Monday, December 31, 2007

2008 - New St. Maarten Fees

Since today is December 31st, 2007 I thought we should go and pay our port fee for last week before the rates go up tomorrow.

Last week for a 9-14 metre boat (we are documented as 33.5 feet) we paid $10.30

For the coming week, for an 8-13 metre boat it is twice that... $20.65

She told us that she didn't charge us for the bridge though. What? We are out in Simpson Bay and do not intend to come into the Lagoon. I asked her about bridge fees and she said for a boat our size, it would cost $10 each time we enter the Lagoon.

I went to their web site but they don't have the new fees posted.

So, it will be interesting to see what happens. Will we have more neighbors out here in Simpson Bay? Most people think it is too rolly. Or will they not want to pay twice as much and go over to the French side?

I'd like to check out the French side and see what is happening there. Last July, the French Port person told us that they have mooring fees in place but they haven't enforced them yet. He said that they probably would in the coming season.

So it goes :)

Friday, December 28, 2007


The population on So It Goes has doubled this week... Meet Buffy and Willow.

We adopted the little girls last Thursday and brought them home Saturday. They are now 8 weeks old and are quite a pair! They have quickly adapted to the boat.

We adopted them from the animal shelter at our vet's (ANIMAL HOSPITAL OF THE NETHERLANDS ANTILLES) in St. Maarten. See a previous posting with a photo of how to get there... CLICK HERE

I think it is best to park the dinghy at the PdP (Port de Plaisance) Marina and walk up as shown on the photo but you can also get there easily from Island Water World but that road is not as good to walk on... not much of a shoulder when there is one and lot of cars. From the PdP marina you walk up through the parking lot of the casino/hotel to the main road where there is a sidewalk.

Lots more to come... Sorry for being so far behind with the blogs.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gosh, it's almost Christmas

We have been so busy sailing to the various boat shows the past 6 weeks that Christmas has once again snuck up on us. I can't believe that it is almost the end of 2007. Time flies, even island time :)

So, what to do... I'm going to send some Amazon Gift Certificates. They can be sent via email, by "normal" mail, or along with an electronic greeting card. Not as personal as a specifically chosen gift, but I'm sure they will be very useful & appreciated.

Here's a link:

Happy Holidays!

Sorry for no posts, been busy

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but we've been busy with the two charter yacht shows in the Virgin Islands and also the Antigua charter yacht show.

We just arrived in St. Maarten yesterday (Monday) after an exhilarating sail from Antigua.

More soon come :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

St. Maarten fees going UP

Just saw in the paper (CLICK FOR ARTICLE) that the fees are going up.

The exchange rate for Dutch St. Maarten is One US Dollar = 1.80 NAF but what they call Guilders in St. Maarten (Netherland Antilles Florins)... go figure :)

The new departure fees, commonly called bridge fees, for cruise ships (megayachts) per one-week stay or part thereof will be NAf. 18 for vessels with a length of nine metres or more but fewer than 14 metres; NAf. 27 for vessels with a length of 14 metres or more but fewer than 20 metres; NAf. 45 for vessels with a length of 20 metres or more but fewer than 28 metres; NAf. 81 for vessels with a length of 28 metres or more but fewer than 36 metres; NAf. 153 for vessels with a length of 36 metres or more. For all other vessels the fee will be NAf. 18.

The new harbour fees that are due for passenger ships or yachts per one-week stay or part thereof will be NAf. 36 for vessels with a length of 8 metres or more but fewer than 13 metres; NAf. 72 for vessels with a length of 13 metres or more but fewer than 18 metres; NAf. 108 for vessels with a length of 18 metres or more but fewer than 23 metres; NAf. 162 for vessels with a length of 23 metres or more but fewer than 28 metres; NAf. 216 for vessels with a length of 28 metres or more but fewer than 33 metres; NAf. 270 for vessels with a length of 33 metres or more but fewer than 39 metres; NAf. 324 for vessels with a length of 38 metres or more but fewer than 43 metres.

We just did a week in Simpson Bay and it cost us $10.30 for 2 people aboard a Cal-34. Then when we checked out there was a $2.07 fee. Not bad... Antigua is costing us $44 for the week but that does include a months' cruising fee.

So it goes....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Aaargh! This is very frustrating. Our hosting company, is having serious problems with their email server. I actually talked to a real person yesterday morning and he thought it might have been because they were overwhelmed with spam and that the admin would have it straightened out in 15 minutes... Well, 20 hours later it is still down.

I called again yesterday afternoon and the woman was trying to get all my personal details which I didn't give as I just wanted to know the status of the email problem. She was not aware that there was a problem. She was based in the Philippines... I can't believe that they are trying to farm out the support overseas again. They did this a few years ago and I had major problems getting any service and started to look elsewhere.

I just called again this morning and they are not taking calls, just voicemail. Don't blame them as probably ALL of their customers are calling them.

They no longer have a notice concerning the email problem on their website so I thought it had been solved. Nope. If you go to network status on their support page , it shows a red light on POP and SMTP.


Monday, November 19, 2007

WIFI in St. Thomas, USVI

We are currently anchored in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands in Long Bay just off the green Legislature Building near the US Coast Guard dock.

