Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hurricane Earl - Noon Update

Monday, Aug 30, 2010: I just had a phone call from someone to see how we are doing.  That's really nice! (ooohh, we just had some thunder and Willow is wondering if it is time to run and hide) He is watching Hurricane Earl on TV and was concerned.  He was very surprised when I told him we were having 15 knots of wind and that St Thomas has a bit more.

Right now we are having a slight squall but when he called we might have only had 5 knots.  I'M NOT COMPLAINING!

We never consult PassageWeather.com or WindGuru.com anymore.  Last year when we were trying to make a decision about two possible named storms they were WRONG.  They showed that the storm would pass to the north, for example, instead of it passing south which it did and based on their prediction we would have been going into the storm... not a good thing to do :)

So, just for fun, I looked at what they have to say... Currently we have between 10 and 15 knots.

Here, WindGuru says we should be having 35 knots of wind with gusts to 43.  It's been pretty much like any other day except it is from the wrong direction.

This is the 11am (AST) prediction which shows St Croix in the orange 35-40 knot band. That's not what we have (fortunately).

I wonder when and how often they update these potentially important forecasts.

Here's a couple of pictures that I took at noon of our neighbor.

Here comes a bit of rain (12:33pm)


UPDATE... AUGUST 31, 2010 11:03AM

So... let's see.... I shut down my computer and dealt with the rain and then took a nap. I woke up with one of the anchors stowed on the deck making noise due to the rocking of the boat. Then I heard Bob make an exclamation something like "where did that come from" but perhaps a bit more colorful :)


It was 2:30pm and there was a catamaran next to us.  Where did they come from and when?  We didn't hear a motor or an anchor dropping.  There was no dinghy so did they plop the boat there really quick and get out of Dodge or did it drag the mooring and anchor from where we saw them earlier in the morning?

They did bang into us a couple of times...

Fortunately we had an internet connection throughout the storm (thank you Broadband VI) and we looked up the daysail catamaran's website and found a phone number so they could deal with the boat. They cut themselves loose from the mooring and shortened up the scope on their anchor which allowed them to clear our bow when the wind shifted. They stayed aboard all night which made me feel better. This morning Bob looked at their mooring and it was complete with all the bits including two bent sandscrews. Their anchor was probably fouled on the mooring next to us (fortunately not the one we are secured to!).

This morning (Tuesday) when I was making coffee at 7am, I noticed a monohull way out and pretty close to the reef.  It looked stationary but there wasn't a dinghy attached and probably unattended.  I wonder what route this boat took? It gets pretty shallow in places behind that island! Did it go by us or down the other channel?

Our neighbor said that he saw the boat out there at 3am.

At around 8:00 this morning, we saw a dinghy and a person on the bow moving it. Another dinghy looked like it was on its way out there but then turned around and went away... Strange... Was he looking for salvage? Anyway, I don't know who they were but they seemed to have left it in a weird place and quite possibly tied to a navigation buoy :)

I noticed that there are a couple of uprooted trees on the beach near the pavillion.

This motorboat was dropped off near us (of course) for Earl,

They quickly lost their bimini and the dinghy kept trying to blow off the foredeck but didn't for some reason...

We've had quite a busy day catching up with various things. No rain which is nice.  It is now almost 6pm and definitely time for a rum on the foredeck with Bob and the company of the kittens.  They were happy to go outside today.  It is nice and calm.

I hope Fiona will be as nice if she stops by for a visit. We are going to leave our anchor down (along with being on a mooring) in the meantime.

Hope everyone else is OK. Here are some photos from The BVI Beacon for Tortola BVI.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hurricane Earl - One Good Thing

One good thing about Hurricane Earl is that "they" say the worst bit of the storm for us should be between 11am and 6pm.  Hmmmm, that's a long time but at least it is during daylight.  Darkness adds a factor of x5 to my perception of storm conditions :)

Stormpulse showing the 8am forecast with the "circle of death" positioned at 2pm.
Looks like we shouldn't get H-strength winds.


We don't have a wind generator whizzing away and with no mast we don't have wind whistling through the rigging which can be quite disconcerting.

They say we might get 6-8 inches of rain. Have to go bail out the dinghy during the next lull. There are flash flood warnings in effect..

The radio went off the air earlier and they said they had to go on generator power.  I'm surprised that we still have internet service because quite often the islands shut off the power during storms to prevent damage to the system (so they say).

