Posts Tagged on island time in paradise

WFR – Back in Paradise Day 2

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I turned in early last night and was up before sunrise this morning. I walked down to the dock and I arrived as the last of the evening’s revelers were heading in. The temp on this island is about the same day and night. It usually about 85 in the day and 75 at night. Though there were some clouds in the sky I could almost count the stars above in the early morning sky. There is a quiet that surrounds you when no one is on the dark morning dock. You can hear the repetitive sounds of waves against the pilings and the breeze in the riggings of the moored boats.

JavaMonBefore long, if you wait, the dock always comes to life as the charter captains come out to ready their vessels for the days work. This morning was no different. As the sun rose this morning, you could smell coffee and hear water rushing over the decks as the captains and their mates rinsed  their boats, opened hatches and readied rods along the railings. I was offered Java’Mon coffee by a captain named Andel and we talked for a few minutes about his planned day.

I am telling you. He is living a life worth living. He is out on that topaz blue water very day. Fishing charters for fishing, tours, excursions, etc. He told me he seldom takes a day off unless business or the weather is bad and there are no charters to be had.
After our visit I headed for some local pastries for breakfast. I walked along the water front and stopped at a touristy little bakery and bought some croissants for breakfast and a baguette for later in the day. Their croissants and coffee were both good. I am eagerly awaiting the bread.

I went back to my hotel and checked out. The hotel was ok, just a little to “mainstream” for my taste. I will find another place to stay as the day goes on.

When the local commercial fisherman come in, I will go and find my “catch of the day” to grill and eat with my bread and maybe some fruit and wine. In a while I will go to the beach to soak up a little of this Caribbean sun.

William Fair Roberts….on island time in paradise.

WFR – not quite on island time, on my way to paradise

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Did you ever have one of those days when things just don’t seem to go right.  I have had about five in a row.  Last Thursday I was driving my old car to Atlanta where I was going to leave with a friend to use while I am in the islands.  I made it as far as just outside of Montgomery, Alabama and it broke down.  When I say broke down, I mean it broke down.  I am not a mechanic but I got a tow truck to pull it into a small shop and they were able to look at it on Friday.  It needed some steering part that had to be ordered and it would not be in until Monday.    In the interim I spent a couple of unexpected nights in Wetumpka, Alabama where I stayed at the Wind Creek Casino and Motel.  It is a pretty nice place and though I am not much of gambler, I had some fun in the Casino. Monday of course was a holiday so my car part arrived today. About six hours of labor later my 1968 MGB is back on the road and I will be driving on to Atlanta tonight.


I will be in Atlanta late this evening and  I will spend the night with my friend and his wife and then tomorrow  leave for Miami,  Port o Spain, Trinidad and on to St. Lucia.  I will arrive in St. Lucia day after tomorrow at about daylight.

I think it only fitting that I spent a few hours on the side of the road with a broken down car, just to get my mind right for the trip back to the islands. I can’t wait to see the beautiful blue waters and the palms swaying in the breeze.  I can almost smell the spices in the air, taste the fresh seafood and feel the sun shining down on my skin.  I don’t know exactly how long I will be on St. Lucia but I know for sure it won’t take but a few short hours to decompress and get back on island time.  I have been away too long.

It is funny how life gets in the way of living.  I had some personal business…life…to get behind me so I was out of the islands much longer than I wanted to be.  During my time off I wasn’t sitting still.  I have spent a time in western Canada, Alaska, San Francisco, York, England and a few other places. None of which were tropical. The nearest thing to tropical was a four day trip I made to San Diego last December and trust me it was far from tropical.  I love San Diego and I enjoyed some great seafood and time on the rather cool beach but, I need the tropics.

Anyway, by this time tomorrow I will be in Port o Spain, grabbing a bite to eat, waiting to board another plane on to St. Lucia.  I hope to be able to fill you in once I land and get my feet back in the sand.

William Fair Roberts…not quite on island time, on my way to paradise.

Quick Note from WFR in St Lucia

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February 19, 2013

Today we rented scooters to fnd a place someone told us about last night.  They said we head to Dennery on the other side of the island.  Fon d’ Or Bay is the secluded place we were told about .  We rode for a while, exploring all that is St. Lucia.  Then there high on a hill we found picnic table with a view.  Damn what a view.  Kat and I love this place.  We were like school kids until someone in an old three wheeled truck drove by.  We have decided to end finish up our picnic and try to make our way to the beach.  We are planning on buying some bread, some fruit and a couple of bottles of wine and water and spending the night on the secluded beach we saw from our picnic table on the hill.