We arrived on Thursday just after midnight about 10 days ago to attend the VICL Charter Yacht Show. We hooked up our equipment to see what WiFi was available. BBW was the strongest signal followed by Choice HotSpot. We didn't have time to mess with it then and we went to bed early that night, but we checked signals and they were still good.

Friday morning we decided to subscribe to Choice as they are the providers of wireless TV and they are ISPs (used to be which should have sent out danger signals). Choice said that they have many hotspots so that would be handy when we change our anchorage. So, we got their signup page, gave them our credit card info and signed up online. After signing up, I tried accessing the internet. zip! I did manage to log into our wifi account to see if they gave us the correctly alloted time of one week for $25 and we were unable to do anything else. I had a partially loaded weather page and that was about it. We went to the boat show and planned to check our email back on the boat at lunchtime. We spoke to many charter yachts who also were having poor service (or lack of) and were not able to reach support. They also complained about Choice is in general.... No further internet access that day.

Saturday morning was the same. We decided to try BBW (Beans Bytes and Websites) hotspot as they are an internet cafe located on the waterfront at the Royal Dane Mall. They still had the strongest signal and since we planned to be "downtown" anchored in the same spot we decided to sign up with them for a week. You cannot register online, so we took the dinghy ashore and went into the coffee shop. I told the guy about our bad luck with Choice and even though they are NOT affiliated with Choice, he gave me a $5 discount as an apology. Amazing!

I believe BBW associates your subscription with your computer's MAC address, so be sure to initially log in with the computer you intend to use. You cannot use the same account with more than one computer. Our signal is picked up by our external bridge which is connected to our Router/ Access Point and then we access that signal with both of our MacBooks with our Airport cards. If we have a couple of leftover days on our account we cannot give it to another boat, which is too bad but so it goes...

We have had excellent service with BBW (a few slow periods but so much better than our SXM experience). We are still at anchor in Long Bay in a slightly different spot as the USCG had us move because the Disney cruise ship anchored but another boat then took our spot so why did we have to move??? so it goes...

Anyway, we have signed up for a second week, even though we hope to up anchor and sail over to Christmas Cove on Wednesday to have dinner with Marolanga and meet Sasha, their Persian cat. It will be so nice to go swimming. We'll probably also be testing our windvane self-steering gear on the way.

Oh yes, almost forgot. We signed up with Choice on Friday so we waited until Monday to call to discontinue service as we didn't expect any results over the weekend. I told the lady that I wanted a refund as we did not and could not use their WiFi and she gave me to support where I was on hold for so long that I had to leave a voice mail. Well, nothing became of the voice mail and I sent an email, and another, etc. By Wedneday, I said in an email that I would come to their office to get my refund. They actually answered my message and said that they would refund the unused portion of my subscription. I told them that I expected a full refund of $25 as I did not use them for the week. The next day they wrote back to say that they had refunded my credit card $24.15... Can you believe it? They kept 85 cents :)

So, in my opinion, do not choose Choice...

and thanks for your patience with my rant :)

Evening aboard Hanalei Bay in St. Thomas, USVI

Last night we had a wonderful evening aboard the charter yacht, Hanalei Bay, while we are still in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

We had a simple, but SUPERB, meal of pork stew with sides of rice, potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Diane made a wonderful chocolate cake that I have been longing for... perfect!

Thanks guys, for having us over. It's always great to see you!

By the way... if you are interested in chartering, or perhaps know of someone who would like to charter a yacht...

Hanalei Bay is currently available for Christmas 2007!
or how about spring break with the family?

View Hanalei Bay's brochure: CLICK HERE

Contact Paradise Connections: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We are in the Virgin Islands

Howdy! We sailed over to the Virgin Islands to attend two charter yacht shows. The first one was at Village Cay, Tortola and the second one at the new Yacht Haven Grande Marina, St. Thomas.

We were delayed leaving St. Maarten because we decided to replace the crappy Forespar winch we had for our roller furling jib with a small Harken. We bought a pair of the small Forespar winches to control our boom brake on the port side, and the furling jib on the starboard side. Shortly after installing them they both froze up. You could get the drum to turn a bit if you were highly motivated and stressed, and saying some magic words. It says not to lubricate. Bob has taken them apart but there are not any noticible defects. It was well worth delaying our passage by a day to buy & install the Harken as it works properly and it is now easy to reef in the jib.

Then we were delayed another day because we had to patch the dinghy... 'nuf said about that :)

There was not much wind a few miles after leaving St. Maarten and it was directly behind us. We arrived around 5pm at Baugher's Bay at the opening to Roadtown harbor on Tortola and took Promenade's mooring (Thanks, guys!). We had to take the dinghy off the deck, mount the motor, and get our papers together but we were very pleased that we made it over to Customs & Immigration by 5:30pm. We found out that overtime rates begin at 4:30pm and we were told that Sunday costs double for Immigration (not sure about Customs). I think we paid about $28 to clear in.

We went to the show the next morning and started our day with Yes Dear who had invited us for breakfast (very good!). Even though it was the last day of the show, we saw all of the boats that we had planned to see. Oh yes, except for one big cat that was too busy to see us and after finishing the can of Coke they had left us with in the cockpit we decided to go see other boats. Never got back to them since they were at the end of the dock. We'll probably go aboard at the Antigua show.

