HAPPY BASTILLE DAY!
Last weekend as France was celebrating Bastille Day, St Barth held its tropical version of the French national holiday. There was a lovely fireworks display over the harbor in Gustavia and a crowd dancing on the dock to the sounds of S? Control, a band made up of local guys who moonlight as musicians.
Speaking of moonlight, there was just a small sliver of moon in the sky, which apparently means it was the wrong time of the month to go fishing. That didnŐt stop 21 boats from around the Caribbean from taking part in the 10th annual St Barth Open tournament, organized by Christian Audebert of Ocean Must. But the results were as pale as the moonlight. Two years ago, a 669-pound marlin broke the local records and that is still the weight to beat. But this year, nobody even came close. In fact the largest fish that was reeled in was a 37-pound wahoo that looked rather small in comparison. But everybody seemed to have a good time, and a beautiful Contender fishing boat is still in the offing as the grand prize for anyone who breaks the marlin record. Joe NeberŐs Contendress won this year, (for having one marlin release on the first day of the tournament. There was only one more on the second day, for a total of two; last year over 20 fish tagged and released). The owner of Contender Boats, a Florida based company, Joe has been coming here for the fishing tournament every year, and for the past five summers has made the island his home-away-from-home with his entire family. In fact his 14 year-old son Matthew is proving himself to be quite a young fisherman and reeled in a 32-pound wahoo during the tournament. A sponsor of the tournament, Joe generously donated the grand prize boat. I wonder if he breaks the weight record next year if heŐll give the boat to himself. Since no one won it this year, Audebert decided to surprise Neber with the spiffy silver motorbike that was part of the grand prize package. As he rode it across the dock toward Contendress, everyone was promising to come back next year and dream about getting one of those 700-pound monster marlin to trade his life for a starring role on the dock in Gustavia.
The 16th annual local volleyball tournament also got underway over the holiday weekend, with nine teams, five masculine, and four feminine. Unable to play on the schoolyard in Gustavia due to repair work following a mysterious break-in and fire last month, the matches are volleying back and forth between a tennis court in Colombier, and St Jean, where a makeshift court has been outlined in the dirt. One of these days, maybe an indoor court will be built so that the spectators can take a real seat and the games will no longer be called for rain.
More to come,