If we decide to ever come back, I will tell you about it.

William Fair Roberts on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR – St Lucia

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February 18, 2013

St. Lucia

Yesterday, we spent most of the day at Spiaggia di Santa Lucia a wonderful beach.  And for this time of year it was not all that crowded.

We woke up around noon and hung around in the room for an hour or so and then went for fruit, a salt fish sandwich and a Piton beer.  A great night and a better start to a new day yesterday invigorated us and got us on the road to new places.  There are so many places on St. Lucia that I love I want to show her every one of them.  Spiaggia is a great place to do nothing on a Sunday afternoon and we did a lot of that.  The weather was fabulous and we spent the entire afternoon with our feet in the water, holding hands listening to a mix of Buffett, John Reno, Jambo Joe Bones and a little bit of Hugo Duarte.

As the sun went down we switched to Marley and we lay there on our beach sheet as the stars filled the sky.  Soon we were alone and a warm breeze covered us like a blanket.  I don’t really know how long we were there, but I do know it was long after the last person left the beach that we left.  We found a small local place to eat and enjoy a bottle of wine and each other’s company as the night went on.  Last night was not nearly as long a night as Saturday night was but it was enjoyable and very quiet.

As for today we headed north to a place I have written about before…Rodney Bay.  We went to one of my favorite places for lunch in Gros Islet. The Eagles Inn has to be the model for every Caribbean hangout wannabe restaurant along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Coast.  It is a place to remember.  I guess you will have to forget everything I ever said about me not liking touristy places.  Eagles Inn is a tourist destination but it is still a fun and interesting place.  There is a cross section of world humanity in there. If I were a betting man I would bet more than twenty countries were represented in the restaurant  today for lunch.  Each table was its own little socio-economic micro-nation.  We enjoyed the company as usual and the food was great, though we really only ate appetizers as we watched the traffic on the water just feet from our outdoor table.   On your next trip, find your way here.  I am sure you will enjoy it.

St. Lucia never seems to be as touristy as other islands but this year it really seems less so than others.  I don’t know if the economy has slowed the travel or if people just aren’t here.  What ever the reason, I am happy to have more space and less snow birds.

We decided to celebrate a week of Valentines’ this year so we are heading to the beach to work on our tans but I think we plan on heading back to The Eagles Inn around dark to pick up where we left off with an entrée and a little more celebrating before we go to our room.

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR Puerto Rico (He’s Back)

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January 27, 2013

culebra-travelParadise is almost anywhere you want it to be.  Right now paradise is just being here.  It has been a while since I last posted…a long while.  There has been a lot of water under the bridge wince I last posted but I am happy to say all is good with me and all is good with Sweet Pea.  We loved sailing our own boat all around the islands but we found that owning a boat is a lot like owning a house and you end up being tied to it in more ways than one.  Since my last post we weathered two hurricanes and have sailed from the Cozumel to the Caymans to Trinidad and scores of islands in between them.  The past months have been a trip both literally and figuratively with highs and lows enough for a lifetime.

I am going to try to give the very abbreviated version of the past four months.  We have become pretty good sailors.  We have enjoyed the freedom a boat like ours gave us but while we saved money on many things as a result of owning her we also had some pretty big expenses because of her.  When the original owner contacted me asking if I would like to sell her, we jumped at the opportunity.  He offered me a little more than we paid and he is the proud owner once again and we are back to hitching rides, camping on the beach and renting rooms by the night and by the week to stay out of the weather.

I have told you the high season is not my favorite time in the islands so we have done our best to stay as far away from the tourists as we can.  Snow birds mean a lot to the economy of all of these islands but they make it really miserable for those of us who stay here all of the time.

For the past week we have been exploring the small Isla de Culebra which sits just 20 miles or so off the east end of Puerto Rico.  We have been able to avoids some of the crowds here and enjoy some good company, good food and cold beer. The weather has been fantastic as always and it has been a pleasure just hanging out. The other night we went to El Eden and enjoyed a really good meal of and some icy Caribbean drinks.  We also ate a meal at a place called Susie’s or something like that.  We liked it, too. Most of the time here we have shopped the markets and enjoyed the small stands the locals have told us about.

