Saturday, March 29, 2008

Frightening - The Osmands 50th Anniversary Concert

Yesterday, I received a scarey email from notifying me of a DVD available for pre-order.... The Osmonds - Live in Las Vegas 50th Anniversary Reunion Concert

What?! FIFTY years !!! This concert was in 2007 which means 1957 when I was 2 years old. Wow, they must have been young and Donny wasn't even a twinkle way back then, was he?

So, here... take a look! Such a deal at $14.99 for a concert DVD. There's a video clip you can watch... Wow, blast from the past!

I'm sure this will bring back all sorts of memories for you, too! ...or if you're a "young whippersnapper" your parents :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New portable generator All-Power 1000W with inverter

Last week we had to purchase a new generator. We had our Honda EU2000i for over 5 years so I guess it was finally "it's time". It still runs perfect but it doesn't produce power. We've checked the obvious electrical bits but no joy, so we think the inverter is kaput. We searched the web for other people having this problem but hardly anyone has any problems with this Honda generator. They are great machines!

We had great success with the Honda as we never did much maintenance-wise. Changed the oil and cleaned the air filter a few times. I always meant to make a cover for it but that project is still on "The List". We used the Honda for electric power for use at night before we hooked up the inverter. Then we used it to run the Xantec 24V charger/inverter, run power tools, charge the 12V when necessary... that sort of thing.

So, we didn't want to pay $1200 for a new Honda in St. Maarten and we bought a 1000W Honda clone, an All-Power 1000W for about $450. It is a 4-stroke, portable, silenced unit. It works well but it didn't have enough ooomph for our Xantec charger/inverter. We turned down the charger and got the new generator to charge at 13amps but if we turned on the circuit breaker so we could run our computer, the generator stopped producing power and saying "overload"... darn. We are again wasting time as we are now taking longer to charge the batteries and we cannot get on the internet while charging. It did the 12V battery charger just fine.

It is not as quiet as the Honda EU2000i either, but not that bad... just not as good as we are used to. But, we'll use it for now as we have it and we can decide what to do about generating power as we go along... so it goes

See our August 2008 update: CLICK HERE

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hurray! NO Leylon Sneed in Christmas Cove, St. Thomas, USVI

Wow, they actually did something right! The 115-foot Leylon Sneed will NOT be allowed to moor in Christmas Cove (Great St. James island) off of St. Thomas, USVI.

Christmas Cove is such a beautiful, peaceful, place with great snorkeling. We were there over the past Thanksgiving weekend and we always stop by there for a few days when we sail to the Virgin Islands. This is also where many crewed charter yachts spend either their first or last day of charter.

Could you imagine a Willy T's type of place there? What an outrage that would have been. Hopefully they won't turn around their ruling... fingers crossed.

Here's a copy of a St. Thomas Daily News newspaper article about the Sneed being a floating bar. Click image to make it larger.

Here are two links to articles in the St. Thomas Source:
Here's a picture of Marolanga who invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner 2008 in Christmas Cove.

Looking forward to seeing Gus, Marcella and Sasha!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


This afternoon I went in to the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority office to pay up our harbor fees and I asked for a copy of the document with the fees and regulations. I just checked their web site (March 19, 2008) and they still have not updated it with the 2008 fees so I thought I'd type out a bit of the 5-page document for you...

I just called them to ask if the fees apply to Philipsburg and was told no, just Simpson Bay and the Lagoon. Mmmmmmm, might check that out as we just paid $247.42 :)

Dutch bridge from inside of Simpson Bay Lagoon.

The Fees Collection Office of the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority is located at the Police Station in Simpson Bay near the bridge and can be accessed through the gate at their dinghy dock. Their telephone/ fax number is (00 599) 545 3183. Open every day, including holidays from 8am to 6pm. (We have seen them close early, such as for a funeral, but there will be a note posted on the door.)

Think of bridge fees as round trip... You are charged one fee for one in & out... Not each time under the bridge, if you catch my drift... In our case it would be a $10 bridge fee if we want to take our boat inside to go to Bobby's Boatyard in the Lagoon. We would go in AND out for the $10. Not $10 in and then another $10 out.

BRIDGE FEES (in US Dollars) during regular opening hours entering the Lagoon:
  • 9-12 meters: $10
  • 12-15 meters: $30
  • 15-18 meters: $60
  • 18-22 meters: $120
  • 22-28 meters: $200
  • 28-36 meters: $300
  • over 36 meters: $500

SPECIAL BRIDGE OPENINGS per vessel and per opening may be requested 24 hours in advance for openings between 6:00am and 6:00pm at a fee of $1000 regardless the length of the vessel and must be paid in advance.

