First days on the Island of Clouds

Good Morning World!

Today is my first morning waking up in Bequia, and all I can say is nothing beats falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves! The view from my little apartment is simply stunning. I’m writing this from my balcony overlooking one of Bequia’s most famous beaches, six of the 32 Grenadines islands, and the whaling station.

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Bequians were granted Indigenous whaling rights by the International Whaling Commission because it is considered a true cultural tradition, providing food for communities. The quota for the island is 4 whales per year, but it is rarely attained. When I first walked down to my apartment, remnants of baleens were pointed out to me. Baleens are the bristle-like teeth of whales that capture all the little plankton they eat:

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Remnants of whale baleens, with the whaling station in the background.

Upon my arrival to Bequia via ferry from mainland Saint Vincent, I was greeted by Mr. Herman Belmar (Mr. B, as he is affectionately known by many of the Islanders). Mr. Belmar and I met back in October at a C-Change workshop in Ottawa, where we started discussing possibilities for my Master’s research… and here I am, seven months later, being greeted with so much hospitality on the island he calls home.

In less than a day since my arrival, it is already evident how precious freshwater is on Bequia. Every household is connected to its own rainwater collection system. There is no public distribution system in any community. When it rains, water is caught on the tin roofs of houses and is funneled into the gutters, which themselves are connected to a water storage tank.

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A typical rainwater collection system. The cement structure is the holding tank.

… and you are warned to use water wisely:

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Water is vital to Bequians–and they are truly  great conservationist. I’ve already been taught how to wash dishes and shower in ways that consume the least amount of water. I can attest that we, Canadians, consume excessive amounts of water. In fact, we are the largest consumers per capita after the States. There is so much we can learn from water-stressed communities such as Bequia.

I leave you with that for today, as well as a few pictures of my first day on the island:

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Friendship Bay Beach

Friendship Bay Beach

Friendship Bay Beach

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I know, it’s silly… but I just love palm trees.

More baleens! And yes, that’s a goat. Hi goat!

More baleens! And yes, that’s a goat. Hi goat!

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5 responses to “First days on the Island of Clouds

  1. Wow Jess! That seems such an amazind start! I am so happy to read your post. I hope you are gonna teach me, your bro and your nieces how to use less water while showering and washing dishes. I can feel the smile and the happiness in your words. Enjoy! Love you! Marie xxx

  2. Those re amazing blog picts that really depict the subtle textures of this tropical destination. You must’ve used a really decent cam!

  3. Sister, sister. So proud of you and what a start to an amazing adventure! Great first post and man, do we ever over consume. There is a lesson to be learnt here. Find out more and keep posting these great and informative information. Love Ya! your bro Fred

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