Port Elizabeth on Bequia is a lovely little town, but mostly because of how laid back and simple it is. To me it is the quintessential Caribbean village. The locals are living their lives, but love to help cruisers out. There are plenty of yacht services available, but it does not distract from the localness of the town. That is mostly because Bequia itself is a boating community. They have been making boats here for hundreds of years, so all the services are already here. If fact boats are so big that model boats are important also. So much so that two brothers are world renowned model boat builders.
The first one we met owns and runs the Maritime Museum (walk the main road along the northern shore and it is towards the end). This one room museum packs a lot of history about the boating history of the island and features many of the large models that he personally has built. He is most proud, as he should be, of the fact he personally built and present the Queen of Britain with a five-foot model of her royal yacht back in 1985. Sadly, Lawson had a stroke about three years ago and could not talk or use one arm, but that did not stop him from showing you his collection and for his excitement to project onto you.
As you head back to the middle of town make sure you stop by the Sargeant’s Model Boat Shop, where Lawson did his work in the family workshop. Today it is ran by his younger brother and you are welcomed into the shop to look at the many models they have and to watch them work on current projects. We were amazed to learn that the boat he is working on now will take about four months to complete and that is not an unusual time frame for the models.
Both my friend Steve and I agreed we did not have the patience to be an artist as both of these brothers clearly are. Make sure you stop by both the museum and the workshop if you make it to Bequia. I guarantee you will walk away with a great respect for the artists and the island of Bequia.