December 18, 2007 - #84
« Capitaine Danet », A New SNSM Rescue Boat for Saint Barth
For the past 20 years, Ingenue Magras has been working to establish the SNSM (French National Society For Rescue At Sea) station in Saint Barth. The non-profit association finally saw the light of day in 2005, and has approximately 50 members. Until last month, the rescue boat used by the station was the Contre-Amiral Noël, a boat that once belonged to the SNSM base in Saint Martin, and was sent to Saint Barth once Saint Martin received its new boat. Last November 10 and 11, the members of the SNSM in Saint Barth were in Philipsburg, where they were happy to take possession of the Capitaine Danet, a new boat fresh out of the sea container that brought it from France. Specially conceived for the station in Saint Barth, the new boat measures almost 35’ long (10.5 meters) and has two 330 horsepower propeller motors. The Collectivity of Saint Barth, which contributed 110,000 euros, and the SNSM shared the 330,000 euros to finance the new boat. The SNS 269 was named after Théodore Danet, in tribute to a sailing schooner captain who was originally from Corossol and who trained numerous sailors on the island.
A New Film About Saint Barth
The director of “St. Barthélemy, cap paradis," a documentary made on the island in 1999, Pierre Brouwers started shooting a new film about Saint Barth last summer—this time in high definition video. The theme of this new documentary is the history of aviation on the island and the role that airplanes play in the daily life of the community. The filmmaker, who is also a pilot, stresses the importance a runway played in allowing each island to open toward the exterior and begin to develop. During the first weeks of filming last summer, he met José Dormoy, a pilot in St. Eustatius, as well as Rémy de Haenen, the founder of the Eden Rock Hotel and a former mayor of Saint Barth. He came back to Saint Barth in November and intends to complete the shooting in January 2008. The film should be completed by April 2008, and aired on the Voyage channel as of May 2008, before it is broadcast on France 5 and TMC, as well as published as a DVD. Brouwers, who is the founder and director of the Hachette video guides, has made more than 160 documentaries for the Discover The World series.
Pioneers In The West Indies Skies
Born on September 18, 1925 in Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe), José Dormoy was nicknamed “Mister Pipe,” as he always had a pipe in his mouth. He is credited with opening many new runways including those in Marie Galante, La Désirade, and Guadeloupe. During the Patron Saint Day of St. Barthélemy on August 24, 2004, the director of civil aviation presented him with the Aeronautic Gold Medal in honor of his career with WinAir, the regional airline he joined in 1963, and with which he flew over 44,000 hours.
If the name Rémy de Haenen remains associated with some incredible tales at sea, he was also known for his exploits with airplanes. Founder of the Eden Rock hotel, and a former mayor of Saint Barth, he was the first person to land a plane in Saint Barth: back in 1945 on the savannah where the Gustav III airport is located today. “I never alerted anyone,” he recalls. “I simply landed between the hillside and the ocean, with a herd of sheep on one side and a pond on the other other.” After this inaugural landing, the area was cleared so that planes could land on the grass until a concrete runway was finally built in the 1970s— a runway just 2550’ long, one of the shortest in the Caribbean, after the one in Saba. In 1946 de Haenen made his air base on the flat island of Tintamarre, between St. Barth and St. Martin, and created an airline that linked the various islands. In 1959, he was the first to touch down on Saba, landing on a “hankerchief”.
José Dormoy passed away on September 10, 2007 after entering the hospital in Martinique last August. Rémy de Haenen now lives in Saint Barth once again, having spent many years on the island of Santo Domingo.