During the last year of the seventies, the eastern Caribbean islands were rocked by two very significant events. The Grenada revolution and The Eruptions Of the Volcano in the neighbouring island of St Vincent; Dock of the Bay is set with these events as a backdrop.
Dock Of The Bay tells the story of Thomas Brown, a twelve-year old lover of science, who wants to be an undersea explorer like his hero Jacque Cousteau. His mother is a teacher and supervisor at one of the evacuation camps that were setup to house the villagers who had to be evacuated after the Volcano erupted. His father is a sailor, and is away most of the time. One Sunday in a fit of rage Thomas defies his mother and goes to his favourite hangout, the beach, but on this Sunday he is so angry that he ventures over to a forbidden part of the beach and sees an old man flying a kite. He is so surprised and awed by his findings that he forgets that he should be scared and meets the man. The man turns out to be the one dubbed Crazy Sam by the people in the surrounding village. Thomas strike up a friendship, but because of who Sam is he feels he must hide this friendship from his mother, who he think would not understand and ban him from going to the beach. So through a series of half truth and the demand of the evacuation camp on his mother he manages to spend many afternoons at the beach listening and learning from Sam who would tell him stories of his travels as a sailor, his involvement in the riots that changed the Island's voting laws. He also learns about the civil rights movement in America among other stories But as he gets to know Sam he realises that Sam is hiding something, words like how he missed her so much and it was her birthday come up with no explanation or reason, he also had a way of angrily stalking away whenever Thomas questions hit close to home. Thomas in the meantime has won a scholarship to attend the Island's top school, encounters his first taste of love and gets beaten up by a gang of boys who hate his quirkiness. Sam his friend has to save him, and then cheer him up with a story. Eventually the constant badgering of his mother breaks through and he tells her why he spends most of his time at the beach. She is outraged at first, but he convinces her that Sam does deserve chance and he takes her to meet Sam, although the meeting starts off disastrously, by the end they discover the shambles that Sam life was, his story that day is about how he lost his wife and his beloved daughter, and he became known as Crazy Sam. He has one wish that is to see his daughter one more time. Feeling heartbroken for him she promises to help find his daughter. Unfortunately before she could fulfill that promise a Hurricane hits the Island with disastrous results.