Thursday, January 22, 2015

Union Island Boat Boys

Boat Boy Romeo in Tobago Cays
We have found these guys to be curtious and polite.  First of all, we were not bombarded.  Only one guy approached us initially.  When we declined a mooring ball, he simply moved on.  When he saw us a little while later still trying to anchor, he came back around and checked with us again but not overly pushy.  Subsequent guys approached us to see if we needed/wanted various services.  Once we declined, they just moved on, no worries.  This was true of the fish guy, the trash guy and the BBQ to your boat guy.  Yes, you heard right....BBQ delivered to your boat.  Well of course Tom had to get the details on that offer!  For $120 EC Clem (boat named Fair Deal) will bring 2 BBQ dinners to your boat.  We found that a bit high priced for us.  However we engaged him more to find out what was happening locally and he gave the inside on local BBQ ashore for $20 EC each.  Thanks Clem.

All the boat boys we have observed here have colorful, big Carriacou built boats with nice sized outboards and plenty of fenders to avoid scuffing visiting boats when they tie up alongside.  Boat boys in other locations don't have as plentiful of fenders (like Grenada and Carriacou) and should perhaps up their fenderage.  Additionally, they all appear to be vey competent boat operators and most can maneuver a boat like a graceful dance!
Tiny village of Clifton
Some cruisers get so upset over boat boys.  There are anchorages that have reports of very aggressive boat boys that use questionable tactics but we have not found that to date.  We don't begrudge these guys at all.  It is their country/island and they are trying to make a simple living in a place where the opportunities are somewhat limited.  A walk ashore in Union island substantiated that.  In visiting with some locals, we learned that more Unionites live abroad than on the island.  I guess it's no different than a tiny town in rural anywhere.  The young kids leave for opportunities in bigger towns.  Education is another factor.  Any secondary education means taking the ferry each morning to St Vincent.  Post secondary means St Vincent or Grenada or further afield.  

Update - We moved over to Chatham Bay on the leeward side of Union Island.  A lovely, protected bay that doesn't get much traffic do to lack of services ashore.  Fine by us.  We entered on the tail of a squall.  Only one boat boy approached us.  He suggested we anchor closer along the north edge "less wind". We opted for the spot we were already headed for.  After we got our anchor set he approached again.  We said hello and engaged him to get the lowdown on the place.  Bushman wanted us to come to his restaurant on the beach for dinner.  Too expensive for us.  Tom inquired about lunch but we made no promises.  We told him we had big tuna to eat.  Yay!!!  He said he would check in with us in the morning for ice, trash and bread.  Tom inquired on the bread and made a deal to buy a loaf of whole wheat.  Later a second boat boy came along.  He was very laid back.  He knew Bushman had been by.  He said "I just want to let you know what I have offer."  Secky had similar items ashore plus a taxi for taking people to customs in Clifton and fresh fruits and veggies available.  We told him we stocked up in Clifton, purchasing from Jenny -" Oh, ok.  You bought from Jenny.  No problem, man."  It seems to help to mention other locals by name.  We never did get our wheat bread "It finished this morning.  No bread when I pass by." meaning the bakery was out of bread.  

Additional Update - We have found the same with the boat boys on Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Bequia.  Once we told them we didn't need anything, they left us alone and simply waved when they went by.  
Again, local people trying to make a living and we respect them for it. 

1 comment:

  1. Glad you've found the boat boys to be polite and not overly pushy. I had read about them and worried that they might bug the crap out of me, if I'd gone cruising. Sounds like it's not really that bad. You'll have to report back if you find an area where they really are bad. Maybe a lot of the stories we've heard are a bit exaggerated.