Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skype on iPhone and iPod Touch

It's here! Skype has arrived for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

This is so cool. I've been looking for a VOIP phone and we've been wanting a iPod Touch, so why wait any longer!

I'm going to check them out on AMAZON and probably get mine there!

We find Amazon really easy to work with. They are a great solution for boat folks like us!

Monday, March 30, 2009

PLASTIMO liferaft recall

Yesterday, on Island 92's (91.9 FM St Maarten) Yacht Blast program, presenter Gary Brown said that PLASTIMO is recalling their liferafts manufactured between May 23 and October 30, 2008, due to a problem with the triggering mechanism.

I'll do a quickie search to see what I can find out, but you definitely don't want THAT problem. Does it go off at the wrong time or not at all????

More soon come!

Here's something from Yachting Monthly:

There's also something on the Plastimo (http://www.plastimo.com) home page which gives you a link to here: http://www.plastimo.com/uk/services/defaultuk.php

Thanks for the info, Gary!!!

It's another beautiful morning in St. Maarten. Maltese Falcon is back with us in Simpson Bay... there goes the neighborhood :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday Boat Cat Blogging... Fun stuff!

Hurray, it's still Friday so I can put up our Friday BOAT Cat Blogging post!

Ships Cat Bree, of Lealea
Here's a boat cat that has her own blog (Bree, the Cruising Kitty's Blog), although she hasn't written in a while... must be busy doing cat stuff.

You know, something like this...
Willow and Buffy, Boat cats aboard the fantastic, classic, plastic CAL-34 So It Goes
Buffy and Willow at the tender age of 16 months are getting pretty good at it :)

While the humans of Lealea were waiting for Bree to get her act together and put together her first blog post, they typed up a little about her... http://americanvega.org/lifeinthesticks/bree.html

Ships Cat Bree, of Lealea
I loved the photo of Bree in her kitty life jacket. Back when we were moored in Joinville-Le-Pont (just outside of Paris) France, we ordered Wacka & Bullwinkle PFDs. They couldn't walk in them. Poor Wacka would take a step and fall over sideways! Don't know why, maybe they were just smart and knew we wouldn't make them wear this cute little yellow fashion statement :)

Ships Cat Bree, of Lealea
In her blog, Bree says "I feel just like one of those Viking Kittens" which is referring to this Flash video which made me laugh. It was also enlightening because I've never gotten all of the words to Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song.

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Big Boats on Their Way Out - St Maarten

There were quite a few big boats waiting to leave the St Maarten Simpson Bay Lagoon this afternoon at the 4:30pm bridge opening.

It was starting to rain so I didn't have much time to take pictures. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Charter yacht Sherakhan - Photo © 2009 Paradise Connections Yacht Charters
(Photo © 2009 Paradise Connections)

The 230-foot megayacht Sherakhan was in first place. Sherakhan is a charter yacht which accommodates up to 26 guests in 13 cabins, has a crew of 19, and the jacuzzi takes up to 18! Contact Paradise Connections for more information about yacht charters (smaller boats than Sherakhan, too!).

Here's a beautiful yacht...

SXM - Photo © 2009 Paradise Connections Yacht Charters
(Photo © 2009 Paradise Connections)

There were also a couple of Perini Navi sailboats manuevering about. I assume everyone is on their way to St. Barths for the Bucket Race.

By the way... I'm very happy with the Cats Pride Kitty Litter. I hope I can find some more :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We've Got Wood... and Gas!

Yippee! This morning we went to Home & Tools on the French side of St. Martin.

They had wood!

We bought four 2-meter lengths of pine, sort of 1x1's. It came to $17.75 for the 4 pieces. But they HAD them!!!

We stopped by the gas station on the way back. They have fixed up their dock since Hurricane Omar. Much nicer than we've ever seen it.

This was much nicer as well...

The number for the Price (31.37) was LOWER than the number for the Volume (41.27). They take US$ for euros at a 1-to-1 rate, so $0.76/liter, which comes to about $2.88/gallon.

Wow, such a deal !!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Today's Quest... Lumber

We need a few lengths of pine 1x1's to do some light framing for various boat projects, the current one being a new box to enclose our new electric motor.

At about 2pm we dinghied over to Budget Marine and then walked up to BIP which is on the road to Marigot. It wasn't a totally useless trip, although we didn't get what we set off for.

We dumped our trash at Budget and took a quick look around the store. A Coke would have been nice but you can't trust that vending machine (you've been warned!).

We then stopped at Carl & Sons Bakery and each had a piece of cherry-topped cheesecake & a cup of coffee. Mmmmmmmmmm!!!

(By the way, they had ONE bag of Fresh Step clay kitter litter in their little store)

As we passed by NAPA, we noticed that they didn't have any cars in their parking lot, and neither had the bakery. Not much in the way of traffic... Is it a holiday? Don't think so.