When we went out at 7am to tape up the hatch above the bed, Bob's glasses started to blow off. He lost a pair of glasses in Hurricane Omar in St Martin, so we now have found our little tethers to keep our glasses on.

It stopped raining so Willow has come out... but here's pictures of the kitties during the last squall

Willow hiding under the bed and Buffy chilling out on my seat.

It's quiet right now so we'll have to go outside to tidy up and bail the dinghy, but we haven't finished our first cup of coffee yet!

This is what it looked like at 8am.

Gallows Bay, Christiansted, St Croix USVI - 30 Aug 2010, 8:00 am

Hopefully, we'll still be online for the 11am forecast.

Here's a link to the webcam at the Christiansted Boardwalk, by gotostcroix.com Harbor Cam

Catch ya later. Keep safe!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Earl... Be a Good Boy, please

Well, it is now after midnight and the 11pm Earl forecast isn't looking so good for us.

At least Earl is still classified as a Tropical Storm, but as it passes by it's supposed to be an H1 and then an H2. Don't want that... Not for us... Not for anybody...

So let's get together and push Earl to the North... NOW! Take a right turn, Earl. Be a good boy!

Earl, imagine yourself as a helium balloon and float upwards... yes, to the north... relax and float... Chill out...

Buffy & Willow don't like storms... Does anybody? 

Tomorrow morning, depending on how things look we'll probably be toodling out of here.

So It Goes...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun stuff - more fun than a Tropical Storm

I found some fun stuff while updating our Tropical Tiki Party Store this afternoon that I mentioned in this blog a couple of days ago.

I didn't look for cat outfits... I don't know how they'd like that, although they don't seem to mind their leis.

Click image to go to Amazon.com

I wonder how these little LEDs strapped to your fingers would work for other than party fun...
Click image to go to Amazon.com

I just found something else that is cool... literally cool...

Click image to go to Amazon.com

Boy, oh boy, we could have used a couple of those vests yesterday. Just about got heat stroke walking up to the store, and then when we got back to the boat it was 96F inside.

Get your tropical party stuff here. If not for Labor Day, then perhaps for Talk Like a Pirate Day which is coming up soon.... Please excuse the shameless plug :)

And EARL... you can take a turn to the right anytime now.  You're NOT invited to our party!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Have a Tropical Tiki Party for Labor Day Weekend

It's already that time of year. This is the last weekend of August... time flies.

There's still time before Labor Day to order stuff for your Summer Blow-Out Tiki Party.

Visit our Amazon.com Tiki Party store and get ready to PARTY ON !!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Problem Solving Flowsheet

Saw this on BoingBoing Tuesday evening and just loved it. I'll post it for you here in case you missed it...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

National Waffle Day - August 24th

Amazon.com has stovetop waffle irons

I was so lucky this morning... Bob noticed that it was National Waffle Day before we had breakfast.

That was kind of a no brainer then...

MMMMMmmmmmmmmm... They were wonderful...

Thanks, Bob!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unusual happening at anchor in St Croix

We've had many critters around the boat when swinging at anchor such as dolphins, stingrays, squid, the rabid crab in St Martin, remora and other variety of fish, but today was our first horse.

Earlier we heard a truck horn and we had to quickly look outside to see if we'd come loose from our mooring and were now up against the road... No, it was just a very loud horn which also freaked out the cats, but happily we were still in our spot.

So, now I hear another strange sound... Sounds like a horse doing a strange, labored nicker-type of noise... Can't be a horse so maybe it is someone having problems with his dinghy motor?  puh puh puh puh... puh puh puh puh... puh puh puh puh...

I just had to get up from what I was working on and look out... To my surprise, this is what I saw...

(Click photo to enlarge)


Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Wire + Toy Story = Laughter

Bob shared this post from Whatever with me this morning...   Read the post and check out this brilliant mashup of The Wire and Toy Story. I LOVE IT !!!


Friday, August 20, 2010

PBO's UK & Ireland Marina Price Guide

PBO (Practical Boat Owner) is a British yachting magazine that we would buy every month when we lived in France. Unfortunately, we are not able to find it in the Caribbean.  I don't remember if they had it at the chandlery in Antigua, but that's a bit of a journey to pick up a magazine :)

Here's something that those of you who are planning to cross the pond, or might even be over there on the right side of the pond, might find interesting...

PBO's UK & Ireland Marina Price Guide


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MOOSEJAW is having a super special

I just felt that we had to share this with you.

Moosejaw (we are suckers for anything Moose-ish) is having a sale where if you buy so many items you get an additional so much discount off the sale price... Check it out.

