Ah, the holiday season has begun. We are being increasingly made aware of that because things have started heating up in already warm places, most noticeably The Caribbean.
There’s a lot of folk spending the holidays on their boats down there at this time of year, and bully for you all. Meanwhile, there are many others that are paying big bucks for the privilege of holidaying on someone else’s dreamboat, and that’s where the heat comes from for us up here in colder climes.
Things that break can’t wait around to get fixed on a charter boat with a bunch of high-paying guests on board who are expecting everything to be perfect. And things do break on boats all the time, usually at the most inopportune moment, a fact that many of you will undoubtedly attest to.
If past years are anything to go by, this office will soon be awash with requests to supply parts and organize repairs to systems on moving-targets of vessels that are flitting from island to island day by day. Our efforts will no doubt be exacerbated once again by European parts suppliers and agents effectively closing for two weeks, from before Christmas to after New Year’s Day. Imagine that, two whole weeks! Coastal will be closed for two whole days …
I’ve spent the end-of-year holidays in a number of different locations over the years, sometimes in strange circumstances. There was the time in St. Lucia, in the last hour of Christmas day, frantically swimming after the yacht I was skippering due to it being set adrift by “happy” local fishermen. Then, in a very shabby and seedy Colon, Panama in the mid-eighties, Christmas was celebrated at the pizza restaurant in town. The venue was chosen not because they offered turkey pizza, but because there was an armed guard outside.
Then there was New Year’s 2000; the Millennium. Remember that, when doom and gloom was cast over New Year’s celebrations by talk of computers crashing and the world dying a digital death? I vowed not to get spooked by nerds and naysayers, and headed for a place where I’d found local folk to have a down-to-earth, no nonsense attitude to life: Nova Scotia. I was not disappointed.
Acting on a whim, I booked into a motel room in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia with a beautiful view across an inlet and with the silhouetted skyline of the town itself as a backdrop. Whilst downtown for lunch I figured I’d best try and book a table for the evening, but was flabbergasted to find that no restaurants in town would be open on New Year’s Eve, as everyone would be home celebrating with their families. What a concept!
Luckily, the motel suite had full cooking facilities, so there followed a mad scramble to purchase something suitable to cook for a celebratory meal, and, being Nova Scotia, lobster was the natural choice. Once wined and dined, it was time to watch celebrations from around the world on TV until it was time to prepare for Lunenburg’s moment of glory.
Newfoundland, which is strangely just half an hour ahead of Nova Scotia, offered up a rather muted affair, and then it was Nova Scotia’s turn. Braving the freezing weather, the triple-glazed patio doors were slid back just as the first chimes of midnight rang out, and there above the rooftops of Lunenburg could be seen … absolutely nothing! After a while, what was obviously a red flare was seen in the distance, and then a few more around the area, and then one wimpy rocket, then another, and then that was that. A bit of a damp squib really, but that’s exactly what I’d come to see, or rather to not see. Of course, I should have known that those savvy Lunenburgers were far too sensible to waste money on something that goes up in smoke in a few seconds, especially if it meant freezing one’s whotsits off to watch it happen.
I do hope that Lunenburg has not or does not succumb to falling in line with the rest of the planet. Maybe it’s time I made return visit, but, if so, I’ll probably wait until the weather’s a tad more hospitable.
Happy Holidays, and season’s greetings to you all from everyone at Coastal Climate Control.