Today’s pirates are much different from yesterday’s pirates but, they are still down here. The only difference is they are selling sunglasses, beach towels and cheap cigars to tourists who could buy the same stuff in the US for cheaper. When you come down, for goodness sake, enjoy the REAL island paradise and don’t get suckered into the touristy crap. Just saying it would be a shame to go home with a bunch of materialistic memories that were made in China or Sri Lanka or somewhere like that.
I turned in early last night and was up before sunrise this morning. I walked down to the dock and I arrived as the last of the evening’s revelers were heading in. The temp on this island is about the same day and night. It usually about 85 in the day and 75 at night. Though there were some clouds in the sky I could almost count the stars above in the early morning sky. There is a quiet that surrounds you when no one is on the dark morning dock. You can hear the repetitive sounds of waves against the pilings and the breeze in the riggings of the moored boats.
Before long, if you wait, the dock always comes to life as the charter captains come out to ready their vessels for the days work. This morning was no different. As the sun rose this morning, you could smell coffee and hear water rushing over the decks as the captains and their mates rinsed their boats, opened hatches and readied rods along the railings. I was offered Java’Mon coffee by a captain named Andel and we talked for a few minutes about his planned day.
I am telling you. He is living a life worth living. He is out on that topaz blue water very day. Fishing charters for fishing, tours, excursions, etc. He told me he seldom takes a day off unless business or the weather is bad and there are no charters to be had.
After our visit I headed for some local pastries for breakfast. I walked along the water front and stopped at a touristy little bakery and bought some croissants for breakfast and a baguette for later in the day. Their croissants and coffee were both good. I am eagerly awaiting the bread.
I went back to my hotel and checked out. The hotel was ok, just a little to “mainstream” for my taste. I will find another place to stay as the day goes on.
When the local commercial fisherman come in, I will go and find my “catch of the day” to grill and eat with my bread and maybe some fruit and wine. In a while I will go to the beach to soak up a little of this Caribbean sun.
William Fair Roberts….on island time in paradise.
5/20/14 – I have been away for the islands for several months. Personal business and circumstances beyond my control have kept me away from the part of the world that I love. I am readying myself for the trip back south to get me our of these temperate lattitudes and back into the tropical lattitudes I love. If all goes as planned, I will be back in the tropics by the end of the week.
5/22/14 – Tomorrow morning I will be flying south. I am looking forward to being back on island time…in paradise. I just mixed up a Cuba Libre , squeezed in a lime and now I am just making sure I have everything I need for an extended stay in paradise. Check list: shorts, tee shirts, swim suits, iPad, toothbrush, passport, Tevas and flip flops. I am ready.
5/27/14 – Stopped for dinner. It is a great night to ride with the top down. Grabbing a burger and getting back on the road. I should be in Atlanta by 11:00. Tomorrow in the Caribbean again.
5/28/14 – It looks like my flight is going to be on time. I will be heading to the lower latitudes in just a couple of hours. First stop Miami and then on to Trinidad and ultimately St. Lucia by morning.
5/29/14 – I checked in to the Downtown Hotel yesterday in Soufriere and will be staying here for a few days. I was up all night and decided I would sleep in yesterday. Last night was pretty much a repeat of sleepless adventure so I am being lazy today. The temp is in the mid 80s and it is cloudy. I had coffee in my room and will be doing a little reading on the balcony this morning. If the rain doesn’t fall too hard I will be out exploring the south end of the island some today. I made a connection to rent a scooter last night. I got a good rate but really don’t feel like riding in the rain. Coffee may turn into Piton beer and bouyon before too long. I AM BACK IN PARADISE.
5/31/14 – This my second attempt at posting this. Last night I was walking along the waterfront and stopped for a few minutes to take in the view and soak up the warm sea breeze. I swear I was not drunk but in the cloudy dim light of a cloudy night, I thought I saw a tall ship…bad connection I will finish later.
Did you ever have one of those days when things just don’t seem to go right. I have had about five in a row. Last Thursday I was driving my old car to Atlanta where I was going to leave with a friend to use while I am in the islands. I made it as far as just outside of Montgomery, Alabama and it broke down. When I say broke down, I mean it broke down. I am not a mechanic but I got a tow truck to pull it into a small shop and they were able to look at it on Friday. It needed some steering part that had to be ordered and it would not be in until Monday. In the interim I spent a couple of unexpected nights in Wetumpka, Alabama where I stayed at the Wind Creek Casino and Motel. It is a pretty nice place and though I am not much of gambler, I had some fun in the Casino. Monday of course was a holiday so my car part arrived today. About six hours of labor later my 1968 MGB is back on the road and I will be driving on to Atlanta tonight.
I will be in Atlanta late this evening and I will spend the night with my friend and his wife and then tomorrow leave for Miami, Port o Spain, Trinidad and on to St. Lucia. I will arrive in St. Lucia day after tomorrow at about daylight.
