The further west one cruises in the Western Caribbean, the more unhurried life seems to become.
Witness the local cruisers net. In George Town, Bahamas, the local news in the cruising community is announced on the VHF radio with soldierly precision. If one fails to switch to the proper channel, the offender is called out immediately. In Grenada, the cruisers net operates a bit less formally except when it comes to selling “treasures from the bilge,” a category covering stuff that cruisers are in a hurry to get off their boat. The audience is reminded repeatedly that it must not mention any prices on the radio lest the authorities complain that local businesses are being deprived of opportunities to sell goods and services.
The net controllers in Cartagena, the disc jockeys, so to speak, follow a script similar to Grenada’s but, being further west, aren’t as rigid with the format. The newscast seldom lasts longer than 15 minutes. The longest segment is dedicated to Judy’s rundown on cultural events. Since it’s Cartagena there’s always much news in that department. The audience welcomes Judy’s translation of happenings in Colombia’s cultural capital.
Then s/v Happy Times arrived in Portobelo, Panamá, where the net is at its most casual. Recently a fellow cruiser got on the net a few minutes after 9 a.m., the start of the typical newscast. The regular net controller was missing, and he asked if there were any objections to his running the net. Someone else told him to go ahead, so the cruiser winged his way through the news.
“Anybody out there got the weather?” he asked.
“Yeah, this is Captain Jack’s. Just give me a minute,” said someone at the restaurant.
The volunteer proceeded for the next five minutes or so and finished the task. At the end of the net, another cruiser got on the radio and thanked him. Over and out.