If you’re aware of the Papa Nui Sub Hunter you’ll know that it was designed on request from Ernest Hemingway. But why was Hemingway in Cuba during World War II? And how did the Papa come to receive the order?
When the war began in 1939, Hemingway was living in Cuba. His first contribution to the war effort was to form the “Crook Factory”, which was his counter-intelligence force designed to uncover spies operating for the enemy. With limited success, Hemingway turned his attention to hunting U Boats in the Caribbean Sea.
During the war Hemingway was the only American citizen with permission to conduct patrols off the coast of Cuba. He did this in his fishing boat, the Pilar, and with his crew, tracked Nazi boats in the Gulfstream.
The plan was a simple one. Hemingway would sail around the waters off Cuba in his boat, which looked to any passing sailors as nothing more than a pleasure craft. Little did they know that the Pilar was well stocked with machine guns and grenades. Not seeing them as a threat, U Boat crews would surface, attempt to board and be engaged by Ernest and his crew.
Before putting his plan into action, Hemingway needed to make sure that the Pilar was stocked and he and his crew had the right kit for several weeks at sea. Along with what was probably way too many grenades and definitely way too much rum, Ernest wanted the perfect cap to wear in the hot Caribbean sun and, naturally, he turned to the Papa.
Using Hemingway’s brief the Papa created the Sub Hunter cap. The cap was constructed using a beautiful Khaki Herringbone Twill fabric with a contrasting brown canvas brim.
Of course, he loved it. So much so that he wrote the Papa a letter.
I liked it. I loved it. The cap you designed for me is true and real and goddamn you took liberties with the past and future to produce such a fine and real cap. There is so much lousy talent out there making all sorts of rubbish with my name on it, but your Sub Hunter cap is a calculated masterpiece. Jesus it’s so marvellous that I’ve written it into my new novel.
Here is an excerpt:
“He swept the horizon with the big game glasses that he kept up on the flying bridge and saw no sign of the sub. Maybe they made it out through the channel and into the inside passage, he thought. It would be nice if someone else caught them. We can’t catch them now, not without a fight. They will not surrender to this dingy. The Gulf Stream sun beat down on him. He adjusted his cap and felt the cool shade on his brow. It was a good cap he thought, of a fine construction and quality. It was salt stained and bleached and its waxed visor thirsty and cracked. One thing was sure, that Papa Nui could really make a cap.”
Anyway I’m damn fond of you and I’d like to have a chance to talk sometime soon but for now I have to get back to the Pilar and my patrols,
Always your friend,
Unfortunately the efforts made by Hemingway in Cuba to hunt U Boats were pretty much entirely unsuccessful. The patrols quickly became nothing more than fishing trips and the grenades that were planned to be used against the enemy were thrown into the sea for drunken sport.
Regardless, Ernest continued to wear his Sub Hunter Cap and Pap Nui have recreated an exacting replica of the original ready for you to own.
As always, numbers are limited and when they’re gone they’re gone. Head over to the shop now to get yours.