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The Voyage of Spectacle Football

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 ‘Football’ Category

Happy New Year!!!

Posted by: andy

Happy New Year with Dan & Selena!!Happy New Year from Providenciales, Turks & Caicos!  We spent our New Year’s Eve with our new friends Selena and Dan here at the nearly excellent Coyaba restaurant and the quite chi-chi Grace Bay Club.  Selena and Dan were down here honeymooning at the Grace Bay Club from their home in St. Louis, where Selena is a law student at an excellent law school and Dan is a sales rep for an excellent golf company.  We actually spent three very fun evenings with them, and I expect they’ll be our friends long after we leave the boat.

We also spent New Years Day with Selena and Dan, this time sitting on our behinds at what passes for a sports bar here in Provo (and, by the way, it passes pretty well, all things considered) and watching the Trojans shred the heretofore ballyhooed Wolverines, followed by the eye-popping Boise St./Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl.  During the games, I realized that this was the first Trojan Rose Bowl I have missed attending in exactly 30 years – and I’m only 34 years old.

As some of you likely have heard, our passage down here from Marsh Harbour was not exactly “smooth.”  I am working on a comprehensive integrated write-up of “Fiasco Autopilot” and “Fiasco-Plus Turks & Caicos Passage.”  The passage really was a borderline Calamity, except that (a) it was never dangerous, and (b) it always was at least somewhat funny.  I promise you a full (which will mean VERY lengthy but quite entertaining) account in the next couple of days. 

The Dilapidated Geo TrackerFor now, we are enjoying Provo, except for the third-world marina in which we are staying.  The marina is a very bumpy 20-minute drive down a dirt road from anything resembling civilization.  It has no hot water (so I haven’t shaved since Marsh Harbour) and is generally filthy, so we’re trying to finish our boat projects by around 2:00 p.m. each day before having a (cold) shower, getting dressed and heading into town (in our sweet rental Geo Tracker that is about to fall apart). 

We expect to be here for about another week before pushing off for St. Thomas.  It is unfortunate to be behind schedule already, but if there is one thing that the trip down here taught me, it is that you simply can’t use a “land” schedule for a “sea” trip.  We may have to skip an island or two that we’d previously planned on visiting, but that’s just how it goes.

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!

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!

Kings Cross, Sydney, New South Wales

Posted by: melissa

The wifi in the marina is pretty unstable, and I have a lot of high bandwidth projects that need to get done.  As such, my last chore on the shaky wifi was to find an Internet café that I can walk to.  The closest was in the Sydney neighborhood called Kings Cross, which is the red light district.  This part of town is on a fairly large hill, so historically, wealthy settlers moved up the ridge away from the city slums and waterfront squalor.  Kings Cross developed into a pretty snazzy neighborhood, but as always, slums spread and the rich migrate to the suburbs.  By the 1920s, Kings Cross earned a bohemian reputation providing safe haven for artists, immigrants, and drifters.  Pubs, clubs and cabarets started to spring up, and by the 1970s, Kings Cross was a seedy and crime-ridden combination of drug addicts, mob bosses, and prostitutes. 

These days, Kings Cross has been cleaned up quite a bit, and appears to be trending upward.  The iconic symbol of the neighborhood is the huge glowing Coca-Cola sign at the intersection of William and Victoria.  While there are some sketchy pockets, I found the Cross to be very “seedy chic” and pretty much safe in a “just keep your wits about you” way.  There are lots of shady bars, sex shops, massage parlors, and of course, strip clubs, and several are quite humorous … Two Hands Required, the Bada Bing, the Pleasure Chest, the Landing Strip.  One displays a banner out front proclaiming “No NRL Players Allowed.”  The NRL is rugby league, and many rugby league players are notoriously badly behaved while fans and management look the other way.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of street people just milling around.  There’s no mistaking the drug-addicted prostitutes who hook to support their habit … they are very haggard, bruised and battered, and frequently heartbreakingly young.

There’s the occasional odd ray of hope in Kings Cross as well.  There’s a former drug addict turned street-cleaning janitor who walks Darlinghurst Road everyday bidding “G’day” to everyone and tending to those in need.  There’s the famous Russian hawker at one club who has been greeting customers at the door and protecting the strippers employed there for over 30 years.  There’s the alcoholic who sits at the bus stop on the corner of Darlinghurst and Bayswater every single day screaming four-letter-word insults at passersby.  Okay, that’s not the greatest example.  Nevertheless, the Kings Cross neighborhood appears to be improving with the appearance of higher end establishments catering to a normal crowd (restaurants, grocery stores, etc.), rather than the street crowd (strip clubs, massage parlors, etc.).

Eavesdropping at the Yacht Club and Off to Rugby League

Posted by: melissa

After our nap yesterday, we realized that the Newcastle Knights were playing the Canberra Raiders in rugby league that evening, and we felt pretty good and recovered enough from the passage to go out.  Andy bought tickets online, and we set off.

First, we went to the Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club for an adult beverage.  It’s a very nice place, and chock full of local boaters.  Andy and I were eavesdropping on the conversation going on at the table behind us.  They were in a heated discussion about the Gold Coast and how it is culture-free.  We hear this a lot, and of course, the same criticisms are frequently made about the United States.  And I think it’s all pretty harsh.  I mean think about it … places like Sydney and Los Angeles are just never going to be Rome or Istanbul, but that doesn’t mean that they’re culture-free. 

In a way, Australia has a much better excuse than the United States.  Captain Cook and the Endeavor landed in 1770, but the First Fleet didn’t arrive until 1788, and that was for the penal colony.  Plus, Australia is far more remote than the U.S., especially by the standards of early days.  And, exploration and travel across Australia was far harsher than the experiences of American settlers moving west.  To this day, large parts of Australia are still uninhabitable even with technological advances. 

Newcastle Knights Super Fan -- and much warmer rugby league spectator!

Newcastle Knights Super Fan -- and much warmer rugby league spectator!

My point is that I think Australia has evolved into a very distinct culture given its youth as a society and its many geographical and topographical challenges.  As we further eavesdropped, one guy tried to make the point that China has no real culture either, just a long-standing civilization.  I still haven’t figured out what that craziness actually meant or what it has to do with Gold Coast, but I thought it was pretty amusing.      

We then went next door to have a bite at the local restaurant which happens to be one of the best in Newcastle, and it was really good.  We hopped into a taxi and headed out to the ground.  I immediately realized that I was going to be too cold, so we swung by the team shop and I instantly became a Newcastle Knights super fan by double bill-boarding with hat and scarf.  After a convincing Knights victory, we cabbed it home, had dessert and decaf at the local, and went to bed.  Tomorrow we’ll rent a car and head out to the Hunter Valley wine country.


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