Where does the time go? It’s been six whole months since our last newsletter update and we’ve got so much to share with you.
Winter sun to summer fun!
Despite having year-round glorious weather and open businesses, the Bequia tourist season traditionally peaks between November & April. Once things start to calm from May onwards, your hosts at The Lookout, Chris & Louise, are able to find a little more time to reflect on the season that has just passed.
Pleasingly for us this was a record one, but we never get complacent and (with the help of guest feedback) we are always looking to evolve and improve our little piece of paradise. This reflection inspires small but important changes we’d like to make to our boutique apartments and the service that we offer to our guests. In turn, this shapes our overseas shopping list, with everything from bedding & towels, to signage, to kettles, to artwork, to plumbing & lighting included. Once purchased and carefully packed into barrels, the goods are collected from northern England, stored in London, and transferred onto to a container ship in Dover. Next stop is Kingstown, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Once cleared through customs, the goods move from a warehouse to the ferry wharf and across to Bequia. Then the goods have one final journey from the Bequia ferry and up to The Lookout in Lower Bay. It’s a fairly quick, simple, and stress-free process – once you have done it a few times that is!
BARRELS PACKED AND READY TO SHIP TO BEQUIA
One of Bequia’s key attractions is that year after year, even decade after decade, it barely changes. The undiscovered paradise island of your dreams, the Caribbean of 30 years ago. However, shops & restaurants do come & go from time to time.
One welcome new addition which opened in June 2022, is “Encore” – Bequia’s first ever thrift store. Located behind the Porthole restaurant in the harbour, this gem of a place sells new & used quality items from books, to homeware, to clothing, and everything else in between. And here’s the best part. All proceeds are in aid of The Sunshine School for Children with Special Needs – how wonderful.
So how can you help? Naturally one simple way is to visit the store on your next trip to the island and make a purchase, or two, or three! However, to go one step further, you could also leave a little extra space in your luggage and donate some items for the shop to sell. Since its launch, the popularity of the shop has meant that stock turnover is rapid on the most desirable categories of items. We can help facilitate the process via our “Pack for Purpose” scheme. This simple scheme encourages visitors to leave a little space in their luggage to bring in essential supplies for the schools, hospitals & clinics, for the stray animals, and now for “Encore” too. We work with six organisations to prioritise what items are required and to ensure they are distributed where they are needed most. Read the link here to find out more and please help if you can on your next visit https://thelookoutbequia.com/pack-for-a-purpose.php
Where possible, we always try to find time to enjoy everything that St. Vincent & the Grenadines has to offer. Our new favourite day trip from Bequia is to take a boat up the leeward coast of St. Vincent. This incorporates a relaxed sail, incredible scenery, a bit of hiking, refreshing waterfalls, cold beer & rum punch, plus a tasty fresh fish lunch on the beach. The views of the La Soufriere volcano are also breath-taking. What's not to love?! And here’s the best part. St. Vincent offers a truly authentic experience and it's virtually off any tourist radar. On this occasion, we took a catamaran with Captain “African” who also offers bespoke day and overnight trips around the Grenadine islands.
TAKING A CATAMARAN UP THE LEEWARD COAST OF ST. VINCENT, INCORPORTAING A HIKE TO DARK VIEW FALLS
Unfortunately, since our last newsletter update, the island has lost two wonderful characters.
We have always loved “Papa’s” restaurant on the far side of the bay. The waterside setting is wonderful, the food is consistently good, there are regular live music nights, and it’s THE place to go for any sporting event. As ever, what underpins any successful hospitality business is hard-working and charismatic owners. Gert (Papa) and his wife Beth were the perfect hosts. We were knocked sideways when the shocking and sudden news that Gert had passed away reached us in late June.
"PAPA" GERT WAS A GREAT PERSON & A FANTASTIC HOST. HE WILL BE SORELY MISSED.
In the early summer, we also lost “Irish” John. A man you certainly didn’t mind getting stuck with on the bar stool next to you. An educated, opinionated, and well-travelled soul, who moved to Bequia with a vow to “never to wear socks again”. He stuck to that promise until his dying day. Another wonderful character who will be missed greatly.
Bequia is such a small island. One day you chat to someone in the street, the next day you learn of their passing. In our relatively short time on the island, it has happened many times already. It certainly reinforces our positive attitude and our desire to appreciate every moment of every day.
Falling back in love with the UK
We held a dream for a long time to leave the cold & dreary skies of the UK and live & work in a paradise location. To exchange traffic jams for beach walks, and stuffy offices for open seas. It’s naturally very rewarding to now live that dream and we don’t regret a thing. The process of transition is not easy by any means and can lead to a black & white view that where you are coming from is utter rubbish and the direction in which you are heading is nothing but utopia. Of course, it’s not a true reflection of the reality.
We decided to use our six-week break to the UK to soak up everything “great” that Great Britain has to offer. It’s fair to say the fact that glorious sunshine followed us from the Caribbean and around every location we visited in the UK helped us fall back in love with the UK. If only the other 46 weeks of the year could promise such lovely weather, people, and experiences, then surely we would never have had the urge and desire to leave the UK and pursue our Caribbean dream!?