The Moosejaw Really Super Sale: Save up to an additional 25% on Sale Items with code JACKSON. Excludes sale items from Snow/Wake/Skate brands, including Burton, Volcom, Liquid Force, Foursquare, Analog, Sessions, Oakley and others. . Coupon Code: JACKSON

They send out funny newsletters... sometimes with contests so you can win points.

Check out Patagonia, too!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Another thing the cats don't like

Buffy & Willow do NOT like boat horns (maybe because of all the horn honking that goes on when the megas pass through the bridge in St Maarten) but car & truck horns don't bother them.

Last night we discovered that they don't like gunshots either.

The anchorage was so flat and calm (and windless) last night that we left the hatches open for any additional cooling breeze we could benefit from and also to let the cats enjoy some nighttime outdoor time... maybe THEY will see some shooting stars :)

I woke up at about 4am and noticed that Willow was inside asleep on her cat condo and that Buffy was eating. 4:00am seems to be their preferred time for playing chase outside. After about 10 minutes of thumping back and forth on the deck, they settled down.  A noise woke me up (car?) and then I heard 6 gunshots. I stood up on the bed to look out the hatch and Willow pushed by and jumped down into the safety of one of her hidey-holes.

She was smart.  One should NEVER look outside when one hears gunshots... duh! But, I heard cars leaving so it should have been OK.  A minute later, there was another shot heard farther down the road. Many more cars departed shortly thereafter. Didn't see or hear any police cars. Might have heard a flurry of distant shots a few minutes later, but might not have...

UPDATE, 18 Aug 2010: Newspaper story

Nice & Peaceful Place

Last night there were some festivities over at the pavillion but I don't know what the occasion was.  The music went all night but it wasn't obnoxiously loud.

Maybe the cats could use some body protection when they go out at night.

From: Armor for Cats & Mice

Buffy's would have to have a bit of alteration in the tailpiece, though.

Wonder how they would hold up in a marine environment?  Probably would be best not to be in a violent, gun-toting environment... That's why we have an anchor... Just pull it up and go somewhere else :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday BOAT Cat Blogging - New Camera

Awhile back I was ranting about my camera because it eats batteries. It seemed like everytime I wanted to take a picture it would say "FEED ME".  Also, the automatic "lens cap" doesn't close all the way, and sometimes it would stick and not fully open which would make for artistic shots with the photo appearing in a diagonal slash... Sort of like the white stripe on a dive flag.

Yesterday, we saw an ad in the newspaper that KMart had a 12MP GE-A1250 digital camera on sale for $69.95. That's an affordable price for a point-and-shoot camera that I can put in my purse or daypack.  I looked up product comments on the internet and it seemed like its battery life was OK. We have learned that if you see something and want it... buy it.  In the Caribbean we have limited quantities and quite often if you go back later in the week its gone.  If you snooze, you lose.

We decided to take the noon bus up to KMart (have lunch at Wendy's first) and see if they had them in stock.  The employees in the electronics department didn't know where the cameras were but I found them in a display case that was covered in papers and things.

Bought it. Set it up.  Took the first picture...

First photo with new camera: Willow has the honor
 Not bad!

It will be nice having a camera that I can carry again.  Our DSLR is a super camera but too much to lug about everyday for a possible, impromptu photo op.

So far, so good :)

Monday, August 09, 2010

Having a bit of WOOT with my coffee

This morning I was looking at Woot.com's Deal of the Day (Kodak EasyShare 12MP Digital Camera). They always have an entertaining story to market what item they are selling.

Today, I noticed at the bottom of the post, this interesting link:

Podcasts From the Past—Don’t Even Talk To Me Before I’ve Had My Morning Espresso

It's about 2 minutes long. There's a brief intro and then a rap about coffee... Excellent!

Especially fitting as I was just starting Coffee #2... Hope you enjoy it, too!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

FREE Great Big Sea mp3 music downloads

I'm still looking for French music on Amazon (see earlier post below) and got a bit sidetracked...

Do you know the group Great Big Sea from way up there in Newfoundland? We really enjoy them. We have their DVD/CD combo titled Great Big Dvd & CD It's a great concert DVD that makes you feel good. Can't have too much of that!

Amazon is offering four of their songs as FREE downloads:
Hope you enjoy the music.  Time for me to get back to work!

French music for iPod

Friday, I was researching to find various French musicians to put on an iPod Shuffle to get one in the mood for a barging cruise on the French canals. I did a search on Amazon MP3 for the French group Téléphone and I found this funny ringtone.