I think it only fitting that I spent a few hours on the side of the road with a broken down car, just to get my mind right for the trip back to the islands. I can’t wait to see the beautiful blue waters and the palms swaying in the breeze. I can almost smell the spices in the air, taste the fresh seafood and feel the sun shining down on my skin. I don’t know exactly how long I will be on St. Lucia but I know for sure it won’t take but a few short hours to decompress and get back on island time. I have been away too long.
It is funny how life gets in the way of living. I had some personal business…life…to get behind me so I was out of the islands much longer than I wanted to be. During my time off I wasn’t sitting still. I have spent a time in western Canada, Alaska, San Francisco, York, England and a few other places. None of which were tropical. The nearest thing to tropical was a four day trip I made to San Diego last December and trust me it was far from tropical. I love San Diego and I enjoyed some great seafood and time on the rather cool beach but, I need the tropics.
Anyway, by this time tomorrow I will be in Port o Spain, grabbing a bite to eat, waiting to board another plane on to St. Lucia. I hope to be able to fill you in once I land and get my feet back in the sand.
William Fair Roberts…not quite on island time, on my way to paradise.
February 19, 2013
Today we rented scooters to fnd a place someone told us about last night. They said we head to Dennery on the other side of the island. Fon d’ Or Bay is the secluded place we were told about . We rode for a while, exploring all that is St. Lucia. Then there high on a hill we found picnic table with a view. Damn what a view. Kat and I love this place. We were like school kids until someone in an old three wheeled truck drove by. We have decided to end finish up our picnic and try to make our way to the beach. We are planning on buying some bread, some fruit and a couple of bottles of wine and water and spending the night on the secluded beach we saw from our picnic table on the hill.
If we decide to ever come back, I will tell you about it.
William Fair Roberts on island time in paradise.
February 18, 2013
Yesterday, we spent most of the day at Spiaggia di Santa Lucia a wonderful beach. And for this time of year it was not all that crowded.
We woke up around noon and hung around in the room for an hour or so and then went for fruit, a salt fish sandwich and a Piton beer. A great night and a better start to a new day yesterday invigorated us and got us on the road to new places. There are so many places on St. Lucia that I love I want to show her every one of them. Spiaggia is a great place to do nothing on a Sunday afternoon and we did a lot of that. The weather was fabulous and we spent the entire afternoon with our feet in the water, holding hands listening to a mix of Buffett, John Reno, Jambo Joe Bones and a little bit of Hugo Duarte.
As the sun went down we switched to Marley and we lay there on our beach sheet as the stars filled the sky. Soon we were alone and a warm breeze covered us like a blanket. I don’t really know how long we were there, but I do know it was long after the last person left the beach that we left. We found a small local place to eat and enjoy a bottle of wine and each other’s company as the night went on. Last night was not nearly as long a night as Saturday night was but it was enjoyable and very quiet.
As for today we headed north to a place I have written about before…Rodney Bay. We went to one of my favorite places for lunch in Gros Islet. The Eagles Inn has to be the model for every Caribbean hangout wannabe restaurant along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast. It is a place to remember. I guess you will have to forget everything I ever said about me not liking touristy places. Eagles Inn is a tourist destination but it is still a fun and interesting place. There is a cross section of world humanity in there. If I were a betting man I would bet more than twenty countries were represented in the restaurant today for lunch. Each table was its own little socio-economic micro-nation. We enjoyed the company as usual and the food was great, though we really only ate appetizers as we watched the traffic on the water just feet from our outdoor table. On your next trip, find your way here. I am sure you will enjoy it.
St. Lucia never seems to be as touristy as other islands but this year it really seems less so than others. I don’t know if the economy has slowed the travel or if people just aren’t here. What ever the reason, I am happy to have more space and less snow birds.
We decided to celebrate a week of Valentines’ this year so we are heading to the beach to work on our tans but I think we plan on heading back to The Eagles Inn around dark to pick up where we left off with an entrée and a little more celebrating before we go to our room.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.
This is the third time I have written this tonight. i think the beer and wine i have enjoyed may have made my fingers a little wobbly causing me to mistakenly delete what i had written before i could post it. One more try.
Sweet Pea and I spent the day wandering around western St. Lucia on bikes. Tis is one of my favorite places on earth and honestly, I could stay here forever. We found ourselves in L’Anse La Raye by the time the sun was settling into the sea. We made our way to The High Way Restaurant and Bar where we dined on local fair and consumed far too much Piton Beer. The company was great. We shared our dinner, toasted life and all that comes with it. We swapped stories, shed a tear or two, laughed and sang songs until the owner told us it was time to leave. It was long after midnight when we left and Sweet Pea and I decided to sip a glass of wine and enjoy the night air on the second story porch of our little pink hotel. Now we are in bed, she is sleeping and I am going to say good night to you guys so I can curl up under the sheets with her and listen to her soft breathing a feel the wam Caribbean breeze blowing through our room. Daylight will be here all too soon and with it will come the warmth of the day. For now though I have to say good night from Paradise. WFR
Note from a busy day of doing NOTHING…
Did you ever see a movie where the guy flies into a little airport in some banana republic somewhere in the lower latitudes. Imagine that airport which is stuck somewhere deep in your memory . The terminal is very very small. It is two stories tall in the center (the Tower) and one story on each side and guess what. It is painted white with pink (salmon) trim. This little airport is the jumping off point to paradise….Check my blog for more information but we flew into Carriacou yesterday and it is WONDERFUL…no throngs of people anywhere on this island. For right now I am thoroughly enjoying doing absolutely nothing.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise
January 27, 2013
Paradise is almost anywhere you want it to be. Right now paradise is just being here. It has been a while since I last posted…a long while. There has been a lot of water under the bridge wince I last posted but I am happy to say all is good with me and all is good with Sweet Pea. We loved sailing our own boat all around the islands but we found that owning a boat is a lot like owning a house and you end up being tied to it in more ways than one. Since my last post we weathered two hurricanes and have sailed from the Cozumel to the Caymans to Trinidad and scores of islands in between them. The past months have been a trip both literally and figuratively with highs and lows enough for a lifetime.
