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 the ‘Cricket World Cup’ Category

Rodney Bay Marina and Other Observations

Posted by: melissa

Rodney Bay is turning out to be a really nice marina.  Its location in a protected lagoon keeps the boat very flat, with the exception of the wake from marina employees zipping around in small power boats (about which I complain to no end).  We heard a rumor that the marina will be receiving a major overhaul to include new washroom facilities and even fancy floating docks.  The latter would definitely be helpful since tide change can make boat entry and exit difficult during some parts of the day.  As a matter of fact, I nearly went for a swim while jumping off the boat on our way to the airport to go to Trinidad.  It was SO CLOSE!  The dock was much lower than the boat’s deck, and when I jumped, I fell down, flipped backwards ass over tea kettle, and very nearly rolled backwards into the nasty marina water.  I personally thank Pilates for stopping my backward momentum!

The marina also seems to be a hub for a lot of circumnavigators and seasonal yachters, so we’ve met many fun and interesting people.  Additionally, the World Cup tourists have provided an international flair as well.  I typically like sporting events since sports fans can be so lively and delightfully competitive and passionate.  If you don’t believe me, go hang out in Pasadena during the Rose Bowl game, or go to the city that’s hosting the Super Bowl, and you will see some fun (and slightly crazy) people!  St. Lucia was crawling with cricket super fans crazy enough to follow their team half way around the world.  Very fun!

Nevertheless, a marina closer to the “real action” of St. Lucia (i.e. the pitons, fancier parts of the island, more renowned beaches, etc.) might be an improvement.  On this point, we probably differ from most yacht people in that we want to go to The Plantation Room at Jalousie or Dasheene at Ladera to clean out the wine list and sample the island’s finest dining establishments, but the driving proves difficult both in time and effort.  I find driving through Castries to be particularly harrowing, especially when a cruise ship is in port, which is nearly always.  Combine confusing and one-way streets with T-shirt-shopping-crazed, cruise-ship tourists on a deadline with speeding and rude local drivers … panic is inevitable!

Thoughts on St. Lucia

Posted by: andy

Much like Martinique, St. Lucia is a place we were very excited to visit and very much predisposed to like.  With its famous Pitons and its abundance of high-end resorts (including the world’s #1 hotel in 2005 according to Conde Nast), we had high hopes.

We tied up at Rodney Bay Marina, which is the obvious choice.  Located on the northwest coast of the island, it’s well protected and reasonably organized.  It also has a decidedly better-than-adequate great (albeit quite pricey) marina bar, Scuttlebutt’s.

By now, you have probably surmised that we have become immersed in the Cricket World Cup.  Scuttlebutt’s had all the games on TV, as well as all the high-alcohol-low-flavor beer and fried seafood we’ve come to expect from the Caribbean.  This had a way of cutting into our sight-seeing.

Another thing that cut into the sight-seeing was the craziness involved in getting around the island.  The roads are very treacherous (think Positano) and the other drivers are the most reckless we have ever seen.  Indeed, throughout the Caribbean, the whole “island time” thing just doesn’t translate into the behavior of the drivers.  Everyone appears to be in quite a hurry to get somewhere and in absolutely no hurry to do anything once there.

St. Lucia’s Spectacular PitonsThe island is also deceptively large, which is to say that driving can be quite time-consuming.  Our only trip to the southern part of the island took fully an hour and was nerve-wreaking enough to deter us from a second attempt.  As a result, we never made it to the much-celebrated Ladera, although we did stop at Discovery at Marigot Bay, Ti Kaye, Anse Chastanet, Stonefield Estate, and, most importantly, Jalousie Plantation.

The Beautiful Sunset on the Beach Between the PitonsJalousie Plantation has what might be the most fantastic beach in the world, thanks to the setting — smack between the Pitons.  We managed to spend a sunset — with our mouths agape — standing on this one-of-a-kind beach.  The photos page has a few shots.

During our stay, we ran into Faye and Gary Hussion from Hullabaloo.

We had actually seen them for the first time at the Caicos Marina and Shipyard at the conclusion of the infamous Tale of the Twin Fiascoes.  They live part time in St. Lucia and part time in Virginia.  We ended up having two very fun dinners with this uproariously fun couple, and enjoyed cocktails over at their beautiful Rodney Bay home.

We also had the second truly outstanding meal since our departure.  Although not easy to find, The Coal Pot is quite well known and, for good reason, highly touted.  We went twice — the first time we ordered from the menu.  It was merely good.  At the end of our meal, we had the chance to sit and chat with the chef, Xavier Ribot, who, sensing our serious interest in food, invited us to come back and said he would just “cook for us.”  The second visit was tremendous – easily one of the best meals we’ve yet had in the Caribbean — and on the house.  Of course, it’s cheating just a little bit that we got such customized (and free) fare, but we’re not complaining.  It was outstanding in every way.

