Alone in the Caribbean

Frederic Fenger Alone in the Carribean

Nothing is so unalloyed as the joy of pottering over a hot, little fire when the stomach cries out and the body tingles with the healthy fatigue of work in the open. My spirit was at ease, for the canoe had proven herself and even if she did leak, I was getting used to that — as one becomes used to a boil on the neck. To lie on my blankets — no bed was ever so welcome — and to eat and watch the last light fade from the hills of Carriacou made me glad that I had been put on this earth to live. After supper the companionable purr of my faithful pipe made just the conversation to suit my mood. The night was soft and balmy, and as I lay and watched the brilliant constellations of the tropical night the lap-lap of the water on the smooth sand lulled me off to sleep…

The Yakaboo was indeed a real “live-aboard-ship” and had my stove been in commission I could have cooked my supper in the cockpit. In fact, I could have lived aboard indefinitely as long as food and water held out, for I could rig up my tent over the cockpit in the event of rain. Cold meat, crackers, and cool fresh water made an excellent repast for a starved and healthy stomach.

One who has never done this sort of thing can scarcely appreciate my sense of complete luxury as I lay in my blankets in the snug cockpit of the Yakaboo. And always at the mention of the Yakaboo I think of her as a thing of life. There was scarcely any motion in the quiet waters of the bay, yet I could feel her buoying me up, as though I were resting on a small cloud suspended in midair, a Mahomet’s coffin. Then as I rolled over to lie on my side she would give gracefully-she was always there under me, holding me up out of the sea-my water cradle. A great contentment came over me as I lay contemplating the magical harbor into which I had found my way like a tired gull.

-Frederic Fenger, “Alone in the Caribbean”

4 thoughts on “Alone in the Caribbean”

  1. How wonderful that I just happened to see this post!

    Frederic Fenger, the author of this book, was my late husband’s grandfather. He was a naval architect and a very interesting man.

    Frederic’s father was Dr. Christian Fenger, a well respected surgeon from Denmark who came to the US to practice medicine and later taught at Rush Medical College in Chicago.

    Whatever inspired you to post this excerpt from Frederic’s book…I’m glad you did!

    1. Helene Fenger,
      It is quite a book. My father was class of 32 at Yale and the book was in his sailing collection. Frederic Fenger writes in a language that was that of my parents. American English has now changed. I recall excerpts where a gentleman on an island upon meeting Mr Fenger asked if he would stay with him that evening at his home and Mr Fenger replied that he would be delighted. You don’t hear this anymore. This book has brought me great joy.

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