Sunday, December 21, 2008


Hello & Happy first day of winter.

We are back in Sint Maarten (Dutch side) and it is in the 80's. My brother who lives in Washington State is happy that his temperature is going to rise into the double digits today! Brrrr!

Yesterday was Buffy & Willow's first anniversary with us. Here's a photo from the first time we met them at the vet.

I must take a "one-year" picture of them today.

They "lost" their superball and they really miss it. We have a couple of small catnip balls but they don't seem to care for them. When we were in St. Thomas we looked at K-Mart and we were surprised that they didn't have any. I thought they'd have something especially since it is Christmas and they have a larger kiddy toy section. Willow might have picked it up and taken it onto the bed. I'll have to move the mattress and see what I can find. It is just such a struggle to get under the mattress that I've been putting it off. They are such good kittens.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

St Maarten FREE WIFI

We are in the Bubble Tea shop which is located across from Palapa Marina at the other end of the building where MacDonald's is located.

We used it yesterday and today and it is very ZIPPY! Plus having a frozen, non-alcoholic drink was quite nice. Today we bought a medium Coffee & Almond Slushi, $3.25 each. Not a bad price for good internet service!

Try them...

Friday, December 12, 2008


The other day, we had a couple of new boats sharing the anchorage with us... Maltese Falcon and Hogfish Maximus.

Our new neighbor in St Maarten, Maltese Falcon
Maltese Falcon

New St Maarten neighbor, Hogfish Maximus
Hogfish Maximus

I must admit that I find Hogfish much more interesting. This is a boat that we are considering building as the next Loose Moose. Chris Morejohn stopped by St. Maarten for a couple of days while single-handing his way down island from the Bahamas. He invited us aboard to show us the boat. It was really nice to see how the plans translate into a real boat. We also got to test the headroom on this flush-deck sharpie and it is almost good for Bob. Bob is 6'5" while Chris is 5'3".

While we love the way So It Goes sails, we need more room for all of our stuff that just doesn't fit on a 1969 Cal-34. We miss Loose Moose and the Hogfish Maximus sharpie could just fill the bill :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More St Maarten

Yesterday, we had the St. Maarten Coast Guard board our boat. They politely asked if we minded if they come aboard. Two very nice men with big boots, guns, and clipboards came aboard. We showed them our clearance papers, boat certification, and passports. They asked about flares and lifejackets so we showed them. They also asked if we had fire extinguishers (yes, 2) and weapons (NO WAY). After filling out all the blanks on their forms they thanked us for our time and left.

This morning I noticed that the plug for our solar panel which goes through the side of our coachroof near deck level was completely broken off leaving a hole with a couple of wires sticking out... He probably didn't even feel it crunch with such heavy boots.

Oh well, not too much trauma :)

* * * * *

We really miss having WiFi on the boat. We don't like taking our computers ashore because something might happen to them. We try to be careful as we know what it like to be computerless. MacDonald's has had superslow WiFi this past week. We can send mail but I cannot download all of our email before it times out. We cannot download a web page. It might be because of their ISP though and not their fault. Today we are going to try the free WiFi at the Bubble Tea place which is located at the other end of the MacDonalds building. If that's not good enough we'll go up to The Mailbox and buy a 1/2 hour of time ($5).

* * * * *

What else about St. Maarten.... Oh yes, the signals for the bridge...

On the Simpson Bay side of the Dutch bridge there is a sign (Enter on Green) with two sets of red and green traffic lights. This sign has blown down. Hurricane Omar was two months ago and this sign should have been repaired. There is a light on the bridge but it is not as easy to see. I might mention this when I pay the SLAC ladies another $20 for our next weeks' stay. They may not be aware of it. I was looking for the red lights as a guide for when we were approaching St. Maarten in the dark and now I know why we couldn't see it.

Enough ranting for now :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We are back in St. Maarten... So it goes... We stayed later in St. Thomas than we had planned because we were waiting for mail. We weren't feeling well but we had to set sail for Antigua because we were going to attend the Antigua charter yacht show. Well, by the time we reached Saba we thought that it would just be better to go to SXM as we were not feeling better and we wouldn't be up to snuff for the show. Too bad as we were invited for a 3-day sail aboard the new Sunreef charter catamaran Seazen II.

Also, our WiFi set up conked out on us the day before we left St. Thomas. This was an Engenius EOC-8610 which replaced our previous Engenius EOC-3220. The cool thing about these units is that they are made to be used outside and they are PoE (Power over the Ethernet) so you just hoist them up on a halyard as high as you need to and the the ethernet cable supplies power to the unit, plus you do not lose signal strength as you would if you were using an external antenna with a coaxial cable.

Our problem was that we could no longer do what I call "access the box". There was a power failure on St. Thomas so I had changed the hotspot or access point that we were using and I wanted to change it back to the one with a better signal. I went through the rigamoroll of changing my network settings, opening up my browser to the unit's IP address and I never got the login screen to access the unit. (Plus it was doing weird things before completel becoming inaccessible, such as changing the unit to an access point all by itself, etc.).

