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Memories of Bequia – Part 2

The Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

The Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

When we were preparing to travel to St. Vincent, we didn’t spend a whole lot of time researching activities. We were busy wrapping up our jobs, packing our belongings and simply looking forward to taking a break from work. Knowing that the first ten weeks of our adventure would include the daily duties of pet sitting, we knew we would have time to sort out our spare time once we arrived. Plus we also decided to stay in the Caribbean for a few “bonus weeks” following the house sits to do whatever. Our plan was to ask everyone we met in Bequia what we should experience before leaving the island. Everyone said go sailing on the Friendship Rose. We thought it was a little spendy (US$140 each) but with all the positive recommendations we went ahead.

The Friendship Rose.

The Friendship Rose anchored at Port Elizabeth.

Bequia Island has a long history of ship building dating back to the Scottish settlers from the 1800’s. The Friendship Rose – a schooner – was built right here on Bequia back in the 1960’s. It originally served as the ferry between Bequia and St. Vincent. It has been retired for a while, refurbished, and is now used for charters to several of the Grenadines.

Raising the sails on the Friendship Rose.

Raising the sails on the Friendship Rose.

The trip that seemed the most appealing to us was the full day voyage to the Tobago Cays Marine Park. You may recall seeing them featured in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, which included scenes filmed on Petit Tabac Island.

The Tobago Cays are a cluster of five uninhabited islands in the heart of the Grenadine Islands. They only way to reach them is by boat and you can only stay for the day. No one is allowed to anchor over night. They contain some of the best preserved coral reefs in the Windward Islands. In addition to coral reefs, the park also contains a Hawksbill Turtle sanctuary, bird sanctuaries and shipwrecks. You can hike, snorkel and scuba dive to take it all in.

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Baradol Island, home of the Hawksbill Turtle sanctuary.

The ride out to Tobago Cays was scenic and relaxing. Coffee, tea, juices and freshly baked croissants were served for breakfast. The crew were efficient raising the sails by hand and taking care of our every need. Once we anchored at the Cays, we were shuttled over to Baradol Island to go snorkeling with the sea turtles. It only took a few minutes before we spotted our first. From what I saw, they are not afraid of humans; you can snorkel right up to them. They just look at you while they are munching away at the sea grass.

Delicious food!

Our lunch was Caribbean chicken, carmelized plantain with roasted vegetables and herbed rice.

After we returned to the boat, it was time for lunch, followed by a quick swim before we began the return trip.

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Enjoying every minute.

The Friendship Rose is all wood, canvas and rope. A sailing trip into the past.

The Friendship Rose is all wood, canvas and rope. A sailing trip into the past.

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“Dummy” was our favorite crew person on the Friendship Rose. (Seriously, that was his name.)

We very much enjoyed our day on the water and can highly recommend this trip if you are in the area.

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Memories of Bequia – Part 1

Lizzy and Monty out for a walk.

Our plans to travel to Bequia Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines had been in the works for almost a year. We signed on to house sit for two families while they are on vacation. House sitting on a remote island in the Caribbean certainly sounded like fun, but we knew the best part would be getting to play with their puppy dogs while they are away. We are both former dog owners and life long dog lovers, so a chance to have pets in our lives again – even though it would be temporary – was something we couldn’t pass up. Before we accepted this assignment, we really didn’t know much about this part of the world. After some studying up we learned this about St. Vincent:

Just the name St. Vincent and the Grenadines evokes visions of exotic, idyllic island life. Imagine an island chain in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, uncluttered by tourist exploitation; with white-sand beaches on deserted islands, sky-blue water gently lapping the shore and barely a soul around.

Intriguing…. go on….

There are 31 Grenadines, each more tranquil than the next and each begging to be explored. Beaches stretch out before you, the pace of life slows to a crawl and the desire to go home vanishes.

and specifically about Bequia Island….

Bequia is the most perfect island in the whole Grenadines. Stunning beaches dot the shoreline, accommodations to fit most budgets and a slow pace of life all help to create an environment that is utterly unforgettable.

So with visions of paradise dancing in our heads, we left Seattle for the first stop of our very long holiday.

Molly and Little Bit share a moment together.

Molly and Little Bit share a moment together.

We had an overnight flight to Miami, changed planes heading to Barbados then finally took a small regional prop jet to Bequia Island. Alan (from our first house sit) met us at the airport and gave us a quick tour of the island on the way home. And I do mean quick. The island is only seven square miles and basically has one road up the middle. After fifteen minutes we were intimately familiar with our new (temporary) home. The house sitting jobs did not disappoint. Wonderful home owners (we couldn’t have asked for anyone nicer,) great houses to stay at (tropical gardens, swimming pools, panoramic views) and pets we just couldn’t spend enough time with. And, of course, nearly ten weeks to really relax, enjoy and understand what it is like to live on a Caribbean island. We loved every moment we spent with the doggies and enjoyed so many memorable moments. Each puppy had such a distinct personality that we could zero in on exactly what we needed to do to make them happy. And it was oftentimes hilarious to watch them interact with each other. There was definitely a pecking order at each home!

The Adventure Begins

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After a year of planning and preparation, Molly and Greg quit their jobs May 31 to travel the world. During our year of preparation – and the first two weeks of unemployment – we have been busy selling, packing and giving away our belongings. We have sold furniture, cars and hot air balloons. Given away household items to family and friends, and packed the remaining things away into storage…. just in case our dream of long-term travel turns out to be a nightmare.

We have gone “on-line” with everything so we can run our lives from a laptop: on-line banking, Skype, e-mail and a forwarding address for snail mail.

With our preparations complete, tomorrow we head for our first destination – the island of Bequia in the Grenadines.

It would be an understatement to say we are excited to begin this phase of our lives.

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