The next morning we left for St. Thomas whose show was to begin the following day. There was just a breath of wind as we left Roadtown and zip wind later. We did reef down once (hurray new winch!) as we had a short squall followed by no wind. You know the type where you spin in a circle? Well, at least the current was going the right direction :) We decided to turn on the electric motor and after about 2 minutes we felt a light kiss of a breeze on our cheeks and switched it off. Our CAL-34 is really impressive that it can sail in such light winds... our charter friends with their big 52-72 footers can take quite a bit to get moving. AND I must say that Bob did an excellent job of keeping a steady and proper course in such conditions as well.

We arrived in Long Bay, St. Thomas just after midnight and even before we put the anchor down we were greeted with the sound of a gunshot... welcome back!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dollar Buses Fare Hike - St Maarten

Dollar-and-a-half buses just doesn't have the same ring to it... but, the fare hike is supposed to be ratified by the powers that be by November 1st (isn't that a holiday?) or the bus drivers will take action.

They don't mention what the rate increase will be, though we did hear one report that it was going up by 50 US cents. So, remember to take quarters with you as you know how they don't like to make change.

I think St Thomas's dollar buses (Safaris) went up to $2 a couple of years ago....

Well, the price of gasoline is over $4/gallon, so it is understandable... Simpson Bay all the way into Philipsburg for $1 was quite a deal!

I haven't heard anything about the French buses, such as Marigot to Philipsburg, which did cost $1.50.

So It Goes....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Palapa Marina, St. Maarten Dinghy Dock

The other day when we went to check mail at The Mailbox, and rent a DVD at Island Video (both at Palapa) we were surprised to see a little mountain of dirt piled up near where the marina docks their dinghies.

Wow, there is now water in the corner by The Soggy Dollar Bar! Maybe people won't raise their outboard legs anymore (one can always hope). It was getting to be quite a beach in there.

I'm tempted to claim this little island for our own and plant a little moose flag at the summit :)

Sorry, I keep forgetting to take my camera... maybe tomorrow when we take out the garbage.

Added SEAMANSHIP books to aStore

We just added a few SEAMANSHIP books to our Amazon store.

Let's see if this fancy widget works! We are having a slow internet day, hope your connection is faster...


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanks BLONDIE for the link

Blondie, author of the blog My View from 30,000 Feet, has placed us on her blog. Thank you, very much and we are glad you enjoy All About Boats.

My View from 30,000 feet is very interesting as Blondie is a flight attendant so she sees a lot of the world and shares her experiences with us.

Check it out!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday BOAT Cat Blogging : Jacob aboard Flame

Today's boat cat is Jacob who lives aboard the charter motor yacht FLAME.

Jacob is a fabulous charter cat. He really does the balance of entertainer, but not too-much-in -your-face charter host. His folks are very pleased with him and Flame's guests have adored him.

This morning, we asked Barbara and Wayne for a new photo and a bit about Jacob. Here is what they said:

Jacob is skinny in this picture cause he was still a kitten. He is still pretty slim but he has this funny droopy stomach that the vet says is very normal, just usual in older cats.

Jake is two years old. We got him at the St Thomas (USVI) humane society when he chose us for parents. I sat down in the cat enclosure and he climbed in my lap. I put him down to check out the other kittens and he climbed back on... my heart was won! He is not a lap cat for other people...

He likes to interrupt me when I am at the computer. When he was little he would lie on the computer keyboard and roll around listening to it beep! I had to stop that when somehow he managed to make my entire picture file go away. He loves to lie on the counter at the bottom of the steps going into the main salon so he can keep track of everyone. Me, he whacks as I go by so he can get attention. He is playful in the morning and the evening.. right now he is finding the charging cord for the phone a fun toy. He is also fond of hunting flies. I suppose the funniest thing about him is that he uses the toilet. We used the insert to train him and now he is down to the last ring with no litter in it. Last summer Wayne and I did a charter on Eliza (they had no crew and were in a panic) and we told them we come with cat. Jake just rolled with the punches and used the toilet there just like on Flame (on land he uses the great outdoors).

Well, obviously I could go on and on about him! He is just the sweetest, good natured cat!
You can see another post (June 12, 2006) with Jacob and Flame HERE.

Unfortunately, Flame won't be at the November St. Thomas charter yacht show as they will be on charter. But, as we will be in the Virgin Islands aboard our boat, we will probably run into them and catch up on everything... including more pictures!

View FLAME's brochure : CLICK HERE

Contact us, Paradise Connections, to book Flame : CLICK HERE

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I'm soooooo excited! I just discovered that the CD/DVD set of the Jimmy Buffett concert that we attended in Anguilla earlier this year is coming out on November 6th!

You can pre-order it through this link on We have!

A double CD and an 82 minute DVD were recorded LIVE at the Dune Preserve, Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla, in Bankie Banx's backyard and the site of famous Moonsplash Festivals. The CDs include 30 songs, all of your favorites, plus some special in-concert rarities like Domino College, Waiting In Vain, When Salome Plays the Drum, King of Somewhere Hot, Treat Her Like A Lady, and Distantly In Love.

The DVD was recorded in High Definition and is in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.

Make a pitcher of margaritas, put on your parrothead paraphernalia and ENJOY!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Butterflies on parade

We went in to the Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten, this morning to get a saw blade from Budget Marine. Of course we forgot they were closed this weekend for inventory... so it goes...

