Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HALLOWEEN - Boat Cat Blogging etc

Well, we don't expect to get any trick o'treaters out here in the middle of Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Martin, but Willow & Buffy are prepared to keep away all boarders and things that go bump in the night.

Would you want to tempt those evil eyes?

We plan to watch Blood: The Last Vampire tonight.

Maybe we'll prepare this:

(Meat Loaf Hand Recipe at

and have dinner while watching George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead :)

I know what else we should watch... Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 2 Episode 6:  "Halloween".  Don't have it?  You can get it from Amazon's Video On Demand for only $1.99

Keep Safe!

Friday, October 30, 2009

WARNING: MacBooks Don't Accept Small mini CDs

I think I already knew this, but.... duh!

This afternoon we bought an ALFA USB Highpower Adaptor as a backup to our Engenius Bridge WiFi system.  It came with a mini-CD with the manual and drivers.  Hmmmm, can I put a small, mini-CD into my MacBook optical drive slot? Nothing on the box that says not to do so... It says this disk is for a bunch of Window OS and Mac OS... OK, let's give it a try...

Now, in hindsight, I think I had a situation like this once before and I had looked it up to see if I could put one of these little cute disks into the CD slot of my Apple MacBook, as I realized that there is no paperclip emergency pop out hole to use if/when the eject button won't work and I didn't do it.

So, back to the a few minutes ago... I kind of went, it should work... let's see if it will suck the disk in. No, it's not in far enough to suck it in so push it in a bit more... maybe a bit more.  I now have the little CD completely in the slot and nothing is happening.  No sucking in the disk sound, no spinning sound, no CD icon on the screen.... Oh Shucky Darn! So, maybe if I use the DVD we just rented and try to push it in a bit further... duh! That was a dumb thing to do.  Actually, I was probably lucky that I didn't get it onto the spindle (I assume there's a spindle that the hole goes onto).

So, for some reason I'm actually calm and not TOO panicked. I go to the site. I think their support & troubleshooting system sucks but it seems better than when I've used it in the past but no help here except it says only to use standard sized 120mm optical disks.

So I Google "macbook manual eject small cd". This gives me a few possible good leads to forums where people have asked about mini-cds and MacBooks.  One asked "can I insert a mini-CD in my MacBook" and someone answered "yes but have fun getting it out".

Oh, yes indeed, I did try the Restart computer and hold down trackbar to manually eject CD, but that didn't work as the CD wasn't really mounted. Since it's not mounted I couldn't use the helpful Go to Disk Utility, select the disk and eject.  Oh yes, the eject button itself didn't work either...

Fortunately, the 3rd choice I clicked on was helpful.  It said to shut the computer down. Hold it up so the CD slot is facing down and gently, very gently, shake the computer and hopefully the disk will slide out with gravity.

This didn't work.

So, we got out one of those thin plastic disks that come with blank DVDs as we didn't want to damage a DVD with a movie on it, and this protective disk is thinner.  Bob cut the disk in half and gently inserted it into the optical slot. He tried to pinch it with both halves (I'm holding the flashlight... I'm good at that... must be from doing time in the Emergency Room).  We then try tweezers but they are too big/thick to open in the little narrow slot.  He does some more manipulating with the plastic disks. It seems to have moved toward the opening but you can't see it due to the velour/pile at the opening.  He then gets this other tool from the manicure set that we don't know what it is for... maybe it is the special removing disk bonus tool!  Anyway, he used this to try and maneuver the disk closer to the front and out.

Then Bob asked me to get our Radio Shack electrical leatherman tool.  Where is it? In the electrical toolbox. But, before I had time to find the tool, Bob gently shook the computer as he was setting it down on the table and the CD dropped out onto the floor.  Buffy pounced on it!


Standard-size DVD - Mini CD - Manicure Mystery Tool - Tweezers 7 - Plastic Disk Halves

Well, not too fast... Let's start up the MacBook and see if it hasn't suffered from the "gentle shaking"...  I just inserted the new DVD it loaded up DVD Player but dark screen... I pressed the Play button and everything works. I quit DVD Player and ejected the DVD... Life is good...

and now it is sundowner time, althought the sun has been down for more an hour... So It Goes...

I hope this helps someone!

Another method to try is to put a post-it or some double-sided tape onto a thin card and put it in the slot so it will stick to the disc...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's snowing somewhere? Not here!

