My head was buried in Lonesome Dove. It was still early, but I had been up for hours by now. I had my camera set up with a 70-200mm lens in case anything interesting went down on the water that morning. But apart from a few lonely sailboats leaving St. Lucia just after sunrise, it was pretty quiet out there.
I heard them first. When I looked up I saw the green boat flying through the air and scrambled to grab my camera. By the time I snapped the first frame it felt like only five seconds had passed, but they were already about halfway through my field of view, ripping from left to right across the windblown blue Caribbean. In about five more seconds the boat and the two men on it would be gone, disappearing from my view behind a group of palm trees to the north.
Once they were out of sight I quickly reviewed the burst of photos I had just taken. Somehow, it was the first frame that captured the boat exactly how I’d hoped, completely out of the water, with only the prop still submerged, pushing them forward as if they might take off.
I can’t remember being more excited about an image. It was the story that captivated me the most. Who were these two guys casually flying through the air on the green boat? Where were they coming from? When I zoomed in on the image I read the name of the boat, “2GO,” and was left wondering, where were they going.
The next day I was venturing from Castries to Soufriere by boat with my family. The original captain who was supposed to take us apparently had engine trouble that morning, so we hopped on the next available boat. Without fully realizing, I had become obsessed with finding 2GO again. I reached for my camera, scrolled to the image and showed the captain of the water taxi. He looked at me with a confused but proud expression. “That’s my son,” he laughed. He pulled out his cell phone, took a photo of the image on my screen and sent off a few texts before we left the harbor.
An hour later the green boat was motoring towards me on the beach. Jean Claude Joseph pulled up, I grabbed my camera, and boarded the 2GO.