Saturday, September 29, 2007

My MacBook is back!

Two weeks from tomorrow, my almost 10-month old MacBook went on the fritz. Started with a kernal panic. I crashed the computer and it restarted. I thought I might not have enough hard drive space for system swap files, so I decided I should move a video off the computer and onto a DVD. During the copying, it had another kernal panic. Yikes! What's going on?

OK, I just went and deleted the large video file and fortunately, instead of poking around the computer to try and suss out what was wrong, I immediately saved my email (Entourage database) and a few other very important files to an external hard drive in case something horrible was about to come my way.

Good thing because not too much later, the computer just shut down on its own. Turned on the MacBook and I got a black screen and the little sleep light on the front was on solid. Tried so many things such as boot from the install disk... which stalled... Tried hardware test on install disk... which stalled. Couldn't remove disk. It did start up once when I did the hold down option key while turning on power. That way I got to select the startup folder off of the hard drive and after it booted, I was able to eject the disk. It didn't last though... Sometimes it didn't make the "suck in the disk" sound at startup, or it was really weak. The battery was fully charged. I reset the PRam, but nothing. I reset the PMU, after which it started up once... might have just been a coincidence.

I called Apple but they were only concerned about selling me the extended AppleCare warranty, even though I was still covered. They must get a commission, because I was on the phone for 10 minutes and still hadn't received a case number or described my problem. I was disconnected and with three different people, they only wanted to sell me AppleCare. The Sunday afternoon Bush League crowd, I guess.

I decided to call Small Dog up in Vermont for their advice and possibly ship my MacBook to them. Super nice people, and he said it should be repaired within 3-5 days working days of them receiving my MacBook. Of course, shipping from St. Maarten to Vermont and back would be costly, but hey I was seriously considering $180 for shipping as they are a reputable company. Check them out and subscribe to their newsletter.

We noticed that Apple lists an Authorized Service Center which is across from Simpson Bay Marina. We decided to drop on by and check him out even though we had heard a bad report on the VHF cruisers' net. He seemed like a nice guy and we wouldn't have to ship the MacBook off-island. He said that he'd receive the parts in 3-5 working days from Apple. This was Monday and we decided on Tuesday to go with the local guy. I asked if I'd have it back by next Friday and he said Oh yes, before then... Well, we got the call on Friday (surprise!) that we could come and pick it up... I'll tell you more after we get Bob's MacBook warranty repair taken care of in a couple of days.

But, it has given us the incentive to buy the extended AppleCare which extends our warranty by another 2 years. CLICK FOR MORE => (AppleCare Extended Protection Plan for MacBook) It's a good price, too.

Walk the plank... aargh!

AMAZON now offers MP3 music downloads

Wow, I'm going to check this out! Songs for $0.89 and lots of albums for $8.99 or less...

Amazon MP3 Music Downloads

Looks like a good thing. Not a lot of selection yet, but it is new. Must be patient... Remember the beginning of iTunes & podcasts ???



St. Maarten Customs & Immigration Dinghy Dock

A couple of days ago we tied up at the dinghy dock just outside of the Dutch Bridge as we were just going to MacDonald's for lunch. We then walked up the street and bought a couple of things at the store. Took us less than an hour...

Ooooh, when we were just getting into the dinghy a woman from St. Maarten Immigration came charging out and told us that we were NOT to tie up to this dock to do shopping, etc. This dock is only for visiting Customs & Immigration, the Port Authority, and the Police Station. Told her I was sorry, but I didn't know that & thanks for letting us know for the future and that we'll be coming in to pay our Port fees so will be tying up there tomorrow. Wow, was she Ms. Snippy. This is the first time I've had an altercation like this. I was nice and polite with her. I don't know if she was wanting to release some pent up frustration or what but I wasn't going there :)

Speaking of "The Friendly Island", the radio guy was reading articles out of the local paper and one story finished with the words "the friendly island" and the next headline was something like "Two gas stations robbed within fifteen minutes" or maybe it was "Two chopped as gangs clash in Sucker Garden".

