Our sailing blog. A little of this and that as we are cruising the Caribbean islands aboard our CAL 34 sail boat. Comments on various subjects on the liveaboard cruising lifestyle such as destinations, anchorages, pets, wifi and internet access, sailing / boating tips, restaurants, marine services, business services, yacht charters, general day to day life...
Yesterday we had the beginnings of a tropical wave start to pass through. I'm glad we popped over to the supermarket in the late afternoon (plus we each had an ice cream bar to celebrate NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY) to get some lunch fixings for the week.
This morning started out nice and blue. Looks like the system has passed. A bit later we hear the grumbling of thunder. A few drops of rain... Willow hides under the bed while Buffy stays outside in the shelter of the upside-down dinghy on deck.
Then Bob notices that the tropical disturbance is now labelled INVEST 97. It is up and a bit to the left of us, off the eastern tip of Puerto Rico... This weekend Puerto Rico had a waterspout that then went on land as a tornado which upset the kickoff of a sailing rally.
It's raining pretty heavy now. Willow is tucked up under the bed and Buffy has come inside and is napping. I hope Kerry & Bazza have managed to get everything done to button down Promenade in Puerto Rico before flying to their Pied-à-Terre in California for the summer.
Maybe we'll do an inside project today... sew something? We'll see...
Should dig out a couple of Beatle songs like RAIN and GOOD DAY SUNSHINE ???
Willow just came out from hiding. The rain has stopped... for now. Still some thunder. One good thing about not having a mast is that we don't have this tall lightning rod saying "me, me, over here!"
Oh my gosh! That loud CRACK! was close... Willow just went way under the bed. I might join her :)
This morning while still in bed, I looked up at the hatch above my head and saw GRAY. It looked like it was going to snow but there wasn't that crisp, chilly feeling to the air. This is what it looks like now.
Not one's idea of a Caribbean day
It's good for doing internet work. I can't believe it is only 10:30am and that I've accomplished so much. Maybe because it is such a HO-HUM day.
Bob just poured the third cup of espresso, so after we drink that, we'll try to make plans for the day.
It was raining a few minutes ago, so I put a plastic storage box on the bed to catch drips. Buffy is looking at it because she has really taken a liking to it. I place it on the salon table at night so she can sleep in it. It has been very comfortable for her as it has been very rolly the past few nights. Willow, on the other hand, is hiding under the bed. Nowadays, since Hurricane Omar, she runs for cover when it starts to rain hard.
We have given up on watching the TV series 24, season 5, (which we have only viewed once) because we have more bad discs. I don't understand why though. They have problems with accessing the 3rd and 4th shows on the discs. They are the large 7GB discs so maybe they have a glitch with doing the second side.
Hi, me again... I forgot about another little rant... I went outside to take my "wintry" photo this morning and my camera wouldn't work as it was demanding that I feed it new batteries. OK, I gave it two brand new fresh AA Energizers that I've bought within the last 2 months. I take about a dozen photos and already the battery warning icon is flashing at me. We have a couple of nice DSLRs but I like having this little Canon digital pocket camera because it is easy to carry and fast to point and shoot. But, if it doesn't work due to battery issues, it is not worth carrying about as it's not doing its job of being there when a good photo opportunity presents itself.
Vivitar has a "cheap" underwater camera, but it only has a digital zoom. It claims to be waterproof to 10 meters (about 33 feet). Fujifilm has a waterPROOF digital camera with a 3x optical zoom. It is supposed to be waterproof to 10 feet (careful, not 10 Meters as camera above). But, that's OK as I'd only use it for snorkelling and more important when in the dinghy getting a bit of spray or when it is raining. Oh well, not going to waste time looking at cameras today... many other things to do :)
Last November we bought Seasons 6 & 7 of the TV Series 24. We decided to watch Seasons 1-5 before watching 6 & 7.
So, the other night we were down to the last two episodes of Season 4 and the disc has unrecoverable file errors. We tried the DVD on two other computers and it was the same story. We tried to rip it but it couldn't read the file structure of the disc. Bummer.
