Two cruise ships were at White Bay the day we were there.  It transforms this lovely beach from a laid back, grab a beer and hammock and relax mode to a small invasion.  We love White Bay.  We first went there in 1994 and it’s been one of our favorite spots ever since.  Until the cruise ships came, there were only two main bars; the Soggy Dollar Bar and Ivan’s which I believe opened that first year were there.  You would pull up through the narrow channel, drop anchor within feet of the gorgeous crescent  beach, swim up to the bar and order yourself a painkiller, a heavenly concoction of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, coco lopez and nutmeg.  After getting your drink which you paid for with soggy dollars (hence the name) from your swim to shore, you found a hammock or a blue rocking chair (think Kenny Chesney song) and you just enjoyed the great view.  If you were motivated, you could try the ring game, (try to get a ring suspended from a string onto a hook embedded in a tree).  You might also have sat at the bar and played Mancala with the bartender.  One year, a group of adults challenged Tristan to the ring game, and when he beat them over and over, they bought him a coke, french fries and his own ring game.  I have a great memory of Tessa, at age 3, sitting at the bar with this woman who just thought Tessa hung the moon.  Seddie, the bartender then, was pouring a bunch of drinks and the drinks were in front of Tessa.  Tessa saw my curious look at all the drinks and she looks at me and says, “Mom, these aren’t all mine.”


But the last few years things have changed.  There are several bars now, Seddie has his own place.  The arrival of the cruise ships has lessened the charm.  When we came ashore this time, the kids headed off to play in the sand, and the adults went to grab some chairs.  Karon made the mistake of pulling an empty lounge chair closer to where she was sitting when this woman went off on her.

“Don’t take that chair.”

Karon told her she was just going to put one of the kid’s shirts on it to dry.  The lady was very rude.

“Are you staying at the Sand Castle?  These are Sand Castle chairs.”

Apparently she was staying at the small hotel there, and technically the chairs did belong to the hotel, but they were for the restaurant patrons too.  I think she thought we were from the cruise ship as we were sitting in the white cruise ship chairs.  Anyway, she wasn’t using the chair, no one was and she was very rude.   A little while later, the cruise ship passengers started landing on the island.  The people getting on shore were older, probably late 70’s or older.  Two women from the ship were slogging through the sand looking for chairs, and Dan and Alan helped them out.  They got some chairs for them and set them up right in front of the group with the rude lady.  NICE!  Then one of the women’s husband came up and another chair was produced, furthering the nest being built in front of them.  They weren’t happy, but the cruise ship people loved us, calling out “Merci beaucoup!  Merci beaucoup!”  Obviously a French cruise ship.  I hesitate to complain about the cruise ships as I am a big believer that people will save only the things they know about, and if cruise ships get people out into the ocean and the world, maybe they will want to save it.  But, while the beach was packed with people, no one was at the bar/restaurant.  There weren’t even very many charter boats there, and they were the ones that would spend the money.  So to us, it didn’t seem that the businesses in White Bay were getting much of an economic benefit from the ships.

Later that night we went down to Ivan’s Stressfree Bar and spent a while sitting, enjoying the quiet.  There is a great story on the wall at Ivan’s that sums up Americans in the islands. It goes like this:


A boat docked in a tiny island village.


An American tourist complimented a fisherman on the quality of his catch and asked how long it took to catch them.  “Not very long,” answered the fisherman.


“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”  asked the American.

The fisherman explained his small catch was sufficient to fill the needs of him and his family.


“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the American.


“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children and take a siesta with my wife.  In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, play my guitar and sing a few songs.  I have a very full life.”


The American interrupted.  “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!  You should start by fishing longer everyday.  You can then sell the extra fish you catch.  With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”


“And then?”  asked the fisherman.


“With the extra money the boat will bring in, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plant and maybe even open up your own plant.  You can then leave this tiny village and move to Atlanta, Los Angeles, or even New York City.  From there you can direct your new enterprise.”


“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman


“Twenty to twenty five years,” replied the American.


“And after that?”


:”Afterwards?  Well my friend.  That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American laughing.  “When your business gets really big you can start selling stocks and make millions.”


“Millions?  Really?  And after that?”


“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend the evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”


And the moral is:  Know where you’re going in life.  You may already be there.