It's late summer and the seawater is warm. Tropical waves are traversing the territory in ever-increasing regularity. Jellyfish have found the conditions to their liking. Beach guards are hoisting purple flags and the media are offering sage advice. Sensible yachtsmen, swimmers and beach goers should now include in their stores and medical kits such things as: vinegar (an acid), ammonia (an alkali), papaya, meat tenderiser, rubbing alcohol, anti-histamine, hydrocortisone, baking soda … to name just some.
The other day Charlie was swimming at the Bight at Norman Island when he became victim of several serious sea wasp stings on his lower thigh just below his swimming shorts. He was with his girl friend, Jane, who was sensibly lounging on a beach recliner in the shade of a sea grape tree.
Charlie came staggering out of the water gasping in pain and begging for help: they had none of the requisite antidotes but Charlie had heard of the urine remedy, it being largely ammonia. Using a towel Jane managed to remove the stinging tentacles but the pain was intense. "Jane darling, just pee on the red welts. It's supposed to ease the pain," pleaded Charlie.
"No way, Jose. You'll have to suffer this one out."
"Pleeeeeze," cried our hapless hero. A tear fell from his cheek as he gritted his teeth in agony.
To pee or not to pee? After several minutes of enduring heart melting sobs, Jane relinquished. "OK, OK, just lie on your back and remove your shorts. I'll see what I can do." Jane removed her bikini bottom and straddled the affected area. "Close your eyes, you bum," she commanded.
Just then, an elderly couple stumbled upon our unfortunate duo. Now by this stage you may think that this story is made up but I swear it is true – or at least how it was related to me. The lady gasped in shock and the man muttered something about getting a room. Charlie managed, "She's just helping to ease the pain."
The couple quickly walked away and were heard saying something about "… might be expected in the French islands!" The pain eventually subsided and Charlie thought there was something to the accepted wisdom that if you have a pain in your toe then bang a finger with a hammer and – hey presto, toe pain gone!
Julian Putley is the author of "The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI," "Sunfun Calypso," and "Sunfun Gospel."