Officially Speaking 12/23/96
Well, here it is. You are hereby officially reading the first unofficial rendition of “Officially Speaking.” Officially speaking is supposed to be a daily or so, true to life, no boring yachting logs, no pretty, flowery excerpts from our journeys. This is going to be how I feel and what I think. How’s that?!! I’m not a fancy writer, however, I am the Captain and owner of Out of Bounds so I’m allowed to write poorly and say how I really feel. Why? Because I feel like it.
Anyway, here we are in St. Barths. Very beautiful, a bit stuffy, but still very beautiful. It is 9:12am. This is my favorite time to do anything. It is the morning. Birds singing, sun coming up over the horizon blinding you to death when you look at it, turquoise water below us, hanging our little 16 ton sailboat on a little bitty 45lb CQR anchor next to mega-yachts we would barely suit as a tender. Great stuff.
Yesterday, we sailed over here from Saba ( very cool place, Volcano, 3065’ tall, goats running around, natives shooting and eating them for lunch) I don’t know why we always say “sailed.” We didn’t sail at all. We had our “main” up, but as usual the wind was DIRECTLY in front of us. I don’t mean sort of in front of us. Directly in front of us! So therefore we motored nose into the wind for five hours. Glamorous. As we arrived in St. Barths, there was what is commonly known as a “squall” directly in front of us, up there with the wind and all that. Squalls are interesting to watch. A squall appears from far off to be a large ominous, black, rip the mast off your boat kind of thing. As you approach the squall, you notice that all that haze you saw under it was actually torrential rainfall and wind. As you proceed under and into the squall, you realize, you are IN a squall. Fortunately, squalls usually move through rather quickly. Maybe we should have hung out in Saba.
So there we were in beautiful St. Barths. Pearl of the Caribbean as they call it. As we anchored in the harbor, I did wahat I usually do and read as much as possible about our new destination. So I read…..
Mantras the Pirate.
By Cécile Lucot ( that’s Cecile with an “é”!)
“The sixteenth century marked the beginning of a period during which the chasing of Spanish vessels was a well known activity. Buccaneers were sailors who worked under contract for their countries, whereas pirates would attack ships of any nationality, with one aim in mind, capturing their precious cargoes. The pirates quickly became outlaws and were obliged to stop over in unprotected, quiet harbors. Their main Lairs were La Tortue island near Santo Domingo and Old Providence near Colombia. Quiet islands off the beaten track, like Saint-Barthelemy allowed them to hide, repair their ships, exchange a few trinkets and celebrate their recent takings. Our elders tell some romanced stories such as the one about Montbars, who came to bury a colossal treasure in St. Barthelemy. (colossal treasure?!?!?) By reading the books by Las Casas, a priest who navigated with Christopher Columbus and the Conquistadors, we learn that from a very early age, he developed his hate for the Spanish. When he was seventeen he embarked with his pirate uncle, for the West Indies, were they joyfully battled with any ships showing the Spanish flag. At twenty, he became Montbars the exterminator, captain of his own ship and whose crew was composed only of Indians. According to the legend, when his companions indulged with women, he would drink only water and not be at all interested in either women or gambling. Others say that he preferred to drink the still warm blood of the Spaniards. One morning he left Tortue island with his ship and his crew and was never seen again. Pirates did not write about their adventures. All we know is from A.O. Exmelin, doctor and surgeon aboard the ship, that Montbars buried his treasures on an island…. “enough to fill a launch….”
He continues to write…
“If durring your travels you come upon any elements that may verify the theory that this treasure is buried in St. Barths, Don’t hesitate to tell us, so that we may continue this story!”
Yeah! I’m sure that’s exactly what I’d do! I’ll find the map to good old Montbar’s treasure and then let some french dude know where the big black “X” is so he can continue his neat little article!! Sure thing, Cécile, hold your breath.
So, I lied. I have provided you with a tidbit of trivial rhetoric for your archives.
We rented a car yesterday in a gallant attempt to watch American football for the first time in two months. Good luck. We felt like ping pong balls by the end of the day. Go to here, try there, no, no, no, go to the hotel at the top of the hill, silly Americans. By the time the Packers trounced the Vikings, we had found a little stead called “Santa Fe” at the TOP of the hill. Just in time to watch the Cowboys play the Redskins! Yahoo!!
You should see the runway on this place! It is all of 2,300’ long with the ocean at one end and a mountain at the other. Nice bumpers. The planes have to basically stall in order to land. That’s right, up ooovvveeerrrrrr the mountain and swoop onto the runway hoping you can stop in time without hitting the old rock wall. A bit more trivia, the runway on Saba was only 1200’ long with water at both ends! Can you believe they were designed by the same guy??!!! Amazing!
I’m having a hard time with this 85 degrees and balmy Christmas. We strung little white lights up the backstay and down the forestay ( or was it down the backstay and up the forestay?) Whatever. It looked quite festive in Gustavia last night. About a hundred masthead lights and there we were! Christmas in Gustavia. It was a beautiful sight! Stockings hung, stuffed Santa on top of the Barometer and Mariah Carey singing in the background….. It still doesn’t feel like Christmas. I think we should watch a little Grinch tonight and break out the Ginger Snaps.
Anyway, its now pas 10:00am and I’m off to the beach for a bit o-sun and light bronzing. The boat is looking good and we’ll all probably clean it up tomorrow for good measure.
Officially signing out till the next unofficial version of Officially Speaking.
Lat n 1754.00 Lon w 6251.37