St. Barths Online

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Jun 1, 2005

SHIP AHOY!

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In spite of the fact that St. Barth is an island, ie: surrounded by water, it is sometimes weeks, or even months (do I hear years?) between the times I actually set foot on a boat. Not that I get seasick or anything, it's just that the occasion rarely arises, so I am primarily a landlubber, staring at a computer screen more often than the horizon. I did visit a beautiful new 65' Moody that sailed over from England last winter, and I hopped from boat to boat during the St. Barth Bucket boat-hopping event in April (but those boats were firmly attached to the dock). So it was a bit unusual to find myself aboard two boats, as it were, on a Sunday in late May. The first was a sailboat ready to take off on a transatlantic crossing, heading to France from the Port of Gustavia. We went down to the port in the morning to say goodbye and had a chance to visit the boat, once again an easy task as it was at the dock. Later that day things got a little more interesting when we returned to the dock to await the arrival of Prototype, a one-of-a-kind sailboat that had left St. Barth last August and was coming back after a 14,000 mile "expedition" to Patagonia (the southern most tip of South America). My husband Rosemond wanted to get some close ups of the boat as it sailed into the harbor, so along with Cedric, a local filmmaker, and his girlfriend, Valentine, from the 2.b.art gallery (a sponsor of Expedition Prototype), we piled into a zodiac owned by dentist François Chlous and zipped out onto the waves. They were pretty big waves to boot and we flew up into the air and slammed down onto the water pretty hard a few times. We were holding on to our hats, that's for sure. Artist Stanislas Defize, who was part of the original three-man crew aboard Prototype, was with us, as he had left the ship a few months before to return to his native Belgium. The other two sailors, Marc and Yan, completed the voyage alone. Once Prototype was at the dock, Stany jumped aboard to recreate the sea-faring trio. To add a bit of humor to their homecoming, a group of their friends, primarily female, awaited the boat on the dock, dressed in grass skirts and with a large sign "Welcome to Bora Bora," as if Prototype was still in the South Pacific someplace. That evening, the whole gang and lots of additional friends gathered at La Plage in St Jean for a look at the nine short films Cedric has made to date about Expedition Prototype. These are a great recap of the voyage, and it is incredible to see the tropical landscapes morph into the icy glaciers of Patagonia as the expedition reached its goal. As an artistic gesture, Stany had made 15 pairs of floating sculptures, one in metal and one in yellow plastic. The metal ones were sold through 2.b.art gallery (which will also host an exhibit about the expedition next year), while the yellow ones were filled with messages (like messages in a bottle) and tossed out to sea along the way. Wouldn't it be great if one of them was tossed by the waves right back to St. Barth, bringing the whole expedition full circle once again!

More to come,

 

Ellen Lampert-Greaux


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