Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - A treat I want! The Hoodman Cinema Kit Pro

This morning I was happy to see that it is a fine day.  The center of Hurricane Tomas is 230 miles to the south of us and we right now have sun and blue sky.

Yesterday we replaced the weatherstripping on the two hatches above our bed. We had a couple of light rain showers last night and NO LEAKS!  Hurray!!! I suppose that over the next couple of days we will have plenty of rain to test the new seals.

Here is a treat that I WANT!

It is the Hoodman Cinema Kit Pro. It is an accessory for a DSLR camera so you can properly view the LCD monitor through a cinema-type eyepiece.

It has a very simple and sensible mounting bracket system and has a reasonable price of about $209.

You can buy it on
Cinema Kit Pro
(HoodLoupe 3.0, HoodMAG 3.0, & HoodCrane)

No velcro or glue required as on other systems, including more expensive ones. This product is clean and easily adjusted to fit your specific camera.

We bought something last year that was a big disappointment. It was a soft mount and just didn't work. At the time I thought "why don't they do something like this?" and Hoodman has!

Hoodman adds a smart hot shoe mount for using the HoodLoupe 3.0 during DSLR Video Capture. The new mount is called HoodCrane. HoodCrane is available with the Cinema Kit Pro which includes:
  • HoodLoupe 3.0, diopter adjusts to your vision
  • HoodMAG, 3X magnifying eyecup for HoodLoupe 3.0
  • HoodCrane, Universal Hot Shoe Mount for LCD Accessories
If you already have the HoodLoupe 3.0 you can pick up the HoodCrane and HoodMAG separately.

Happy Halloween!

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hurricane Tomas is sending rain our way

Hurricane Tomas has started with his trick & treating...

We were just having cup of coffee #3 out on the foredeck before walking up to Pueblo and it started to rain.

Christiansted, St Croix, US Virgin Islands

This was taken at 11:50am (Saturday). We'd rather have rain than wind, though.

One of today's chores was to replace the weatherstripping on the hatches above the bed...

So It Goes...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Treat or Treat... It's Tomas!

Wonderful... Great... Super... SHUCKY DARN... FRELL !!!

We went for a bit of a swim this afternoon and when we turned on the computers afterwards, Bob said "Tropical Storm Tomas"

This morning it was just a tropical disturbance way down there skirting South America. They sent the hurricane hunters in at 2pm to check it out.

It's still early but we are certainly going to be watching every update. Stormpulse shows that if it stays on its current forecasted track that the center of Tomas will be 270 miles south-ish of St Croix at 2pm Halloween and a category 1.

UPDATE:  Dr. Jeff Masters of is certainly working late tonight.  He just published this blog post at 9:30pm. Waiting for the NOAA/National Hurricane Center 11pm update...

So It Goes...

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Kudos for

I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to I'm really impressed with their service.
We've been reviewing previous episodes of The Shield in preparation to watching our new DVDs of the final series of The Shield, Season 7.

Well, about 3 minutes into the first show we get an error message "Skipping over damaged area".  It never recovers from this error and we have to Force Quit DVD Player. I pop the DVD back in and try to run it forward and it starts churning away... not good. Crash the program again and put in Disc 2.  Problems right off the bat with "Skipping over damaged area".

Oh my gosh... is my computer having problems?  Put in a DVD of a movie and that worked fine.  This morning I examined the DVD set and all four discs are defective with marks on them right out of the box.

I wrote to Amazon and explained that even though we purchased them in June 2009, we just opened the box last night and they are defective. Can we exchange them?

Within 5 minutes I had a reply. During this time they had ordered the series for me for free (total=$0.00), prepared an RMA form, and mailing label. Also, the replacement series is being sent before they receive my dead DVDs back.

UPDATE: When I looked at my email yesterday evening, I was again surprised to see that the order had been sent.  This all happened within 12 hours of my inquiry!

I am so impressed.  They get a gold star!

Thank you Amazon!

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Little Steven's Underground Garage

As Little Steven's Underground Garage will be on air Halloween night, I went to his website to hear the promo for this week's show.

