Monday, December 30, 2013
And so we took a bus from Ocho Rios to Kingston, with the Knutsford Express (www.knutsfordexpress.com).. Nice bus, good airco, free water and even a movie… The 90 km, took us abt 2,5 hours.. The ride takes you over some mountain ridges, all very green, very lush and tropical. At the final busstop, we accepted an offer of a taxi driver to get us to the Bob Marley Museum. For an hour we were guided through the house where the legend lived and even recorded (and literaly produced the vinyl) some albums. He died too young of a neglected skin cancer (so they say, there are however other theories abt his death..), 36 years of age. The best part of the tour was the movie clip session (too short)… A simple message of peace, love, respect and acceptance, together with a little Kaya (beter known as: ganja).. Yeah Mon… (Of course had to buy the Legend CD).
We quickly learned that saturday is kind of a dead day in the capital. Literally nothing happening, and even the taxi driver had a hard time for suggesting a place we (tourists) should go.
So, we strolled along in New Kingston, had some lunch and waited for the bus ride back to Ocho Rios… And so we talked about the country, and little that we know, however some insights came to the surface…I had read that 60% op the population would like for Jamaica to be back under England.. They are independent since 1962, and have had a lot of gang type criminal and political tense situations since then (this is one of the things Bob sings about). As per the stereotype IMF rules and regulations, Jamaica is in big debt with this and other organisations, and consequently, no money left for decent infra structure, housing, education. Jamaica produces enough: Sugar, Bauxiet, Rum, the Tourist industry, but it never seems enough to solve the most burning issues. On top of that, being independent means to work and get your country going. It seems the sense of collectivity is missing in this country (fair enough, we havent spent time here to realy understand the deeper issues of Jamaica, but this is what did appear to us), and this attitude mixed with slogans as: No Problem in Jamaica, Chill and smoke some weed… it is easy to understand that it may take a while before things turn around… Again, we maybe totaly off with this quick Xray and if so, we hope somebody will inform us. The street vendors, restaurants and taxis are interested in the fast quick dollar, and so they dont seem to be looking at longer term, repeat business.
And, in words of Bob himself… Get Up Stand Up…Stand up for your rights..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLYOOezs3DA
Sunday, December 29, 2013
And so we left Aruba… Dora returned from Brazil, we took one day to stock up and get ourselves organized (not well enough as later events would teach us..). Early in the morning, leaving the SurfSide anchorage, and motored to Customs and Immigration for check out procedure and from there we set our course to Jamaica, some 485 miles to go…
Forecasted was an Easterly wind of around 20 knots, but, as usual is the case, it turned out to be stronger and also the waves that kind of came from all directions, but mainly right from the starboard side slaming into Onda Boa. With the main sail in its second reef and a reefed genoa, we were flying (and rocking and rolling) along… Boat speeds of 8-9 knots constantly…. we even managed to board two blue finned tunas…
In the evening and night on top of this stiff breeze, we had a bunch of squalls to deal with as well… Windspeeds picked up to close to 40 knots and at times we clocked 14 knots boat speed… All in all very uncomfortable, and we learned quickly that to prep a boat for a longer passage way, needs some more attention (stowing away items that may, and will fall for instance). After a month on dry land, Dora had yet to return to the swing of things (literaly) and so was not feeling too well. After the first 24 hours, we covered 215 miles, which was a record for us… And the wind actualy in the morning increased in speeds and were close to 30 knots… So, we put the 3rd reef in the main sail and reefed the genoa somewhat more. I was able to download a new weather forecast via the satelite phone, and in our track leading direct to Jamaica, we would have a near gale situation, with like wise wave paterns… Hmmm, didnt like that, so the course was altered to somewhat more northerly in order to get closer to Haiti, as in that region was lesser wind predicted. It would mean more milage, and especialy on the last day less wind (and thus less speed), but that was preferred over putting the boat and ourselves in an even more uncomfortable situation. This tactic worked and we managed to arrive in relatively calmer weather…Adjusting our course again more easterly we actualy had the wind (and waves) comming from our stern and so with only the genoa, we arrived in Port Antonio in the afternoon of the third day. At first sight, it kind of reminded us of Ilha Grande/IlhaBela (Brazil), lush green slopes ending abruptly in the ocean…
We stayed in the West Habour area, and did our custom red tape thing at the Erol Flynn Marina (First Quarantine check, then customs then immigration) only then are you allowed to leave the Marina, and anchor out in the bay, which still is charged US$ 12 per boat per day..(this detail wasnt mentioned in the guides that we studied). Anyway, a nice shower, some nice food and a very well earned nights sleep was all that we needed. The next day was spent in getting the Onda Boa, clean and organized again.
