Local News
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By Cécile Lucot
    Cécile Lucot has lived in St. Barths for ten years. Originally from Bordeaux, this professional journalist was the editor-in-chief of St. Barth Magazine for six years. She then participated in the daily local mini-newspaper "Today" and writes regularly for regional magazines. Once or twice a month, she presents a recap of local news on St. Barths Online.
  April 1, 2006 - #58
books International Book Day

    There was a non-stop crowd during the first international book day, held on Sunday, April 23 in front of City Hall, and organized by two friends who are also book lovers, Didier Bensa, owner of the Christopher Hotel, and Jean-Pierre Hennequet, owner of the Galerie Asie art gallery. The day included a free book exchange, which was busy all morning, plus stands from Funny Face and the Barnes bookstores, which displayed their most beautiful books. There was also a workshop for children, local writers who signed their recent books, and actors from St Barth Artists who read from works by local writers in the shade of the trees near the town hall. The day was a great success, showing that the population of Saint Barth is interested in books, and encouraged the organizers to talk about a second edition next year.

books Caribbean Film Festival

    For the 11th annual St. Barth Film Festival was held from April 25-30 at A.J.O.E. Ellen Lampert-Gréaux, her husband Rosemond, and Joshua Harrison presented a full program of short films and features, including Viva Cuba, the new film by Juan Carlos Cremata and Iraida Malberti shown in a special preview screening (it opens in France on May 31, 2006), and Havana Blues by Benito Zambrano, which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. Twenty film professionals, most with roots in the Caribbean, came to present their films, participate in discussions after the films. New this year: two 50-minute videos, both about adventures at sea. Our only regret is that the festival didn’t last longer!

transat Transat ag2r - Concarneau-St-Barth

    Twenty-eight identical 35’ Figaro Bénéteau sailboats, started out on a transatlantic race on April 9, covering 3,710 miles of competitive sailing. They left from the charming port of Concarneau in Brittany, with two sailors per boat, passing a marker in front of the island of Madeira, then heading straight to St Barth. Rough weather in the Bay of Biscay caused three boats to abandon, as each had damage that could not be repaired on the open seas. At dawn on Saturday, April 29, the duo Kito de Pavant and Pietro d’Ali aboard Groupe Bel crossed the finish line in front of City Hall, winning the eighth edition of the Transat after 19 days, 22 hours, 24 minutes, et 30 seconds of navigation, primarily sailing with their spinnakers full of wind. They broke the speed record for the race as set by Armel Le Cléac’h and Nicolas Troussel, winners of the Transat 2004 in 20 days, 8 hours and 49 minutes. This year, the boats arrived in a steady parade through Sunday night, some crossing the finish line just several meters ahead of the next ones. On the main dock, the Saint Barth Yacht Club set up the “village” of the Transat, for a week of activities and festivities that concluded Friday night, May 5, with the official award ceremonies for the race.

  Whale Week

    From April 18-25, the Marine Park in Saint Barth organized an informational week about the underwater environment, and focused on cetaceans. The event included a thorough exhibit about the world of marine mammals, some of which are endangered. The exhibit took place on the ground floor of the new Capitainerie (port offices) that was inaugurated on May 22 by Paul Girot de Langlade, the prefect of Guadeloupe and mayor Bruno Magras. There was also a series of free public lectures by Pierre Henry Fontaine, a well-known professor and cetacean expert. Whale watching excursions, to see the large marine mammals that migrate past Saint Barth from January to May, were organized on a boat belonging to Caroline and Renato Rinaldi. The couple are founding members of the association, Evasion Tropicale, based in Guadeloupe, and whose goal is to catalogue the whales and sea turtles in the Caribbean. It is considered that 90% of the whale population disappeared due to abusive hunting practices stopped in 1935 as there was nothing left to hunt. Twenty-eight different species have been counted in the waters of the Caribbean, where the marine mammals migrate to reproduce. While France is opposed to the reopening of hunting there are certain small nations such as St. Kitts, St. Lucie, or even Dominica, are for the hunting of marine mammals as supported by Japan and Norway. Evasion Tropicale started a petition, which already has more than 3000 signatures, against whale hunting. The association, known internationally for the work they have done since 1992, are trying to create a whale sanctuary, and are running a pilot program for the United Nations for the study and better understanding of marine mammals in the Caribbean.

  More to come
  Cécile Lucot
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