Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/77/8700877/tmp/sess_qv5q6diiknr9795nkk2oacp3g2, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php:1) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php:1) in /home/content/77/8700877/html/wp-content/plugins/pxs_mail/pxsmail.php on line 1
The Voyage of Spectacle Beach Bars

The Voyage

Spectacles

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 the ‘Beach Bars’ Category

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

Thoughts on Saint Martin

Posted by: melissa

The Obelisk at the Border Makes for a Tame Crossing between France and HollandOn the north end of the Eastern Caribbean chain, the island of Saint Martin overlooks British (and super ritzy) Anguilla with another popular French West Indies enclave, St. Barts (also super ritzy), about 13 miles to the southeast.  With both Dutch and French sides, Saint Martin is the smallest island in the world shared by two different countries (about 38 total square miles).  After multiple skirmishes involving the Spanish and British and area indigenous peoples, the island’s border between Dutch and French has remained pretty much consistent since the agreement in 1648.  That border is totally open marked by a small obelisk and a Bienvenue / Welkom sign.

As big fans of French culture and cuisine, we planned to make landfall on the French side.  Marigot, the main town on the French side, is hustling and bustling … not much late nightlife but plenty of restaurants and shops especially given the nearby ferry dock. 

Built in 1767, Fort Louis was named after the famous and ill-fated French king, Louis XVI, and was established to protect Marigot from foreign invaders, particularly the British.  At the end of Rue de la Republique and in the shadow of Fort Louis, the Fort Louis Marina is definitely a landmark in Marigot and a great central point for island travel.  We quickly adopted a local café, the Deli Spoon, befriending the jack of all trades wait person, Carole, and taking advantage of its great food and coffee, high speed internet connection, and friendly regular clientele. 

The main drag in Grand Case (about 5 miles northeast of Marigot) hosts the French side’s cuisine trophies, and we spent many a long, wine-swilling, cheese-tasting, multi-course-enjoying evening there.  We visited the infamous Orient Beach with its beautiful views and white sand beach like talcum powder, oh and, naked sun worshippers everywhere.  And of course, we hit the infamous Sunset Beach Bar in all its glory, complete with 747s skimming the roof of the bar on their final descent, best bikini body contests, and shots.  We were mightily impressed.

We ventured to the Dutch side of the island several times … the Sunset Beach Bar, an expensive trip to Budget Marine (now renamed “Break-Your-Budget” Marine), and Kim Sha beach for the marquee event closing the Heineken Regatta.  Against our better judgment, we also made a trip to Philipsburg.

Most of the travel guides describe Saint Martin as a crassly over-developed island ruthlessly pursuing the tourist dollar.  Throughout our stay, we found this synopsis to be totally silly as we experienced nothing but happy-go-lucky, as well as happy-to-help, locals.  No hustling, no pan-handling, no aggressive sales tactics, no thinly-veiled street scams, no “special” pricing, no shamelessly tacky crap stores, nothing.  Frankly, French Saint Martin has been our stand-out favorite Caribbean island thus far.

The Beach Boardwalk at Phillipsburg, Saint Martin, Dutch SideSadly, Philipsburg is a whole different ball of wax.  With terrible traffic and little parking, the entire town is quite commercial and charm-free except for the areas easily walked by cruise ship tourists in a 3-to-4-hour shore excursion.  The beach boardwalk is somewhat picturesque with a nice anchorage, millions of beach chairs, and generic bars and The Problem with Phillipsburgrestaurants.  The huge shopping street is jampacked with cruise ship patrons walking in circles and methodically muttering the words “duty free” under their breath.  The retail competition, especially among jewelry  stores, is ferocious and palpably desperate.  We bought some consumer goods, mistakenly ate at a French restaurant (on the Dutch side? Hello!), and high-tailed it back to France in soul-crushing traffic.

Grazing Pigs and Chickens in PhillipsburgIn lieu of a specific event, a mandatory trip to the island’s best chandlery, a flight, or a jaunt to the Sunset Beach Bar, there’s little reason to cross the border.  The picture to the right sums up our thoughts on Philipsburg.   

 

The Sail to Grenada Via Bequia

Posted by: melissa

When planning a sail, we look at the distance and route between the two points, plan for an early daytime arrival, and work backwards to a departure time and sailing strategy.  We get very frustrated when we arrive at our destination with not enough daylight left to make the approach and land the boat safely.  In that case, we are forced to heave-to and wait until dawn which can be a very long night monitoring traffic and maintaining an acceptable position.  The sailing time from St. Lucia to Grenada is fairly short, but while passing by the Grenadines island chain, we had to plan for the nighttime lee effect and some other idiosyncrasies.  As such, we started to consider the possibility of a stop along the way.

