Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pelican perch

Shortly after sunrise, our cats came bounding onto the bed to peek out the forward deck hatch as we had an intruder...

When the pelican flew off, you could see that he had an impressive wingspan of at least 6 feet and was much larger than either Buffy or Willow. So glad that they were inside.

Here's an interesting boat that passed by us on Sunday...

I don't know what the modifications are in favor of, but it looks a bit top heavy to me. Lots of perches for pelicans though :)

So it goes...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are there Sirens in the Virgin Islands?

Why are there boats ending up on the rocks this summer in the Virgin Islands?  These are not hidden reefs and they happened to people who are familiar with the area...

Photo by Promenade
St Thomas Source story

Photo by SeaTow
VI Daily News story

Now there's this...

Photo by Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News

Ship Runs Aground At Wreck of the Rhone; Site Closed
BVI Platinum News, Aug 29, 2011

Very strange...

Oh yes, I forgot... We lost an oar out of our dinghy the day before TS Irene. It was lost during the night. We're sure that nobody swam out just to steal our paddle. Must have been alien abduction, then :)

So it goes...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tropical Storm Hurricane Irene & TD 12

Well, Tropical Storm / Hurricane Irene is now past but we now have Tropical Depression 12 to keep an eye on.

THEY say it will pass a couple hundred miles to the northeast of us but it is still far, far away and these things seem to come and go as they choose.

We walked up to do some grocery shopping at Pueblo on Saturday so we went to MacDonalds for lunch.  The TV was set to a popular news channel and the talking head was doing a 30-second interview with a couple who were going to stay at their home in NC during Irene. The interviewer told the couple that over 200,000 people were going to be without electricity and asked how would they survive. She said that restaurants would be closed (OMG, how does this person live?). The happy couple responded that they had stocked up on non-perishible goods and have a generator so it wouldn't be a problem.

I was also surprised the other day when I read an article on Lifehacker which reported that you do not have to, and it is better NOT to, store your bread in the refrigerator.  Doesn't everyone know that??? 

So it goes...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tropical Storm Irene

Yep, we're still here.  Tropical Storm Irene passed through St Croix last night and we did just fine. Nobody got too up close and personal like last year, either :)

Yesterday afternoon wasn't too bad wind-wise and then everything got quiet as we were now in the eye of the storm.

We took advantage of the lack of wind and rain and appreciated a glass of Cruzan Black Strap rum out in the cockpit. We were joined by Willow and Buffy who also enjoyed the respite.

After the eye passed, the storm became much more intense. Very windy and horizontal rain. I actually slept better than I had in recent nights!

Local radio told us that St Croix suffered 100% power outage.  Our AT&T cellular service is still down.

The cats were very playful this morning. Must be the result of the reverse pressure drop.

So, I'd just like to say... Good night, Irene!

So It Goes...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tropical Storm Harvey

Tropical Storm Harvey has a much better feel about it than a storm named GERT... don't you think?

Makes one think of bunnies...

Harvey: Classic film with Jimmy Stewart

Many years ago we had Hurricane Debbie on St Thomas. We were between boats at the time and were living on Water Island.  Debbie was very well behaved.  A couple of boats told us that they weren't even aware that the storm was upon us until the boats swung in the opposite direction after the eye passed!

Waiting for Invest 97... So It Goes :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This and that

Today is August 16th... HAPPY NATIONAL RUM DAY!

In celebration, we bought a bottle of Cruzan Black Strap Rum... $7.98/liter.

Yesterday was a French holiday so we had Pastis as our sundowner last night. (We've almost finished our last bottle from St Martin... quel dommage).

They have recovered the St Thomas/St Croix ferry: see here. Must be a huge barge to make the ferry look so small. The Royal Miss Balmar went aground the evening of July 4th.

Here's a couple of photos (above) taken by our friend, Kerry. Kerry is owner-operator of one of our favorite charter yachts, the trimaran Promenade. You can see more about Promenade HERE.

Invest 93L has returned.

The center is over 200 miles to the south of us but it is a breezy and rolly day.

So It Goes...

Patagonia sale: August 16-26, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

Let's celebrate and have BLUEBERRY waffles today!  It was a cause of much joy and happiness when we saw that Invest 94L has disappeared from the storm maps.

Much Nicer !

We don't like to go run and hide if it's not necessary (but we do believe in being prudent) because H-Holes are usually buggy and nasty... plus, I don't know what the WiFi situation is like over there.  One thing that was very worrying about this possible storm threat was that some of the projected paths had it go to our north, while others had it passing to the south and, of course, there's always one that goes right over the top of where you are!

I found Dr. Jeff Master's Wunderblog quite interesting yesterday (August 13, 2011):
Tropical Storm Franklin, the sixth named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, formed this morning in the open Atlantic north of Bermuda. The usual date of formation for the 6th storm of the year is September 8, so we are well ahead of climatology. However, the usual date for the first hurricane of the season is August 10, and we still have not had a hurricane yet this year. All six of this year's storms have been tropical storms, making 2011 the first season since 2002 when that has occurred. Franklin is headed eastwards out sea, away from any land areas, and does not have long to live. 
So, it looks like we will be able to stay put and make some progress on our mast today. We have some mail coming this week, too. How exciting!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

cat hair vs contact lenses

Message to self: Do not wash hands and then pet cat before inserting contact lenses... One might experience "discomfort".

