Oh, Those Miserable Calm Days

h yes, I know what you can do with a beautiful calm day. You can enjoy the outdoor life, the beach, the picnics, the reef, the sun and all that mother nature has to offer. You can swim, sunbathe, go fishing, diving, enjoy a perfect day. A sunny calm day is a tourist's delight, but that does not change the picture that twenty five years ago calm and windless days were a nightmare for the villagers of San Pedro.

Just close your eyes and picture yourself without a motor for your skiff or boat. You are without a power boat and you only have a sailing boat or dory to get you to your fishing destination. Wind power is your only source of energy. Today there is no wind and you want to get to your fishing spot. With a "dead sail" a trip to your fishing spot could be a 2 or 3 hour boring expedition. A trip to Belize City by cargo boat could be as long as 20 hours. No lie! Some guys who were eager to reach their destination even used poles to help the boat make a little progress.

On certain very calm days and when coming to San Pedro by boat, just as you passed Caye Caulker, you could see the few lights of San Pedro flickering in the distance, and there you stayed for endless hours and could not arrive. In fact, most boats carried cooking facilities so that they could cook or warm water for coffee on these long and tedious trips.

No breeze and no fans. And just how do you make a hot muggy day comfortable? You had to rock or swing all night long in your hammock for a bed was just too hot to sleep on. But there again, mosquitoes can't sting you under the bed, but they can from under the hammock. So you closed all the windows so the mosquitoes would not come in but that sealed out the breeze as well. Well, what about screen windows? That was unheard of twenty five years ago.

The use of paddles and poles to help the little dories move along was a necessity. We all hated using poles as it was more fun using the sail and enjoying a swift journey. But there were these ugly days with no wind and no power for our little dories. Now you know why I said "These miserable calm days". The absence of wind might be a tourist guide delight, but not a fisherman's happy moment. It was on stormy seas that the fishing trap usually caught more fish. It was a windy day that got him to his job place quicker and comfortably. Now for a little secret. Have you noticed that on a very windy day, the wind usually slows down a little in the afternoon? And have you noticed that on very calm days, the wind usually picks up a little also in the afternoon? So? So what? The afternoon was the best time to do your thing, but that was the siesta hour for the fisherman. So you can't always win. Let the world continue. If it is not El NiŅo, then it is La NiŅa.

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