Life in France Has That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi
We Are Coming to America

Ilet Du Gosier

Ilet Du Gosier
This post brought to you by procrastination and the continuing lack of a laptop. We are currently in St Thomas enjoying time with The Cousins and cruising friends, and having a US cell phone. Life is good. It was also good when we were anchored in Ilet Du Gosier.

The other morning I sat on deck with my notebook. You remember those ancient tools for writing: pen, ink, and paper? Yep. I'm back to that as I attempted to record the magic that is the anchorage of Islet Du Gosier.

It was just after 0800 on a Saturday morning. The prior evening, Lynn had introduced me to the Marche, or Market, held in the town every Friday from 1600 to 1900 (4 to 7 PM). I will save that experience for another post, but do understand that I had already been charmed by this community prior to Saturday morning. In many anchorages in the Caribbean and Bahamas it often feels as though the local population doesn't have or take the time to enjoy their island. Here, while cruisers and tourists are welcomed at this anchorage and in this community, the locals "own" the beaches and waterfront like no other area we've visited. They can certainly teach us a thing or two.

First, at the little beach on the quay, there is a four lane swimming "pool" constructed of floating deck, with ladders and safety railing. While tourists and others enjoy the beach, kids and adults take swimming lessons in the "pool" in the ocean. Kayakers and young dinghy sailors practice next to the pool before heading off to sail and paddle along the shore and in the anchorage.

But the most surprising group are the teens and adults who swim for pleasure and exercise on a nearly daily basis, jogging along the larger beach to warm up before heading out for a swim around the anchorage, often towing colorful safety bouys so they are visible to those on sailboats, people ferries, dinghies, kayaks, and the jet skis from the resorts. This happens every weekday morning, but Saturday is special.

On our first Saturday here I watched one group of 25 strong male swimmers, accompanied by a coach in a kayak, swim the largest circular course from shore to ilet and back to shore. Another, smaller group, made up of both men and women of different ages, were encouraged and coached by a swimmer who kept back with the slower members. My favorite group took only a slightly shorter route, but did it much more slowly. These women of indeterminate age (OK, my age) used flutter boards, kept their heads above water, and chatted and laughed the whole way around.

I saw kayakers, the youth sailors, fishermen in small local motor craft heading out to the bay, and two others wading along the reef and tossing their lines in the morning sun.

Depending on who was passing the boat, I heard sharp directions given to the small sailors, and wicked laughter from those ladies with their flutter board. I just knew that someone in the group had made fun of her husband. It was that kind of laughter.

Those ladies, and some of the others gathered on the sandy end of the tiny ilet for a social half hour before returning to the mainland. I hope some of them took time to share a pastry and cafe au lait before getting to their Saturday obligations. I enjoyed my coffee and baguette while watching over two hundred townies fully enjoy their lovely spot in the Caribbean.

I was reminded of how fortunate we are to be here--and that we are truly fools at sea if we don't remember to jump over the side and relax or exercise in this clear water and on these sandy beaches.

Fortunately, I'm in my swimsuit right now, so I'll just save this and take a leap off the back deck. After all ...when in Gosier.....

Sent from my iPad


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