomas Carl Thomsen: Tales of Bequia,
Cross River Press, P.O. Box 473, Cross River, NY 10518 USA (phone 914-763-8030), 1988, ISBN 0-945288-00-X

Thomas Carl Thomsen: Sandy, Jimmy, Boolu A Bequia Story
Cross River Press, P.O. Box 473, Cross River, NY 10518 USA (phone 914-763-8030), Oct 2001, ISBN: 0945288069

Nathalie F. R. Ward: Blows, Mon, Blows! - A History of Bequia Whaling,
Gecko Productions, P.O. Box 573, Woods Hole, MA 02543 USA, 1995

Julie Savage Lea: Bequia Reflections. An Artist in the Caribbean ,
This 48-page collection of sketches and paintings truly captures the vibrancy of Bequia.

Roderick A. McDonald: Between Slavery and Freedom, Special Magistrate John anderson's Journal of St. Vincent during the Apprenticeship
U.W.I. Press, 309 pages, foreward by Richard S. Dunn

Sharon English: St. Vincent & The Grenadines - a cultural profile,
AMNI Centre, Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, 2001, designed for volunteers working in Canadian government programs which match newcomers to Canada with volunteers who offer friendship, orientation to the community and an opportunity to practise English or French, if needed.
some references from this publication:

  • Roger Abrahams, editor: Afro-American Folktales: Stories form the Black traditions in the New World, 1985, New York: Pantheon, a colleciton of folk stories and annansi tales from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and from other Caribbean countries and the USA

  • Mark Kurlansky: A Continent of Islands: Searching for the Caribbean Destiny, 1993, Reading, Massachusetts: Addison Wesley, ISBN 0-201-52396-5, a thoughtful analysis of the social, political and cultural worlds of the Caribbean nations, by a journalist who has lived in the Caribbean for many years.
    A highly recommended Suggested Reading list from the book.

  • Don Philpott: Caribbean Sunseekers St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 1996, Chicago, Passport Books, ISBN 0-8442-4928-9, an illustrated guide to the islands for tourists, published in association with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Department of Tourism - an excellent reference for the traveller to SVG

  • Lesly Sutty: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 1997, London, Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-71353-2, a description of island life, written by a long-time resident, whith many colour illustrations

Lesley Sutty: St Vincent and the Grenadines, July 1994, Hunter Publishing; ISBN: 0-333-56818-4

E. A. Markham (editor): The Penquin Book of Caribbean Short Stories, 1996, Penquin Group; ISBN: 0-14-024503-0

Kenneth Ramchand & Cecil Gray: West Indian Poetry New Edition - an Anthology for schools, published by Pearson Education Limited, Edinburgh Gate, Harlow, Essex CM20 2JE, England. Copyright Longman Group UK Limited 1989, ISBN 0 582 76637 0.

Harry A. Ezratty: 500 Years in the Jewish Caribbean: The Spanish and Portuguese Jews in the West Indies, Omni Arts Inc. 2 West Read St., Unit 150, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA, ISBN 0-942929-07

E.B. Baisden: The Fever of the Years New York: Caribbean Research Center Press, 1990. 208 pages. ( Vincentian short story writer)

Paul C. Clement: Petite Martinique: Traditions and Social Change, 1999, Carib Books/Clement Inc., Brooklyn, NY, 144 pages ISBN 0-9670898-08

Herman Wouk: Don't Stop the Carnival,
William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland, 1965, (Fontana Paperbacks 1966)

From a 'Required Reading' list from The Caribbean Compass, November 1997 No.26, the Southern Caribbean's Monthly look at Sea & Shore. Compass Publishing Ltd., Bequia, SVG

  • Patrick Leigh Fermor: The Traveller's Tree

  • Bob Shocochis: Easy in the Islands

  • Peter Mathiessen: Far Tortuga

  • C. L. R. James: Beyond the Boundary

  • George Thomas: Ruler in Hiroona

  • Douglas Pyle: Clean Sweet Wind

  • Sydney Hunt: How to Live in the Caribbean

A list of Caribbean born authors and their works: Russ' Caribbean Literature

Clive A. Frank: History of Begos - The Grenadines from Columbus to Today ,
Consultant Sales & Marketing, Christ Church, Barbodos, 1976, 40 pages, printery: Cole's Printery Ltd., Bridgetown, Barbados
references taken from this publication:

  • Archaeological Investigation on St. Vincent and the Grenadines - Bullen & Bullen

  • The History of the Massacre of Two Jesuit Missionaries in the island of St. Vincent - D. Gaulbert Van Der Plas

