ern Caribbean have long been considered year-round sailing destinations — even during hurricane season, as odds are good that the weather will be fine in any given week. But as much as we love to sail there when the anchorages are less crowded, we have to admit that midwinter in the Caribbean is particularly sweet. In fact, we'd love to have a 'white Christmas' ourselves this year. — latitude/andy Hangin' With Bankie: "I don't inhale." A few years ago former Bay Area sailor Mark Denebeim decided he needed a change of pace from life in the mainstream, so he tried his hand at chartering in the Caribbean. For several years he offered skippered bareboat charters, then last year bought a sweet-sailing Island Spirit cat named Sanctuary. Because Mark prides himself on his love for West Indians and their laid-back way of life, he
promises that his charters will not only be fun, but will give his guests "insights into Caribbean people and their culture." In the following report, Mark shares a recent encounter with legendary Anguillan reggae pioneer Bankie Banks: "Let me tell you how I smoke marijuana," he said in all seriousness. "I don’t inhale." I recently spent some time with Bankie Banx, the Eastern Caribbean’s most famous reggae star and infamous pot smoker extraordinaire. In addition to spending time with him aboard Sanctuary, I had a great time hanging out and listening to him play at his creative and gastronomic Anguillan compound on Rendezvous Bay. Known for his original sound and thought-provoking storytelling lyrics (as in Busted in Barbados, Law of the Jungle, and The Dreamer), Bankie has been
Bankie and Eve strike a pose aboard the 37-ft charter cat 'Sanctuary'. The Eastern Caribbean is full of colorful characters.
Spread: When sailing the Leewards, you won't want to miss a stop at the tiny cluster of isles called Les Iles des Saintes. Inset left: Timeless columns at Antigua's historic Dockyard. Right: On the approach to Montserrat.
producing music since the late 1970’s. He is also known for having smoked marijuana every day, all day, since before then. So it was quite a surprise when one night he told me and his girlfriend Eve that he didn’t inhale smoke of any kind. Was he just pulling the infamous Bill Clinton line out of the air? No, he explained, "I suck the smoke only as far as my neck." He took a puff and held his hand just above his breast bone. "Then I blow it out my nose. Smoke is not good for the lungs," he concluded. We had just been out sailing aboard Sanctuary, before anchoring just off the beach where Dune Preserve, Bankie’s combination bar, restaurant and concert venue is located. On the way over from St. Martin, he smoked clove cigarettes and sipped Dewar's 12-year-old scotch while I fixed him a cheese sandwich. An experienced sailor, he's made it an annual tradition to sail to Dominica after his popular mid-March Moonsplash concert. He enjoyed our smooth three-hour sail aboard the cat, and took pleasure in analyzing the unusual north wind into which we were sailing, noting how the Anguillan land mass affected the wind's strength and direction. We arrived late in the afternoon, and the Dune was busy with guests from the neighboring CuisinArt Resort. (An episode of the TV show The Bachelor that aired last February was filmed at CuisinArt and the Dune, In it, Bankie performed Breaking It Out and Hitchin’ A Ride.)
The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.