We’ve been anchored in Prickly Bay, for a few weeks awaiting a new
generator, a factory replacement from Fischer Panda, we’ve also been waiting for
a bowthruster to be delivered to us for our Cruisin’ Canuck friends on Ladyhawke, and we’ve also been waiting
for an inflatable toy, no, not a doll, a sailboat come windsurfer. They all
arrived during the same week, so Chaser
ll was in chaos while we shifted weight from one side of the boat to the
other in order to accommodate and winch in place, the bow thruster weighing
150lbs, the replacement generator which weighs 250lbs and the old generator of
the same weight. In actual fact the old generator will hopefully be collected by
Fischer Panda once they reimburse me the shipping and installation fees of the
warranty replacement. However if Fischer Panda do not want the expense of
shipping it back to Germany, we’ll
keep it or repair it and sell it. The bow thruster we lowered through the
companionway to be stowed under our nav table seat. So, it’s been a strenuous
week, how we have to suffer when cruising the
It was then we heard on the cruisers VHF net that the new ‘La Phare Bleu
Marina’ was opening its doors to any visiting boats for a few days free stay in
their marina, in order to fill a few berths for an aerial photo shoot. In true
cruiser fashion, Yvonne contacted them and asked if we could come and take
advantage of their free offer. Yvonne spoke to Jana, she said we are very
welcome, and also have a Barbeque for you in the evening. So after our hectic
week, we bought a little shopping, just the basic necessities, wine, rum and
flour so Yvonne could make some bread and set off around to the bay on the
eastern side of Calivigny Island.
The entrance is quite straight forward as long as you check the charts
and spot the marker buoys lining the entrance through the reefs. At the head of
the bay is La Phare Bleu Marina, you can’t miss it, there is a large, bright red
Swedish Lightship on the starboard side of the marina.
The marina is owned by Jana Caniga and Dieter Burkhalter, they are
Cruisers themselves and have a lovely Swan 53. They have obviously thought this project through in great detail.
The marina itself is nearly complete; they are however also building some one
and two bedroomed bungalows on their adjacent land overlooking the bay. In the
same area there will also be mechanics, sailmakers, minimarket etc.
Upon entry we were met by Dieter, he showed us our berth and took our
lines. Jana came along the dock, welcomed us and told us when we finished
mooring, we were most welcome to come and take a look around the area and the
lightship. We made as everything shipshape after our long voyage from
Bay and took a walk ashore. It felt
strange to step off the boat onto a concrete floating dock as opposed to jumping
in the dinghy.
The lightship is amazing, the old and new history being documented in the
ships restaurant. Dieter and Jana showed us round the galley and the restaurant,
introduced us to Alex, the head Chef responsible for meals in the restaurant and
in the snack bar which will be finished shortly. On deck was the old light that
you can enter, climb to the top and appreciate the views of the bay out to the
reefs. For me the treat was the old engine room. When this ship was built it ran
on steam and coal, but was converted to oil many years ago. Dieter told me they
had the engine running the previous week, only for a short period but it worked.
An engine of this type involves slightly more effort to start than modern day
diesels. You have to put the pistons in the correct place to start with, using a
giant metal bar. Engage this bar in the flywheel and with two people standing on
it can revolve the crankshaft enough to get the pistons into position. Each
cylinder is then heated with a kinda blowlamp, using an open flame at the top of
the cylinder head. Compressed air can then be fired into the cylinder forcing
the piston down thereby turning the crankshaft, fuel at that time is then
injected and the engine continues to run.
I’m not an engineer, but that’s my understanding of its technology or
lack off. I’m sure Dieter would gladly show anyone around and
During the afternoon, Surf ‘n’ turf, a charter angling boat came in for
an overnight berth, the owner had just returned from a charter and brought with
him a couple of fish for the evenings barbeque, a mahi mahi and a barracuda.
These were promptly handed to Alex to prepare.
Dieter and Jana have a beautiful barbeque and smoker; it
looked kinda like an old steam driven traction engine. There are three chambers
that run horizontally, the right hand of which is used for the fire, wood is a
good fuel, though charcoal can be used too. The centre chamber houses the grill
where the food is cooked by heat, but without flame. The left hand
chamber/chimney has stacked shelving, any food then placed on these shelves is
cooked by smoke.
Come evening Alex fired up the barbeque and using the Barracuda
demonstrated the smoking ability of this oven. Have you ever smoked a Barracuda,
whether you like Barracuda or not, I can tell ya, this is the best! A fine
appetizer was provided while Dieter supplied some drinks and Jana prepared some
impromptu salad. Alex then cooked the Mahi Mahi on the centre section of the
This was one of those evenings, you know the sort of thing, people just
show up, someone brings some fish or sausages, throw it on the Barbie, a few
beers a good company.
I’m sure Jana and Dieter will do well in their project, it’s been well
thought out, and will be operational by the 1st June 2007. The project unlike many,
has been started in the correct order, it uses local labour and when it is
finished will be an advantage to the local community aswell as the cruising and
boating community of whom
on to a great extent within its tourism market. I am not a marina person, but
the facility is good and cruisers are encouraged, so many of these new projects
cater only for the megayachts and
discourage the cruising boats, this in turn has a detrimental effect on the
local population and businesses, because as we all know the cruisers
albeit reluctantly, ‘spend’ there hard earnt ashore on food, drinks and services of
all sorts, where as the megayacht has everything aboard and spends very little
ashore, their only real outlay is the berthing fee.
Good luck to Jana and Dieter, they work hard and deserve
to succeed, and if you want to see a good example of a lightship, pop round and