Friday, October 06, 2006

Use fan to trap mosquitos

We are busy in the boatyard working on So It Goes which is why I haven't been posting like I'd like to... This morning Bob told me about this posting on which I want to share as it has to do with mosquitos. These little creatures really bug me since getting Dengue Fever at the Antigua charter yacht show a few years ago...

Anyway... This is an interesting article about using a fan to trap mosquitos.
Click here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rant of the Day: BUDGET MARINE St. Maarten

Yesterday when Bob went to open the starboard cockpit locker, he couldn't do so because a hinge had frozen up (odd term to use in the tropics!). We installed four new hinges on our cockpit lockers about 6 months ago. Bob had to unscrew the hinge to access the locker... not happy.

So, bright and early this morning we went to Budget Marine to buy a replacement as this is where we bought the original. We weren't looking for a refund or a swap, although that would have been a nice gesture.

This is a heavy-duty stainless steel hinge, and the Budget Marine employee told us we shouldn't buy cheap sh*t. This wasn't their cheapo, stamped, nickel plated Perko hinge, it was the best they had at the time. Then, when we were shown to where they had just moved the hinges to, they didn't have the same thing (of course) but some lighter weight, less expensive crap ($2.50). I asked if they had one like we had and was questioned why do you want a heavier one?... Because it is better quality... So It Goes...

We are accused of buying their Cheap Sh*t and then they want us to buy a crappier one. Aargh...

'nuf said...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hauled out at Bobby's Boatyard in Simpson Bay Lagoon

We are now on the hard at Bobby's Boatyard in Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Maarten. We were scheduled for an 8am haulout and stayed on the dock the night before.

We have allocated two weeks for our various projects aboard So It Goes but hope to be back on the water sooner than that.

More later...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's AUTUMN, soon will be time to FALL back

Well, here it is... the first day of Autumn. I thought the season usually changed on the 20th or 21st so I was very surprised that Fall begins on September 23rd this year... So it goes...

On October 29, 2006, Europe (including the UK) will change their clocks back at 1am Greenwich time, and the United States will "fall back" at 2am in their respective time zones.

I specified the UK, because back when we were living in France, England use to change back at a different time to the rest of Europe. It seems to have been standardized several years ago... In the Caribbean we don't change (neither does Scottsdale, AZ according to a new client. Learn a lot being a charter yacht broker!) Anyway, I usually forget to put my watch on when we go out and Bob's tan lines on his wrist disappeared years ago :)

All the best!

Monday, September 18, 2006


I missed it last year!
Tomorrow, Tuesday September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yaaar, it be true...

Here's a link to a funny instructional video on how to speak pirate: LEARN PIRATE-SPEKE

Here's a link to a posting on this subject from BOINGBOING.NET


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

ANOTHER Tropical Depression - TD8

Well, at least we are over hump day for the hurricane season which was Sunday, September 10th, but there is Tropical Depression #8 to keep an eye on.

The NOAA predicts that it will swing to the north of the island chain. HURRAY!

Click to view larger image

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My favorites: The Fab Four, The Beatles - video clip

Yesterday, we placed a classified ad on the CROOKS AND LIARS blog. You can see it in the right column if you scroll down it bit...

One of the features that I like about Crooks and Liars is his "Late Night Music Club" post. Friday's had a Beatles video.

You can see it here: C&L Beatles Video

By the way, we also have a new ad on the LAWYERS GUNS AND MONEY blog.

Have a great Labor Day weekend!

It's September already!

September is the worst month of the H-season. We have been very thankful for how nice this summer has been and we hope it only continues to improve.

Here's an image of Tropical Storms for 2006 that comes from

Click above for a larger image

Today we have a tropical wave passing through, but it's not too bad. There's two other waves out there in the Atlantic right now:
  • along 39w S of 18n with a 1009 mb low along the wave near 11n moving W near 10 kt
  • along 20w/21w S of 17n moving W 15 to 20 kt.
We have had quite a bit of atmospheric dust which, while it doesn't make for pretty skies, it does put a damper on these tropical systems.

Once again, here is the statistical graph:

Here's hoping for a safe and sane season...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Big Brother!

Today is my brother's birthday. Ed lives in Eastern Washington State and it is his wife, Laura who made Bullwinkle's beautiful cat quilt (and one for Bob & I, too) that you can see down at the beginning of this blog...

So, Happy Birthday, Ed! Love you and thanks for everything then, now and forever. I'm going to give you a call later on. We might be a few thousand miles away, but we will have some cake & ice cream in your honor this evening!

Right now, we're going to hop in the dinghy and go out into Simpson Bay for a swim.

Have a good one y'all,

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tropical Depression 4 - Debbie?

This morning, Tuesday August 22, 2006, brings us Tropical Depression 4 or TD4. I've never noticed one starting on the far side of the Cape Verdes islands. At least it looks like it will not come to the Caribbean.

Click on graphic for larger image.

Still early days... We'll just watch it and see how it goes....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mediterranean Cruising Guide DVDs - Shards

We are thinking about returning to Europe in the next year or two. These videos, sorry DVDs... by the Shards look quite interesting.

Check it out HERE

RVG wind vane self steering gear

Bob has been busy this weekend working on repairing / improving / carrying out maintenance (you know how it goes) on our RVG wind vane self steering gear.

I'm going to have to make a new sail for it soon.

Check out a newer posting (Sept. 12, 2008) for links to documentation about the RVG: CLICK HERE

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Visit our sailing bookstore : books dvds tools

While Bob was outside this morning installing our new deck organizers and other bits and pieces to bring the mainsail controls back to our cockpit, I've been busy with our store.

