A Little Treasure

A saloon full of kids watching a movie on the projector. The latest Jumanji from Jason on Swan Street. The quality is good too – though it does have Chinese-style subtitles. Educational!

The kids from the two kid boats in our anchorage have brought homemade popcorn presents as snacks. One of the kids, Leo, 13, is wearing a hat he knitted for himself during the Atlantic crossing. It almost seems like a protest. We could get used to this.

Not doing school this half-term has reminded us how much effort school is. We’ve unanimously decided that we’d be having a better time on Quest if we didn’t have to do formal school. Is this a protest?

I don’t care right now. This week we’ve managed to fit things in we haven’t had time to do during school. Like diving. Jack and Lulu have dived four times in three days. It’s like accelerating marbles. They’re going again tomorrow.

We have a mini-compressor on Quest and it’s done its fair share of filling bottles. This season though, Jack’s figured he can get fills from the dive shop, BarbadosBlue cheap and easily enough not to bother with the two-hour filling cycles on Quest. It’s sped things up nicely.

With more time diving, Jack and Lu have brought up treasure this week – three crayfish for eating and some old bottles. Also a heavy stone-made trinket. We wonder if it’s an ink well?

It seems anything could be possible. There are at least a hundred reputed wrecks in this bay – where the crayfish live – as well as untold items thrown off anchored ships dating back centuries.

We have three new bottles. We met a bottle enthusiast in Martinique who told us the length of the seam is the sure-fire way of knowing a bottle is ‘old.’ Some have marks, inscriptions, screw tops. It’s a whole, strange new world of expertise.

We’ve been soaking the items in vinegar and doing simple electrolysis. This helps break up their encrusted layer of marine growth. The older the artefact, the more stuff on it. This last part has been great fun – wiping and scrubbing away, to find words, numbers and symbols.

Isle of Man, Castletown Brewery is inscribed onto one plain brown bottle we’ve found. The numbers 1 and 9 are on the base. Does this mean it’s dated to 1919? A quick google check shows Castletown Brewery in the Isle of Man started production in the 1830s and ceased operations in 1986. Came all the way to Barbados and ended up in the drink. Hehe.

When we went to the dive shop to pick up the cylinders, Jack asked the guy working there if they had found old bottles too. The dive guy said yes and that they kept some upstairs, but they didn’t know their history. They were just cool bottles for them.

We aren’t interested in their monetary value either – unless we’ve hit some sort of bottle jackpot; does this even exist? For us they just make interesting stories. And excellent paperweights. And memories so far of a February half-term.