4427623-bike_trekking_Isla_de_CulebraIf all goes as planned, we will be leaving here tomorrow.  We have potentially hitched a ride south on a boat from Saint Kitts.

The sun has been down for quite a while. The temperature is in the upper 70s and there is a light breeze blowing out of the northwest.  Honestly, the wind is a little cool and I can smell rain coming…there is a clean smell in the air that only rain can bring.

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR – Tortola

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October 21, 2012

Sunday morning in Road Town Tortola.  This is a beautiful Caribbean town nestled on a harbor between hills.  Almost like a bowl, this small city rests  serenely by the harbor and then meanders up into the hills around it.  Last Wednesday when we arrived, was the first time I ever laid eyes on this picturesque bit of geography. Road Town is the Capital of the British Virgin Islands and has a long history that can be seen in her streets, her alleys and most of all in her people.  This town is the center of commerce, government and all that makes up tourism of these islands.  Since we have been here we have seen both the extremely upscale tourist areas and the beautiful local haunts where it seems if you wait quietly, long enough you might catch a glimpse of the pirates and winches that once gathered here.  From what I have been told this entire town burned about 150 years ago so, almost all of the “old” buildings in town are less than 150 years old.  It is difficult to tell the old buildings from the newer ones at times, but really is in the wood frame buildings that you find the story of the life of this town.

Since we arrived earlier in the week, we have embraced the locals and they have done likewise.  It is not unusual for us to be invited in the homes of the people we meet wherever we visit.  It is no different here.  Last night we had plans to dine out on the town and found ourselves at an open-air bar where the two bartenders, a local couple invited us to dine with them in their home.  Dinner wasn’t until very late since they worked until 10:00 p.m.  We asked what we could contribute and James directed us to a market for fresh fish, veggies and fruit.  We asked what they would like to drink and they told us about an inexpensive Spanish wine they like.  It was a Pinot Grigio and because it was so inexpensive we purchased a couple of bottles and joined them at around 11:00 p.m. at their place on the side of a hill overlooking the harbor.  We grilled fish and veggies and enjoyed a fabulous bowl of mutton stew that Marlena cooked in a pot over the stone grill on their patio.  We enjoyed the wine and the food and the conversation until almost 4:00 this morning when we headed back down the hill to our sailboat.  Sweet Pea was still sleeping on the boat when I came ashore to buy some fresh breads and juice.  I did better than that.  I have found a little shop near a well-known hotel that is equally well-known for its pastries. While I am writing this they are putting together a small package of stuffed breakfast pastries.  They are grinding some locally roasted coffee that will be very welcome to Sweet Pea when I arrive and wake her.

Ah, my package is ready so I am ending for now.  It is time to pay for my goods and head back to the boat and the arms of my sweet wife.

In closing I think I should tell you, if you decide to visit here, you can come by cruise ship but, I would suggest you fly down or sail down so you can spend more time here than the cruise lines will afford you.  Though the city is small, there are more than enough sights and activities here to occupy you for weeks.

William Fair Roberts … on island time in paradise

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR – Puerto Rico

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October 13, 2012

To quote Ricky Ricardo, “You got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do Lucy.” And, I guess I do. My absence has been noticed by some and for that I am both grateful and sorry. I will try to fill you in on some of the things that I have been up to for the past, almost two months. Le t me tell you there has been a lot of water under the bridge since we rode out Isaac in Martinique. We have sailed hundreds of miles since I last posted and been to numerous ports all up and down the islands. We have met new friends, explored new places and found scores of private beaches where we felt like we were the only people to have ever been there.
We have spent the past two weeks on Luis Pena` Island, Puerto Rico. We have shared where we have shared Cayo Luis Pena with as many as four other sailboats and as few as … just us. The weather has been wonderful down here. Let’s see it is about 88 degrees in the heat of the afternoon and lower 70s at night. This island is magical. It seems like a deserted island. We spent our days wandering over the entire island and never found a structure. Granted we did not cover the whole island but, we did see an awful lot of it. Three are birds, lizards and or course bugs everywhere. Though we thought about camping on the beach, we always ended up back on the boat. Some nights we slept under the stars on the deck and others when it threatened rain we would sleep below. Every moment here has seemed like a honeymoon. Sweet Pea and I have needed this time together.
Oh, I guess I don’t need to tell you that I convinced her not to teach this year. She has decided to work on another Masters degree. She holds an MBA and is not working on one in economics. The program will probably take around 18 months and I don’t know whether back to teaching or if she will write like she did before she decided to go back to the classroom.
Over the past month we have spent every moment together. We have dived in the shallow waters of the islands, swam in the surf and slept under the stars. Fishing has been good and we have dined like royalty on island fruits and veggies and fish from these protected bays. I have gotten very comfortable with our boat and feel right at home behind its wheel.
Today we are at anchor off of Luquillo, PR. It is our plan to spend the evening walking around town. We have purchased bikes that we have strapped on deck but, tonight it is our plan to walk around, holding hands and acting like newly-weds. We are going to go to an old haunt of mine called Hangover Sport Bar to start the evening and then maybe we will head to the Sting Ray or maybe En Boga for dinner and drinks. All I know is I am the luckiest man on earth to live the life I am living and share it with my soul mate. Depending on what the night holds for us, we may or may not spend the night on the boat tonight.
I promise I will make every effort to post on a more regular basis while trying to update you on our recent travels.

