The Voyage


Andy and Melissa are sailing around the world on their 48-foot sailboat, Spectacle.

The Position

Bali, Indonesia

The Pictures

The Voyage of Spectacle

Archive for February, 2007

Introduction to the Spectacle Guide to Dining Around the World

Posted by: andy

I’ve had at least 10 people ask me if I plan on reviewing restaurants during our trip. 

Of course I am. 

You will notice a new link under “Basics” called “The Spectacle Guide to Dining Around the World” which will contain our continually updated restaurant ratings as well as detailed rating criteria. 

Introduction to the Spectacle Book Club

Posted by: melissa

People have also been asking us about what we’re reading while we’re out here.  We thought we’d share the list with you, as well as our thoughts.  You’ll notice a new link to the right under Basics called Spectacle Book Club for our reviews.  Feel free to email your rebuttals, agreements, suggestions, and even downright outrage (i.e. Andy’s only moderate enthusiasm for the classic novel One Hundred Years of Solitude) to our Spectacle email address located on the Contact Us page.

Tortola Beach Bars and Final Thoughts

Posted by: andy

We took a day to meet up with the aforementioned Bumfuzzlers, who are just finishing up their trip.  This turned into quite a long day/night/morning of boozing it up.

We started out at Quito’s Gazebo, a relatively famous bar at fairly scenic Cane Garden Bay.  Quito is Quito Rhymer, a local reggae star, who plays live most weekends.  We were there during the day, and it was dead, but I’m sure it’s pretty hopping when he is playing.  We then ventured on to the fairly famous Bomba’s Shack, a beach bar made mostly out of driftwood.  It’s probably great for the Full Moon Party, but it’s otherwise just license plates, underwear, graffiti, business cards, and drunk charter vacationers – bars like this are, sadly, a dime a dozen.  We had a great time with Pat and Ali, but none of these bars is reason enough to re-route one’s boat (or life) toward Tortola.

The Infamous Willie TA different day, we also made it out to the infamous Willy T. at Norman Island.  I totally loved it – my favorite watering hole we’ve yet visited. Melissa doesn’t agree – at all.  As I said before, there are only two things to do in Tortola – sail and drink.

As far as we’re concerned, Tortola really is no better than O.K.  We both doubt that we’ll ever set foot on the island again.  It’s totally skippable unless you’re coming specifically to GO SAILING.  Once you put all the sailing business to the side, it is not somewhere I’d choose to be stuck for longer than an afternoon cruise-ship excursion (not that cruise-ship excursions are in our future, but, boy, there sure are a lot of people taking them in Tortola).  Road Town, the main town, is decidedly not charming.  We were told that Tortola is a sailing “Mecca.”  Indeed it is – we’re just not that kind of Muslim.

Jost van Dyke

Posted by: andy

We decided to leave Tortola around 2:30 p.m. yesterday and head for Jost van Dyke, the nearby “out island” that is home to two legendary beach bars – Foxy’s and Soggy Dollar Bar — and very little else.  The thought was that we’d get to JvD around 4:30, anchor the boat, dinghy ashore, check out of BVI customs and immigration, have dinner and a few drinks at Foxy’s, dinghy back out to the boat, and sail overnight to St. Martin.

We actually managed to get off the dock just after 2:30.  It was strange saying good-bye to three different boats we had encountered in multiple locations already, knowing that, this time, we were unlikely to see them again.  I suppose we should get used to that.

Having FINALLY gotten our batteries replaced, we now no longer need to be tied to something hard – we can finally “anchor out” like proper sailors.

Anchoring is surprisingly difficult for many, many sailor – it is probably the one thing that most boat owners are slightly afraid of, and for good reason.  People often times make complete … well … spectacles of themselves as they attempt to park the boat.

I am pleased to report that our maiden anchoring was absolutely flawless.  We planned it out well and executed it perfectly.  This was a strong point for each of us back in sailing school, and, apparently, we remember what we were taught.

