Turns out sailing yacht Quest is a magnet for fireworks.
It’s not exactly something we’d hoped for. It feels like an armada invasion. All that gunpowder smell and flaming pieces dropping in the water around you. Wanting to hide in case we got struck by a cannonball. Wait. Fireworks are for happy occasions. Right?
It’s just we’ve seen a lot of them from Quest – up close. Definitely more than on land. The first time was pulling into Las Palmas in 2015. They had a huge firework display in Gran Canaria – in the middle of September.
We scratched our heads nearby. What were they celebrating? Our arrival? Actually, we discovered they were celebrating that one time when they defeated the British. No joke. I don’t think they’ll be mourning our departure from Europe too much.
We, in the form of Captain/Hooligan/Privateer Sir Francis Drake and his crew, were planning to invade Las Palmas. And the Canarians fought him off successfully. That was the reason for this positively enormous celebration literally hundreds of years later. In all honesty, I don’t think Sir Francis Drake would have minded. He might well have smiled at the whole thing. I mean, it’s not like they killed him. Not yet anyhow.
The second year – New Year’s Eve, we had just rocked up at the BVIs. We anchored, sheltering from the Christmas winds in Virgin Gorda Sound. Just behind Prickly Pear Island. Funnily, the main channel in the BVIs is called Sir Francis Drake Channel.
All the Ormerods crashed out before midnight. I was treated alone to the most enormous firework display courtesy of Sir Richard Branson. Complete fluky surprise. Nice one too.
Then last year, we heard of a firework display held in Martinique’s capital, Fort-de-France, on New Year’s Eve. Quest was passing that way. We went a couple of days early to get a good spot.
From sunset on the 30th, our bay became the most sought after bay in the island. Hundreds of boats arrived. The police did too and started backing everyone up. People had to re-anchor all over the place. Somehow we were left alone, and formed the front line of boats.
The fireworks were epic. Not sure if we felt so lucky the next day though. Quest was covered in firework debris. No burns – no serious ones anyway. The main concern was our awning and sails. A boat wash later, we counted ourselves lucky.
This year we weren’t expecting anything. After all, we’re in our usual position on our buoy. Turns out our location in front of the Brazilian bar, is something of a Mecca for fireworks. They did have other locations – all over the island it seemed, but ours still felt significant.
We watched the display with the same armada feeling. Smoke in our eyes. Up our noses. Checking for awning smoulderings. Cannonballs. I slapped myself for not wetting the awning ahead of time. Yep – I can report little Bonaire really really likes fireworks. More than you think they would.