Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Visitors in the Caribbean: Part III

            In my last post, I discussed our island tour with Vicki and Larry—definitely a highlight of their visit.  Despite my best efforts to get right back to the blog and finish up these posts about our guests, I’m afraid I was waylaid by unexpected responsibilities and am only just now attempting to wrap this up.

Division Three

            Following our exhausting—albeit thoroughly enjoyable—island tour on Monday, we relaxed on Tuesday.  Ivan had a much-needed opportunity to catch up on some of his schoolwork and I was able to wrap up a few loose ends with my duties.  Early that evening, we met with Vicki and Larry again for another outing.
            A few days prior, I’d contacted a water tour company by the name of First Impressions to book a sunset cruise.  The boat ride was two hours long, casting off at 4:30, placing the catamaran at its furthest point from the harbor, along the gentle southern curve of the island, just as the sun set, before returning to Port Louis.
            First Impressions sent a bus to collect us, along with six other passengers, from the resort and brought us to Port Louis where the Starwind V was awaiting our arrival.  The catamaran was crewed by three Grenadian men who made an effort to provide the ten passengers with a great experience, from beginning to end.

            As we motored slowly out of the harbor, we were given a description of the catamaran, complete with measurements, capacity and uses.  The front of the catamaran (bow) had two trampoline nets (according to the boat’s description) which were basically a thick, flexible nylon mesh stretched over the water and attached to the boat with bungee cords.  As soon as I heard that we were allowed on the nets, I kicked off my shoes and climbed up.  Ivan joined me and Vicki and Larry shared the other net.  The remaining passengers milled around the bench areas, so we had the entire bow (nautical!) to ourselves.  The crew deftly crossed the narrow and uneven walkways beside the nets to collect our drink orders (all inclusive!) and quickly retrieved them from the bar.  The sails were hoisted and the same soothing breeze that cooled us that evening filled the Starwind V’s sails and urged us forward in a metronomic progression. 

            In no time, the finer details of the coast were merging blurrily with the rise and fall of the velvety green hills and the mountains rose behind like shadows and echoes beneath the swollen grey clouds.  We sailed southwest, surrounded by a sea rendered black and white by the sun’s reflective glare and the methodic slapping of the boat against the waves.
            Here is an obscure peculiarity of mine: I have an irrational and unexplainable fear of boats.  I don’t know why or when the fear originated (hence the unexplainable aspect), but have been anxious and uncomfortable around boats for as long as I can remember.  In fact, my first memory of being on a boat consists of a conversation I had with my grandparents—or, more accurately, a litany of concerned questions that went something like, Are we going to die?  Are we going to drown?  Since then, I’ve been able to pare down my phobia and remove the generalization of all boats and classified it instead as a fear of boats with enclosed spaces (such as: any room with a door that can close and trap you inside when the boat sinks and then you drown in a tiny room even though you’re a really good swimmer).  Well that was a parenthetical mouthful.  My point is, even without a claustrophobic room on the catamaran, I was impressed with my willingness to plan and subsequently enjoy the trip!  Though I think spending the ride in the net made a difference since that was the only part of the boat without a smothering ceiling.
            Regardless of fears overcome or otherwise, I had an absolute blast.  The movement of the boat, cautiously described as nauseating by others, was mesmerizingly relaxing to me, its perpetual cadence rocking us hypnotically as the sun dipped towards the horizon and the world adopted a warm golden hue.  The southwestern lip of the island darkened to an inky silhouette, crisp and perfect before the waning light, and twilight crept behind us, like cupped hands enfolding day into its shadowy creases.

            At sunset, we each had a glass of champagne; then the catamaran turned back to the shore and we headed into the harbor as evening lights blinked to life across the dusky island.

            The evening before Vicki and Larry left, we had dinner at one of Grenada’s nicer restaurants: The Beach House.  We considered it a dual occasion—our last meal out with Ivan’s parents and also a classy Valentine’s Day dinner.  Though I should hesitate to use the word classy too freely.  I ordered the Cornish hen—something I’ve never had before.  Of course I knew I’d be getting a whole bird, but hadn’t considered the precision necessary to eat a quarter-pound Cornish hen.  At first I tried using my cutlery, thus demonstrating my attempt at being marginally refined, but I just felt like I was sawing a rotisseried Guinea pig.  And that analogy just demonstrates how momentously unrefined I truly am.  Forgoing manners for effectiveness, I opted for a hands-on approach and gnawed apart my midget chicken like I would a basket of greasy buffalo wings.  I also think I swallowed a few ribs.  In the end, my fancy linen napkin got a lot of use and dinner was spectacular!

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