This week's show is "Halloween A Go-Go"

Wow, did the kittens react to that blood curdling scream!  Willow came out from her "condo" looking for another hiding place, and even Buffy was freaked...

You've been warned :)

If you don't know his work with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, or Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, perhaps you know him as Silvio Dante on the Sopranos...

Here's a quickie Wikipedia bio on Steven Van Zandt

Amazon has two mp3 songs for Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

News for Moose & Squirrel Fans

Rocky and Bullwinkle creator and animation artist Alexander Anderson Jr has died at the age of 90.

You can read the BBC article HERE.

As most of you know, we are big moose fans.

Bullwinkle, 1991-2006

Just a few of our mooses

And then, of course, there are the Loose Mooses :)

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Horsing Around in St Croix, US Virgin Islands

Yesterday afternoon while having a cat nap with Buffy, Bob woke me up and told me to look outside.

Swimming buddies - Christiansted, St Croix, USVI

Not a common sight...

I feel like going for a swim soon.  It has been quite rolly the last couple of days, but at least the breeze has kept the biting bugs away.

Ready for Halloween?
Check out the costumes at our Pirate Party store!
Visit the Amazon's Halloween Storetoo...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We made a DIY Lobster Snare

Yesterday afternoon we made a lobster snare.

You can read about it on the Fishing Under Sail blog.

We won't go lobster hunting today because it's not very nice out.  Very rolly and looks like rain.  So it goes...

When we do catch a lobster with our new snare, we'll have to try Three Moons recipe that you can read here on the Island Gourmand blog!


We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Going aground - nuclear subs do it too

A British, nuclear-powered, stealth submarine went aground in shallow waters off the Isle of Skye... (see BBC story)

Dude... how embarrasing that must have been!

Here's a great quote on the subject:

"Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar." - Don Bamford

I went aground on my first trip aboard So It Goes. We were moving in to Saga Haven Marina in the Benner Bay Lagoon on St Thomas, USVI and we came to an unexpected stop.  I was used to Loose Moose 2's 16-inch draft and wasn't watching So It Goes depth sounder. Oops, we draw 4-ish feet...

Loose Moose heading to the slipway to be launched in Meaux, France
(notice the bottom shape & only 1-foot draft)

With our first Loose Moose (26-foot Jessie Cooper) we touched bottom several times in the Saint-Valery-Sur-Somme estuary when the tide was going out.  We had people watching us from the road on the shore wondering how we could possibly make way in such a drying stream... When Loose Moose ran into a hump, I went as far aft as possible then went and stood on the bow so we slid over it.  The marina accused us of delaying our check in because no boat could enter at that state of tide...

Really low tide

The Tortoise was also good for "thin water"

Oh, we do love and miss our Mooses.

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's a Beautiful Day in Christiansted, St Croix

This morning when I stood up through the forward hatch to put our wifi antenna outside, I asked Bob for my camera because it was such a beautiful day... at least, so far at 7:45 am :)

I took this "snapshot" video with my funky little pocket camera. The quality kinda sucks but it should give you an idea :) We've had so MUCH rain (and more again yesterday) that today's sunshine was inspiring...

Yesterday, since it was raining, I worked on a new Amazon aStore for nautical greeting cards. Be sure to check it out for Christmas cards (yes, it's getting to be that time), calendars, and tree ornaments... We have lots of nautical & tropical cards to choose from so you don't have an excuse this year.  A real seasons greeting card means so much more than something received by email.

I read a sailing-oriented newsletter this morning which mentioned the kidnapped British cruising couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, who are being held by Somalian pirates. Tomorrow, October 22nd, will be ONE YEAR!  How horrible that must be. Haven't heard anything about them in such a long time.

UPDATE: OCTOBER 24th. The BBC has a story about the Chandlers.

We had another bee come in and try our "killer" coffee.  They really go for this stuff.  Unfortunately, it was almost a full cup as I was waiting for it to cool down a bit... So It Goes...

Speaking of "It's a Beautiful Day" here are two songs I've listened to this morning...
Willow was playing on the bed tunneling under the blanket somewhat like a ferret.  Good thing we don't have a chainsaw! (and Bob is prudent and always removes the battery from the DeWalt circular saw).

