Friday, July 31, 2009

ST MAARTEN BRIDGE CLOSURES - Mid-August 2009

We have been informed that the bridge on the Dutch side of St. Maarten will be closed to maritime traffic for a 2-week period in August.

We have a government-issued press release (see below), but there are no dates specified... Keeping their "bases" or whatevers covered, I suppose... or as it says down towards the end of the article: "Inspectors of Rijkswaterstaat will once more asses the condition of the bridge" I can just picture the inspectors mooning the bridge :)

=> Remember that the French bridge will be closed in September!

JOHN SAINSBOROUGH LEJEUZ BRIDGE. SINT MAARTEN.

PRESS RELEASE July 30, 2009.

Bridge to be Closed for Maritime Traffic mid-August for two weeks due to additional repair work

SIMPSON BAY - Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation hereby announces that mid-August the Simpson Bay Bridge will closed to maritime traffic for a two-week period to facilitate additional repair work.

The main contractor Hofman Sliedrecht will continue the repair works replacing the traffic barrier boxes and booms; installing new traffic lights and installing a new electrical control cabinet for the bridge.

All the repairs to the Simpson Bay Bridge are based on the recommendations made by Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch Authority for waterworks and Bridges. They are done to ensure the durability and longevity of the bridge structure.

In August 2009 Inspectors of Rijkswaterstaat will once more asses the condition of the bridge after all the improvements and will submit a report to the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority.
Let's hope that there are no tropical disturbances during these down times when boats need to shelter in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Whale-look yacht - Thanks Jamestown Distributors

This was a very interesting post we saw on the net today:

Evolution gone crazy - $95 million super yacht resembles whale

You've got to check out the photo. It's a different looking megayacht which is fun!

This post was on the Jamestown Distributors' blog.
The thing that is saddest about not sailing up to New England this summer (plans change, must be flexible) is that we won't be visiting Jamestown Distributors in Rhode Island.

When we were building the Philip Bolger designed Loose Moose 1 & 2 in Paris France, we had difficulty finding some bits & pieces and Jamestown Distributors was an excellent resource for us and we had no problems with shipping. This was pre-internet and pre-fax time 1986 to 1990-ish. Remember Telex?

So, just wanted to show you this different boat and say thanks to Jamestown Distributors. Hope to see you sometime :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Candygram... not!

Maybe this shark just tried the Candygram routine once too often...

Shark at US Imports, Sandy Ground St. Martin

This was today's special offering at the seafood section of our local French supermarket in Marigot, St. Martin. Quite a startling sight to see when you pop out of the aisle and turn the corner :)

Shark at US Imports, Sandy Ground St. Martin

The sign is for oysters (huitres) and not the price for the shark. Note the size of the shark by the lemon that is next to its mouth.

We bought brie & paté instead (which was absolutely yummy, I might add).

Sunday, July 26, 2009

French St Martin Sandy Ground Bridge Closures

Yesterday, when we filled up some jerry cans at the Port Royale Marina in Marigot, we were told that starting Monday, 27 July 2009, the Sandy Ground Bridge (French side of St Martin) will only open twice a day at 8:15am and 5:30pm (like Sunday schedule) from tomorrow through August.

French St Martin Sandy Ground BridgeIn September, it will be completely closed and will not open as they are dismantling bits to ship off to Guadeloupe for maintenance.

I don't have specific dates on this, but it's something to be aware of.

I suppose in September you can transit the Dutch bridge and go over to the French side of the lagoon where anchoring is free. You'll probably have to pay the Dutch bridge fee, and I expect that they (SLAC) might charge you the weekly Dutch anchoring fee as well for dropping your anchor while you wait for the bridge opening. See Dutch fees from a previous post HERE

So It Goes :)

Fungus Among Us

I've added a link in the right column of this blog to FUNGUS AMONG US, an online store that features dried organic mushrooms, plus they have dried soup mixes.

If you are a mushroom fan, you might find something you fancy to include in your boat's pantry. No reason to have boring food for passages!

Check them out: http://tinyurl.com/FungusAmongUsLink

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gas prices up on French side St Martin

We filled up a couple of jerry cans with gasoline (essence) at the French-side service station, Cadisco on Friday. The liter price has gone up from $0.79 to $0.82 (they use a one-dollar to one-euro exchange rate, rather then the current 1.4 rate). I roughly calculate this as $3.15 per gallon.


