Day 7 - October 9, 2013 - Bequia
By Maria Gomez-Berning, Marine Biologist
Co-ordinates: 13° 00’ 24” N 61°15’ 16” W
Air Temperature: 28.6 °C / 83.5 °F
Today we awoke while
still sailing. At 8:00 am, when going for breakfast, our biologist Chris
spotted a sperm whale approximately 300 m from Silver Explorer. It was an excellent start of the day.
About an hour later
we dropped anchor just outside Port Elizabeth, Bequia. This island is the
second largest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and, living up to its name,
which in Arawak language means “island of the clouds”, it was indeed cloudy.
At 9:30 am when the
Expedition Staff disembarked, it was not only cloudy but also rainy and we got our
“Caribbean baptism”. Fortunately, during our guests’ disembarkation, the rain
stopped and the sun was trying to show its face. A little later, the zodiac
groups 3 & 4 disembarked and went to visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary,
while the rest of the guests could choose between exploring the island at their
own leisure or heading to Princess Margaret Beach. I spent the forenoon at the
beach, but because of the rainy weather not many guests joined us. However,
those who did had the opportunity to enjoy swimming and snorkeling in warm sea
water, with a visibility of more than 10 m and an explosion of colorful fish.
A lot of fascinating
animals and their behaviours could be observed. Young morays, the bearded
fireworms and numerous beautiful sponges were amongst them. It was also delightful
to see how hundreds of newly hatched baby fish were searching for protection
amongst the long, black spines of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum. But the highlight of this first immersion was a
big octopus who was apparently staring at me long before I could notice it
At 1:30 pm the
zodiac groups 1 & 2 disembarked and I joined them on our island tour. We
went on modified pick-up trucks with wooden benches. On each “bus” a tourist
guide was explaining the names of the villages, the stories behind their names
as well as their most important buildings. Our guide, Anita, told us also about
the economy of the island, how over the years people have been struggling to
find something they could sell or trade, and how they managed to live a whole year
with the incomes of approximately four months of tourist season.
Our tour led us to
the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary where tanks with turtles of all ages were
welcoming us. There we were introduced to the project, its origins and goals by
the famous Orton “Brother” King. We continued to the southern part of the
island were we shortly visited the airport and the fishing village of Paget
Farm. Then, we went on to Lower Bay where we could enjoy a tasty rum punch and a
sunny, white, sandy beach.
At this point we had
the options of going back to Silver Explorer,
exploring the capital of the island, or enjoying again Princess Margaret beach.
As a marine biologist, I couldn’t help but choose the latter option, and once
again jumped into the water for another truly exciting snorkeling adventure.
This time I was surprised by a majestic group of six manta rays, which quietly approached
me. In a flurry of excitement I was shouting through my snorkel! What a perfect
Back on Silver Explorer we watched Ray
Stranagan’s wonderful video about this incredible voyage through the Lesser
Antilles. Time flies and our lovely guests and Captain Maggie are leaving Silver Explorer in Barbados tomorrow. It
has been a fantastic week with countless memorable activities and experiences in
beautiful Caribbean places, and it was a great pleasure for me to share this
time with you!
I went to sleep
with the image of a cute baby goat sleeping in the lap of its mother in La
Pompe, and the surreal vision of a lonely toy sailboard being pushed by the
wind in Paget Farm.
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