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