Cricket, Rum and Reggae
After an uneventful journey north from Trinidad taking in Grenada, where I got lost on a bus, and Cariaccou where we didn't do anything interesting at all. Well it was interesting.. ....but only for us with the exception of this dunney, witch threatened to make it too interesting. On we went to the Tobago Cays. The Tobago Cays are a bunch of small Islands no more than 200 yards long, sheltered be hind a horse shoe shaped reef of coral. There are plenty of other bits of coral reef around a bout as well. You approach the anchorage through a passage between 3 of the islands, then anchor on their windward side. Anchored here there's nothing between you and the Africa but a coral reef 30cm below the water. The water behind the reef is shallow and clear, the reef alive with coral and fish. is the order of the day. Its funny watching the charter boaters snorkelling in shorts and T-shirts to avoid getting their backs sunburnt. The snorkelling here is some of the best in the Caribbean, I have had better in the Pacific but not often. After chasing parrot fish, while Sam and Rauni where snoozing I went to the "occupied" island. Its "Occupied" by Larson, who runs a sort of bar, and some of the local boat boys* who camp out there in tents.
The bar is called "the worlds end bar" or similar, its more of a pile of bushes with a sail tied across the top and a bunch of eskis (cool boxes). The beer is expensive, but the company is good.
The afternoon soon became a West Indies international cricket match, a bunch of locals me a French Candian and a Swis bloke. The locals know their cricket, I remember a bit, the Swiss bloke was useless. The wicket didn't make it any easier, early on it was clear this wasn't lords. The stumps were a three sticks, the bat a naff peace of rough wood. The pitch was a bit of hard beach between 5 palm trees, except for the bowlers end witch was soft sand with a rock to mark the crease. Bowling was difficult if you planted your feet then they sank into the sand! Batting wasn't too bad, the ball bounced ok and in vaguely the right direction, the fielders tended to be slips waiting to catch the outside edge.
Any stroke played back towards the bowler tended not to get there - too many trees. My bowling has always been bad. Doing it in quick sand made it appalling. My batting improved, the final innings included 3 balls in the sea and several other respectable slogs, I earned the highest praise available in the Caribbean "D Englishman can bat" this was some what dampened by the fact that the French Canadian, acting more like a base ball pitcher, bowled all 5 remaining players out in about 10 balls. Finally as the sun was setting , ganja stopped play (you don't get that at Lords either) and we crawled back under the bushes to the bar for beer and a smoke. The reggae and Soca was pumping from the stereo, me and Larson singing along, of course I don't know all the tunes but even so the charter holiday types were suitably confused be me singing "Just when I thought you were d right man, true love and treat me like no one else can, you wisperin me ear wrong name, (Kim), Who d hell is Kim?, what foolishness you talking, you'd better check your self go out and check your health.... etc."**We proceeded north by passing the Grenadines St Vincent and St Lucia, arriving in St Pierre in northern Martinique. Martinique like many other Islands has several Rum distilleries, Rum is a wonderful and environmental drink
. Its environmental because, you grow the cane, putt it through a masher to grind it up, sieve it and put all the waste from the sieving in the furnace that powers the steam engine which heats the distillers and powers the masher the fine sugar is mixed with water an the partials separated out. The sludge is mixed with the ash from the furnace and used as fertilizer for the sugar cane fields....... neat huh? Holstein Piss (pills)advertising claimed. "All the sugar turns to alcohol" well in the Caribbean this is true, sugar production is no longer economic on the scale of the West Indies islands. Rum is very economical. All sugar is now turned to Rum, good thing too.
* -boat boy a combination of a water taxi, tour guide, fruit salesman, odd job man, line handler, con artist, drug dealer, fisherman, beggar and general pain in the arse.
** - T.C. "Kim" contender for the Soca monarch 2001 in Trinidad, Shadow won with "Lookin for Horn***"
*** - Horn doesn't mean what you think it means trini/West Indian for taking someone's woman. or if it happens to youu beeing "Horned"