While in St. Thomas, I called Engenius and told them the problem. They suggested doing a reset which entails opening the box to access the serial port and using a serial cable (which nobody has now days), etc. BluePoint on St. Maarten did this on our previous unit (with no success) so as we are now in SXM, we hopped on a bus and went up there.

Since we bought it in May or June, it was still under warranty and they agreed to do a reset. Well... after hanging about the store for over an hour, they finally told us that their cable doesn't work. I'll spare you other frustrating details of promised phone calls that were never made, etc. Who knows when we'll get it back from repair.

When I spoke to Engenius, they recommended the EOC-2610. It is less expensive ($90), has 3 lights on the unit to show connectivity, and has a RESET button on the unit (what a novel idea!). Bluepoint said they would have this unit in 2 weeks but we've heard that before. 2 weeks becomes another 2 weeks and so it goes :) So, I went and bought one on and specified next day shipping so we can get it as quickly as possible. Even with the $35 shipping charge plus our additional shipping charge that Four Star Cargo will charge to bring it into St. Maarten via our mailing service, "The Mailbox" at Palapa Marina, it will probably still be less than BluePoint will charge. Although, if a local store would have had the unit we have bought it locally.

This will be our 4th Engenius bridge. The first one, a less powerful, internal non-weatherproof unit with an external antenna still seems to work, but then the two others are toast. We were hesitant to buy a 4th Engenius product but it seems to be the best solution to our wifi needs (when they work!). When our EOC-8610 returns from the shop we'll have that as a backup.

Let's hope we have better luck with the EOC-2610.

Affordable WiFi Equipment

The VOYAGES OF SEA TREK has an interesting post concerning a "simple and inexpensive WiFi" setup.

Read it here:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

St Maarten Bridge Times - Winter Season

Just wanted to remind everyone that December 1st is the beginning of the Winter bridge opening times for the Dutch side of St. Maarten.

Outbound from the lagoon: 09:00am, 11:00am, 16:30pm
Inbound from Simpson Bay into lagoon: 09:30am, 11:30am, 17:30pm

They were talking about changing the opening times and also the possibility of nighttime openings but nothing has become of this.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

AMAZON Black Friday Sale - shop now don't wait

Don't spend Black Friday jostling for bargains and parking spots. Instead, visit for Black Friday specials and great deals all week long from the convenience (and comfort) of your keyboard.

SHOP NOW... You don't have to wait until Friday :)

CLICK HERE to go to the Black Friday Sale page at Amazon and SAVE!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday in St. Thomas, USVI

We had to meet a friend "downtown" in Palm Passage this morning. Afterwards, we looked for the music & video store Sam Goode, but it is no longer in business. Darn, it was a pretty good shop with a good selection.

We then bopped over to Hi-Tech Water Sports which is located where the Kon-Tiki and the Leylon Sneed tied up in the area between Haulover Cut and Crown Bay Marina. Bob bought a new, snazzy mask from Scotty to replace the one that someone had stolen from us in St. Martin.

On the way back to the dinghy we ran into Eric, Evelyn, and Salty Dog from the charter yacht ALOHA MALOLO. They have had a cancellation for a 3-week charter so they are now open for Thanksgiving (hurry!) through December 18th. Contact us for more info on booking a yacht charter!

We also saw Edy & Zoe (Edy's Jack Russell terrier) while we were getting back into our dinghy. It's funny because this past week we have seen someone from Reefco every day, except Sunday, in our travels around St. Thomas.

We then went to Hook Line & Sinker in Frenchtown for lunch. This is one of the things that we miss about St. Thomas. I have so many "favorites" at this restaurant that I had a hard time deciding. I finally went with the Cobb salad. Bob had the Rueben sandwich. He says it is the best Rueben he has had in the Caribbean. Good ice tea and excellent, attentive service. The iguanas that hang out there are always cool.

It has been quite gusty again this afternoon with a little bit of a drizzle, but it seems to have quieted down now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hurricane OMAR in Simpson Bay Lagoon St Martin

Well, it's been about a month now since Hurricane Omar passed through St. Martin and quite a bit of that night has been forgotten, even as of the next morning. Guess there were bits I wanted to forget.

Of course, Omar's projected path changed so early Wednesday morning we entered the Lagoon, found a good spot, put down our anchors and dove on them (the lagoon is very grassy and poor holding), and we removed our jib, secured our main, cleared up the decks, stowed the solar panels, etc. We were in good shape but you always have to worry about "the other guy".

Omar was forecast as a category 3 and at night, of course!

Well, we had an "other guy" experience. We believe they dragged over our chain and picked up our anchors while trying to sort out their mess.

Twice, we thought about putting out another anchor and, if you are thinking about it you should probably do it. Although now I believe that it was a good thing that we didn't because we slowly dragged and ended up in the shallows (3 feet of water with a 4.5 foot draft) but a 200-foot ship and a big tug drifted our way but stopped about 100-ft away from us as they bottomed out in the shallows. If we had put out another anchor and stopped, we might have been run over by this big fellah!

This ferry (below) dragged but ended up a decent distance away from us. On the marine radio show (Island 92FM) someone alleged that this ferry caused a couple of the other ships to drag.

The next morning the French Rescue boat was pulling boats off of the shallows and beaches. Very nice guys and we appreciate their service!

