The Lady with the Harp

There’s a lady in this anchorage, St Anne, who plays harp concerts from her boat every Tuesday evening.

Tuesday evening. I’m sitting on Quest’s bow, facing the anchorage and waiting for the harp sounds. Of course, we could get in Edna and watch the concert from our dinghy, but to be honest, none of us are that organised. I’m hoping it will be one of the boats close to us instead.

Welcome to France – where yachtie harp-playing performances seem normal. Of course when we heard this, our minds were drawn to the logistics. A harp on a boat? How does this work?

Does the musician strap it to the side of the boat when sailing like people do with their surfboards? Or does she prop it up on the side of her bunk?

Ohh wait. I can hear the woman. She is singing right now. I can’t hear the harp yet, but her voice is wafting past. She has a lilting, almost country sound. I just googled her and discovered she’s actually from Tennessee. Makes sense. Jessica Browning. Still not sure how she manages the harp on the boat but there’s a face. And a name.

Damn wind. I can’t hear her so well anymore. And the French people in front of us are noisy. No matter. There goes the harp. I think it has a microphone attached. Isn’t it amazing how sounds directs! The amount of times I wonder if people can hear us on Quest. How much the wind carries and what gets absorbed into the fibreglass.

On a boat we can change our neighbours as much as we please – when we’re not in lockdown. And we are loud. Two teenagers and strong, opinionated personalities. I can’t wait for the moment I hear someone say in conversation, ‘Have you heard that boat Quest? Noisy lot!’

But then who really cares? Not as much as we think they do. I guess this feeling is known more than ever in the world right now.

We checked into Martinique. No one asked for our negative CV-19 test results. We notified the coast guard and entered our details at an ice cream cafe. Yep, an ice cream cafe. That’s where the customs computer is in St Anne.

No one was wearing masks. Not in the cafe or at the nearby mini-mart. No hand sanitiser in sight either. I’m not judging, but after Barbados’ strict protocols, it was positively strange. I kept looking around. Did they get rid of the virus here? Do they know something we don’t? Are they all secret US Republicans? Should they be advertising this place as an excellent hideaway for these people?

No need. The next day, France introduced mandatory wearing of masks. At first we thought we needed to be careful – in case people thought we were a risk to this island. After the first day, we wondered if it was the other way around. Now, the lady with the harp is killing it.

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