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Bequia See And Do

Art of Boat Building
Admiralty Bay , Bequia
St. Vincent + the Grenadines

Bequia has a long tradition of handcrafted boat-making, and the island used to supply the entire Grenadines with schooners and fishing vessels. Today, the art form has just about died off, preserved almost solely in the workshops where model boats are made. Two of the best are Mauvin's and Sargeant Brothers near Admiralty Bay (Timothy and Lawson Sargeant, 784-458-3344). Mauvin Hutchinson has been working at his trade for almost 40 years, taking weeks at a time to create a single commission. You can watch him and other craftsmen carve elaborately detailed mini–sea vessels, which today have become a symbol of the island, much like their full-scale forebears were a generation ago (www.bequiatourism.com/arts.htm).

Beaches
St. Vincent + the Grenadines

Despite its wee size, Bequia has an abundance of varied beaches. At Lower Bay, a crescent of pure white sand gives way to glass-clear water. Bring along your snorkeling gear. Princess Margaret Beach, also known as Tony Gibbons Beach, offers similarly pristine sands and calm waters. For beaches with a rougher edge, head to Friendship Bay, where the waves are stronger and work well for windsurfers. More remote are Industry, Hope, and Spring beaches on the island's east side. All three are tucked far (in Bequia terms) from the masses, and Hope requires a somewhat strenuous hike. On most of the beaches, you can find some sort of restaurant or food shack.

Boating
St. Vincent + the Grenadines

Considering its close proximity to other islands in the Grenadine chain, Bequia makes for a perfect base to explore the region by boat. Sail Relax Explore offers day trips aboard the Friendship Rose, the last traditional handcrafted schooner built on Bequia, in 1967; the captain is Calvin Lewis from Mustique (784-495-0886; www.sailrelaxexplore.com). Another option is the Nicola III. Helmed by local captain Nicki Hazell, this 30-foot sailboat offers trips to Union Island, Petit St. Vincent, Palm Island, and other nearby destinations (784-458-3093; www.bequia.net/nicola3). Boat journeys are especially fun around the time of Bequia's annual Easter Regatta in late March (www.begos.com/easterregatta).

Diving
St. Vincent + the Grenadines

A visit to Bequia, blessed with the type of crystal-clear waters from which a thousand clichés are born, would be a sin without a dive under its translucent waters. The island is home to numerous PADI-certified dive shops, many of which provide one-day courses for curious novices. Bequia Dive Adventures offers up to a dozen different kinds of diving courses; it also arranges weeklong vacations, including hotel accommodations (784-458-3826; www.bequiadiveadventures.com). Another option is Dive Bequia, whose Yankee owners, Bob Sachs and Cathy Howard, organize weeklong diving holidays in partnership with top local hotels (784-458-3504; www.dive-bequia.com).

Local Art
St. Vincent + the Grenadines

For such a small island, there's a flourishing art scene on Bequia. Artist Claude Victorine's studio displays her handmade silk creations—some of which are for sale—as well as paintings by her daughter (784-458-3150). On Mount Pleasant there's Melinda's, where the crafts on display include hand-painted t-shirts and stained glass (784-458-3409). Also look for Jacob Scott, another celebrated local talent who scours Bequia's shores for coral, shells, flotsam, and recyclable refuse, which he turns into surprisingly stylish jewelry and fashion accessories (Hope Beach; 401-848-9360). Finally, you can buy ceramics or watch pottery-making demos at the Spring Studios. The gallery is housed in an old sugar mill built in the 1800s and operational until the 1940s (784-457-3757; closed mid-May to late November).

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.