Sunday 31st January
I am scrunching my toes in the white sand and feeling the tiny grains rub on my skin. This is the world’s best pedicure. I wonder at the millions and millions of granules that were once the stuff of sea creatures, glass and shells. The waves are gently lapping, each one curling neatly under the next. We are blissed out on Mustique. To my left is Basil’s Bar – it is always great when you are not too far from the nearest Rum Punch. But Basil’s is special. It is famous for its Blues Festival held every year. This year is Basil’s Birthday and all the musicians are playing for free with the profits from the entry price going to a children’s home. Basil has created an incredible business on Mustique – he has a wine shop and a store with treasures from his travels in Indonesia and Bali – he has a boutique and of course his famous restaurant and bar. He lives opposite his bar in a quirky and creative house surrounded by the exotic treasures he has collected – vases hold flowering lilies floating on warm water and Buddha’s patiently protect his door. Tropical plants hug every wall and it all looks much loved.
Basil is a slim, tall, silver haired man who has a gentle smile and a little bounce in his walk. I admire the consistency, tenacity, focus and hard work it has taken him over the past 40 years to build his famous business. I was thinking that the song “Ain’t nobody’s business but my own” would be perfect for Basil.
This morning after cleaning the fridge (even in paradise there are mundane chores!) we went ashore and had a coffee and delicious, fresh pastries from the Sweetie Pie Bakery
The Bakery is nestled between two beautiful (but ridiculously expensive) boutiques. They are pink and blue and look so perfect in their place. After coffee we went for a walk and were delighted to discover two large tortoises plodding around. I touched their warm hard shells and that feeling transported me to when I was a small child growing up in the ‘60s. Having a tortoise was all the rage – I am sure it was not a good idea for tortoises who would, like me, rather live in the Caribbean sunshine than Belfast’s grey, cold and rain. Then we were disturbed by a really strange nasal ‘honk honk’ we turned to see two Peacocks and two Peahens in a large enclosure – perhaps one of the wealthy residents had become bored with them… it seemed a shame that there were not allowed to roam freely on the Island. We ‘honked’ back and heading back to the dingy.
Back on board for a rest – or disco nap as someone recently called it. Then back to Basil’s at 5.30pm for more world class jazz. This is the last night of the Blues festival. We sat with Sandra and John – fellow cruisers who also crossed the Atlantic with the ARC. It was great to sit with them, not least because it meant I could go up and dance! Having May with us all the time sometimes means we are a little bit restricted. As we danced one of the musicians asked if we would clear the floor for his friend – Mr. John Cleese! I was so excited to see John Cleese walking towards me – he was laughing and dancing. Then when he did the silly hands sliding over knees dance, my dad had taught me that dance, so I followed John (as I now call him) and we both laughed – I was doing silly dancing with John Cleese in Basil’s Bar, Mustique. We danced and laughed and drank a bit too much and then went back to the dingy and Magic for supper.
We reflected on our day – it started with meeting Tim Henman in the supermarket, then tortoises and peacocks and silly dancing with John Cleese – what fun!
This morning is the 1st of February and we shout ‘white rabbits’ to each other. Not sure why we do that – I think of us as not superstitious but we always thing saying ‘White Rabbits’ will deliver us a lucky month – I don’t make the rules!
We are leaving today but first we have to go ashore to get some cash, some groceries and a fish! We have seen the fishermen going out everyday and we would love a fresh fish. As we approached the fish market we spoke to a man who works on the Island. He said he was very proud of how safe the Island is and how nature thrives on Mustique. I was thinking that it is sad that the Island has to be private for this to happen. Mustique is a nature reserve and due to the many millionaires that live here it has so much security that it cannot be anything but safe! The guy told us the fish was really fresh and that the Barracuda was excellent and safe – safe? – Well, it is sad but true that a lot of the fish in the Caribbean are poisoned..
“Fresh fish it’s delicious, and one of the healthiest foods you can enjoy, right? Well, usually. But in some parts of the world, including a few particular areas of the Caribbean, a certain toxic organism travels up the food chain through reef fish, then predatory fish and eventually to man, causing the bizarre and uncomfortable set of symptoms known as ciguatera. In extreme cases, death can occur.”
Death by a poisoned fish?. I don’t like the sound of that – and Barracuda is a predatory fish…
Oh well – you only live once (perhaps?) so we bought the fish. It looked fresh and we asked if they could prepare it. The answer was – “yes, the guy outside will prepare it!” So, our fish was handed through the window to ‘the guy outside’ and in an instant he had filleted it for us. As we watched him we also noticed two guys carrying a large bucket of Lobsters – twitching and sliding – I think “how sad” and then I think “how yummy” – what have I become!
On the way back to Magic we said good-bye to the peacocks and the tortoises. The tortoises ignored us because they were having a lunch of cucumbers and mangos supplied by Stanley who owns the fruit and veg stall. Then we noticed the humming bird – frantically flapping to stay parallel with its flowers – we like Mustique but it is a mystery – a private Island with million and billionaires – safe but perhaps too perfect. A strange enigma.
… A paradise or a paradox?
Back on Magic we slip our lines from our mooring buoy and set the sails – we are heading to Mayreau and we should be there by 4pm. The wind is due to lighten over the next few days and our aim is to be in Tobago Cays by Thursday, February 4th – for the lightest winds. Tobago Cays is a nature reserve with turquoise waters and turtles swimming about. It is a place I have always dreamed of going so we want it to be in the best conditions possible. Ahhhhhhh