BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS – While we are disappointed to learn that the Around the World Clipper Race will not be calling at Port Antonio in 2012 as they have in the past three races, we are gratified to learn from the Jamaica Tourist Board's Director, John D. Lynch, the fleet will be back in Jamaica in June 2014. This too is likely an indication there will be a Jamaica entry in that race. As the 2012 race includes legs to and from New Zealand for the first time (that's about 37 degrees south, you know!) this increases substantially the length of the race prior to getting to the Caribbean. The 2012 race means they go directly from Panama to New York. The fleet will be passing between Jamaica and Haiti sometime in June of next year. We are assured by the race organizers they too are disappointed there is not sufficient time to make a Port Antonio call, they do indeed love Jamaica and look forward to another delightful visit in 2014. For complete details on the race check out http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com
RIHANNA WHO? – Superstar Rihanna was in Port Antonio May 1 to record videos, including a segment at the city's Royal Mall. The Barbadian Grammy award artiste was shooting the video for her next single; "Man down" off her album "Loud." She was also spotted cruising the streets on a bicycle rocking a long red weave that scaled the length of her back. She was also shot along our beaches in a white flowing dress and lounging in a palm tree.
ON ITS WAY HERE? – When you live in the third world it's easy to get turned on by the little things in life like the fact that our new dinghy dock should be arriving about June 2-3. The 40-foot, by 8-foot, all-aluminum floating dock will be located in front of the marina administration building and connect with the shore side walkway via a 20 foot aluminum ramp. As Docklines went to press, our shipping agent had informed us of the container's arrival in Kingston. Once customs formalities are finalised, the shipment will come to Port Antonio and be prepared for installation. We are certain our anchorage customers will find this addition a big plus when visiting us. We are blessed with one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Caribbean. This addition should go a long way toward making it more enjoyable!
HURRICANE SEASON OPENS JUNE 1 – While we prefer to celebrate the end of hurricane season on November 30, it is also appropriate to remind our readers that June 1 marks the official start of hurricane season in the Atlantic. As just about always the predictors of doom are forecasting an "active season." Port Antonio has been spared 100 per cent for the past several years so it is especially important not to become too complacent as a result. For outstanding hurricane coverage, we highly recommend www.stormpulse.com
HELP CELEBRATE ERROL'S 102ND BIRTHDAY– June 20 will mark the 102nd year since the birth of the marina's namesake, Errol Flynn. The event will be marked by a special birthday party at Marybelle's Pub on the Pier on Monday, the 20th from 5 p.m. There will be a special showing of several Flynn signature movies and also the showing of "In the Wake of the Zaca" a documentary about Flynn's legendary gaff rigged schooner on which he discovered Port Antonio. The event will also include specials on several of Flynn's favourite drinks, including the Cuba Libre (rum and coke) which he introduced to the USA and the world.
JRC SEEKS TO SCRAP PORTLAND HERITAGE – Workers with cutting torches and backhoes arrived in Port Antonio early Saturday, May 14, intent on cutting up a major part of the community's heritage. Only swift action by Port Antonio Police kept these historical treasures from the smelting pot. The workers identified themselves as employees of Kurbriton Ltd., a licensed scrap dealer and exporter, represented to be working for the Jamaica Railway Company. At stake here is the future of the old steam engine turntable, several rail cars, some track sections and other adjacent memorabilia that was destined to become a key part of the Parish Council's Heritage Park; a work in progress. Port Antonio Mayor Floyd Patterson, in addressing a growing group of protesters at the site this noon, complimented the police for their vigilance and for preventing a travesty of justice from happening. The Mayor expressed indignation for not being notified by JRC of this impending action. The area, including the railway historical items, was slated to be the focal point of the "Heritage Park" on West Palm Avenue. The park is a joint project of the Parish Council, Port Authority of Jamaica, and Waste Management. Substantial improvements have already been made to the area including removal of derelict homes, planting of palm trees, seeding and leveling the property. Park benches are soon to be added. The rail history area is to include a restored rail car to be placed on the turntable that will serve as a Port Antonio Welcome Centre. The mayor indicated that the JRC had placed a figure of $250,000 JAD (US$3,000.00) as it's scrap value. "That works out to a cost of only about $3.50 JAD (US four cents) per person, based on a population of about 72,000," he indicated.
THE OLD CUBA WATCHER SAYS – Every now and then we run into some American who has gone to Cuba, then indicated such on his USA Immigration entry form and ultimately gets a letter for the U.S. Treasury Bureau of Assets Control telling them they owe a fine of $1,000.00. The letter normally implies that their world will basically come to an end if they don't comply and pay. If you get one, just toss it with the rest of the junk mail. Inasmuch as the law prohibiting Americans from visiting Cuba is contra to the USA Constitution, the last thing the government wants is a test case in the Supreme Court that would toss out the law. The law was enacted with the understanding that almost all Americans obey the law and it is this fact that has had made it largely effective; save for a few of us. How's this scenario: A while back 40 Americans for Freedom to Travel visited Cuba without permission from the US. While there, each photographed the other violating TWEA (Trading With the Enemies Act). Two witnesses signed affidavits attesting to each member's committing such horrible crimes as paying for food in a restaurant, paying taxis, hotels and the like. Time and date stamped photos and videos further documented the crimes. Upon return to the USA, the group confronted the Bureau of Assets control informing them of their "slam dunk" case against their fellow members and assuring a potential prosecutor they were hoping for a maximum sentence. "Here's an opportunity to put 40 senior citizens, pillars of their communities, in the slammer for 10 years," they urged the Treasury. Hardly surprising, Treasury took the case "under advisement" and there it remains today. Unless you are dealing in contraband (Such as those "horrible" Cohiba Cigars) or human trafficking, there is little likelihood you will have any trouble. There seems to be one exception to the rules: importing star Cuban baseball players is A-OK.
ABOVE NORMAL HURRICANE SEASON PREDICTED – Across the Atlantic Basin for the six-month season, which begins June 1, NOAA is predicting 12-18 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6-10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3-6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher).
JAZZ AT THE PALACE IS JUNE 18 – The annual Ocho Rios Jazz Festival night in Portland is set for 8 p.m., Saturday, June 18, at the Palace Hotel, just to the east of Port Antonio. Tickets are available at the hotel and marina plus other Port Antonio outlets at $800.00 JAD in advance and $1,000.00 at the door.