William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR – Le Marin Martinique

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August 22, 2012
Just a short post to let everyone know we are safe and sound in the
Hurricane Hole in Le Marin Martinique.  The weather here is nasty but
not dangerous and we are under a tropical storm warning. Right now the
temperature is around 75 degrees F. and the wind is blowing out of the
east at about 15 knots.  It is really not expected to be that bad here
but we thought we would hold up in this safe harbor until Isaac passes
over us and heads north to the northern Caribbean islands and wherever
else he decides to visit.
We got into Martinique early yesterday and went ashore to buy some
provisions: water, canned goods, (some of those canned goods consisted
of four cases of beer…actually bottled, Biere Lorraine, considered by
many to be the best beer in the Caribbean, but we considered them
canned none the less), a beautiful fish that is cooking right now,
fresh fruits (limes, etc.) and veggies and three fifths of Saint James
Rum. We topped off our diesel tank in case we need the generator and
purchased only the necessities so we could enjoy the storm.
Isaac is going to pass over us some time tonight or in the moring and
as is expected to turn to the northwest as he moves through.  We have
no real worries where we are.  We are even planning on spending the
night on our boat. Let’s see I have fantastic company, great music,
adult beverages, island fare and for now a dry place to stay out of
the storm.  For some reason I feel like I should be listening to a
Jackson Brown album like in the Jimmy Buffett song, but I am not.  I
am listening to Swim Skinny with a rum on the rocks in my hand and a
fork turning a fish on the stove in my other.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise with WFR – Virgin Islands

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August 17, 2012

It has been a while since my last post and I would like to say I am
sorry but, I am really not.  I have been having a blast.  If I had
known that owning my own boat would mean that I had more independence
and not less, I would have tried to buy one before now.  We have been
moving from place to place through islands.  I was not sure of my
ability as a sailor a few weeks ago but now I have much more
confidence in my ability to stay on top of the ocean and not end up
beneath it.  I am not yet comfortable in really rough weather but I
have learned when I should find a safe port and dash for it.
Since I last wrote to you we have sailed from the U.S. Virgin Isles to
Marigo, Anguilla, Sin Maarten, Saint Barthelemy, Antiqua, Montserrat,
Basseterre and today we have been moored off the coast of Dominica and
the town of Roseau.  In the morning we will be leaving for Martinique.
I have been looking forward to arriving in Martinque for a good while.
The weather has been sort of “iffy” down here but, it is hurricane
season.  The storms that have passed us have been just strong enough
to be a real wakeup call for us but not frightening enough to change
our minds about being on the water.  The strongest winds we have been
in were about 40 knots and the biggest seas about nine feet.  Honestly
our vessel handled it well and protected us when we needed it.
Sailing and the peaceful, relaxing motion of the water is the perfect
backdrop for the music of the tropics.  I have been watching and picking up a few ideas for our listening pleasure
while we are at sea and in port. The other day, John at
featured Hugo Duarte and I listened to a few of his tracks and, I have
to tell you.  His music reminded me of some of the time I spent down at
the Florabama when I was in high school and college and probably too
many times to count since then. I think the drunkest I have ever been
was a month I spent there one night.
Anyway, we spent several days in safe harbor while we were waiting out
a storm that didn’t quite materialize.  There were some heavy rains
but we took the opportunity to enjoy a little wine while watching a
listening to a storm on the deck of the boat. When the rain was not
playing her music on the deck above us we were listening to the sounds
of the islands on our onboard ipod system.
I learned a long time ago that every day is a story waiting to be
told.  Each day, as boring as it may seem at the time is full of
stories that should be remembered, saved, embellished and told to
those willing to listen.  My life is definitely that way.  Every day
is unique and I wish that I could share them all with you.  This
paradise I call my life is being lived in the Caribbean but, if I were
kayaking down the Colorado, hiking a trail in the Smoky Mountains or
sitting on a pier on a lake in Wisconsin, I know that my life is worth
living.  We may be pretty insignificant when you think about our size
compared to a mountain, an island or the ocean but we are a part of
this great universe and as we are passing through it our part is not
insignificant.  We are here for a reason even if it is just to enjoy
our own little space on this earth.  Well, I am enjoying mine and
trying not to take even one second of it for granted.  I am blessed to
be where I am and sharing my moments with Sweet Pea and my words with
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.