We then started Season 5 which had a little recap of what happened in Season 4... we saw that they killed off Jack and then managed to get this Energizer Bunny up and running again. Everything was fine until the 3rd episode on the 2nd disc. CTU discovers where the nerve gas is located but upon opening the cases, they see that the canisters of nerve gas are missing. Then the show stalls with the "spinning pizza of death" cursor on the screen, and finally DVD Player crashes. Same thing again and again. This afternoon I thought I would try to run "tonight's" disc on my computer to make sure that it was OK just in case our DVD player says there is a problem when we watch it tonight as maybe the DVD player is causing the disc to be damaged. No, that's not the case because when I tried to play the last episode of Disc 3 on my computer (before running it in the DVD player) it said "skipping over bad sectors". I tried to rip it but that didn't fix anything. Couldn't watch the program.
What to do? We've only watched this series once and there is no evidence of scratches or mold/mildew on the DVDs.
Large TB hard drives are now more "affordable" so perhaps we should rip all of the DVDs (hundreds!) to a hard drive. But that still doesn't solve the problem of not being able to re-watch this series.
We bought some lifeline netting back when we first got our two little kittens.
Our first meeting at our vet's pet adoption center in St Maarten
They were especially worrisome as the little tykes would run around the deck at night (cats love the dark) and we were always hoping NOT to hear thumpa thumpa thumpa screech (like fingernails on a blackboard) screech and then PLOOF (as the French would say).
When we put the netting up to the lifelines it just wouldn't go on straight. There must be a trick. Yes, there is... Matt Grant tells us it is all in the diagonals...
I found this FREE instructional video over at the Sailrite.com website. There are other handy goodies over there too, so take a look.
The cats have not gone PLOOF (low center of gravity, and fiberglass-piercing claws) but after we install our new stanchions (many were bent or broken when we lost the mast) we'll put up the netting now that we can see how simple it is.
Yesterday we received our new battery charger. We hooked it up late yesterday afternoon and it works just fine! We have completely charged up our 12V system in a few hours. This charger has more oomph so we won't have to run the generator as long which is cool.
This afternoon we went and did a load of laundry over at the very nice laundromat near the ballpark. Tie up your dinghy at St Croix Marine.
The machines are larger than what I remembered from when we were first there. It's very clean, bright, and new. There is a coin changer to the right of the office counter. We used the $5.50 machine (all of the $3.50 machines were in use) and had room left over which is better than overloading. We found a shortcut to it today from the parking lot near Ace hardware.
It takes about 25-30 minutes to wash which is enough time for us to do a quick shop at the Schooner Bay supermarket just up the street. The washers spin the clothes fairly dry which helps when humping the clothes back to the dinghy and they dry rather quickly on the lifelines.
I must make another observation... The Coke machine outside of St Croix Marine has to have the coldest cans on the island! 75 cents, too.
Oh yes, their price for gasoline went down today to $3.10/gallon. I think diesel was $3.19.
Wow, can you believe that Ringo Starr is 70 years old today. Amazing!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO AND MANY MORE TO COME !!!
When the Beatles came out I was in grade school. I remember hearing Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra on my Mom's radio in the kitchen and thinking what will happen to The Beatles or The Rolling Stones when they get old... like 35-40, let alone 60... or 70!
Little Steven's Underground Garage had a nice show this week (show 431) entitled Ringo Stars and Stripes Forever, as it is also 4th of July week. Besides featuring Ringo's music, Little Steven included interviews from past shows. Very good.
Visit Little Steven's Underground Garage. This coming week Little Steven will have something from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. We can't miss that! We saw them two or three times in Paris. It was sort of sad because when a local music TV show interviewed South, they kept asking him questions about "The Boss". So It Goes...
This morning we heard some birds very close behind the boat. Both cats jumped out into the cockpit. When I looked, I saw a little tern sitting on the outboard and its buddy just landing on the dinghy tube. This caused much excitement for Buffy and Willow.
I clapped my hands and the tube bird flew off (Buffy chased it alongside the boat) and then it circled and joined its friend again on the dinghy.
Remember the two fishing boats I mentioned yesterday? Well, this morning they left just after 5:30 am. Must have a different schedule for holiday weekends :)
It's been awhile since my last post. There's so much catch-up to do that it makes one put it off... tu sais?
So, here It Goes...
