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

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more

190314-viddy

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta: A Source of Hope

The tagline for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is "serious sailing, serious fun." However, for the inhabitants of St. Maarten, the event is more than just a festival of great music and some of the best sailing around. Local blogger Angie Soeffker explains the impact the race ...read more

SPOTX-1500x1500_front

Gear: SPOT-X Satellite

Hits the SPOT The SPOT-X two-way satellite messenger is an economical way of staying connected to the outside world via text or e-mail when you’re at sea. As well as the messaging service, it has a distress function that not only alerts authorities if you’re in trouble, but lets ...read more

_8105684

A Kid’s Take on the Northwest Passage

Going North—and West Crack! Crunch! I woke with a start to the sound of ice scraping the hull of our 60ft sailboat, Dogbark. In a drowsy daze, I hobbled out of the small cabin I was sharing with my little sister. As I emerged into the cockpit, I swiveled my head, searching for ...read more