Bequia, 25 January 2014
Yesterday’s 49th anniversary of the passing of Winston Churchill is not a cause for sadness. Oh no.
For no-one loved life like Sir Winston, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS (Hon.), RA, Knight of the Garter, Honorary American Citizen, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, winner of the Croix de Guerre, Time Man of the Year, Time Man of the Half-Century, holder of the Egyptian Khedive’s Sudan Medal, holder of the Order of the Star of Nepal, along with 34 other orders and medals.
Champagne house Pol Roger even christened a vintage after the old boy – Prestige Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill. It’s a fine drop, believe me.
In few places was Sir Winston happier than on the deck of a luxury yacht. His Caribbean sojourns with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis aboard the Christina O – itself the subject of a previous blog – are the stuff of legend.
One of the pair’s winter sailing trips is best seen from the eyes of Clarissa Eden. She was wife of former prime minister Anthony Eden, and niece of former prime minister Winston Churchill, as well as a pal of Greta Garbo and Evelyn Waugh.
“On the excuse that Anthony should avoid colds and flu, we took to going to the West Indies each winter. Thus we visited Mustique, which had just been bought by my friend Colin Tennant.
“From there we saw on an adjacent island a white spot poised above a deserted long white beach flanked by a coconut grove. We rushed over and bought the small gingerbread house on the island of Bequia, then with no hotel, no roads, no electricity, no water, no telephone, and no airstrip. It was paradise.
“Friends could only visit us unannounced from their yachts, including my Uncle Winston on Onassis’s boat.”
Indeed, of all the Grenadine Islands, Bequia is synonymous with the sea. The Brits built a boatyard under its towering cedars, then built a fort to keep the French at bay. Over 30 established dive sites ring this pristine island gem. Leap off your yacht with a snorkel or scuba tank for drift dives, drop-offs, canyons and caves.
Wish you were here…