Rum. Lots and lots of rum. Supplied by Libby, a female Antiguan Jack Sparrow and the owner of the illustrious Pineapple House. Every time a new person came to stay at the house, Libby magically materialized a massive bottle of the finest local vintage (aka the kind of booze that only a pirate could love), and proceeded to get the new person drunk enough to sing “oh ho ho and a bottle of rum.”
I was no exception.
Presumably this was a way to break the ice. Libby liked to refer to herself as the guest’s “Antigua Mom,” and after a few weeks staying there, I certainly thought of her that way. I admit that having a rum-loving, pirate-like mother figure is not something I ever expected to have, but life is weird, which makes it all the more wonderful.
Officially, I was in Antigua to find a job on a sailboat. That had been my goal for months. But my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I had pretty much decided that unless the perfect job just fell out of the sky and then painstakingly climbed its way onto my non-receptive lap, that I would find another way to follow my sailing dream.
So why did I go to Antigua then? Aside from the obvious reason of “why not,” (for some reason I wasn’t worried about the fact that I had no money, job, or prospects…), I had a more secretive goal. A covert operation, if you will…
I was going to surprise the pants off someone.
My French-Canadian friend, Marc, was at that moment sailing to Antigua; a three week long voyage, with no phone reception or internet. And since Marc is not quite so fluent in the ancient art of smoke signals as he is in French and English, I felt safe that no one would be able to warn him of my presence.
Pineapple House was high on a hill overlooking the main marina. My bed was in the common area, along with four or five others. The room had a roof and a kitchen but in place of a wall was simply a railing and open air. Every morning I would pull back the mosquito netting that surrounded my bed, lean over the rail, and gaze down into the marina, hoping that Marc’s boat would have arrived.
Every morning I was disappointed.
Aside from wandering around town, exploring, and making an occasional walk down to the beach, I couldn’t afford to do much touristy type things. So, to keep myself occupied I decided to to help out around Pineapple. The month before there had been a hurricane (the same one that I mentioned in my other post: Sailing to Bermuda – And How I Nearly Died at Sea), so there was some damage around the place.
I appointed myself the handyman’s sidekick and followed him around like a puppy dog, begging for work instead of Snausages. Together we fixed a part of the roof that had blown away, as well as one of the doors, and made covers for the outside lights out of an old length of plastic gutter.
In the evenings, I hung out with my fellow Pineapple house guests or with crew members that came in on the the yachts. We played pool and pet the local donkey and her baby. Libby threw a full on party at Pineapple House with a bunch of her Antiguan friends to celebrate the (third?) birthday of one of their little boys. It was fun although quite exhausting.
Then, one early morning, unbeknownst to me, Marc arrived in Antigua. I was still in bed, feeling like a tired old cart horse whose only desire was to sleep fitfully under a tree, expending no more energy than it would take to swish away the occasional cockroach. The next thing I knew, I was a champion two-year-old Thoroughbred; bolting out of the gate and racing for the roses. Yes, the message from Marc had come in.
Libby laughed as I ran around the common room calling out “he’s here! he’s here!” Then I proceeded to lean over the rail and study the marina. I didn’t see any new boats. Where was he?
Perhaps I am just not cut out to be an International Woman of Mystery the likes of Austin Powers, because in my foggy-brained, sleep-addled state, I messaged him back without thinking; “you’re here!!!! But I can’t see you!”
Operation: surprise the pants off Marc – failed.
Oh well. It may have not been as good as sneaking up behind him on the dock and leaping on his back with a banshee scream, but it was surprise enough. Probably preferable come to think of it…
Needless to say, he was still surprised and as ecstatic as I was. After a wonderful reunion, I invited him along on my next adventure; sailing around the island with an old German man. Click Below for the story!
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