Wednesday, March 31, 2010

French mobile phones for travellers in France

As we plan to be sailing to France next year, I am quite interested in the subject of cell / mobile phones.

Louisa from the Hotel Barge ENCHANTE who cruises the canal du midi & the Provence/Camargue regions in the South of France enlightened us...
I've found most of our guests use their US phones and pay the fee. But it's quite easy to pick up a "pay as you go" phone (any big supermarket have them on offer plus there are lots of specialised phone shops)  for about 35 euro which would include some credit. There's usually a deal going on one provider or another.
This is a cool feature for Enchante that I didn't know about...
We've actually got a mobile phone for each of our cabins on Enchanté for their personal use while on board. When our guests arrive there's about 5 euro credit and they can top up anytime. The fees from a local provider are not half as bad as a US phone to phone the States.
So, looks like it will be "pas de problème"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life on the Seine

I just ran across a book on someone's blog that brought back memories.

The book is "Houseboat on the Seine" by William Wharton, who you might know from the movie and book "Birdy".

We lived on a converted barge in Le Port Marly on the branch of the Seine that flows from the Bougival lock and we rowed by his boat almost daily. Rosemary, the "better half" of the couple who owned La Péniche Black Moon used to type up Wharton's manuscripts, so I wouldn't be surprised that she did her part in the early stages of this book that was published in 1996.

The boat was quite a shambles in the early 80's and one striking feature was a large aviary aboard. We were not surprised to learn that it was Birdy's boat.

So, this book, Houseboat on the Seine, will be going on our wish list. According to the reviews it is more about Wharton's 20-plus years' struggle of fixing up the boat rather than about his life.  The review from Publisher's Weekly did mention "generous dollops of humor and local color" which we will probably find interesting and can relate to, along with the toils of boatbuilding in France :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday BOAT Cat Blogging - Baby Pictures... Ahhhhh

I was looking through iPhoto and came across some baby pictures.... Ahhhhh..... Ohhhhhh..... Mmmmmm.... So Cute!



The bed used to be a much larger playing field when they were small

Have a good weekend!

Whale sightings in USVI

This week there have been quite a few whale sightings off of St Croix US Virgin Islands!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Beatles: Recordings from Atlanta 1965 Concert

Bob knows how I'm a BIG Beatles Fan so he was quite pleased to have found this blog posting from Licorice Pizza.

It has a download of 10 Beatles songs from their Atlanta 1965 concert. Not the best quality, of course, but what energy... especially from the screaming fans!

Oh, to have been there :)

Many thanks to Licorice Pizza for sharing!

Check it out:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday is off to a good start!

I'm a happy camper this morning.  We were invited out for breakfast and had Eggs Benedict at the Golden Rail next to St Croix Marine.  Quite nice. I really liked their home fries.

Entrance to St Croix Marine

We then went over to where St Croix Marine is having their tent sale and bought some stuff at good prices.... Sperry sandals, electrical panel, solar panel mounting brackets for the stern rail, and a couple of other things.  Gave a $1 to the animal shelter and got a free snorkel.  Entered the drawing for a waterproof handheld VHF.  Must be present at 3pm for the drawing to win, so I should set an alarm.

We then went over to Gallows Bay Ace Hardware's tent sail. Lo and behold, they had a "manual" stove-top waffle maker for only $10, normally $44.95 which is a silly price! We've been looking for one for a long time... HURRAY... SCORE! So then, I went inside the store and bought the cats a treat... a 12-foot roll of brown wrapping paper.  They love this stuff. Cut it in half and we have two cat toys for under $3. Such a deal!

Back to the dinghy, but swing by the tent again to see if there's anything new. Bought an assortment of 4 courtesy flags for $2 each, and a pair of "previously owned" opening ports which look OK for $20/pair.

Ms Cheapseats is a very happy camper indeed :)

Oh yes.... Happy first day of Spring!

Also, tomorrow (Sunday) there will be a fund raiser for someone we don't know, but we believe in helping out the cruising community.  What I understand from hearing about it on the radio is that he was a sailmaker and had his shop across from Jones Maritime in Christiansted. He had some misfortune with his back down island and has had back surgery in Panama(?). So, tomorrow we'll attend the fund raiser which starts at 4pm across from Jones Maritime. It is a $5 donation.  There will be BBQ, potluck, raffles, prizes and good times for a good cause.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patrick's Day

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy St Patrick's Day... Especially to all of our Irish friends we've made through our travels over the years!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No Daylight Savings Time in the Caribbean

Did you turn your clock forward or back? That's one thing we don't have to worry about in the Caribbean... we are always on Island Time.

Image from

Hope you decided to "spring ahead"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

St Patricks Celebration in St Croix

Today is the 40th Annual St Patrick's Day Parade in Christiansted, St Croix, US Virgin Islands.

There was a parade which started at 11am and now there are festivities on the Boardwalk.  I can hear two or three bands.  Must go and check it out.

Nothing much appears to be happening in front of the Harbor Webcam though... CLICK HERE

These people on St Croix sure like to party.  St Patrick's Day is on hump day so perhaps they'll celebrate next weekend as well :)

Island time... it's a wonderful ting...