Then a bit further along the road, we stopped at the mattress/upholstery place because we can really use a new mattress. They don't have any foam at the moment but they are expecting a shipment in 3 days. We've heard that story a few times before :) But he gave us a good price and we'll check again next week.

Then we arrived at the top of the street, turned right past the little shopping center and checked out what BIP (a building materials store of tiles, roofing, wood, flooring) had for us. We went into their wood warehouse and we surprised at how bare it was. We then went into the section where they have the finished wood moldings, etc. Surprise! No 1x1's or even 2x2's. Not much stock. Bob asked if they were going out of business. The man said that we were not the first customers to ask that, but no they just weren't making any orders right now. He did suggest Ace Hardware, but even when they do have something, it is really poor quality. I want to say "crap" but that doesn't sound nice. OK, they have crappy wood when I have seen it in the past. RANT!

On the way back down the hill, we stopped by Carl & Sons Bakery again to pick up a bag of sugar (so we can try that pressure cooked walnut bread recipe, see below) and a treat for breakfast tomorrow.

So, it was not a wasted trip. Plus, on the way back to the boat I took some pictures for Bob's BoatBits blog of the mermaid that graces the bow of the Irish Jongert "Orchestra".

We'll go over to the French side and check out Home & Tools tomorrow. Fill up the dinghy's tank, too as it's a little cheaper over there.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We just refilled our BBQ propane tank so maybe we'll try to cook a pizza on the BBQ grill.

We have a PIZZA STONE that we haven't tried yet, though Bob just saw a video on this VillaWare PizzaGrill BBQ Pizza Maker and it looked quite interesting. Although, this is less expensive alternative, ZaGrill Pizza Cooker.

While I was over at Amazon, they suggested a couple of books:
And this would be a good addition to our BBQ accessories:
Today is the 3rd day of Spring, so it's time to get your BBQ fired up!

SPOT Personal Locator Beacon - Special Offer

UPDATE, 8 June 2o09: SPOT special rebate offer, see post HERE

Yesterday, Bob blogged about SPOT, What is SPOT? SPOT, although not an EPIRB, is a very handy device... We ordered one yesterday (Saturday) and we hope we do not get an email tomorrow saying that they can't deliver to a PO Box... Fingers crossed :)

They define SPOT as a Personal Locator Beacon, and also as a handheld satellite communication and safety device.

There is a special offer which is valid March 19-27, 2009 where you can basically get the SPOT unit for FREE. Go here for details: http://www.findmespot.com/robby/ Note the Promo Code because you will need this when you order.

When we ordered the unit, it gave us the total of $300-ish but after filling out the credit card info and the Promo Code on the 2nd page, the confirmation page (3rd page) showed the correct adjusted total.

You will be sent a Gift Certificate to use when you are ready to activate the service. There is an inexpensive insurance that you can purchase at the time of activation that we will probably do as well.

We plan to sail up to Newport, RI later this spring and this will give my brother peace of mind that we are OK & it will be fun to follow our progress. Maybe our GlobalStar phone will work and we can speak to him from time to time :)

GlobalStar... now there's a rant I can do!!!

It's another beautiful day in St Maarten.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More on the Kitty Litter Saga...

Well, yesterday we were successful. HURRAY!!!

We trekked up to Ace Hardware and they had three 14-pound jugs of Cat's Pride scoopable kitty litter. I know we should have bought two because we'd have to use the whole jug to fill the cat box, but it would have been too much to slog back to the dinghy.

I hope I haven't "let the cat out of the bag" so to speak, and now you'll all rush up there and buy them out and there won't be any for me next week. Oh well, so it goes!

Maybe I should get this book from Amazon.com. We have friends on the charter yacht FLAME who have trained their cat Jacob to use the toilet. And, he only uses the crew toilet and not those in the guest cabins. Clever boy!

How to Toilet-Train Your Cat: 21 Days to a Litter-Free Home
I like this factoid from the Editorial Review Product Description
Last year Americans spent $400 million on 1.8 million tons of cat litter--enough to fill the Empire State Building two and a half times!

That would sure make things easier!

The word is YACHTING... not YATCHING

Bob showed me this posting on the blog, litoralis. The title is "Just because you can use PhotoShop, doesn't mean you are smart enough to use a dictionary". I love it!

Another common misspelling I see all the time is "dingy" for "dinghy".

Quite often we have clients who ask us about chartering one of our "ships" for a yacht charter. To me, a ship is a BFB... a Big Boat... a commercial ship or a cruiseship.

Brits tend to call all personal sailboats "yachts". I guess this is a cultural thing. My boat is definitely not a yacht :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Boat Cat Blogging... My little helper

The cats are not supposed to get up on the salon table but Buffy is allowed to cross it on her way to the space behind the settee where she likes to hang out.