OK, — so far, so good.  Fun friends, beautiful scenery, even a downright great meal.  It sounds like St. Lucia is pretty great.

Sadly, that’s only part of the story.  Much like Martinique, St. Lucia has a palpable menace to it.  The racial tension is barely disguised, and the amount of violent crime is completely out of control.  There’s absolutely no way an island of 160,000 people should average about 40 murders per year — that’s a murder rate approaching that of notoriously violent places like Jamaica or Venezuela, and about six times the U.S. murder rate (or, to put it another way, about 60 times the Japanese murder rate).  Indeed, this first came to our attention when our googling of ”The Coal Pot” article this article first.

St. Lucia is a significant drug trafficking center, and certain areas of the east coast that are considered “no go” zones for visitors.  To be honest, we didn’t feel altogether comfortable walking the streets at night, and we had multiple “sketchy” situations in which the quick use of street smarts was required.

So, should you visit St. Lucia?  That depends what you are after.  Do you expect to spend your visit locked up behind the walls of a luxurious resort, content to sip umbrella drinks while slowly baking in the sun?  If so, then go for it.  But if you want to “get out” and go exploring, I can definitely think of better places.

Final Thoughts on St. Lucia

Posted by: melissa

Despite some of the previously described challenges of St. Lucia, we had a nice stay there.  Perhaps unfortunately for the island itself, our memories of St. Lucia will forever revolve around the Cricket World Cup and the amazing flavor it added to our experience.

Unfortunately for S/V Spectacle, we were not able to work on the boat as much we wanted.  The daily afternoon rain preempted much of the outdoor chores and woodwork (sanding, treating, and oiling), and the rail looks pretty shabby.  I did finally locate the outboard “earmuffs” (these cover the water intake for the engine’s cooling system so you can attach a hose and test the outboard without placing it in the water) and performed a successful test of the outboard.  Additionally, I cleaned and treated the fenders, and replaced their lines … a task that drove home for me how disgusting marina water really can be.  Indoor chores were partly ignored due to cricket festivities (a huge time commitment by the way) but reliable power (translate as “reliable air conditioning”) helped immensely while I treated all of the metal, polished the brass lamps, and washed everything down with wood soap.

The Rodney Bay marina has several repair shops as well as a chandlery.  We hired a general mechanic to service the water maker, which appears to work, but one can never know until it is actually running while at sea.  (Obviously, we will test the water maker repeatedly prior to crossing the Pacific Ocean.  We’ll bring more than ample drinking water, but I’m so much happier if I get to bathe regularly.)  We hoped that the same general mechanic could service the generator (yet AGAIN), but this did not happen due to a complicated series of miscommunications and misunderstandings (all of which I squarely blame on the shop’s receptionist who does nothing but scowl and read Jehovah’s Witness pamphlets).

During one of our many afternoons watching cricket at Scuttlebutts, we met a fun Australian cricket fan named Will who was in the West Indies on a contract job installing seats in the recently refurbished stadiums.  Will’s professional responsibilities came to an end in St. Lucia, and we invited him to join us on the sail to Grenada after making sure that he was neither a crazy axe murderer nor mutinous opportunist in the market for a free boat.  No offense to Will, but he’s no Johnny Depp!

After Sri Lanka’s last -second finish over England (see Sri Lanka Superfans Episode 1), we rushed back to the boat (engine still idling) to exit the channel before sunset.  Excited for a good sail (it’s been awhile since we were at sea) and full of cricket adrenaline, we headed out to sea, dodging the humongous cruise ships departing Castries harbor.

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.”

Back in the Cockpit

Posted by: melissa

Welcome to Year 2 of Spectacle’s spectacular shenanigans!

You might recall that, a mere six months into our trip, a twice-busted autopilot and an obsessive cricket-related detour resulted in Spectacle being far behind schedule.  Once the Bonaire autopilot fiasco reared its ugly head, we decided to cancel our plans to cross the Pacific during Year 1, wait out South Pacific hurricane season in Los Angeles, and proceed with our voyage during the next Pacific crossing season (which opens in April).

We spent five-plus months stateside catching up with friends and family, and of course, enjoying the amenities of American life that we don’t get out here on the boat.  College football (and especially Andy’s beloved USC Trojans and long-awful-but-suddenly-good Missouri Tigers) were high priorities.  Highlights included the Cotton Bowl and the USC versus Nebraska game in Lincoln.  Since we just don’t travel enough, we headed to Sri Lanka for a two-week cricket extravaganza / wedding reconnaissance mission / post-World Cup catch up session with the team.  Additionally, it was nice to spend Christmas at home especially considering the circumstances of last Christmas!