We intended to rent a Hoby Cat on Sunday from this guy Jeremy that runs a surf shop out in Trellis Bay, but when we got up that morning, it was kinda dead out… not a lot of wind, so we decided against it. A friend of ours, Richard, told us about a boat launching that he and his family was going to, so we figured that would be cool… though I didn’t really know what kind of boat we’d be launching.
Turns out the boat was being launched right next to Jeremy’s place in Trellis Bay, from an art studio / boat-building shanty operated by this cat Aragorn. Upon arrival, I was immediately struck by the genuine nature of everything around me. Tradition influences much of what’s there, everything serves a functional purpose, yet it’s totally meshed with modern ways of living… it’s weird being able to be at a traditional Carribean boat building setup with like… actual Caribs hanging around, and then walk directly next door to Jeremy’s cybercafe and get on the ‘net (not your run of the mill cybercafe, to be sure).
As all boats do, this boat has a name: Gli Gli. At the time I didn’t know much about it, but I gathered that it was built in the traditional manner – dug out from a large tree trunk. I also didn’t know of the reason behind its existence, nor any of the surrounding story, but Google fixed me right up. The Carib Canoe project was created as a means of linking disparate Carib ancestry by constructing Gli Gli, a traditional dugout canoe, and sailing it about 800 miles from Dominica to Guyana and up the Orinoco river.
Even better was that we only knew about this launching because Richard (who’s friends with Aragorn) told us, so it was certainly not like a tourist attraction or anything. There were a few families, and a bunch of miscellaneous people… natives, guests, friends… etc, etc… maybe two dozen or so in all.
Anyway, after we ate some food (various local veges / fruit and some *killer* fish), it was time to move the boat. It was to be launched directly across the road from where it sat, through a neat little boat shelter. In order to get the boat into the water, we set up some hunks of tree trunks to use as rollers, and managed to get it in pretty quickly. Once it was in the water, we filled up a box with some rocks to use as ballast, got the mast up, got the sail up, and were off :) (though I did find time in there somewhere before we left to fix Jeremy’s iMac up… heh). The wind was light to moderate there in Trellis Bay, but we brought the oars just in case. We went out, around the point, and over maybe a mile or so… moving along fairly well (though I would have liked some serious wind). We turned around and had some trouble getting across some funky current interchange areas, even with the wind, so we broke out the oars and did some rowing. Took us a bit longer to get back, but we rolled in just before dark…. we were only out for maybe an hour or so, total.
There were maybe a dozen of us on Gli Gli… the four of us Islandless geeks, Richcard + family, Aragorn + family, a few others, and two Caribs – one of whom had a hand in building Gli Gli. It was totally a cool experience… the weather was perfect… and being in a boat, in close quarters with other people, away from everything else, with nothing to do but observe and communicate… I dunno, it’s just a totally different world out on the water :)
After we got back in and rolled Gli Gli into his shelter, we went and hung at Jeremy’s for a while, rapping about this and that. I spent some time there the night I first got to Tortola, and hadn’t been back since a few days ago, when brian and I were at the airport doing some biz. The downside about Trellis Bay is also the best thing about it: it’s on the far east side of the island. Takes a little while to get there (~25 minutes), but it’s completely separated from everything else :) In any case, there’s always a great deal of interesting discussion and eccentricity, both of which are absolutely required in any human interaction, imho… plus Jeremy’s got some cool ideas, and is all about actually pulling them off. Even better, he’s willing to trade his time for mine… I help him with his mac (soon to be plural), his website, his cybercafe… whatever, and he teaches me how to windsurf :) Great synergy, as far as I’m concerned…
Good times :)