Have you visited it yet? Here's the link: OUR GENERAL STORE

You know how difficult it can be to search for certain items on Amazon? Well, we have carried out the tedious task of searching Amazon for you. We have Books (cookbooks, cruising guides, rigging, boat maintenance), Music (soon come!), DVDs (personal entertainment, sailing instruction,rigging, etc.), Tools (DeWalt cordless power tools, etc.) and other cool stuff. More to come, such as diving equipment, for example.

Today, I added some DVDs that you may enjoy for your personal viewing pleasure. We like having a collection of TV series aboard. We feel that they are "good bang for the buck" and they are good to loan to other cruisers.

One problem we have is making sure that we don't view spoilers or read something about a series that is currently running because we won't be able to purchase and see the DVD for another few months! Did they decend down the ladder from the hatch in LOST? Don't tell me!


LED cockpit anchor light UPDATE

Yesterday was mail day and we received our replacement LED cockpit-anchor light combo. Bob hooked it up and it works perfectly.

Thank you so much Bebi Electronics for your quick and excellent service.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Free lunch at The Boathouse St Maarten (Martin)

Well, not really, truly a free lunch as you had to earn it... It was one of those lunch card deals where you have nine lunches and the 10th is FREE!

Once again, we had an excellent lunch at The Boathouse restaurant located on the little channel in Simpson Bay Lagoon between Simpson Bay Marina and the little bridge that goes to the Isle de Sol Marina.

We had their lunch special which was mahi-mahi stuffed with crab. It came with a nice salad and seasoned rice. We splurged and shared a slice of Strawberry Cheesecake. Good stuff!

Needless to say, the service was wonderful...

Here's a link to their web site. Please check them out when you are in St. Maarten.

Not a DEBBIE or even a TD yet

Hurray. Doesn't look like this possible weather system will be forming into anything too exciting for us in the near future... If it does develop into a TD4 or become named Debbie, it will be long gone from us (hopefully). They are still going back on forth on this issue...

300 PM EDT WED AUG 9 2006

The current models show it passing west through the island chain and not curving to the north as they predicted earlier.

We'll still be prudent and keep an eye on it!

What's happening with this system

Well, I guess we'll know pretty soon, but what's going on with this system???

Click to enlarge - 9th Aug 2006 10:45am

It's been kind of an "on-again/off-again" type of weather system but it might now strengthen. When? Where? A couple of models show it coming over us, but a few days ago they had it going directly to the west... Hopefully it will become "off again" and head swing farther north and bypass the islands...

We consult Dr. Jeff Master's weather blog quite frequently for a source of good weather information. Check out his weather blog HERE.

We won't have much to do in preparation for the storm as we were ready for Chris last week.

Fingers crossed!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Willy Ts - End of an era

Well, it's true... I heard about it earlier this week and just had it confirmed via email from the Willy T's... Due to a recent near-fatal accident, jumping off the William Thornton Floating Restaurant and Bar will no longer be allowed.

How is one to earn their free t-shirt?

The Willy T's will be closed September through the first week of October 2006.

I'm sure they'll come up with something before the new season starts up...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tropical Storm Chris is a No Show in St. Maarten / Martin

Hurray! It was dead calm throughout the night. A couple of light sprinkles of rain which made me open and close the hatches during the night but that's OK! NO COMPLAINTS! Very happy that Tropical Storm Chris tracked farther north than forecast.

11am - Click for larger image

St. Maarten (St. Martin) is in that little blue line under the orange "current position" marker.

We are pointing in the wrong direction which is weird (West & Southwest). The planes are coming over us to land. Some are quite impressive! One of the big catamarans left with the 9:30am bridge but the other one is still here... They are probably tired (like me) as they were out in their cockpit until the wee hours. I didn't really sleep until 5am.

We'll finish our second cup of coffee and then go out and pick up our second anchor and perhaps put the solar panel back outside for our 12V system.

I notice there appears to be another tropical wave out there this side of 50W... hmmmmm.

It looks like the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are not going to get the brunt of the storm either which is good news. Our friends, Kerry and Baz of the charter yacht PROMENADE begin a new charter this afternoon so Chris's nonappearance is good for them as well. Have fun, guys!

And thanks to our friends Jerry & Shary, owner-operators of the charter yacht CARABELLA, for writing and asking how we fared down here in St. Maarten.

Stay safe!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tropical Storm Chris St. Maarten 8pm update (St. Martin)

Well, I'm very happy that the rain only lasted for 25 minutes and we were able to go outside at 5:30pm. We had quite a few boats come in with the 5:30pm bridge. Several small motor boats, the Edge II ferry (Edge came in earlier), a few daysailers.

These two 80-foot catamarans came and anchored to the north of us, followed by the Lady Sheffield over to their right. Oh well, at least we still have a good zone of clear space around us. I was happy that nobody wanted to place their anchor over ours.

We charged up the 12V batteries somewhat, made sure we have a couple of DeWalt batteries charged up just in case we need power tools (maybe I'll feel like vacuuming... Not!). Tested the deck lights.

The 8pm coordinates are 18.3 N...61.6 W. MOVEMENT TOWARD...WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 13 MPH. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60MPH. MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1003 MB. We are approximately 18N 63W, so the center of the storm is a little north of us and about 100 miles east... So I expect Chris to be at about 3am with a bit of weather beforehand. Still quite pleasant out at 8:30pm.

Click on image to enlarge.

St. Maarten / St. Martin is in that little short strip of blue coming out of the V section. Just popped outside and everything is nice and calm. Not used to this amount of dinghy traffic as it has been so empty lately. It is a bit chilly feeling at 83F (inside). My feet are cold, which is kind of enjoyable.

So, we've topped up the Honda generator, fed the Bullwinkle, and the cat box has been cleaned. Guess it is time to make some dinner and watch a couple of DVDs. Probably won't sleep much tonight but we have a couple of books to doze with...

Hanging in there!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Tropical Storm Chris and Lady C bar in St. Maarten (St. Martin)

What does it mean when the bar leaves town?

