A Stop at Wallilabou
April 25, 2009
I was a bit surprised to find that the last time I wrote was in mid-February from St Lucia. Since then we’ve sailed to St. Vincent, Bequia, Canouan, Union and Mayreau, Carriacou and Grenada. We are currently anchored in Prickly Bay, Grenada. Anchored very near us is an Aussie couple we did the Darwin to Kupang Rally with: Dan and Yolanda on Jacana. We haven’t seen them for four/five years? We all went ashore last night for happy hour, pizza and Steel Band.
We’ve been to most of the grocery stores in the area to check out what goodies can be gotten and have done one island tour. Gene found Cheeze-its! Before leaving we will get a car so I can go birding. Two species I hope to see are the Grenada Dove and the Hook-billed Kite.
We had an easy trip island hopping through the Grenadines to Grenada.
Here are few highlights:
We anchored in Wallilabou Bay off St. Vincent where The Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed. The only pirates there now come to you in all sorts of small craft to sell you everything from soursop to guided tours. Actually, not all the vendors were pirates. We got a good deal on tomatoes and I got an eight year old guide who made my visit unforgettable. I can’t say his name in case someone who reads this might know someone who knows someone who knows someone on the island. I will call him Hughes and his brother Wheeler. The two of them rowed out to Peregrine not long after we got hooked to the mooring.
movie prop; click to enlarge
I should tell you about the moorings first. The bay is deep and has swell and weird winds and the available anchoring area is small. Most people pick up a mooring set out by the Wallilabou Restaurant and Bar. The cost of the mooring is deducted from the dinner bill if you eat at the restaurant. Some of the movie props are still there and the waterfront view is very nice. The people who run it are lovely and we really enjoyed our meal there.
Even if you hook onto a mooring, you need to take a line ashore and tie to a tree to keep from swinging and keep your nose into the swell. Line handlers come out in dinks and for $10.00EC (about $4.00 American) they will tie you ashore. Just when they finish, the vendors come hard and heavy. $10.00 for tomatoes, $10.00 for soursop, $10.00 for a guide to the waterfall, “How about some jewelry?” “You bought from him but not me!” Soon we were $10.EC’d out. We had to use our credit card for dinner. Anyway, back to my guides. The older boy, Wheeler, asked if we needed a guide to the waterfall; of course the fee was $10.00EC. I should explain that it’s not unusual for village kids to take tourists for walks for a small fee. I told them it sounded good but didn’t want to go at that time. We had had a long hot sail and just wanted to relax. Gene asked why they weren’t in school and Wheeler told us it was a break time. I set up an appointment for the next morning at 9:00. Hughes asked if we had any fishing line. “Yes, and I think I have some hooks too.” I promised to find them and bring them the next day. As Wheeler and Hughes start to leave, Wheeler says his little brother will take me instead of him. Wheeler is 15 and Hughes is 8.
The next day, I ask Hughes why his brother changed his mind after the time was set. He said his brother didn’t want to get up so early! I said I hoped that he was going to keep the money since his brother was too lazy to come.
While we’re walking on the only road to the waterfall,Hughes shyly says, “Do you remember what we talked about?” I said yes I did and I had line, hooks and sinkers. I started to get them out of my backpack, and he is horrified. “No, we don’t do business here!” His little face was so serious, and the ‘business’ comment and posturing was so funny coming from an eight year old, it was all I could do not to laugh. He tells me someone from one of the shops or houses will see.
“What’s wrong with that?” I ask.
He tells me he will get in trouble for begging from the tourists. I told him that I understood what the community was saying. People don’t want to come to places where they are pestered too much and tourists might bypass Wallilabou if they were bothered excessively. I told him I thought we should consider the fishing stuff a gift because I wanted him to have it and I had plenty to share. I also said I would give it to him when we got to the waterfall and that I had a grocery bag to put it in so no one could see.
'Hughes'. I thought this photo would be good in case somebody who knew somebody was reading.
He pointed out pigeon pea bushes and told me you could pick them to eat or sell, informed me that a tree I asked about was a Nutmeg, hustled me to the side of the road when cars honked and pointed out a black bird in a tree. I put my bins up and was thrilled to see a lifer: Smooth-billed Ani. I told him he had just earned an extra dollar. You can believe he was scanning after that.
We came back, bought a popsicle and shook hands good-bye. I told him he was an excellent guide and that I had enjoyed his company. “I’m really very happy to hear that”, says he. I think that even if I end up in an Alzheimer complex I will not forget that little boy.
Well, I do go on once I start. I think I’ll save some of the other highlights for another post.
In case some of you are wondering about pronunciation:
St. Lucia (Saint Loosha)
Grenada (gren-aid-a) Since this is the Spanish Main, don’t ask me why Gren-aid-a isn’t Gren-ah-da.