what have i got in common with blackbeard?

beautiful admiralty bayWell, thankfully, not the beard! But we did both seek shelter from high winds and rough seas in Admiralty Bay. So did, rumor has it, Henry Morgan and Sir Francis Drake. A terrific natural harbour in Bequia, pirates and boaters have sought its protection for hundreds of years. I didn’t run into pirates, just a bunch of awfully nice people helping get my boat to a safe anchorage and me to a good restaurant. A big rum punch was in order after a vomitus passage.

a modern shipwreckBequia is one of the Grenadine islands, a chain of mostly tiny uninhabited islands that run between Grenada and St Vincent. These Islands bounced between French and British control. They were hard to cultivate; often used as a hideout by slaves who escaped from plantations or shipwrecked boats.  Now they are a great place to hide from winter cold. We may have had rain and high winds, but I never needed a sweater! The harbor is ringed by pastel coloured houses, quaint hotels and tons of bars each touting their own specialty rum libation.

Doris's, my favourite storeBequia is also one of the few places the International Whaling Commission still allows to hunt whales.  It’s a controversial decision. Permission is typically granted to indigenous peoples.  Bequians are allowed up to four kills a year using traditonal boats and hand thrown harpoons. Protesters argue the locals don’t follow the rules, hunting any whales they can find including the forbidden pregnant and young. Further is the debate as to whether descendants of the settlers who came from the USA really qualify. No evidence has been found of whaling before sailors came down from New Bedford, Mass in 1875.

Personally, I don’t see any reason to kill these intelligent magnificent mammals. Luckily the Bequians rarely meet their target.

They are however right on target when it comes to cocktails: fruity, delicious and strong. Sailing in the Grenadines, I, naturally to me at least, assumed I would indulge in concoctions that included local homemade grenadine syrup. HA! What some cocktails did include was the sickly sweet artificially colored high fructose corn syrup found in the Shirley temples of my youth. Bleh!

stereotype sunset, but couldn't resistFor good reason, I guess. Grenadine the syrup has nothing to do with Grenadine the islands. It’s actually a French concoction made from pomegranate juice and sugar. Luckily, it’s easy to make. Mix equal part pomegranate juice with sugar, bring to a boil, cool!

Rum punch is easy too. Just remember: One of sour (lime juice), two of sweet (grenadine), three of strong (rum), four of weak (fruit juice).  Shake, pour over ice and raise a glass to Blackbeard, a pirate of the Caribbean.