But, I was so surprised at the amount of butterflies flying across the Lagoon... hundreds! I believe they are called "cabbage whites" although a few of them are yellow. I'm so afraid that they are going to run into the dinghy, or me!

When we returned to our boat which is anchored outside in Simpson Bay, there were butterflies flying in from the west. Where did they come from??? Certainly not all the way from Saba!

Some cross the Lagoon from east to west, while others are going west to east? Why? Where are they going? It is a beautiful day and I hope they are enjoying it.

Update: LA SUCRIERE French Bakery in Lagoon

Hi, I wrote about this bakery back on June 4, 2006 and thought I should give an updated opinion... I was so excited when this bakery opened, but not now. We hardly ever go there anymore. The quality of their pastries varied greatly and I don't think they have wifi now. When we were having wifi problems, the ladies thought some people could get it near the front of the store, but perhaps that was using the wifi from the restaurant across the street? They don't have ice.

I bought a baguette-type bread today. 95 cents but much smaller than a "real" baguette.

A couple of months ago when I went there for bread they only had three loaves and the lady refused to sell them to me as they had been there too long...

Maybe it has changed hands... the few times we've been there this year we haven't seen the owner.

Oh well... Still an option of where to buy bread in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Humdinger wind generator

This is cool. Bob just showed me this video (CLICK HERE) about a different approach to generate electricity by the power of the wind. It really is a humdinger!

Visit the Humdinger website CLICK HERE and see The Windbelt.

MacBook Kernal Panic

Not another kernal panic! I was writing a blog entry using Firefox and also had Calculator & Entourage open, plus using Airport and I was shut down with the dreaded kernal panic.

A few weeks ago I had a kernal panic followed by another and another.... and finally it just quit and I had to get a new logic board.

I was in the process of writing a blog and ranting about getting water at Island Water World in Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Maarten. I take this as a sign as to just feel good about typing the rant but not to actually post it :)

Hope my MacBook is OK. We will be purchasing the AppleCare Extended Protection Plan for MacBook and thus extend our warranty for another two years, as it looks like it is a necessary and wise purchase... plus I save $50 instead of buying directly from Apple.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

US Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center web address

I have a difficult time finding the website for the U.S. Coast Guard National Vessel Documentation Center so here it is, just in case it will help anyone else:

Their phone number is 1-304-271-2400 and press 6 to speak with a documentation officer.

Hope this helps others!

Coffee and a barracuda

We just went outside to have our second cup of coffee out on the foredeck. I spilled mine... oops! and when Bob came back out with a paper towel for me, he saw a good sized barracuda off our bow.

So, I quickly mopped up my coffee drips and ran down for the camera.

I hope he's gone by the time we want to go for a swim :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Halloween Festivities

We picked up our mail this afternoon at The Mailbox and there was a flyer advertising the Lady C's Floating Bar's Halloween party. My gosh! Halloween is just around the corner. We won't be in St. Maarten but there is a pirate dress-up party at the St. Thomas boat show. has lots of costumes which you may want to look at too, if you are as unprepared as I am... They have categories broken down on the left side of the page in case you don't want to look at all 57,000 entries :)

Click here for Halloween Costumes

Hope we can find something...

We can narrow down the search to Women's Pirate Costumes

Have fun!

Pet Locator Transmitter

I just ran across this in an old 2004 Sail Magazine... The Cat Locator.

Their website is: but it looks like they no longer sell this item... Could it have been some FCC issue? Oh well, check it out anyway.

It would have been handy for all of those times I would go around the Joinville-Le-Pont marina shaking a box of cat food and calling Wacka's name. She loved to go into the greasy engine room of a unused motor boat that was a couple of spaces up from us. Usually, she'd just look at me... then I'd have to try the "cheese" ploy. Our cats loved fromage!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Amazon store - Gift Certificates - Very Handy

Today I logged in to and tried to buy some DVDs of television series as they are definitely a good bank for the buck. We are going to be going up to the Virgin Islands so I wanted our order to be shipped to a different address than what is our credit card billing address.

I made several attempts to get around this discrepancy but to no avail... Amazon would not let me use my credit card, but they had let me use a gift certificate for my book order...

Amazon Gift Certificate
Buy an Amazon Gift Certificate

Aha! Like Baldric of the BBC Black Adder series, I had yet another cunning plan :) I'll buy myself a gift certificate for the amount of the order and use that for the DVDs that are to be sent to St. Thomas. It's great. You receive an email with a code that you then redeem for later use in your account or you can enter the code when you are at the check out. Simple! What an easy way to buy something while travelling, or to send a gift to another person with no hassels!

Saturday, Saturday!

We planned on going to the movies Thursday night to see either the new Mr. Bean film (we love Rowan Atkinson's BBC series, BLACK ADDER) or the ping pong movie, Balls of Fury. It started raining Thursday afternoon and finally stopped at about 7pm Friday, so no movie.

I did get quite a bit of web site work done though. Check out the Barge Blog (Oct.4,2007) for the cool barge charters for Christmas in Scotland followed by New Year's on the Thames. I also did a nice posting on our Yacht Charter Blog (Oct.5,2007) to promote our friend Kerry's special pricing to fill in Promenade's calendar for next season.

