Monday, January 25. 2010
Bring you the newest letter from Captain Gordon on Liberte, "hot off the press!".. In his words below...
"As I sit here in Liberte`s comfortable salon,connected to the local Internet provider CCT (which is getting better each year),I reflect on what changes are taking place here and in the US and Europe and where we are going....
There is no doubt that the Industry is much quieter than it has been and,although some folks see an imminent upturn I must be wearing different spectacles.In fact,I liken this slow-down to the last big one in the 80`s which affected the BVI so strongly.I believe that we have a ways to go yet.This does not,of course,signal doom and gloom everywhere.In fact,it makes for a much more efficient machine,fat trimmed away,much keener prices and efficiency for our clients both Guests and Brokers.And leading from that,Operators and Owners who have all that massive investment to try to offset.I have written about this before and shall probably do so again---we spare absolutely no effort or expense to make it 'all come together right' for you all.Liberte` is a well found and well run Yacht which conforms.....and that brings me to the next uppermost thought------BVI or 'Virgin Islands Small Ships Registry' requirements.In the past, Operators have been left largely to their own devices,to decide themselves what their own Yachts need in terms of safety standards which change according to operating area.These were often determined by a 'flag of convenience' and sometimes fell well short of what they should have been.This has all changed.No small commercial vessel (ie a 'charterboat') will be permitted to operate in BVI waters unless she has a Certificate of Compliance issued by the relevant government department in the BVI.Yachts are to be given a short period to get their affairs in order and,if not compliant safety-wise,will be asked to cease operations in BVI waters,an interesting new chapter and challenge therefore unfolds.
Needless to say,Libby is compliant as she is a world-class Ocean Cruiser--- apart from a couple of minor items which will be rectified within 14 days when the safety items arrive in the now-depleted stores.These added costs are going to be very hard to swallow for an already embattled industry,but the final outcome will be enhanced safety for all.
Liberte is running some very special offers for the month of February only---so come on down to the warm and comfortable breezes of the Leeward Islands,leave those gloves and coats and boots in the frozen car at JFK,BWI,Chicago and Boston and other points north and let us relax you as only the Islands (and our excellent rum), can......Read on for some interesting info on our fishy friends...."
Caribbean fish, not good to eat?
Here in the British Virgin Islands, its widely known and understood that the local reef fish should not be eaten. Consuming a reef fish may result in poisoning and illness...The question often asked on charter is how these fish could cause us to become so sick and why specifically does it occur here in the British Virgin islands? We do a little research to find out exactly whats going on.
Snorkeling and Diving is magnificent, the fishes and reefs are colorful, beautiful and radiant,you become speechless and amazed at the hundreds of fish swimming around you, the shades of colour from light to dark, its hard to believe these spectacular fish could cause so much harm if eaten.
The source of the problem lies on the reefs, the coral, the algea and the sea weed. Toxins(dinoflagellates) adhere to the coral, algea and sea weed which the smaller herbivorous fish eat, the larger carnivorous fish inturn eat the smaller fish and the toxins bioaccumulate which increases the severity of the toxin... There are number of certain toxins that together produce "Ciguatera" poisoning, a contamination of the fishes flesh that makes the fish unsafe to eat...Predator species near the top of the food chain in tropical and sub-tropical waters, such as Barracudas, snapper, moray eels,parrot fishes, Groupers,triggerfishes and amberjacks are most likely to cause ciguatera poisoning, although many other species have been found to cause occasional outbreaks of toxicity. Ciguatoxin is very heat-resistant, so ciguatoxin-laden fish cannot be detoxified by conventional cooking...
Originally, ciguatoxin was linked to Poison passed to tropical fish through consumption. However, the exact source of the toxin was unknown, and many sources were identified as the culprit. these included fruit, berries, compounds containing copper, as well as Pololo worms...
It is a generally held theory that ciguatera, as a poisonous substance, was named and identified in Cuba, circa the early 1800s. Local folklore has identified that the etymology stems from a story of an Englishman who caught a barracuda on the Isla de Pinos. After consuming the barracuda, the Englishman became terribly ill. When queried about the origins of his illness, the Englishman claimed to have caught and eaten "a fish, from the seawater". This gave rise to the name of the ailment as ciguatera, a transliteration into Spanish of the English word seawater.. A more commonly encountered explanation is that ciguatera comes from the word 'Cigua', a Cuban name for a gastropod that caused similar symptoms. Captain Cook during his voyages in the Endeavor (1700s) when off New Caledonia describes eating a fish 'with a large ugly head' and goes on to describe symptoms consistent with ciguatera poisoning.
Due to the localized nature of the ciguatoxin-producing microorganisms, ciguatera illness is common in only Tropical waters, particularly the Pacific and Caribbean and usually is associated with fish caught in tropical reef waters. Ciguatoxin is found in over 400 species of reef fish, and therefore avoidance of consumption of all reef fish (any fish living in warm tropical waters) is the only sure way to avoid exposure to the toxin.
In Northern Australia where ciguatera is a common problem, two different methods are widely believed to be available for determining that fish harbors significant levels of ciguatoxin. The first method is that if a piece of fish is contaminated with the toxin, flies will not land on it. The second is that the toxin can be detected by feeding a piece of fish to a cat, as cats are allegedly highly sensitive to ciguatoxin and will display symptoms. There is a third, less common method for ciguatera testing that involves putting a silver coin under the scales of the suspect fish. If the coin turns black, reportedly, the fish is contaminated; but if it does not turn black then it should be safe. It is not known whether any of these tests produce results that are actually accurate.
Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomitin, and diarrhea usually followed by neurological symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches, paresthesia, numbness, and hallucinations Severe cases of ciguatera can also result in cold allodynia, which is a burning sensation on contact with cold (commonly incorrectly referred to as reversal of hot/cold temperature sensation)
The symptoms can last from weeks to years, and in extreme cases as long as 20 years, often leading to long term disability. Most people do recover slowly over time.Often patients recover but redevelop symptoms in the future. Such relapses can be triggered by consumption of nuts, alcohol, fish or fish-containing products, chicken or eggs, or by exposure to fumes such as those of bleach and other chemicals. Exercise is also a possible trigger.
So there you have it, although these fish are harmless to snorkel with as well as dive with they are not to be eaten... All the fish that is served on board is imported from the US... What is interesting is that the locals on the islands here seem to have some immunity to the toxins and are able to eat the reef fish. What is also interesting is that Lobsters do not seem to be effected by the toxins are are safe to eat here in the British Virgin Islands....
Dolphins in the Anegada passage
Peter Island, beach
Liberte' off Litle Jost Van Dyke
Bubbly Pools, Jost Van Dyke, the Gracer Party enjoying a day in paradise
Liberte' in West End
Drink of the Month- MUDSLIDE
Ingredients: 1/2 oz. Coffee Liqueur(kahlua or frangelico)
1/2 oz. Irish Cream Liqueur(baileys)
1 oz. Vodka
Milk, or cream, maybe Ice cream(vanilla)
Method: I like to use a blender, just add all the ingredients into the blender, add ice and some milk or ice cream, blend up and away you go, add some chocolate syrup into the glass... You could also shake the liqueur and the vodka together and pour over ice. I prefer the blended version! good luck, its delicious!
Thanks Gordon, for sharing.... see more pictures of Liberte on our webpage... And ask about February Specials available!
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