From the Introduction of Cruising Life: “It’s a collection of stories by “cruisers” — those free spirits traveling independently under sail.”

Chosen from over 200 issues of Caribbean Compass magazine, the articles included in this collection are the shared adventures of those who are explorers of the Caribbean, not tourists.

Organized into six chapters, readers can choose to explore the best articles from Adventure, Humor, Travel, Poems, Book Reviews or Recipes — in the order they choose. The collection is diverse.

The Adventure chapter includes “Arriving Topless in Cartagena,”by Rosemarie Smart-Alecio. Rosemarie and Alfred did all their homework: they studied the area weather, checked for the best window of travel, found out the best areas of protection, and monitored all the forecasts. Still, their passage from Curaçao to Cartagena was more than they bargained for and the suspense just keeps building.

“The Great Banana Fiasco of 1993” by Thomas Warner is included in the Humor chapter. This is a story of bananas and politics. An 800-foot refrigerated ship full of bananas set out from Costa Rica. Because of engine trouble, they are towed for repair, but denied entry to port — and then the politics began. Two months later, the rotten bananas were still onboard and had turned into alcohol! Readers will never look at bananas the same again.

“Antigua’s Glorious Green Island” by Rosie Burr is found in the travel chapter and is a very descriptive piece on Antigua’s Green Island. Included is information on the public beaches, what to see and do, where to moor your boat, snorkeling spots, and enticing descriptions of the island and its wildlife.

The Poems chapter is a collection of Caribbean style prose and includes poems about Martinique, tourists, Anse La Roche, a Grenada morning, proper use of a VHF radio, a boat, Bequia, and Nicoya nights. Reading this section will leave readers feeling the warm moist breeze, smelling the tropical flowers, and hearing the Caribbean music in their heads.

The Book Reviews chapter is a collection of four detailed and well-written reviews.

The Recipes chapter is an added bonus to this already all-inclusive Caribbean article collection. Seven articles include stories and recipes for the local fare. From grilled fish steaks and Caribbean rub, to mango red pepper dip, roasted chickpeas, and Caribbean Salad Salsa, this chapter packs some real flavor.

These are the stories told onboard to fellow adventurers, stories of local people and food, celebrations, and traditions not shared in guidebooks. They are the tales that become legends.

Cruising Life: The Best Stories from Caribbean Compass compiled by Sally Erdie and Rona Beame (Compass Publishing, 2013)