So, it is still very overcast but we hope to see an early 2pm-ish matinee. Otherwise it is just too crowded on the weekends and we'll have to wait until Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening (ladies night $4)... Films change on Thursday.

Book Cover
Black Adder, complete set

Hugh Laurie ( House, M.D.) is a delightful recurring character in Black Adder.

We'll be off in a few minutes for a water run and possibly go to the SXM Yacht Club for some pancakes!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Today, October 4th, is World Animal Day

Today, October 4th, is World Animal Day. World Animal Day takes place every year on 4 October. Animal welfare groups, sanctuaries and individuals throughout the world hold special events to heighten public awareness of animal issues and to encourage people to think about how we as humans relate to animals.

The website can be found at :

Here are photos of our wonderful French cats that sailed across the Atlantic with us aboard Loose Moose 2 and shared their much too short time (15 & 16 years) with us...

Here's Wacka and a younger Me. This was taken aboard the original Loose Moose at Meaux, France, probably in the summer of 1988.

Here's Bullwinkle with some of his moose friends at the house we rented on Water Island, Virgin Islands, after we lost Loose Moose 2. This might be Spring 2001.

I also love lizards. Here's an iguana at Molly Malone's, Red Hook, St. Thomas, USVI

Enjoy your fine, furry, feathered, or scaley friends today and everyday!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Skinny fish

It was way past sunset last night by the time we had our "sundowner" of rum and brie & crackers (I'm going to miss the good brie we buy on the French side of St. Martin) so I had my new little LED flashlight with us out on the foredeck to be able to find the cheese on the plate.

I turned and pointed the beam of light into the water and I was surprised that we had so many of these skinny fish (I don't think they are ballyhoo but maybe cousins) all around the boat.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Coleman Stirling Refrigeration

Recently this blog has been getting many hits for the post I did about our Coleman Stirling fridge. We've been using it for a year and we still love our Coleman.


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

We'd love to buy a second one to use as a freezer... if we only had the room!

Is there a 4th dimension thingy out there where we could expand the interior of our CAL34 to a 50-foot boat?

Check it out! ==> CLICK HERE


French St. Martin - Clearing In FEES

Better late than never.... I meant to post this several months ago...

Today, May 18, 2007, we checked into the French side of St. Martin in Marigot.

There is a clearance fee of $7.00 (US) which can be paid when entering OR leaving. (Charter yachts must pay $2/guest upon departure)

There are NO overtime fees

OFFICE HOURS (in season):

- Monday-Friday:
  • 9:30am - 11:30am
  • 2:00pm - 4:00pm
- Saturday:
  • 8:00am - 10:00am
  • 2:00pm - 4:00pm
- Sunday:
  • 9:00am - Noon

ATTENTION! New anchoring fees coming soon...

The Port Official (nice guy, speaks excellent English) told us when we were checking in this morning, that there will be anchoring fees in the future. The regulations are currently in effect but they do not have the manpower right now to implement collection and processing. He expects they will be in effect for next season. It will be for Marigot Bay and Grand Cas... not sure about the French side of the Lagoon but as it is so close to Marigot I would expect that yachts will have to pay there as well.

(I bet all of those people anchored by Mt.Fortune on the Dutch side with their little French courtesy flags up pretending to be on the French side so they don't have to pay the $10-15 per week Dutch fees will be upset.)

He said fees will be 0.40-0.50 euros per meter per day. For my 10m boat, that translates today to $5.40 to $6.75 per day. I hope he meant per week.

Oh well, so it goes... :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My MacBook is back!

Two weeks from tomorrow, my almost 10-month old MacBook went on the fritz. Started with a kernal panic. I crashed the computer and it restarted. I thought I might not have enough hard drive space for system swap files, so I decided I should move a video off the computer and onto a DVD. During the copying, it had another kernal panic. Yikes! What's going on?

OK, I just went and deleted the large video file and fortunately, instead of poking around the computer to try and suss out what was wrong, I immediately saved my email (Entourage database) and a few other very important files to an external hard drive in case something horrible was about to come my way.

Good thing because not too much later, the computer just shut down on its own. Turned on the MacBook and I got a black screen and the little sleep light on the front was on solid. Tried so many things such as boot from the install disk... which stalled... Tried hardware test on install disk... which stalled. Couldn't remove disk. It did start up once when I did the hold down option key while turning on power. That way I got to select the startup folder off of the hard drive and after it booted, I was able to eject the disk. It didn't last though... Sometimes it didn't make the "suck in the disk" sound at startup, or it was really weak. The battery was fully charged. I reset the PRam, but nothing. I reset the PMU, after which it started up once... might have just been a coincidence.

I called Apple but they were only concerned about selling me the extended AppleCare warranty, even though I was still covered. They must get a commission, because I was on the phone for 10 minutes and still hadn't received a case number or described my problem. I was disconnected and with three different people, they only wanted to sell me AppleCare. The Sunday afternoon Bush League crowd, I guess.

I decided to call Small Dog up in Vermont for their advice and possibly ship my MacBook to them. Super nice people, and he said it should be repaired within 3-5 days working days of them receiving my MacBook. Of course, shipping from St. Maarten to Vermont and back would be costly, but hey I was seriously considering $180 for shipping as they are a reputable company. Check them out and subscribe to their newsletter.

