“Luck is what brought me to The Grenadines,” says Captain Martin Jennett. “I just wanted a ticket to anywhere with a white sand beach in the tropics.”
Jennett says he was unaware that there were lots of people of Scottish descent in such islands as Bequia and Carriacou, when he set out from Glasgow, in his native Scotland, 36 years ago. Arriving in Union Island, the Scot first worked scrubbing the decks on an old French sailboat, then as a skipper for day tours. Today he is the owner and captain of Scaramouche, the last of the genuine Carriacou schooners.
Built in 1969, weighing 54 tons, with two masts and an overall length of 80ft (including bowsprit), Scaramouche was transformed into a Portuguese merchant ship for the filming of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. But its current ‘day job’ consists of giving tours to the Tobago Cays and around the Southern Grenadines, and rumor has it that Scaramouche is the most photographed boat in the Southern Caribbean.
Jennett purchased the boat over 30 years ago and spent a year getting her shipshape. “Scaramouche had been a cargo ship,” he explains. “It takes a lot of dedication in understanding how a boat like this is put together. The hull and ribs are local wood from Grenada and Carriacou. The planking is pitch pine from Canada. The masts, of imported pine, are replacements but similar to the originals and stand 60ft from the deck.”
Such a large wooden vessel requires a lot of upkeep and Jennett is a very busy man.
“The heyday for day charters in The Grenadines was in the ‘80s and ‘90s and other destinations are more popular now,” says Jennett. “But Scaramouche is a special boat, the last survivor, a museum piece. Boats like this are a dying tradition we realize we should hold on to.”