We walked around in Port Antonio… hustle and bustle, street vendors of all kinds, busy shops, an unexpected colorful street scene…The town appears to be kind of run down, not looked after very well. But hey, No Problem in Jamaica Mon… Respect.
Back on board, and after laundry done at the Marina, we enjoyed a superb Christmas Dinner (Brazilian tradition).
As the next day would be a quiet day on land, we decide to sail further along the northern shorelines of Jamaica. After we enjoyed our Christmas breakfast and had everthing going, it was already around 11 am, and so we were not going to make Ocho Rios as planned. Weather was not good (squalls, rain and still a unsettling swell) we quickly moved into Port Maria, and tried to stay behind Carbarita Island (the swell was still getting to us, but were able to get sleep well.
The next day, sun was out, no wind and so we kind of motor sailed towards Ocho Rios. But, first a stop at the Oracabassa basin (Goldeneye) the place where Mr Ian Flemming used to live and write the James Bond stories. In fact in this bay some footage of Dr No have been filmed.. For all of you that are my age AND James Bond fans (who isnt, i mean me myself once thought that i could be a kind of a 007) was thrilled to be in this location.
Further on to Ocho Rios, touristy, better kept than Port Antonio for example and nice and quiet anchorage (clean water). Our next adventures will be about our stroll into the farmers market, and a visit to the capital Kingston. Stay tuned for more Jamaican fun Mon…
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
After an open and frank talk between Dora, myself and Lucky, we accepted Lucky’s firm wish to desembarque in Aruba, and live the life of her dreams… Not on a limited floating playground, but the good old steady ground. She wants to run again. And we are happy to have found a good place for her.
I feel that my mission in her life has been completed: She was literally saved from certain death at the dog pound in Natal (Brazil) when rescued right at the gates of dog hell…
Now, Lucky is moving on and so are we…
Run Lucky, be free as you can be..
New adventures for all…
All the best
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
These weeks, with Dora in Brazil for pending business issues, calmly anchored in Aruba and sometimes very busy in managing my free time….I am catching up on overdue medical check ups (dental, skin etc), the to-do boat list (yes my friends, I take the luxury of spending one whole day on a cabinet door repair…). The other day talking to new neighbours here in the anchorage we shared experiences that it takes a while to get over the good old strut of working the 9 – 5 routine. It is probably a mix of upbringing, religion (calvinistic pray and work doctrine…) and culture… Anyway, now, having the time (how prescious is that) it is one of the many blessings we can count everyday, also reading more (viva Kindle, and free music downloads…). Finally our BitStorm Wifi antena booster is paying of.. I am catching aride on the relatively good wifi signal courtesy of the Renaissance Hotel… a big thanks.
So, yes, I saw Matt Damon reciting a text (from Howard Zinn,1970) regarding civil disobedience (http://daily.represent.us/matt-damon-blows-your-mind/) and thought that was very interesting. I do feel sometimes that the rules don’t apply to me…This feeling is amplified once you are living and traveling by sailboat, where there is only one authority but your own.
I read information from fellow cruisers who aparently get upset with Custom and Immigration Red tape (in several countries) for instance after checking out they want you gone imediately or in either 4 or 24 hours, and some fellow cruisers have dificulty in following those time frames and get upset.. and I don’t get that.. Some complain about the fact that there are seemingly different rules and regulations all the time…And yes, they are right, but …. Once you decide to live your life onboard a sailboat, you have the golden oportunity the choose free will, to make up your own rules and follow your moral compass. Truly, those custom and immigration things… Just be civil disobedient, don’t take whatever Custom official tells you for the truth…. Being on a sailboat you can always get away with not complying with their time line (too much wind, no wind, motor issues…) and that is IF somebody comes out to question you..
So, maybe we should all sometimes let the pirate inside speak up… It is ok to practice being civil disobedient every now and again (always??), use your own free will and follow your moral compass…