We noticed that Apple lists an Authorized Service Center which is across from Simpson Bay Marina. We decided to drop on by and check him out even though we had heard a bad report on the VHF cruisers' net. He seemed like a nice guy and we wouldn't have to ship the MacBook off-island. He said that he'd receive the parts in 3-5 working days from Apple. This was Monday and we decided on Tuesday to go with the local guy. I asked if I'd have it back by next Friday and he said Oh yes, before then... Well, we got the call on Friday (surprise!) that we could come and pick it up... I'll tell you more after we get Bob's MacBook warranty repair taken care of in a couple of days.

But, it has given us the incentive to buy the extended AppleCare which extends our warranty by another 2 years. CLICK FOR MORE => (AppleCare Extended Protection Plan for MacBook) It's a good price, too.

Walk the plank... aargh!

AMAZON now offers MP3 music downloads

Wow, I'm going to check this out! Songs for $0.89 and lots of albums for $8.99 or less...

Amazon MP3 Music Downloads

Looks like a good thing. Not a lot of selection yet, but it is new. Must be patient... Remember the beginning of iTunes & podcasts ???



St. Maarten Customs & Immigration Dinghy Dock

A couple of days ago we tied up at the dinghy dock just outside of the Dutch Bridge as we were just going to MacDonald's for lunch. We then walked up the street and bought a couple of things at the store. Took us less than an hour...

Ooooh, when we were just getting into the dinghy a woman from St. Maarten Immigration came charging out and told us that we were NOT to tie up to this dock to do shopping, etc. This dock is only for visiting Customs & Immigration, the Port Authority, and the Police Station. Told her I was sorry, but I didn't know that & thanks for letting us know for the future and that we'll be coming in to pay our Port fees so will be tying up there tomorrow. Wow, was she Ms. Snippy. This is the first time I've had an altercation like this. I was nice and polite with her. I don't know if she was wanting to release some pent up frustration or what but I wasn't going there :)

Speaking of "The Friendly Island", the radio guy was reading articles out of the local paper and one story finished with the words "the friendly island" and the next headline was something like "Two gas stations robbed within fifteen minutes" or maybe it was "Two chopped as gangs clash in Sucker Garden".

I think we need a break from here...

So remember, do not park your dinghy at the dock in front of the bridge unless it is for official business. You've been warned :)

Also, remember that bridge times don't change until the beginning of December...
CLICK HERE for previous post with bridge times.

It's better here than other places... and the beauty of living aboard a boat means you can just move your home somewhere different when you get the fancy...

Cool, huh?

Sunday, September 16, 2007


This is from the CARIBBEAN COMPASS September 2007 edition, Info & Updates:

New Rules for Yachts in CARICOM

Yachts traveling from country to country within much of the English-speaking Eastern Caribbean are looking at more paperwork.

Legislation has been passed which requires all air and sea carriers to submit passenger information in advance when arriving at, and departing from, each of ten Caribbean Common Market (CARICOM) member states. Participating CARICOM member states are:
  • Jamaica,
  • Antigua & Barbuda,
  • St. Kitts & Nevis,
  • Dominica,
  • Barbados,
  • St. Lucia,
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines,
  • Grenada,
  • Trinidad & Tobago, and
  • Guyana.
These countries are collectively known as a "Single Domestic Space" (SDS).

Compass is informed that the term "sea carriers" includes both private and charter yachts.

To comply with the new regulation, you fill out a form (available by registering at which asks for information such as passengers' names, nationalities and passport numbers, and the vessel's dates and times of departure and arrival.

There are three ways the form can be submitted:
  • By sending as an e-mail attachment to
  • By filling it in on-line
  • By faxing it to (246) 228-4040.
When arriving in the SDS from a port outside of the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than 24 hours before arrival.

When departing from the SDS to a port outside of the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than 15 minutes after departure.

When traveling between countries within the SDS, the form must be submitted no later than one hour before departure.

For more information contact Diane Hazzard at (246) 429-7931 or
I'm planning to check out their web site and see if it is currently in effect. What happens if you decide to bypass your destination and go somewhere else because of timing, or weather conditions, etc? Will the country that you bypassed get worried when you don't show up? Plus, you won't have a form filled out prior to your arrival for the country you are entering...

Wasn't it last year that they were saying how they had just cut down on forms and things were easier?

Maybe we'll just stick to Anguilla, St. Maarten, and the French Islands :)

Too much Big Brother in my opinion. So It Goes... perhaps it is time to move on.

Friday, September 14, 2007


While I was typing up my Shopping rant post (see below), Bob was checking out one of his favorite blogs BOING BOING

and he told me to check out their post about International Talk Like a Pirate day, which you should all know by now is September 19th.


The "Jobby Roger" link has decals for your Apple computers.

The "Toast" link is for a toaster which grills the skull & cross bones onto your bread...

That's kind of cool!

Check out the boingboing post for more...

Fish on Fridays or Friday cat blogging day

Here's a wonderful photo that Bob just showed me from the "Never Sea Land" blog. This was taken from the blog entry:

What a patient group of cats.

Shopping Day

Whew, just got back from shopping. That certainly takes a lot out of me.

