Monday, February 20, 2012

Ile a Vache

Once again, the seas were on the rough side. Once south of Punta Salinas, we encountered a very strong squall that forced me to heave to for about two hours. But the positive side is that out of those 277 n.m. between Boca Chica and Ile a Vache, I only used the engine for nine hours.
Before getting there, I had sent several emails giving my ETA and details about Papy Jovial. But on arriving, we did not see anybody interested in us and there was no answer on the VHF. So we took a mooring on the inner basin and prepared the boat for a stay in port. I had with me a Haitian sailor on loan from Frank.
I got in touch with the manager of the Hotel, Didier Boulard, and set up an appointment for 6 p.m. I was there, or at least I thought I was there at 6 sharp, and seeing nobody left at 6:30. I had not realized that there was one hour difference with Boca Chica and I actually left at 5:30. Didier had told me anyway that he was going to be very busy durint the Carnival (Friday to Tuesday) and that he was going to have a hard time freeing himself after that. So I apologized to him the next day and hope that there will be a better time later.
Then we walked to the other side of the bay where the only other restaurant lies, "chez Jean Jean" where we eventually met the crew of Excalibur, Francois, Elizabeth, Jean-Claude and Jean. Excaliburt is a wonderful Garcia design, all aluminium with a full centre board. We spent an excellent evening and left each other with the promise of a repeat the next day.
A this point, I had given up any hope to do clearance formalities, everything being closed because of Carnival. Boats were coming in and leaving with no clearance and it seemed to be no problem.
On Friday, we had dinner again with the crew of Excalibur, but this time on their boat with a haitian dinner prepared by a couple from the village. Again, great evening.
They were leaving the next day and Frank was supposedly coming in, which he did in the afternoon. Again, I went with TiJo for dinner at Jean Jean, where we met a young couple, both school teachers, who want to settle down in Haiti, and two haitian men leaving in Canada. They were supposed to set up tent somewhere on the island, but eventually ended up spending the night aboard Papy Jovial.
I was still not able to find out exactly what Frank had in mind for the coming few days and decided to leave for Anse d'Hainaut on Sunday, come what may. I did not even visit the island, not even "Madame Bernard" which is supposed to be the "capital" of the island. That will be for another visit, hopefully not at Carnival time.
Overall, I am a little disappointed, probably because my expectations were too high. I was expecting a spot meant to accomodate cruising sailboats. In fact, the main focus of the owners of "Port Morgan" is on the hotel and it looks like they have lost completely interest in the boats. Obviously it's a business decision on which I cannot comment since I do not have the data that management has.
What is left of what was a marina are three moorings not maintained and a small wharf where one can set foot ashore. Nothing else. But a wonderful anchorage.

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