But, you know how cats can be, plus I can be too much of a softy where our kittens are concerned...

Buffy & computer - ©So It Goes
Here's a photo of Buffy offering her opinion on a recent post... Maybe she wanted a different photo displayed that day as her sister is in the forefront :)

They're good girls!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

How bizarre... Cat Litter & Hemp-Flavored Energy Drink...

I just re-read the title of this post and realized that it can be construed wrong... It is referring to two separate items... 1) Cat litter, and 2) a Hemp-flavored drink.... Not a drink flavored like kitty litter AND hemp! That would be really, super BIZARRE!
This afternoon we made the trek out to Cost-U-Less as they usually have cat litter (Fresh Step scoopable) and they did the last time we were there. RULE #1 of living in the islands is: If you see it and need it, buy it! You don't know when or if you'll ever see it again :)

So, of course, they didn't have it. I asked someone if they'd have some next week and she said they are getting more, but not next week. Oh my goodness! Our plan is to hike up to Ace Hardware in Cole Bay (walk up from Island Water World) first thing in the morning and hope that they have something suitable. We are getting desperate here! I saw some Fresh Step CLAY kitter litter at the store across the street from Palapa Marina, but I want scoopable. That's probably gone now though. We're all just waiting for the great kitty litter container ship to come :)

While we were waiting for the bus to take us up to Cost-U-Less, this truck parked across the street. Fortunately I had the camera with us as this was something to be documented.

Photo ©2009 - Paradise Connections
(Photo ©2009 - Paradise Connections)
Click photo to enlarge...

It says: ENERGY DRINK OF THE CARIBBEAN. An Energy Drink with Hemp Flavor.

Is this an oxymoron? The words "energy" and "hemp" just don't seem to go together :)

All the best!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Maarten Friday Art Exhibits

The Sint Maarten Yacht Club (SMYC) will be having art exhibits on Friday evenings.

The SMYC is located right next to the bridge (with dinghy dock!) and is a popular happy hour spot to view the boats passing through the bridge openings at 4:30pm and 5:30pm.

For more details, click on the image below to enlarge.

Maybe our cat Willow can have a spot, too. Willow is into making toilet paper lace creations. Perhaps we can frame these and get some use out of these sheets as they can no longer be used for their original purpose :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Chilly Chickens? Knit a sweater

This was an interesting story from the BBC...

Battery hens get woolly jumpers

A woman from Oxfordshire has started knitting sweaters for rescued battery hens that have lost their feathers.

BBC photo - Chicken with jumper-sweater

Read the full story HERE. What a nice lady!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I have a bit of Irish in me somewhere, way back... Mom's grandfather??? That's where the "Sheila" comes from...

Anyway, might have a bit of Bailey's for our sundowner tonight!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Wintry Day Here in SXM but...

It was fairly nice this morning when Willow & Buffy were up on the bimini, but it has become a pretty gray day. Right now, if I didn't know better, I'd say that it looks like it is going to snow, but the thermometer on the bulkhead behind me says 80F, so that's not going to happen. We've had periods of calm and then some gusty, rainy spells.

But, it's not like this photo my brother sent me. My sister-in-law had to drive to Tacoma from Eastern Washington and the pass was quite snowy with 5 to 9-inches of snowfall predicted for today.

The last time I experienced snow was back in December of 2006, when I went to Nashville for a Final Cut Pro video editing workshop. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr it was cold there in December! I had to wear socks!

Bob's going to make us some hot cocoa for sundowners today :)

Comfortable Cats

Willow and Buffy love to lounge on the bimini. Here's a picture I took this morning.

Willow & Buffy, ship's cats on So It Goes, CAL-34 sailboat

We planned to make a hard dodger and bimini combo, but the cats would be disappointed if the bimini was not cloth. One of their favorite games is what we call "Double Tap" ... Yes, like an assassin!

If they see a bump in the bimini which is someone's head, they will jump on it with a one-two front paw punch. Sometimes they'll jump off of the boom onto one's head for extra impact!

So, for now, the plan is to do a hard dodger with a soft bimini attached, cuz we love our kittens!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Sue and John from the 65-foot charter yacht, Makaybella, have sent us this superb dessert recipe and we'd like to share it with you...

Dessert Recipe from charter yacht MAKAYABELLA - Contact ParadiseConnections.com to book

  • 2 ripe passion fruits
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • 4 pineapple slices (rind cut off)
  • Rum of your choice to taste (Malibu coconut rum is our favourite)
  • Coconut ice cream to serve
Slice the passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds.

Sift the icing sugar onto a plate and press the pineapple slices into it on both sides.

