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All hands on deck!

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Ah doh know what de Bequia Channel is like now-ah-days in de month of January, but ah remember many years ago, travelling from Bequia to Kingstown

on de first working day after New Year’s day. The boat was “Whistler”, one ah dem tourist Yachts dat was converted to ah passenger boat. In addition to de engine, Whistler had three pieces of sail: de Jib, Fore-sail and the Main-sail.

Travelling on Whistler even wid de strongest wind blowing, yuh felt safe like if yuh were on one ah dem big tourist ships. But dat morning after New Year’s day was something else. It was normal practice dat de sailors would hoist de sails when dey are out of Port Elizabeth Harbour. But not dat morning. Young Captain Bo-Bo gave orders to raise de sail while de boat was still tied to de Wharf. Next he invited every man jack on de deck to come inside and find a comfortable seat. Den “Attention please everybody!” He broke de news dat he had crossed de channel de night before and it was ah bit rough, and dat he expected ah few swells again dat morning, but “have no fear” he said. Whistler is ah yacht specially built foh any waters. Same time ah swell broke on de bow and water splash way back in de stern way we were sitting. De impact shocked ah young nicey-nicey-looking lady from (South-side) Paget Farm who screamed: “Murder! Ah dead! Turn back” Fortunately on board were a number of experienced Bequia Seamen from de Banana boat and Nah-shun-all- Bulk carriers who were home on Christmas vacation. De weren’t bothered wid de big swells at all. Two of dem (bulk sailors) were standing next to Capt Bo-Bo encouraging him. “Push her thru Bo-Bo,” one ah dem said. And Bo-Bo followed his instructions, shifted de boat towards the North-East while ah third sailor also on vacation, stood at de bow of de boat giving Bo-Bo directions. It was swell after swell, but Whistler showed her worth, she shook dem off. Suddenly, somebody asked “Where is Sea Hawk,” de other passenger boat that left Bequia de same time wid Whistler. No Sea Hawk to be found; Capt Bo-Bo explained dat dey had opted to “run-away” from de swells, and it will take dem much longer to get out ah dem raging swells. But Capt Bo-Bo pushed his boat head-on, quartering de swells when necessary.

Minister of Go-venom-mint. Hon. Clive Tannis one of de owners of Whistler was on board, like me-self, he was shaking in his shoes. Quietly he said to de captain: “Bo-Bo, when yuh get ah chance, turn de boat around and let’s head back to Bequia.” Pandemonium broke loose! Who tell Clive to say dat. Bo-Bo cried shame at him. “Yuh talking bout turn back in dis kind ah weather, Clive? Twiddle Lewis, one ah de more experienced (vessel) captain from Hamilton was on board. He took over de conversation. He gave Tannis ah tongue lashing, telling him to stick to his politics and “leave sea-water to we de sea-men!” We were in dat bad weather foh about half an hour dat looked more like ah whole day. Den suddenly de water was as calm as ah pond. Capt Bo-Bo thanked everybody foh dey co-operation and having confidence in him, and he gave ah special thank you to his experienced sailor friends. Capt Twiddle told Bo-Bo dat he was ah very good captain. Ah remember his parting words, he said: “As long as we are out here in de wilderness, we got to work hand in hand to-get-her, or we will all go under!”

MORE DAYS TO RESTORE NOT REFLEX

Oh how ah wish dat Prime Ministers Keith Me-shell of Grin-Ada, Mia Motley of Bo-Bathe-us, Cast-ah-net of Sin Lucia and Ralph Gun-Soft of SVG were on board Whistler dat frightful January morning, if only to hear de parting words of Capt Twiddle, an ole and experienced Sea-captain. Hey we have four aspiring world leaders, one claiming ah 5-Star General and World Boss. Unfortunately dey all have one common problem – COVID-19, and is like dey all have four different plans. We played cat’n’mouse during de first year and luckily nothing happened, now we have de record. Among de OECS States, in one month SVG suddenly has more COVID-19 Cases dan all de others combined.

Lie-Za wants to bet me dat as ah result of de 4 Days to Reflex, Us will have another 4 Days in February to celebrate St Valentine; and another 4 Days in March foh Nah-shun-all Hero when everybody will wear gloves and Mass. Come April Us will have ah total shut-down foh All-Fools day, Good Friday and Easter. We will wait and see.

Ah think she really setting me up. She heard dat Mia Motley got 9 Masks and she took one foh she-self, so Lie-Za asking PM to beg Cuba foh Vaccines, and save one foh she. And wid dat is gone ah gone again
One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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