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Tale of the Day

March 10 - Anegada, BVI

Today's Tale of the Day is from Anegada in the British Virgins, and comes from Northern Californian Peter Whitney, who skippers one of the Moorings 62-ft catamarans.

"While on charter, we sailed to the flat island of Anegada, 12 miles north of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgins. Since our guests wanted a deserted beach to walk on, we suggested stopping at Pametto Point rather than the more crowded anchorage at Setting Point. Once anchored, we set off as far as we could in the tender before the reefs blocked our passage. I then suggested our guests walk the pristine beach to the Cow Wreck Bar and Restaurant, about a mile away. The name evokes a mental visual of a bunch of bovines in a head-on, but actually comes from the wreck of a ship carrying cow bones to England, where long ago they were made into buttons. We really like the place because not only is it stuck in time, but also because the bar operates on the honor system. If nobody is there, you just help yourself, keep a tally, and pay when you leave.

"As we neared the place I would drop the guests off from the tender, one of our guests asked what kind of people frequent the Cow Wreck. It's a difficult question to answer, so I said, 'People like you. Anegada is a place that you either like or don't like.' So I sent them on their way - I like them to find their own adventures rather than guide them - and left.

"When I later collected them on the beach, I asked how they enjoyed it. They were all giddy, and reported that not only was the walk superb, but when they arrived at the Cow Wreck, none other than Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airways and numerous other enterprises was there with his entourage. They say Branson welcomed them as if they were part of the guest list - and even the owner thanked them for coming. So you just never know what's around the corner. You have to go out and see."

Branson, of course, owns nearby Necker Island.


The Sea Scouts, Gays, Berkeley, South Dakota, and the Courts

March 10 - Berkeley

In '98 the City of Berkeley revoked the free berthing privileges the Sea Scouts had enjoyed for 60 years. Why? Because the Scouts refused to assure the city that they would allow homosexuals to join the organization. The Scouts sued the city, claiming their right to free association and speech had been violated. Yesterday the State Supreme Court affirmed two lower court decisions that Berkeley had the right to do what they did. Since '98 the Scouts have had to pay $500/month for berthing.

Meanwhile, one of the Dakotas has outlawed almost all abortions. In other words, not everybody in this country is on the same page.

"I Promise, It Will Be First Class, with all Environmental Concerns Taken into Account"

March 10 - La Cruz, Mexico

The accompanying photo is of Pedro del Valle, one of five investors in the La Cruz Yacht Club Marina that is being built in La Cruz, Banderas Bay, Mexico. The photo was taken a week ago at Philo's, where del Valle appeared to take questions from members of the cruising community and Americans who own homes overlooking the marina site.

Pedro del Valle: "The marina will be about this big."

Del Valle said that he's been working on the marina project for eight years, that they have all permits necessary, and that the 386 slips will open up by Christmas of '07. If all he said is true, it will be a world-class marina, with a wide malecon around the perimeter, and will blend in with the town. In addition to the marina, mooring buoys will be placed outside the marina proper and there will be shuttle service. Even so, del Valle said boats will still be able to anchor off for free. La Cruz is one of the most important free cruiser anchorages in Mexico, and last week there were over 50 boats on the hook.

Pier construction at the marina site
Photos Latitude/Richard

Based on our survey of locals, the overwhelming majority of people are in favor of the project. Not only will the project create hundreds of new jobs and businesses, but it's driving the land prices to what even del Valle described as "crazy levels." Most cruisers seemed to take a 'wait and see' attitude, with few dead set against the project.

Indeed, the only people staunchly against the marina - and threatening lawsuits - are about eight American and Canadian homeowners, who once looked down to the water, but now look down on a marina site. They say the marina doesn't have the necessary permits; the marina says it does.

The chances of the marina being stopped appear to be slight.

Boatbuyer Wins Big Suit in Court

March 10 - Columbus, OH

MarineMax of Ohio, the world's largest marine retailer, sold a 51-ft Sea Ray motoryacht to a Columbus man for $780,000, but is now going to have to pay $2.5 million in damages. The problem is MarineMax told the buyer that the hull had been repaired of minor damage when in fact it had been repaired of major damage. The judge described the boat deal as "conscious, deliberate, malicious, deceitful and particularly gross and egregious."

In Defense of Norm Goldie

March 10 - San Blas, Mexico

Jay Hall of the Punta Gorda, Florida-based Pacific Seacraft 37 Orion says he's perplexed. He read the March 3 'Lectronic Latitude item about a San Blas, Mexico, newspaper reporting that Goldie, an American who has lived in San Blas for nearly 30 years, being accused of trading in antiquities, having illegal firearms, and various other crimes.

Hall, having just had "a delightful breakfast" with Goldie, says "Orion and I sailed into Bahia Matanchen on March 6 and set the hook. The next morning I hailed Goldie on the VHF and asked his advice on moving to the estuary anchorage. He was very helpful, giving me specific directions on how to enter, where to anchor, and how to tie the dinghy to the stern of the Mexican Navy vessel at the close-by navy dock where it would be watched by 24-hour guards. I met Norm and his lovely wife Janet in the evening for ice cream in the central plaza, where he seemed to be warmly regarded by other cruisers and locals alike. Norm and Janet provided me with a map and printed notes about provisioning in San Blas. They advised me which restaurants to visit and which to avoid. And they paid for the ice cream. Has Norm done the things alleged in the newspaper article? I don't know. But I have learned to take anything printed in any newspaper with a large grain of salt. My very recent experience with Norm Goldie has been only positive. But, I can only speak for myself."

Like Hall, we don't know if Goldie is guilty of what the newspaper reported he has been accused of. In fact, one of our translators told us that it sounds like the local authorities just want to run him out of town. What we do know is that Goldie is a very controversial character. It's a fact that on numerous occasions he has intervened to help cruisers with local authorities, and seems to greatly enjoy helping other cruisers. On the other hand, many other cruisers over the years have told us that if you don't do what Goldie says, he has a tendency to try to cause trouble for you. In addition, he has a disturbing habit of constantly inferring that he's somehow affiliated with the Mexican or U.S. governments - which he is not.

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