The guys in the dinghy took a halyard and careened us WAY over and then the lifeboat pulled us off. It took about 30 seconds and So It Goes has never gone that fast! Wow, what a ride.

Thanks guys! They gathered their lines and quickly took off to help another boat.

This yacht (below) was unattended and was not prepared for the storm. We saw its sails up and in the morning they were in tatters.

We heard that there was a tornado over by Simpson Bay Marina and Isle de Sol. One of the megayachts said their wind instrument pegged out at 150MPH. A jetski on its cradle flew off one boat. A catamaran flipped while the owners were in the cockpit and they swam ashore.

For So It Goes, Bob lost his glasses to the wind, we lost a bit more bottom paint but there will be less to sand when we paint in February, and the bed got wet because we weren't able to finish installing our new hatches!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Wow, it is the end of October AND Friday already.

Sorry that I haven't written up a bit about Hurricane Omar. We haven't had wifi while being in the lagoon and have just been going to MacDonalds for breakfast every day to get our email.


Tomorrow is Buffy and Willow's first birthday! We have some celebrating to do there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

St Maarten Dutch Bridge Closures - Nov. 2008


The Simpson Bay Bridge on the Dutch side of St. Maarten will be undergoing repairs during the period of November 3-21, 2008. Bridge openings for boats will be limited.

According to the October 28th Daily Herald, there will be repairs to the botom-side welds of the lift deck and will improve the lift deck driving mechanisms. After sandblasting and cleaning the bottom of the deck, the company will repair any further deficiencies of the deck.

A new motor and speed controller will be installed to ensure that the bridge can be operated at a higher wind speed limit than now is the case. A data monitoring and logging system will be put in place to keep track of the bridge's performance.

The works will further include extensive maintenance, such as the blasting and cleaning of all steel structures and the painting of the bridge with three or four layers of coatings selected specifically to provide protection agaist the corrosive marine environment.

When repair work is being done underneath the bridge deck, no maritime traffic will be allowed to pass under the bridge deck, as passage will be blocked by a pontoon. All maritime traffic will have to make use of the passage under the bridge at the Coast Guard/police station side of the channel.
  • Open at normal off-season opening times of 9:30am, 11:30am and 5:30pm through Wednesday, November 5th.
  • Closed: November 6-8
  • Open, Sunday November 9
  • Closed November 10-15
  • Open, Sunday, November 16
  • Closed November 17-19
(Then what happens as the article next mentions Nov. 23rd???)
  • After November 23, the bridge will coninue to open daily at the regular hours again...

You can contact SLAC (Simpson Bay Lagoon Aurthority Corporation) Collection Office at the police station in Simpson Bay next to the bridge at (country code 599) 545-3183 or call the bridge operator on VHF ch.12

All the best!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hurricane OMAR

Just a quick post to say we are OK. Today is Saturday and we came into MacDonalds for breakfast so we could use their WiFi.

More later....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cool Dremel Tool for PUMPKIN CARVING

We bought a Cordless Dremel Tool last month and Bob just LOVES IT! How did we ever get by without one?

I just went over and looked at Amazon to look at HALLOWEEN STUFF when this caught my eye...

This was made with the Dremel 764-04 Pumpkin Carving Kit includes 6-Volt Minimite Cordless Rotary Tool and 10 Templates. How COOL!

Check it out (CLICK HERE) because it includes TEN templates along with a cordless rotary tool which will make anyone a Jack-o'-lantern artist this Halloween.

Pumpkin not included :)


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tropical Storm NANA - Nice name Nice Storm?

NANA is a nice name. It's name makes me think of a nice, gentle, kind grandmother. Hopefully she won't drop by for a visit :)

We went to the store just a bit ago and bought some cat food and ice cream. After enjoying some Chocolate Fudge Swirl, we turned on our computers at 5:15pm and saw Tropical STORM Nana. What? There was never a Tropical Depression!

At least the forecasted track shows it being to the north of us by 2pm Wednesday when it is still way over at 46-ish West. Think good thoughts and maybe it will just fizzle out...

But then there is that other one (Invest 98) that might bring lots of rain to Hispanola and Puerto Rico.

Hey, it's just about the middle of October! Enough already!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cat Blog Friday: Buffy & Willow

I haven't posted a picture of Buffy & Willow in a while so here are a couple. It's hard to believe that they will be a year old next month.

They sure have grown. Buffy loves to lay on top of the cat carrier but she kind of hangs off of it now.
December 22,2007 and September 2008

I like to put them both in the carrier while we are pulling up the anchor and getting underway as we do not want them outside. The last time we did this in June, it was quite a tight fit for the two sisters in their box. They are bigger now... It is only for 5-10 minutes so I hope they will be able to cope when we leave St. Martin in a couple of weeks.

They love their cat carrier and they are always a bit nervous if we move it to take something out of the locker underneath. We call it the "cat condo"

Blondie's (My View from 30,000 feet) kitten Emmy is about the same age as ours. Little Emmy has grown into a very pretty kitty... Delaney is too!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Boat project: Install opening hatch / port in forepeak

Today we decided to install our new (previously-owned) hatch in the forepeak. We were given two opening ports from our friends aboard the charter yacht Honiara as they were replacing them. Thanks, Pierre & Adele!