I am going to try to give the very abbreviated version of the past four months. We have become pretty good sailors. We have enjoyed the freedom a boat like ours gave us but while we saved money on many things as a result of owning her we also had some pretty big expenses because of her. When the original owner contacted me asking if I would like to sell her, we jumped at the opportunity. He offered me a little more than we paid and he is the proud owner once again and we are back to hitching rides, camping on the beach and renting rooms by the night and by the week to stay out of the weather.
I have told you the high season is not my favorite time in the islands so we have done our best to stay as far away from the tourists as we can. Snow birds mean a lot to the economy of all of these islands but they make it really miserable for those of us who stay here all of the time.
For the past week we have been exploring the small Isla de Culebra which sits just 20 miles or so off the east end of Puerto Rico. We have been able to avoids some of the crowds here and enjoy some good company, good food and cold beer. The weather has been fantastic as always and it has been a pleasure just hanging out. The other night we went to El Eden and enjoyed a really good meal of and some icy Caribbean drinks. We also ate a meal at a place called Susie’s or something like that. We liked it, too. Most of the time here we have shopped the markets and enjoyed the small stands the locals have told us about.
If all goes as planned, we will be leaving here tomorrow. We have potentially hitched a ride south on a boat from Saint Kitts.
The sun has been down for quite a while. The temperature is in the upper 70s and there is a light breeze blowing out of the northwest. Honestly, the wind is a little cool and I can smell rain coming…there is a clean smell in the air that only rain can bring.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.
October 21, 2012
Sunday morning in Road Town Tortola. This is a beautiful Caribbean town nestled on a harbor between hills. Almost like a bowl, this small city rests serenely by the harbor and then meanders up into the hills around it. Last Wednesday when we arrived, was the first time I ever laid eyes on this picturesque bit of geography. Road Town is the Capital of the British Virgin Islands and has a long history that can be seen in her streets, her alleys and most of all in her people. This town is the center of commerce, government and all that makes up tourism of these islands. Since we have been here we have seen both the extremely upscale tourist areas and the beautiful local haunts where it seems if you wait quietly, long enough you might catch a glimpse of the pirates and winches that once gathered here. From what I have been told this entire town burned about 150 years ago so, almost all of the “old” buildings in town are less than 150 years old. It is difficult to tell the old buildings from the newer ones at times, but really is in the wood frame buildings that you find the story of the life of this town.
Since we arrived earlier in the week, we have embraced the locals and they have done likewise. It is not unusual for us to be invited in the homes of the people we meet wherever we visit. It is no different here. Last night we had plans to dine out on the town and found ourselves at an open-air bar where the two bartenders, a local couple invited us to dine with them in their home. Dinner wasn’t until very late since they worked until 10:00 p.m. We asked what we could contribute and James directed us to a market for fresh fish, veggies and fruit. We asked what they would like to drink and they told us about an inexpensive Spanish wine they like. It was a Pinot Grigio and because it was so inexpensive we purchased a couple of bottles and joined them at around 11:00 p.m. at their place on the side of a hill overlooking the harbor. We grilled fish and veggies and enjoyed a fabulous bowl of mutton stew that Marlena cooked in a pot over the stone grill on their patio. We enjoyed the wine and the food and the conversation until almost 4:00 this morning when we headed back down the hill to our sailboat. Sweet Pea was still sleeping on the boat when I came ashore to buy some fresh breads and juice. I did better than that. I have found a little shop near a well-known hotel that is equally well-known for its pastries. While I am writing this they are putting together a small package of stuffed breakfast pastries. They are grinding some locally roasted coffee that will be very welcome to Sweet Pea when I arrive and wake her.
Ah, my package is ready so I am ending for now. It is time to pay for my goods and head back to the boat and the arms of my sweet wife.
In closing I think I should tell you, if you decide to visit here, you can come by cruise ship but, I would suggest you fly down or sail down so you can spend more time here than the cruise lines will afford you. Though the city is small, there are more than enough sights and activities here to occupy you for weeks.
William Fair Roberts … on island time in paradise