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Sunday
Mar072010

Nighttime Rescue at Calmos Cafe

Location: Calmos Cafe, Grand Case, St. Martin

Friday night we met up for dinner at Calmos Cafe with our extreme snorkeling friends. As usual, the table on the beach under the stars was delightful, and the food straightforward and tasty. The Presidente beer kept coming at just the right moment, and we were having a lovely, mellow evening. It was almost time for the banana vanille rum digestif when... (insert dramatic music here)... 

Our waiter approached our table, in a state of mild agitation, and asked Jen and Mark who he knows work at the dive shop whether they had their dinghy nearby. Given that it was getting well into the evening, probably around 10:30 or 11, and we had been drinking for a few hours at that point, it seemed an odd request. It turned out the husband of a patron had gone for a "quick swim" about a half hour earlier, and had not been seen since. 

Now, I've been swimming a lot in the waters off of Calmos Cafe, and they are generally placid and perfect. Not that I think it's a good idea to go out after dinner and drinks, but normally I wouldn't be too concerned, as long as the gentleman in question was a good swimmer, which by all accounts he was. However, that morning a swell had started to come in, and the normally tame waters had been growing stronger and more turbulent all day long, with strong waves breaking on shore where normally they lightly lap. I had attempted to swim that afternoon, and drank a half gallon of salt water, and gave up. The buoys that boats tie up to were being submerged when normally they bobbed happily on top. When we asked the wife (in broken French) whether her husband had gone swimming parallel to the shore, or straight out past the boats... of course he had gone swimming "tout droit," i.e. straight out into the dark night. 

Well, when we heard that, Jen and Mark were off like a shot. Trained as rescue divers, they were completely on top of the situation. They headed out to get their equipment and grab the diveboat's dinghy. Steve and I stayed behind to keep our eyes out for the wayward swimmer. 

Ten minutes later... I spied a slight splashing out at the edge of the lamplit sea, and there was the swimmer, flopping slowly but surely toward shore. The gentleman arrived on the beach, much to the relief of his wife and many children, and tells us that he got tired, so he stopped off at one of the boats moored offshore. He didn't say it, but we got the sense he stuck around for a drink, before gaining the strength to complete his swim to shore. 

At this point, we see Jen and Mark coming along in the dinghy, with their searchlights, and Jen in the water, looking for any signs of a swimmer. We waved the OK sign to them. 

When they returned to the bar, wet and dripping, with all their rescue equipment, the gentleman thanked them profusely and apologized (though his wife was notably absent). Meanwhile, with the adrenaline surge giving way, it was clearly time to order another round of drinks. The waiter, to his credit, brought us a full bottle of house rum.

Well, next thing you know, the rest of the dive shop shows up for a drink, and we're regaling them with the evening's craziness, and then the rum bottle is empty. Lo and behold, we stumbled home at 2am. Oh, the drama!

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References (2)

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  • Response
    Response: richard goozh
    - A Month in St. Martin - Nighttime Rescue at Calmos Cafe
  • Response
    Lovely Site, Preserve the wonderful job. Thanks for your time.

Reader Comments (2)

Minnith- I find myself anticipating new posts like a fat kid waits for Halloween... Sounds like the trip of a lifetime and I'm so happy you're having such fun. Envy green is still a bad color for this black woman but its at least mellowing from Kelly to mint ;)

March 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKeena

You are too funny! I'm glad someone is reading my posts and enjoying them :). For the record, it does rain on occasion, so it's not perfect... though, since it's warm rain, and kind of refreshing, I can't say that it detracts that much.... OK, it is perfect here ;)

March 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLucinda

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