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Diving and Dining in Bequia!

[singlepic id=7387 w=420 h=410 float=left]Bequia is one of the Grenadines, a string of islands that are part of the 32 island nation called “St. Vincent and the Grenadines” in the Caribbean – a pretty long name for one country with 100,000 residents (about 4,500 on Bequia). Part of the West Indies, they are south of St. Lucia and north of Grenada.

Bequia is pronounced “Beckwee”.

The website for Dive Bequia boasts “The best kept secret of the Grenadines…relaxing reefs, exhilarating drifts, and diverse marine life”. We agree! In fact, that quote is understated – more on that later.

Bequia was the second stop on our 10 day group bareboat sailing itinerary.

It was the third stop for everybody else, but that’s another story (see “Disaster Day in Marigot Bay”). We had two evenings planned at anchor in Admiralty Bay off Port Elizabeth in Bequia. It was a long day of sailing to get here, so we were ready for some good food and some fun activities. Fortunately, both are merely a short dinghy ride away. We settled into the bay with boat neighbors who truly know how to live the good life!

Port Elizabeth has loads of options to choose from for dinner. After an afternoon of relaxing onboard after our sailing, we perused the internet. Since we had reservations for upscale the second evening, we chose simple and casual for the first. It was a quick dinghy ride and a short walk to Papa’s – famous for burgers. It was just what we were looking for – the burgers were tasty and satisfying, the price was right, and the view was great.

Dive Bequia!

The diving in Bequia is outstanding. We were expecting good diving, but we were super pleased with just how good. Tom had been corresponding with Cathy at Dive Bequia for several months, organizing private group reservations for all divers in our bareboat sailing fleet (nearly 20 divers). They were able to accommodate all of us since they have two boats, with the experienced divers going out for two tanks in the morning, and the 3 newbies getting open-water certified with more personal attention in the afternoon. Charlie the parrot greeted us at their convenient aquamarine location.

Cathy, Bob and crew took very good care of us. Sizing of equipment for our large group was done ahead of time via email, then confirmed on-site. Even though we only had time for 2 dives in Bequia, we saw enough to know we would love to come back for an extended stay.  The depths were in the “perfect zone” of 40-80 feet, the visibility was very good, the surface conditions were calm, the water was warm (82F, 28C), and the current non-existent. There are wrecks to explore and boulder piles add variety to the terrain. Experts and beginners would be happy here. We dove two sites: The Boulders and Devil’s Table. The first thing we noticed within minutes of descending was the overall health, color, and vibrancy of the reef!

Did you love the movie Avatar?

Remember the magical forests and gardens that would come to life with color and light as they walked thru? THAT is how I feel when scuba diving!! What looks grey/blue/dull ahead shows its brilliance as we swim by!

Early on in the first dive we experienced an avalanche of Creole wrasse, which all but obscured my view of my favorite dive buddy.

The fish are abundant, colorful, and varied!

There is no chance of being bored with the same types of fish. There is, however, danger of whiplash as there are new beautiful critters swimming into view every moment. Lionfish, sea snakes, lobster, eels, chromis, sergeant majors, damselfish, scorpionfish, filefish, spotted drums, parrotfish, angelfish, wrasse, butterflyfish, grouper, trumpetfish, squirrelfish, frogfish, grunts, hamlets, trunkfish, cowfish, cardinalfish…!

We came across two filefish that are obviously familiar with each other but have strikingly different coloring. We call them the Odd Couple. They seemed protective of each other with some displays of unicorn horn wielding and tail puffing. We invite you to provide the dialog that would turn this clip into a short sitcom!

Fine dining, island style: L’ Auberge

L’ Auberge does not disappoint. Famous for their lobster dishes, they have a row of huge tanks that keep their lobster fresh. They have several lobster preparation variations, many other seafood choices, and accommodated our vegetarian friend. L’ Auberge boasts a number of celebrity diners, including Anthony Bourdain and Robert De Niro, so their prices reflect their pride. They do have a secret discount for those in the know – skippers eat free if they bring in their crew – just be sure to announce that to your server up front.

Port of Plenty

From a sailing standpoint, Port Elizabeth has everything you need for provisioning, ice, dining, repairs, and more. Admiralty Bay is loaded with mooring balls, which makes anchoring a non-issue. The locals are more than happy to help you find what you need…and direct you to things you didn’t even know you need.

A few more fish pics!

RTG Helpful Hints

  • Dress light! Sounds obvious, but in April it was very hot – mid to high 80s and if there’s no breeze you really feel it, esp. on land when dining.
  • We highly recommend diving in Bequia and we recommend Dive Bequia to take you to all the right spots.

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