DINGHY DOCK NOW IN OPERATION – It's has been a long time coming and it's a long, long way from Goose Creek, South Carolina, in the states where it was produced by Carolina Waterworks. It's 40 feet long and eight feet wide and it is especially designed for our anchorage clients to facilitate their getting to and from their yachts. The dock is located immediately in front of our administration building and features a 20-foot long boarding ramp leading to the dock. Anchorage clients will now be able to even lock their dinghies to the dock if they wish as a substantial number of secured cleats are featured. With this valuable addition, dinghy mooring will no longer be permitted at the main docks. The dinghy dock and ramp were designed to facilitate taking dock carts down to it to permit loading provisions, etc., directly into the dinghy. We believe our anchorage clients are going to appreciate this big time! In our travels about the Caribbean we often get the idea some marina operators think of the anchor clankers as second class sailors who don't care to pay for a dock and thus make no provision for them to come in and patronize the marina's other services.
PORTLAND JERK FESTIVAL SET JULY 3 – The annual Portland Jerk Festival unfolds Sunday, July 3 with the Folly Mansion ruins as its backdrop. The site is on the east highway approach to Port Antonio adjacent to the Folly cricket Grounds. The event is open all day and well into the night. The aroma and sizzle of traditional Jamaican jerk chicken, pork, fish and lobster fills Port Antonio's Folly Great House ruins at the annual Portland Jerk Festival. Local bands play, community dance groups perform and children have fun on fairground rides.
48TH PORT ANTONIO MARLIN TOURNAMENT – If you didn't get your entry fee in before June 30, you are out of luck but you can still join in by registering and paying on line. The tournament unfolds Oct. 15 to 22 at the Old Marina with four days of serious fishing interspersed with a superb entertainment and general good old partying. Check out www.jamaicasportfishing.com Always included with the tournament week is the Canoe Tournament (27th Annual this year!) which features local fishing boats vying for a variety of prizes provided by the Portland Chamber of Commerce. Regular marlin competition days are on the 17, 18, 20 and 21 October and the Canoe Tournament is on Oct.19. The tournament is run un the auspices of the Sir Hnry Morgan Angling Association Limited under the direction of Dr. Ron DuQuesnay. Dr. Duquesnay is encouraging partipants to no wait until the last minute as berthing is available only for 40 boats at the Old Marina. DuQuesnay also promises that an electrical system upgrade is expected to be completed in advance of the tournament. The upgrade is being done in close cooperation with the Port Authority of Jamaica which owns the property. Details regarding the tournament, including sponsorship, can also be had by contacting Dr. Duquesnay at 876-909-8818 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are pleased to note the tournament has been conveniently scheduled to occur in advance of the next predicted end of the world day, Oct. 23! Anglers are hoping for a repeat of the fantastic weather they had in 2010 when record numbers of Marlin were landed or released. Heaviest Marlin in 2010 was 338 pounds. The Yacht "Diana" was overall winning team and Owners Richard and Diana Stewart will be working hard to repeat the 2010 performance.
FREE JAMAICA CRUISING GUIDE ON LINE – Looking for up-to-date cruising info on Jamaica??? Check out www.jamaicacruisingguide.com Written by Frank Virgintino, it is one of a growing list of on-line guides Virgintino has prepared.
THE OLD CUBA WATCHER – Closer ties with our neighbors to the north are being promoted this month by Port Antonio Mayor Floyd Patterson and the Portland Chamber of Commerce as they send a delegation to Santiago de Cuba to initiate a "Sister City" programme. The twinning program was in effect many years back and is now being reinitiated. Discussions are ongoing with a cruise company regarding the possibility of operating three-night cruises between Port Antonio and Santiago. If the program can be initiated, it is expected the three – night cruise would only cost slightly more than regular around trip air fare to Cuba or otherwise something in the $700.00 area for the moderate priced cabins. The proposal is to operate two, three night cruises per week. Our marina has always had an excellent spirit of cooperation from the Cubanacan-Marlin marina at Santiago de Cuba. Rafael Perez Peacot is the manager there and he suggest yachts planning a stop there email him in advance with details such as ETA, vessel size, number, names and nationalities of crew plus the expected length of stay. These details will expedite clearance which often results in lengthy delays waiting for officials when a yacht arrives unannounced. Email Rafael at direcciÃ³n@marlin.scu.tur.cu Transients heading down the Old Bahama Channel that might need a convenient location on the northeast side of Cuba will find Puerto La Vita a rather hospitable and helpful place. It's located at 21 05'48"N/75 57'36" in the Gramma Province, near Bayamon. A excellent range of services are available and it is a port of entry. The marina is operated by the Gaviota group which is the military tourism arm of the government. The marina is pretty difficult to miss as the entry is marked adequately by a 130 foot lighthouse. Also, the entry is well buoyed and how about this one: the authorities actually remove their shoes before boarding yachts for inspection. Could this really be Cuba or perhaps its Yacht Heaven? Little wonder U.S.A. Homeland Security is so uptight about Cuba … such courtesies by authorities could become contagious! We are pleased to see Port Antonio Mayor Floyd Patterson spearheading a "Sister City" programme with Santiago de Cuba. The local delegation is hoping to get Cuba to buy Jamaican coffee to supplement Cuba's big shortage of the product. As you may know, all Cubans get government rations, i.e. rice, beans, etc. The Cuban coffee shortage has gotten so acute that the Castro brothers have been forced to cut coffee rations to children under six!