St. Vincent is by far the largest of the Grenadines, but we dropped it from our itinerary after hearing some less than flattering reviews mostly involving gangs of impoverished, disenfranchised, and armed young men.  We knew about other super fancy islands of the Grenadines – most notably, Mustique, where Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous spends a lot of time with the likes of Mick Jagger and Paul Newman, but I’d rather visit Mustique during the extremely impressive Blues Festival.  However, we heard many good things about Bequia and decided to stop there.

Meaning “island of the clouds” in Arawak, Bequia (pronounced beck-way) is the second largest island of the Grenadines.  Our cruising guides indicated that the bay in Port Elizabeth is a charming anchorage, and though our upcoming cricket commitments prevented us from staying for the annual Easter Regatta, we decided to pull in and check it out.  Distance-wise, Bequia was the perfect intermediate stop since we left St. Lucia in late afternoon and dropped anchor at Port Elizabeth around 9:00 a.m. the next morning.  The night’s sail was really nice and uneventful — Will shared impressions (examples here and here) of Billy Birmingham imitating famous Australian cricket announcer Richie Benaud, which had us in fits.

The anchorage turned out to be insanely crowded, but Andy and I put on a pretty impressive display of anchoring.  We then woke Will up and put him on anchor watch (since he hadn’t taken a night watch), and Andy and I slept for several hours.  With a power nap behind us, we prepared to go to shore, which, from a distance, looked fantastically charming and quirky.  Andy and Will started pumping up the dinghy.  After further investigation of the Jost van Dyke incident, Andy and I have a sneaking suspicion that our previous episode with the dinghy might very well be attributed to a combination of user error and Dread Fox (for Melissa) and Sly Fox (for Andy) cocktails.

As such, we inflated the heck out of the dinghy, jumped on it, double checked all the valves, listened for leaks, and made sure the hand-pump would come to shore with us.  We lowered it into the water and all systems seemed a go.  Unfortunately, the stupid outboard wouldn’t start this time.  I had just tested it in St. Lucia, where it was fine.

After trying the string about a thousand times, we began the disappointing chore of deflating the dinghy and putting everything back together.  Stuck on the boat with plenty of daylight left, we decided to make a quick meal on the boat, pull up anchor, and head to Grenada knowing that we had enough time for an early daylight arrival.  Will got to experience a sadly typical passage … so much of the trip is low on glamour and high on frustration.  In any event, the little we saw of Bequia looked spectacular!

The sail to Grenada was pleasant and uneventful with good wind in the headsail.  I went to bed early and got up around 4:00 a.m. for watch.  As such, I watched the sun come up and the island come into view as we passed by it to get to the preferred bays to the south.  It was an absolutely spectacular morning — mist on 2756-foot Mount St. Catherine provided breathtaking rainbows, lush tropical rainforest, blue sky and bluer ocean, and dolphins welcoming me with my morning coffee.

Sri Lanka Superfans — The 5 Part Series

Posted by: andy

Sri Lankan Cricket and the Cricket World Cup came to play a surprisingly central role in our lives in March and April.  The tournament just ended, and we already are having withdrawal pains.  Rather than interspersing cricket tales with everything else, we decided to consolidate them in one place.  So, in keeping with our propensity for five-part series, we offer you the chronicle of our time as the Sri Lanka Superfans.

Episode I

After our outing to Trinidad and Tom Moody’s entreaty to come watch more games, we knew that we had to join up with the team once again.

Episode II

After the game, we drove to the team hotel to greet the team bus.  There were high-fives aplenty, but we only stuck around for about five minutes.  To be honest, we were getting a little bit worried that they might be beginning to think we’re crazy/annoying stalkers.

Episode III

After talking about the trip for a while, Melissa asked them if they wanted to see the boat.  Jayasuriya did her one better — he wondered aloud whether we could take them sailing.

Episode IV

After everybody changed clothes, we were invited to the post-game team celebration at the hotel.  Once again, it was us, the families, the coaches and the team.  Dozens of would-be crashers tried to get in on the action, to no avail.

Episode V

Not five minutes later, the PA announcer came on and notified us that the game would begin at (as I recall) 12:30 and would be 38 overs per side.  “There’s absolutely no way they’re going to get in 38 overs per side,” I said to Melissa.  “I know,” she said.  “We’re going to be batting in the dark.”


Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/77/8700877/tmp/sess_qv5q6diiknr9795nkk2oacp3g2, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0