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The Voyage of Spectacle Guests

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 ‘Guests’ Category

Great Guana Cay

Posted by: andy

On Sunday, December 17, the three of us ventured out to Great Guana Cay for a visit to the infamous Nippers and its weekly Sunday pig roast. 

The Rainbow Bulldozer Marks the Path to NippersAs beach bars go, it’s pretty tough to top Nippers, and getting there is half the fun.  After the ferry (about 30 minutes), one follows the signs on a Candyland-like adventure — turn left at the fence, right at the graveyard (complete with picture of the grim reaper on the gate), left at the rainbow-colored bulldozer, steer clear of the poisonwood tree, up and over the hill and you are there (we managed to avoid Molasses Swamp).Nippers Beach Bar at Great Guana 

Nippers itself is a multicolored, multi-tiered, cacophony of wood planking and American tourist jackassery.  It appeared to be South Carolina day at Nippers, as evidenced by the number of sun-burned necks protruding from Clemson and University of South Carolina tanktops. 

The pig roast was pretty good (alas, the pork was already carved and in trays, so there were no porcine rotisserie displays), the “Nipper” (a frozen rum punch concoction) proved excellent, the weather was perfect, and a good time was had by all.  We took a long walk along the beautiful beach, returned for a final round, and got ready to head home.

Just as we were closing out, Erik attracted … well, let’s just call it what was … a gay stalker.  This guy tried everything – herd separation tactics, inviting the three of us to dinner, etc.  He even invited us to stay at his apartment.  This dude was PERSISTENT.  He was accompanied by one of his co-workers (reasonably intoxicated, not particularly annoying) and a fall-down, Stacey Toran-drunk Australian (there’s always at least one wherever you go) who was some sort of boat captain/crewman.

The six of us sauntered back to the ferry dock (past the graveyard, the rainbow bulldozer…) to await the last ferry of the day.  Shortly thereafter, a very distraught woman holding a very small plastic bag arrived at the dock.  As we came to learn, she was holding her friend’s fingers.  We were told that the friend was building her own house on Great Guana and was the victim of a table-saw accident. Apparently, the owner of the fingers had already been transported to Marsh Harbour, en route to Nassau, inexplicably sans digits. 

Fall-down drunk Australian sprang into action.  Apparently, he’d come over to Great Guana in some sort of small powerboat that was affiliated with the bigger boat of which he was captain/crewman.  He dashed (ok, staggered) off to retrieve his powerboat so that the fingers could be sped to Marsh Harbour. Gay Stalker, apparently in a hurry to get home, suggested that we all hop on the boat.  Needless to say, we declined – we’re not getting on a speedboat, at night, in a very tricky harbor, with a fall-down drunk Aussie driver and the gay stalker co-pilot.  Equally needless to say, the gay stalker then changed his mind and decided to wait with us, and off roared the speedboat at triple the recommended speed. Yikes.  All I could think is that it takes a true friend to hop on drunken Aussie’s speedboat to make a nighttime delivery of your severed fingers.  More Pictures 

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.

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.

Quick Trip to Panama City

Posted by: andy

Andy and Erik in Casco Viejo with the Panama City SkylineApparently not discouraged by his somewhat dramatic previous visit, my brother Erik has traveled down from New York to transit the Canal with us.  With our crossing date up in the air and Shelter Bay feeling decidedly prison-like, we decided to head across to Panama City for last weekend.

Having visited Panama City in 2006, we already loved the place, and nothing has happened to change our opinion.  We had a blast, including delicious meals at our old favorite Ten Bistro and new favorite Manolo Caracol.  The Ten Bistro meal included a couple of bottles of Navarro Correas Ultra, the first South American wine I have ever had that is affirmatively delicious in a “Robert Parker 93 points” kind of way.  Personally, I think the alleged improved quality of South American wines has been grossly overstated (and we’ve had plenty of sampling opportunities), but this is the exception.

We spent a fair amount of time wandering the streets of Casco Viejo, made a return trip to the Palace of the Herons and their big strange birds, loved our hotel (the DeVille), and checked out the Panama Canal museum.  It was a pretty short trip, but we had a great time and it was a nice diversion from the annoyance of waiting for our transit appointment.


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