Monthly Archives: October 2013

Sticky wicket

We made the long trek to Budget Marine at the head of Prickly Bay for what was billed as a massive tent sale that opened at 8am. There’s no easy way to get there by bus so we dinghy to the next bay over and walk up and down over steep hills to get there. As we came through the hole in the fence at the end of one of the shortcut paths a woman was just leaving her house to walk in our direction. We said our good mornings and talked about the weather, slowing down as we climbed up Lover’s Lane to the main road. “It’s my country,” she wheezed, “but I hate these hills.”

We asked her name and she told us Louise and that she had been to the US many times, mostly to Cape Cod and New York. She asked where we were from and Jack said, “Pittsburgh,” adding, as he always does, “Go Steelers.”

I wasn’t sure if Louise knew where Pittsburgh is but Jack went on to explain that Pittsburgh’s baseball team did very well this season. Louise furrowed her brow and said she didn’t understand baseball at all.

“For example,” she said, “they hit the ball, run around once and then stop!”

“You’re a cricket fan, right?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” she said, “I love cricket.”

“See, we don’t understand cricket either” I said. “But we’re trying.”

Louise launched into a detailed explanation of the game, and almost instantly my eyes glazed over. I could see Jack was as befuddled as I was. Crease, bowl, pitch, stump. Cricket terms are words we already know but mean something else entirely in the context of the game. And then there are the cricket-specific words: googly, nurdle, dilscoop, mullygrubber, hoik. Trying to learn cricket involves a new language as well.

“– and if the ball is caught out of the air it’s an out –” Louise was patiently explaining, sensing our confusion.

“Wait a minute!” I perked up. “It’s the same in baseball!”

Louise stopped her lesson and turned to us in surprise. “It is?”


And the three of us smiled that we had found a point of connection across the great sports divide between baseball- and football-based America and the rest of the world.

We’re still determined to learn cricket but I think it’s going to take more than Louise to get us there. We said goodbye when we turned onto “the concrete road,” as Louise called it, and continued to Budget Marine and the tent sale. Turns out it wasn’t worth the trip. But meeting Louise was.

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The view from the dinghy

We dinghied to Mount Hartman Bay for the monthly cruisers’ jumble sale and hung around until our friends from Macushla arrived from their long trip back to the UK. It gets dark quickly in these parts so we had to hightail it out of there as soon as the sun started to go down and enjoyed this spectacular sky show all the way home.


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The view from the top

Our friend Kris from What if went up the mast to check out all the fittings up there. Good thing she did, too, because there are a few very important things that need to be replaced. Dean and Derek completed the mast climbing crew from deck level and it was great to see how well they all work together and how routine they make it seem. Me, I have a height thing and there’s no way I’d ever go up there, and I’d be just as terrified to haul Jack up. My palms sweat just thinking about it, which, as I explained to Dean, is a family trait. But yay and a big thank you to What If!



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The view from the back porch



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Biggest fan in Grenada

So it turns out I’m not the biggest Pittsburgh Pirates fan in Woburn Bay, Grenada. It wouldn’t figure to take much after all. Significant only because my hometown’s hapless Pittsburgh Pirates — also known as the Bucs — did something that they haven’t done in twenty one years. They made the playoffs via something called a Wildcard, a winner-take-all game. They won convincingly, beating the hated Ohio team the Cincinnati Reds. I say “the hated” purely out of convention. In Pittsburgh we learn from a very young age that anything from Ohio is preceded by “the hated” although I suppose “despised” would also work. Could it be hill people vs flatlanders? I really don’t know why we do it, but we do it.

Anyone who knows me is saying hey wait a minute Jack, you’re not a baseball fan, you’re a Steelers football fan and I can understand how they might come to that conclusion, after all twenty one years is a long time. If memory serves me well the last time anyone was excited about the Bucs they were playing in Three Rivers Stadium skippered by Jim Leyland with Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, and Andy Van Slyke in the outfield.

So Pittsburgh bankrupted itself building one of the loveliest baseball parks in all of baseball and watched as all that young talent left for greener pastures, read that as more money. After all, we had the champion Steelers, what more could you ask for? And we could still hate the Cleveland Browns who, after escaping Cleveland in the middle of the night, landed in Baltimore as the hated Ravens, trading orange and brown for purple, which left us with hating the Cincinnati Bengals with those silly orange tiger stripes all over in orange. Orange!. I like certain shades of orange, just not that orange. Besides, orange is not a football color. Black & Gold is.

As I say, the news slowly filters its way down to Grenada and thanks to friends on Facebook I gathered that something unusual was going on in Pittsburgh. Baseball in October!

We’d just finished my signature dinner in the cockpit, Pasta Surprise, when Marce turned to me and said, “I wonder if I can find an audio stream of the wildcard game in Pittsburgh?” Yep, over the internet using our long range wifi antenna. Under the stars, swinging at anchor out in Woburn Bay, in seconds we were listening to the Bucs thrash — wait for it — the hated Cincinnati Reds. Already in the third inning, we missed the early homers but we heard great pitching, hitting and great defense. Hmmm, this could be for real.

Dear escapees, by now you’re probably wondering what happened to the greatest Pirate fan in Grenada. It’s not Marce. We have a mixed marriage since she grew up with the Philadelphia Phillies. Can you imagine? She can’t stomach anything west of Penn State! As I was saying, I discovered him yesterday after a short dinghy ride over to a tiny marina run by a French-Canadian couple where they bake the most amazing fresh baguettes. Even at $8EC they sell out fast so I’ve made it my business to befriend the bread guy. That’s what I call him; he calls me Escape Velocity. Seems fair. Unusually rainy, It was the kind of day that just begs for some warm just out of the oven baguette. As I scanned the bread shelf I could plainly see that all the baguettes were reserved already. That’s when I saw it. A very well worn, much beloved Pittsburgh Pirates ball cap. I sputtered, “Is that your cap?!” He was proud of his cap. It was his favorite. He especially liked the colors, yellow with the red and black, and P, it turns out, is his favorite letter. I said, “That is a Pittsburgh Pirates cap and I’m from Pittsburgh!” He smiled, turned around and handed me a baguette from the reserved shelf. So by my reckoning I’m probably Grenada’s second best Pittsburgh Pirates Fan.



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The view from the side deck

Later that same day


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The view from the side deck


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