By:Curtis Morton

The way I see it, travelling to St. Maarten on a boat for Cricket and shopping and the like, can be very traumatic.

I took my happy self and decided to travel with the Nevis over thirty-five team to St.Maarten on the weekend of the 25th to 27th November, to take part in the Luther SHOTGUN Kelly over thirty-five tournament and boy, you don’t want to hear about drama!

First to commence, nether the Sea Hustler’s nor the Caribe Surf’s schedules fitted in with our Cricket tournament schedule. They were both due to leave St.Maarten on the Sunday morning and the semifinals and finals were due to be played on the morning and afternoon of that Sunday.

Then we were supposed to get a big, locally owned boat and we got late word that there were some technical difficulties and that they would not make it to our shores until the following week. Too late for the tournament, unless we could get the tournament postponed and that matter was totally out of our hands.

Short notice, Dango Farrell led out in making arrangements for a boat to come from either Anguilla or St.Maarten to take us to the tournament. Kudos to Dango!

So we left on that Friday morning and the water was slightly rough but no one seemed the worse for wear when we arrived in St.Maarten.

We had to wait for an extended period at the dock until transportation arrived, due to some mix up with the time and then we finally got to the hotel.

With no Cricket scheduled for that day, most of us spent the time shopping.

I went to church on the Sabbath day, along with a few of the other guys who are also Seventh day Adventists, while the others went to play their first match.

We heard during the evening, that Nevis had won their match quite comprehensively, led by a brilliant innings by Stuart Williams and we were in the finals for the last match on Sunday versus arch rivals St.Kitts.

The Sunday was pretty uneventful. We duly played St.Kitts in the finals and as expected, won quite comfortably in the end. Sadly, I only made nine but the team played superbly.

The Monday morning had the most drama. We woke early to catch the boat back to St.Kitts, which was scheduled to depart at 6 am.

After waiting for quite a while, we later discovered that the bus had by passed us earlier and gone to the dock already. However, the driver later returned and it was obvious that he was far from happy. Our good mornings were greeted with a cold response.

Really, I thought we were the ones who were supposed to be upset!

Anyway, we finally got to the dock and eventually boarded the boat. Next thing we know, we realized that time was passing and the boat aint moving. Our enquires later revealed that one of the guys who had made the trip with us (not a cricketer), had apparently DEFECTED. He had just not shown up for the return trip.  I thought to myself, well that’s a matter for the immigration.

However, to our dismay, we soon learnt that the authorities were saying that we could not leave port until we found the fella.

Well I newa!

Eventually they held the brother of the missing man and based on whatever information he revealed, we were allowed to leave port. That was like an hour and a half after the originally scheduled time.  Whew!

The sail down was smooth and we got to ST. Kitts safely but it was pouring on the outside and we had to wait for the usual inspections by the Custom officials.

Next thing I know, the Customs officers came on board with a dog. It was intimidating to put it mildly.

We were told to stay put and remain close to our luggage and the dog made its way up and down and over the luggage, smelling and pawing its way through.

Eventually, it was over and then the other Custom officers started checking the bags and fellas started to panic wondering if they had enough money to cover the possible charges. I mean some fellas bought some serious stuff!

Then the other officers returned. They brought another dog! Apparently the first one was checking for drugs and this one was checking for guns and ammunition.

Well I newa!

During the processing by this dog, suddenly a foul stench filled the boat. Some of the guys pelted towards the outside and some of the ladies pulled out their perfumes.

Only to find out, that the officer holding the dog, was standing at attention, as if the national anthem was being played, because the dog had pooed on his shoes and on the floor of the boat and he was desperately calling for help, for napkins and cleaners etc.

What a stench!

When that nuisance was abated, we finally got our stuff checked and paid the fees that were charged and exited the boat.

Some of us were fortunate enough to catch the midday boat while others had to wait until later.

Will I do a similar trip again? On that day, I vowed that I won’t but the adventurous side of me is already gearing up for next year!

I guess as humans we never learn.

That’s the way I see it, How do you see it?

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