MISSING YACHT SPOTTED OFF GUANTANAMO – The classic Concordia yacht "Halcyon" built in 1946 and owned and skippered by Ron Perry, was spotted adrift and dismasted May 3 by a U.S Coast Guard helicopter some distance off the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo, Cuba, with no one believed on board. Perry had departed Port Antonio singlehanded on April 27 and has not been heard from since. It is believed Perry may have perished overboard. At last report the U.S. Coast Guard was attempting to relocate the vessel and inspect it. Perry was returning the 39'10" yawl to the USA for restoration to its original state. His final entry on his Facebook page April 26 described the yacht as a "diamond in the rough." Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and many friends.
ABOUT THAT 'BLUE LAGOON' – We always get a chuckle when a tourist comes by the marina to tell us about meeting some guy at the Blue Lagoon that showed them a photo he purportedly took of Brooke Shields while she was in Jamaica filming the famous movie. Never mind the fact that she has never been there and the movie was filmed entirely in Figi! The "Blue Lagoon" moniker came about only after the film was released. It was previously known as the "Blue Hole." The only connection we can legitimately claim is the word "blue."
WHAT NEXT? , NOW CHARLIE THINKS HE'S ERROL – Now that Charlie Sheen is headed back to rehab after an epic decline, he's decided to speak out. We fully expected a rant or a denial of his condition, as he's normally done in the past. Color us surprised – this time he's actually thanking people, and being polite. But being Charlie Sheen, there's also an element of the bizarre in his statement. Charlie thinks he's like Errol Flynn – old Hollywood's original swashbuckler (and not to mention, sex symbol) and of course, our marina's namesake. The statement reads, "I have a lot of work to do to be able to return the support I have received from so many people. I want to say 'thank-you' to my fellow cast members, the crew of Two and a Half Men … And to my fans, your good wishes have touched me very much. Like Errol Flynn, who had to put down his sword on occasion, I just want to say, 'thank-you.'"Well, it's a start for him at least, right? But Charlie should also know that Errol, after a lifetime of brawling, womanizing and boozing, died of a heart attack. Not exactly something to aspire to.
A WHOLE LOT MORE THAN JUST A MARINA – Covering nearly a mile of waterfront, the Errol Flynn Marina complex includes something of a national park, a colourful boutique cruise ship dock, sand beach, a half-mile promenade (dockwalk), arboretum, beach bar and grille, restaurant, swimming pool, duty-free shops, heliport, banana port, 64 acre island (great for exploring) and a complete shipyard handling yachts to 100 feet or 100 tons … plus a marina capable of handling any yacht up to 660 feet! Of course, if your draft exceeds 10 meters, you're just out of luck!
YEP, WE GET LETTERS – "How can one writer get so turned on by an old dinghy dock" one email notes. What can we say except it has been a long wait! Well, even a few of the marine magazines, including Southern Boating, thought enough of the project to publish it as a news item.
HERITAGE PARK ADJACENT TO MARINA PLANNED – Lands in Port Antonio owned by the Jamaica Railway Company (JRC) will be turned into a Heritage Park, complete with interesting large park art objects, a welcoming center and restoration of relics from the JRC rail days in Port Antonio. The project is headed up by Joan Gordon-Wembley, executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority which is also leasing the property long term from the JRC. Dale Westin, marina general manager, represents the Port Authority of Jamaica on the steering committee. Development of the park will include transforming the former trainman's barracks into a combination museum and welcoming center. Port Antonio was the terminus of the railway system which operated until 1980. Several rail cars, a locomotive turntable, water tower and elevated coal bin remain on the property and will be restored. The railway has been removed from the north side of Jamaica ands only operates today for a short distance from Kingston to the west. The railway remains were recently a bit of controversy when metal scrappers attempted to cut up the turntable and cars and send them to the smelting pot.