Here's the Lady C Floating Bar zipping past us this evening.

Tropical Storm Chris at 5pm from St. Maarten (St. Martin)

Well, it looks like T.S. Chris is going to be passing close by...

(This image from Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog VISIT HIS BLOG)

It just started raining at 5:05pm (EDT & AST) and now, at 5:23pm I just saw the first lightning flash and the thunder was less than five-one-thousand away. I don't like electrical storms as that is what "did in" Loose Moose 2.

We put out a second anchor and have cleared the decks. In about 5 minutes the Lagoon bridge should open. Hope we don't get any new neighbors, because as you know, the holding around here isn't very good, and with the rain people might not take as much care as they should.

Oh well, we'll see.... So It Goes !

I hope everyone has a good evening!

Tropical Storm CHRIS

Well, this morning we awaken to a tropical storm watch advisory for Chris. Nice, friendly sounding name.

Click on image to enlarge in another window

Hey Chris... we're all a bit busy right now so perhaps you could occupy yourself and play quietly a bit further north out in the open and calm down some? Take your meds and CHILL! Don't be bothersome... We'll tidy up, in case you drop by, but please get your act together in the meantime... and no nighttime visits, please.

Thanks for your understanding!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Barge Sindbad sighting in St. Maarten Lagoon

We were just leaving So It Goes yesterday afternoon to go for a swim when we saw the Barge Sindbad heading our way. You certainly don't see barges like this very often in the Caribbean. They have Dublin as a hailing port and I was hoping to have a chat with them this morning, but they left last night with the 5:30pm bridge opening.

You can see some more photos of them here:

This morning we bought some new wire for the rigging as we have to replace a couple of stays, and Bob is in the process of installing a new winch "as we speak"... We have the iPod on shuffle mode and listening to some great tunes.

Hope you are having a good day!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

St. Maarten Fees, Regulations, Bridge Openings


Here is some information concerning the Dutch side of the island of St. Maarten / St. Martin.

Entering the Lagoon through the Dutch bridge. Dinghy dock for Port Authority and Customs & Immigration. Convenient for clearing in.


The John Sainsborough Lejeuz Bridge which is situated between Simpson Bay and the Lagoon.
  • WINTER (December 1st through April 30th)
09:00am - Outbound, from the Lagoon
09:30am - Inbound

11:00am - Outbound, from the Lagoon
11:30am - Inbound

16:30pm - Outbound, from the Lagoon (4:30pm)
17:30am - Inbound (5:30pm)
  • SUMMER (May 1st through November 30th)
09:30am - Outbound traffic from the Lagoon, has priority
11:30am - Outbound traffic from the Lagoon, has priority
17:30pm - Outbound traffic from the Lagoon, has priority (5:30pm)

Even though they are called "departure fees", they should be paid in advance, if possible. Please note that the fees are for one week OR a portion thereof... thus, if you are in the Lagoon for 10 days you pay for 2 weeks. Do so with a smile as they are nice people.

Prices are in US Dollars for one week, or portion of a week:
  • $10: boats 9 to 14 meters in length
  • $15: boats 14 to 20 meters in length
  • $25: boats 20 to 28 meters in length
  • $45: boats 28 to 36 meters in length
  • $85: boats over 36 meters in length
  • A bridge fee of $100 is charged to boats over 28 meters (90 feet) in length.
  • There is a fee of $300 for special bridge openings between the hours of 6am and 6pm, regardless of the length of the vessel. This fee must be paid in advance.
  • $2: for boats between 1 and 99 tons
  • $5: for boats between 100 and 499 net tons
  • $9: for boats 500 net tons or more

The Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority office is open every day (Monday through Sunday) from 8:00am to 12:30pm and 13:30pm to 17:00pm.

  • Outbound traffic always precedes inbound traffic.
  • They report that the bridge accommodates vessels with a maximum beam of 56.5 feet and a maximum draft of 20 feet. Also, when the bridge is closed there is reportedly 8.6 feet of clearance in one channel (port?) and 8-foot clearance in the other (starboard?) channel
Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority:

Another funky day in St. Maarten

Looks to me like it rained somewhere between two and three inches last night.

At least we didn't have gusty 30+MPH squalls that we've been having the past few nights. This morning is mostly gray and a light breeze.

We noticed an American boat who appeared to be leaving the Lagoon this morning. We had a very filling breakfast at the St. Maarten Yacht Club and noticed them coming over from the French side and hightailing it for the bridge. We decided to putter on over to let them know that they had another 30+ minutes to wait because it is summer-time hours for the bridge and it opens at 9:30am, 11:30am and 5:30pm between May 1st and November 30th, with outbound traffic having priority. They were happy we stopped by as they thought it would open at the "normal" time of 11am and that could have caused a bit of anxiety (island time?, closed on Sundays?, can't be bothered for one boat?). Our good deed for the day :)

We'll post more info about St. Maarten bridge times and fees in another blog post.

Hope you are having a good one!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Books: Sailing & Cruising with Pets

I was surprised to only find one "sailing with pets" book at Amazon. We have also included a couple of other books which may be of interest.

Book Cover
Cruising With Your Four-Footed Friends: The Basics of Travel with Your Cat or Dog (Paperback)
by Diana Jessie

Editorial Reviews:

Boat US : "It's about time someone researched and wrote about taking their pets on boats. In "Cruising With Your Four-Footed Friends", Diana Jessie has been able to add facts with personal experience, plus draw on others' experiences into something that at times reads like it could be called "Chicken Soup for the Boating Pet Lover's Soul". This book is both entertaining to read and is full of helpful information! Now the rest of us have one book that will help us prepare and plan for taking our pets on board.

