09/16/2014, Petite Martinique
Christopher Columbus not only was brave enough to risk going to the edge of the world (although some say he actually had hints that there was something to the west of Europe), but also had to do some serious navigation. His administrative abilities were a little more questionable, but he managed to sweet talk the Spanish Royalty into financing his trips (they of course were hoping for gold to finance their frequent wars).
Of course, every one of these lumps of rocks that he discovered had to be named. Dominica was named because he found it on a Sunday, borrowing from the Spanish for that same day (think of the islands on the Great Barrier Reef, and realise that he had a good idea). Other islands were named because the day they were discovered coincided with a Saint's feast day. St. Bart's was named for his brother, although ostensibly for the saint, and St. Christopher was named for his own patron saint; it is now more frequently referred to as St. Kitt's, unless it is official. Memories of home also helped with the naming, as Grenada was named for Granada, Spain, also a rather hilly, verdant piece of heaven.
He must have lost some of his originality by the time he reached the Grenadines. Petite St. Vincent, Petite Martinique, and Petite Dominique all cluster together. Some of the islands managed to keep the names of their Namerindian inhabitants, such as Carriacou, Mayreau and Canouan.
However, we would love to know how Mopion got its' name. Mopion is a little clump of sand, surrounded by reefs, a stone's throw from Petite St. Vincent. It has a thatched roof hut that the pelicans enjoy, when it hasn't been blown out to sea. The only full time inhabitants are crabs, the birds just come by to have a rest, or die. This island is not measured in miles, but by meters or yards. It has a stunning peak of about 1 meter above sea level, depending on where the tide is, and it runs about 60 meters long, and maybe, just maybe, 15 meters wide. This may depend on the erosion and sand deposits in the last while. It has turned into a place to go, for no apparent reason than because there is nothing of significance there. Even the snorkelling is far from stellar; we've had better coral under the boat after a prolonged period of not scraping. But we were sucked into taking the dinghy there, just like so many others.
Our chart plotter sometimes gives us little tidbits of information. This time, when Ken looked at the "added info", he was informed that "Mopion" means crab louse. Yup. As in lice.
There is also "Punaise", which apparently means bed bug, right next to it. It is another lump, but it looks rockier.
Now we can only wonder what precipitated the naming of these two little speed bumps among the reefs...
|Limin' in the Caribbean||
09/16/2014, Petite Martinique
Okay, The Liebster "Award" or "nomination" is not meant to be a challenge, but in some ways it is for me. Between writing a regular feature now for "Caribbean Compass", trying to get some blogs done, and attempting some other writing as well, this poor blog-by-assignment has been procrastinated to the point that I had a second Liebster nomination. I need to get on this before I possibly get a third one.
Let me start with what the Liebster is, from what I have gathered from internet searches, and from my nominator, Alexandra Palcic on 'Banyan' (her blog can be accessed on our sidebar). This has become a bit of a blog chain letter scenario; you get nominated by someone, you answer their questions, and you nominate more blogs and ask them questions. That is the general gist of it. It has turned into a way to promote "up and coming" blogs, although Alex commented that we are more established (putting us in with Paul and Sheryl Shard is pretty heady stuff, to be honest), and included us as a "hey, if you wanna take the bait". So I am taking the bait, kind of like a challenge.
Since that time, Dalynn Kearney of 'Amoray' has also thrown down the gauntlet for me. Okay, I'm on it!
The rules are as follows (I am going by Alex's that she posted):
1) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Okay, that part is easy! And really, I am flattered, as Alex said some kind things on her blog about this blog (and two others). I recommend you read it for yourself! Alex has also perfected posting multiple photos on her blog, something that has escaped me still, and has a lovely way of describing things when the picture can't tell the whole tale.
I first met Dave when he popped by the boat last year as we were anchored off St. George last year when we first arrived in Grenada. Ken was having a nap, and Alex had stayed on the boat. He said that he had been reading our blog, and wanted to say "hi". We have subsequently found ways to get each other out and about the islands.
I guess I also need to thank Dalynn and Glen of 'Amoray'. I'm not even sure where we first met them, but I think it was Grenada a couple of summers ago. Since then, we have done a little hiking together, both in Grenada and farther up island. Dalynn and I have the same twisted need to hike and explore, and burn off energy, while Ken and Glen are content to move a little more slowly, watching their demented wives take off ahead. Their blog is found at http://dgsail.wordpress.com/
2) Answer the 10 questions they have asked and publish the post.
