Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Windjammer Ships and Pirate Adventures: Statia - The Real Caribbean

Day 6: Statia (Saint Eustatius) - February 22, 2007
The Real Caribbean and Crab Number 3

The real Caribbean is one you won't ever see from a cruise ship. The Windjammer fleet is rare and so are the attitudes aboard. Shipmates are just as interested in the real Caribbean as we are and that's what I like about sailing like this. You are on a huge, beautiful antique sailing ship with other sailing nuts going places only sailors - and - pirates know about.

Saint Eustatius, or Statia, as the locals call it, was my favorite place on this trip. It is also what you would call the "real Caribbean".

So What is the "real" Caribbean? Well, it's awesome people, black beaches, dormant volcanoes, history, hidden beaches all untouched by commercialism. No cruise ships.....

The journal entry I wrote in my diary:

"Statia is my favorite stop so far. It is what the Caribbean is really like for a traveler. The people are friendly. The buildings are old, historical and tidy. Black beaches and a dormant volcano. Blue beads once could be found on the beaches. The first country to acknowledge the new American flag after the [North] American revolution."

The blue beads of Statia were fun. Many of the locals had them, and the bartenders had the best ones, and the best tales.

It was hot in Statia, remember it was February, and we snowbirds were very happy to be there. In the morning, I got to explore by myself, a rare treat. The Kid was interested in the book he was reading...I suppose that's what I get for raising a bookworm...sigh. But it gave me the opportunity to get to know the island on my own. There is a museum on Statia that is filled with very awesome artifacts and documents of the long and colorful history of this island. The day we were on the island, one of the local schools was having a bake sale...good, good, good - if you like coconut.

It wasn't until afternoon, and it was well into the 100's that The Kid actually came ashore. Needless to say, I dragged him to the museum, past the bake sale [that was cleaning up to head to the beach] and The Kid got to see the famed blue beads [though later that day, the bartender had better ones than the museum!].

Though as remote as Statia might seem, it was there I had camera malfunction. Call it bad planning, bad Karma, or an invitation to really discover this island. I have a Nikkon that is far more complicated than I ever imagined and it went "haywire" tha day on Statia. The batteries died. Amazing as it might seem, we found in a small local shop, much like what you might find in Mayberry, batteries and a photographer who knew just what I needed. He also told me how to find the film I needed as well. That was an interesting walk through the "suburbs" to a local superette, run by an old Chinese guy who was happy to see us and very helpful as well....
The film was very important that day as that was the evening of the famous Windjammer Crab races [no crabs are harmed or treated badly!]. many of the crabs are celebrities on board. We won $16USD on crab #3.

You'll just have to go on a Windjammer adventure to find out what that is all about!

Next Stop: Anguilla