April 26, 2009
Clifton, Union Island
Happy Times at Happy Island…
Union Island is fantastic. The anchorage is gorgeous with shallow, calm waters protected by a reef. The town of Clifton is small and quaint, filled with friendly people and unique establishments. We have been having fun frequenting many of them. At the Anchorage Yacht Club, we have shot pool with the locals and sat on the swing overlooking their seawater pool of nurse sharks while Sam keeps our drinks filled. At Lambi’s, we have eaten our fill of fried chicken and fish. And at Jennifer’s, Jennifer herself was a most gracious host as she prepared us all fried chicken while we crowded around her kitchen to watch the Celtics game. We also stumbled upon a unique place called the Blue Pelican Bar. It is a hard place to describe, one of those “you have to see it to believe it” type of places. To get to the bar, you wander through this maze of oddities and gardens, climb brightly painted and numbered steps, pass a large and active pig sty and finally come upon a tiny little hut suspended in the trees overlooking the harbor. Beautiful views, cheap beer and the smell of pigs…we loved it!
But the most unique place and our hands down favorite is Shanti’s Happy Island. We swam there from our boat and arrived with only our snorkel gear and an unquenchable thirst from the hot sun. Shanti helped us climb up and when we told him we had no money he said “no problem, you are a neighbor.” A little explanation of Happy Island is required to truly appreciate its uniqueness and charm. Shanti built the island himself by piling up conch shells and sands over the course of several years. At first, it was only a straw hut with a table and four chairs- but the supply of conch shells kept coming and Shanti’s imagination kept growing- and today Happy Island includes a sizable bar, restaurant and house with all of the modern amenities. It is run on solar power, of which there is plenty! He also built his own saltwater pool that rises and falls with the tide and is filled with sea life including lobsters, conch, fish and crabs. We spent the day on Happy Island sipping rum punches, watching the sea life in his “aquarium” and chatting with other patrons who stopped by. You cannot help but be happy and smile when you are on Happy Island and Shanti is living proof of that for he is constantly beaming.
There is truth to the saying “No Man is an Island”. However, there is indeed a man who built his own island and people from all over the world have come to see this happy place. Fortunately, the Cajun and the Pirate were two of these people!