Did you notice that yesterday was 2010-10-20 ??? I love bizarre numbers like that.

Hope we all have a beautiful day!

We only make a few pennies on purchases but everything helps and we appreciate it!

Who ordered the karaoke songs???

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Monster Mash Day - Oct 20th


What a great song and a fun dance for the Halloween season.

Forty-eight years ago, on this day in 1962 (the year of the Seattle's World Fair with Elvis!) the Monster Mash, by Bobby 'Boris' Picket and the Crypt Kickers, reached number one in the music charts and stayed at #1 for 2 weeks.

See Bob's BoatBits post about Monster Mash Day and be sure to watch the video as the introduction is funny.

You can download the mp3 of BBP's Monster Mash at Amazon. Live a little, it's only 99 cents!

Are you ready for Halloween?

There's still time to visit Amazon's Halloween Store especially if you have a ferret :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

St Maarten Bridge & Boat Fees after 10/10/2010

We haven't been in St Maarten for almost a year now, but people have been complaining a long time about the boat fees for the Dutch bridge and being in Simpson Bay & Dutch-side Lagoon.

Here's a post that Gary Brown had on his blog, Ocean Media.  Gary has the radio show YachtBlast and he has recently become the editor of All At Sea (you can download it here for free).

The Winds of Change
St. Maarten Bridge and Mooring fees after 10-10-10

The winds of change are blowing in Dutch Sint Maarten. On October 10 St. Maarten became a country within the Dutch Kingdom. As we woke on October 11, it seemed little had changed. The new government gave themselves a day off while the rest of the population went about their normal business.

Before the change to country status it was announced that there would be a reduction in bridge and mooring fees for yachts visiting the island beginning January 1. This has been long in coming, it doesn’t go far enough, but at least it’s a start. According to the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association, high fees, introduced without prior notice two years ago, caused a devastating decline in arrivals and a major drop in business activities.
St. Maarten’s marine economy was built on the backs of the smaller cruising boats, reports say that this is where the largest decline occurred, with a sixty-five to seventy-five per cent drop over the last 24 months.

Much can be blamed on ‘mega yacht’ madness. From government and right down the food chain, the mega yacht was seen as the Golden Goose. Legislators appear to be doing something to put that right but, to be fair; many businesses are not without blame, they cranked up prices to shake as much cash out of the mega yachts as they could. “They can pay, they can pay, money’s no object,” was the cry. I heard it first hand, time and again.

Small boats were caught up in the madness and came up with their own answer. Instead of taking out a mortgage to pay for an hour of a service professionals’ time, they took their boats elsewhere and broadcast it to the world through social media.

Let’s hope that what started before country status will continue. That St. Maarten will lower all bridge and mooring fees, businesses will understand the threat posed by burgeoning competition elsewhere, and the island will regain its rightful place as the Yachting Capital of the Caribbean.

Effective January 1, 2011, fees for vessels in the categories eight to eighteen meters will change as follows: A thirty per cent reduction in bridge fee rates; and a rebate of two free weeks out of every eight consecutive weeks spent in St. Maarten.

Thanks for the info, Gary!

Gary has also written a book, titled Caribbean High. It is available in paperback on and also as a Kindle version.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Ferrets: Halloween Costumes & Videos

I was surprised when looking through Amazon's Halloween Store that there are costumes for FERRETS!

I then Googled "songs about ferrets" because I'm sure I've heard something about keeping ferrets down your trousers, and found Budweiser commercials with a ferret.  Yes, we are out of touch.  We haven't had a TV in years (we do buy DVD's though). but have always loved Bud ads.

Here's one you might remember:

So, if you have a ferret you might want to check out these costumes for the upcoming festivities of Halloween.

We don't recommend a Chainsaw Massacre costume for your Trick & Treating ferret but, if you must, don't give the wee tyke a real chainsaw... We warned you!

One more treat for you.  Here is a series of 18 Budweiser commercials with the frogs, lizards, and ferret (almost 8 minutes). It is sooooo funny.  It's Friday... have a laugh!

