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Call Me Sting …

jellyfish sting : Sheringham_Lifeboat_J_C_Madge_ON_536
Historical lifeboats.

In times like these when countries seem intent on moving further apart, I was delighted to receive news of an amazing act of generosity following the St. Martin Billfish Tournament. When a couple of boats had problems at sea, they were attended by the island’s two rescue services: the French SNSM, and the Dutch side Sea Rescue Foundation.

As everyone knows, sea rescue services are manned by volunteers who rely heavily on donations to keep them running. It’s quite normal having been helped or rescued to make a donation to the rescue services to thank them for what they did. However, a crew in the billfish tournament went above and beyond when it came to thanking the rescue services and in so doing strengthened the bond between two countries and confirmed that the camaraderie of the sea still exists in the Caribbean. You can read about the billfish tournament and its aftermath in Carol Bareuther’s report on page 30.

While walking around the waterfront, any waterfront, I like to drop in at various marine businesses for a chat. This helps me keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on and if I’m lucky score a cup of coffee. My latest foray turned up some interesting facts namely that businesses have had a good season and that things are on the up and up. This is borne out by the number of marine businesses that now have strong roots, establishments that you find are still trading and haven’t been turned into a bar or supermarket the next time you pop round.

A friendly chat over coffee isn’t a scientific survey yet shouldn’t be ignored. Celebrating the positive bodes well for our yachting product and kudos to the businesses responsible for making it work.

Again in All At Sea we have dipped our toe in the waters of controversy by this month publishing an article about Jellyfish (yes, we do have them in the Caribbean), and what to do if you get stung by one. I probably wouldn’t have drawn your attention to this article in my editorial but for the fact I was once stung by what I have referred to ever since as an entire herd of those gelatinous, glutinous creatures. The following incident took place on the east coast of England during a motorcycling holiday with a gang of rockers, who were mostly, well, off their rockers. I was young, we’d been drinking (of course), and in those days quaffing ten pints of draught Guinness was not unheard of. Having staggered out of a seaside pub and onto the beach, it was time for a swim and off I went. I swam out, further and further and that’s when I met the creatures from hell. Puddled from all the Guinness, I ended up right in the middle of them and within seconds my body was on fire. I struck out for shore and swam until my arms gave out and I began to sink. That’s when I realized that the water was now only 18-inches deep. I rose from the sea like Neptune on steroids bellowing and spitting water and stingy bits. The next thing I remember is throwing up in the back of an ambulance as it clanged (they had bells then) its way through the narrow streets of the town heading for the hospital.

I woke next morning naked, mottled, and surrounded by a large group of student nurses gazing down at me in wonder, while their teaching professor lectured them about the violent and unprecedented reaction this poor half-drowned lad had to the drugs we gave him to fight the jellyfish stings.

It was then I mentioned the ten pints of Guinness and was shown the door.

Ha, the resilience of youth.

See you on the water!

Gary E. Brown, Editor

 

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