We just received an email from a charter client who told us her husband was delayed in the Denver snow storm.  It is difficult to imagine a snow storm when you look outside and it looks like this...

I just took this photo and decided to post it for all of you who might be wearing socks :)


Pass the Pepper Please

I saw this interesting post mentioned in either Lifehacker or Boing Boing...

It is from the blog WiseBread, Living Large on a Small Budget, and the post is titled: Bioavailability: How to Get More Nutrients from Your Food

I LOVE pepper and I'm going to have to make a point of using it more often :)

Here's an excerpt:
Black pepper isn't just for seasoning
Sprinkling a dash of black pepper does more than please your taste buds. The piperine in it increases the bioavailability of many substances through a bunch of cool processes, which results in more nutrients reaching your cells.  Not only that, but did you know piperine can act as an anti-depressant, pain reliever, and antacid, boost brain functioning, and help you sleep?! Can someone please pass the pepper STAT!
Hmmmm, pepper-flavored Rolaids perhaps?

Other sections of this post are:
  • Add Lemon to Your Tea
  • Have OJ with Your Meat
  • Cook Your Tomatoes and Carrots
  • Put Some Fat in Your Salad

I hope you enjoy this article, too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Special opening times Dutch St Maarten bridge Nov 6-14 2009

This morning's newspaper announced that the Dutch-side bridge to Simpson Bay Lagoon, St Maarten will be having a special opening schedule between November 6-14, 2009. Basically, it will open at 6:30am and 6pm, except for the Sunday which will be normal times.

You can see the article online or read below:
THE DAILY HERALD, Sint-Maarten Netherland Antilles

Bridge repairs resume Nov. 6 (2009)
~Road traffic not affected~

SIMPSON BAY--Repairs and maintenance on the Simpson Bay Bridge will resume on November 6 and continue until November 14, announced Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) Managing Director Russell Voges this week.

Vehicular traffic will not be affected, but maritime traffic will have to work with two opening times daily during the work period. Openings will be at 6:30am and 6:00pm for outbound and inbound vessels.

The bridge will be opened for short periods of no more than 15 minutes during the late evening hours to finalize the conservation of the underside of the deck.

For Sunday, November 8 only, the bridge will open for the three regular hours: 9:30am, 11:30am and 5:30pm for outbound and inbound maritime traffic.

From Sunday, November 15 until Monday, November 30, the bridge will open during the three regular hours.

As of Tuesday, December 1, the opening times will go from three to six per day for the high season which runs from December 2009 to May 2010.

The daily seasonal openings will be: 9:00am outbound, 9:30am inbound, 11:00am outbound, 11:30am inbound, 4:30pm outbound and 5:30pm inbound.

Contractor Hofman Sliedrecht NV will be carrying out the maintenance that entails the strengthening of two main girders and subsequent conservation of the structure; the repair of the bridge fenders, finalization of the electrical circuits and the standardizing of the traffic lights for maritime and vehicular traffic.

Motorists are advised to pay extra attention while crossing the bridge. A bucket truck will be parked on the sidewalks of the bridge deck and motorist should exercise caution when passing.

Considerable investments have been made to the bridge and everyone has a role to play in the longevity and safety of the bridge structure including those who transit in and out of the lagoon, according to SLAC.

After all repair and maintenance are completed, representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Water Management will inspect the works that have been executed and prepare a report for SLAC.
By the way, last we heard, the French-side bridge is only opening at 8:15am & 5:30pm until mid-November. See post.

Monday, October 26, 2009

BoatBits: "I Have A Cunning Plan" contest

Just realized that some of you might not be aware of the BoatBits contest: I Have A Cunning Plan.

Boat Bits BoatBits
Boat Bits Blog

Put on your thinking caps!

New Hotel Barge Cruise Vacations website uploaded

What did I do this weekend?  I did the happy dance!

After a couple of years of good intentions of creating a standalone hotel barge charter website, I finally did it and uploaded it. You can check it out: www.BargeCharters.Com

Of course, it's not completely finished yet, but the important bits are there and I can tweak it and add more information later.

I have also had to modify links to "European Barges" and "Hotel Barges" on the website, plus our various blogs. And, then there is the task of submissions to search engines.

Still more to do, but So It Goes...

Hope y'all had a good weekend, too!

Friday, October 23, 2009

BEATLES themed Monopoly & Trivial Pursuit board games

This morning sent me an email as a "get a free game" promotion.  One item in the email was a Monopoly Star Wars Clone version.  I found that interesting so I went shopping to see if Monopoly had any other themes.

