Each island was distinct, yet all possessed the feeling of a simpler time. Petite St. Vincent was so private, one had to run a flag up a pole to alert the staff you wanted service. Palm Island had been barren until John and Mary bought it and planted thousands of trees. Mayreau was one of the weeks finest discoveries. There may not have been electricity or roads, but they had Owen MacIntosh, one of the best cooks in the Windwards. Owen once worked at the ritzy Young Island Resort off of St. Vincent, but had opted for a simpler life. Owen was the chef at Dennis’s Hideaway, one of only two restaurants on Mayreau, and he contorted strips of vegetables to decorate the plates of dishes comparable to those at a sophisticated restaurant. Before we left, Owen shared his recipes for the soursop sorbet we fought over every night and his absolutely declicious Edam cheese stuffed with rum- soaked beef. At dusk, the turquoise water reflected off the bellies of the seagulls soaring above.
On exclusive celebrity-studded Mustique, because of the four guest cottages on the property, I mistook a house for a hotel. The door was open but no one was around, so I went upstairs looking for someone to speak with. As I stood next to a four-poster bed admiring the linen sheets, sheer white curtains billowed in the breeze revealing an incomprably blue sea. “May I help you?” a woman’s voice behind me asked. “Yes, thank you, I’m interested in a room.” “But this is my home” she replied, in a lovely British accent. It was obviously mortifying, but we had a good laugh. And I got to see one of the most beautiful bedrooms I’d ever seen.
The day we attempted to photograph slices of Adaline’s coconut pound cake, we’d placed blue plates on the sand in front of a wonderfully multi-colored striped wall before setting up the tripod, and the ants and chickens we hadn’t thought about descended. “This will be a great example of how good it is” Kristen said, “we’ll just photograph the crumbs left on the plates!” But even that was nearly impossible. Fixed in my memory is Kristen’s white-blond hair flying and her arms flailing to keep a big rooster away. “Now, now!” she’s screams for me to take the picture, and I hear her laughter when the roll of thirty-six is developed and all but two shots have the tip of a beak or wisp of a tail in the frame.
Kristen and I had to keep reminding ourselves we’d come to Bequia to work. It didn’t seem right to be having so much fun. The entire time we were in the Grenadines, we never saw one single thing that fit into our stereotype of the Caribbean.