HARBOR FEES (in US Dollars) per week or portion of a week:
  • 8-13 meters $20
  • 13-18 meters: $40
  • 18-23 meters: $60
  • 23-28 meters: $90
  • 28-33 meters: $120
  • 33-38 meters: $150
  • 38-43 meters: $180
  • 43-50 meters: $210
  • 50-75 meters: $250
  • over 75 meters: $290

CUSTOM CLEARANCE Fees (in US Dollars):
  • 1-99 gross tons: $2.00
  • 100-499 gross tons: $5.00
  • over 500 gross tons: $9.00

HARBOR CLEARANCE Fees (in US Dollars):
  • 1-99 gross tons: $5.00
  • 100-499 gross tons: $10.00
  • over 500 gross tons: $20.00

  • Opening hours for John Sainsborough Lejuez Bridge (Dutch bridge, Simpson Bay)
December through April (every day, Sunday-Saturday & holidays)
  • 9:00am - Outbound
  • 9:30am - Inbound
  • 11:00am - Outbound
  • 11:30am - Inbound
  • 4:30pm - Outbound
  • 5:30pm - Inbound

May through November (every day, Sunday-Saturday & holidays)
Outbound traffic first, then inbound traffic. Wait for green light.
  • 9:30am - Outbound then inbound
  • 11:30am - Outbound then inbound
  • 5:30pm - Outbound then inbound


Your vessel can only proceed to transgress the bridge channel when the bridge traffic light is green. The outbound traffic coming out of the Lagoon always precedes inbound traffic. All vessels should queue up in line and transit the bridge in the shortest time possible. The bridge attendant will instruct you to speed up if necessary. Monitor VHF Channel 12 so you can follow the instructions and notifications of the bridge attendant.

If there is any emergency on the road, please pay careful attention. You will hear the sirens and the bridge attendant will instruct you to halt your transit so the bridge can close for the passage of emergency vehicles. Afterwards, the bridge will re-open.

The bridge will not operate on days that the 10-minute average wind speed limit as published daily by the Meterological Service of the Netherlands Antilles exceeds 35 km/hour (19.7 MPH). You can requst information via VHF channel 12 or phone 545-3183.


In the bridge channel, fare ways and in the Lagoon, a 5MPH speed limit is in force for all vessels. Anchorage zones and marinas fall under "no wake zones". The buoyage system used is the "red right returning" (American) system.


The bridge opening spans 17 meters (56 feet). The bridge channel has a depth of 5 meters (17 feet). Wide beamed vessels must request piloting. Entering from the sea, the closed bridge has a 2.6 meter (8.6 ft) high clearance in the port channel and a 2.4 meter (8 ft) high clearance in the starboard channel.


The Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority trusts that all visitors and vessels shall comply with all local rules and regulations as legally stipulated and that you will help us keep our waters and facilities safe and clean, free from any contamination, pollution or crime. All fire arms, ammunition and explosives, chemicals and cash money (US$11,000 or more) must be declared with Customs when clearing in. Failure to do so will result in your vessel being impounded and your person being fined andor sentenced to imprisonment. Drugs possession is illegal and will lead to the same punishment as mentioned before. Fire arms possession is only legal if declared and the owner has a legal permit of his country of origin and the arms are safely secured. In all other cases the fire arms will be confiscated.

There's other stuff mentioned, but it's too much to type :)

Their web site is

Hope this helps!

Big Swell Coming to Caribbean - March 2008

They say that there is a big swell coming down to the Caribbean due to a weather system up near the Bahamas. They've been saying we'll have up to 20-foot swells Wedneday/ Thursday.

This morning, the guy on the radio (99.9FM) read an article from the local St. Maarten newspaper which said that last night, the police on the French side of St. Martin were evacuating people from the lower portions of the island near Sandy Ground.

Last night, we had lots and lots of boats wanting to pass through into the lagoon from Simpson Bay at 5:30pm. They closed the bridge at 6pm probably to let some of the cars to pass and then opened the bridge again for about 20 minutes at 6:30pm.

Quite a few more boats have gone into the lagoon at 9:30am and 11:30am this morning.

Right now outside the bridge in Simpson Bay where we are anchored (Wednesday, March 19, 2008 @ 12:15pm) it's not bad at all. It varies, but I'd say that the maximum swell we have had so far today would be a 2-foot wave. There's some surf on the beach which some kids are playing in. We'll let out some chain though just to be prudent.

At 8:00am this morning there was a report on the net from someone anchored in Marigot Bay on the French side of St. Martin. He said that they had about a 18-inch swell there...

357 AM AST WED MAR 19 2008


But aboard So It Goes... so far, so good!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anchoring antics - St Maarten Heineken Regatta 2008

We all have our "day(s) of shame" so I shouldn't feel smug as it is bad karma, but there were lots and lots of boats anchored out and about us in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten for the Heineken Regatta two weeks ago.

This boat seems to have snagged someone else's chain. They tried for at least 5 minutes to remove their catch from the anchor using a boat hook. The chain was too heavy for that method and finally someone came in a dinghy and unwrapped it for them. I thought they should have just lowered their anchor and it might have come free or if not, dive on it 10-15 feet depth and untangle the chain.

The guy behind us on the catamaran left before it got crowded which was probably a good thing as he certainly had a bad attitude. He was sure the other yacht was over his anchor chain and after yelling at them for a bit he went for a swim to prove it... Look closely and you can see him in the water above his anchor. Notice how far away the other boat is? How much scope did he think he had out? No apologies were given.

But, soon after, he had another boat to deal with...

Here's an interesting way to pick up a mooring...