And remember to check out the Amazon's Halloween Store, too! There's loads of fun & interesting stuff there... Do you have Halloween music? Don't forget Monster Mash... It's a classic.


Monday, October 11, 2010


The rain is letting up. Yesterday was pretty much rain free, with the exception of a few light, short showers.  Last night it started to rain so I closed up the boat, but so far so good for today!

EXCEPT that a bee or wasp (something yellow and buzzy) flew in while I was busy typing away. It went under the salon table and I felt it clench its little legs when it landed on my finger. Eeeew, I can still feel it... I quickly moved out of its way to give our visitor some space. He flew about the table and then climbed into my coffee cup.  We put a saucer on top and no more worries for me.

About a half hour later, the bee's buddy comes in to look for his friend.  He sees Bob's coffee cup (mine still has the saucer on it) and goes inside to get a buzz on.

I've read stuff about bees and beer bottles, but coffee seems to work and we get bees in the morning (no beer)...

So They Go!

Friday, October 08, 2010

More Friday Foolishness... Cat Blogging too!

Wow, just when I thought conditions were improving, we got severely dumped on.  The cats took it in stride and decided to play with their crackling tube. They like the noise it makes.

 Willow went inside...
 and then Buffy pounced on her through the other end :)

Bob found this interesting web page on which shows hurricane rankings for  Caribbean & Atlantic islands... SEE HERE

The rain has stopped and Buffy is outside meowing for someone to come out and be with her... Bob made some hot chocolate so I'm going to savor that right now and Willow dozing is in her kitty condo. I couldn't resist... I stuck my head out (rain IS still pitter pattering) and talked to Buffy.  Maybe she wants the bees to come back and play... She just came back inside. Oh, her dish is empty and it's 3 hours before their dinner. Poor puss!

I'd like to thank Broadband VI, our internet service provider. We've been having periods of S.L.O.W.N.E.S.S and timing out, etc. I called a technician who I've spoken to in the past and left a voicemail. Can you believe that he RETURNED MY CALL!  How cool is that. Definite Brownie Points.

So much to do... I was hoping to work a bit on my new Amazon store for Pirate Party Supplies. It's fun and I hope will be helpful to some of you. We make a small pittance which we can then use to buy a DVD sometime down the line.

Got some time for a little bit of fun? Halloween is coming up soon. Check out Amazon's Halloween Storenow and avoid the last-minute panic.

They have some marvelous stuff... costumes, of course, but also costumes for your pets!

Lots of neat decorations, lighting (Halloween lava lamps!), crafts (including pumpkin carving), candy, tableware for your festivities, baking accessories (cookie cutters, cake pans, spooky cake decorations), makeup, music, movies, books, even stuff to trick out your ride :)



Today seems like a beautiful day in comparison to those we've had since Tuesday afternoon. So much rain! Yesterday morning we had a squall with 55MPH gusts.

The Virgin Islands' public schools are closed again today and many government employees have the day off (4-day weekend).

Here's an article from Thursday in the St Croix Source. Poor Ms Gaffin of St John...
On St. John, a huge mudslide Wednesday on Centerline Road near Coral Bay has diverted water running downhill from Upper Carolina to the point where it now frequently flows through Pam Gaffin’s house. “I have water hitting my bathroom door up to my knees,” she said Thursday. Additionally, Centerline Road at her house is undermined about two to three feet and to the point where she said it’s unsafe for large trucks to pass. When a utility pole went down around 2 a.m. Wednesday, it also took out Gaffin’s electricity.
I went for a swim late yesterday afternoon. When I was in the water I thought that I really shouldn't be in the water because of all the runoff that's been pouring into the sea. The day before (Wednesday) I noticed that the water was very brown and also that there were long stripes of white soap-like bubbles.

Then I saw this in the Virgin Islands Daily News:
Power outages prompted some problems with both the V.I. Waste Management Authority and with HOVENSA.

According to Steve Aubin, Waste Management chief operating officer, power went off Tuesday evening to the LBJ pump station and at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Waste Management’s generator at the station failed.

Waste Management then started bypassing sewage into the sea over Long Reef, Aubin said.

