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St. Vincent & Bequia 

Caribbean

   

    When we returned from our first dive trip to the Caribbean after 20 years of diving in the Indo-Pacific, we were pleasantly surprised at how good the diving was in St. Vincent and Bequia. This is definitely a place we'll go back to.

    The St. Vincent airport can't handle big jets so we changed to a smaller prop jet on Barbados. A bit inconvenient but a small price to pay to get away from the crowds on some Caribbean islands.    

    On St. Vincent we dived with Bill Tewes, the undisputed critter guru of the island, and his Dive St. Vincent operation. There's a nice selection of hotels in a variety of price ranges including the upscale Young Island Resort. Don't forget the land stuff: a beautiful botanic garden, the Falls of Baleine - a waterfall near the sea, deserted movie sets from Pirates of the Caribbean, rugged coastlines, an active volcano, nature trails, picturesque harbors, coastal birds, and secluded bays. It's a beautiful place.

    The first thing that surprised us about St. Vincent was the color underwater. We hadn't expected so many reds, purples, oranges, and yellows. The second thing was the variety and friendliness of the fishes. Granted, the anemones don't have clownfishes but they do have some very pretty shrimps living with them. Next were the familiar faces we knew from the Indo-Pacific but didn't expect to find so close to home, like the flying gurnards, seahorses, frogfishes, pufferfishes, moray eels, and squirrelfish. The invertebrates were good too: decorator crabs, lettuce slugs, squid, mollusks, lobsters,  shrimps, and worms, including a Caribbean Bobbitt Worm! There's beautiful reef sites too where walls are covered with black corals and huge sponges or where rocky labyrinths form a maze of canyons. 

    Bequia, an hour by ferry from St. Vincent, is smaller and more laid back than St. Vincent. The diving here is drift diving along the rugged coastline. Lots of sea fans, soft corals, and schooling fishes here. Nearby Pigeon Island has more traditional reef diving.  Bequia is much smaller than St. Vincent and has more of an island feel to it. You can drive around the island in a couple of hours. The Atlantic coast is windswept and picturesque with a turtle sanctuary that's interesting to visit. There's also a very well-stocked book store in Port Elizabeth, a few minutes walk from the beach. 

    We dived with Ron and Laury, owners of Bequia Dive Adventures, the first locally owned dive shop in the country. We stayed at the Frangipani Hotel, a lovely old home turned hotel with an open air restaurant on the beach at Admiralty Bay.  Port Elizabeth, restaurants, shops, and hotels are a short walk along the beach. Port Elizabeth is a big provisioner of yachts and the harbor is full of them. It's a picture postcard harbor, especially when viewed from the old fort.

  Click Here for St. Vincent & Bequia Photo Gallery

  Contact Reef and Rainforest, 1-800-794-9767, for  reservations.

 

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