On Island Time in Paradise – WFR – Cruz Bay

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July 21, 2012
Here are a couple of status updates from my Facebook:
July 17–I just want everyone to know that I made it safe and sound
and I am moored in Elephant Bay just off of St. Thomas in the Virgin
Isles. Great trip…I will blog about it later today. For now I am
getting a little rest.
July 18–I am sorry for being remiss about writing but, I awoke to a
very surprising phone call Wednesday morning. I was told to go on deck
and look due north to a dock that is some ways away from where I am
moored. There was someone waving at me from the dock…I immediately
recognized them…
WFR…on island time in paradise!
July 18 p.m. — Just got back on the boat from dinner. My surprise was
fantastic. My best friend and wife decided to join me. (They are one
and the same person). She has come down to enjoy a little time in
paradise. Her being here just adds to my paradise.
WFR…on island time in paradise.

I think it is necessary to fill in a few blanks before I just start
writing about my travels anymore.  First I am extremely happy that my
wife Kat “Sweet Pea” joined me.  In keeping with her southern
tradition her actual name is Mary Kathryn Elizabeth but, as she says,
it just wasn’t fair to make a little girl learn to spell all of that
so she adopted Kat at an early age because that was quick and easy for
a child to learn. Of course that made it difficult to spell the feline
word that sounds just like that.  This is not the first time she has
joined me.  She is a teacher and spends most of the year in the
states.  She understands my love for travel and I understand her love
of teaching so we spend as much time as we can together.  Some of the
lapses in my writing come when I am returning to the states to see and
be with her.  I am not going to get sappy here, but she is my life and
when we are together I am complete….sappy I know, but true.
Now with that behind us.  She and I are ashore now. We are going to go
to a little place called Amalia Café for Tapas and maybe more.  I have
been there before and their pasta of the day is always worth the
visit.  Sweet Pea has never been and I am looking forward to showing
her this place.  I am sure we will enjoy a bottle of wine and of
course the catching up we will do.  I was home a few weeks ago when I
was AWOL from here but, even though it was only a couple of weeks ago
we will have a lot of catching up to do.
I guess you have figured out that I can post from my boat now but, it
is not convenient and even worse it is costly in most places so, I
will still be updating most often when I am ashore.
This morning we stayed onboard for a good while.  Once we decided it
was to time to venture out we enjoyed coffee and tea on deck and then
made plans for the day.

We spent the morning walking around the streets close to the bay and
found scores of places to shop, meet people and snack and feast on the
local culture.  We have enjoyed seeing just a small sampling of what
this island has to offer.  There are a few clouds overhead and just
the normal chance of a tropical shower during the day.  We are going
to walk around for a while longer after enjoying a couple of cold
bottles of Blackbeard Ale…I don’t think this is actually made here but
it is good and cold and a great beer to share.  When we finish up here
we will continue our walking tour and then head to Amalia Café for a
late afternoon meal.
It is our plan right now, to eat and then head back to the boat and
then cruise east and north to Cruz Bay where we will moor and then
tour St. John.  I don’t think it is but about 15 miles if I am worth
anything at navigating.  The trip should only take a couple or three
islands depending on the wind.  For now we will go.  I think I am
going to start with the calamari tapas and we will see where we go
from there.
William Fair Roberts…on island time in paradise.