(Click image to enlarge)

Can't complain as it is over a dollar per liter on the Dutch side.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jib's back on - Hurray!

This afternoon (Thursday) we put the jib back on its furler. The gusty winds that we've had for the past week are finally subsiding so we decided to take advantage of the lull and put the sail up and reclaim some space in the cockpit where it has been sitting since last Friday.

We took the jib to the sailmaker last week to have a bit of preventative maintenance done to it. The stitching along the sacrificial strip needed to be restitched. We are fairly pleased with the work they did. There are a few missed stitches but it is much better work than how we got this sail back from the other Dutch-side sail loft last year (2008).

Last year, the jib had a bit of wear to the leech where it rubbed against the spreader so we wanted it repaired before doing some summer sailing. This is how they repaired it. They didn't even tuck the edge under. We didn't take the jib out of the bag and put the sail back on until shortly before it was time to leave, so unfortunately there wasn't time to take it back to the sail loft and complain. We really need to inspect things when we get them... we have too much faith in people & products and just assume that everything is correct (that's the way it should be, right???).


(Sails after being "repaired" from last year's sailmaker)


So, sail needle in hand, Bob fixed this bit, along with other places that they neglected, with some overcast hand stitching.

This worked well for last season, but we decided to take it to the other sail loft this summer to have them give it a check-up and fix what they felt was needed. It was $45/hour for a total of 2.5 hours. We were happy with that, as it was about the same as what we paid last year. They did more than just restitching. One of the things they did was that they changed the leading bit of the luff tape at the head of the sail and this made it much easier to hoist, as it slid up the track better than in the past. The new tell-tails will be nice, too.

So, after we re-installed the jib and had a celebratory Coke Zero, I went and found some pvc-type of fabric and lashed it to the lower portion of the furled sail.

Buffy and Willow like to reach as high as they can on the furled jib and give it a bit of claw flexing activity. Hopefully, the stitiching is protected from their sharp little nails now :)

One chore off the list... but there are still plenty more.

So It Goes :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Charter Yacht Busted !


Here's an interesting article from BVI News Online:
Customs crackdown continues

Fortunately, this is a yacht that we have already chosen not to offer for charter.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kitchen & Home One-Day Sale--Save up to 60%

I just want to pass this on in case it is useful to someone...

AMAZON.COM: Kitchen & Home One-Day Sale--Save up to 60%

July 20, 2009 only, you'll save up to 60% in our Kitchen & Home One-Day Sale. Shop our lowest prices on more than 400 products, including small appliances, cookware, tableware, bedding, pet supplies, patio furniture, grills, and more. Hurry--buy today, while supplies last.
Please note that it is only for Monday, July 20, 2009...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Blustery Squally Day in St Martin St Maarten

Boy, it sure has been gusty & raining off and on today... Too much ON for my tastes :)

This is probably why...



TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
200 PM EDT SAT JUL 18 2009

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

1. A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED NEAR THE LESSER ANTILLES IS PRODUCING NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS AS IT INTERACTS WITH AN UPPER-LEVEL TROUGH. WHILE RAINFALL ASSOCIATED WITH THE WAVE MAY BE LOCALLY HEAVY AT TIMES...UPPER-LEVEL WINDS ARE NOT CURRENTLY CONDUCIVE FOR SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT OF THE SYSTEM AS IT MOVES WEST-NORTHWESTWARD AT AROUND 15 MPH. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

2. A TROPICAL WAVE LOCATED ABOUT 1000 MILES EAST OF THE WINDWARD ISLANDS CONTINUES TO PRODUCE DISORGANIZED SHOWER ACTIVITY. ANY DEVELOPMENT OF THIS SYSTEM WILL BE SLOW TO OCCUR AS IT MOVES WESTWARD AT AROUND 20 MPH. THERE IS A LOW CHANCE...LESS THAN 30 PERCENT...OF THIS SYSTEM BECOMING A TROPICAL CYCLONE DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

ELSEWHERE...TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

And So It Goes.... it's summertime...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hurricane Weather Widget

Just added Wundergrounds Hurricane Weather Sticker widget to this blog's template. You can see it in the right-hand column.

You can get your's here

I had to reduce the height and width (3 places) by 25% so it would fit in the column.

