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#1 Aug 30, 2019 4:08 pm

New Historian

The "Federal Maple" - definition of unseaworthy!

For my freshman summer at UWI in Jamaica I traveled to Grenada on the M.V. Federal Maple, stopping at all islands along the way. This sounded like fun. It wasn’t. The Maple along with its sister ship the Federal Palm were gifts from Canada to the fledgling West Indies Federation in 1961, and by the time I boarded her the old girl had definitely seen better days. My father, bless him, had bought the cheapest ticket possible: deck passage, which meant you rolled out your sponge mattress in any relatively sheltered space you could find and prayed for no rain.

For the first three days we steamed due east from Jamaica to Saint Kitts, directly into prevailing winds and currents. It was hard going and by the first evening I was seasick as a dog, unable to keep anything down solid or liquid. It got worse and for three days I languished at the back of the boat, alternately eating and puking in a never ending sick cycle. The only upside of that nautical nightmare was that it cured me of seasickness forever, even in the worst seas.

When we reached Saint Kitts we anchored off Basseterre and I gladly took the lighter to terra firma. As I disembarked a posse of youths approached me.

‘You from Jamaica?’


‘You have ganja?’


‘You have ratchet knife?’


‘Cha!’ Then moved onto the next passenger!



#2 Aug 30, 2019 5:11 pm


Re: The "Federal Maple" - definition of unseaworthy!

Fred , John , Alison and myself , Year out of High school . Working in the Government  - " we going on a cruise up to Jamaica"
It was the Federal Maple or Palm , should ask Fred ? LO.
Well I was not sick  , but Jeez New Historian  , I saw schools of flying fish  , and some others jumping out of the water .
Sleeping accommodations were the same , lo.
Spent two days in Jamaica , at a Mr J.C. Proute  a news paper man , maybe radio. My old man boyhood friend from the island.
Had a pen pal in St Kitts at that time . Some time ago I met a teacher in TO that said he was his brother-in-law. and he was still at home in St Kitts.

I have always thought of going there again for a week as a 'black tourist'.


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