An Afternoon On Peanut Island – An Island With The AA Stamp Of Approval

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Every now and again, there has to be time for a good old rant.

Now, I rarely get a ‘bee in my bonnet’, but a recent visit to this cute, albeit man-made snorkeling and barbecue hang-out, left me with a slightly sour taste in my mouth. I don’t know about you, but to me, the whole ‘boating, kayaking and beach barbecue’ atmosphere does not mingle with sparkling water. This is not the vision I get when enjoying a nice burger and potato salad. I want to hear the ‘click, pop and shhhhhhhh’ noise of opening a cold adult beverage. Now, this comes from someone who has a limit of two drinks at the best of times. In no way do I condone boozing and boating (we know that’s dangerous). However, a civilized drink with Sunday lunch? Did that ever harm anyone? Apparently, the ‘island Nazis’ think differently.

You have just about scrambled with your 1 million beach utensils out of the car and strapped the beach chair to your back, when you hear the guy from the water taxi already bellowing like a 14ft Alligator in mating season: ‘NO ALCOHOL!!! WE REFUSE ANYONE WITH ALCOHOL ON BOARD’. Ok. ‘Jeez, what a party pooper. Has he gotten laid recently?’ I thought.
That’s one heck of a lot of noise he was making. I assumed he was talking to what we call in England ‘lager-louts’, trouble makers, who arrive already drunk, with a barrel (or 10) of beer, intent on barbecuing small children and pets, and starting fights.

I was incredulous when realizing he was actually talking to me, a 5-foot-nothing ‘goody two shoes’, with 2 cans of beer in a cooler. Oh no. I could not have been more wrong. Mr. Alligator started bellowing at me and my beach bags!  Of course, being a wimp, I totally crumbled and my face was probably turning 50 shades of ‘poiple’. He bellowed some more: ‘so if I were to look into your bag..’. Ok, I cracked. I collected the car keys and, head hanging in shame, returned with my contraband to the car. There, I started to feel rebellious. Did he know that I had just been to two stores? Did he know one store refused to sell alcohol before mid-day, and the other with an employee who gave me a long hard stare (and was probably about to hand me an AA leaflet), when I asked him whether they sold alcohol before mid-day. I had already been through two annoying experiences, just to have a couple of beers with lunch! Now the third!

So I got to the car, stood around a little bit, rummaged in my bag for effect, and then ambled back to the boat. Once there, I stomped onto the little ramp full of resistance, a defiant scowl on my face, with my two cans of beer hidden away. I felt like I was standing up for those with no voice, I was resisting the regime. At that moment, I felt like a hero. A small step for woman…and so on.

Interestingly, I observed that all people were interrogated by the ‘Gestapo’ as they entered the boat. Even an older lady, who was about as far away from a rowdy drunk, as you could possibly imagine. However, as we returned from the island, we had to sit on the boat and wait for half hour, for ‘pain in the butt’ family, who had brought their whole household to the island, to load up the boat. Not a word of disapproval, or asking them to hurry up, was said. So, obviously, you can be a complete PITA and hold up the whole operation of the water taxi and a bunch of other folks, but being a peaceful and considerate person with a couple of beers, you automatically qualify for ‘criminal’ treatment. Eeehhhhh.
How about creating a new policy disallowing pain-in-the-ass people who only think of themselves on the island? It has my vote!

Oh, by the way, of course I wasn’t the only one with contraband on the island. I heard the famous popping noise everywhere.

Now, I understand the need for regulation, but this is a family island and not a collection point for the alcoholics and drug-addicts of Palm Beach County. Neither is this a correctional institution. Over-regulation, me thinks. I never saw anyone getting rowdy or ‘out of their heads’ here, even before this policy. Why ruin a perfectly nice island getaway, I do not know. Rant over. This is what I found on Palm Beach County government website:

Effective May 18, 2012, alcohol possession is restricted to the permitted campground area.’

I also found slightly more useful information there:

‘The eighty acre tropical park is situated in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Lake Worth Inlet in close proximity to Phil Foster Park, the City of Riviera Beach, and the Port of Palm Beach.

The park is a favorite destination for boaters and provides numerous recreational opportunities for visitors. Fishing and snorkeling are popular activities in the beautiful clear waters that surround the island. Guarded and Unguarded Swimming Beaches provide the perfect access for bathers of all ages to enjoy the sun and fun. For visitors looking for an overnight experience, a twenty-site Campground is available for tent campers by reservation as well as limited Natural Areas Beach Camping in designated areas.’

Of course, this is not all there is to the island. Peanut island is actually man-made, and was created when they dredged for the Lake Worth Inlet, in 1918. The island kept on growing, as it was used as a site for spoil from dredging and maintaining the shipping lanes in the intracoastal waterway. Previously called ‘inlet island’, the name ‘peanut island’ was given to the island when the State gave permission for use of the island as a terminal for shipping peanut oil. Plans for this enterprise were abandoned in 1946, but the name was retained (Palm Beach County Government Website).

Also notable and I guess worth a visit, is the Palm Beach County Maritime Museum, which has a site situated on Peanut Island. There, one can tour the Kennedy Bunker and Museum, for about $14 per adult, with a little reduction for seniors and children. It wasn’t my day in that respect either, as when I approached as far as the illegible, weathered sign saying ‘do not go any further without ticket’ or something to that effect (it was mostly illegible), I got bellowed at again by some guy – before I even had two seconds to decipher the sign. At this point, I turned into a Hyena and actually told him that surely, it must be allowed to at least read the sign before one gets screamed at!
They don’t even allow you to look at the outside of the bunker, and at this point I resisted paying $14 after having been shouted at twice that day. So much for a relaxed day out. Shame some of the people working on the island and the water taxi, are anything but relaxed and friendly. Real shame. I understand they have to ensure the policy is adhered to, but I do believe this could be done in a slightly more sensitive way. Especially to the people who supply their livelihood.

I do like the island and undoubtedly will come again at some point, but just so you know, beware of the ‘island Nazis’ and make sure you are goose-stepping in line when going there. One must obey and drink water. Or else just expect getting yelled at.

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3 Comment

  1. Gaby says: Reply

    Hi there. Do you remember which water taxi service you used to get to Peanut Island?

    1. tamarascharf says: Reply

      Interesting question…I wasn’t aware that there were more than one but a quick search on the web leaves me confused lol.
      I am pretty sure we were on this:
      Nowadays, we prefer to kayak there but it needs to be a calm day…

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