Book Cover
The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats (Prevention Pets) (Paperback)
by Amy D. Shojai

Book Description

Is there an animal doctor in the house? Most likely, the answer is no. And when an accident or other emergency threatens your pet, every minute counts. Don't be unprepared! Open The First-Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats and learn:
  • Basic first-aid techniques, such as cleaning a wound, making a splint, and performing CPR-- step-by-step!
  • Which over-the-counter human medications can help-- or harm-- your dog or cat
  • What to keep in your pet's medicine chest (many essential items are probably in your house already!)
  • How to quickly pinpoint what's wrong with your pet, using the First-Aid Symptom Finder
Plus, you'll discover a comprehensive A-to-Z guide to more than 150 common, and not-so-common, injuries and conditions.

Book Cover
Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook) (Hardcover)
by Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffin

Book Description
  • Signs and Symptoms Index on inside front cover
  • Easy-to-understand text
  • Authors with collective experience of over a half century
  • Hundreds of instructional photos and drawings throughout
  • Covers every problem from Pediatrics to Geriatrics
All cat owners wish that their pets really did have nine lives. Now, with this newly revised and expanded edition of Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, the one life cats do have can be made longer and happier. Virtually every problem that owners will encounter is dealt with in language that teaches everyone how to cope with and prevent those unpleasant surprises. Part of the cat's mystique is a uniquely curious nature. This innate curiosity can create many dangerous situations and unwelcome consequences. This book, a classic in its first edition, has been updated to include the very latest solutions to the daily occurances and special problems in all phases of cat care, including behavior and training. Yes, training! Now, in clear and simple terms, symptoms are identified and thorough instructions are given so that with this book, owners can become the best friends their cats can have in a lifetime.

Book Cover
Dog Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books) (Hardcover)
by James M. Giffin, Liisa D. Carlson

Editorial Reviews : Open the front cover and the first two pages you see contain the Index of Signs and Symptoms, from Abdomen (painful, swollen, distended, and tucked up) to Weight loss, Wheezing, and Whining (continual). There's a comprehensive index in back, of course, running the gamut from Abortion to Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis, which is all very useful, but when your pooch is in pain, it's great to be able to turn, with the minimum of folderol, to the page that says to relax, it's nothing a bit of extra grooming won't fix, or alternatively to hightail it over to the vet hospital. It's a wonderful reference for any dog owner, with chapters on emergencies (such as burns, dehydration, and poisoning), as well as worms, infectious diseases, skin care, and canine eyes, ears, and nose. There are chapters on the digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems, the nervous, musculoskeletal, and urinary systems, plus dog sex, whelping, puppy pediatrics, geriatrics, and chapters on cancers and medications. In short, it covers every health dimension a dog owner might want to know more about, identifies the possible causes, helps you determine the severity of the condition, and indicates what treatments or actions to take to best insure your dog's good health. --Stephanie Gold --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Midnight squalls are a drag

The squalls started at about 3pm yesterday afternoon, just as we were leaving The Boathouse restaurant after yet another excellent lunch. We planned to stop by The Mailbox as Wednesday is "new mail" day and perhaps our toilet parts are here. It was starting to rain with the promise of becoming a heavy downpour, so we decided to hightail it back to So It Goes.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening, we had quite blustery gusts, accompanied with white caps here in the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Maarten. There were also short periods of rain which meant you had to close the hatches and sweat for a bit until the rain stopped... then there wouldn't be a breeze, then the cycle would start over.

By late evening it really picked up. Sometime after 11:30pm when I was getting ready for bed, I took a peek outside and noticed a boat to our starboard that had left around 6pm. Hmmm, where did they go & why, and why did they come back after dark? Before pondering those questions for too long, I noticed that the boat seemed to be getting closer to us. I woke up Bob (didn't realize he fell asleep during the DVD) and asked him what he thought. Well, he noticed that the boat was now appearing to be dragging away from us.

I went below and got our handheld spotlight. We shined it on the boat and yes, it was the boat that left earlier as perhaps his anchor wasn't holding then. There was a dinghy behind so someone was aboard but didn't appear to be aware of his situation. A few minutes later, somebody came out to probably to see why someone had hit his boat with a spotlight, and noticed that he wasn't in Kansas anymore...

Bob was getting our dinghy ready to assist but the person had started his engine and appeared to have the situation under control. It started to rain, but fortunately only a few drops and not the deluge we had several times earlier.

He managed to putt off OK and we soon lost sight of him (it was very dark as it in a new moon) but we took comfort in knowing that we were no longer in his flight path.

From previous experience, we know not to be overly smug about our anchor and kept checking our location throughout the night. According to the airport, we had gusts up to 36MPH. This morning we have had constant wind but no rain since 7am. Daytime gusts don't seem as bad as those in the night and we swing from East to South, back and forth, during these gusts. Just a tropical wave blowing through... It is quite foggy looking out and I wonder if that is due to Montserrat or Sarahan dust... Oh well, so it goes... getting quite a bit of web work accomplished though.

Weather image courtesy of the most wonderful Wunderground

It looks like the rain has passed us. We will probably go check our mail soon and have lunch at "Island Seafood" Chinese restaurant ($5 lunch specials) across the street from Palapa Marina. Hope you are having a good day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bookstore for cruisers

We just added some new books to our Amazon Bookstore for Cruisers.

Right now we have:
Soon, we'll be adding books on:
  • Sailing with Pets
  • Other Cruising Guides
  • Diving
  • Cruising Lifestyle
  • Boat Maintenance
and others...

Check out our convenient book store, as we have done the searching for you!
CLICK HERE for our Amazon store.


Monday, July 24, 2006

LED Lights - UPDATE - Good News!

We're impressed. We got an email response from Bebi Electronics and it is the middle of the night over in Fiji. He's going to send us a new unit immediately! Thanks!!!

Dear Sheila and Bob,

We're very sorry you've had a problem and will get another one off post-haste. As before, we will send a second email to confirm shipment: expect it late today or tomorrow (our time).