Not too nervous about cutting such a big hole in the deck, but always worried about what you might find as this is a vintage 1969 CAL-34.

Happy days... The removed deck section is in excellent shape!

We have installed the port so the frame will be flat and not take the camber of the deck. This is the reason that these hatches often leak. If you pull down the side part of the frame to be flush with the deck (seems sensible, right?) the other part with the glass in it is rigid and will not conform to this arc and thus you have a gap along the side portions.

Of course, just as we were installing the port and putting our first epoxy fillet around it, the rain came out of nowhere. Maybe the boat in the Time Out boatyard decided that it was a lovely day and that it would be safe put on another coat of paint and THEY caused it to rain, again :)

What a difference this second hatch made last night. I didn't have to have my fan on! Plus, Buffy can easily jump in and out of it. The other hatch which is higher as it is on the coachroof portion of the forepeak is just too much effort for her (but Willow has no problem).

Friday... just checked and it looks good. We hope to finish it up this morning.

Oh yes, if you are interested in chartering Honiara (see above) let us know! Contact us HERE.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

XANTREX disappointments

I've put this off for a bit, but now I'm going to do my Xantrex rant as we are currently charging our batteries and once again I'm a bit disappointed in their products.

Mid-June of this year we bought a new Xantrex XPower 700 Plus Inverter from the St. Maarten Budget Marine. We didn't install it until the end of July. I'd like to mention that nowhere on its external packaging was it mentioned that this unit was only rated for 560W continuous power. [On the outside of the package it advertised 1000W of surge, so one assumes (why do I assume the best?) that its real rating was 700W. In the manual inside of the store-inaccessible plastic bubble packaging, it says that the 700W is for a maximum of 5 minutes usage.] This unit worked fine for us for about 10 days. Then, one morning we turned it on and after about a second, it gave a squeal and the red "fault" light came on. We disconnected our computers and plugged in a fan to test it... same thing. Next we tried a lamp... no luck. At no time have we ever had anywhere near 500W connected to this unit, so we didn't fry it. There's nothing wrong with our installation as our new inverter (mentioned below) works just peachy-keen.

We disconnected the inverter and took it back to Budget Marine. There, they hooked it up to a 12-volt power source and plugged a radio into the inverter. It worked. The radio played music and then I noticed the volume decreasing and some static. So I asked him to turn it on again. Same thing. The inverter was cutting out after about a second and thus the fade and static on the transistor radio as its power drained. He thought it was a problem with the unit's fan.

He kept it and Budget wrote to Xantrex. He said they should have an answer the next day. We didn't expect an answer the next day so didn't want to make a trip all the way from Marigot for nothing. The following week, he was off island and nobody knew what was up. Next time when we went in, we were told that they put the inverter onto a 12V battery and ran something with a decent load and the unit worked fine and we could take it home.

I'm sorry, but it does not sound "fine" to me. We had a problem, the store had a problem, and then it worked. This sounds like an intermittent problem to me and they obviously don't want to deal with it.

During this same time but before we had the inverter problem, we bought a Xantrex XPower Charger 40 at the St. Maarten Budget Marine. When it is charging at 40amps, it cuts out and the error message pertains to overheating. It cuts in and out, in and out, thus extending our charging time because it is not charging for about one-third of the time. When the amperage drops to about 30-some amps it works fine and does not overheat anymore. It has good air circulation, the air intake is clean and I also open up the compartment where you store the wire in hopes that will help cool things down.

Anyway, I know better than to even mention this to the store because I'm pretty sure there's nothing they can do about it :)

Oh, while we were waiting for a solution to our inverter problem, we bought a Sinergex PureWatts Elite 500 from Island Water World in St. Maarten. We've been using it for 9 weeks without a problem. It was also one of the items for their Monthly Special. Such a deal!

So, what to do with inverter #1, the Xantrex??? Budget Marine says it works. When I asked the employee if he would buy it from us he said no (of course... it's dodgy, duh!). We can't really keep it as a backup because it is not dependable as it OBVIOUSLY has an intermittent fault. We can't sell it with a good conscious because we know it has a problem. Toss it in the locker or in the dumpster?

We'll probably take it to the Time Out Sandy Ground St. Martin flea market but "let the buyer beware" and tell the customer its history.

Monday, October 06, 2008

DUH.... A little common sense, please!

What is this? Why did this happen? Maltese Falcon is easy to spot and I'm sure that MF has all sorts of detection devices aboard to alert them to the whereabouts of this 40-some foot sailboat.

Look at the photos on LYON's IMAGING MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHY's web site... CLICK HERE

Notice all the people on deck of MF? With all of their high-techniness couldn't they get out of the way? If nothing else, shout to the little boat using their Kareoke machine?

And how could the little fellah not see MF? Even from a great distance those sails look like grain silos. One thing we quickly learned while cruising the French canals was "Steel always has right of way".

Looks to me, that they both should have used a little common sense. Not the old "I have right of way", "no, I do"... sort of thing which just doesn't make it with me...

I wasn't there, and I do not know the facts but Hey, come on!

