National Geographic : 1956 Feb
people had the fun of running them. Instead, I found ex-Navv Comdr. Harry Elliott Har man III barefoot, stripped to the waist, and oily to the elbows as he repaired an outboard motor. He seemed to be enjoying himself. Around him in utter disorder were oars and fish spears, boats and more motors, bleached heads of coral, old life preservers, and gro tesquely eroded bits of driftwood. Released from Navy public relations duty after the war. Georgia-born Harry Harman and his bride had cruised into St. Thomas in one of the most outrageous craft the staid old harbor had ever seen. Love Junk was squat. ugly. and tire-engine red-but as roomy as most big-city apartments. The boat had started life, Jeanne Harman told me, as a $45,000 oil-cleaning and recovery barge. Harry bought it from the Navy, surplus, for $500-and promptly sold its tanks and pumps for just that amount. Net profit: one diesel-powered houseboat, rent free! Barracuda Lurk in Sunken Ship Harry and Jeanne tethered Love Junk to a palm tree, acquired the beginnings of a fleet, and went to work. Eventually a third member joined the Harmans' budding colony of escapists. Skin (liver Randolph Boyd spent the war with the Merchant Marine: sea fever had won him over, too. Thereafter. I spent day after day happily exploring the watery world that Harry Har man and Randy Bovd have taken as their own and that lures so many visitors to the Caribbean. One moonlit night, with cast nets and kero sene flares improvised from Coke bottles, we splashed through the shallows opposite Water Island stalking spiny crayfish. The succulent crustaceans, dressed and frozen, become the "rock lobsters" of stateside supermarkets. On a cloudless afternoon I tried diving with an Aqualung: 30 feet below me, sunlit coral heads and rainbow parrotfish stood out as distinctly as if nothing but air separated us. Momentary panic seized me. Like most be ginners, I feared that this all-but-invisible water might not support me as safely as the murky soup I knew at home. But eventually I grew accustomed to relaxed sightseeing in the Caribbean's crystal water. I sailed in Harry Harman's scarlet-sailed sloop Calypso on a Sunday morning as a rising sun gilded the awakening harbor; above us towered the masts and pennants of an anchored destroyer of the U. S. Atlantic Fleet. Later that day. through the viewing 210 port of a glass-bottomed boat. I peered down at the graveyard of an iron sailing ship that foundered half a century ago. Now coral and sea fans are her only cargo; glistening barracuda have her decks to themselves. Tawny-haired Monica Flahertv is ano t her who came to St. Thomas for a visit and stayed to lose her heart. This talented daughter of famed movie-maker Robert Flahertv has taken island archeology as her province. In the Indian room of a new museum she showed me stone axes, graceful cooking pots recon structed from shattered fragments, and deli cately carved images that the aborigines called "zemis. All were recovered from village sites along the island's north shore. "I've done all my own digging," she said, laughing. "'Look at my hands'