Question to you on the failure mode: Did a single LED fail, a group of LED's, or is there no output at all? As we know that you purchased the product, there is no need to return the unit if you can give me the information I need for failure analysis.

In spite of our testing, as you empirically know, there are still failures (6th in the last year out of 3500), hence our lifetime warrantee. The best we can possibly do is make it good to the customer, without argument or any lame excuses. Please accept our apologies.

Best regards,
Michael Homsany
Bebi Electronics, Ltd.
When it gets dark tonight, we will examine the unit to see how many LEDs are not working, and send Michael a photo if possible.

We'll keep you posted as to what happens. So far, we are very impressed with their SERVICE which most companies don't seem to understand anymore...


Darn! Last night when I turned on the LED anchor/cockpit light I couldn't tell if it was on as there wasn't any noticeable difference in the amount of light outside.

Upon going out and looking at the unit, it appeared that some of the LED were very dim and others might not be working at all. This is after using the light for one week. We are VERY DISAPPOINTED.

We installed a similar LED light cluster last week to replace the tricolor light at the masthead. I hope that's not going to fizzle out on us as well. The lamp is hardwired (never needs replacing!) in the light and with the modifications we had to make, we cannot just install the old bulb.

We will look at the anchor light to see what we can see, and then we will contact to see what they offer as a solution. We'll keep you informed.

So, for now, buyer beware!

[Please read our Good News UPDATE of this Update: CLICK HERE or see above]

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Installed New LED Masthead Tricolor Navigation Light

Today's accomplishment was installing the new LED tricolor masthead navigation light that we mentioned in a previous posting.

Bob did most of the work, while I just took care of winching him up/down the mast, keeping an eye out for boats who like to make big wakes in the anchorage, and doing some gophering.

Bob also took this opportunity to replace the VHF antenna. Unfortunately, or actually it was fortunate, he noticed that we need to replace two bits of the standing rigging... oh well, so it goes...

We were lucky that we finished up before the Air France flight took off, as that might have been a tad uncomfortable up there on top of the mast when they pass overhead. Sometimes they shake the boat!

When night fell, we went to check the new lights. Not a very good photo but as you can see, we were successful! The light on the lower part of the mast is reflective tape that was shining due to the camera's flash.

One more thing off "The List". Hurray!

Monday, July 17, 2006

LED navigation lights LED cockpit anchor light

Last week we received the LED lights we ordered from Bebi Electronics in FIJI

We received them within two weeks of order which is really amazing. They weren't dropped shipped either, as the envelope has stamps from Fiji. They were shipped in a padded envelope from Fiji to our mail service in Miami and forwarded to our mail service in St. Maarten. This was faster than a DVD from Amazon.

We have hooked up the LED Cockpit / Anchor Light and I'm amazed at the brightness. You can read a book with it. The best part is that it appears to draw only 0.1amp as the ammeter read 0.9amps (our Coleman Stirling refrigerator) and it went up to 1.0amp when the light was plugged in. Our previous cockpit light gave up the ghost as we were waiting for this new one. It was one with a light sensor so it would automatically turn itself on when it got dark which was a nice feature... until it decided not to turn on anymore. It also consumed something like 1.2amps which is more than the fridge and new LED light combined!

We hope to install the new masthead LED lamp today. We had to modify the lamp housing but that wasn't too much trouble. I love saving power as it means you are not afraid to use it.

Check them out and read their story.

s/v So It Goes (1969 classic plastic CAL 34 liveaboard sailboat)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vet - Animal Hospital - St Maarten

Click on photo to enlarge

This is a bit of a walk but not too difficult when just going for Bullwinkle's (ship's cat) vaccinations.

Dinghy over to the Port de Plaisance Marina and tie up at one or the other dinghy docks. Follow the diveway to the left until you reach the main road, then take a right towards Philipsburg direction, not towards Marigot. The veterinarian office will be on the right hand side of the street, after the gas station, and just after the Subway sandwich shop.

Unit 4 & 5 Crowne Plaza
Union Road, Cole Bay
St. Maarten, N.A.

There is another vet on your way to Cost-U-Less, after the roundabout and before the old, Rams supermarket. Much too far to walk.

Batfish Photo from Promenade in BVIs

I've never seen one of these fellas! Look at the lips on this guy! What an expression!!! This was sent to me from our good friend, Kerry, owner and captain of the charter yacht PROMENADE.

She says that this is a rare fish to see and took the opportunity to take about 100 photos. Send more Kerry!

Promenade is one of our favorite charter yachts with a fun crew. They are a 65-foot trimaran that accommodates up to 10 guests in 5 cabins. Great for diving and they have lots of other activities available. Excellent for families or groups!

CLICK HERE for more info on PROMENADE.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Easy Cheesecake Cupcakes

Thank you to the wonderful blog, Cooking for Engineers, for this tempting CHEESECAKE CUPCAKE recipe.

To make a dozen cheesecakes, gather up one pound (455 g) cream cheese, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, and a dozen vanilla wafers for the bottom "crust". The cheesecakes can be topped with whatever you like - maraschino cherries, streusel, Hershey's kisses, mandarin orange slices...

Someone suggested using a shortbread cookie, or a Girl Scout chocolate mint cookie (oooooh, it's been years since I've had one of those!).

Read his recipe HERE, but I've included a abridged version in this blog as well.

Preheat oven to 350F or 175C
Place cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
Place baking cups/muffin liners in cupcake pan
Place a vanilla wafer (or other favorite cookie) in the bottom of each baking cup
Fill each baking cup about 3/4 full of cheesecake mixture
Add optional topping
Bake for approximately 15 minutes
Cool on a wire rack, then refrigerate (if there's any left!)


Monday, July 10, 2006

Easy Ziploc Omelettes - Cooking While Cruising

While perusing Renegade Cruisers this morning, we were reminded of this simple, fast, yet tasty, method of cooking omelettes which is perfect when passage making, that we'd like to share with you.