This constitutes homework... for a cruiser? Okay, I'll do it anyway, because as everyone who reads this blog knows, opinion comes easy here!
First, I'll start with Alex's questions:
1) Where in the World are you? Alternatively, where would you like to travel to?
We are based in the Eastern Caribbean, with Grenada as "home" for about half the year for hurricane season. We aren't in a rush to leave this area, as we enjoy the relatively easy sailing and we have lots to see still! Plus, in 5 years down here, we have made some friends along the way.
Short-ish term, the Western Caribbean looks intriguing, and who really knows after that. We don't think we have ocean crossings in us, but you never know if that may change.
We also would like to see more of Canada.
2) Describe the funniest thing you have seen in your travels to date.
I'm sure it is somewhere in one of our blogs somewhere.
Okay, after some thinking... it isn't one event, it is something we have seen time and time again... some of the signage in the islands is downright hilarious. Not necessarily intentionally funny, but they still are. The sign in St. John's, Antigua that has the pictogram of a guy urinating against a wall with a woman walking behind him - his behaviour is crossed out as unacceptable. The "No Loafing" signs in the Bahamas (really). The various methods used to say "no trespassing" with creative spelling and grammar, as well as a, hmm, non-standard (?) font. I'll have to post an album of them one of these days. Some of them are truly priceless.
3) Describe your favourite cruising grounds to date.
Okay, this isn't an easy one, as it depends on what we want and what we are doing. The Bahamas were gorgeous, with pristine, secluded anchorages, and water so amazingly clear you can see a starfish on the bottom in 18 meters of water! However, it is harder for provisioning, and water can be a little harder to come by when you get into the more outlying areas.
Ken adores Les Iles des Saintes, the small island group that is at the south of Guadeloupe. It tends to be drier there, and he loves the fact that everything is within walking distance. The artisan baguettes I bring back every morning don't hurt that impression, either.
I can't nail down one area very well. I keep balancing pros and cons. There are some areas I don't like as much, but that isn't the question! Sorry, Alex, that is the best I can do with this one. I suppose it's a toss up between Dominica and Grenada... we have friends in both places, and excellent hiking.
4) If there is one thing you brought with you cruising that is totally useless and you could take off your boat, what would it be? Alternatively, if there's one thing you didn't bring with you, and wish you had, what is it?
After cruising for 6 years, we have dumped a lot of stuff off the boat that had left Toronto with! Where to begin? Probably the pineapple corer and peeler that was given to us, as well as the mango cutter that is supposed to remove the pit and skin, were possibly the worst. The pineapples we find here are too small, and the mango device is terribly wasteful. Then again, the small folding bikes that made us feel like clowns barely made it to the Hudson River.
5) This sailing lifestyle has obviously been a dream turned reality for all of us out here doing this. But if you could have another dream, another "thing" you would want to do... what would it be?
I don't know about this being a dream turned reality for ALL of us, but it certainly is for Ken and I. As far as what we would like to do, it would probably still involve travelling, and preferably somewhere warm.
6) In this world of So Many blogs, have you followed a Blogger and not yet met them? Who would you most like to meet?
Dunno. I really don't read many blogs, mostly those from friends, to see what they are up to, where they are, and to see what they have to say about a shared experience. It IS strange/funny when you run into someone who has been reading your blog, though.
7) What time of day do you enjoy, and why?
For me (Lynn) right after breakfast as I enjoy my coffee. I've had a run, cleaned up, made breakfast (but not the coffee, that is Ken's task) and am just enjoying a moment of peace with Ken. Around 5:00 pm is nice, too, when we are cruising, as we sit out and enjoy the world going by, maybe with a drink, maybe not, usually with our Kindles.
Ken is pretty fond of the early evening lime, too. He is less impressed with me taking off early every morning!
8) When we set sail, and told our friends and family of our plans, we received some pretty incredible (and often incredulous) responses. Have you? Describe the one that impressed/shocked you the most.