  • Historical Geography of Whaling in Bequia - Dr. John E. Adams

  • Alone in the Caribbean - Frederic Senger

  • A Star to Steer By - Hugh Mulzac

  • About Canouan - Sylvanus Burke

  • Rise & Fall of the Black Caribs in St. Vincent - Dr. I.A.E. Kirby, C.I. Martin

  • History of the Island of St. Vincent - Charles Shepperd

  • History of St. Vincent - Ebenezer Duncan

  • West Indian History Books

  • Growth of the Modern West Indies - Gordon K. Lewis

From one of my favourite writers and one of our most pragmatically effective and treasured Bequia residents:
Pat Mitchell's: "Bequia, sweet, sweet",
The Macmillan Press Ltd (London and Basingstoke), 1994, ISBN 0-333-60952-2

The following were taken from Pat Mitchell's recommended reading list:

I Bannochie and M Light: Gardening in the Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (Basingstoke), 1993, ISBN 0-333-56573-8

Virginia Barlow: The Nature of the islands,
Chris Doyle Publishing, (USA), 1993

Horace Beck: Folklore of the Sea,
Wesleyan University Press, (USA), 1973, ISBN 0-8289-0499-5

S Cliff, S Slesin et al: Caribbean Style,
Clarkson N Potter Publishers, (USA), 1985

Richard Morris Dey: The Bequia Poems,
Macmillan Caribbean, (Basingstoke), 1988, ISBN 0-333-46511-3

Chris Doyle: Sailors Guide to the Windward Islands,
Chris Doyle Publishing, (USA), 1992

Peter Evans: Birds of the Eastern Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (Basingstoke), 1990

J F Mitchell: Caribbean Crusade,
Concepts Publishing, (USA), 1989

Neil Price: Behind the Planters Back: Lower class responses to marginality in Bequia island,
St. Vincent, Macmillan Caribbean (Basingstoke), 1988

Douglas C Pyle: Clean Sweet Wind,
Easy Reach Press, (USA), 1981

Henry Shukman: Travels with my Trombone: A Caribbean Journey,
Harper Collins (London), 1992, ISBN 0-517-59360-2

Lesley Sutty: Fauna of the Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (Basingstoke), 1993

Lesley Sutty: Seashells of the Caribbean,
Macmillan Caribbean (Basingstoke), 1990

Margaret Knight
Sent: February 17, 2004 6:09pm
To: 'filman@295.ca'
Subject: Caribbean Books/Authors

Dear Mr. Filman,

I have recently visited your Bequia website and found it not only beautiful, but very informative. I live in Barbados, but have visited Bequia twice in the 1990's. I stayed with friends - Ian and Cyralene Gale, who ran the Bequia Book Shop at that time - at their home in Friendship Bay. Ian died, as you no doubt know, and Cyralene returned to Barbados to live.

I thought you might be interested to know about my book, entitled "Ginger Lily", which is being published by Macmillan Caribbean, and is expected to be launched in March or April this year. There are plans for a book signing in Bequia as well. If you are interested in learning more about this book, you can visit the Macmillan Caribbean website, click on "Books", then on the tree at the left hand side, click on "Forthcoming" and you can get some details there.

It may also interest you to know that Bequia is mentioned in this book as the honeymoon choice of a couple.

Kind regards,
Margaret Knight

Re: Margaret Atwood
Sent: March 26, 2002 1:48 PM
To: 'filman@295.ca'
Subject: Caribbean Literature

Hi Russ,
Sara Forgie here, your old neighbor from Mount Pleasant. Was just browsing, looking at pictures of the old island (which is a necessity when you're expecting 10 cm of snow) and was looking at your literature page.
A book you should have listed and is a must read to those familiar with Bequia, is Margaret Atwood's Bodily Harm and her poetry book, True Stories.
Bodily Harm was written when Atwood spent time on Bequia in the early 80's. She went to school with Pat Mitchell, I think and came to spend some time. It's the story of a travel writer who come to the island to do a "fluff piece" after a traumatic event. Upon arrival, she gets caught up in the impending elections about to take place. When reading this book you'll discover alot of familiar settings and even people.
True Stories was written about the same time. She makes reference to many familiar places and things and there is a poem in the book dedicated to Son Mitchell. She is my favorite author, so it was serendipitous for me to discover that the place where I spent a few years, was the same place she had spent time.
Hope you can add this information. When I left, I did leave a copy of the book at Bert and Kay's small guest library in Kingsville, but I'm not sure if it's still there.
Hope this was helpful, and hope you are enjoying the lovely weather...

Regards,

Sara



A good source for many of the books indicated above is found right on Bequia at the Bequia Bookshop phone (784) 458-3905
Another excellent source for most of the books above is at R. & M. Adams Book Centre at the Kingstown Cruise Terminal, P.O. Box 707, Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Telephone:(784)457-5174 fax:(784)485-6945, email: adamsbooks@vincysurf.com



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