We walked past Hickmett and
thoroughly approved of his outfit
All boats in Hemmingway Marina were
invited to the yacht club to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Our
invitation had come through the OCC (Ocean Cruising Club). Off we trotted and
were greeted by the Commandant and his wife.
Out on the terrace rum punch and
mojitos were waiting, we toasted our wedding
anniversary and Julie’s (an unbelievable four years, RIP). The evening
was very well supported by the general public and many uniforms were in the
were the biggest part of the evening followed by a lovely finger buffet, silver
the left, Editor –in-Chief of Compass Magazine) was presented with an
Sally Erdle and her friend Anne
Westergard (circumnavigator up from the San Blas) had just spent a week as
candidates at a conference in the hotel. The subject was about moving Cuba
forward in the yachting world. As the week went on it was clear that neither
Cuba or America were willing to change anything. We heard about an American
private plane filled with individuals wishing to attend the conference that had
been refused permission to take off at the very last moment.......
Personally, we couldn’t stay here for
the entire hurricane season as we depend long term on the internet for staying
in contact with friends and family, banking, credit card payments, sending
blogs, researching boat parts, maintenance issues and general info. It is clear
that the Cuban Government wish to contain the number of companies with internet
access. The few times we trotted to the hotel the one public computer always had
a long queue.
What we hadn’t realised until we got
here that so many ‘old Cubans’ left to settle in Florida before the current
regime took over and hold the ear of Washington. They assume one day to return
to their original mansions and pick up from where they left. They as a group
have no wish to see any ‘softening’ in the relationship between Cuba and the USA
until such times as the political situation changes.
Boys. Older hull, newer and newest.
I had a chat and a ‘spin’ with Jose – our smiling dock master
an Austrian crewing on an English yacht, celebrating her successful application
for an American Visa issued in Havana (quite something).
Me meeting ‘my
new best friend’. His card reads – Nicolas Goschenko S. Presidente
Organizacion Nacional de Salvamento y Seguridad Maritima de los Espacios
Acuaticos de Venezuela. Fancy picking the telephone up and reciting that with
Good Morning at the end of it. Anyway Nick to me. He
told me his grandfather was a Russian Cossack. I asked if he was a good rider
and he laughed readily agreeing he was quite the rider in his youth. He was
obviously one of the uniforms we had seen.
We also shook hands with Waruna
Wilpatha, Encardo de Negocios from the Embassy of Sri Lanka, a really gentle man
and also a gentle lady called H. E. Ms. Mitradevi Ali – Ambassador to the
Embassy of Guyana.
We had a thoroughly good time in the
company of Kim and Brenton, South Africans crewing on
a boat owned by their friends, all returning to their home port of Knysna. We of
course had to tell them our favourite story and to this day the funniest thing I
have ever seen in my life - from that very town.
I had been on conference at the Mount
Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, when I had finished Bear flew out to meet me for a
week long tour in a hire car across the coast road of South Africa – not the
wine route, but the actual coast road, complete with unmade bits. We stayed in
B+B’s along the way and spent a day and a night at a game reserve. En route to
Port Elizabeth we stopped at a orphaned elephant sanctuary, in Knysna, funnily
enough near to where Kim and Brenton live. We paid our entry fee and listened to
a talk on the work of the sanctuary and how they nurse the baby elephants (often
witness to the traumatic loss of their mother) to adulthood and release to big
We paid for a bucket of vegetables to
feed to the babies which included carrots, bits of potatoes and cabbage leaves.
Bear happily fed his baby with the cabbage leaves and it thanked him by sneezing
on him. Now I have never seen an elephant sneeze but the result was dollops of
sneeze material hanging from Bear’s glasses, all down his clean white shirt,
down the front of his shorts and even on to his sandals. The park rangers looked
to me to see if they were allowed to laugh but by that time I was completely
helpless. Everyone soon joined in except for an affronted Bear who used his
index fingers like windscreen wipers to see out of his glasses, as he flicked
the dangling material off, we all laughed even harder. I don’t sadly have a
picture of the event as I was incapable of holding anything let alone a camera
steady to my face. The picture of me above was taken
well before the event.
Bear did get revenge the following
day when we stopped at a lion rescue centre. The one I am
holding is a very rare and endangered white lion. Just after this shot
was taken it lolled back in my arms, yawned and promptly bit in to my right
boob. Would it let go? By now I didn’t care if it was the last of its kind
on the planet – I wanted to be let loose. I tried the fingers in the lips and
between the teeth to no avail. Bearing in mind the amount of rangers guarding
this little monster, I had to be slick and unseen in my challenge for freedom. I
gently began to shove my left thumb in to its throat, smiling and cooing all the
time, to the point it had to let go or face its final breath. To this day I have
the teeth marks. A dish best served cold.
Shut it Bear. Oh wasn’t that the cubs
Have you ever seen anyone poked in
the eye with a miniature pasty
Run Bear Run
ALL IN ALL A WONDERFUL EFFORT
BY THE YACHT