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Caribbean News – May 06

It’s big, gray, and coming to an island near you

The US Navy is deploying the USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, into the Caribbean this spring for the first time since 2003 when the Vieques, Puerto Rico training range closed. The two-month tour lasting until late May will include port calls and operations with Caribbean governments dealing with drug smuggling and human trafficking according to statements by a representative of the Navy’s US Southern Command reported by Agence France-Presse.

Pentagon officials declined to comment on the itinerary or specify which other governments will take part, but in the past Navy cruises have made port calls in Colo mbia and the Netherlands Antilles just off Venezuela’s northern coastline.

The George Washington, based out of Norfolk, Virginia, will be hard to miss. It’s got a length overall of 1,092 feet, a beam of 134 feet, and a flight deck of 4.5 acres to accommodate the carrier’s 85 planes. With a ship’s crew of approximately 3,200 and air wing of 2,480, the carrier has a larger population than some of our islands.

Spring tune up tips

BoatU.S., America’s largest recreational boating association, offers a handy spring commissioning checklist for boat owners—including those of us who gloat about our year-round spring-like weather and forget that another year has passed. With 640,000 me mbers, the association has probably learned a thing or two worth passing on. Whether yours is Power or sailboat, inboard or outboard, check out this reminder of necessary annual maintenance practices at www.BoatUS.com.

Rendezvous time at the Bitter End 

Been working hard all winter season? Head for Virgin Gorda for a well-deserved break the weekend of May 6 and 7 for a Cruisers’ Rendezvous. Unwind with a “Cruiser’s Crush” cocktail party, banquet dinner and DJ pub party. Race on Sunday, sample resort facilities including a new spa, or just flop by the pool. The cost of $150 per boat includes all the parties for two people, one free mooring night with free launch service, water sports discounts, and a one-month complimentary Bitter End “Quarterdeck Club” me mbership.

From May 31 to June 2, Tiara yacht owners can gather to talk boats with each other and company representatives at the resort’s second Tiara rendezvous. For information on either rendezvous, e-mail binfo@beyc.com or call 284-494-2746.

Lock up that Laptop

Tiefin’ from boats is on the rise even in the Caribbean. A laptop computer stolen from a yacht visiting Rodney Bay Marina was of extreme value to its owners who offered an EC $1000 reward for its return. The marina’s head of security, Martin Carasco, believes that the computer was stolen by temporary freelance workers who came to the boatyard to work on a yacht.

“We were able to retrieve the computer and it is still in working order. Our information is that it was found in the possession of a policeman’s son and we are happy to have it back”, Carasco said. No doubt the owners, who will pick it up when they return to St. Lucia, are even happier.

The Marina is now providing the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority with a boat to patrol the entire Rodney Bay area as part of efforts to step up security after several reports of criminal activity.

St. Maarten- St.Martin Classic Yacht Regatta Moves to January

The St.Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Regatta that debuted last Dece mber has rescheduled the next one for the third weekend of January 2007. The St.Maarten-St.Martin Classic Yacht Regatta Foundation responded to concerns expressed by owners of the elegant vessels that Dece mber was too early.

The new tentative program calls for registration on Thursday, January 18 at regatta headquarters in Palapa Center & Marina with racing starting in Simpson Bay daily on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The event will include a Tall Ship class during the race on Friday if more than two tall ships attend. There will also be four parties (naturally,) a jolly "bath tub" competition for self-made floating devices, and Sunday prize-giving. Additional information is available at www.ClassicRegatta.com or by phone at +5995237671 or +590690629955

Cruise Lines launch Global Mapping of Sensitive Marine Areas

The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) and Conservation International (CI) announced a joint initiative in March to develop a global map that integrates additional sensitive marine areas into cruise line navigational charts where wastewater discharge should be avoided. The project comes as a result of a series of recommendations on wastewater management developed by an independent panel of marine science experts and chaired by marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle. A task force is slated to identify areas such as coral reefs, seamounts, shellfish growing areas, and marine-protected areas that currently are not recognized on navigation charts. A full list of the science panel recommendations can be found at www.celb.org and www.iccl.org.

The 16 cruise lines of ICCL account for about 90% of the North American cruise ship passengers. In recent years, me mber companies paid multi-million dollar fines following a series of vigorous criminal prosecutions by the U.S. Justice Department, the EPA, and other law-enforcement bodies in response to decades of illegal dumping of oil, untreated sewage, and toxic chemicals.

Boaters donate to Ivan-damaged Grenada School

Island Dreams Yacht Services provides free wi-fi in their office at Martin’s Marina in Grenada, with a gentle suggestion that users consider making a donation to the local Woburn Infant School damaged in Hurricane Ivan. Repairs are nearly completed and the school needs furniture, books, toys, crayons, and pencils to get up and running. Additional donations from the yachting community will be gratefully received. To visit the school next time you pull into Grenada, contact Anita at Island Dreams Yacht Services on 473 443 3603 or anita@islandreamsgrenada.com.

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