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May 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Petit Mustique Diving Lodge

ultimately, the joke was on me

from the May, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

A jet boat whisking divers 60 miles out to sea to dive, where one fins with swordfish, mola molas and loggerhead turtles. A private island with the world's top chefs developing dishes, and Sir Richard Branson subsidizing your stay. Mangrove nurseries filled with miniature fish, some perhaps only found in the Indian Ocean. All spinning in the windmills of my mind.

I sure had fun writing the special April 1 issue of Undercurrent, and most of our readers (not all, mind you) had just as much fun reading it. A few even remembered a similar mind-heist I pulled off a few years back. Here is what a few had to say about this year's missive.

"Congratulations on the Petit Mustique article. You almost had me until I realized it was April 1 and you never travel as Mr. Davison. I have been a subscriber for 30 years. Keep up the great work!" -- William King

"My bags were packed. That was going to be my retirement trip!" -- Bob Gerzoff

"Davison, you are SO off my Christmas card list!" -- Mark Kimmey

"That was a cruel joke. I had my phone in my hand ready to call and make a reservation. Shame on you for playing with our diver minds like that. It sounded like the Oasis of diving!" -- Jeremy Anschel

"I was halfway through the article with my drooling jaw resting on the keyboard while thinking, 'This is just too good to be true,' when it occurred to this guppy what day it was. You've done it again, I swallowed the whole thing. Great tale." -- Clem Clapp

"You are so bad! Had me totally. I did not fall for your last fictional bit about the model and her dive site, etc. [April May Precious was her name, another April Fool's Fantasy] a number of years ago. Well done." -- Owen Babcock

"Damn Ben...You got me again! I was packing my gear and looking at my calendar! This one was your best yet!" -- Thomas Lopatin

"Cruel! Can't believe I fell for it again!" -- Jennifer Calder

"I am not amused! I was ready to make reservations, cancel my existing reservations for next week at Young Island Resort, and count on photographing a Mola Mola. How could you do this?!?" -- Lionel Olmer

"You can be mean sometimes. But because I have been a subscriber for so many years (I still have the 'Swiss army knife' you sent subscribers many years ago), I should have realized it was a joke." -- Wayne Joseph [That was 1998, Wayne.]

"Ben, you are an evil, evil, evil man! Loved it!" -- Deb Berglund

"Having traveled the Grenadines, I was surprised that there was a 'new' island I had not heard of. However, I was so excited by the description of the diving, I was seriously thinking about a trip there by the time I got near the end of the article. Congratulations, you are the first to April Fool me in quite a while! " -- Bob Symington

"Even if your April Fools article had not been so delicious, we would have renewed! Thanks for a wonderful laugh and a big 'if only!' Thanks for years of amazing reports -- you are a wonderful read and a blessing to the dive community! "-- Barbara Soucy

But some people were entirely buffaloed and needed my help. Now, it would be unkind of me to disclose their names, but here is what they wrote to me:

"How do we go about making reservations at the facility referenced? Looking to schedule for 2016 and put together a small group of divers from our midwest dive shop. Will need to know when connecting flights via Barbados are scheduled as well" . . . "Read your article on Petit Mustique Divers Lodge. Too bad, there is no info on the web or website for the lodge" . . . "Too many travel plans already in the works for this year but next summer looks good for Petit Mustique. What do I do with the Undercurrent code to make a booking, and can I take a non-diver, my ladylove?". . . "I am a long time subscriber and diver. The article was excellent and I am interested but was unable to find out any information about accommodations online, nor the 'Undercurrent code' needed" . . . "Hello, I am interested in travel to this destination and it appears I need a code from you to look into reservations. How do I receive a code and who do I contact after I have it?" . . . "We just read the Davison story on the Petit Mustique Divers Lodge. We are excited to contact this lodge but can find no address (email, phone, etc.). Can you help? "

I responded to these folks, explaining the spoof, and one responded, "I was sort of hoping you would not find my email, but unfortunately now you know me for the fool I am! I was fascinated you were seeing fish previously unknown to the Caribbean and wanted to get in on that ASAP. Happy diving! Very funny."

And while most people were good-natured when I wrote back to inform them that I sent this on April 1, a couple were not amused. For example: "I suggest you do not do this again. I have little time to read anything, away from materials regarding everyday global, business and other issues, due to a rigorous sevenday schedule, other than when on vacation. However, this article intrigued me, as you do not send anything out (twice a month and only on special notification,) that is not important, thus I took the time to read it. I had been to Mustique in 2000 and knew that Petit had then been uninhabited, but your article made me think that it was now a functional and beautiful retreat. Not happy when I found the April Fool's joke. A waste of valuable time -- if I want a joke I will go to someone who does it for a living." What? He had been to Petit Mustique?

Then came another, more friendly response. "I run a marine biology education program aboard a sailing catamaran operating in the Windward Islands and have been diving the Grenadines extensively since 1998. I have dived all the islands of the Grenadines, including Petit Mustique, Sail Rock, Isle Quatre, Tobago Cays, Saline Island, the Big Blue, Bequia, all along St Vincent, Battowa and Balioux, and more. If there is an oceanic whitetip or a mola mola to be seen in these waters, I would have seen it. I have tried to anchor off the completely uninhabited island of Petit Mustique but could not find suitable shelter (there certainly was no sugar-soft sand beach!). I just could not believe what I was reading, none of it made sense! There are only small blackfin tuna to be found here. So you got me. April Fools, good job!" -- Jason Buchheim

Oh dear, I must admit that even though I too have sailed and dived the Grenadines and certainly knew of Petit St. Vincent, Petit Mustique had escaped me. This "worldly traveler" had fooled himself.

Finally, one of our good readers, Steve Cohen, got me back with this response:

Yet again, Undercurrent has found an out-of-the-way jewel not to be missed. Once I got through the first paragraph, I was ready to pack and be on my way. Undercurrent never fails to get my full attention when it arrives in my inbox. But unfortunately, Petit Mustique will have to stay on my radar for the future. Assuming the rising oceans don't make it disappear, of course. Sailfish, marlin, giant tuna, pygmy seahorses, leatherback turtles, Mola Mola. . . Too much good fortune for one place! Assuming prices don't rise a lot, I'm looking at 2017 to book. Reasonable prices, great diving, great food, who could ask for more? Despite my ultimate disappointment, Undercurrent is still my choice for dive travel info!

Until next time....

-- Ben Davison

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