Yesterday was Canada Day. Today is Territory Day in the BVIs and then, of course, Sunday is July 4th, US Independence Day, which will be followed by taking Monday off as well, if you can swing it!
The mast is ON the boat
At the beginning of last week, we started making preparations to move the mast out of the parking lot (and away from Mr P's special moods) and onto the boat. On Wednesday, we were prepared for the two of us to drag the mast to the dock using a cart or handtruck, but SURPRISE we had four guys who came to help. (Thanks to Jim the carpenter, Mark with the new kitten, Mystic Mark, and the other dude). It was quite easy (especially for me as I just looked out for traffic) to carry the mast over to the boardwalk in Christiansted. We waited for the day-excursion boats to finish up and move off, and then we upped anchor and went to the dock.
I am so happy with our Electric Yacht electric motor. I skillfully guided the boat up to the dock with nary a bump or a shucky-darn :) I'm looking forward to when they will offer a remote control, as then I won't have to do any unpleasant bending to "give it some gas" or shift, and lose sight of where I'm going. This will be available soon, I hope... HINT HINT!
We invited our helpers to meet us the next day at the Brew Pub for Thirsty Thursday for $10 pitchers of their special microbrewery beer, as well as some excellent chicken wings (my favorite is the teriyaki). Nobody showed up but we managed to celebrate all by ourselves just fine. Their loss...
After placing the mast on the boat in their crutches, we then proceded out of the mooring field where we were anchored in Christiansted Harbor and out to the Gallows Bay area and picked up one of the transient mooring balls. It has the tendency to be a bit more rolly at times but it is SO QUIET. Wow, I feel free!
We're far from the maddening crowds, out of the fishbowl, away from the noisy and smelly seaplane... We stay dry while going into town and might get wet on the way back, which is a big improvement to getting wet on the way to town at the beginning of the journey :) If the conditions are a bit too rolly for some precision thing we want to do, no problem... we'll just drop the mooring line, switch on the motor, and whirrrrrr over to a calmer patch of water.
Then there's always the motorboats who never think about the wake they are making or don't give a hoot...
But, it's really not too bad... Just the occasional one that causes the glass on the table to crash to the floor... And then there's the pair of them that cause a humungus roll at 6:00am. I guess they just want to get us out of bed since they're up... Am I starting to rant :)
So, that's enough about that... On to battery chargers...
Our 12V battery charger is on the fritz (poor Fritz). This Xantrex 2-20-40amp unit has always been a problem since Day 1. When on 40 amps, it overheats and only runs half the time, so we've always used it on the 20-amp setting. I mentioned this to Budget Marine in St Maarten the same week that we bought it and they really weren't interested in my problem. A few days ago, it started overheating at the 20-amp setting due to the fan no longer working. I have placed a portable fan to blow into it and I think this might help, but it is still shutting off and thus taking a long long time to charge the batteries.
Bob has had his eye on a 60-amp charger that he's found recommended by several cruisers on the internet which works well with a Honda 2000i generator. But, as we wanted one NOW and also to avoid big shipping charges, we decided to get something locally.... Not going to happen!
We first went out to the Do-It Caribe hardware store and they were out. Then we walked to NAPA who were completely sold out and didn't know when they were getting more. We tried the Sears/Kmart store... nope. We then went to Kmart and no joy there either. So we hiked over to Cost-U-Less where they had generators, inverters, and jumper cables, but no battery chargers. The next day we tried Ace Hardware. When I phoned they said they had LOTS of chargers. In reality they only had a 2-amp trickle charger and a large charger on wheels. They said that they are supposed to be getting a container the next day so there might be some out on the shelf next week. Not much good to us now, though. So, back to the boat.
Bob did a bit of internet shopping and found the recommended charger that he's been wanting all along from a place in Oregon. The store quickly responded to his emails and understood the special PayPal problems that sometime occur when dealing with addresses in the USVI... He would make sure the address label was correct before sending the package. Shipping via USPS Priority Mail was only $10.70. It would be wonderful if we receive it today as I assume Monday will be a holiday. But, if not, we'll limp along with what we have. [It didn't come today, hopefully Tuesday]
Which brings me to a future project of building our own wind generator. Bob is currently researching this and coming up with a parts list... and then we'll add this to The List. Watch this space and BoatBits, of course!