Lynn's Rant Against Stupid Charter Boats
05 February 2011 | Anywhere in the Caribbean
I thought I had seen some stupid things by charter boats, but I think I have finally seen the ballsiest thing of the lot. Today, a charter boat anchored right next to us (we are on a mooring ball) and refused to acknowledge our concerns about the possibility of swinging into us. My very obvious anger and very obvious final comment must have made them reconsider a little bit... they took a stern line and tied it to the anchor chain of another boat... without their permission!
There are some very nice and capable charter boaters, but we have seen and heard some things that make our heads shake in shear bewilderment....
"(Charter) Base, we are out of anchors"... they had discarded their anchor rather than bringing it back on board. Doh!
We have seen 10 people packed into a 10 foot dinghy, with about 4 inches of freeboard showing. Ain't nobody getting out of that trip without a wet butt. Next time, try two trips.
We have had too many charterers disregard our local knowledge of an area... and find out the hard way for themselves.
In Marina cay in the BVI's, the race to the next favourite bay with mooring balls is insane. We saw a boat run aground trying to avoid a collision with another boat speeding in for one of the last balls. When I helped them get free (they aren't going to do it on their own) I wasn't even offered a drink as a thank you. Cruisers would have had us over for dinner!
A charterer who was anchoring uncomfortably close to a friend said to him "it's okay, I know this boat... I've had it two days"... to a man that has had his boat for twelve years.
Charter boats going through anchorages at warp speed and passing within half a boat length of anchored or moored boats. AND staring into our cockpits. C'mon people, a little privacy here!
Many charterers don't respect a little swing space between boats is appreciated. When we point out that they are too close, they often give us a hard time, especially when the boat has six or eight people on board....the herd mentality prevails. What they don't understand is that this boat is our home, and if they hit us, they will mess up our lives, not just our vacation. One guy (the same one as at the beginning of this rant) said "It's okay, we'll pay". I don't want your money, I want you to not hit my boat. Pretty simple.
I find that the areas with many charterers tend to be the places with the most aggressive "boat boys" and some of the most expensive boat services. Charterers don't understand what the going rate is in a area, and often pay too much for stuff. Then the vendors wonder why cruisers are tougher to deal with... we don't want to pay too much!
Okay, that's enough for now. I want a paint ball gun for use against boats who anchor too close to us...
Dinner at Tony's
05 February 2011 | Soufriere, St. Lucia
Trudy, Dave, Ken and I piled into one dinghy and took the 2 minute ride in to the dock at Jalousie Plantation (pronounced "jealousy" by the locals). We were greeted by Victor the security guard who was very pleasant and let us know we could leave the dinghy there. We figured it would be a very safe place for the dinghy since it is a rather exclusive resort and residence complex with lots of security. We then started the walk up the hill to meet Tony and the car. We had no idea that it was going to be a 25 minute walk up a steep roadway; if it was any steeper, the cars would have had problems with it. By the time we got to the top, I was perspiring like I was doing a hash! We all survived it, though.
Tony got to the gate at the same time we did (late!) and we got into his SUV. They don't need four wheel drive here for snow, but certainly some of the roads here necessitate the power. We got to the main road and headed south, then headed for the interior. We ended up fairly close to Mount Gimie, the highest peak on the island. Tony's place is located in the area where his family has had property for a couple of generations. He has a magnificent view of a valley and the remains of the town below.
Hurricane Tomas did a fair amount of damage with its' winds, but the biggest damage was done by the rains. Some of the hillsides have been cleared of trees for farming, and when they became saturated with rain, large areas were lost in mudslides. Tony lost a whole family of friends (5 people) and Robert or Bobbie, another friend of Tony's, lost members of his family in the slides. We looked down on a town that was pretty much destroyed by a river of mud; there were three houses in the middle of town that had started on the mountain side.
Tony's house is also on the side of a hill, as most are, but he built it with hurricanes in mind. It is an eclectic spread of rooms in the surrounded by his gardens. He has some ornamental plants, but he also grows dasheen, yams, sugar cane, mangos, avocados, coconuts, turnips, bananas and other good foods. He has one boa constrictor (in a cage), birds, fish, and two land turtles. Plus the regular dogs and cats. He lives there with his wife (she was born and raised in Calgary, but is rather shy) and Jamie (his nephew) and Bobbie (a friend who works the garden). Tony has a bar, or rum shop, that seems more like someone's rec room than a place of business.
When we arrived, we got a tour of the property, and an introduction into some of the fruits and vegetables. I had hoped to be part of the food prep, but that wasn't to be. We ended up in his bar and played a little pool and had a little rum. Bobbie was kind enough not to embarrass us too badly in pool. Since we were up in the hill country, it actually became rather cold for us. I had to ask for a wrap of some sort I was so cold. The irony of the Canadian freezing in the Tropics was not lost on any of us!
Dinner was ready. Christophene salad, lettuce salad, ground provisions and an amazing curried chicken that no one needed coercing to have a second helping of. Previously, we have considered ground provisions, in this case dasheen, green banana, wild yams and sweet potatoes, as kind of dry and boring, but for this meal they were the perfect way to sop up the sauce/gravy from the chicken. Now we understand what's up with the provisions!
We are all happily sated. Tony is a business man with his "bar" and a guest room available for rent. It was an opportunity to enjoy a home cooked meal in a very non-touristy area. The meal was fabulous, and the company fun.
We got back to the boats at about 11:00pm, but we didn't have to walk down the hill, as Tony was allowed past security because we were in the car with him. "Persephone" and we agreed on our contribution to Tony for the dinner and gas money, and we all agreed that we had a great time.