Many opportunities to catch and release marlin are what organizers of the San Juan International Billfish Tournament (IBT), hosted out of Club Nautico de San Juan from September 12th to 18th, have been preparing for. Over the past year, seven Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) have been constructed and installed in the waters off Puerto Rico. “Fishing is hot,” says IBT chairman Salvador Egea, Jr. “Blue marlin, whites, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, and other sport fish have been biting since the first FAD was deployed eight miles off the San Juan Harbor, the prime fishing grounds for our tournament, in August 2015.” A total of 48 FADs will be placed in Puerto Rican waters over the next few years. In addition to the promise of a hot bite, it’s the hospitality that is the real signature of the IBT event. International anglers get picked up personally from the airport rather than having to take a taxi, and the Ladies Committee puts together a full program of shopping, sightseeing and spa visits for non-fishing spouses. Those who can’t make it this year can still follow the action. Organizers have launched a mobile app that provides real time information on releases, day tallies and cumulative results. sanjuaninternational.com
Celebrate Labor Day in Coral Bay.
The tropics tend to have quieter event schedules in September due to the peak of hurricane season. However, one bright spot of festivities begins on Labor Day in Coral Bay, St. John. The smallest of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands—accessible only by boat—boasts a zany parade complete with queens, costumed troupes and even the island’s iconic donkeys on Monday, September 5th. The procession starts at noon on the south side of Coral Harbor by Island Blues and ends less than a mile north at the ballfield across from the 18th century Emmaus Moravian Church. Vendors line the finish selling everything from local fruit juices made of mango, papaya and tamarind to favorite foods such as chicken legs, johnnycakes and meat-filled pâtés, as well as a variety of handmade arts and crafts. Live music keeps the party going long into the night. There’s an extra special reason to celebrate Labor Day or any day in Coral Bay. The New York Times listed this quaint settlement fourth on its list of 52 Places to Go in 2016. Two marina projects are planned that some residents welcome, as there is no marina here currently. However, others fear the project will change the very face of what draws visitors to this piece of paradise. visitusvi.com/stjohn/homepage
New boatyard offers a variety of services.
Clarkes Court Boatyard and Marina (CCBM) is one of the newest kids on the block when it comes to boatyards in the Caribbean. Located on the southwest coast of Grenada next to the sheltered waters of Woburn Bay, the marine business celebrated its first anniversary and 300th haul in June. Facilities and services include a Roodberg submersible trailer with a 40-ton lift capacity, a Travelift capable of hauling vessels up to 242 tons, woodworking, welding, painting, and rigging as well as fuel, chandlery, garbage pick-up, and 24-hour security. The latest addition is a courtesy dinghy used to pick up the port stern line of vessels coming in for a haul. This saves the vessel’s bow person from having to rush back to get the stern line ashore. CCBM is owned by Kelly Glass, a New Zealand native and long-time Caribbean businessman. Glass’s two sister companies make great getaways when a vessel is on the hard. One is the luxury Blue Lagoon Hotel and Marina in St. Vincent, and the other is the Bequia Plantation Hotel in Bequia. clarkescourtmarina.com
By Carol Bareuther, Southern Boating Magazine September 2016