Our trip was conducted at break-neck speed from the moment we arrived. We jetted back to Heathrow Airport (using the new Virgin Atlantic direct flight from St. Vincent) and went straight into volunteer work at one of the family’s wildlife parks, The Big Cat Sanctuary.
THE WONDERFUL & UNIQUE BIG CAT SANCTUARY IN KENT
Set in 32 acres of beautiful Kent countryside, this park is usually only open to private members but welcomes the public for just 5 days of the year in July for the open days. You can even stay overnight in one of their safari lodges and have an incredibly personal & unique experience with these awesome creatures. Founded by Chris’ Uncle Peter & Aunty Grace in 2000, The Big Cat Sanctuary is a registered animal charity whose aim is to contribute to global conservation. It’s a peaceful and tranquil sanctuary, providing excellent conditions for the successful breeding of beautiful, yet endangered big cats. The family has also owned Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire since 1984. This is open to the public year-round and that’s where we were heading next – lucky us!
If you want more info, check out the websites below.
The rest of our UK trip continued at a pace, taking in the Lake District, North Wales, Manchester, and West Yorkshire. Catching up with friends & family was just fantastic. We tried to incorporate all the food & drink products that we miss on tiny Bequia such as fish ‘n’ chips, pints of Guinness, Roast Sunday Dinners, bacon butties, and Pimm’s!
Our thirst for a fix of live music took us from a tiny venue with less than 50 people at Arnside Sailing Club to a gathering of nearly 90,000 raucous fans at Wembley stadium. The former gig was the young band Hardwicke Circus who have recently played at a small stage at Glastonbury after Sir Paul McCartney backed them. Praise indeed for a band who are ones to watch for the future.
The Wembley stadium event was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Foo Fighters with many special guests from members of bands such as Queen, The Police, Metallica, Van Halen, Blink 182, and Queens of the Stoneage. Apart from the headline set from the Foos, particular highlights came from Liam Gallagher from Oasis and Chrissy Hinde from the Pretenders who duetted with Sir Paul Mc Cartney (so there ended up being a link between our two contrasting concerts!). All in all, 6 hours, 50 songs, and a fitting tribute to the Foo Fighters late drummer Taylor Hawkins.
WE WERE SO LUCKY TO GET TICKETS TO SEE THE FOO FIGHTERS & MANY SPECIAL GUESTS AT WEMBLEY STADIUM
Queen Elizabeth II and the island of Bequia
We were still in the UK when the news of Queen Elizabeth II passing was announced. This was so sad to hear. She touched so many people’s lives in a positive way, not just in the UK but across the globe. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is part of the Commonwealth and Bequia’s neighbouring island of Mustique is inextricably linked to the Royal Family. When the Queen & Prince Phillip sailed into Admiralty Bay on the royal yacht Brittania in 1985, the local Bequia population rolled out the red carpet (and set up a tea party at the Frangipani!). Click the links here for stories and even some wonderfully, grainy video footage.
VIDEO FOOTAGE https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=478708216583084
Reasons to be cheerful
And now it’s time to get down to business! Every year we set aside several weeks to fix, paint, varnish, and add improvements to our boutique apartments. We always ensure they look brand new by the time the winter sun season kicks off in November.
THE VIEW FROM THE LOOKOUT'S OCEAN DECK APARTMENT
Pleasingly, we have a pretty full calendar for winter 22/23 as tourism returns to pre-covid 2019 levels. However, we do still have some slots available, so may we suggest that you peruse our calendars on the link below, pour a rum punch, and make a plan to visit us! We are here to help with any questions you may have about our accommodation or the island in general.
We fully expect many events to return to Bequia this season that have been sorely missed over recent years. It is highly likely that the annual music festival will take place at the end of January 2023. Before that, the events to “light up” the island with Christmas festivities will start early in December and we hope the spectacular fireworks display in Admiralty Bay will return on New Year’s Eve (or “Old Year’s Night” as it is known here in the Caribbean). We will keep you updated on the organisational progress of these events.
And finally. Chris & Louise are excited that around 13 members of the family will be descending on lil’ ole Bequia in January 2023. We can’t wait to show them around our little piece of paradise and beyond to the St. Vincent and the other Grenadine islands.
If you can’t wait until the next newsletter/e-mail update, then please follow our social media pages below.
You can message us using these platforms or simply drop us an e-mail or WhatsApp or fill in the contact form on our website.
WhatsApp: +1 784 527 2377
Contact Form: https://thelookoutbequia.com/contact-us.php
Testimonials – a guests-eye view of The Lookout
We feel so blessed & privileged to welcome many happy, smiley guests to this rock in the Caribbean Sea. Only a few years ago The Lookout was a run-down dwelling and we put blood, sweat & tears in to creating our boutique apartments. We are a young business, so we rely on feedback & reviews so that we can keep on improving and attract others to our little piece of paradise. In only a short period of time, we have built up a loyal following and have more than 30 five-star reviews. So don’t just take our word for it, click the link here to see what people are saying about their stays with us https://thelookoutbequia.com/reviews.php