Starting with nothing more than discarded conch shells, one man has built an island/bar that would make Jimmy Buffet jealous.
Located just off the shallow coast of Union Island in the Grenadines is the home of Janti Ramage, a local visionary who built the tiny outpost into a singular bar sitting on a foundation of scavenged conch shells that were once a problem in the area.
Conch shells, while almost universally prized as kitschy decoration, are often simply the byproduct of fishermen who scoop out the muscle inside and leave the elaborate shells as waste. This actually became a problem along the beaches of Union Island which was becoming increasingly littered with the shells in the early 2000’s. Seeing the issue, Janti (an oral version of the french name “Gentil”, which means nice or kind) while working as a volunteer environmental officer devised a unique solution to the natural pollution.
Beginning in 2002, Janti began gathering up conches and similarly-sized rocks on a shallow part of a nearby reef, eventually creating his own private retreat, dubbing it, “Happy Island.” Creating a flat concrete surface to his new islet, Janti built small bar and patio area that encompasses the entirety of the surface and imported some palm trees from another nearby island.
Today Janti operates a friendly bar for every sailor and tourist who wants to charter a small boat out to the happy little getaway where Janti now lives with his partner. The hours are flexible (island time) and calling ahead is necessary, but there are few more laid back places in all of Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. Step up your game, Parrotheads.
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