Before you go cruising you have all these plans. Things your going to do. Things your going to eat. Places your going to see. Once you get out here you quickly realize that the things you envisioned while sitting in your cubicle are VASTLY different from reality. Sometimes they don’t meet your expectations, sometimes they vastly exceed them and sometimes they are just different.
Ever since watching an episode of Survivorman (Les Stroud) where he was “stranded” on a deserted island. I have been in search of something he ate that he called a “sprouted coconut” or “coconut apple”. I have asked local and cruising friends to no avail. No one seemed to know what I was talking about. Still I soldered on and collected coconuts hoping one day I would find this elusive food. While we have eaten and drank 100s of coconuts, we have never found an “apple”. Well that was all about to change yesterday!
Rhonda and I had decided to make a garbage run (even great days require mundane tasks) over to Petit Martinique (PM). We left the kids on board Party of Five with instructions to call us on the VHF if they required anything (failing us they call Avanti who was anchored 60 feet away). We made a quick dinghy run over to PM and had the garbage sorted in short order. So bounding back across the bay I was enjoying our alone time and made the executive decision to pass Party of Five and head to Petit Saint Vincent (PSV to locals) for a romantic walk with my wife.
Now let me take this moment to try and describe PSV. It is one of those places that I dreamed about, but it has completely surpassed my expectations. A truly mind blowing place that embodies everything you would dream about for a Caribbean island. Lush hills, surrounded by pure white sand beaches. A sand bar about 1/2 km off the western shore with a single umbrella on it. Jaw dropping views of the Grenadines, the Atlantic ocean, and the Caribbean. A true paradise. However, back in the 80s, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines sold the island to a company to use as a resort. For most parts of the year, cruisers are only allowed to use the beach, enjoy the bar, or eat at the restaurant. They must obey the “Guests Only” signs and stay off most of the island. The good news is we are not in that part of the year. Since we are out actively cruising in the off season the resort is closed and we were able to explore the entire island uninhibited. A fantastic deal considering resort guests pay $13K/week/couple to stay there.
Alright, back to the story. Rhonda and I pointed the dinghy at the dinghy dock and sped past Party of Five (hoping they didn’t notice). We pulled up to a nice, but partially dilapidated dock, tied up, and climbed onto the stunning white beach. Within 2 minutes we ran into Cheryl and Bobby coming back from their own romantic walk. Both were carrying armloads of coconuts and informed us the island was chockablock with them. We bid them adu and quickly surveyed our surroundings and decided to head west down the south beach. As we started the walk we were on paved roads with a very groomed landscape, but that changed quickly. The road suddenly turned to gravel with dense overhanging trees and moved inland maybe 30 meters off the beach. As we rounded the western tip of the island the path met a beach of the whitest sand you can image. At this point it forked and you could head out on the beach of continue under the canopy of trees and the gravel path. We choose the path and continue on our way watching the geckos, pigeons and other wildlife in the trees. After a short while we came upon a small clearing with a large fire pit surrounded by a bar just sitting in the middle of this fantastic tropical forest. It was at this point I began to notice the random coconuts on the ground (I will do another complete post on coconuts eventually). I began picking up some coconuts and putting them in Rhonda’s rooksack!
We continued around the island and rounded to the northern side. Within a few 100 meters down the northern path we came upon a “coconut grove”. There were nuts everywhere, of at least 3 different varieties and different ages. Crap, we only had so much room to carry them and I would now have to pick which ones I wanted to keep. Since we like the coconut meat much better than the water, we opted to bring back mostly brown nuts. As we were loading up the rooksack our handheld VFH crackled to life with a call from the kids. We knew our alone time was over so we grabbed what we could carry and double timed it up the path to get back to the dinghy and Party of Five.
Back on Party of Five we unloaded our booty and decided we NEEDED to spend another day here so the kids could enjoy the island as well. The kids were excited to open the coconuts as they love both the water and the meat. I had stashed a special coconut in the bag that I thought may have a coconut apple inside (it rattled when it was shaken). Of course this was the first coconut I dug out and began husking. Unfortunately I was disappointed after cracking it only to discover an “oily coconut” and not an apple. The kids were delighted as they love oily coconut and we hadn’t had one since Bahamas. They got about eating that coconut and I began opening the other ones. I got to the third or fourth brown coconut and noticed this one was sprouted with a fairly long sprout coming out the end. I had eaten sprouted nuts before and knew they were fine, so I knocked the sprout off and began cracking it. Imagine my surprise when I was greeted with a coconut apple on the inside.
I quickly took pictures and then set about getting the apple out of the meat so we could taste it. The coconut appeared normal in every way except for the apple in the middle and the meat having a jelly layer on the inside. The apple itself was strange and almost felt like angel food cake. The taste is kind of hard to describe. It was sweat and earthy with a texture very close to angle food cake. Good, but this was an item that didn’t live up to my expectations. Oh well, at least I found it and can now strike that off the cruising list.
These pictures were taken the day after the above story and we took the kids. Of course the kids wanted us to crack the coconuts on the spot.
Tasting the difference between the green and brown nuts.
Someone at OSHA would have a heart attack looking at this pic.
None of these pictures are touched with editing software. The colors are incredible and the camera doesn’t quite capture it. That is the Grenadines in the picture. Union Island (to the left), Mayreau (center distant), Palm Island (right and closer). Off to the right it was clear enough to see Bequia easily!
Kids, check. Trees, check.. Kids climbing trees, check!
A more groomed part of the grounds. Stark contrast to the earlier photos on the trail!
2 Bedroom cottage on the beach.. $13,995/Week!
Its not an optical illusion.. Avanti is that much bigger even though her waterline is only 10ft longer. The newly named S/V Syrena is the boat to the left of the pic. We had a fun “renaming” ceremony last night.
She is a thing of beauty..