First we took the dollar bus to Blue Point which is a computer store. It is easily accessible by bus. Go towards Philipsburg, up and over the hill past Grand Marche, KFC and Cost-U-Less, after a bit the road curves to the left and goes over a little bridge that crosses a very green bit of water. At the crossroad immediately after this bridge, the bus turns right and you see the Heineken green Airplane restaurant on the other side of the road. Soon after, on the right hand side of this road (the pond is to your left), you'll see a shop with BLUE POINT written in big blue letters. Ask the driver to "stop please". Or, when you get on the bus you can tell the driver that you want to go to Blue Point as he should know where it is.

Blue Point has quite a bit of stuff. They have really improved in knowledge and amount of product since their opening a couple of years ago. Prices aren't too bad. You might be able to get something cheaper in the States but remember that you'll have to wait for it, hope it is the correct item that arrives, and then there are shipping charges to the island of SXM. If Blue Point has what you want in stock at an acceptable price it is well worth getting it locally, plus it is good to support the local businesses. They are nice guys. They plan to be official Apple Store/Repair folks soon... I don't remember what the term is :)

Then we took the dollar bus back to Ace Hardware to get a gasket kit for our ACE 2-gallon Garden Sprayer. This sprayer is the best one we've found for cockpit showers. It has a pressure relief valve, holds 2 gallons, and has 4 or 5 different types of spray with good pressure. We have had it for several months and it needs a new gasket/O-ring in the pumping unit. We tried Budget Marine but they don't have much selection as it is summer and they run out of lots of stuff that they only order once a year. We went to ACE (doesn't their jingle have something to do with "the helpful hardware place?) and they didn't have a gasket kit for their brand but did for others. The kid doing stock thought I was asking about a wheelbarrow and he told some management guy who was walking past who told him to have "X" help me. Well, I waited for 5 minutes in the garden sprayer aisle which has all of the rodent killer chemicals, slug bait, and other nasty, smelly, gaggy stuff so I hunted down Mr. Management. He said I could bring it back (which it does say on the guarantee on the packaging with no date limitation) along with the receipt. I said I'd have to hunt for the receipt as it was sometime in the last six months... Six months? Oh, that's a long time.... I told him that all I need is the little O-ring and I took a unit apart to show him. I also showed him that he didn't have replacement parts for their own brand. It is silly to replace the whole unit for just an O-ring. He agreed and said they don't stock the kits and they don't sell O-rings and didn't know where we could find an appropriate one... At least he was pleasant... The help at ACE is usually pretty surly. Perhaps it is because they now have competition with the new Kooyman hardware store that opened this year just up the main road from them :)

Next we turned back (direction of Philipsburg) and walked a short way down to the Grande Marche and went into Burger King. (Remember yesterday how we went to a Chinese restaurant and ordered Curry Pork and was given Pork Chop Suey?) We both fancied a Whopper. They said they didn't have any beef as the grill was not working... only chicken or fish. Oh, not the grilled chicken sandwich either. It has to be cooked in the fryer. OK, so I ordered 2 Tendercrisp Chicken combos for $5.99. The bill came to $12.18. I mentioned that it's OK, but 2 x $5.99 is $11.98. She mentioned it to another employee who said that was normal. All of their combos come out higher than the advertised amount for some reason. Do you realize how much extra money they make over the course of a year by charging at least ten cents or more per combo? A nice chunk of change for someone. The sandwich was good, by the way.

Then we went to Grande Marche and did a bit of shopping (we never buy "fresh" meat there). They have a good price on Appleton rum that we like, the Sunflower seed bread is good and we've had good luck with it keeping it for several days before it shows green. They also have quite a selection of books & magazines... boat magazines too! such as WoodenBoat, Sail, Cruising World, etc. Unfortunately, they still don't have the Skippy or Jif (it's been so long I don't remember which brand) peanut butter with no added sugar. We keep looking though.

Next stop was across the street to Cost-U-Less. It is their anniversary sale week. Didn't buy too much there. It is difficult to shop after you've just eaten a big lunch :) Plus, we still have the Cantonese Chicken from yesterday's lunch that we will have for dinner this evening.

We then went across the road to KFC for a coke. You get free refills there, if you wish.

After rehydrating we caught a dollar bus back to Palapa Marina in Simpson Bay where we had parked our dinghy, but first we stopped in at the Island Video DVD rental shop and got 3 DVDs. DVDs you rent on Fridays are not due back 'til Monday. $4 each. Normal rentals are for 2 nights (Rent Monday for example and due back Wednesday). Convenient for boat folks and nice people... They are between The Mailbox and the wine shop/liquor store The Connoisseur's Duty Free (more here)... they still have their rum tastings and they are nice guys, too.

So, finally it is time to get in the dinghy and putt back to So It Goes... whew

Home at last... how nice.... Thanks for the rant!


I like the updated 5am 5-day forecast this morning (Sept.14). It shows that Tropical Storm Ingrid is going to be giving us a wider pass to the East as it is curving upward. It also shows it as decreasing back down to a Tropical Depression.

I was just looking at posts from last year and noticed that I had posted a forecast map which was Advisory #5 for Tropical Depression 8 on September 13, 2007.... It was giving us a much wider berth than TD8 2008.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Today was battery maintenance day. We have eight 6V batteries for our 24V battery bank. Two of them were bad and two were dodgy. We now have a bank of 4 batteries and they seem to be taking and holding a charge very well. Batteries at Budget Marine have gone up in price about 15% since we bought two new 6V Trojans for our 12V bank a couple of months ago.

