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:
Updated:
Original:

“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.

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

02-'17-Trans-Atlantic_Downwind-Schralpin

At The Helm: Man Overboard!

Imagine this simple scenario: the boat’s powered up, sailing close-hauled in a building breeze under full sail. I come on deck as the skipper during the watch change to make sure the new crew is comfortable and the boat is properly set up for both the current conditions and ...read more

Promo-01-LEAD-MGR00321

Contrasting X-Yachts & Moody Cruisers

One of the most fascinating things about sailboats is the different ways that sailors, naval architects and builders will approach a single design problem. The result has been a bewildering array of rigs and hull forms over the years, and in the case of the two boats we’ll be ...read more

04-Yacht-anchored-in-front-of-one-of-Lastovo's-gunboat-tunnels-(3)

Cruising Charter to Croatia

As is the case with so much of the Mediterranean, to sail in Croatia is to take a journey through time. Centuries before the birth of Christ, Greeks traded amphoras of oil, wine and grain across these waters. During the first millennium, the Romans built lavish palaces and ...read more

m123728_13_01_171012_PMA_02901_9999

Alicante Announced as an Ocean Race Europe Stop

The Ocean Race Europe, a new event in offshore sailing, will include Alicante as one of four stopover cities. This European offshoot of the former Volvo Ocean Race will include the biggest change to the racing rules under the new title—fully crewed IMOCA 60s will join the ...read more

01-LEAD-doublehanded2

Preparing for a Doublehanded Race

A few months ago we took a look at the development and attraction of doublehanded racing (Two to Tango, June/July 2020). Hopefully, that served to whet your appetite. If so, the question becomes: “How do I get started? The good news, as we explained in Part 1, is that if you are ...read more

01-LEAD-Day-three---dolphins.-300-dpi

A Key Approach to Passagemaking

How you approach offshore sailing is key to the success of each passage. In addition, some of the most valuable, even crucial attitudes and skills may not be either learned or valued in everyday life on shore and may even fly in the face of talents that are greatly admired and ...read more

OceanVoyagesInstitute-2048

Point of SAIL: Mary Crowley of the Ocean Voyages Institute

In this episode of Point of SAIL, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Mary Crowley, founder and executive director of the Ocean Voyages Institute, a not-for-profit based in California that has been both educating sailors and working to preserve the health of the world’s ocean ...read more

01-Ocean-Voyages-Institute_PHOTO-READY_1_pg

Tracking and Catching Plastic Waste

Plastic waste—in the form of everything from plastic soda bottles to abandoned fishing nets—constitutes a major threat to the health of the world’s oceans. Giving the immense size of an ocean, though, actually finding all the plastic floating around out there in a time-efficient ...read more