Apple Core... Baltimore.... Who did this?

You know how things just pop into your head and you wonder where it came from?

Well, I just asked Bob to throw away my apple core and this bit from a cartoon was half-way remembered... I know it was from a Bugs Bunny-type of classic cartoon. So, instead of it driving me nuts, I'm currently online so I just Googled "apple core baltimore" and it came up with answers, plus this from YouTube

It's a Donald Duck cartoon with Chip & Dale? Well, it's two chipmunks anyway... It's dated 1951 so it's older than ME!

I read that it was one of those kids games, but not one that I knew of and I come from apple country!
Eater: “Apple core!”
Friend1: “Baltimore!”
Eater: “Who’s your friend?”
Friend1: “Him!” and points to Friend2
Eater: Throws apple core at Friend2
Thanks, Google

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Cat Blogging Friday Again Already?

Wow, where did the week go?  It is Cat Blogging Friday again. Already!

Cats are a great excuse for not making the bed...


They both like their new cat toy...


This spot on the shelf is a favorite spot...


So, TGIF, and it's time for a G&T on the foredeck.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wintry weather "back home" in south of France

Our friend Liz, owner-operator of the French Hotel Barge EMMA which cruises the canal du midi in the south of France, wrote to us Monday and sent us this beautiful and unusual photo.

French Hotel Barge EMMA, canal du midi, South of France

Hello everyone. Here is a photo of Emma which I never thought would be possible, especially in March. We have had a downfall of snow which is really beautiful but totally unexpected. On Friday we were in T-shirts finishing the little painting details and enjoying a glass of wine at the end of the day. Today it will be hot soup and hot toddies, dressed in woolies. Hope winter is being kind to you and that spring is just around the corner. Amitiés Liz
We remember the winter that we spent on the canal in Frontignan with Liz and Rene when they had a small motor boat. It was cold winter.  On a few particularly cold evenings, a bunch of us would get together on a boat with an electric heater to play cards and drink hot cocoa. We had ice on the chemin de halage that we used to ride our bikes on to go shopping, but never SNOW!

I hope the pink flamingoes toes didn't turn blue... maybe they have socks.

Even though we were complaining about the low temperature of 67°F in St Croix the other night, the chilly photo of Barge Emma really made us homesick for the French canals.

If you would like to know more about our friend's barge and barging vacations, check out Emma's online brochure HERE.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Wintry weather in Christiansted St Croix USVI

Yesterday and today are quite unusual weatherwise. Time to break out the cocoa and SOCKS!  According to the weather service on the internet it was 67.6°F / 19.8°C last night. Brrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Perhaps it is my fault... I did a small load of laundry on Saturday afternoon. I hung it up on the lifelines and before they were quite dry, it started to lightly rain.  We had light rain all day yesterday, too.  Today is gray but it hasn't rained for a couple of hours so I think I'll hang up the clothes to finish them off in this strong breeze we are having.

About the laundry... This time I went to the laundramat near the Seaplane dock. Tie up your dinghy at Styxx though because it is really shallow over by the seaplane portion of the boardwalk and no place to lock onto, although I have seen dinghies just tie up with no locks there. The laundry wasn't as new and pristine as the one in Gallows Bay, but it is closer and nice enough. There were plenty of machines and the warm normal cycle only took 30 minutes. It had lots of water sloshing about, too.  The whole round trip took an hour at the most.

You can look at our PREVIOUS POST about Christiansted and read the section about laundry and check their location on our map.

Time for cup of coffee #3...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

WiFi in the islands... St Croix (STX) US Virgin Islands

Well, last week we were without wifi for THREE DAYS! That really makes life difficult for us. We went to our mail service who is also an internet cafe, Surf the Net. I'm not sure of the name of the little street, but tie up your dinghy at the boardwalk in front of Styxx (they're closed now, by the way) and walk straight through there. There's a couple of steps and a ramp. Go up and Surf the Net is on your left.  Say hello to Sandy and her little dog Paula for us.

Surf the Net is also a great place for those people arriving in St Croix by cruiseship. We are told that Surf the Net is less expensive than the internet cafes at the cruise ship dock in Frederiksted, and you are probably coming to Christiansted anyway so take advantage.  See our previous post HERE about Christiansted.

We found an open network amongst the back alleyways and it was soooooooo sloooooooow, but free. It's much better to pay a couple of bucks rather than take an hour just to download your email, and that says a lot coming from Ms CheapSeats.

Anyway, as I was saying, we now have wifi service on the boat again in Christiansted Harbor. I called BroadbandVI last Thursday that we couldn't connect to any of their hotspots since noon Tuesday. The tech said that all their networks are up and running and perhaps I should dump my cache. They always try to blame it on the user.  I called back on Friday and told them that we can't access any of their hotspots' login page, plus other people are having the same problem.  He gave me to another technician who appeared interested in the situation and didn't try to blame it to user error.  Gold stars for that! He came out to Christiansted and had to replace some bits and pieces, and now it is working finest kind :)

So, to make a long story shorter, if you need to subscribe to a service while in Christiansted Harbor the correct hotspot to select out of that long list is BroadbandVI_Harbor (and NOT Harbor_v).