I think we need a break from here...

So remember, do not park your dinghy at the dock in front of the bridge unless it is for official business. You've been warned :)

Also, remember that bridge times don't change until the beginning of December...
CLICK HERE for previous post with bridge times.

It's better here than other places... and the beauty of living aboard a boat means you can just move your home somewhere different when you get the fancy...

Cool, huh?

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This is from the CARIBBEAN COMPASS September 2007 edition, Info & Updates:

New Rules for Yachts in CARICOM

Yachts traveling from country to country within much of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean are looking at more paperwork.

Legislation has been passed which requires all air and sea carriers to submit passenger information in advance when arriving at, and departing from, each of ten Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) member states. Participating CARICOM member states are:
  • Jamaica,
  • Antigua & Barbuda,
  • St. Kitts & Nevis,
  • Dominica,
  • Barbados,
  • St. Lucia,
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines,
  • Grenada,
  • Trinidad & Tobago, and
  • Guyana.
These countries are collectively known as a "Single Domestic Space" (SDS).

Compass is informed that the term "sea carriers" includes both private and charter yachts.

To comply with the new regulation, you fill out a form (available by registering at which asks for information such as passengers' names, nationalities and passport numbers, and the vessel's dates and times of departure and arrival.

There are three ways the form can be submitted:
  • By sending as an e-mail attachment to
  • By filling it in on-line
  • By faxing it to (246) 228-4040.
When arriving in the SDS from a port outside of the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than 24 hours before arrival.

When departing from the SDS to a port outside of the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than 15 minutes after departure.

When traveling between countries within the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than one hour before departure.

For more information contact Diane Hazzard at (246) 429-7931 or
I'm planning to check out their web site and see if it is currently in effect. What happens if you decide to bypass your destination and go somewhere else because of timing, or weather conditions, etc? Will the country that you bypassed get worried when you don't show up? Plus, you won't have a form filled out prior to your arrival for the country you are entering...

Wasn't it last year that they were saying how they had just cut down on forms and things were easier?

Maybe we'll just stick to Anguilla, St. Maarten, and the French Islands :)

Too much Big Brother in my opinion. So It Goes... perhaps it is time to move on.

Friday, September 14, 2007


While I was typing up my Shopping rant post (see below), Bob was checking out one of his favorite blogs BOING BOING

and he told me to check out their post about International Talk Like a Pirate day, which you should all know by now is September 19th.


The "Jobby Roger" link has decals for your Apple computers.

The "Toast" link is for a toaster which grills the skull & cross bones onto your bread...

That's kind of cool!

Check out the boingboing post for more...

Fish on Fridays or Friday cat blogging day

Here's a wonderful photo that Bob just showed me from the "Never Sea Land" blog. This was taken from the blog entry:

What a patient group of cats.

Shopping Day

Whew, just got back from shopping. That certainly takes a lot out of me.

First we took the dollar bus to Blue Point which is a computer store. It is easily accessible by bus. Go towards Philipsburg, up and over the hill past Grand Marche, KFC and Cost-U-Less, after a bit the road curves to the left and goes over a little bridge that crosses a very green bit of water. At the crossroad immediately after this bridge, the bus turns right and you see the Heineken green Airplane restaurant on the other side of the road. Soon after, on the right hand side of this road (the pond is to your left), you'll see a shop with BLUE POINT written in big blue letters. Ask the driver to "stop please". Or, when you get on the bus you can tell the driver that you want to go to Blue Point as he should know where it is.

