Our Fish

What will I miss most about Barbados? Easy.

Our fish. The resident population of little silver yellow-tails who we feed our extra bread and scraps to. No compost heap for us. Instead, I’ve got to the point where I’ll lose half-a-loaf of bread so I can watch the fish crowd around. I love it when, after slice number three, they don’t even seem to care anymore. The proverbial, ‘I’m full,’ goes through the species level, and the bread floats into the reef for other fish to eat. Lu’s right about my so-called occasional Karen behaviour. My fish are properly spoiled.

I keep wondering. Where will our fish go when we leave? I’m assuming they won’t come with us. My little fish will probably get to deep water, look down and crap themselves.

‘Why are you moving?!’ They’ll cry, ‘we never agreed to this!’ This is also assuming that none of them get caught up in the propellor when we finally turn Quest’s engine over into gear. Oh dear. None of the yellow tails are used to that. I wonder if they assume the propellor is a decorative object they occasionally meet up at – like an underwater statue. They could say to each other, ‘I’ll meet you later at that thing that sticks out of the boat. Bring your sexy fish face.’

No – despite their making their home under Quest’s hull, I don’t think our fish will come with us. Not all the way to Martinique anyway – around an 18-hour passage. I imagine once we get two-hundred metres out from the anchorage, they’ll probably give up the ghost – and swim back to the shallows. They’re used to the shallows.

When we leave, there’ll still be two boats left in the anchorage. White Arrow and Astral Magic. I wonder if our fish might try and find refuge under one of those two boats.

If questioned, they’ll say, ‘What’d ya mean I wasn’t here before? I’ve been here the whole time.’ I like to imagine the other fish doing their equivalent of the fish head scratch. ‘Well, they look the same as us..’

Still, it may not wash. Fish might well have their own highly-organised hierarchical society with local elections and everything. After all, the fish under the other boats aren’t fools. I know it because I sometimes swim to these other boats, and I see the yellow-tails living under them.

They aren’t as friendly as our fish. They give me suspicious glances and swim around my feet as if trying to decide whether to nip me or not. I think they’re weighing up whether I’m going to put in a claim for spare bread and scraps too.

By contrast, our fish swarm around our faces by Quest. We soak up the fish love. Yesterday was our last dive around the anchorage. We got a bit lost coming back to Quest. The boat had swung around from the lack of wind see, moving her from her usual spot. We were scratching our heads, trying to find her – when guess who came to guide us home? The yellow-tails came over and buzzed us, before swimming back to Quest. ‘Follow us this way!’


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