Vaga Bond writes about sailing in the Caribbean with More Sailing

30 October 2017


Caribbean: Cast off, set sail and cruise between islands

Overgrown beaches, illegal crops and rocking reggae. We hoist the sails and discover Caribbean islands beyond stately hotels and mass tourism.

The dinghy glides closer and closer to the dark dock. The waves lap against the sides of the dinghy and the starry sky lights our way to shore. A headlamp comes on. The boat bumps and hands cling on. The dry palm trees rustle in the moonlight and the waves crash against the deserted beach. Rotten boards with large holes have created tricky trapdoors and the flashlight's light stops at one end of the pier and the warning sign "Enter at your own risk". We climb ashore.

After just over a week of sailing, we have reached one of the most anticipated stops of the trip. And as if cut from a travel catalog, it bends perfectly in front of us: Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau Island. The wooden planks whine loudly as eleven pairs of feet balance on the shore. A faint sweet smell wafts towards us from within the darkness.

A chalky white smile emerges from the darkness and a skinny older man runs towards us, shouting: "Welcome, welcome, welcome." He smells like fish and his hair is twisted into braids that form a turban. He introduces himself as Larston and tells us that he has been living on a boat in the bay for two years and is the beach's lobster master, waiter and chef.

A wooden bar wraps around a sturdy trunk, strings of lights climb up a palm-leaf-covered roof, and around us are three long tables spread out on the sand. The scent of garlic, herbs, butter and sea fills the air and Larston dances over to the grills where a mountain of squirming lobsters are slowly cooking. He picks at them. Gently turning, twisting and brushing on the marinade.

The peaceful atmosphere infects the group and it feels like we are at the end of the world. We fall into the rhythms and tones of reggae. Fourteen lobsters are placed on the table. Then there is dancing in the bar, on the tables and on the beach.

The voice appears out of nowhere. Slightly confused, we look around before we see a small head sticking up next to the edge of the sailboat. Since early morning, loud reggae music has been accompanied by the crowing of roosters and the crashing of waves. I am about to open my mouth when the young guy sweeps his arms towards the bay we are anchored in and exclaims:

- "Of course you slept well. You are in paradise!

He laughs and passes baguettes and a bag of ice to our sailboat. I look thoughtfully at the houses where the reggae concert has been going on all night and ask if the neighbors in the village are not disturbed? The guy falls silent and gives us an uncomprehending look. The question was apparently the stupidest one he had received in a long time.

Read the full article with accompanying pictures, click here.