Rex Wotton arriving in St. Vincent, having sailed solo, without a compass, from Barbados. They were 11 years old. True Rogues by all accounts- Rex is a character in the True Story of Barbados Rogues and Heroes
Rogues Memories of St. Vincent
On leaving my job as Settles Beach Villa Hotel manager in Barbados, I got hired to investigate the Caribbean real estate opportunities. This was for a Canadian company whose owners were guests at Settlers Beach. I chartered boats and planes to explore, meet people and take photos of the island and properties for sale. I flew with LIAT to every island back and forth and got to know them well. It was all very relaxed and fun flying around the islands in those days.
I sailed from Barbados to St. Vincent with Rex Wotton, ferrying the boat for others to sail the Grenadines. We hired a car and spent several days exploring. Going back to the windmill hotel one night, Rex drove across the open airport barrier. The highway ran right through the runway. “Now we are a car,” he said. Then turning sharply, he raced along the airfield, declaring, “now we are an airplane.” “We will not make it, captain; better abandon take-off,” I advised. “No problem, let’s just turn into a boat and plunge into the ocean,” he half-joked.
The story of Rex Wotton sailing to St.Vincet at 11 years old is feaured in Rogues in Paradise. Also included are a few high spirited adventure with Rex in the islands.
It was the mid-sixties when island tourism was just beginning. Not like today with red tape and rules galore. It is now forbidden to have a highway run across the landing strip. The runway has been updated, and the highway is now rerouted.
Once I arrived late for a departure at St. Vincent airport. The ticket agent radioed the captain to say, “Captain can you hold the plane? Clayton just arrived and has a valid ticket ready to fly”. Ticket agents were multitasking in those days. They wore the hat of the desk clerk, groundsman, traffic control, and airport manager. I ran across the runway to where the captain stopped the plane and lowered the stairway that was little more than a ladder. I jumped aboard with my carry-on containing the essential dress shirt and swimsuit.
At another time, I flew on a private Cessna from Grenada to St. Vincent, taking aerial photos from the open window. As we landed in St. Vincent, the tail rudder stuck at 45%, and the plane bounced and jumped back like a corkscrew. Captain Randall Augustine maneuvered the speed and flaps to steady the pane. We landed spectacularly and safely with applause from the watchtower and the cars parked on either side of the runway. Cars waited behind the railway-style barrier that cut the road to the airfield when planes landed.
Summary Video of Old Time Memories of St. Vincent
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If you enjoyed the memories of vintage st. Vincent, you will love my book, the fun and provocative true and real story of Barbados–
Rogues in Paradise – It is about the people of Barbados, characters ranging from rogues to heroes and knights. The book weaves history, place and time into a lyrical account of culture and heritage from slavery to becoming a thriving republic.
– Check out the sample Chapters at https://sample.Roguesinparadise.com
A St. Vincent Adventure Memory – More Island Memories