For me, it was something my brother said after we had been gone a year or two. He, like many others, thought we were crazy, but then out of the blue he said to me "I think you've got the right idea". Wow. My brother is a very high up executive in a large company, he's quite successful, and has worked very hard for everything he has achieved. But that statement blew me away.
9) With this travelling lifestyle, we get exposed to a wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe??
Local cuisine is one of the best ways to learn about a culture! Absolutely we eat and cook with local foods! "Dominican breakfast sausages" (grilled plantain, split down the middle, then filled with a salt fish mix) are something I look forward to when we get to Portsmouth, Dominica on market day.
I think the one I make well is a pumpkin soup. It is also pressure cooker friendly!
Chop up and clean about 1 pound pumpkin.
Clean and chop up one sweet potato (not too big)
Cover with water, just to above the veggies, putting a cube or two of chicken or vegetable bullion mix into the water. Also add finely ground ginger (or powdered, if you prefer). Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer until the veggies are cooked well.
When the veggies are nice and soft, mash it all up and smooth as best you can. We don't have a blender, but it works well enough without one. You may also add one package of powdered coconut milk to it if you would like. If it is a little too runny, you can always throw some instant mashed potatoes in to thicken it up a bit, or drain off a little water before mashing.
Optional is some hot pepper sauce. To taste, of course!
I knew I had this recipe nailed when Ken stopped comparing it to my friend's Mom's.
I also have some non-traditional recipes for plantain, callalloo and breadfruit!
10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?
Get out of the "cruiser ghettos" once in a while. Get away from cruiser hangouts and group activities and just go on your own or as a couple. It opens you up to so many more experiences than if you go with a gaggle of your friends. You will be more willing to engage complete strangers in conversation, and have opportunities opened up to you. Ken talking to a guy in a bank in Soufriere, St. Lucia ended up with us going to his home up in the hills a couple of days later for dinner.
3) Nominate 10 up and coming blogs and ask them 10 questions.
I can cheat with this one.... Dalynn only asked for 5 blogs, and I am going to use the same ones for both nominations!
This is a tough one for me, as I am not really a big blog reader. I read friends' blogs to see what they are up to (and to get their take on a shared experience), so this is going to have to be a shared answer for sure. Ken happily reads blogs, but again, they are either well established or friends.
However, here we go!
Martha Boston, a friend, a woman of great strength and faith, and someone who beat the odds. Great insights, musings, and thoughts on life. http://captainscourageous.wordpress.com/2012/05/26/introduction/
Barbara Hart, yes, she has been blogging as long as us, and has published a book based on her blog, but a fun read, and a wonderful person (so is her husband, Stewart!) Besides, she'll either want to shoot me for writing homework, or be flattered... or a little of both! http://hartsatsea.typepad.com/hartsatsea/
Mike and Barb Turney on sv Nelleke you can find their blog on the side panel here, too. www.sailblogs.com/member/nelleke We met them in Elizabeth City, and bounced around down the ICW with them. Hoping to see them in the Caribbean in a year or two!
Ken's son-in-law is not a cruiser. Nick Young lives in London, England with his wife (Ken's daughter) Allison. His blog can be about just about anything: cricket, cycling, travel, food, living in London... whatever. Nick Young's World http://nick-young.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/evensong.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NickYoungsWorld+%28Nick+Young%27s+World%29&m=1
Of course, Allison Goodings isn't off the hook on this! Ken's daughter is a self confessed foodie. "Ode to an Artichoke" http://odetoanartichoke.wordpress.com/about/
Now for 'Amoray's' questions...
1. When and where did you learn to sail and what have you learned about sailing on this part of your adventure?
Ken started sailing as an 8 year old with his brother Bob, and progressed to getting a laser dinghy, then a Sandpiper 565 (18 footer) and then eventually we bought 'Silverheels III' together to first liveaboard in Toronto, then cruise.
Lynn dabbled a bit at cottages and camp, but really started learning more when she met Ken and the Sandpiper 'Shortwave'.
We have learned that we should have put lazy jacks on for the mainsail YEARS ago! And that having a reliable engine is a thing of beauty. We also feel that having simple systems on the boat that we can fix saves time and money.
2. Is this a forever dream or how long do you plan on sailing for?
We plan on sailing for as long as we are having fun and can physically do so.
