When it comes to my favorite beach bars, Shipwreck Beach Bar on South Friars Bay in St. Kitts is always near the top of the list. In fact, depending on what day you ask me, it could be number one, switching back and forth with Lion Rock Beach Bar like a politician waffling on the issues. It’s among my favorites for many reasons, among which are the great beach it sits on and the incomparable sunsets. It’s also top of the charts for sentimental reasons – it’s where I had my first “Green Flash” drink (which also happened to be my last Green Flash drink – it was, to put it lightly, not good) and is the spot where my never ending search for the elusive green flash began (in case you’re wondering, I’m still looking). It’s the quintessential beach bar, its flimsy wooden structure decorated with stickers and countless black Sharpie scribbling. It occupies a perch slightly above the beach, saving the actual beach for palapa covered loungers for the tourists and cruisers who flock to this beachfront mecca just looking for a good excuse to spend their hard earned cash.
In there lies the biggest problem Shipwreck Beach Bar faces. South Friars is becoming a popular destination on St. Kitts, even starting to rival “The Strip” on South Frigate Bay beach, and if there’s any knock against it, it’s that Shipwreck has become a little too touristy and has lost the charm it held a decade ago when my friends and I were the only ones on the beach. That was part of the appeal – having a beach and its few beach bars to ourselves and the locals. Is development and growth a bad thing? Absolutely not but as Shipwreck Beach Bar (and St. Kitts and Nevis) continue to grow, I think it’s important to keep in mind what made us all fall in love with it and this two island nation paradise in the first place – its Caribbean charm is a gentle reminder to us of what some of the islands of this region used to be – quaint, beautiful and unspoiled. I hope progress doesn’t trample through at such a pace that those characteristics soon become nothing more than memories.
Extra special thanks to Robyn F, aka Burbanist, for the images.
Maybe I’m getting a little sentimental in my old age. What do you think? Can progress occur in the Caribbean while maintaining the original characteristics that drew us to it in the beginning? If so, how can you pull that off and keep progressives and traditionalists happy at the same time? I guess you could just start waffling back and forth … seriously, who doesn’t like waffles? Banana pancakes? I’ll settle for some banana waffles, thank you.