A NATURAL HISTORY OF MUSTIQUE
The only place to read a Patrick O'Brian novel is lounging in the mizzen top of a brig like Astrid. Nowhere else can a landsman keep track of what the man is talking about. Running down the Windward Islands from English Harbor to Fort De France, I glanced up to spy that the nearest volcanic peak semed to be greenly shivvering. So I put down The Nutmeg Of Consolation and swung from the mainyard garnet 'neath the futtocks to the quarterdeck ratlines to go check the synthetic aperture radar--with a nightmare rig like Astrid's you want plenty of post-modern Nav gear, wired all Bristol-fashion.
Sure enough, the williwaw rustling the cane fields of Martinique's Mont Pelee' was reaching across the sea-- it was time to shorten sail. From meteorology to ornithology and mineralogy, there's no avoiding natural history cruising the Caribbean. On land and under water , much of it is delightful ; but while Captain Raul King of Bequia once declared " Nothing in this sea will harm you", you do need to know enough not to grab the fire coral , poke the sea urchins , or steer afoul of its underwater volcano.
With so much to oogle, the naturally curious visitor might well need A Natural History Handbook to seek out, and sort out all the beautiful creatures, lovely corals, and sparking mineral veins. So I helped write one.