Blow the Conch

At 5:30pm, the super yachts in Falmouth Harbour blow their horns together. It lasts for a couple of ear-splitting minutes. I’m not sure if this super yacht horn-blowing is supposed to be following in the Caribbean tradition of blowing the conch shell, which happens when fishermen return home with their catch. Or, if it follows in the equally traditional ‘boys and their toys’ ritual. Either one could work.

They’ve been having an industry show the last week, the super yachts. It’s called the Antigua Charter Show.  Prospective charter clients come out to check what’s on offer. Here come the questions. Which super yacht would you like to rent out for your Easter vacation? The one with the huge inflatable slide, the personal submarine or the half-a-dozen jet-skis? Oh yeah, hard choices. Just thinking about it, I develop my so-called confused look. Lulu says it’s possibly my dominant facial expression. I think she’s right – if I wasn’t so confused about it.

What I do reckon people don’t think about though when they’re looking at their super yacht holidays is the adventure. Here’s why.

A number of super yachts began making their way out of Falmouth Harbour today. The first time we were here, we were bowled over by the sight. This definitely wasn’t what we were used to, living in Mid-Wales. The huge yachts come right past the anchorage too. You can watch immaculately-dressed crew tie up car-sized fenders and put away anacondas for lines.

We were doing school on Quest while the yachts came past today. It’s the week before the girls’ school breaks up for Xmas.. so a breakneck jam of homework and assessments is going down on board. Poor girls’ heads were down.

Jack and I were sitting in the cockpit. After amazing, little sailboat Chip-Chip had left, we’ve been in the Marine Traffic zone. Indeed, Chip-Chip was already showing up on screen a number of islands to the north. Those guys had zipped up to St Martin in less than twenty-four hours.

We began to check on the super yachts’ comings and goings. We discovered they were going – nowhere. Well, nowhere far. One boat was going literally next door into English Harbour. Another was going two bays away. It was a succession of lame listed journeys. For such large, powerful boats? The equivalent of a large cat petting zoo.

I’m not saying that all super yachts just go from well-worn to well-worn island and cross an ocean only to move with the seasons – from the Med to the Caribbean and back to the Med again. Surely, some of them must cross into unfamiliar territories, enter pristine bays and anchor in untouched lagoons. After all, they’re the ultimate boats to do so.

These mammoth vessels are not all for show. Not just for the super rich to use as floating mansions in well-heeled watery neighbourhoods. In the meantime, blow those conch shells, super yachts. It might be the only freedom you’ve got.


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