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Monday, April 22, 2024
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HomeCaribbeanProgress in Paradise, Sort Of...

Progress in Paradise, Sort Of…

You know you want it...

Mocka Jumbies and Rum...

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Being a writer, I was especially interested in the local kids and their English. I carried around a bilge full of school supplies—mainly vocabulary and grammar books—to distribute throughout the Lesser Antilles.

3.-Fat-4-wives_5419One of the local fishermen was nicknamed the Pasta Rasta by an Italian boat—for his ravenous love of spaghetti—and he always attended these parties. He was a handsome fellow, with a wide grin. Soon he was doing little errands for the yachties—earning a couple of nickels here and there. His dream was to own his own fishing boat—a real one, with an inboard engine and everything. Once the yachties heard of his dream, they insisted on helping. They had a fundraiser right there on the beach, and managed to sell a ton of booze. Pasta Rasta managed to buy salvage rights to an old wreck and refloat it. The engine was useless but the hull was sound. It was temporarily patched and floated to the beach—where a bunch of us yachties huddled around it in rum-soaked bliss.

Each mooring at dawn, five or six lads dove in the harbor to collect a few conch for bait—so they could fish by hand-lining all day from their row boats. One of the yachties with some extra dive gear watched, rowed over in his plywood dory, and gave the guys a mask, snorkel, and fins. The generous yachtie did not need them. They were spares. Besides, their monetary value was little. And, perhaps, the mask might make a big difference in the guys’ lives.

It did. They could catch ten times the amount of conch they once did. People in the village were impressed. A different young fella got up the gumption to ask a different yacht—and he, too, soon sported a mask and two fins—which was also wonderful, despite the fact the fins didn’t match.

Resorting to Resorts

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The Pasta Rasta was deep into his fishing boat project—and needed more money. With the help of the yachties, he opened Reggae Roost. It evolved into the nightspot for the local white folk, and the Pasta Rasta soon was selling T-shirts and sunblock too. One night, a drunk Jimmy Buffett stopped, and played a couple of tunes. Later, a passing powerboat left an amp and some cords—and soon there was nightly live music at Reggae Roost and Convenience Store.

There was one slight problem. The beach was kinda muddy. All the boaters had to get wet coming ashore, and some of the charter guest ladies—well, they didn’t like taking off their Gucci flip-flops.

…sensing a need, an older local fellow who’d once worked construction in the States built a rickety little dinghy dock—which was an instant hit. The smiling local kids would help you tie up. Some shallow-drafted French Ovnis on circumnavigation sterned-to for a while.

The smell of fried chicken was in the air.

The locals could now offload their fishing vessels with ease, and a fish market sprouted up in the parking lot (Yes, a few of the yachties had begun working ashore and had purchased autos.) between the road and the marina. Electric wires started dangling between mast spreaders and palm trees. During dock parties, someone would fire up a funky old generator—which you could barely hear, really, through the “we be jamm’n, jamm’n, jamm’n” of the reggae.

Gybing Into Nirvana

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Cap'n Fatty Goodlander
Cap'n Fatty Goodlanderhttp://fattygoodlander.com/
Cap’n Fatty Goodlander has lived aboard for 53 of his 60 years, and has circumnavigated twice. He is the author of Chasing the Horizon and numerous other marine books. His latest, Buy, Outfit, and Sail is out now. Visit: fattygoodlander.com
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