Let's hope that nothing will show up on it this summer :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Amazon.com wrote to let me know that they are having a sale on The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus 16-Ton Megaset (1982)



This is definitely a MUST HAVE. A 16-disc set for under $55. That's a good bang for the cruising buck!

I should order this today so it will be in St. Thomas when we get over there... and FREE shipping.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Open winmail.dat files on Mac

We received an email from Humminbird in reply to a question we had about our GPS. We were very happy to get a reply. I noticed there was a 1.1MB file called winmail.dat which I always thought was an attachment for the business card thingy... vcards, that's right.... but over a megabyte seemed kind of large for that...

I hit the "quicklook" option for the attachment and it said it was a HPIP video file (whatever that is) and I didn't think that was right. I tried to open it in TextEdit and it appeared to be a Word Document as I saw some text and a bunch of garbage that was probably images and/ or formatting.

I then changed the file extension from ".dat" to ".doc" but the file would not open. I then tried to change it to ".pdf" and it opened in Preview and it was a pdf file for the manual for our GPS, but I didn't see the phrases that I original saw when looking at the file as text.... hmmmmmm.

Bob did a quick Google search "open winmail.dat with mac" and he found this handy little FREE application, TNEF's Enough.

Here's their explanation of why we Mac Users get these files:

TNEF's Enough allows Macs to read and extract files from Microsoft TNEF stream files. The files are usually received by SMTP based e-mail programs from Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook users. The SMTP based e-mail program will usually receive either a MIME attachment named "winmail.dat" or a MIME attachment with the type "application/ms-tnef."

The file is a rich text (or MAPI) message that is sent from Outlook to Exchange. When Exchange sends the message to an outside server it writes the MAPI message as a MIME attachment. The unfortunate side effect of this plan is if the Outlook user has someone in their address book as a person who can receive "Rich Text" then the user will receive the TNEF file whether the user uses Outlook or not.
Interesting...

I then saved the attachment to my desktop and then Opened With TNEF.app which gave me two files, a Word Document and the pdf manual. I might still be missing something but I wrote to Humminbird and told them my problem. Hopefully they'll not just re-send the same message, but actually attach the individual documents properly to the email.

There is a similar application, called tnefdd, also FREE on SourceForge.net I just downloaded this app and tried it on the same file and received the same results.

--> Here's something else that works !!!

I just forwarded this document in question to one of my Gmail email accounts, and the attachments were there just perfectly... no attachment called winmail.dat, but the two files with their proper filenames.

Hope this will help someone.

Push Purple Button to Feed Animals

Yesterday, I received an email from the Greater Good Network. I try to remember every day to push the purple button on The Animal Rescue Site. Each click on the purple "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button at The Animal Rescue Site provides food and care for a rescued animal living in a shelter or sanctuary. Funding for food and care is paid by site sponsors and distributed to animals in need at the Fund for Animals' renowned animal sanctuaries.
"This month, The Animal Rescue Site is celebrating seven years of providing food and aid to sheltered, homeless animals. This milestone would have been impossible without the support of people like you. Since 2002, daily clicks on the purple button have provided over 270.3 million bowls of food for animals in need: That's quite an inspiring number, and one that keeps growing each and every day...just like our community that cares!

"You contribute more to the cause by shopping at The Animal Rescue Site store. Every item purchased helps our nonprofit partners provide food for the animals in their care--at no additional cost to you! In fact, in the past six months alone, purchases in our store have funded more than 5.8 million bowls of food: Now, that gives new meaning to the term buying power!"
Notice that there are tabs at the top of this web site for other causes as well: Hunger, Breast Cancer, Child Health, Literacy, Rainforest, and Animal Rescue. I try to take the time to go through each of them as well and push their buttons, too. Doesn't hurt and might even help... only takes a couple of minutes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cats -- Twitter: What are you doing?

What are the cats doing? Buffy and Willow are doing this:

Buffy & Willow snoozing

It was always difficult to get Wacka & Bullwinkle into the cat carrier... had to back them into it and then stuff in the paws while trying to get the door shut. But Buffy and Willow love their "cat condo".

In fact, if you move the cat carrier to get something out of the locker underneath, Willow gets worried and jumps into it. She also doesn't like it if the door is closed which is why the baseball hat is wedging it open.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Such a pleasant surprise... I got a refund

I had a nice surprise today...

