Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 21 May 2012 22:31
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 ‘crowd’.
Speeches were the biggest part of the evening followed by a lovely finger buffet, silver served
Sally (on the left, Editor –in-Chief of Compass Magazine) was presented with an award.
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.
The Warrior Boys. Older hull, newer and newest.
I had a chat and a ‘spin’ with Jose – our smiling dock master
Christina, 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 game parks.
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 job.
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 CLUB