ZIPLOC OMELETTES (or Baggy Omelets... your choice!)

Into a quart-sized Ziploc freezer bag, crack open two large eggs and discard the shells elsewhere. Shake the bag to break up & scramble the eggs.

Add whatever ingredients you'd like to the Ziploc bag:
  • cheese
  • onion
  • chives
  • bell pepper
  • olives
  • ham
  • bacon
  • chicken
  • tabasco
  • salsa
  • salt & pepper
  • other seasonings
Use your imagination!

Add your extra ingredients to the eggs and shake to mix.

Try to get as much air out of the bag as possible, and zip it up. You don't want air in the bag to expand while cooking because it may cause the bag to burst.

To cook, place the bags into boiling water for 12-15 minutes. Depending on the size of your pot, you can cook several (6-8) omelettes at a time.

To serve, just open the Ziploc and it will slide out onto your plate (or eat out of the bag). No mess, no fuss, and EASY CLEANUP!


Weather Blog interesting this morning

I found Jeff Master's weather blog interesting this morning. It was about "typical" July tropical storms. This is a cool graph that was in his Wunderground blog.

Here's the link to his blog.

One encouraging thing he mentions is that for three years in a row, 1999 through 2001, that there were no tropical storms in July... of course, last year there were five... shhhh...

Don't worry, be happy!

Here's to a safe summer!

Dragging Anchor in St. Maarten Lagoon

In the past month or so, we have had many, many boats drag by us. Fortunately, they drag past without incident but we did have one close call in June...

I heard a buzzing noise that sort of sounded like a bug outside... Like a large moth buzzing about a light? I didn't want to see a bug, but I looked outside and there was a boat about a foot away from us! We were in the same spot but this boat was dragging its anchor. (The noise was from a bit of plastic electricians tape that was around one of his stays as a telltale). Fortunately it didn't hit us and it didn't pull up our anchor with his as he passed in front of us. We jumped in the dinghy to get its name to make an announcement on the VHF. We had just zipped around the back of it when the owner came back. We told him his boat was dragging and he asked if it was OK now (like we had reanchored for him). I said no, look it's heading off that way! We went back onto our boat and Bob noticed that when the guy pulled up his anchor that he didn't have much chain out. Some people don't understand and think that if the water is 10 feet deep that you only need to put out 10 feet of chain. Well, some people do get away with it!

This week, we were awakened at 2am when a 40-foot catamaran decided to re-anchor next to us after their episode of dragging. It's amazing at how much distance you can cover in a little amount of time... especially when the rocky shore or pristine yacht is rapidly get nearer... I wonder if there is a mathematical equation for this? I bet the guy on Numb3rs could concoct one :)

Yesterday though, we had a different situation... I heard a dog barking and then a bit later I heard it woofing again. I thought it was someone taking their dog ashore for walkies and back but a couple of hours later when we were going to dinghy over for a Chinese lunch, we noticed a big old French ferrocement sailboat in front of us. That is where the dog was barking from. His anchor was up but he was obviously aground. We watched him for a bit but he wasn't able to move. We stopped by and asked if there was anything we could do to help but he said no, he'd wait for the tide. Hopefully the water would rise by a foot sometime and that should be enough for him. His boat draws 9 feet. How can you live in the Caribbean and have a boat that draws 9 feet? It would really limit you. We are about 4.5 feet and that seems like a lot to us because the Mooses were 12" and 16" with their boards up. Anyway, at about 4:30pm he was able to leave. Hope he made it over to wherever he wanted to get to on the French side. Guess he just learns to be patient.

Lots of sailboats get stuck when they are heading over to the Island Water World gas dock or FKG. They usually seem to try to push through, when it seems to me that they should try to back off the way they came... but that's just me :)

Anyway, be warned: the holding is not great in the Simpson Bay Lagoon (we know personally, but we're not going there!) and you'll probably find a big ball of vegetation on your anchor when you pull it up. Watch your depth sounder, too!

All the best & safe sailing!

Audio Books on Sale at Amazon

As we have to order another part for our toilet and wait for the mail, we might as well take advantage of's Audiobook Sale which has some selections for 42% off retail price.

Audio books are wonderful for when you are on watch, which is a good time to listen to a book on learning a foreign language. They have several of these on sale, including French, Spanish and Chinese... Chinese is great if you are a Firefly / Serenity fan!

Other books are on sale as well, such as mysteries, comedies, and Shakespeare. War and Peace might be good for those really long passages!

Here's a link, so check it out! Sale: Audio books

And, here's a link to access all of their books available on CD: MORE Audio Books

Happy cruising!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Neil Young Heart of Gold - New DVD music video

We just received our Amazon order in our twice-weekly St. Maarten mail drop. We really enjoyed watching the new Neil Young music video DVD, Heart of Gold.

CLICK LINK: Neil Young Heart of Gold

This film, directed by Jonathan Demme, is of two concert performances by Neil Young and friends at the famed Ryman Auditorium (home of the Grand Ole Opry) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Some of the performing artists on stage with Neil Young are: Emmylou Harris, Wayne Jackson, Jimmy Sharp, Diana DeWitt, Gary W. Pigg, Tom McGinley, Anthony Crawford, Karl T. Himmel, Clinton Gregory, Larry Cragg, Grant Boatwright, Rick Rosas, Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, Chad Cromwell, and, of course, Pegi Young.

So far, we have only watched the main concert footage, but we are looking forward to exploring the special features on this 2-disc DVD which received a 5-star rating on

I've been waiting for the release of WELD to come out on DVD for a long, long time. Our video of this Neil Young concert was lost along with our beloved Loose Moose 2.