3. What specific items do you miss most from life on land?
After living on the boat for 11 years, interesting question. We miss being able to go bicycling with a minimal amount of traffic fear, and having good bikes. Lynn has a bike in Grenada, but it is not something Ken wishes to tackle.
Unlimited running water is pretty nice, too.
4. Why did you decide on the boat you are currently sailing?
We crunched the numbers for motion/comfort ratio and all kinds of stuff like that. With Lynn being 6'2", standing headroom and long enough bunks were also important. We like our Niagara 35 Mk 1... the layout is very unconventional, but for two people, it works very well. Lynn would just like a bigger bed at times.
5. Which island(s) are on your "must visit" this year?
Whichever ones we end up at? Really, we don't plan that much. We literally go with the wind and our whims. We had no intention of ending up in St. Martin last year, and we visited St. Bart's, St. Kitt's and Nevis and Montserrat. We thought we would spend lots of time in Dominica, and didn't. We really just kind of go with the flow!
6. What was your most challenging sail and why?
We left Charleston to go offshore with the intention of getting down to Jacksonville on our first trip south down the ICW. Well, the weather forecast was WRONG, and we had 30 plus knots on the nose, with some good sized waves to crash through. Lynn was seasick and then drugged up on Gravol, and we turned in towards Tybee Roads, Savanah. Ken managed to stay awake long enough to get us up the Savannah River to Savannah, while Lynn tried to help. It was not a fun night.
7. What's in a name? How did your boat get hers?
Gordon Lightfoot has a song about sailing in Georgian Bay called "Christian Island". Ken has always been a Lightfoot fan, we both like Georgian Bay, and it is a nice song. In the song, his boat's name is 'Silverheels'.
"Tall and strong she dips and reels
I call her 'Silverheels'
And she tells me how she feels"
A small byline is that Ken was born in Brantford, Ontario, the same birthplace as Jay Silverheels who played Tonto in the Lone Ranger series. We do call the dinghy 'Tonto'.
8. Land based activities keep us busy on every island. What has been your favourite land adventure?
For Lynn, that's easy! Hash House Harriers. Hashing (running through trails with other "hashers") has been a great way to see things, and meet people. Grenada, Antigua and St. Kitt's.... even Toronto! But really, any excuse to get muddy and sweaty walking through bush works for me.
For Ken, Brimstone Hill, the fortress on St. Kitt's, was the top thing so far. "The Gibraltar of the Caribbean". But really, any fort intrigues Ken. Fort Shirley on Dominica is fascinating, too.
9. What is your most memorable story about anchoring or being at anchor?
A small anchorage just off the ICW in South Carolina, just north of Charleston, called Awenda Creek is the scene for this one. After a really crappy slog through minimal water, trying not to run aground, we had to go to this anchorage. There were storms in the overnight forecast, and we realised that the only thing separating us from the big water was a low stand of marsh grass. There was zero wind protection. The storms came in as forecast, with gusts close to 40 knots. We held, but we had to tell a catamaran that was dragging down on us to use his engines! Funny, this was a few days before the lousiest experience from number 6.
10. If you had friends or family visit, what was their greatest understanding, appreciation or reaction to living this type of lifestyle?
How dependent we are on weather conditions. They can control where we go, when we go and how we go.
The fact that we are a little self contained habitat, at least short term, blows them away.
Bonus 11. If you could do it all again, would you? What would you do differently?
Yes, we would. Maybe with a different boat, but we would certainly do it again. And try to collect less stuff that we eventually off load anyway.
Now for the questions for the bloggers I have nominated:
1) If you could do something else with your life, what would you like to do... if you are doing what you like, why is this "it"?
2) What is the one place in the world you would most like to visit, assuming money wasn't a problem.
3) If you could go back to one point in history as an observer, when and where would it be? Please give a brief explanation as to why then and there.
4) Give one quick go-to recipe for when you are in a pinch.
5) Most of you have moved a long way from where you grew up. What was the best thing about that?
6) What do you miss most about where you grew up, if anything.
7) Name one skill or talent that you don't have, that you wish you had.
8) Red or white wine?
9) Why did you start writing a blog?
10) Will you forgive me for nominating you and giving you homework?
Miss? I'm done my work. May I go out and play?
|Limin' in the Caribbean||