They were chased off of this mooring and rightly so as it was unsafe. There was a boat on it the day before and it dragged.

We are always surprised at how many people will pick up an abandoned mooring, tie themselves off, and leave without checking it.... People tying to fish traps can be especially entertaining unless they are upwind of you :)

Heineken Regatta - Sad, Tryst dismasted

This made me very sad. The trimaran Tryst returned from the first day of the Heineken Regatta dismasted.

We noticed them painting the boat and mast at Island Water World shortly before the regatta. Tryst was looking good.

The week before the race, the guys would come out every day to work on the boat and go out training.

I don't know them, but they seem to be enjoying themselves and putting a lot of effort into participating in the 2008 Heineken Regatta and then to be dismasted on the first day... très triste.

Friday, March 14, 2008

MOONSPLASH 2008 Bankie Banx Anguilla Dune Preserve

Bankie Banx, the Eastern Caribbean's pioneer of reggae music, hosts the Moonsplash Music Festival each year on Anguilla.

This year's Moonsplash runs March 27-30, 2008 at Bankie Banx's Dune Preserve on the Caribbean island of Anguilla (just north of St. Martin / Sint Maarten).

Moonsplash has become much more than a weekend party. People plan their vacations to Anguilla around it.

Looking for accommodations? How about a yacht charter?

Jet Blue and Spirit airlines, along with major airlines fly into St. Maarten (SXM).

Meet your boat in St. Maarten, and make the short sail up to Anguilla to attend Moonsplash. Afterwards, you might enjoy cruising on over to St. Barths stopping at various spots along the French coast of St. Martin on the way.

Last year, we sailed over to Anguilla to attend the Jimmy Buffett concert and had a wonderful time. What a wonderful venue for a concert of this type.

Check out the concert video on CLICK THIS LINK!

A double CD and an 82 minute DVD were recorded LIVE at the Dune Preserve, Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla, in Bankie Banx's backyard and the site of famous Moonsplash Festivals. The CDs include 30 songs, all of your favorites, plus some special in-concert rarities like Domino College, Waiting In Vain, When Salome Plays the Drum, King of Somewhere Hot, Treat Her Like A Lady, and Distantly In Love. The DVD was recorded in High Definition and is in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. Check out the video on!

For more information about the Moonsplash Music Festival, CLICK HERE

There's not much time so BOOK NOW!

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters: CLICK HERE

Visit our web site:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

TORTOLA, BVI - Clearing In

We just received this news from Kerry of the trimaran PROMENADE:

Just got this message passed on...

Dear Captains,

The friendly folks at the BVI Customs House in Road Town (and West End) have begun enforcing their rule regarding anchoring within site of the Customs House in order to check in. just this morning, two yachts went into the marina first - they were both fined $2500 (down from the maximum of $5000) for not anchoring in view! In the past they may have quacked at you, wagged their bureaucratic fingers at you, but not stuck you with a big fine.
Wow, that must have hurt!

Last time we checked in at West End (Soper's Hole), Tortola, BVIs they asked where we were anchored. We pointed at our boat which was on one of the moorings just across from Customs. Remember to play nice and by their rules :)

We were recently told about a charter yacht who took his guests to a restricted bay in Anguilla for the afternoon and didn't bother to check in. Why? Especially with a paying charter!!! Not smart.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sint Maarten Coast Guard Boarding SXM

This morning we had a visit from the St Maarten (SXM) Coast Guard. We were finishing up breakfast in the cockpit and I was splicing a new line on our chain hook.

Sure, come aboard. Two officers came on and asked to see our boat papers, clearance form, and passports, and how long we planned to stay.

Willow popped out and I told the guy that she's a St. Maarten cat that we adopted. He seemed to like cats which was nice. It was good that she met someone that was not a veterinarian :)

On the Cruiser's Net (VHF CH.14 at 07:30am) we heard a recent report that the Coast Guard had been boarding boats and collecting Harbor Fees. I thought this was completely false and, like so many things on the net, was a 14th-hand account of something... Perhaps it was the St Maarten Lagoon Authority, who makes the rounds of the Lagoon and outside in Simpson Bay making sure that boats are up-to-date in their fees.

Anyway, I asked the Coastie if it was true that they collected fees and he told me that they didn't. We also told him that we heard that the Coast Guard was requiring dinghies to have a life jacket for each person, a light, an anchor and an oar. The life jacket and light is correct and you can be fined for not complying, but even though having an anchor and oar is prudent to have aboard, it is not a requirement.

He also warned us to be careful during the Heineken Regatta because there will be a lot more boats around resulting in an increase of thefts. Actually, some of the dinghy thefts are just inconsiderate people who "borrows" anyone's dinghy (or one that looks sort of like theirs) that is still on the dock when the bar closes and they want to go back to their boat.

We have never had a problem with the SXM Coast Guard officers, the St Maarten Lagoon Authority, and the people in the Check In/ Out office near the bridge. Treat them decently and with respect (you are in their country) and you shouldn't get any attitude from them. Hopefully, you will not be after a cruiser who gave the authorities a bit of bad attitude as that may color their visit for those who come after.

Be nice!