The approach to Admiralty Bay in Bequia is straightforward – there’s not much in the way. But there was a surprise waiting, even though we’d read about it. When Kenmore the photographer roared past in his high powered inflatable with his camera snapping away, I wasn’t ready for anyone to take professional photos of our boat. I scurried around to be certain the trim of the sails was good. We couldn’t have photos taken with baggy, flopping sails. Well, those who know me realize the sails weren’t baggy, but they weren’t perfect either, and that just wouldn’t do.
As we entered the harbor we were amazed at the number of boats anchored here – hundreds scattered all over the harbor. Bequia is a real sailor’s port; there are four sailmakers on this tiny island; several hardware shops; electronics repair; yacht transport companies – anything you need.
Right in the middle of the harbor a large ship is permanently anchored, painted bright orange so you can’t miss it. You can pull right alongside to top up your fuel and water tanks, take on ice, and arrange for other services you might need. Alternately, you can pick up the VHF mic, make a call to any service you need – laundry, bakery, fuel, ice, you name it, we got it!
Close in to shore, most of the available space is occupied by moorings, but none are government owned or controlled, so if you anchor next to one, some other boat wanting a mooring does not have the right to force you to pick up anchor and move. There’s no mooring right of way, so to speak. The moorings are privately owned, and the boat boys will pressure you to take one of their moorings, but in reality, you’re far safer on your own anchor because you know what you’ve got at the end of your chain.
Approaching slowly, we took our time to select a good anchoring location, one where the bottom was deep, hard sand, free of grass and shale. We set out anchor well with no one directly ahead and plenty of open water behind. Not long after we settled in and had cleared Customs, another boat pulled up on our port side. He set his anchor and promptly began to drag out the harbor; motoring forward to about the same spot, he dropped anchor again only to drag once more. If he’d had one of the cruising guides available, he would have known he was trying to anchor on thin sand over shale, a very poor choice. The next day another cruiser anchored directly ahead of us at quite a distance, but in what I felt was a poor choice. Several nights later, I regretted not having dinghied up to him to ask him to perhaps dive his anchor and take a look at the bottom. We’ll talk about that situation in a little while.