Blue Point has quite a bit of stuff. They have really improved in knowledge and amount of product since their opening a couple of years ago. Prices aren't too bad. You might be able to get something cheaper in the States but remember that you'll have to wait for it, hope it is the correct item that arrives, and then there are shipping charges to the island of SXM. If Blue Point has what you want in stock at an acceptable price it is well worth getting it locally, plus it is good to support the local businesses. They are nice guys. They plan to be official Apple Store/Repair folks soon... I don't remember what the term is :)

Then we took the dollar bus back to Ace Hardware to get a gasket kit for our ACE 2-gallon Garden Sprayer. This sprayer is the best one we've found for cockpit showers. It has a pressure relief valve, holds 2 gallons, and has 4 or 5 different types of spray with good pressure. We have had it for several months and it needs a new gasket/O-ring in the pumping unit. We tried Budget Marine but they don't have much selection as it is summer and they run out of lots of stuff that they only order once a year. We went to ACE (doesn't their jingle have something to do with "the helpful hardware place?) and they didn't have a gasket kit for their brand but did for others. The kid doing stock thought I was asking about a wheelbarrow and he told some management guy who was walking past who told him to have "X" help me. Well, I waited for 5 minutes in the garden sprayer aisle which has all of the rodent killer chemicals, slug bait, and other nasty, smelly, gaggy stuff so I hunted down Mr. Management. He said I could bring it back (which it does say on the guarantee on the packaging with no date limitation) along with the receipt. I said I'd have to hunt for the receipt as it was sometime in the last six months... Six months? Oh, that's a long time.... I told him that all I need is the little O-ring and I took a unit apart to show him. I also showed him that he didn't have replacement parts for their own brand. It is silly to replace the whole unit for just an O-ring. He agreed and said they don't stock the kits and they don't sell O-rings and didn't know where we could find an appropriate one... At least he was pleasant... The help at ACE is usually pretty surly. Perhaps it is because they now have competition with the new Kooyman hardware store that opened this year just up the main road from them :)

Next we turned back (direction of Philipsburg) and walked a short way down to the Grande Marche and went into Burger King. (Remember yesterday how we went to a Chinese restaurant and ordered Curry Pork and was given Pork Chop Suey?) We both fancied a Whopper. They said they didn't have any beef as the grill was not working... only chicken or fish. Oh, not the grilled chicken sandwich either. It has to be cooked in the fryer. OK, so I ordered 2 Tendercrisp Chicken combos for $5.99. The bill came to $12.18. I mentioned that it's OK, but 2 x $5.99 is $11.98. She mentioned it to another employee who said that was normal. All of their combos come out higher than the advertised amount for some reason. Do you realize how much extra money they make over the course of a year by charging at least ten cents or more per combo? A nice chunk of change for someone. The sandwich was good, by the way.

Then we went to Grande Marche and did a bit of shopping (we never buy "fresh" meat there). They have a good price on Appleton rum that we like, the Sunflower seed bread is good and we've had good luck with it keeping it for several days before it shows green. They also have quite a selection of books & magazines... boat magazines too! such as WoodenBoat, Sail, Cruising World, etc. Unfortunately, they still don't have the Skippy or Jif (it's been so long I don't remember which brand) peanut butter with no added sugar. We keep looking though.

Next stop was across the street to Cost-U-Less. It is their anniversary sale week. Didn't buy too much there. It is difficult to shop after you've just eaten a big lunch :) Plus, we still have the Cantonese Chicken from yesterday's lunch that we will have for dinner this evening.

We then went across the road to KFC for a coke. You get free refills there, if you wish.

After rehydrating we caught a dollar bus back to Palapa Marina in Simpson Bay where we had parked our dinghy, but first we stopped in at the Island Video DVD rental shop and got 3 DVDs. DVDs you rent on Fridays are not due back 'til Monday. $4 each. Normal rentals are for 2 nights (Rent Monday for example and due back Wednesday). Convenient for boat folks and nice people... They are between The Mailbox and the wine shop/liquor store The Connoisseur's Duty Free (more here)... they still have their rum tastings and they are nice guys, too.