So, after disposing of the dead batteries at Budget, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Chinese restaurant that is near Budget (across from PDG restaurant supply). We love their curry pork and ordered that and a chicken dish. To our disappointment, the waitress got our order wrong and brought us pork chop suey and not curry. They didn't offer to change it or give us any sort of a discount, or even an apology...

Then there is Tropical Storm Ingrid....

So It Goes :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Well, it turned into Tropical Depression #8 at 11am this morning (Sept.12, 2007).

Here's the 5pm, 5-day forecast which shows the storm center at 18.5N 58.5W on Sunday, Sept 17th at 2pm. St. Maarten is at 18.0° N 63.1° W

A little bit of a song is going through my head... "should I stay or should I go"...

We'll be keeping an eye out!


This photo is from The Horse's Mouth

Next Wednesday, September 19, 2007 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Aaaargh, me hearties...

News from Ursa Minor

This morning we received an email from Judy & Bryan of the sailboat Ursa Minor. Some of you might have chartered with them...

I'm finally caught up to date on blog entries, through today in Bora Bora. There are several new entries plus lots of new photo albums on the last page of the photo gallery. Tomorrow we leave for Suwarrow Atoll, also known as Suvarov, in the northern Cook Islands, about a 5 day passage away. It is a small atoll, a national park of the Cooks, with only 1caretaker family resident for about 6 months of the year. We're really looking forward to a place so remote and uninhabited after several months in French Polynesia. This has been a delightful experience, and Bryan especially is going to miss having wonderful French baguettes almost daily, but it will be nice to see a more basic form of island life as well. After Suwarrow, we'll have a 2 or 3 day passage to American Samoa, then start working our way north through Kiribati and across the equator Marshalls to wait out the South Pacific cyclone season


Best to all, Judy & Bryan
Thanks for the note, guys!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


We have past the hump day .... HURRAY !!!

Wonderful !!! We are on the downward slope. But wait! What's this?

The models for 91L have started to agree in their storm tracks a bit better. The other day, one was going straight and then dropping towards Trinidad, another went straight through, another went straight and then pointed at US (oh my!), and then another was almost pointing backwards.... Remember, these are just models and not the Gospel of the NHC.

We are definitely going to be keeping an eye on this possible storm and see what develops.

We seem to be getting better (healthier). It is quite normal for me to be sick for a week or two when I get something. At least that doesn't happen very often here in the Caribbean... not like when we lived in France and I commuted to Paris everyday to go to work at OECD. The guy at the gas dock recommended a cure of "tea, honey, and white rum". Well, we don't have any honey so I went for straight Appleton rum. It's good, plus a great value at $5-something a litre. But, what I think really helped was garlic. Bob made Tortellini with butter & garlic and the next day I was better! Remember the Les Blanc documentary "Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers"? Anyway, what I was getting at was (Alice... remember Alice? This is a song about Alice... Oops! there I go again)... Anyway, what I was trying to say is that we are now feeling better and can quickly do a couple of things to the boat and get out of here in a hurry if need be.

It's Tuesday! The lunch special at Peg Leg's is meat loaf on Tuesdays but now it's too late. Oh well, so it goes...

Have a good one!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


No, not the seagull (see below)...

We just returned from the Sunday matinee of the Clive Owen film "Shoot 'Em Up". We both really enjoyed it... Fun film. Fitting title. But...

How many carrots were harmed making this film?


Our dinghy has a new "gull" friend

We've been anchored here for about a month but two days ago, this seagull has taken a liking to us for some reason. Maybe the dry dock where the birds hang out has gotten too crowded?

Bob tried to shoo him off with the water sprayer but the bird just seemed to enjoy it :)

Friday, September 07, 2007


I just had to post these two wonderful pictures that Kerry, owner of the charter yacht, PROMENADE, took of starfish. This is becoming the Kerry-Promenade Photo Blog :)

Once again, remember to play nice and give her credit if you must "borrow" these pictures... :)

Promenade is a charter boat that we highly recommend AND they are still available for Christmas week through Dec.28th


Contact Paradise Connections for more info: CLICK HERE

All the best!


Being sick this past week has given me the time to do some work on our website. I created a special page ( to access the various barge brochures, rather than accessing them from the "More Yachts and Rates" page.

I also created an electronic brochure for the French barge, LA BELLE EPOQUE, which cruises the Nivernais canal in the Bourgogne / Burgundy region of France between Auxerre (meet in Paris) and Clamecy.

(Not us)

Bob & I would really like to sail back to Europe and visit our barge friends on the French canals and do some more exploring of the European waterways

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Here are a couple of "up close and personal" fish photos from our good friend Kerry, owner of the charter yacht PROMENADE. She takes excellent underwater photos.

Sand Flyer

Cow Fish

Once again, remember to play nice and give her credit if you must "borrow" these pictures... :)

Promenade is a charter boat that we highly recommend. They are avid divers and a fun boat & crew. Lots of toys. Good for the "party-hardies", families, groups...

By the way, they are still available for Christmas week through Dec.28th


Contact Paradise Connections for more info: CLICK HERE

All the best!