One couple adventure Sailing St. Vincent and Grenadines this past fall for their 25th wedding anniversary yacht charter vacation.
Romeo…Romeo………….what a great Lobster!
Written by Bambi Alexander of the charter yacht “Cool Running’s”.
Gary and Pippa were guests aboard our yacht for their 25 Wedding anniversary, starting from St. Vincent and ending 7 days later at Palm Island resort. Being September it’s the summer season and the island resorts and restaurants are very quiet or closed down for their annual holidays. Sailing St. Vincent & The Grenadines at this time of the year is blissful, most anchorages harboring only a few yachts, and more often than not we had the whole place to ourselves with “no footprints in the sand.” In today’s world, this is a rare and precious experience.
We started our trip walking the length and breadth of the fresh produce market in Kingstown, St. Vincent, tasting and then selecting succulent fruits, the sweetest papaya, bananas, mangoes, and then the contrasting tart flavor of star fruit. Bought huge bunches of callaloo determined to make the scrumptious soup of the region, stallholders vied for the chance of issuing explicit instructions on how to proceed with this task. Then for the piece de re’sistance we ate homemade Chicken Roti bought on the street from Mac’s Snacks which has been around for 25 years. We have eaten roti up and down the island chain and some roti experiences have left our stomachs feeling like a lead blanket had been consumed, these, however, were hot and spicy with roti skin so light and fluffy it melted the mouth.
If cleanliness is next to godliness then the Vincentians stand up there with the gods, their island was spotless, even if the majority of dwellings nearer the town center were modest and shabby they were charmingly so with absolutely no litter anywhere to be seen.
We were delayed in town due to thorough enjoyment and were caught right in the middle of the 5 o’clock rush hour traffic, we lined up with all the workers at the taxi terminus, feeling quite dazed by the hubbub around us. Eventually, we were pushed like vac-packed hot dog sausages into a taxi that by any standards, anywhere, was already full to bursting! Nevertheless, we were squashed into the seats with laughter and smiles along with supermarket packages and market produce. I was sandwiched between a young girl with the most enormous electric blue hoop earrings ( that threatened to give me a clip in the eye as she swung her head around to chat with her friend in the seat behind) and a huge Caribbean mama. This remarkably rotund lady had fascinating wobbly jowls and a splendid hat decked with magnificent artificial pink hibiscus blooms. She was hell-bent on engaging me in a rapid-fire conversation, which I acknowledged with smiles and nods not having the faintest idea of what she was on about. The taxi radio was belting out a strong reggae beat which had all the occupants tapping feet and heads nodding, the music almost kept time to the sway of the shock absorbers shifting alarmingly as we skimmed around the bends in the road! A real “taxi jam” experience and one I would not have missed for the world but would not repeat in a hurry either!
We set sail for Bequia and swam in the sparkling water off St. Margaret’s beach, sailed across the path of a huge pod of dolphin which then ushered us into Rameau Bay on Cananoun. The following day we sighted two Pilot whales large as life on our stern while sailing towards Mayreau. We watched a heaven sent sunset off Chatham Bay on Union Island, an indescribable blush of crimson that fired the waters for miles and miles. Some of these fanciful firey remains might have lingered while snorkeling off the northern point the following day; we all felt needlepoint stings all over our bodies and absolutely no evidence of any biters or stingers anywhere.! Then there was the perfect photo shoot on the tiny island of Mopion off Petit St. Vincent.. Vincent, where we left Gary and Pippa for the morning to play shipwrecked castaways. They said they thought they had died and gone to heaven!
This left us with a hefty problem, how do we top this on the night of their 25th Wedding anniversary? There had been too much perfection above and below the waters, our last stop was to be Tobago Cays, (more perfection) but no restaurants or shore distractions for a typical wedding anniversary celebration. Wining and dining with them in the evening as we had night after night during their stay with us seemed so “same old.”
Then along came Romeo. A huge handsome fella with a sunny nature and a beaming smile, he brought along mates called Fernando and Jason also huge handsome fellas with beaming smiles. They pulled up alongside in their gaily painted boat, offering freshly caught lobster. They assured us they could serve a “very” romantic dinner on the beach at Petite Bateau. All we needed to do was to deliver Gary and Pippa to the beach at 7 pm along with wine glasses, dinner plates, and silverware, oh, and the drinks of their choice. To be honest I was a little concerned and was awfully worried about ruining the celebratory evening with a flop dinner. My Captain (and husband) reminded me of the fun of the “Taxi Jam” experience and also pointed out the uniqueness of this venue, chef included, he said “these guys are just too happy for failure”. I agreed and secretly booked “Romeo’s Lobster on the Beach.”
How right he was, a table was set on the beach inches from the water’s edge, gaily printed plastic tablecloth and island flowers decorated the center, a remarkable candelabra was fashioned from a used gallon water jug, very “recycled chic” I thought. Romeo and Fernando plus umpteen helpers had set up a bush kitchen way back under some umbrella-shaped sea grape trees where he worked magic with local produce from land and sea. The menu was certainly fit for princes and overly generous. A platter of delicious garlic potatoes, a bowl of spicy rice, a dish of mixed veggies, and finally the lobster (it must have been on steroids from birth, see enormous!) arrived smelling like heaven. For “after” there was a tropical fruit platter, with gorgeous juicy melons, bananas, granadillas, and mango all the above was washed down into welcoming stomachs with many glasses of champagne and went down singing hosannas all the way!
Finally, we have over the years tended to avoid stopping at St. Vincent due to articles of a negative nature in various magazines regarding the safety of the island, how much we regret this now thinking of how much we missed, and we will if ever we pass this way again make St Vincent a MUST STOPOVER!
Special Thank you to Bambi Alexander, host and chef aboard catamaran charter yacht COOL RUNNING’S for writing and submitting this article to www.bvisail.com.