Here's what I came up with for my barge blog.

Édith Piaf is a definite "must include"... I wonder who else to add that would be a bit more current?

Hmmmmmmmm........ Dum Dum Dee Dum Dum, Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.... Dum dum dum dee dum...

Must focus... Quit getting distracted... But this is fun :)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Saturday... time flies

I can tell it's Saturday with the way the boat has been rocking with all of the powerboats zipping by.  It seems like they try to see just how close they can get to us sometimes. We will we will rock you... Just as long as they stay on the other side of the mooring ball and not the part between the ball and the boat... Oh no, what if they want to play "limbo"???

Another thing these motorheads do is their victory loop around the moorings while waiting for a spot on the slipway.  Some boats do slow down but this generally makes things worse. Now their nose is way up in the air and they have a HUGE wake. They need to stop momentarily so they will drop back down and then continue on as they should in a no-wake zone.

Should I mention the sportfishing boats? Nah, you catch my drift :)

I'm not against power boats in general, but some of the operators give a bad name to the whole class.

Here comes another rant... Watch out!

It appears that lots of people don't know that there's a difference between dingy and dinghy (and another pet peeve: lose and loose).

Yes, there are many dingy dinghies (plural is -IES and not dinghys), but:
  • Dingy means drab, gloomy, dirty, shabby, squalid; while
  • Dinghy is a small boat
You would be surprised how many misspellings of this we see from charter yachts. Is it laziness or lack of education?

This is a book that I think I need...

Correct Your French Blunders: How to Avoid 99% of the Common Mistakes Made by Learners of French.

I'm so paranoid about making mistakes when I speak French that either I don't speak at all, or I put a question mark at the end of my sentences (so as to say "Am I saying this correctly?" or "Do you understand what I'm trying to say?").

You think I'm "Ms Picky" about spelling errors, but the French can be quite frightening about foreigners abusing their language. I had a traumatic experience the first time I ordered a hamburger in Paris and that episode sticks with me to this day.

I'm looking forward to improving my French and hope to set up some French language lessons on my iPod.  There are just so many good and FREE courses available that it is difficult to choose which one to start with.

It's a beautiful day and a good time for a quick swim! Hope your weekend is off to a good start.

I hope I didn't make any spelling errors in this post... that would serve me right :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Good things

We recently received a few good things... besides the fact (hopefully) that Tropical Storm Colin is supposed to steer clear of us :)

Tropical Storm Colin - August 2, 2010 8am forecast

We ordered a new mattress from Cabelas. Shipping was via US Postal Service so no problem there.  They did have an $8 additional surcharge for being a large item but that's OK as shipping was still under $20. I procrastinated buying the mattress and when we got around to it, they had a special offer (expires today) of $5 shipping if your purchase was over $100. Cool !!! The shipping was so cheap that I phoned Cabelas to verify the shipping charge to the Virgin Islands as I didn't want to be surprised.

Cabela's Ultimate Self-Inflating Sleeping Pads

They shipped it USPS Priority Mail and shipping was $13. Thank you, Cabelas.

We've had a for a week now and we love this mattress. We bought the 54"x78" model and it fits very well in the space we have. It is so much better than both of the the leaky "temporary" air mattresses we've had in the last 6 months. The air bed was too bouncy. I found it uncomfortable and if I tossed and turned, it would cause Bob to bounce up and down and wake him up.  It was also difficult for the cats to play on unless it was just about totally deflated. Read the product comments for the Cabela's mattress. Other people love it too, with most of the bad reviews saying that it is difficult to roll the big double mattress back up but that's not a problem for us or most other folks.

    <rant>Just a short rant... I almost placed an order with Harbour Freight for a few items but they were going to charge $60 for shipping via USPS Parcel Post with a 20 day estimated delivery time. No way!</rant>

Yesterday we received our new Coleman French Press coffee maker, along with a pair of Teva sandals each. This unit is made of stainless steel and you can use it to boil the water as there are no plastic parts. When the water is heated, turn off the stove, add your coffee, stir it up, put the lid & plunger unit on it, and wait a few minutes. Press down the plunger and voilà... c'est tout.

Coleman Stainless Steel French Press

Easy to clean as the filter unit unscrews so you can easily dismantle it for cleaning. The handle is also removable.  Very cool unit. You can buy this through Amazon.com for $17.97. Mr & Ms Cheapseats think this is a good deal.

Another thing is that the cats love the boxes... Hours of entertainment :)