Caribbean, the Real Deal Page 2

If you think a Caribbean charter is all about the perfect reach, you might be missing the boat. There’s plenty of fun to be had on shore, so jump ship and find it. Sure, you’ll have a good time at the hangouts catering to sailors and pirates, but for a true taste of island life, take a hike. Stroll to a back street, walk the beach, or climb a hill to find that little store full of nothing or a
Author:
Publish date:

“Yeess, madam. I gots sum plahnten.” On a shelf sat a stalk of plantain.

“Wha you want?” she asked.

“Well, I’d like some to eat today, some for tomorrow, and I’d like some green ones for later.” With nothing else available, plantain would have to be our mainstay.

Ivar_friend

She pulled out a rough-looking cutlass and whacked off a large clump of the sweet vegetable. Then she said, “I cook some today. I greil dem on me George Formin Greil and dey vaira sweet. Mmmm. You jus cut dem up de middle and put dem to cook.”

I thanked her, put the plantain in my basket, and wandered around the store. In the back corner sat two worn white freezers. On the side of the upright was a sign explaining the contents: “Inside the white box are: pork chop, chicken legs, and specials.”

As I paid, noticing her “Mr. Credit Is Dead” sign, I had to wonder. Why, in her world of so little, would she have a George Foreman grill? Bet it’s great for grillin’ goat.

Anguilla’s Ivar the Diver amazed us years ago when, at the age of 60, he rowed to the middle of Road Bay to free-dive 60 feet for conch. His funky 12-foot, two-bow wooden boat slowly settled into the water with the weight of the giant mollusks. When it was full, he rowed the catch to shore, where he performed the arduous task of removing the meat from the shell by pounding a perfectly placed hole near the top. The meat went to a restaurant and the shell was added to a mountain of them beside his house.

Recently Ivar was rowing up to his beach; I was doing the same nearby. I hurriedly hauled my boat ashore so I could give him a hand. “I ben watchin you,” he said.

“You row dat bote as good as any mon.”

“Thank you,“ I said. “It’s good exercise.”

“Ben rowin me whole life,” he said. “I’m 74. Dem motors is no good for ya. Rowin make ya strong.” Judging by his Jack LaLane physique, it was true.

He collected parrotfish from the bilge of his boat and placed them in a bucket. I followed him to his house, where he covered the fish with fresh water and began to scale his catch. The fish didn’t look like they had much meat, and I wondered aloud about how he would cook them. “Firs, ya gots to get de oil hot. Vera hot. Dat importand. When de oil hot, ya put da fish in. It cook fasd when da oil hot.”

Before I left I asked, “Ivar, what do you think about all the changes on Anguilla?” I was referring to the onslaught of high-end hotels and rising costs.

“It no problem.” he said nonchalantly. “I don see no change.” From his little spot at the end of the beach, in his world of hard work, there’d been none.

As I walked away he shouted, “Keep rowin!”

I was minding my own business in Bequia’s Honeybun Bakery, sipping fresh juice, when a zany-looking local fellow entered, pointed at me, and announced, “I NEED A WHITE WOMAN!!!”

Oh, great, I thought. How’m I gonna get out of this one?

He launched into an explanation I wanted to avoid. He needed two ladies, acting as tourists, to join him for the upcoming calypso contest. His stage name was Jay Gould and he was after the title of King.

It was either curiosity or the hangover I was nursing (remember, this happened in the land of rum) that caused me to acquiesce. "Sure," I said. "I can do that, but what do I wear?"

Related

shutterstock_1158262783

A Catamaran Takes on the American Great Loop

After completing the European Great Loop on our 1987 40ft Catalac catamaran, Angel Louise, my wife, Sue, and I sailed home to the States and spent two years sailing up and down East coast between Maine and Florida, like migratory waterfowl. Eventually, though, we decided to ...read more

01-LEAD_Alex_Irwin

Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image Competition

The Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition once again captures the excitement that is sailing from around the world An impressive 109 photographers from 25 countries took part in last year’s Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image 2018 competition. And while Portuguese photographer Ricarado ...read more

judges2-1024x319-0219-600x

2019 Pittman Innovation Awards

For the past couple of decades, the digital side of sailing has become increasingly important, to the point where it’s now almost inconceivable going offshore, even aboard a daysailer, without at least a modicum of electronics onboard—a trend that has been very much in evidence ...read more

Nathan-Bates-San-Diego,-CA

SAIL 2018: Reader's Photographs

Are you out there sailing, cruising and living the sailing life? If so, we’d love to see it. Send your sailing photos to sailmail@sailmagazine.com And don’t forget to sign up for our free eNewsletter. Check back for updates! I took this shot from Cooper Island Beach Club as my ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Fall in line In the days before GPS, the best trick outside the book for finding a harbor in dense fog went like this: if it’s surrounded by rocks, forget it; if not, in you go, but never try to hit it ...read more

190115-Mark-Slats-Golden-Globe-Race2048x

Photo-Finish in the Golden Globe Race 2018

With less than 1,700 miles to go to the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, second-place Mark Slats of the Netherlands has cut another 393 miles out of the lead held by French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede in the Golden Globe 2018 race.  Jean-Luc aboard the Rustler 36 Matmut ...read more

06-Heineken-1-R2018_1March_©LaurensMorel_LMA5965_p

Post-Irma Heineken Regatta

Even more than a year and half later, the scars from Hurricane Irma are still all too visible on the island of St. Maarten. But if Irma couldn’t prevent the famed Heineken from taking place in the winter of 2017-18, you can bet it’s not going to put a crimp in either the racing ...read more