destinations-caribbean-grooves-largeIt is so hot in Codrington, Barbuda, even the chickens are napping. Then the afternoon explodes in sound.

Around the corner come people swaying their hips in time to a band, one musician grinding out chord roots on a bass, a drummer pounding cross-rhythms.

And you find yourself bopping to an island groove they call Calypso.

Music spills from bars and festivals across the Caribbean like rum from overfilled glasses. It defines place, it characterizes each individual island, it is a potpourri of sounds that runs the gamut from reggae to fungi.

Reggae defines Jamaica. Hear a strain of "One Love" and you are transported.

Blue Danube Tours in Jamaica offers a Bob Marley expedition that includes his birthplace and his grave, with a side trip the Marley Museum in Kingston. "Almost everywhere you go you will hear music," says Blue Danube proprietor Ray Watkin. "It is the heartbeat of our lives."

Growing out of ska and a sort of Jamaican blues called bakra, reggae exploded in the 1960s. Spearheaded by Bob Marley and the Wailers, it has spread across the Caribbean, spawning artists who adapted the distinctive beat and the political and religious undertones to their own countries.

One place it landed was at the Dune Reserve on Anguilla's south coast, at "Moonsplash" an annual March tradition brought to you by reggae star Banky Banx.

Once inside the gates, you are surrounded by a throng of people, their faces glowing in the light reflected from the stage, all swaying to the music. The rhythms seep into your bloodstream. You've been infected with an island groove.

And this is but one Caribbean genre.

Calypso began in Trinidad. So did steel drum music – particularly during an oil boom here after World War II when fifty-gallon oil drums were a dime a dozen. Trust the Trinidadians to find music even there.

"Friends told me to expect music everywhere I went in Havana," says music writer Willard Manus. "It was."

Stroll downtown Havana when the sun goes down and jazz assaults you wherever you go. In fact, there are no less than ten winter jazz festivals across the Caribbean sea.

If you're not so sure about jazz, go ashore in the British Virgin Islands and introduce yourself to a musical concoction known as fungi. It is, when you first hear it, outlandish.

One musician plays a calabash, another scrapes a washboard, another blows through a saxophone. You think you've got it down to calypso then you hear something that sounds like a hymn; you think it's a sort of reggae then by the next bar it seems to be a regimental march.

Fungi is a popular dish in BVI – a sort of stew made from spices, cornmeal and whatever else is laying around. The music shares that name – and those characteristics.

"Both are one big cook-up," says Fungi master Elmore Stoutt, a high school principal turned politician.

Part of finding the rhythms of the islands is listening to the rhythms of the islands.

They are infectious grooves indeed.

Lifestyle

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Diesel Fuel MaintenanceSince the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over gasoline. In more recent decades, that argument has included boat manufacturers, and increasingly, individual boaters. As I pass through boat yards in the spring or fall, I’m sure to hear a comment or two (sometimes ruefully, other times with great joy) of the merit of a particular engine or fuel source.

Increasingly, diesel engines are praised for their long-life, ease of maintenance, compact design, reliability and safety, and rate of combustion. As well as cruisers and trawlers, many sailboat manufacturers in particular have chosen to install diesel engines. 

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Boat Reviews

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Beneteau Flyer 32By Andy Adams

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Dufour 460By Katherine Stone

When one does an October yacht review on the Great Lakes you can never be sure of what kind of weather you will get…. and did we ever luck out! A beautiful sunny day with a high of 31 degrees and a perfect 8-10 knot breeze with light chop made for a champagne sailing day. Lucky for me we were at Swans Yacht Sales located in the Whitby Marina on Lake Ontario, trying out the Dufour 460 Grand Large, a flag ship for the midrange Dufour boats. With an overall length of 46’5” and a hull length of 44 ‘, this boat is majestic, not only in size, but also in elegance with timeless and contemporary style. 

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Belize: Sailing SolitudeBy Mark Stevens

We’ve just weighed anchor off Thatch Caye, a tiny island nuzzled by Caribbean waters flowing between the world’s second longest barrier reef and the mountainous coast of Belize to our west, and now we’re navigating a serpentine course through a crowded congregation of coral heads.

Once safely in deep water we raise sail. I spin the wheel of “Kavok” (a Lagoon 421 catamaran we’ve booked for our weeklong Belize bareboat adventure from Dream Yacht Charter) until we’re pointed south – steady on a lazy beam reach.

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Marine Products

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