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SEA GEM LOG:March 23, 2002. How Far Would YOU Go for A REALLY GOOD LOBSTER SANDWICH?

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Our friends Kyle and Steve Miller from Orlando joined us for a week. While they were with us, we visited Antigua, Barbuda, Nevis and St. Kitts (St. Christopher). One evening we went ashore for dinner and while strolling around in Charlestown we were referred to "UNELLA'S BY THE SEA" a restaurant on the second floor overlooking Charlestown Harbor in Nevis, W.I. That evening was memorable for several reasons: first we celebrated Charlie's birthday, second, the food, ambiance and waiter "ED" were excellent, and third we experienced the most beautiful and prolonged sunset we have ever seen.











We were exclaiming over the beautiful sunset and taking lots of pictures when a delightful young woman asked if we would like for her to take a picture of the four of us together? We started chatting. It seems her husband is a medical student in Nevis and she is obtaining her Master's degree in public health. The topic turned to food and she waxed eloquently about the lobster sandwiches served by the Golden Rock Beach Bar just up the beach from where we were anchored. Her friend supported her claims of greatness and "the seed was planted."



We had to weigh anchor and leave Nevis the next morning by 6:00 a.m. for St. Christopher, where Kyle and Steve had a flight departing at 11:10. We got to the commercial harbor and Charlie and Steve went ashore to officialdom to: clear the boat in, clear Steve and Kyle out, and remove them from our crew list. Clearing was fast even though there was a cruise ship in port. The anchorage was plagued by a terrible swell running and we were really
rocking and rolling. We also seemed to be downwind from an asphalt plant. It was not your usual tropical paradise, but the water was clean, and it was convenient for our immediate needs.



We all went ashore when Steve and Kyle were leaving. We wanted to bid them good-bye, take our laundry, and go to Hot Mail. We then found out we could take a tour with the same cab driver that took them to the airport. We took advantage of the opportunity and had a fine tour of the Brimstone Hill Fortress, which dates from 1690. Brimstone Hill is one of the largest and best-preserved examples of the Fortresses built in the Caribbean during the extended conflicts over control of the islands. French, English, Spanish, original inhabitants, privateers and pirates fought for dominance and conflicts and bloodshed continued for years. The idyllic islands in the sun have a violent and bloody history. The sadness of slavery is interwoven throughout the greedy grasping era of settlement and "civilization."





Each island has a unique ambiance and years could be spent exploring this turquoise sea. After getting our laundry we headed back to our rocking boat and decided to weigh anchor and go to a settled anchorage. We did our usual drill, I take the helm, Charlie gives me signals and he brings the anchor up while I take the strain off the windless with the engines.



Today something went wrong. After the anchor was lifted part of the way (about ten feet off the bottom) the windless died. Charlie came back to tell me
we have to re-anchor, and we will try to move in a little closer to avoid the terrible roll. We get the 110-pound Bruce anchor down again with Charlie
handling the 3/8-inch chain, careful to not lose a finger in the process, and we are now anchored again. If we had to have a problem, it was a better to happen here than in a secluded anchorage. Charlie got on the radio and contacted a nearby marina that happened to have a mechanic available but Charlie needed to pick him up in the dingy. He took off to do this and because he also had stocked the boat with an extra windless motor we were soon back in business again. Now it was too late to leave and make another anchorage before dark so Charlie assembled another anchor and line so that he could put out a stern anchor and point us more into the swell. After doing this we had a rolly but much more peaceful night.





The next day we departed from St. Kitts and Charlie said with a grin, "How would you like to backtrack to Nevis and get one of those lobster sandwiches?" Never being one to turn down an opportunity to have dinner out, I agreed this was indeed a fine plan.




It was 11 miles back to Nevis, about a two-hour sail and in the opposite direction to where we were going the next day. We anchored just off the beach where the Golden Rock Beach Bar was located. Down the beach is Sunshine's, another beach bar and eatery. Both of these places are located down from the very upscale Four Seasons Resort. We dressed and headed in.