We've been getting our water at La Port Royale, the French marina on the inside of the lagoon. I think it might be a little bit less expensive than getting it at Island Water World and it is generally a much more pleasant experience.

French St Martin La Port Royale Marina Capitanerie

Last week when we filled up some jerry cans of water I thought it cost a bit more than usual, but I thought that maybe they hadn't read the meter correctly at the beginning or perhaps their addition was wrong. Not enough to even mention. "Tant pis" as they say... Good will is much more important than a buck.

Well, today we dinghied over to Port Royale to get a couple more jerry cans filled. When I went inside to pay, she opened up an envelope with $1.43 and told me that she overcharged me last time and here is my change. My Gosh!!! I really didn't expect this... That they would set the money aside for me was so, so incredibly nice.

Unfortunately, they do not sell fuel at the marina but there is Cadisco which is between the marina and the "dead end" channel (with a gas station & US Import supermarket dinghy parking at the end of it) which is before the channel to the Sandy Ground bridge.

French St Martin Cadisco Fuel Dock in Lagoon

They sell water at the gas station but it is NON-POTABLE and it is the same price as "good" water. Today gasoline was $0.79 per litre... it is over $1 on the Dutch side.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Boat Cat Blogging Friday

Haven't had a Boat Cat Blogging Friday in quite a while...

Buffy & Willow surprised me earlier this week. They both love cucumber! Bob made me a goat cheese and cucumber sandwich and I offered Buffy a piece of cucumber and she joyfully munched it down. Willow came to investigate and she also enjoyed it. Crazy cats!

Here's Buffy relaxing on a bookshelf.



Willow on the foredeck keeping an eye on things.



This is Bastille weekend. With the 14th on Tuesday, that makes it a FOUR-day celebration!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

1921 SteamShip for Med charters SS DELPHINE

We received an email yesterday about the SS DELPHINE, a 1921 Steamship that is available for charter in the Mediterranean.

This has to be one of the coolest charter yachts around and is definitely worth a look just out of general interest if nothing else. Take a look at the post on our "All About Yacht Charters, Sailing Vacations" Blog.




Of course, if you would like to treat yourself and 25 of your closest friends for a week or two aboard this magnificent boat for a Mediterranean yacht charter, contact Paradise Connections :)

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Space saving inflatables: Coolers, Limbo & Decorations

With space at a premium on a small boat, I feel that we can have a few of these fun & frivolous items as they are inflatable and won't take up much room in the locker.

I've been wanting an inflatable parrot and palm tree, but here is something even better... an inflatable palm tree that is ALSO a cooler!



Maybe something will tickle your fancy, too!

iPhone app : Tiki Drinks application

Image from BeachBumBerry.com
Bob spotted this post on BeachBum Berry.
CALLING ALL BUMS: iPHONE NOW HAS A TIKI DRINK APP

Thanks to our co-conspirator, Martin Doudoroff of Cocktail DB, the app also features scads of vintage Tiki cocktail illustrations and new drink photos, many of the latter taken by Martin himself. READ FULL POST.

Make sure you have this iPhone Tiki Drink application for your next Tiki Party.

Visit our Amazon Tiki Party store... Too late for 4th July 2009, but there's still lots of summertime partytime left :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

St. Maarten bridge to resume normal summer openings

It looks like they are going to be opening the bridge for boat traffic again...

This was in the newspaper 1st July 2009 (The Daily Herald)

Bridge openings resume Monday

PHILIPSBURG--The three regular daily openings of Simpson Bay Bridge will resume as of Monday. However, there will be an opening on Sunday at 6.00pm.

The scheduled openings as of Monday for the off season are at 9.30am, 11.30am and 5.30pm for in and outbound maritime traffic. Outbound traffic precedes inbound boat traffic.

Read more...

There are very few boats over on the Dutch side. It is soooooooo empty.

Happy NATIONAL BOATING DAY - July 1st

July 1 Declared 'National Boating Day' by US Congress
With the arrival of peak boating, and boat selling, season, yesterday evening, the U.S. Senate passed S. Res. 199, introduced by Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), declaring July 1, 2009 National Boating Day. The resolution recognizes the important role recreational boating and the boating industry play in the lives of the nation’s 70 million boaters and the U.S. economy.
Read more at SAIL-WORLD.COM

Have a happy!