Hope everybody is OK and no damage done.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Simpson Bay Bridge Night Openings St. Maarten

We heard on the news this morning that beginning in December 2008 that there will be night-time bridge openings for the bridge on the Dutch side of St Maarten for entry into the Simpson Bay Lagoon. There was no mention of special fees or anything.

Unfortunately, the newsreader didn't read the whole article and it is not a featured story on the Daily Herald's website ... although they have posted the article about an increase in the number of reported, laboratory-verified cases of Dengue Fever :)

Speaking of bridge & harbor fees, we have noticed a dramatic decrease in the number of yachts staying on the Dutch side of the Lagoon since the fees have gone up. Fees for our size of boat (34 feet) went from US$10/week to US$20/week. I'm sure that St. Maarten might feel the effects of these fees for the next season.

We'll let you know more when we hear more :)

As I'm speaking about jump in prices.... Yesterday we went to Budget Marine in Simpson Bay St Maarten to buy a couple of folding padeyes, which of course they had zero in stock (should be coming at the end of the month, right!). Bob selected two U-bolts instead as we want to finish this project. He gave me the 2 U-bolts plus a 2-pack of West Marine yellow plastic squeegees and I went to the cashier. I was surprised that the total came to over $15 so I checked the receipt before leaving the store. We had been charged US$7.20 for each U-bolt rather than the priced marked on the rack which was US$3.20. That's a difference of US$4.00 x 2!!!

I showed this to one of the guys behind the counter and he had the cashier give us a refund. He told us that if we wanted to buy more that now was the time as they are changing the rack label.

Once again.... ALWAYS check your receipt at Budget Marine as they no longer put the price on the individual item, just a bar code. The price displayed on the rack where you find your item may be different than that in the computer. ALSO, quite often the item does not correspond to the closest tag, so double and triple check so you do not have an unpleasant surprise.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Monday, September 29, 2008


I saw this article today on the BBC's site and found it interesting... Notice that it is BEAKED whales and not BEACHED. Big difference :)

Beaked Whale

Here's the link to the BBC story on Beaked Whales"


Friday, September 19, 2008

International Talk Like a Pirate Day 2008

Ahoy, me mateys! Again, we be telling ye 'tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Pirate kitten

Here's an interesting application brought to you by MACWORLD: CLICK HERE
AyePhone talks like a pirate, so you don't have to

In honor of the 13th annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th, Area 49 has released ayePhone (iTunes link), a ninety-nine cent iPhone application that helps you, too, avoid the critical mistake of speaking like a non-pirate on this, the holiest of all pirate days.
Here is the Official Website for International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Here's the UK website...

This is a fun page... It's sort of a Pirate's Babelfish. You enter the URL of a web page and it will translate it into Pirate Speke for you... CLICK HERE

Pirate Booty!
Shimmer’s Pirate Issue, guest-edited by John Joseph Adams, was originally released in November, 2007. In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, Shimmer is offering their November 2007 Pirate Issue FREE, but TODAY ONLY–September 19, 2008. Download your copy today, ye scurvey sea-dogs, or forever be regrettin’ it.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

USCG Renewal of Certificate of Documentation

I've been waiting to receive our renewal form for our USCG Vessel Documentation in the mail.

I forgot that we can get the form online, fill in the name of the boat, documentation number, sign & date it, and fax or email it back to them. Last year they even faxed us a copy of our documentation certificate so we would have that while we were waiting for our original to arrive by mail. Really nice people!

Go to the web site of the USCG National Vessel Documentation Center

In the FAQ section, you will find...
YES. The Renewal form is available at this website. It may be downloaded from the Forms Menu. It may be mailed or faxed to (304)-271-2405. BE SURE TO CITE THE VESSEL'S OFFICIAL NUMBER.
Go here ( and then scroll down a bit and you'll see:
Renewal of Certificate Of Documentation.. (CG-1280)

  • Word Format
Adobe Acrobat Format
Thanks guys for making something easier!

When I was searching for the USCG NVDC's web site (I should have just looked at a previous post in our own blog, duh!) I came across this interesting post concerning renewals:


Sunday, September 07, 2008

MacBook Hard Drive Replacement

We get a lot of people coming to our All About Boats... So it goes sailing blog using various search terms regarding Apple Macintosh MacBook Hard Drive problems / failures.

We just read this posting in Boing Boing titled "How to Install a New Hard Drive in a MacBook". This post then refers to a TechBlog post. If he can do it and WE can do it, so can YOU!

iFixIt is an excellent resource for "how to's". This is where we found the info to replace our first hard drive... They have lots of photos which is a big help!

If you are having computer problems, we feel for you!

All the best!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Island Water World St. Maarten - THANKS!

Thank you Island Water World for your large paper bags. We recycle them as cat toys.

Buffy and Willow get days of entertainment from them.

Friday, August 22, 2008


We've been sharing this video of a scuba diving cat with our various sailing friends who also have cats aboard, and thought we should share it on this blog as well.

I love how she has a doggy diving buddy!

Cat-blogging Friday!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


UPDATED with more links... Also, there will be a meeting on this at 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at DPNR's conference room at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas.

Beginning October 1, 2008 the DPNR (Department of Planning & Natural Resources) is planning to remove all live aboards in Christmas Cove (St. James island), Secret Harbor and False Entrance (St. Thomas).