It was late afternoon, but we were just going to the beach so I didn't take a purse, just wore my dark glasses. There didn't seem to be anyone around inside the Golden Rock Beach Bar, just some beach goers playing nearby. We called ashore and they advised that the staff had just closed up and gone back to the hotel. We ran the dingy up the beach to Sunshine's. The sailing guide says that the boys that work there will come out and help you pull your dingy up the steep, deep sand beach. There are no docks in this area because of the sea exposure. We are accustomed to "wet landings." A wet landing involves driving a dingy toward the beach, turning off and kicking up the engine, jumping out and pulling the dingy in through the surf and up to dry sand. If the surf is not too heavy, the driver is good, the passengers agile, this works like a charm. Where the bottom drops off quickly, good-sized rollers are the rule, even in calm conditions. We had rollers.




Charlie timed it perfectly. The little dingy's bow touched the sand, I jumped out but before I could wrest the dingy from the sucking surf, or Charlie could get out, the next roller swamped her and water poured in over Charlie and into the dingy. Charlie leaped out and got the dingy under control. Now we are both pulling on the water logged dingy, which is very heavy, up a very steep beach. No willing beach boys ran down to help. A very nice, well-dressed couple, out walking on the beach (in shoes no less) grabbed on with us and the four of us tugged the boat up to safety. Charlie pulled the plug and we took a deep breath and headed up to Sunshine's where one of the beach boys asked if we wanted something to drink. We declined and said we were going to take a walk. We walked down to Golden Rock Beach Bar and asked what happened to everyone. We were told they headed back to the hotel. Charlie asked if they fixed lobster sandwiches at the hotel and the locals said they were sure they did.




We said we thought we would just take a walk to the hotel. We were told it was a long way, too far to walk. Charlie walks back down to Sunshine's to see if we can get a cab into town.




Steve, the beach boy, says he can take us. It takes five big guys to push Steve's truck out of the deep sand next to the beach bar. I am sitting under a coconut tree watching as Charlie gets into the truck with Steve and they start my way. Charlie gets out so that I can get into the middle seat. Steve comes around and slams Charlie's door with authority and we are off. The road is rough. The truck is reminiscent of an old farm truck that has seen too much pasture service. The wheel alignment is so bad I marvel that he can keep it in the rutted road.




Steve is a friendly guy and offers to take us to the hot spring where we can go swimming nude. He says, "The tourists love it." We decline the offer. We are focused on our goal, "the perfect lobster sandwich". Steve tells us he cannot take us all the way to Golden Rock Hotel but he can take us into town where we can get a taxi. We are looking at each other. We have already been a long way. We arrive in town, at the taxi place, and Steve gets out to make sure we get a driver that he approves of, and he again goes around to the passenger side of the truck and slams the door. The window shatters into a million pieces. If Charlie had been there, it could have been tough, especially if he had been looking in that direction. Fate was smiling as we continue on the quest.




We climb into a nice air-conditioned van. The driver is pleasant and tells us he will take us on two different routes, one to and one from Golden Rock Hotel. We head out. The sun is fading and I am wishing I had my clear glasses. We drive for a long way, over single lane roads, up and down the volcanic mountain, still headed for the Golden Rock Hotel. There is a lot of construction on the roads, herds of sheep and goats wander about, there are blind curves where the driver does the island thing and toots his horn. They do a lot of tooting. Each driver we have ridden with knows everyone he sees along the road, and they honk and wave and say something to everyone. I like that, I wave at people in boats.



We never considered that the hotel was on the opposite side of the island, around the volcanic mountain from the Golden Rock Hotel Beach Bar. The Hotel sits high above the ocean on the Atlantic side. It is partially housed in an old sugar plantation and the style and feel is very British. I later find out that most of the patrons are indeed British, quiet, and "not loud like the Americans prefer." That was the driver's description. What kind of a reputation have our countrymen developed?





We arrive and the driver enlists one of the employees to go and fix our sandwiches. We sit on the terrace surrounded by tropical flowers, watching the hummingbirds flit from blossom to blossom. A parrot flies by and lights on the roof of the building. The ancient, gentle and very plump Labrador retriever comes and lies down by us. The sandwiches arrive. They are indeed delicious. Chunks of tender lobster in a delicate dressing are piled high on fresh homemade bread, and served with the local "Ting" a grapefruit soft drink that we enjoy.




Our adventure was more involved than planned, but that is what makes spontaneous travel so much fun. "How far would YOU go for a really good lobster sandwich?" Until later from Sea Gem, island hopping in the Caribbean.