Noam and I have spent the past 4 weeks on Union Island, a 3-square-kilometers island part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, somewhere along the swath of bright blue turquoise water usually dubbed the “Caribbean”. We came here to kite surf, but a lack of any viable wind has turned this vacation to a more relaxing and snorkeling mood. Still, here’s a kite surfing picture to prove I did manage at least one line:
At the beginning I was very ill at ease with the island, later with the sailor way of life when we were invited to join friends on their boats. Turns out I am not a water person, something I didn’t like finding out as I really want to be an everything-person. With time and many snorkeling jaunts which Noam dragged me by the hand on, I calmed down and enjoyed the immense beauty of the island. As you can see by the pictures, I prefer my legs on solid land and not immersed in salt brine mixed with seaweed (just kidding of course):
Our second day on the island we met a young Israeli couple who crossed the Atlantic on a tiny sailing boat. It was very inspirational to meet people our age who had taken on themselves such an immense journey and responsibility. You can read more on their blog: http://cruisanostra.blogspot.com/. From them we got to know an Israeli family traveling on a Catamaran with their two young daughters. We stayed with them for almost two weeks and got to see the island of Mayreau and the Tobago Cays, easily one of the most amazing places on earth. A group of islands jutting out of water so clear and blue it is unimaginable. Underneath the surface there are more starfish then you can count, every turn you meet a sea turtle or a stingray and dozens of fish. Their blog is in French, but there is another family who are now heading to the Panama Canal to cross to the Pacific Ocean. I got the sense that the islands of the Pacific are captivating, and I will definitely be following their progress: http://www.avitalx.com/author/avitalxgmail-com/.
I feel lucky to have got to meet two different kinds of cultures on this trip: firstly, the West Indian vibe. After a month here we came to know many of the locals. Their English, which can seem incomprehensible even to a native English speaker, is riddled with slang and “limin'” words. Reggae music blurs out of speakers set up in the square all day long. Lines of small fishing boats at the wharf’s read names such as “Unity is Strength”, “Going Green”, “Mr.Everywhere”, “One Love”, “Lovely”, “Scums”. Discovering the local fruits and vegetables was a trial-and-error process – plantain, which are wanna-be bananas with slightly more starch, sweet potatoes that are white inside and not orange, mandarins that taste like lemons and are called “sweet lime”, poison ivy that you must cook completely to eat, which replaced spinach in our recipes and we dubbed “Kololo” (not being able to understand its real name).
Then there is the brotherhood of seamen, which we joined for a couple weeks. People live very differently on their crafts. Some in luxurious catamarans that hardly sway with the swell, with ample running water (sweet!) and generators that produce air conditioning. Others wash their dishes in the ocean and go hunting coconuts for dessert, as a welcome change from rice and more rice. We talked with retired doctors who were here for the summer and young couples who had sold everything in order to change their way of life. Late-night conversations accompanied by coke-with-rum and games of backgammon led to this piece of advice: “Travel. Travel as much and as long as you can until you find your real passion.”