Hello, to the visitors from Neil Young News,
We're doing our best to keep on rockin' in the free world ...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Rude Awakening

This morning while having first cup of coffee and reading our electronic version of the July Cruising World on my laptop, I heard a big-boat-moving type noise. We looked out the hatch and saw a large barge with crane and other bits of machinery coming up behind us. That was OK, but wait! they're slowing down... not a good sign. Looked out again and saw that they have stopped right in front of So It Goes. What's going on?

So we wait a bit to see what's happening and then get in the dinghy to check it out.

Turns out that they will only be in this spot for a couple of hours as they are drilling samples for the proposed bridge across the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

We have heard this bridge mentioned in the past but it has always been dismissed as a joke or something that is brought up on April 1st. If they are actually doing surveys, it must be a serious project in the making. I haven't seen anything about it but if it cuts the lagoon in half I can see that being a problem for businesses such as Bobby's boat yard. It would be a drag to go out the Dutch Bridge go all the way around to the French Bridge and then double back in the lagoon to Bobby's. But, as I said, I don't have a clue as to what's going on... just my personal speculation...

and so it goes...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bullwinkle, ship's cat - cruising with pets

Here's a photo of Bullwinkle (Mr. B) our ship's cat that I recently took. He is happily sleeping on my rather messy bookshelf.

Why do cats enjoy sleeping on what appears to be uncomfortable objects? He has a very nice cat quilt that his Aunt Laura from Zillah, Washington sent him, but no, he prefers laying on uneven, lumpy things... Although, I must say, that nothing beats a box from He loves them!

All the best from St. Maarten!
So It Goes
Cal 34

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Fourth !

Hi everyone! Hope you had a Safe & Sane or Dumb & Dangerous, depending on your personality type, Fourth of July weekend!

The beautiful, charter yacht Hanalei Bay stopped by Marigot, St. Martin (French side) and invited us over for a Fourth of July BBQ. And, even though Germany did not win their match in the World Cup yesterday afternoon, Franz was still in good spirits. Dinner was excellent, as always, and we had a wonderful time until the wee hours.

Hanalei Bay departed for St. Barths (St. Barts, St. Barthelemy) this morning and they are working they way down to St. Vincent where we have a charter for them later this month.

Here is a photo of Franz working his magic. These aren't just four slabs of New York Strip from the store. Franz buys a whole loin and prepares the steaks himself. He was trained as a professional butcher and really knows his stuff. I can't rave enough about my steak!

Diane garnished our drinks with fun little American flags which Bullwinkle, our ship's cat aboard So It Goes, is facinated with... hours of entertainment (with supervision... I'm the Safe & Sane type).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Coleman Stirling Cooler - 12V refrigeration

We've had it for two months now, and I'm very happy with our 12V Coleman Stirling Cooler. We bought it on the internet from Costco because they have it for quite a reasonable price. We had it shipped to a Miami hotel where Bob would be staying at the night before his return to St. Maarten after a month-long film job in South America.


Coleman Stirling Power Electric Cooler : Thermoelectric 26-Quart Portable Cooler W/ DC Power Cable & Household Power Supply: about $449 from Amazon (click link above)

We did have a few problems communicating with Costco. Then we had a few problems with the courrier company messing up, but they did manage to get it to the hotel before Bob's flight thus saving us big, big bucks in shipping charges.

Of course, I'd love to have a home-sized refrigerator/freezer like quite a few of our charter boat friends have but, so it goes...

It seems to consume 0.9ah, so figure 25 amps or so per day...

I haven't filled it up completely with soda cans, but you could easily put 30 cans in there (3 x 5 and 2 high) with a couple of inches left on top for other stuff...

It says it freezes and I believe it. We started with it at setting COOL 3 and it was too cold so it is now at COOL 2 and quite happy! If we had room, we'd consider a second unit as a freezer.

Check it out!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Google Earth - St Maarten Lagoon SXM St Martin

I've been playing about with Google Earth again this morning. I was looking at Le Port Marly, France where we lived on the Barge "Black Moon" for a couple of years. The resolution of the photo is excellent. You really have a sharp image of the cars along the chemin de halage. Wow! It has been 20 years since we lived there!!! No wonder why it has changed and is more built up. The rowing club has really grown. Black Moon was 2 barges down river (to the north) but the boat is obviously not there anymore. The other barge, closer to the rowing club, doesn't look like Guy and Ruth's boat. So it goes...

Here's a Google Earth screen shot of our current neck of the woods. Simpson Bay Lagoon, St Maarten, Netherland Antilles in the Caribbean. We can be in France (St. Martin) in less than a minute! Wheeeeeee... I love our new 15HP outboard.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Free WiFi in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten

We subscribe to a local ISP for our wifi service, but there are times when the system is down and we need to find other means to be connected to the big world out there.

We just discovered that our wonderful French bakery, Le Sucriere (see previous post) next to the FedEx building in Simpson Bay Lagoon, offers free wifi. Sit out on the covered terrace with an excellent cafe and croissant and catch up on your email.

Some other places that offer free wifi in the Lagoon in St. Maarten are:
  • Rick's Cafe
  • McDonald's
  • Coconut Joe's
  • Place across the street from Coconut Joe's
  • Jimbo's at Simpson Bay Marina
  • Some people get free wifi outside of the Soggy Dollar Bar at the Palapa Marina

For an inexpensive, no frills, internet cafe try Moc's computers. Just across the street from Plaza de Lago (Simpson Bay Marina) next to where the Asian Food Store used to be and the Duty Free liquor store. Moc is a nice guy and cheaper than the place in the marina complex.

Don't have much information about the French side of St. Martin. I heard that you can get wifi close to the Port St. Louis marina out in Marigot Bay. Someone told me that you can get wifi as far in the Simpson Bay Lagoon on the French side of St. Martin as Time Out Boatyard (Time Out has a marine flea market the first Saturday of the month during season). There's a service called Orange? Hopefully, you can find more information about it. Let me know!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Yvonne's Laundry in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten

Many of us would love to have a laundromat where we could wash our own clothes, but unfortunately there really isn't one that I know of anywhere close to the Simpson Bay Lagoon in St. Maarten (the Dutch side of St. Martin).

