Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Go-carting around the Island of Mustique

Our day in summary: While visiting the island of Mustique we argued a lot, we rented a jumbo go-cart, we watched tortoises cross the road, we got lost (seriously), we found two amazing but deadly beaches, we got sunburnt, we met a few people that have more money than we could ever dream of, I got kicked out of a library and we found the most lonely playground in the world. And now for the details.

Rolly anchorages get us down. Seriously down. I've read that a short temper is a symptom of sea sickness. Whatever it is, we all had it bad this morning. Austin and I worked out that the boat was rolling through a 30 degree arc on the bigger ones, Carla and I agreed not to speak to each other until we were on shore and Aidan and Aaron nearly drew blood. OK, maybe it wasn't quite that bad but it sure wasn't fun. Yet everyone was all smiles within minutes of setting foot on land. I subscribe to the sea sickness story.


The plan for today was to rent a golf cart (as described in the guide book) and drive around the island to see what we could see. After verbally sparring with an unhelpful cab driver we got picked up by a very friendly employee of the Mustique Company who gave us a ride to the main car lot and helped us rent a "cart" to see the island. This "cart" is basically a giant go-cart with a flatbed in the back for carrying extra people. It kind of looks like a golf cart bred with a covered troop carrier. It sounded like a 3000cc ATV. I have no idea how well it drives as I was a passenger all day. And you can't drive these without a local driver's license. No problem mon. All you need is $65 EC and you have a license. Just remember to drive on the left!
I just bought my driver's license

The really friendly guy at the car lot gave us a nice map and directions to the best beach. I'm pretty good at reading maps. I like it. As a kid I remember spending hours following creeks and contour lines to rivers and lakes on my dad's old topographical maps and claim sheets back in the Yukon. And most of the time I'd always know which way each of the four cardinal points lie. To my great embarrassment, not more than 15 minutes after we pulled away I was completely and totally lost. I had absolutely no idea where we were. Neither did Carla (driving) or Austin (sitting in the navigator seat). So we did what we figured was the most sensible thing. Just keep driving, just keep driving, just keep driving ... it is an island after all so how bad could it be. Ironically, the first and only locals that we met on the way couldn't figure it out either (we bumped into them just after ganja o'clock so maybe that had something to do with it).
Carla's ride

Along the way we did find a beach. It wasn't the beach we were looking for. The second thing that we saw was a huge, 6 foot tall sign of a drowning person with a big red circle and slash through their head. The first thing we saw was the sand, and big rollers hitting the beach. Too bad about the killer undertow - it was looking so promising.

the Maintland stance
The beach we were looking for turned out to be a mile or so down the road. We did find it and spent a couple hours there playing in the surf and enjoying the shaded picnic bench. The waves were too big for Aaron so he just played on the beach until he got tired. Austin, Aidan and I spent nearly the whole time in the surf teaching the boys to body surf. Austin did quite well but Aidan was the big surprise. He was completely resistant to any encouragement but basically taught himself how to do it by just standing a few feet in from the break, watching and then modelling what Austin and I were doing. Sometimes he's just got to do something in his own way and on his own time. As we were driving away from the beach we came across a sign that basically said most of the trees that were not palms were the poisonous Manchineel trees.
surfingPoison trees

Back in "town" we came across a playground. This is the first playground that we've seen on this trip. Aaron nearly leaped off the cart right then and there. The boys were sure excited, quickly proclaiming that this was the best playground in the world. I thought it felt a little spooky. Not only were there no other kids on it (half an hour after school was let out) but it didn't look like there was much evidence that kids ever played on it. It was so lonely looking that I thought it would look good in a Bill Peet book.

lonely playground
Across the field from the playground was the library. If spying the playground made the boys go ballistic, seeing the library made Carla's day. The kids must have been pretty tired by this point because they sat quietly in that air conditioned library for half an hour without making a disturbance. All three of them. Together. Alone with mom. I wasn't allowed in as I looked like I was straight from the beach (and I was).


  1. What an amazing adventure! Very proud of all the sailors in your family. Also a wee bit envious :). Awesome to read your blog updates. I may be in the Caribbean for Reading Week so perhaps we'll cross paths.
    -Nikki from DCYC

  2. Your visit to Mustique looked like fun . . . nice to explore on land again.
    Those dangerous trees remind me of the "fire" trees in Jamaica which were known to 'burn' you if you brushed up against them.
    That "maitland stance" actually a has a name . . . Aidan's arms are akimbo!

  3. Nikki: if we can hook up here in February, we'll free up a berth for you and go seek some wind!