At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the power came back on, and the bypassing was stopped, Aubin said.
Long Reef is the long reef outside of Christiansted where we get some neat looking surf at times... I hope the sewage had washed out of our area before I went swimming at 4pm this afternoon. My goodness!

This morning we are having a bee invasion. Buffy and Willow are very excited watching and chasing them about, while I have always had a bee phobia and cringe or hide when I see bees/wasps. I suppose our visitors have something to do with all the rain. If they are looking for a new home, I hope they realize they are not welcome here.  One bee just drowned himself in my coffee cup.  He went out with a BUZZ :)

Sun is coming through the ports.  Wow!  It hasn't rained since 6am.  Zowie!!!

Time for a new cup of coffee... Have a good one...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

TD 17, soon to be Otto?

UPDATE: 12:24 & 3:45 (see photos below)

Good thing we went shopping yesterday as it has been raining almost solidly since our dinghy ride back to the boat. Quite breezy at times, too. We have had 30-50 MPH gusts.

Last night at about midnight we put a washtub outside and at 8:00am we had 3.5" of water in it.

It pretty much stopped raining a half hour ago and the cats have made good use of this time running about the deck playing.  The wind is coming back so I suppose we'll have more rain soon.

According to this map, it looks like the center of this storm system passed very close to us.  Now the center is about 300 miles away, but that is just the center. Barbados is having floods. There are flash flood warnings in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Schools in St Croix are closed today and government workers were told to come to work at noon. People are supposed to stay off the roads this morning because of debris.

One good thing is that our two early morning fishing boats that pass by us with a big wake between 5:00 and 6:00am didn't go out until after I made 7:00am coffee.

Willow just popped back inside and here comes the RAIN...

Lots of clouds so lots of rain, I suppose... It's very dark and gray out. We are very snug and cozy except for the hatches. So It Goes...

12:24PM update:

Our washtub filled up so I poured it into a jerrycan then we got a couple of inches more.  Plenty of "free" water to wash my hair this afternoon :)

Not a pretty day...

But it's not all bad, Bob just made me some hot chocolate... Mmmmmm, thanks!

So It's Going....


Still an ugly, rainy, gray day... with the occasional bumpy bits...

Bob is bailing the dinghy. He estimates about 10 inches of water since he pumped out yesterday morning.

Not going to get much from the solar panels today!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

It's cool...

I just looked at the 2pm forecast for Invest 97L. They say that the center of this disturbance is now past us & about 210 miles to the north of us. It might develop into a tropical depression in the near future but it will be out of our neck of the woods.

Right now it is just dumping rain on a large area of the Caribbean.  We had a few light rain showers last night and we have had a couple of heavy bouts today but not bad... except we were in the dinghy at the time :)  I thought it was going to drizzle all day but nope (hurray!) It is gray and a bit breezy.  Willow was being quite restless as she was upset by the weather but she's sleeping now.

This is how it looked at 2:30pm after we got off the bus to return home.

One nice thing is that it is cool... Only 83°F.  I don't have the fans on! It's a good day for cocoa.

Not complaining... Could be worse... Like something named "Otto"

Monday, October 04, 2010

Huff Season 2 on YouTube

We bought the HUFF DVD of season one several years ago and have been searching ever since for the 2nd season. The first season had quite a cliffhanger.

It appears that Showtime doesn't plan to release it on DVD for some reason.

Last week, I did a search on YouTube and someone has put up the entire 13 episodes of Huff Season 2. Hurray! I would still buy the series if it ever comes out but now we can find out what's happened. Will we ever discover more about the Homeless Hungarian? The episodes are cut up into 10-minute bits but So It Goes... 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Chocolate & Boats... Interesting Combo

Two of my favorite things... Chocolate and Boats! I think I'll stick to plywood/epoxy method of boatbuilding though :)

From the BBC News (26 Sept 2010):

A French chocolatier, Georges Larnicol who owns a dozen shops across western France, launched a 3.5-meter chocolate and sugar boat in front of a crowd of hundreds of onlookers in the port of Concarneau, thus winning a bet by successfully building a seaworthy boat from chocolate.

Click the BBC link to watch the video.