Yesterday, arriving in the port of Bequia, it felt comfortable, protected and welcoming… This morning used the services of of Daffodil Marine Services (on VHF channel 67) to supply me with some fresh water (yes, the Water Maker on board suffered a glitch, and in a couple of days it will be serviced) what a great service they provide..
Then I started reading somewhat more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bequia) and all of a sudden some red lights flashing… Bequia is allowed to catch 4 humpback whales per year??? What is that all about. As I feel it as my duty, will try to investigate this… and so I did…sort of…
Not many people know this, but indeed Bequia has an official/legal (?)quota of max. 4 whales (humpbacks) per year. The animals are caught say the old fashioned way… wooden boats, brave men, real Capt Ahabs (Moby Dick) and so on… I did ask around but the specialist regarding this issue was not found. I did find some YouTube short movies (here is one.. )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L63Qow7WKHA
The people I talked to were saying that it is an old tradition, and that the technique(?) had to be handed down to younger generations, otherwise the skill would die out etc etc..Now, with all due respect, to me this doesn't hold. On the island I was born (Ameland, the Netherlands) back in the good old days, a lot of families survived by catching whales…needless to say, that they don't do that anymore… so yes, that skill is lost, as so many other skills and trades (blacksmith, operating windmills, harvesting agricultural produce by hand etc). And to me that is ok, things change, circumstances change. And here in Bequia, do the people really need to kill 4 whales a year? I mean are they hungry and needy.. No, not really. Bequia major income comes from the tourism industry, and to me it seems that this whale killing thing is something from the past..Heroic stories, but not to been done in the 21 century. If you compare this whale hunting the old fashioned way, with what countries like Japan do every year…. no comments… However, I do like sashimi.. Does this make me a hypocrite?
Tomorrow morning, set sail to Grenada, where I pretend to arrive in the afternoon…
All the best and keep it real..