The article in the St. Thomas Source (August 20, 2008) says that DPNR "expects to install moorings for charter boats and other vessels whose captains want to spend the day or the night at Christmas Cove. The number hasn't been determined yet, because [DPNR] has to decide how they'll fit, Tapia [assistant director of the Dept of Planning and Natural Resources Environmental Enforcement Division] said. How long boaters will be able to stay also remains in question."

We like Christmas Cove. So It Goes spent a few days there over last Thanksgiving weekend visiting our charter yacht friends Marolanga. I don't see what the problem is as it is not overcrowded. It can be annoying when the tourist boats come and anchor too close to you, but it is only for a short time so you just grin and bear it. Why compound the rudeness of the tour boat and be a downer for the happy tourist... Just a downward spiral of events that is best avoided.

This also affects us as charter yacht brokers as many of the charter boats either begin or end their charter at Christmas Cove. It is close to Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook so it is just a short, pleasant jaunt for the charterer's first night aboard. It's a pretty spot with good snorkeling. What a shame that DPNR wants to regulate this.

We haven't been to St. John in quite a while but we have heard from friends that using the mooring balls there is best to be avoided.

There's not much space to anchor in Vessup Bay, Red Hook, St. Thomas. It is not a comfortable anchorage as it is open to the swell, not to mention the wake from ferry boats and power boats.

So, there's still Long Bay, Charolotte Amalie (I hope!). We spent a week or so there when we attended the St. Thomas Charter Yacht Show last November. We anchored near the US Coast Guard and it was OK until a cruise ship anchored in Long Bay. DPNR came and told us we had to move. They also went around and told other boats that they had to move. This is because as potential terrorists we are not allowed to be closer than so many feet to the cruise ship. We were the only boat that followed instructions and moved. DPNR never came back and checked or hassled the other boats again.

Sorry for the rant, but I find this upsetting and frustrating. I could go on and on but I'll spare you :)

No need to get into a negative mood as we have too much stuff to do...

Also, it is another pretty day in Marigot, St. Martin. We are going to go to the vet and get some more kitten food this afternoon.

Have a good one!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday & no funny cars in sight

We left the USA in 1980 but I assume everywhere still has the "Sunday Sunday Sunday" advertisements for Funny Car Races at their local race tracks...

Speaking of funny cars... some people think the Citroen 2CVs are funny looking. I think they are COOL! Saw one recently in the US Import Supermarche parking lot at Sandy Ground, St. Martin, FWI. I like the Ferarri sticker on the windshield :)

Citroen 2CV - ©2009 Sheila Wise Paradise Connections

The Citroen 2CV will be celebrating its 60th birthday in October. France is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 2CV with a special exhibition of the car at the Cite des Sciences et de L'industrie in Paris. This would be an interesting event to check out if you were doing a French canal barge cruise (cheap air fares for Sept/Oct 2008)... Hey, I try!

Tropical Storm FAY was not even a Tropical Depression when it passed over us. Late Thursday afternoon we had some lightning and thunder which Willow did NOT like. She was pretty nervous and wanted to hide but just couldn't stay put in one spot. Buffy was a bit worried but not much... She is the Slayer, after all :)

Speaking of which, they did find another palmetto bug (a 2-inch or larger cockroach looking bug for those of you fortunate not to know) the other night and brought it down below to play with. Why must cats do this? Yuck! I hate these bugs. Fortunately we very rarely have them. I had to chuck this one outside before Willow brought it into the bed to play with. Even dead they are gross.

We have good WiFi today so we are taking advantage of doing web stuff. Where to begin???!!!

I have added two new French barges to our web site: ENCHANTE and NAPOLEON plus I have done a bit of blogging and adding to our Charter Newsletter. Whew!

Yesterday we went for a swim. The water was so clear and almost flat. Just perfect! The water temperature has gone up a bit though which is not good hurricane-wise, but it was still refreshing.

Oh, I have to look at and check out the new FEIN MULTIMASTER. This is definitely one of our favorite tools and we have heard that they have made an improvement for attaching the various blades. So here's the link so you can check it out, too: CLICK HERE!

Back to work!

Friday, August 15, 2008

St Maarten Dutch Bridge Reopens Today August 15, 2008

This article is from today's "THE DAILY HERALD":

Bridge reopens for marine traffic today

SIMPSON BAY--After more than a week of not operating due to repair works, normal opening hours for the Simpson Bay bridge will resume today, Thursday.

Daily opening hours for inbound and outbound traffic are 9:30am, 11:30am and 5:30pm.

Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) reminds captains that they can only transit the bridge channel after the bridge attendant has given the green light for clear passage.

For further information about bridge operations, call SLAC at 545-3183.

Better late than never (and off-season, too!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

AMAZON: GO GREEN - New category

Amazon now has a "GO GREEN" category that you may wish to check out.

Since we live aboard our boat, So It Goes a CAL-34, we are very interested in being environmentally friendly and also in ways of generating power (solar & wind). We converted our CAL-34 over to an electric motor several years ago before it started to become hip... that's us... trendsetters :) Although, we are a sailboat and that is what we do... SAIL! We only tend to use the motor for things like going through the channel to go into the Lagoon or other tight, unavoidable spots. We usually anchor and up-anchor under sail.

