Thursday, March 08, 2007

February 24, 2007 - Mayreau, Union Island, Petit St. Vincent and Petite Martinique

We are tragically low on fresh veggies. More importantly, we don't have any bananas aboard, which means:

a) no banana pancakes, Sten's breakfast specialty, and
b) no BBC's, the most delicious drink ever.

Graham has been stalwartly trying to keep up the crew's spirits with round after round of painkillers, but we've reached our breaking point. It is off to Union Island, the "commercial center" of the Grenadines. After our aborted attempt to anchor in Clifton Harbor almost two weeks ago, we have been dreading this stop. But the crew is threatening to mutiny if they don't get a baguette soon.

We found a decent spot to drop anchor, but Sten wasn't really comfortable with our position relative to the boats near us, so he stayed aboard as Graham, Eryn and I went ashore. We quickly hit all the grocery stores in town and the produce market. Two hours later, we were loaded down with fruit, veggies, bread and rum, and Eryn had had quite enough marketing and was ready to get back to the boat. By the time we got back to the dock, it is raining on us. Our dinghy was buried three deep in a pile up of dinghies, wedged between a fishing boat and a catamaran. While I got us free, I asked Graham and Eryn to haul the trash to the dumpster. As you can see, aboard Mata'irea, we like to introduce our guests to all the pleasures of the Caribbean, including long, hot provisioning trips in the heat of the day, interspersed with scenic dumpster runs, punctuated by scattered showers.

When we got back to the boat we found Mata'irea surrounded by 3 sport fishing boats from Barbados. Sten had seen them taking 3 or 4 big mahi mahi from one boat to the other, and thought we should try to buy some from them. I asked Sten to come with me, but he pointed out that I might have more luck on my own. Knowing that these guys has been offshore for a few days with nothing but each other to look at I figured that Sten was probably right.

I went over to chat with the guys on the boat next to us, and they said "We'd be happy to give you some fish."

"I'd gladly pay for fresh fish," I replied.

"Nah, we'll give it to you, but first you have to go . . . " over the noise of the outboard, I couldn't quite catch what he was saying, but I got the gist of it.

So, having guests to feed and very little pride when fresh mahi is at stake, I drove over to the sport fishing boat astern of us, and proceeded to flirt outrageously with the defacto leader of their fishing party. He explained that they can't sell me any fish, because the local boat boys would be upset with them. I said that I understood, and headed back to Mata'irea, feeling a bit dejected. On my way back I told the guy on the first boat what had happened. He said, "Don't worry about it, I'll get you some fish." So I went down below to get something to eat, and help stow the provisions we bought.

Down below I found Graham and Eryn in early stages of heat stroke, and a grumpy Sten. We quickly got the boat back in condition to head down to PSV and Petite Martinique, where we planned to spend the night. As I climbed back on deck, the guy from the first fishing boat called over and told me to head over to the other boat. I quickly got in the dinghy and headed over to the fishing boat astern of us.

When I got there, they passed down a big ziplock bag full of beautifully filleted fish. I chatted with the guys for a while, as would only be polite after receiving 5 pounds of free mahi. We talked about what we'd been catching, and throwing back. They assured me that all the barracuda south of Dominica was fine to eat. One of them even offered to make me a barracuda dish "that would make you leave your husband."

With that, we were off. Once again, we motor sailed down to PSV. After we dropped anchor, Sten and Graham went snorkeling, while Eryn and I enjoyed a quiet chat aboard.

We were low on ice, so Sten, wearing only his swim trunks, went over to Petite Martinique to pick up ice and a few beers. A few months in the Caribe has made us much more relaxed about appearances.

Graham is the only person I've met who gets as lost in books as I do. Eryn will be speaking to him, and it takes him a while to realize that someone is talking. I do this all the time to Sten, much to his frustration.

After dinner, Eryn did the dishes, and she and Graham taught us how to play a very cool game called Settlers. We're really enjoying having them aboard. Not only do we get to exploit them as parts mules and unpaid labor, they entertain us as well. All of the sudden, a week starts to feel like a very short visit.

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