destinations-caribbean-vinci-largeShould have gone with your first impulse.

Just outside the elegance of the reception office at Young Island Resort in St. Vincent, crown jewel of the Grenadine Islands in the southern Caribbean, are two perfectly happy Vinci parrots, perched lazily on tree trunks in very nice cages.

Just as happy as you, these birds, lodged – like you – in a luxury resort that Johnny Depp used as a pied-a-terre while filming the first УPirates of the CaribbeanФ, that Bill Gates fully booked for his millennium celebrations. Think poolside, hillside and oceanfront villas, private plunge pools, secluded gazebos overlooking fieldstone seawalls nuzzled by errant waves.

But no. You decided you're going to do the Indiana Jones thing. You're going to discover the national bird of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on its own turf.

So you find yourself standing at the dock waiting for the water taxi at five a.m, you find yourself standing on a gravel road in the middle of nowhere at 5:30 waiting for a couple of islanders, machetes in hand, to hack the branches from a ficus tree that blocks your way. The trunk is bigger than a glutton's gut. It's not going anywhere.

You muscle yourself over it and trudge forestward, past subsistence farmers growing edos (a kind of potato) and callalou on red earth terraces carved into the sides of nearly vertical slopes, past a couple of grazing cows, past a tree-tethered donkey who brays in complaint.

You know how he feels. The Vermont Trail is one of the most spectacular on a mountainous volcanic island that boasts no shortage of spectacular trails. But you're wondering about the breakfast menu back at Young Island.

You are looking for Vinci in all the wrong places.

On the upside, Mr. Andy Lockhart, superintendent of St. Vincent's National Parks, is your guide. He is a walking textbook of flora and fauna. If anyone knows where to find Vinci, it is this fellow in the lime Parks shirt, khaki pants and no-nonsense hiking boots.

The path snakes for roughly two miles through the ten-thousand-acre reserve, rising and falling, switching back upon itself; it splashes through meandering streams.

УLevel three hike, maybe,Ф says Mr. Lockhart. Vertical of five hundred feet, but after all the rise and falls, it's more like five thousand feet. And you know in your heart it's at least a level six. Maybe seven.

Even so, the views are worth it, the company pleasant, and this guy knows every single tree in here – along with stories of islanders' use of the various herbs. But no sign of Vinci.

A gaggle of roosters congregates at the trail head. Whistling Warblers serenade you. You pass orchids in bloom, heliconias and pink ginger looking downright sensual. Then Mr. Lockhart slams to a halt. УHear that? That's Vinci.Ф

The only things you hear are your own laboured gasps and the bass-drum thumping of your heart. You negotiate steep slopes where bromeliads dangle from fortress trees whose roots spread out fifteen feet from their trunks. You slash liana vines – set decorations for a Tarzan movie. You scramble down wooden steps past Sarinette trees with their characteristic red and black beadlike berries. УJumbie beads,Ф Lockhart calls them. УThey make jewelry from them. Some say they are the eyes of jumbies – ghosts,Ф he adds, a twinkle in his own eye.

At long last you descend a steep wooden stairway and, looking across a vast valley, finally see sky. The mountains on the other side are shrouded in mist, giving a surreal quality to the green cotton ball blossoms of ten different varieties of trees.

УDid you tell them we were coming?Ф you ask, scanning the skies and looking at where he points. Two little black specks that could be anything soar far overhead. Mr. Lockhart ignores you.

УStupid birds,Ф you mutter. And you still have to make our way back to the pumpkin-painted interpretive building at the trail head, where the old growth rainforest gives way to plantation growth. For a walk in the park this is no walk in the park.

Then the sun breaks through, burning off the mist. You have sweat on your sweat.

The St. Vincent Amazon parrot is a beautiful bird, no doubt. One sign says there are only about five hundred of them living in the wild. Two hundred live here.

But it hardly seems worth the effort. A heroic quest has degenerated into a glorified – if admittedly glorious – rainforest hike, one you could have taken anywhere. Anywhere on St. Vincent, anyway.

Later that day, back in civilization, you stop at the Botanical Gardens. Here they breed the Vinci parrot. Here you see them up close and personal. Here you curse Mr. Lockhart as much as your own stupidity. But you make friends with these birds for they are much more approachable than the rather standoffish specimens encountered earlier.

Much later, back at Young Island Resort, you limp over to the comfortable cages where they have two perfect specimens; they've resided here since before the ban on possession came into effect. You spend half an hour watching them do dinner while you inhale appetizers from a poolside table, courtesy of the weekly manager's reception.

A waitress in a floral blouse interrupts the interaction. УDinner is served.Ф

And in that moment you see the error of your ways. You've been looking for Vinci in all the wrong places.

Lifestyle

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DIY & How to

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Cables SecuredOn the Friday before a weekend with a gorgeous forecast, I heard on the news that a boat had exploded at a local marina; the boat’s operator was seriously injured. At the time, I heard that authorities were investigating and were attempting to determine the cause of the explosion and fire.

What would I do if an explosion occurs on a boat that I was working on? What was the cause? How could this happen?


 

 

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Boat Reviews

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Beneteau Oceanis 30.1The Oceanis official US debut will be at the upcoming Newport International Boat Show in September and will be featured at the United States Sailboat show in Annapolis in October.

With an overall size under 30 feet and a light displacement of less than 8,805 lbs., the Oceanis is easily trailerable without a wide load permit. If you prefer to access your sailing grounds by canals and rivers, the lifting keel and rotating mast open a world of endless possibilities. Perfect for sailing on lakes or for coastal hopping, this new Oceanis is, nevertheless, a robust category B sailing yacht, fitted for offshore sailing. The smallest of the range offers the biggest choice of programs! 

Read more about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1............................

 

Grady White Freedom 235 Dual ConsoleBy Jill Snider

Once again, I had the pleasure of joining CY’s test guru Andy Adams on a boat review. This time, out on Georgian Bay, we put the Grady White Freedom 235 Dual Console to the test. There are so many great things to tell you about this classic beauty.

Andy
If I were required to compare Grady White’s Freedom 235 Dual Console to an animal, I would tell you that she has the character of a Labrador Retriever. Here are a few reasons why...

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Coal Harbour MarinaVancouver is ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. You can explore much of the cityscape by water and moor at several marinas. The city offers the marine visitor a panoply of fine dining, waterside pubs, shopping and cultural amenities.

English Bay and False Creek, one of the choice urban boating destinations in North America, bring you into the heart of the city. Good moorage and anchorages are available and there is lots happening both on the water and all along the shoreline.

 

 

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Marine Products

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