Ohhhhhh! the Pe-Pe-Rit

Gouyaveman 26th April

It would be very interesting to learn how the word “Pe-pe-rit” had made the transition from a specie of bird, to the Grenadian lexicon of a rudimentary craft made from Cork Wood bound together with Weiss (sp) and sometimes with a sail made out of Flower Bag.

To understand the craftiness in which the Pe-pe-rit was put together, it was sturdy enough to carry just one person and was not made in the traditional manner of boats as having a bow and stern but instead with a cut-off front, angled in the shape of a point and a back. The Cork Wood provided it with the ultimate in buoyancy which sometimes left a water clearance of no more than six to eight inches. Yet, like any other craft, it obeyed all the laws of Physics allowing it to carry more than three times its weight when submerged in water and could never sink.

That realization is probably what had led to the adventurous undertaking by our young potential Fishermen to conquer the fear of making those perilous journeys to sea, which is a prerequisite for all.

My boy-hood days in Gouyave never allowed me to forget the day when a young man named Alister (aka, Macatoombey) was able to “boat” a seventy five pound Turdjun that he caught on the fishing banks of Addis-ah-Baba(about a mile and a half out to sea behind the Nutmeg Pool in Gouyave) and made it safely back to shore.

You could have imagined the level of hysteria that followed among the more established Fishermen, not to mention the braggadocios Macatoombey’s account of the whole episode and his perceived “good fishing skills”.

What a day it was, laughter for so.

For those of you who do not know, “Weiss” is a sturdy wild vine that is grown within the mountainous interior of Grenada. It was harvested and woven into specially designed baskets (known as a ‘half basket’ or ‘whole basket’), and sold to Fishermen for transporting and measuring their catch.

Gouyaveman ©