Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cycling up (again)

We have been in St. Maarten a bit longer than I expected. We had collecting permit problems so did not make it to Anguilla. The weather has not been favorable so we have postponed our trip to Saba and Statia. It looks like we will be able to leave on Saturday morning for Saba. We will collect for a couple of days and then continue our trip south.

 

We have been troubled with continuous rain showers. They are rarely heavy but they come and go every hour or so. This is not the pattern I remember from previous trips when it would rain hard once a day in the afternoon.

 

The next days will be spent provisioning. We hope to be on our way this weekend.

 

Fair winds and following seas.

 

.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Things you don't notice

Yesterday I presented my drivers license as ID for a purchase. The clerk noted that it had expired three months ago. The things you don't notice when you don't get mail (Yes Spencer, I am sure somewhere in your stack of my stuff is a reminder.) Anyway, it is harder to renew it from out of state than to just wait until I get back to Wisconsin. I don't drive anyway.

Fair winds and following seas.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The "Bat Cave"

It seems that the best place to look for spiders is in caves that are filled with bats. So Loren and Sammy spend most of their days in the "bat cave." Unfortunately its the guano, not the bats that attracts the spiders.
Ugh.

Fair winds and following seas.

So you think you are safe on a mooring ball?

Do you remember the USS Stark (FFG-31)? On 17 May 1987 it was hit by two Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi Mirage F-1. Unfortunately the Captain, Glenn R. Brindel was reportedly in the head at the time. Today I was in the head and the crew started yelling at me "another boat is really close." I yelled back, "we are one a mooring ball, its their problem." Of course I pulled up my pants and headed to the deck. There was another boat really close. In fact it was about 5 feet away. And we were sill on the mooring ball. The mooring ball, however, was not longer attached to the bottom. The winds were light and we were able to motor away to another mooring ball (carrying the first mooring ball with us.)

We tied up to the second mooring ball. There was also a loop of heavy line that seemed anchored on the bottom. We rigged a second line to it. Around sunset we were dancing on the foredeck and I noticed that the lines to the mooring ball were quite slack. You guessed it. The second mooring ball was not longer attached to anything but Reboot, The loop that we had attached the second line to had come free, one end was still attached to the bottom, but the other end and come free. There was a loop in the free end. With a bit of dinghy manipulation we were able to run two new mooring lines through the loop of what is about 4 inch rope. It remains to be seen if this loop is going to stay attached to the bottom. I intend to dive on it tomorrow morning as the weather forecast is not kind.

Fair winds and following seas

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back in the Lagoon

We are back on the mooring ball in Simpson Bay Lagoon. The trip from St. Barts was mostly down wind so it was much faster and more comfortable. We arrived in Simpson Bay 20 minutes before the evening bridge so we took advantage of it to get back to the mooring ball. After four nights of rocking and rolling on the hook it was great to have a quiet sea state for a good sleep. We did have one glitch on the way back, the furler jammed so we took down the jib. Once back on the ball I pulled the furling line and it worked perfectly. Apparently there was an override in the line that once no longer under strain resolved itself.

We plan on a couple of days and cleaning and repairs and then will head to Saba and points south.

Fair winds and following seas.

 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tintamarre

After a long and uncomfortable trip directly into the Northeast trades we spent two nights and one day hunting spiders on Tintamarre, an island off the coast of St. Maarten. It is a very pretty cove with mooring balls provided by the park service. The water is very clear. We all went for a swim and I checked the bottom of Reboot. The next time we are in a protected anchorage I will dive and scrape the bottom. The island is a day stop for many tour boats. The bare boat charters also stop here. There is not much to see on the island. Most people just anchor in the cove, go to the beach and take a swim. Overnight mooring is prohibited but not enforced. We were given a special research permit to stay overnight but were joined by several other boats. It is a pretty stop if you have some time.

 

Fair winds and following seas

 

Gustava (St. Barts)

St. Barthelemey (St. Barts) was our next stop after Tintamarre. The trade winds shifted from the Northeast to the Southeast. Once again we were fighting our way directly into the wind for half the trip. We went into Fort Gustava to check in. There is a large anchorage but it was filled with boats so we anchored about 1 NM from the town. With winds up to 30 knots the anchorage rolls most of the time. We learned when taking the dinghy into town that almost the entire anchorage is exposed to the wind and wave action. There were a large number of empty med mooring spots in the harbor. Given the number of boats at anchor I assume that they are very expensive. With strong winds it would be difficult to get set up. The four rows of mooring balls are so close together that you need a bow thruster to navigate the channel.

