Going places and breaking things   2 comments


I miss Port Antonio already. On this cool, calm Monday morning Pirat is anchored off the Montego Bay Yacht Club. Montego Bay is a big tourist/cruise ship port near the west end of Jamaica. We sailed here yesterday from a little anchorage called Fosters cove. We spent one night in that solitary spot after a morning sail west from Port Antonio.
I’m getting ahead of myself. I haven’t finished telling you about Port Antonio yet. I think Errol Flynn marina ranks up there with the best marinas we’ve ever visited. It was getting quite busy around there with lots of boats coming in and new people to meet. A sailboat full of our generation of sailors was docked next to us for our last few nights at the marina. It is always so much fun to share stories with other people enjoying the seafaring lifestyle.


I think I mentioned in my last post that a guy in then produce market instructed me on how to make the Jamaican national dish – ackee and salt cod – and picked out all the ingredients for me. Well, I tried to make it that night and it didn’t go so well. First, the hot peppers be put in my bag were seriously HOT, like so hot that my hands and any other part of my body I touched after handling the cut peppers (ahem…should not have touched my face) burned for the rest of the evening. One tiny pepper, totally de-seeded, made the dish too hot to eat. The ackee itself was interesting. It is definitely the weirdest food I’ve ever prepared. The fruit comes out of this big, pink seed pod-like thing. There is a huge, black seed attached to the egg-shaped little bulb of flesh. You first remove the seed and then scrape out these red flowery bits inside. I boiled it in water with one hot pepper, some regular green peppers, and tomatoes…then came the salt cod. I have eaten salt cod prepared by others and loved it but this time…not so much.


I followed the local’s instructions and boiled it in the vegetable mixture till I could peel the skin off, then put the skinned pieces back in the skillet. When Lee and I sat down with our ackee and salt cod serves over quinoa, I could barely eat it, mostly due to the salt level, and Lee was floored by the spiciness. I’d like to give this dish another chance if someone who knows what they’re doing would make it for me!


On then subject of food, I have to admit that Lee and I patronized Port Antonio’s ice cream shop more nights than not during our stay. The shop, called i Scream, is a short walk along the water front from the marina. Their flavors range from guava to coconut, rum raisin, and rocky river (like rocky road). The woman behind the counter scooped up heaping cones of perfectly melty ice cream. Ice cream in the tropics melts at just the right rate to lick off a cone. Pistachio was my favorite 🙂


In my world, it is very, very tough to beat a marina with a top-notch ice cream shop next door, decent showers, friendly people, and wifi.


Fosters cove had no ice cream but it did have lovely, sandy beaches, machete-wielding children, sea turtles, and a jungle full of fireflies at night. Picking our way in through the reefs that line both sides of the cove was hair-raising. There were waves breaking on the reefs and the water was so stirred up we couldn’t see much.


It was wonderful to spend a night at anchor all by ourselves. A sea turtle did come out to keep us company at night and the local fishing boats (the Struggler and Sugarloaf) anchored near us were a reminder that civilization was nearby. There really were kids with machetes fishing on the beach. There were also tons of fireflies in the jungle surrounding us at night. A few flashlights on shore right next to us creeped me out too. We were not really alone.


After enjoying some relative solitude, Lee and I set sail for Mo’bay (as it’s called) yesterday morning. We soon found ourselves rocketing down wind and waves, wing-on-wing, in 20 knots or so of breeze. Just as were starting to think we might be carrying too much sail at too precarious of an angle, there was an unusually loud bang, sigh, and smack. It took me a second to figure out what had happened but it was obvious from the shape of the main that our hydraulic vang had let go. The boom was kicked up at a ridiculous angle. When Lee went forward to check things out our worst fears were confirmed. There was hydraulic fluid all over the place. The tube feeding fluid into the vang appeared to have burst.


Apparently, there is only a pressure relief valve in our hydraulic system if it is left set on the vang, which it was not. When the vang loaded up with force from the sail it had finally had enough and burst the hose. We opted to furl the jib, start the engine, drop the main, and then turn downwind again to unfurl the jib and sail the rest of the way on headsail only. It wasn’t little slow but it worked.

We arrived at the anchorage by Montego Bay yacht club around 8pm last night. It was a little tough to find a spot to anchor among the derelict boats and party catamarans. The club has a dock but boats have to moor to it Mediterranean style, which we find tricky. With our broken vang we now have some parts to find and repairs to arrange. This may change our plans to sail to Grand Cayman later this week. I guess its time to go ashore and get to work.

Posted April 15, 2013 by Rachel in Uncategorized

2 responses to Going places and breaking things

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  1. Hello fellow generation sailors!

    We are two steps behind you at the Montego Bay yacht club. It’s funny, I even took the same picture of the shutters and the plants.

    We love reading your blog, it’s like looking into the future. Although we’re hoping we don’t have to have a bird burial.

    Any words of warning/advice for two inexperienced cruisers trailing you? 20/20 hind site and such?

    Fair winds!
    Tami (and Paul)

    • Glad you guys are moving along down Jamaica and enjoying the blog! I (Rachel) flew home from Grand Cayman last weekend so I’m back at work (boo!). Lee and his dad are en route from Grand Cayman to Key West. I think this passage is a bit longer and tougher than Lee expected.
      As far as advice, I guess I’d say don’t go the way Lee is going! Here’s his track.
      Grand Cayman was awesome though! Clear water, free moorings, nice onshore. I’m really glad I got to go there!
      Keep in touch!

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