When we left off, the young Roy family was stranded in St.Kitts after a long journey across the Atlantic. So, what happened next? We turn it back over to Edward to find out!
“What! No ships to anywhere near the BVI. Well what is in harbour? There she was, the Lady Smith, all 60 feet of her. She was a schooner out of Tortola. In those days locally built BVI ships carried cargo throughout the Caribbean. Lady Smith had sailed down island with a load of BVI cattle and was ready to set sail for Tortola with a cargo of various supplies.
(an example of a BVI built Schooner, like the Lady Smith)
Without blinking an eye Capt. Smith proceeded to load our crate of furniture and household goods into the hold and lashed our car (an Austin wagon, today we call them sub compact SUV’s) onto the fore deck. The family was assigned cots on the after deck with a quickly built screen for a little privacy. We were off in the late afternoon for the “four day” final leg of our journey.
Almost immediately the family was taken in by the crew. Dad, now known as The Commander, and Captain Smith shared navigation skills and stories of flight and sailing. The two pursuits have a lot in common, which is why retired pilots usually take up sailing. Mum and the Cook worked wonders over the charcoal stove combining West Indian, Asian and European cuisine. Tina was tethered in a harness and leash just long enough that she could totter around but not too close to the edge, and Chris and I were allowed fairly free access to anywhere on deck but only in the company of a crew member. I doubt that we were much help with the rigging jobs but we were made to feel that we were indeed sailors. WC facilities consisted of Tina’s potty and much to us boy’s glee, just go over the edge.
As the sun set on that first night we were off St. Eustatius just north of St. Kitts and at sunrise we were still off St. Eustatius, becalmed and would be for the next 2 days. The dry food supplies were a little on the short side by about the sixth day but we had fish freshly caught. For a real treat flying fish would land on deck and we would run around catching them. Boy, were they delicious with fried Jonnie Cakes, a dish that has been a family favourite ever since.
On the morning of the tenth day we passed between Round Rock and Cooper Island, sailed down the channel and into Road Harbour.
(photo credit – Anthony Sweeting)
Off loading was interesting as the ship was too large and drew too much to use the jetty. We all climbed into rowboats and were rowed ashore as well as most of the cargo. The ship was then literally beached sideways to the shore and the car was winched over the side, on the boom, and placed on the sand. VI 6 was the license plate since the previous 5 were given to successive vehicles for the administrator. Ours was the second operating vehicle in the BVI that day.”
Well folks, there you have it. The Roys have landed!! But, what happened between the time they got to Tortola… and the time that there were three fruit drunk kids stumbling around Treasure Isle Hotel? Inquiring minds want to know!!