Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Wed 21 Feb 2007 12:56
Jamaica, Wednesday 21st February, 2007
We are stocking up yet again for the final 400 mile passage to Cuba, and we are checking out today, and leaving before dawn tomorrow.   BOO HOOO HUMMPH.(says Otti!)  It has been a beautiful week here, we would certainly want to return, though it has to be said that other cruisers say we are in one of the nicest, most friendly parts of the island.  The reputation of Jamaica amongst the rest of the Caribbean islands is very poor, and it does have a pretty high murder rate, but from our experience it feels as though it has been made the scapegoat. We haven't heard a single shot since we have been here.   We went out for a meal last night, and happily strolled around town, in lit and unlit bits, after dark, unthinkable in some of the other places we have been.   This beautiful marina, with Rolls Royce facilities and a pool, is only half full.  Hardly any yachts come here because people are too scared.
We were on a bus to the next bay when a boy, no more than ten, stood up, threw back his shoulders, and launched forth into a loud rap gospel prayer.  Everyone on the bus started laughing at him, and the conductor shook him and told him to go to church.    Later on in town, he came up to us, said he was a DJ, and wanted some money for his friend with a brain tumour.  An enterprising character.
Chris has fixed the anchor windlass with the help of Mark from Jem, a major feat of engineering, which involved stripping down the motor, and rebuilding the brushes.  Amazing!    And it now works, which will make moving around at anchor much easier.........
We got some very expensive and useless canvass work done on our awnings, which I will have to  totally resew when we get back somewhere with a hot knife and a decent machine.   Jem got similarly taken for a ride by the same 'sailmaker'. 
The thought of being at sea again doesn't desperately appeal after our last passage, which as reported, was pretty grim.  Hopefully the ocean will be in a more kindly mood, and we will take to it better!
There is a little wooden boat, not much larger than Chris's wayfarer, tied up on the Customs dock opposite us.   It arrived from Haiti, with TWENTY THREE people on it, on the same morning as us last week.  They had spent six days at sea, and conditions on board must have been shocking.  It is held together with baler twine and nails, and made of hand hewn planks.  The sail is patched cotton.  They were all rounded up and taken into custody, before being deported back to Haiti.  The little boat will be taken out to sea and sunk.   It is a tale of courage, desperation, and failure.
Balers and small pieces of plastic canvas tell their tale.  How did twenty three people survive on this boat for six days, in the same seas that we suffered on our passage?  They must have baled constantly.   They could not possibly have carried enough water.  We felt very sad for them when we looked at the boat.