January 2009

Part Three




January 21, 2009


After 8 years of being embarrassed to admit to being Americans while abroad we are now exceedingly proud.

Yesterday about 100 yachties gathered at The Salty Dog here in Bequia to watch the inauguration. Other restaurants around the island were equally packed. Everyone listened intently to Obama's speech. Cheers and applause rang out as he addressed issues dear to peoples' hearts. Expressions of relief, hope and excitement filled the room.

Aretha Franklin' rendition of My Country 'tis of Thee was absolutely amazing and Jim and I were very moved by Reverend Lowery's benediction. We probably haven't heard the last of his witty rhyme. What an incredible road that man has traveled, how appropriate that he was part of this historic event. We are so happy the country is moving forward in a positive direction.


Yachties gather to watch the inauguration in Bequia


We continue to wait for our DHL shipment, the replacement roller furling drum. It was sent to the wrong location twice so far. It's path has been from Sweden to New Delhi to Florida to Trinidad. Our fingers are crossed that it will arrive early next week. Friends are coming to visit and we are planning to sail further south in the Grenadines. While we wait we continue to enjoy the charm of this peaceful island and its friendly people.


It is a pleasant walk along the streets of the island

A pretty house near Princess Margaret Beach

Friday and Saturday nights, Jan. 23 and 24, were great fun. The annual Bequia Music Festival was held at Lower Bay at a restaurant on the beach. Large crowds turned out including lots of yachties, visitors and locals. Young and old danced and enjoyed the blues and jazz musicians. The Country Relatives, a local band, really got people moving. We had a great time!


Two of the many performers at the Bequia Music Festival


Many local kids went crazy, yelling "Obama " and "Change" when the performer on the right came on stage wearing a t-shirt bearing the image of the president and the word Change. Together with his soulful blues he was one of our favorites.










Aching for some exercise, we took a walk across the island. Friendship Bay is an anchorage on the western shore and seemed like a good goal. As we arrived at the small town the road forked. We chose to go to the right and walked on marveling at the waves crashing on the reefs below and not envying the few sailboats rolling enthusiastically at anchor in the swell.


Friendship Bay with boats anchored at the far side


It was a bright, clear day although a little too hot and humid. A pleasant breeze blew on the far side of the island. We walked on, further south, curious what was beyond each bend. Eventually we came to the Whaling Museum.



The eclectic blend of harpoons, whale bones, old photos and paintings at the whaling museum


Bequia has a long whaling history. It's proximity to the migration route of humpback whales brought whalers here from Scotland in the 18th century. The islanders are still allowed to kill 4 whales per year with hand-thrown harpoons in open sailing boats. Only two boats survive, each 27' long and carrying 6 men, to continue the tradition. The season begins in February and lasts through April. The whalers scout the waters from the hills near the shore and on calm days they can hunt. They must be fast to harpoon the whale, up to 70' long, in the heart. Some years no whales are killed. Last year they got one. The man at the museum told us that they do not take any more than they can use. Four is too many. Residents here and from other islands all delight in the meat. Personally I do not understand killing these incredible creatures but it is interesting to see a part of another culture.


Tribute to local hero and great whaler, Athneal Ollivierre


There are several craftsmen here on Bequia that do high quality canvas work for boats so we took the opportunity to have a sun/rain awning made for Tenaya's bow. A bit larger than we had imagined, it is very sturdy and well made. The protection allows us to keep the hatches in the forward cabin and the first two ports in the main saloon open while it is raining, affording good ventilation all the time. No more hopping up in the middle of the night to close hatches at the sound of rainfall.


Tenaya's new sun/rain awning at the bow


Go to January 2009 Part Four


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