So, finally it is time to get in the dinghy and putt back to So It Goes... whew

Home at last... how nice.... Thanks for the rant!


I like the updated 5am 5-day forecast this morning (Sept.14). It shows that Tropical Storm Ingrid is going to be giving us a wider pass to the East as it is curving upward. It also shows it as decreasing back down to a Tropical Depression.

I was just looking at posts from last year and noticed that I had posted a forecast map which was Advisory #5 for Tropical Depression 8 on September 13, 2007.... It was giving us a much wider berth than TD8 2008.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Today was battery maintenance day. We have eight 6V batteries for our 24V battery bank. Two of them were bad and two were dodgy. We now have a bank of 4 batteries and they seem to be taking and holding a charge very well. Batteries at Budget Marine have gone up in price about 15% since we bought two new 6V Trojans for our 12V bank a couple of months ago.

So, after disposing of the dead batteries at Budget, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Chinese restaurant that is near Budget (across from PDG restaurant supply). We love their curry pork and ordered that and a chicken dish. To our disappointment, the waitress got our order wrong and brought us pork chop suey and not curry. They didn't offer to change it or give us any sort of a discount, or even an apology...

Then there is Tropical Storm Ingrid....

So It Goes :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, it turned into Tropical Depression #8 at 11am this morning (Sept.12, 2007).

Here's the 5pm, 5-day forecast which shows the storm center at 18.5N 58.5W on Sunday, Sept 17th at 2pm. St. Maarten is at 18.0° N 63.1° W

A little bit of a song is going through my head... "should I stay or should I go"...

We'll be keeping an eye out!


This photo is from The Horse's Mouth

Next Wednesday, September 19, 2007 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aaaargh, me hearties...

News from Ursa Minor

This morning we received an email from Judy & Bryan of the sailboat Ursa Minor. Some of you might have chartered with them...

I'm finally caught up to date on blog entries, through today in Bora Bora. There are several new entries plus lots of new photo albums on the last page of the photo gallery. Tomorrow we leave for Suwarrow Atoll, also known as Suvarov, in the northern Cook Islands, about a 5 day passage away. It is a small atoll, a national park of the Cooks, with only 1caretaker family resident for about 6 months of the year. We're really looking forward to a place so remote and uninhabited after several months in French Polynesia. This has been a delightful experience, and Bryan especially is going to miss having wonderful French baguettes almost daily, but it will be nice to see a more basic form of island life as well. After Suwarrow, we'll have a 2 or 3 day passage to American Samoa, then start working our way north through Kiribati and across the equator Marshalls to wait out the South Pacific cyclone season


Best to all, Judy & Bryan
Thanks for the note, guys!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We have past the hump day .... HURRAY !!!

Wonderful !!! We are on the downward slope. But wait! What's this?

The models for 91L have started to agree in their storm tracks a bit better. The other day, one was going straight and then dropping towards Trinidad, another went straight through, another went straight and then pointed at US (oh my!), and then another was almost pointing backwards.... Remember, these are just models and not the Gospel of the NHC.

We are definitely going to be keeping an eye on this possible storm and see what develops.

We seem to be getting better (healthier). It is quite normal for me to be sick for a week or two when I get something. At least that doesn't happen very often here in the Caribbean... not like when we lived in France and I commuted to Paris everyday to go to work at OECD. The guy at the gas dock recommended a cure of "tea, honey, and white rum". Well, we don't have any honey so I went for straight Appleton rum. It's good, plus a great value at $5-something a litre. But, what I think really helped was garlic. Bob made Tortellini with butter & garlic and the next day I was better! Remember the Les Blanc documentary "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers"? Anyway, what I was getting at was (Alice... remember Alice? This is a song about Alice... Oops! there I go again)... Anyway, what I was trying to say is that we are now feeling better and can quickly do a couple of things to the boat and get out of here in a hurry if need be.

It's Tuesday! The lunch special at Peg Leg's is meat loaf on Tuesdays but now it's too late. Oh well, so it goes...