Amazon has other handy things such as reusable shopping bags. I wonder how these will hold up as cat toys? As you can buy 5 bags for under $10, I could afford to give one to Willow & Buffy for a destruction test. Our kittens love playing with paper bags but after a few days they get quite a few holes in them

We heard the other day that IKEA is going to start selling solar panels. That's great!


Weather is better


I was going to do an update yesterday (Tuesday) but our WiFi was being very tempermental and we only had good-enough service between 5-6:30pm... So It Goes.

So anyway... yesterday morning's forecast showed all of the tracks being a bit farther north than this mornings forecast, but according to NOAA it's not going to be much other than a big tropical wave going through here tomorrow. Whew!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - 8am - Invest 92L

800 AM EDT WED AUG 13 2008


This will probably be a disappointment to the news weathermen as a potential storm always gets them excited... I'd rather be ho-hum calm :)

Our WiFi (from PolyPat Boatyard) is doing good right now so we are going to take advantage of this and then dinghy into Simpson Bay later to return our DVD's.

5PM UPDATE: The bad news is that the latest forecast has all of those pretty colored lines lower down and coming right over the top of us. The good news is that the National Hurricane Center continues to give it only a 20-50% chance that it will develop into a Tropical Depression by Friday afternoon. It is well past us by that time and only TD strength!

We'll keep an eye on it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Weathering the weather INVEST 92L

Aargh! This system is still quite far away (850 miles from the Windwards) so a lot can happen between here and there, now and then...

805 AM EDT MON AUG 11 2008

We'll check out Dr. Jeff Master's blog after breakfast and see what he has to say.

So it goes....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Portable generator update HONDA EU2000i & All Power 1000W product review

This is an update to our post of March 22, 2008 as many people come into our blog via this post:
New portable generator All-Power 1000W with inverter

While the All Power 1000W portable generator with inverter was relatively inexpensive and locally AVAILABLE (very important), it just didn't have as much oomph as we wanted to run our 24V battery charger and the occasional circular saw usage.

About 2 weeks later, we bit the bullet and bought another HONDA EU2000i from Island Water World in St. Maarten. We were lucky because it was the last one they had on the island!

Still works great, of course. And our modification that we made so we can run the generator off of an external gas tank is wonderful. We have a hooked up to a 3 gallon gas tank which is easy to fill and lasts a long, long time. It's easy to do! Take a look at Bob's Boat Bits Blog and see how you can do this too:
CLICK HERE: Upgrading the poor mans Hybrid system...


Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Gunboat CREAM in St Martin

This morning we had a new neighbor for awhile, the Gunboat catamaran, CREAM. I assume he was in Marigot so he could enter the Simpson Bay Lagoon via the French Sandy Ground bridge as they are actually working on the Dutch bridge.

I thought I'd post this photo because we get lots of hits for people googling the Gunboat catamaran "Looking for Elvis".

Anyway, I'm not sure why it is named CREAM because it is a green boat. The shade of green reminds me of my 1969 Plymouth Fury III, in fact :)

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I haven't been horseback riding in almost 30 years. There's just not enough room for a horse aboard our CAL-34 So It Goes... not with two kittens anyway :)

So, how about a Horse Simulator? Still too big for us, but it would be a nifty "toy" for the larger boats at the next charter yacht show!

Horse simulator
The £40,000 virtual reality riding machine combines a mechanical horse with a host of electronic sensors and a screen, to recreate the joys of an outdoor ride without the need for mucking out.
Here's the link to the TELEGRAPH's article: CLICK HERE

Here's another cool item that we saw last month in the Lagoon just inside of Marigot, St. Martin: The BBQ Donut.

BBQ Donut

You can just see the outboard behind the support for the beach umbrella. Perhaps you can use the umbrella as a sail. Have it be a riding sail so the "bow" of the donut is facing into the wind so the smoke from the central BBQ is always blowing "aft". Can you have a bow on a round raft???

I think this would be the perfect complement to the Sail Dive Charter Trimaran PROMENADE, whose "Power Lounger" was the hit of last November's St. Thomas Charter Yacht Show.

Promenades Power Lounger

Just raft those two babies together and you have the makings of an unforgettable party!

If you are interested in yacht charters, visit our Yacht Charter Newsletter Blog: CLICK HERE

Visit our website:

Friday, August 01, 2008

Cleaning the BBQ

Cleaning the BBQ is not one of our favorite chores aboard the CAL-34, So It Goes.

Here is a tip that we just read on the blog, Lifehacker...
"Wipe your grill clean without the chemical waste by rubbing an onion against the grate of the grill."
Read the posting: CLICK HERE

I'd go out and try it right now (ya, sure!) but it is raining...

Hope this helps!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Post X-Files Sighting

I went outside last night to cool off a bit after watching two episodes of the X-FILES. I noticed a red glowing light low in the water, just off our port side... Definitely not a light from a passing dinghy... It wasn't moving much, just kind of hovering and bobbing along out there ("the truth is out there")... I told Bob to come look but he couldn't see it... I could though. Are my eyes playing tricks? Is it a problem with my glasses? Whew, he finally saw it and we went out in the dinghy to investigate.

