NO CLIPPER RACE HERE IN 2012! – The Round the World Clipper Race, which has stopped over at Port Antonio during the past three races will not be calling at Jamaica in 2012, the organizers have decided. Instead, there will be a direct Panama to New York City leg with no Caribbean Island visited. As is often the case in these races, the stopovers are largely tied in with yacht sponsorship by an individual country. In the 2011-12 race, the Jamaica Tourist Board is not backing a vessel as it did in the previous two races. The biennial event has always been a boost to tourism in the Portland Parish as the race brings numerous well-wishers from around the world, plus new crew persons joining the race leg and others departing.
PRIME MINISTER VISITS – Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding visited the marina Easter Monday and was a guest aboard the 170' Gaff Rigged Schooner "Meteor" along with a group of Jamaica and international dignitaries.
DINGHY DOCK ON THE WAY … AT LAST! Our long awaited and long-touted dinghy dock is nearing completion at its USA manufacturer, Carolina Waterworks, and will be shipped this month to Port Antonio. The anodized aluminum dock is 40 feet in length and eight feet wide. The dock will facilitate easy on and off dinghies for our anchorage clients and will have a 20 foot by four foot wide anodized aluminum ramp to the shoreline sidewalk where is will be located in the front of the marina administration building. For protection of the dinghies, the dock is fully cushioned and will feature numerous cleats to avoid having to deal with numerous painters all on a single cleat. Presently, mooring customers have to negotiate a nearly four-foot climb up a concrete wall to get from their dinghies to the main dock.
DOCK SECURITY SYSTEM IN THE WORKS – A security gate to the main marina dock and access card system has been approved and a contractor for the system is being selected. The plan is to use a "proximity card" which will be issued to bonafide marina clients and service personnel. The card will also be used to access the showers, toilets and laundry areas of the marina administration building. The system will record entry time of each card user and also permits cancelling of cards not returned when a boat leaves the marina. It also allows the marina to deny access in the event a client is in arrears on payment. A small deposit will be charged when cards are issued and refunded upon their return. It is anticipated the system can be in operation for the start of the 2011-2012 season in December.
BOUND BROOK WHARF AVAILABLE FOR BIG EVENTS – The Port Authority of Jamaica has announced that the Bound Brook Wharf is available for special large events on a case by case basis. The covered portion of the wharf, which can easily seat 1,000 or more persons, was recently used for a play production complete with large stage. Four large adjacent former cold storage rooms also lend themselves for bar and food vending during an event. For complete details, contact Dale Westin at 876-477-6914 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org The facility is ideally suited for various types of expos or a craft market and flea market. There is also significant parking space and the place is gated for access control.
COOL DOWN AT "SCOOPS" – There is no better place to cool down a bit on these hot days ahead than with a creamy cone at Scoops Ice Cream Parlour on the Marina Promenade. Scoops is open daily from 11 a.m.
THE OLD CUBA WATCHER SAYS: During the past several months we have developed a closer working relationship with Cuba for yachts visiting their south coast ports of Santiago de Cuba, Cienfuegos and Cayo Largo del Sur. This follows a February meeting in Miami of Cuban, Jamaican and Caymanian marina representatives at the Miami Boat Show. In Miami the three representatives pledged a renewed spirit of cooperation to facilitate yacht travel among the three countries. This includes advance notice of yacht arrivals and the issuing of email contact points in the various locations. At Errol Flynn Marina, we have email listings for all the primary contact points in Cuba and the Cayman Islands. The Miami meeting was also in anticipation of the lifting of the USA travel ban on Cuba which is expected in the next year or so. The travel ban end is expected to open a floodgate of USA yachts heading south which will likely result in the creation of a new Central Caribbean cruising ground that includes theCuban south coast, the Caymans and the Jamaican north coast. In anticipation, Cuba has eleven new marinas either under construction or in the planning stages. Signs of Change: John Caulfield will soon replace Jonathan Farrar as chief of mission of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana. Farrar's tenure there was marked by complaints he refused to meet with Cuban dissidents. Caulfield moves from Caracas and Farrar will be heading to Nicaragua.
PUB ON THE PIER SPECIAL EVENTS – Marybelle's Pub on the Pier is planning a special event Sunday May 8 in honor of Mother's Day with a special brunch and giveaways for all Moms that show up. Also, in honor of Errol Flynn's 102nd birthday on Monday, June 20, there will be some special birthday events including specials on the Cuba Libre (rum and Coke) which Flynn actually introduced to the USA and elsewhere. Several of Flynn's most noted films will be shown along with "In the Wake of the Zaca" which is narrated by Mrs. Pat Flynn who resides here in Port Antonio.
DUPPIES? – OR COULD IT JUST BE ERROL? – Port Antonio's Navy Island has always had a bit of mystery surrounding it since the days of Captain William Bligh and a host of others that followed. As custodian of the island for the owners, the Port Authority of Jamaica, this writer has long had a sense of "someone watching" especially when he is in the vicinity of the cabin reportedly frequented by Flynn "and guests". Adding fuel to this feeling are the periodic reports over many long years from fishermen returning from sea in the wee hours of the morning that purport seeing lights and hearing the sounds of partying and debauchery in progress. Electricity to the island was disconnected more than 15 years ago! Perhaps too much rum on the fishing run? Perhaps not! Stories of Flynn ghosts have persisted on every boat he owned and also from subsequent owners of his home on Mulholland Drive in Hollywood. His first boat, "Barbary" which predates his movie career, Flynn used as an island trader in New Guinea. It ultimately wound up in the Green Peace organization at the Bikini Atoll, but allegedly was sold because of "ghostly emanations" on board. The vessel now operates as a tour boat on a New Zealand volcanic lake where those same"emanations" continue to occur. His next two yachts were named Sirocco and only one, a 75' cutter, remains today in the Med. Now named "Karenita" the crew frequently reports "weird things" on board, i.e. strange sounds, items moved, etc. His last yacht, the "Zaca" on which he discovered Port Antonio and was regularly docked at Navy Island is another story in itself. At the time of his death in Vancouver in 1959, Flynn was trying to sell the legendary schooner. It ultimately wound up in Bernard Voisin's Boatyard in Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean where it ultimately was stripped to the waterline. The night security in the boatyard complained frequently about wild parties, sounds of women screaming and bright lights, even though no electrical service was connected. The problem got so intense that the boatyard owners called in both the Catholic and Anglican churches to perform exorcism's on board. That supposedly solved the problem. Flynn's notorious residence on Mulholland Drive in Hollywood was ultimately owned by Rock Star Ricky Nelson. One night whilst Nelson was on tour, his daughter heard crashing sounds in the room where Nelson displayed his gold records and other accolades. Terrified, she called her father and told him what she had just heard. "That's just Errol" he told her! When Nelson returned, they strangely found the room locked from the inside. When it was at last opened, everything was in its proper place, untouched. It has often been theorized that Flynn was trying to warn Ricky of his impending death in a plane crash that occurred shortly thereafter. To some, this is all "poppycock", but to others it's serious stuff. Right now we have some serious paranormal believers ready to come down here who are seeking permission set up infrared cameras, sound equipment, etc. to check out these reports. For those not familiar with Jamaican folklore, "duppies" are a Jamaican patois word for "Ghost". Whenever a person is interred, a ritual is performed with white rum to keep the duppies away.
ABOUT THAT NAME 'ZACA" – Errol Flynn claimed that he named his last yacht "Zaca" after the Samoan word for "Peace". Considering there is no letter "Z" in the Samoan language was this just another Flynn joke? As he traveled a lot, he might have picked up the name at Lake Zaca in California. We'll probably never know!