 

For a place that is on the “must be seen at” on the megayacht circuit St. Barts was a huge disappointment. There are no services, not even a fuel dock. The town consists of overpriced restaurants and very high end (Cartier, Yves St. Laurent) shops. Andy and I walked for 2 hours looking to purchase a post card for her to send to her mother before finding one store that actually sold post cards. I wanted to get a hair cut but there is no barber. We took in the laundry and were told the nearest laundry was a 15 Euro cab ride away. The most startling thing was that there were no people on the street. We were told that like vampires (very rich vampires) they only come out at night.

 

Lauren and Sammy drove the entire island looking for spiders and reported that the rest of the island is pretty much the same.

 

The Port Captain is very nice and efficient. They check the anchorage each morning and remind you that you need to check in and out. Apparently you can pre-clear over the Internet. That presumes you have Internet on your boat.

 

For some reason the airport here is semi-famous. Many of the post cards featured pictures of a plane landing here. It is much smaller than St. Martin as the planes are all small props.

 

I will not be in a hurry to come back unless I am gifted a few billion and a megayacht.

 

Fair winds and following seas.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Movie Night at Barnacles (Greek) Bar

There are several places that have dinghy docks in Simpson Bay Lagoon. They are usually stores or bars. One of our favorites is Barnacles Greek Bar in Simpson Bay. It is close to a cash machine, the drug store (where I seem to spend a lot of time purchasing dressings for Andy) and has great Greek food. They also have a couple of big TV sets. Usually they are playing endlessly boring video of skate boarders and surfers. It was very quiet last night so I asked Callie, the owner if they had any movies. She said yes, a big library. I asked if she had Skyfall and she said yes.

We started to watch the movie. Since the bar stools have no backs Andy was getting tired holding her arm in a position that did not hurt. We grabbed a couple of chairs and settled down by the bar to watch. Callie then showed up with POPCORN! After a bit Andy tried to fold a fleece jacket as a headrest. Callie brought out a big pillow! We decided that every Tuesday should be movie night. What a great time.

Just as we were leaving after the movie our Spider Hunters returned with their catch. So it all worked out great.

Fair winds and following seas.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spider Poeople Arrive

Last night Lauren and Sandy arrived to start the spider hunt. So of course we took 5 dinghies over to Barnacles to pick up their gear. Then an dinghy party on Reboot. Dinner at the Yacht Club. Dancing at La Bamba. Back to Reboot for another dinghy party.

Statistics:
Bags of gear - 8? 9? 10?
Beer consumed - yes
Rum and Cokes consumed - yes
Vodka shots consumed - yes
Spiders hunted - No

Fair winds and following seas.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bad days in Paradise

Even in Paradise we have bad days:

1) Dinghy engine failed, leaving me stranded on boat.
2) Hitched a ride to shore with friend. He was to bring me back. He met a girl and let me stranded on shore.
3) My crew Andy accepted scooter ride home - spent night in hospital with road rash. I spent most of the next day getting medicine, changing bandages, and so forth.
4) Found that Reboot's transmission has a oil leak.

Oh well, Andy will heal, fortunately no scrapes on her face. Got new prop for outboard, working again --- but who knows for how long (it is after all 35 years old.)

Spider people arrive tomorrow.

Fair winds and following seas.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Barnacles Bar - Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles (the Dutch Side)

The Men's Room has interesting writing on the wall. Not the puerile writings I read in my youth. My favorite: "Our beer is colder than your ex-girlfriends heart."
Wow

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

DHL Delivers my New Years Gift

My watermaker has arrived. It is in my hands. Now, lets hope the repair actually works (it didn't last time!)

Fair winds and following seas

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

We spent New Years eve on the beach off Simpson Bay with a bonfire, coolers of beer, and some food. Various friends stopped by over the course of the evening. Some of the younger folks did a midnight swim - considering how warm the water is not much of a challenge - they should try it in Lake Michigan on New Years!  It is easy to see how people come for a couple of weeks and end up staying many years.

Happy New Year

Fair winds and following seas.

Marine Directory Asia - A useful resource

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