I now take our clothes to Yvonne's Laundry at Bobby's Boat Yard in Simpson Bay Lagoon, just past the runway extension. They have a long dinghy dock. She charges (July 2006) $8/load to wash, dry and fold. Two years ago, the laundry at Simpson Bay Marina was $12, as was the laundry at Palapa. I don't know recent rates.

I did take our clothes to a place at Portofino Marina that last year charged $9/load ($10 because I'd give the girl a buck). The problem was that three times in a row many of our t-shirts came back with what appeared to be burn holes in them. I know, why did I allow this happen three times...??? What was really bad was that most of the holes were on a fold right at the nipple line, thus making the shirts unwearable in public. We also had a couple of pairs of brand new shorts ruined in this fashion. I was a pleasant customer and always tipped... so I don't think it was revenge. Perhaps cigarettes or cleaning chemical burns? Definitely carelessness was involved...

There use to be a laundromat over at Lagoonies but that has been gone for over a year. It was $3 to wash and the tokens for drying was $3 each. Those machines were really beat anyways. There is supposed to be a new self-serve laundry on the opposite side of where the old one was. An unofficial beta-tester reported that they had some problems to be worked out. It is near the big red building with the sailmaker (nice guy) upstairs. When you get to their stairs, walk across the driveway to the other building and it's around there somewhere... The manager said the laundry is supposed to open when the marina is finished (no date given). So, in reality, a minimum of $6/load and all the waiting around for a machine to open up, and then the wait during the actual wash, dry and fold, it is worth another $2 to have someone do it for you. Your time is worth more than the $2 you are "losing".

Anyway, try Yvonne's at Bobby's Boatyard as she takes very good care of us. Quick turnaround. She does lots of laundry for the American University students up the road. Clothes are put in large, heavy, clear plastic bags which are great for taking the clothes back to the boat in the dinghy.

Just my humble opinion...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lunch at The Boathouse in Simpson Bay Lagoon SXM

We had another excellent lunch today at The Boathouse in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten. I love their Club Wrap because it has lots of bacon. It comes with a salad and is really a good deal for $6.95. Bob got one of his favorites there, fish and chips.

They do add 15% for service, but that's OK because their service is GOOD! They are attentive, if you ask for a refill they ask everyone if they want a refill (I know... common sense, but rarely seen unfortunately) and the food is good, decent sized portions and "reasonably" priced.

I sometimes get something different but I really like the Club Wrap and it just so happens to be one of the least expensive things on the menu... I really make out... such a deal!

Bob usually gets the fish & chips because he likes them but occasionally will get their lunch special of the day, which is also good.

We must admit that we weren't too thrilled with their hamburgers, but that's OK as they have other choices which we love.

We had a good Blue Cheese & Bacon Hamburger at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club the other day but I think they were $10 with fries...

Peg Leg's burgers are usually good but the service is haphazard. I feel sorry for the waitress. They only have the one waitress at lunch and they are quite busy. Sometimes we get a refill but it also takes a long time to pay and get out of there.

Gunboat Looking for Elvis in St. Martin

When we went to the Island Water World gas dock in the Simpson Bay Lagoon in Sint Maarten this morning, we noticed this 62-foot Gunboat catamaran with the wonderful name of "Looking for Elvis". Earlier this year, there was another interesting boat name... "Elvis the Gecko". I love it!
We were told that Looking For Elvis is a private yacht and not a charter boat.

If you are interested in chartering a Gunboat though, you may wish to look at SAFARI, a 62-foot Gunboat available for charter in the Western Mediterranean this summer 2006. They will be chartering in the Caribbean this coming winter.

Click here to view Safari's electronic brochure.

Contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters (click here) for more information.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Google Earth

I had so much fun with Google Earth last night. They now have a MAC version which you can use if you have MAC OS 10.3.9 or higher. Hurray!!!

I checked out where my brother lives in Washington State, then I had a fly down to St. Maarten to look at Simpson Bay Lagoon, I then zipped over to Paris to see where I used to work, then cruised on over to check out the marina at Joinville-Le-Pont on the Marne river where we lived for several years... They also had a great view of Le Porte Marly on the river Seine where we lived on a barge before we built Loose Moose.

Some locations have excellent high resolution photographs. You can make out catamarans at anchor in Arrecife, for example. So cool! Thanks Google!!!

You can download Google Earth at:

Saturday, June 24, 2006

St. John, USVI Dinghy Dock Fees at Customs

I recently learned from our friend Kerry, Captain of the sail/ dive charter yacht PROMENADE, that she was charged to use the dinghy dock while checking in to St. John, USVI. I assume this applies to everyone and not just charter boats.

This is what she said "We had to laugh at this one. We thought it was absolutely brilliant. We went to check into the USVI at Cruz Bay, tied our dinghy to the dock as we normally do, cleared in and then returned to the dinghy. A couple guys stopped us outside and said we now had to pay to tie our dinghy up at customs. 60 cents a foot and 60 cents per passenger. Does not matter if you are only there for two minutes. AND there is no way to get there without tying up your dinghy somewhere, so they have you. The same fee is also in effect at the dinghy docks behind the ferries at Mongoose junction. Only $8.40, but brilliant I thought! Apparently a lot of the marine ports authority fees are going up in the USVI including shipping your vehicle back and forth on the ferries. Everywhere we turn fees rise and our charter rates are about the same as they were in 1998."

Thanks for the info Kerry and the beautiful photo of this colorful fish!

For more information about chartering the trimaran PROMENADE, which is an excellent choice for family charters, groups of friends, and diving enthusiasts, CLICK HERE to view their electronic brochure.