Our maiden post-anchoring dinghy ride, however, was not so flawless.  We managed to get the dinghy to Foxy’s dock right at 5:00.  Melissa jumped off and sprinted for customs.  Alas, we had missed them.  So, we’d have to stay overnight – no big deal.  St. Martin can wait one more day.

Foxy’s might be the single most-famous beach bar in the entire Caribbean, if not the world.  We felt like we “needed to do it” but expected to be put off by excess commercialism in the vein of Hard Rock Café.  Boy, were we wrong.

The Infamous Foxy's at Jost van Dyke, BVIYes, it has a very large T-shirt shop/boutique, and they do a very brisk business.  But Foxy’s puts out a tremendous product.  The bar is great.  The drinks are creative and tasty.  The staff is fantastic and professional, and the food was surprisingly delicious.  We were a little bit hesitant to pay $28 apiece for a “Beach BBQ,” but this was fantastic food – ribs of near-Twin Anchors quality, the best jerk chicken either of us have ever had, corn that was downright memorable (now that’s saying something).  It was a bargain at twice the price.  Foxy’s certainly doesn’t need me to tell you how great it is.  The word is already out.  But it isn’t popular by accident.

“Several” (ahem) Dread Fox cocktails later, we walked down to the dock to get on the dinghy and head back to the boat.

It was sinking.  Seriously – it was SINKING!  The left pontoon was basically flat and submerged.  We got into the boat, thinking we might just be able to make it back to Spectacle.  Totally wrong.  All we did was make it worse, instantly.

Melissa jumped back on the dock, losing a flip-flop, grabbed the waterproof bag, as we prepared to “save” the outboard.  I jumped into the water … which, thankfully, was only about four feet deep.  I managed to wrestle the outboard off the boat and onto the dock, and we eventually retrieved the boat as well and dragged it onto the beach.  However, it’s pretty clear that we’ve got a fairly meaningful “slow leak” in the dinghy (and not that slow, apparently).  Add that to the list of repairs.

We caught a ride out to the boat, slept pretty well (no paranoid middle-of-the-night dashes on deck to check the anchor), and caught a ride back in the next morning.  After reinflating the dinghy and checking out of customs, we marched (sans dinghy) over the hill to Soggy Dollar Bar.  This was quite a hot, steep and lengthy shlep, but it was worth it.  The bar is not really the allure – it’s just ok.  The beach, however, is fantastic.  We put away a few Painkillers, opted for a cab (pretty tough to find on a tiny island) back to Foxy’s, and managed to get the dinghy towed back out to Spectacle.  Then we put the dinghy on the davits, pulled up the anchor, and headed off for an overnight sail to St. Martin.  More Pictures

Bonjour from Saint Martin, French West Indies

Posted by: andy

The Approach to Saint Martin, French West IndiesWe had a blessedly uneventful 18-hour overnight trip from Jost van Dyke to St. Martin.  Having been here for less than a day, we have a sneaking suspicion that we are going to absolutely love this place.  We got off to a very auspicious start – a delicious light lunch with a bottle of better-than-decent Chablis, followed by a nap, followed by a fantastic dinner at Le Cottage in nearby Grand Case.  This was EASILY the finest meal we have eaten since our departure.  I intend to write it up for the Dining Guide soon. We gave it 6 Anchors, a score we do not award lightly.  If they moved the restaurant to Turks & Caicos, they could charge whatever they wanted and be packed every night.  As it stands, they are doing quite a brisk business.

It is nice to be in a place where the streets are clean; the cars are new, small and functional; the weather is agreeable; the beaches are gorgeous; the bread is fresh; the cheese is unpasteurized; the wine is inexpensive and of generally moderate or better quality; and the people are a seemingly happy mix of the best parts of French, Dutch and Caribbean who really seem to want to be here.  This, mind you, is the French side.  I’m not so sure how we’ll feel about the Dutch side.  I’m told there is quite a difference.

This marina – Marina Fort Louis – is outstanding.  Melissa is already deeply in love with the kid that helped us med-moor the boat today.  His name is Ian.  By the way, he’s 19.

Yeah, we’re going to like it here just fine.