Shoreleave! The first official day off since I’d come on board. I had 48 whole hours to myself to do whatever I wanted to do. So, What did I want to do…I have to admit that sleep was high up on the list.
We had put into port in the harbor at Bequia. Bequia is a beautiful island, uh, volcanic protuberance, with absolutely wonderful people. Remote…definitely. But, that said, the small harbor had a single restaurant accessible easiest from the sea. The restaurant was called “Charlies”. Stephen and Diana coaxed me into joining them for dinner at Charlies, despite my desire just to sleep my leave away.
‘That’s Charlies.’ Diana pointed from mid-decks. ‘You’ll love it. Trust me.’
I shrugged and followed her down into the Captain’s skiff. We had a packed boat as we whisked across the bay. I was still a bit blown away by being able to sail right up to the front door of the place. There was a small pier with several tie-ups available. It was unlike any restaurant I’d ever seen before.
My first real view was of an open interior painted in bright, fluorescent and psychedelic colors offset by deeply browned ebony wood (heavily lacquered against the salt sea). There were no walls, per se. That seemed to be a general rule of most places along the seaside, I’d learned. But, what struck me the most was the ceiling when we entered.
From the ceiling hung sculptures of comical fish and sea life seemingly running from a chef wielding a very large meat cleaver. I instantly burst into giggles at the scene. Other such scenes were carried out on a ‘pyramid’ leading from the shoreside seating up to the second level bar. All were painted in wild colors with wilder designs. It was a joyful sight, and hilarious.
Stephen and Diana exchanged looks.
‘Squid bait.’ Stephen chortled in his heavy brogue.
‘Seal baby.’ Diana countered.
We all laughed as we found seats overlooking the tied-up skiff and the harbor. Our ship, sitting out in the harbor surrounded by the glow of the moon on the water…now, that’s a sight that stirs up pride and brings a little tear to my eye just at the memory of it. So majestic, grand, proud. Just so damned beautiful!
‘Hey, little squid, if you think the ceiling here is so funny now, wait til you’ve popped back a few shots of tequila.’ Stephen winked.
He was right. Later proved. After a couple of tequila shots chased with some kind of Captain Morgan’s vintage rum, locally brewed and bottled, the ceiling comes to life. To real…all too real. So real, I’d like to both remember and then probably wish to forget the rest of that evening.