DANGEROUS TERRORIST ATTACK NARROWLY AVOIDED IN PETITE MARTINIQUE
On the 28th of October 2010 in the sleepy village of Bellvue on Petite Martinique a valiant police officer was involved in a life or death struggle with a dangerous foreign spy.
In his own words comes the truth of this deadly plot to attack the peaceful world found here.
“ If I did not take these steps I could not sleep here at nights”
What was at stake was the location of the Petite Martinique Police station and an image of the identification sign board used to proclaim it's existence to all who pass by.
A foreigner, recently arrived on the island, was observed taking photographs of strategic locations such as the reinforced bamboo lookout post, goat pasture points, rallying points for the home guard, potential police patrol vehicles as well as the latest in high tech, high speed pursuit water craft.
But when she photographed the police station this was a snap too far and the fearless policeman swung into action and intercepting the escaping camera woman.
Summoning her and her large accomplice into the police station the ever vigilant policeman questioned them at length over their reasons for visiting the strategically placed island of Petite Martinique and their decision to photograph the sign over the police station.
Declaring that the location of the police station to be a state secret and the sign above the police station to be of national importance and a classified matter he insisted on the picture of the sign being deleted, nay expunged, nay totally obliterated for ever.
Explaining that he slept in the police station at night and that if he knew that images of the station and it's sign were published on the Internet then he would not be able to sleep as he would fear a terrorist attack on the station.
The terrorists were allowed to delete the offending picture of the police station and the sleeping policeman in Petite Martinique were able to go to their slumbers without fear of surprise attacks from the outside world.
Well the threat from the terrorists photographing the Petite Martinique police station may have been just ever so slightly exaggerated but we woke up this Saturday morning to a real threat from the weather.
Perhaps this sunset misled us.
We had anchored overnight behind Frigate island on the South side of Union island expecting a bad day of heavy rain on Saturday from a strong tropical wave approaching the islands. However overnight a low developed on the wave and swiftly developed into a Cat 1 hurricane.
The forecast track took the storm over the North end of St Vincent and as we were some 50-60 miles south of that we decided to sit tight as we are well protected from East through North round to the West by that lump you can see in the background plus the rest of the bay.
However it was a worrying morning as a couple of refugees from less safe anchorages arrived and dropped anchor close too us then the damage reports started coming in over the radio with many reports of roofs being blown off, the electricity supply had been switched off and roads blocked on St Vincent.
We were also subjected to endless repeats of the Prime ministers message to the nation on hurricane preparedness.
We had a very disturbed night with strong squalls and the expected swells rolled in. However we had put a second anchor and moved to get a little more shelter close to Frigate Island.
Tomas briefly became a large Cat 2 hurricane and we got the trailing tail with some strong winds but less rain than was forecast. The local radio gave very little useful nautical information but had endless repeats of the shelters and who had had their roofs blown off. More than 300 houses reported serious roof damage.
But he blew away and we were back in the sunshine and heading off to that little part of paradise on earth known as the Tobago Cays. I have spent many days there including my 63rd birthday but it was my great pleasure to introduce the beauties of this National treasure of the Grenadines to Gisela.
Soft sandy beaches, turquoise blue seas, picture postcard little islands with palm trees and fearless iguanas who seemed to be admiring us as much as we admired them.
But the highlight came on the third snorkel when we found the turtles feeding on a bed of sea grass.
Dustbin lid sized refugees from the age of the dinosaurs who paid no attention to us but ate their sea bottom salad takeaway with awkward sideways bites which displayed their magnificent mosaic patterned skin and shell.
The same grass beds are also home to dense populations of conchs. Overfishing has made this giant mollusk a hard to find and increasingly expensive menu item but not here, I could have picked up a dozen in five minutes or so.
When we dropped anchor there were only two other boats there. I could not believe it as I have never seen less than 20 boats in the Cays and there have been days with 200+ fighting for a space to anchor. However a moments reflection gave the passage of Tomas as a reason for the charter boats to have been told to return to base or the mangroves in Carriacou. So our G&T sundowner was taken in comparative solitude and things were quiet enough for the local fish population to surround our boat and snack off the little critters drawn to our cockpit light as we dined under the bimini with a warm Caribbean wind blowing under the dodger. With a glass of wine in hand, a starry sky, splashing fish around us and a boat rocking with just the gentlest of movements we both thought that this is just what we deserved after surviving hurricane Tomas. OK OK slight exaggeration here guys, but we were about 60 miles away from the eye wall as it went over the northern end of St. Vincent !
But at the end of our second day here numbers are creeping back up and there must be about 20 boats anchoring here tonight and there is trouble and panic in paradise as we have run out of tonic, drunk the last of our wine and can find NO MORE BEER IN THE BILGES!
So it is back to civilization and a decent grocery store perhaps in Canouan but I suspect it will be Bequia before we find some drinkable wine, honey for my French toast and Gisela is running low on fruit for her morning breakfast bowl.