Once on a fishing trip to Saint Lucia we put up camp in one of the camping sites close to the beach, which was closely observed by the resident monkeys. Anyone who has been there can vouch for the monkeys - they are mischievous to the extreme.
At the booking office, we were forewarned not to leave anything outside and to close the tent whenever we leave the campsite. But then, we all know the drill...
That afternoon, we decided to test the water and packed a picnic basket with all the necessary snacks and refreshments. Off we went, Valie fishermen at their best.
Later we returned. No bait left, all fed to the fish, and an empty picnic basket. We returned to what looked like a mini hurricane had struck our campsite! Somehow the monkeys opened the zippers of the fly screen on our tent, and had a party in Monkeytopia. Anything that could open and looked edible was opened and eaten. There was mealie meal on the tables, ground sheet, up the trees, sugar, coffee, tissues, bits of what looked like fruit salad... man, name it, it was laying scattered all over.
We were fuming, willing to strangle any monkey in sight. The wife started crying, the kids were horrified and I was pretty speechless.
Thoughts of the rubber snake idea came to mind and off I went to buy one in the village. I spread the snake in one of the monkeys" favourite areas. And I waited in anticipation of seeing them notice the snake, take fright and hit the trees, screaming. But they simply congregated around the snake and within seconds all I saw was the headless snake, tossed aside. I was not charmed.
After getting my dignity back I set off to town again to buy another rubber snake... this time with a plan.
I took a nice big juicy monkey appealing orange and tied a piece of decent breaking strain gut to the orange. About a meter further I attached the snake. With the snake hidden under my shirt, I took the orange to a spot not very far from our campsite, placed the orange in full view and hid the snake under some cut grass.
So we waited... the monkeys did not take their time to get there, but they were wary of us. Courage got the better of the main man in the troop and he jumped down and grabbed the orange, unaware of the snake now following him as he ran back to the clan, who nearly fell out of the trees as they saw what was happening. They protested at full volume at their leader who unwittingly had the snake in hot pursuit. So, there they were leaving their leader behind, while he could not catch up with them, try as he might.
Needless to say, we did not see the troop for the rest of our holiday. And we have been keeping a spare rubber snake in our camping gear ever since when we go on holiday.
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