We hunted about but it was nowhere to be seen. Then as we were returning to the boat, there it was... a red light with a weird rattling sound eminating from it. After several passes, I managed to scoop it up in the dinghy bailer. It was a lighted bobber that one of the guys that were fishing off of the rocks must have lost.

The kittens Willow & Buffy think it is really cool.

Kittens Willow with new toy

So do I :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008


HAPPY 65TH BIRTHDAY TO MICK JAGGER! Sorry we couldn't be with you Mick but we were busy with boat projects...

And for Sunday,

HAPPY 12TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY to my brother and his wife. I'm sure that Ed & Laura and all of their critters will have a lovely day!

All the best!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Working on Yacht Charter Newsletter Blog

We've been busy with lots of things, but lately I've been working on our Paradise Connections Yacht Charters Newsletter blog.

It is a monthly summary of blog postings that are on our All About Yacht Charters blog and our All About Canal Barge Charters blog.

I think the new format works out pretty well... The photos add a bit more interest and taking the time to hand code the tables is really worth it, IMHO... Take a look: CLICK HERE

Feel free to contact us if you are interested in a yacht charter sailing vacation, or perhaps a barge trip in France or other European locations... Doesn't Loch Ness sound enticing??? Especially for New Years... Oops, sorry... should say HOGMANAY!



St Maarten Bridge Closures - Scheduled Maintenance

Well, no work on the Dutch-side St. Maarten (St. Martin) bridge between Simpson Bay and the Lagoon... Wasn't that originally scheduled for June???

Anyway, according to today's local paper (July 23, 2008), work is to begin soon.

Here's a link to the article:
Bridge repair works to start on Monday - No openings from July 31 to Aug 9

For your information... The Sandy Ground bridge on the French side between the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Marigot Bay is open. Boats leaving the Lagoon have priority, then the boats from Marigot can enter afterwards.

  • Monday through Saturday: Opens at 08:15 - 14:30 - 17:30
  • Sunday & Holiday openings: 08:15 & 17:30 (NO AFTERNOON OPENING)
Let's see if it happens this time!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Just another quick post to say HAPPY BASTILLE DAY from Marigot, St. Martin, FWI

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bridge Open Sandy Ground French St. Martin

Just a quick post to let everyone know that the Sandy Ground bridge on the French side of St. Martin has been repaired and re-opened to normal service on Friday, July 11, 2008.

No news about work on the Dutch bridge yet.... :)

Cat toys

Recently we made an Amazon order as we knew we were going to be in St. Martin for a couple of more weeks and thus have access to mail.

We ordered some books and a few DVDs that had been newly released, plus we bought some CAT TOYS!

Buffy and Willow seemed to appreciate them. The catnip mice are now without tails and each have a felt eye missing. The ball with a bell occasionally gets batted around, but Willow's favorite toy is a 2-foot long piece of light rope, and Buffy loves wire ties... you know, those things plastic things that hold groups of wires together, while larger sizes are used as handcuffs :)

Just reminded me of the Steve Martin routine... "Does anyone know where I can get some cat handcuffs?" I think it was from his album (remember albums?) "A Wild and Crazy Guy (CD)". which you can also get as an MP3 download. I miss albums... the artwork, the liner notes...

So It Goes...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

French St Martin Sandy Ground bridge troubles?

We heard that the Sandy Ground bridge on the French side of St. Martin is experiencing problems. We've noticed that it hasn't opened for several days.

- Sandy Ground bridge entering Lagoon from Marigot

But, at least the Dutch bridge is still in normal operation. We passed by the Dutch St. Maarten bridge last Saturday on the way to see a matinee of Hancock (enjoyed it) and we didn't see any obvious signs of work taking place, and we haven't heard any gossip or seen/heard anything on the news.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging - Classic Cat Herding Commercial

This is one of my favorite commercials.... Cat Herding.

My sister-in-law Laura, shared it with me a few years ago. It always makes me laugh. Everyone needs a good laugh.

I was just writing to someone who is trying to put together a large group for a diving yacht charter. I said that I understand her situation and that working with large groups can be like herding cats, which reminded me of this classic video...

So enjoy!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Tropical Storm Bertha 1996 / 2008

Wow, Bertha... again. Bertha was our first named storm when we came to the Caribbean. We put Loose Moose in the Hurricane Hole near Marin, Martinique. We were horrified to see how the bareboat companies brought their boats in and just plopped the anchor over with no regards for their (well, not really the employees' boat so who cares!) boats or other boats anchored there.

Fortunately, with Loose Moose's flat bottom (board up!) we were able to pull ourselves into this little creek at the corner of the hurricane hole. No one could ever come close to us there... except for the creepy spiders and other insects.

Anyway, Bertha of 1996 didn't seem to affect Martinique at all. St. Thomas did get hit and quite a few boats were lost (Hurricane Marilyn was the year before).

But now we have another Bertha. According to the models, it looks like Bertha 2008 will give the Caribbean a pass.

Here's the July 3, 2008 @ 11am EDT 5-day prediction from NOAA

We're not going to let it spoil our 4th of July weekend!