Archer Adventures

Onboard "Jet-Lagged"

Caribbean Cruising

I had my best meal of the Caribbean two nights ago. Shannon and I went to a lovely French restaurant in “the Saints”, a group of small islands south of Guadeloupe. The speciality is the “surprise” menu which is whatever seafood the chef decides he will serve that night, and that is what I ordered. Absolutely beautiful! Then I got back to “Jet-Lagged” and read about ciguatera poisoning in our “Cruising Guide”. It says the biggest health risk in these waters is from ciguatera poisoning, which is a toxin you get from fish. North of Dominica, the fish are considered dangerously toxic. And we are just north of Dominica…

The toxin is thermostable which means that cooking does not eliminate it. And it is undetectable in the fish beforehand. Onset of symptoms is usually within a few hours and starts with intestinal issues, then neurological issues, followed by cardio vascular irregularities, muscle and joint pain and potentially, death.

At 4am in the morning, I woke up with ciguatera poisoning. I am pretty sure I was dying. I wondered if I should wake up Shannon, so at least she could say goodbye before I died. I carefully went through all the symptoms I had read about earlier. I did not have any of them. But I desperately needed a wee. So I had one. And it turns out, I am ok. But it just goes to show how dangerous this cruising life can be!

Last night at 4am, Shannon showed her boobies to the whole anchorage. She says she was competing with the pretty young things who were topless sunbathing on the catamaran behind us earlier. I like boobies. Boobies are good. But weird things are happening on our boat at 4am…

We are loving our Caribbean adventure. We have been sailing on a similar schedule with our friends Carl and Joanna on Rockhopper and visiting beautiful places. After the crossing of the Atlantic and then the activity of Christmas, Shannon and sailed to St Vincent & the Grenadines and found a lovely bay on the island of Bequia. We stayed for 19 days! I think we needed the rest. Luckily, Joanna and Carl then turned up to encourage us to get moving again.

First stop was Mustique, the billionaires island. And it really is a billionaires island. It is privately owned and only the mega rich have homes there. Mick Jagger has one, David Bowie did, Johnny Depp is renovating one, Tommy Hilfiger has two! Fortunately, mere sailors like us can moor in one bay of the island and sample a little of the luxury. It was the week of the Mustique Blues Festival and we were treated to some fantastic music at “Basil’s”, the famous bar of Mustique. We also took in a fabulous lunch at the $1600/night hotel (cheapest room) and sampled how the .01% are living!

All of the Grenadines are beautiful. We travelled down the islands from Mustique and ended up at Tabago Cays, one of the most beautiful places I have seen. I have visited the Great Barrier Reef, Turquoise Bay on Ningaloo Reef and of course, our own beautiful Rottnest, but this spot matches those. And maybe exceeds them, because as the sun sets a man in a boat comes and picks you up and takes you to a lobster dinner on the beach…

We are now heading back north and have passed back by St Lucia, Martinique, and Dominica, and now are in the Saints of Guadeloupe. We are heading towards St Martin where Dave and Merydee from Jack Pine will fly down from Canada to join us for a week. Carl and Joanna will sail over on Rockhopper from Marie Galante tomorrow and we will take them to the wonderful ciguatera poisoning restaurant!

Ah, living on the edge….