Heat a non stick frying pan. When hot, caramelise the slices in the pan. This will take a few minutes, be patient and they will turn a gorgeous golden brown.

Serve immediately on individual plates, drizzled with rum or Malibu. Top with a scoop of coconut ice cream and the passion fruit pulp.

Serves 4

Sue & John from the Charter Yacht Makayabella - Contact ParadiseConnections.com for chartering detailsMAKAYABELLA is a 65-foot Naval Chantier sloop, owned & operated by the British couple of John Nicholson & Susan Bruce. While having four guest cabins, Makayabella charters a maximum of six guests. They are available for crewed yacht charters / sailing vacations in the Grenadines.

Let us know how you liked the recipe!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interesting Cookbooks in this morning's email

Amazon sent me an email this morning with some cookbooks I found interesting.

We have a difficult time buying bread here in St. Maarten. The French have very nice baguettes which we LOVE but it is inconvenient for us. It's not like when we lived in Paris and there were two bakeries on every block :)

So, this is a book I'm going to look at today...
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking. Baking bread is one of the best aromas there is. It is so satisfying to eat the bread you made yourself. Five minutes? I can find 5 minutes for something as worthy as home baked bread.

I liked the title of this book: Bon Appetit, Y'All: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking. ''The playful title of this Southern-French cookbook belies its studious attitude to cookery. Willis, a chef who has cooked for the White House and stars like Aretha Franklin and Jane Fonda, grew up in Georgia and Louisiana, absorbing her mother's and grandmother's repertoire of grits, casseroles and gumbos before developing her professional skills at French cooking academies. The result is a hybrid cuisine she calls refined Southern, which applies traditional French technique and lighter ingredients to produce new versions of Southern staples."

I also think this one is worth a look...
Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus. Working with charter yachts, new cocktail recipes are always welcome. The problem with for us personally, is that we don't have a supply of ice on board So It Goes, so having a frozen sundowner is problematic. We do have a hand-cranked blender though!

Here's another one for desserts!
Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
"Think again. Not every baker wants to re-create Grandma’s pound cake or cherry pie. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito certainly didn’t, when they left their advertising careers behind, pooled their life savings, and opened their dream bakery, Baked, in Brooklyn, New York, a few years back. The visions that danced in their heads were of other, brand-new kinds of confections... Things like a Malt Ball Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting, which captures the flavor of their favorite Whoppers candies (and ups the ante with a malted milk ball garnish). Things like spicy Chipotle Cheddar Biscuits that really wake up your taste buds at breakfast time. Things like a Sweet and Salty Cake created expressly for adults who are as salt-craving as they are sweet-toothed."

I have to deal with our emails and then I'll take a look at these :)

Cookbooks might be a handy thing to have on your Kindle... Check it out!


Monday, March 09, 2009

Heineken Regatta 2009: Game Over

The 2009 St Maarten Heineken Regatta is over and the boats are leaving the anchorage. Soon, life will be back to normal... if you can call it "normal" :)

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Schooner Passat best dressed boat - Photos by Paradise Connections ©2009 - Please do not use without permission.
Passat wins our honors for "best dressed" boat.

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Boat with most flags - Photos by Paradise Connections ©2009 - Please do not use without permission.
And here is our winner for "boat with the most flags".

Willow & Buffy watching the boats leave Simpson Bay the day after the Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photos by Paradise Connections ©2009 - Please do not use without permission.
Willow and Buffy are watching the boats depart.

Here's a link to see the Heineken Regatta results.

Hope y'all had a great time and will come back to the islands soon.

Photos by Paradise Connections ©2009 - Please do not use without permission.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Heineken Regatta 2009: Sunday afternoon

More of what's happening from my perspective in Simpson Bay, St. Maarten for the 2009 Heineken Regatta...

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
This Formula 40 didn't go out today... not sure why, but we'll give them the "most raked mast currently at anchor" award.

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
With nine fenders out on his starboard side (can't see the port side), this catamaran won the "boat with the most fenders out" prize for today.

Well, everyone is coming back from their final race of the Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta 2009.

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
Obviously these folks had a bit of a mainsail problem. As soon as they anchored a crewman zipped up to the top of the mast and retrieved the scrap of sail up there.

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
The Gunboat catamaran Cream coming back in...

Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
and also the Gunboat Safari a bit farther out.

For the Gunboats:
  • 1st place: Cream
  • 2nd place: Sugar Daddy
  • 3rd place: Safari

Team GoldenDog - Heineken Regatta 2009 - Photo by Paradise Connections ©2009
Team GoldenDog coming in to anchor close to the beach. Team GoldenDog won first place in their class. Congratulations. Great birthday present for Jeffrey. Happy Birthday, Soc from a fellow Pisces.

Photos by Paradise Connections ©2009 - Please do not use without permission.