I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I wake up to about 200 sugar ants on my nightstand.  UGH!! I left an open bottle half full of Ting on it overnight. Not a good plan.

I walk down to the restaurant and order the Spicy French Toast and then go in the pool for a dip. The location of this pool is unfortunate. I don't really want to swim and lay out here where every single lunch patron can watch me. Thus I make it a quick dip.

Spicy French Toast

I go to reception and get some info on a tour company here and go back to my room to make the call to book an 8 hour island tour for tomorrow and a market tour for Saturday. They are $90 and $12 US dollars respectively. The island tour includes lunch. I am really looking forward to seeing the rest of the island.

On the way to the Allemanda resort I stop in at the mall for a couple of drinks for the beach.  Once at the beach, I have to ask again for the chairs to be unlocked. It is a bit of an inconvenience but I understand it. Right next to where the resort is, there is a public park of sorts with a few shacks on it selling food. There is a big seagrape tree in front of the park on the beach and a lot of local men hang out under it for the entire day. They have a big stack of chairs in the park and they rent them out for the day. Some of them are also the beach vendors selling jewelry and massages etc. They look like a shady bunch and I guess the hotel doesn't want them, or anyone else for that matter, helping themselves to their chairs.

I get settled in and then go in for a dip. There are two women in the water and they greet me. We get to talking and their names are Lauren and Rosalie.  Rosalie is older and originally from Grenada but now lives in New York, as does Lauren - who is originally from Tobago. At one point I am sure I hear Lauren call Rosalie 'mom' so not sure how it is they are from two different islands. They are really nice and very friendly and we spend an hour floating and laughing.

Rosalie and Lauren

Back lounging in my chair, a huge cat comes in - Carib Cats. I have seen it (or rather HEARD it) way out on the water  earlier. It takes tourists out for a few hours and they play reggae music extremely loudly. As I watch them, a young local guy is hauled up the very tall mast by rope and a small wooden platform. It doesn't look any too secure and steady and I am riveted watching him go up and then shortly after, back down. They let him down too fast and he freaks out a little about half way. Poor guy! When he gets on the sand he actually kneels down and kisses it!

An annoying old ratty looking rasta guy, who has been talking at volume ALL DAY under the local hang out tree I mentioned earlier, comes over to where I am and starts yelling at some little girls playing at the water's edge.  It is obvious to me by the startled looks on their faces that they do not know this guy. They go back to playing and try to ignore him while he continues to yell at them. I can't make out what it is that has got him so annoyed but it seems to me that he is way out of line. He turns to see me staring at him, probably with a scowl, and he says something unintelligible to me and then says "Are you angry with me?" I say no but I guess he can tell I am annoyed with him and he goes off at volume about who he is, how much money he paid for a private island and some gas company (uh-huh, not buying it). He is yelling and is quite aggressive. He starts to walk off and then turns back to me yelling a bunch of stuff about how educated he is. He goes on and on and on and I finally have had enough.

"All I care about is that you're disturbing the peace of this beautiful place" I say.

He doesn't like that one bit. "ME?  Disturbing the peace? Is that what you said?"

"Yep. That's what I said."

He goes off again about the millions he has spent on land and companies. I just go back to my kindle and ignore him. He continues to yell and then finally leaves, walking to another small group not far from his tree and starts disturbing their peace.

Guys like that should be arrested. Loitering all day, ranting at tourists right in front of their resort. He was a total ass for yelling at those little girls like he did.

Every day that I have been on the beach here, there has been a couple my age under the shade of a tree a bit closer to the property line for the resort. He is white and she is black. Judging books by their covers, they seem really nice. I have started to say hi to them when I arrive, it is clear they are staying at the Allemanda, and they have been watching this whole exchange. I look over at them and grin and shrug. He grins back.

Some young boys arrive at the beach and proceed to have the Caribbean version of a snowball fight. It is highly entertaining to watch as they carefully form a small ball out of sand and a lot of water and then slowly pack more dry sand around it. They make a line of half a dozen or so and then start pelting each other with them. They are having the time of their lives and I am thoroughly enjoying watching them.

Carefully forming the sandballs

This ball landed smack on the side of the target's head!

I have finally called Joe, the taxi driver Mike recommended, to come and take me out to dinner.  He arrives right on time to pick me up and he is so professional, his van is new and pristine, and I am very happy. Not one single personal question.

Ready for a night out with mystery guests

Tom, the other driver, had told me about a resort on the south end of the island named Le Phare Bleu, that hosts a 'friendship table' dinner once a week on Wednesday evenings. The meal is set out, family style, in dishes, and you all sit together at one long table and get to know some new people. I LOVE the idea of this and so have made a reservation and that is where we are headed.

When I arrive, there is a long table set out and a few people at the bar. I walk up to the bar, order a drink and then say hello to an older gentleman sitting there. I ask him if he is there for the friendship dinner and he says he is. We introduce ourselves; he is Robin and he is British. I recognize another man down the bar from pizza night at Prickly Bay. He is rather loud but seems really nice and I am guessing from his accent that he is from the states, maybe Texas. I find out later that he is from Florida. There is a woman with him who looks to be about 20 years older than he is (he looks my age) but I think maybe she is the same age but has had a hard life and too much sun!

My wonderful dinner partner, Robin

It turns out that tonight we are dining buffet style and a server comes to tell us we can help ourselves whenever we are ready so we head to the table. The meal tonight is all authentic Caribbean cuisine and I am excited to try it.  Robin and I sit across from each other at the long table and have a great conversation. It turns out he has lived on Grenada for ten years, he is a project manager and built the beautiful Port Louis Marina, among other places. He has just returned from a trip to England and his wife is still there visiting family.  He is a wonderful dinner partner and I have a lovely evening. And the food is fantastic.

Robin and me

The guy from Florida is named Tom and once I am alone, because Robin has gone home for the evening, he comes over and offers to buy me a drink and I accept. He orders it and one for himself. He asks me where I am from and tells me he is from Florida and that he is a boat captain and delivers boats all over the Caribbean from Florida for those who don't want to make the trip themselves. Just as the drinks arrive, the woman he is with walks over and it is clear right away that she has had too much to drink. She more orders than tells him that it is time to go. He says "yes, in a bit", and turns back to me. She gets really rude at this point and grabs his arm and says "Lets GO! I want to GO. NOW!" and yanks on his arm. He can't ignore her although it seems he wants to. He apologizes to me and stands. She is loudly telling him she wants to leave NOW the whole time. I feel sorry for Tom as he seems very embarrassed and tells me she is his first mate. As they walk away, I wonder if he is also married to her. If he is, I feel very sorry for him.

What I really appreciate about my new taxi driver, Joe, is that he, unlike the other two, does not require me to give him a time to return for me, just a phone call giving him 20 minutes to get here - so I don't feel like I am leaving before I want to. I call him and then go sit with some other friendship table diners that were at the other end to introduce myself. I meet a lovely woman with a young boy on her lap. They are from Germany and here on business for two months and just arrived today. They are staying at the resort attached to the restaurant here. We have a nice chat until Joe arrives and then we walk out together, her to their room and me to the lovely shiny clean taxi.

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