I've been wearing my new lenses for just over 2 weeks. I used to wear Ciba Focus Torics (monthly) and because they have been discontinued, I now have an Rx for Ciba Air Optix Torics (monthly). I used to be able to wear the Focus lenses for 2 months before experiencing dryness and the new Air Optix which are supposed to supply better oxygenation (sort of like new, improved flavored cat food... how do you really know?) is feeling uncomfortable by evening after only 2 WEEKS.

I will never recommend or go back to Sterling Optical at Golden Rock in St Croix. She never once looked at how the new contacts fit my eye.  What was the increased price for then if not for a little extra exam time?

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Lost Dinghy - Trellis Bay, Tortola, BVI

Has anyone seen this dinghy that went missing Friday night at Trellis Bay, Tortola, BVI?

It is a 12-foot Walker Bay Genesis RIB with a "rather bashed up looking" 25HP Mercury outboard (I believe that their nice 8HP outboard went missing not too long ago). It also has the markings of T/T Nauticat of Fowey.

Nauticat of Fowey is one of our favorite charter catamarans and we hope that Ali & Bill recover their dinghy.

You can see their charter brochure here: click for Nauticat's brochure.

Dinghy theft is akin to horse thiefing, in my opinion, if not worse!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday again! Storm free and wireless, too

Can't believe it's Friday. It's been difficult getting a handle on what day it is due to focussing on Tropical Storm Emily which made the beginning of the week feel like a weekend to me.

Fortunately, Tropical Storm Emily was not a threat to us in the Lesser Antilles and passed about 150 miles to the south of us. According to, we had a maximum wind speed of 28MPH and a maximum gust of 41MPH. It was a little bit bouncy here, but no worse than some days.

I'm NOT complaining! Hoping that Emily will be the only storm that happens in our neck of the woods this summer.  Could be... Look at 2006...

Tropical Storms, 2006 (click image to enlarge)

So, while dealing with T.S. Emily I had some time to play with the new Alfa R36 AP/Router which works with our Engenius bridge (ethernet) and our Alfa AWUS036H (1000mW USB Wifi Adapter).

FIRST THING TO DO:  Download the latest firmware for the Alfa R36 here:
and install it. It is very easy to do. I did not know this had to be done and experienced many problems which now appear to have been solved.

We are currently using the R36 with our Engenius bridge as our hotspot is linked to its MAC address. I'll have to call our ISP before I can use the USB WiFi Adapter as they will have to change the MAC address to that particular unit.

So, another change that I had to make to my router settings was to configure it for the Bridge because the default had it set up for the USB adapter. This is what was probably causing another problem we were having.

It would have helped to have a "Quick Start" & full User Manual. They probably have some instructions on the mini CD that came with the unit but I cannot use it in my MacBook as it will get stuck.  Believe me, don't try this at home :)

Get your most current Alfa drivers here:
* Info as of August 2011: AWUS036H does NOT support Mac OS 10.6.7 and later versions.

Get your Alfa user manuals here:

I'm enjoying reading my R36's configuration file and seeing how it is affected by changing various settings. Yes, I'm a bit of a geek.  I miss being a programmer (back in the good old days when file size and concise, compact coding was important) but I do NOT miss the bureaucracy and associated political stupidity of working for an organization.

It is so wonderful not to be tethered down by our old router's ethernet connections. Everytime the internet comes to a standstill I reach to make sure the cable hasn't come out yet once again, but it has... we are wireless now!

We have to do some laundry this morning and then it's back to working on the mast. Get that momentum going again. It's not too rolly in the anchorage right now and it appears that we will have several clear & sunny days.

By the way, Bob has an excellent clip from the film "Used Cars" on his BoatBits blog post today. It made me laugh and you might enjoy it, too! There's also some good info about rigging.

JUST IN:  I just received an email for what's happening in Carcassonne (canal du midi, Languedoc-Roussillon, south of France) this week:

Eddy Mitchell is performing in Carcassonne TONIGHT at 9:30pm... If we had sailed to France this summer, we'd probably be there :)
Eddy Mitchell est de retour. Du rock au grand écran, de la country aux salles obscures, du blues aux dernières séances, quarante ans d'une vie dédiée à ses passions qu'il a réuni dans cette tournée magistrale. Pour ce nouveau spectacle, conçu comme une dernière séance, Eddy Mitchell choisira dans son répertoire les meilleurs crus de ces quarante dernières années pour accompagner un menu copieux, où le rock des pionniers ouvrira l'appétit avant de laisser la place à la puissance d'un orchestre big band qui fait alors que notre crooner se plait à mettre naturellement un tigre dans son moteur.
M.Eddy sur scène pour une dernière séance...un événement à ne pas manquer !
We used to love his "What-A-Burger" fastfood restaurant commercials that played in the cinemas.

I don't remember him as being that young... What happened???

So It's Going...