French Fun and Games – A Tale of Swiped Sandals


Setting: Anse de Colombier, beautiful clear bay, dotted with sailboats gently bobbing from moorings, surrounded by rugged, arid trails that lead to excellent views.

We returned to Colombier after a hot but satisfying 90 minute walk, climbed into the dinghy and slowly motored back to LIB.

Moored next to LIB was a day charter boat blaring current French songs with about 14 “twenty-somethings” hanging out and generally having a great time.

As we passed, a heavily accented male voice called out, “We have your shoes hostage!”


Us: “Pardon me?”

Them: “We stole your shoes.  Off your boat.  You must come have drink with us if you want them back!”

Needless to say, we were a bit startled to know that someone had climbed aboard and taken a pair of shoes while we were away…(on the back deck, not inside).

BUT, we rescued our shoes, shared a drink with the neighboring boat and met some people who work on St. Bart.

According to JeanCharles and Arnaud, taking something small from another boat is a game they play at anchorages in an effort to meet other boaters. Initially we were a bit put off, but soon found these two young instigators interesting and fun.

Later in the afternoon, Arnaud and JeanCharles swam over to LIB and we shared an afternoon beverage and we learned a bit more about these young Frenchmen. Turns out Arnaud and JeanCharles work at an upscale hotel on St. Barts and for the last five years or so they have sought to see the world by working odd jobs in areas that interest them.

JeanCharles appears to be the more traveled of the two having worked in Spain, Australia, Asia, Brazil and St. Barts.

I’m not sure we will ever initiate this game of “stealing” from another boat, but we were actually glad that JeanCharles and Arnaud chose our boat for their fun and games…. it’s always interesting to meet others and learn how they choose to spend their lives.

And since they are close to the age of our own children, it was nice to have “youngster” aboard.

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