Have a good one!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


No, not the seagull (see below)...

We just returned from the Sunday matinee of the Clive Owen film "Shoot 'Em Up". We both really enjoyed it... Fun film. Fitting title. But...

How many carrots were harmed making this film?


Our dinghy has a new "gull" friend

We've been anchored here for about a month but two days ago, this seagull has taken a liking to us for some reason. Maybe the dry dock where the birds hang out has gotten too crowded?

Bob tried to shoo him off with the water sprayer but the bird just seemed to enjoy it :)

Friday, September 07, 2007


I just had to post these two wonderful pictures that Kerry, owner of the charter yacht, PROMENADE, took of starfish. This is becoming the Kerry-Promenade Photo Blog :)

Once again, remember to play nice and give her credit if you must "borrow" these pictures... :)

Promenade is a charter boat that we highly recommend AND they are still available for Christmas week through Dec.28th


Contact Paradise Connections for more info: CLICK HERE

All the best!


Being sick this past week has given me the time to do some work on our website. I created a special page ( to access the various barge brochures, rather than accessing them from the "More Yachts and Rates" page.

I also created an electronic brochure for the French barge, LA BELLE EPOQUE, which cruises the Nivernais canal in the Bourgogne / Burgundy region of France between Auxerre (meet in Paris) and Clamecy.

(Not us)

Bob & I would really like to sail back to Europe and visit our barge friends on the French canals and do some more exploring of the European waterways

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Here are a couple of "up close and personal" fish photos from our good friend Kerry, owner of the charter yacht PROMENADE. She takes excellent underwater photos.

Sand Flyer

Cow Fish

Once again, remember to play nice and give her credit if you must "borrow" these pictures... :)

Promenade is a charter boat that we highly recommend. They are avid divers and a fun boat & crew. Lots of toys. Good for the "party-hardies", families, groups...

By the way, they are still available for Christmas week through Dec.28th


Contact Paradise Connections for more info: CLICK HERE

All the best!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sat Phones: Not like the movies

So, I guess we are not the only people who have problems with their GlobalStar satellite phone.

CLICK HERE to read Panbo's post.

I understood that everything would be better after the launch of the much-hyped 4 new satellites. I didn't realize that they weren't put into service right away... So It Goes :)

We just watched ANOTHER movie last night where the guy whipped out his satphone and made a successful phone call from out in the forest. I especially love the ones where they are in an underground tunnel...

WebCams: Virgin Islands & other Caribbean sites

This page lists many Virgin Islands & other Caribbean web cams that I thought you might find interesting...


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Weather system 98L

Hurray! This is what Wunderblog had to say about the weather system 98L that we've been watching...

The tropical wave in the mid-Atlantic, halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles (98L), couldn't hold together its circulation any longer in the face of four days of wind shear and dry air. The disturbance has degenerated into a loose swirl of disorganized clouds.
Of course, they say it can always still turn into something, but let's hope not... We've had enough, thank you :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Funny USCG/Canadian VHF story

This is something Bob just recommend that I read... You can read the full post HERE on the Messing About in Sailboats blog.

This is based on an actual radio conversation between a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier (U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln) and Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland in October, 1995. (The radio conversation was released by the Chief of Naval Operations on10/10/95 authorized by the Freedom of Information Act.)

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the Captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.


Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

:) Hope that brought a smile...


Visit our new store

Visit our new store: Books, DVDs, and more...

Still working on it but we've got a good start!



Saturday, September 01, 2007

Behind Tropical Storm Felix

Tropical Storm Felix has passed through the Windward Islands well to the south of us (we are in St. Maarten)...

But, what's this???


I've been sick most of this week and I've not been able to do much except to sleep. Feel better today but not tip-top still... Better get out of bed and help Bob to prepare the boat and get ready for whatever. I hope Bob won't get what I've had.

Have a good weekend!