I found this:

Wheeeeeeeeeee, that's really cool!

Product Features (from the Amazon site):
  • Six custom pewter tokens including: The Walrus, Here Comes the Sun, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Strawberry, Octopus's Garden, and Rocky Raccoon
  • The familiar Monopoly game play allows Beatles fans to own and trade some of the greatest icons in Beatles history.
  • Traditional Houses & Hotels are renamed Listening Parties and Concerts
  • A must have for any Beatles fan
So, all of you BEATLE PEOPLE go and check this out!

Oh, here's something else I just stumbled upon:

Product Features (from Amazon):
  • 2,592 questions with various degrees of difficulty 33% Easy, 33% Medium, 33% Hard
  • 6 categories include: history, songs, albums & singles, movies, the Beatles in America, on their own
  • All-new game board bonus track creates more strategy, more interaction and more fun
  • Custom game board features iconic photography of the fab four
  • Custom die features beatles logo and other icons

Get your's here

Outasite! Right on!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

French St Martin Sandy Ground Bridge October 2009

We went to get some water at the Marina Port La Royale this morning (French-side marina inside of Simpson Bay Lagoon) and asked if the bridge is working again.

Yes, but no mid-afternoon 2:30pm opening, like the Sunday schedule... He thought it would probably be this way until November 15, 2009 as they are working on the road.

The Sandy Ground Bridge is back together and opens at:
  • 8:15 am (outbound traffic first)
  • 5:30 pm (outbound traffic first)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faxing services while cruising, working nomads

I've been using eFax for the last 5 years. Nowadays, I send less than 5 faxes a year so the $16.95/month just didn't make sense anymore.

Over the past couple of years I started searching for other services but got distracted or discouraged or something and just stayed with eFax.

eFax is good in that you have a fax number that people send the fax to and then it is emailed to you in pdf format. I love that.  We have had many times when people could not send us faxes though. I would tell eFax about this but not get a response.  To send a fax, you just send an email with the fax number in the "To" address... something like " The file you attach to the email gets sent as a fax. You can also use their web interface but I've never done that but could be handy if using someone else's computer.

So, earlier this month after getting billed another $16.95 for a service I don't really use, I went on the hunt for something that suits our needs better and decided to go with MaxEmail.

It is very similar to use as eFax. I signed up for their free trial and sent a couple of test faxes between MaxEmail and eFax. MaxEmail worked just fine so I signed up with them.

MaxEmail LITE costs $24.00/year (as opposed to 12 months of eFax at $203.40). There was a $10 set up fee and they gave me a $2.95 promotional credit.

Click image to enlarge or Click this link to go to page

With this plan (MaxEmail LITE) you get 100 pages of INbound faxes/month. (I turned off the voicemail feature but you might like it). Outbound faxes are $0.05/30 seconds which means the $2.95 of credit almost gets you 10 minutes of faxing... Now, even if my fax takes 3 minutes that's only $0.30 and let's say I do that 5 times a year which comes to $1.50... Let's get silly and double that figure all the way up to $3... $24/yr subscription and $3 fax fees is now $27/YEAR which is still a lot less than my eFax of $203/year.

With the MaxEmail Lite plan you cannot choose your area code.  Ours is now a Chicago number but it really doesn't matter to me. This plan is affordable, some might say "cheap", and it meets our needs.

I wish I would have done this a couple of years ago... So It Goes...

I received a contract from a client yesterday via MaxEmail and the quality was just fine.  No problem.

I had a bit of a problem cancelling / terminating my eFax service. I wrote to them three times and did not get a response. I couldn't find anything on their website pertaining to this subject. Today I tried their "Sales Live Chat" and got a quick message back saying contact our special support team at

So that's another thing off "The List" HURRAY!!!

Hope somebody will find this helpful.

Monday, October 19, 2009

DIY Camera strap - Another project on the list

Here's another project I'm going to put on "The List".  It seems relatively easy though and not too time consuming.

It is a hand strap for a camera, rather than the long, over the neck sort of thingy.

Check out the instructions at PhotoJoJo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shopping in St Martin - Cat Blogging Friday

The US Import supermarket (Sandy Ground near Time Out Boat Yard & the French bridge) seafood display was really pretty today so I took a couple of pictures.

The salmon is on sale for 17€90/kg

 Click photos to enlarge

Gasoline is still 0.85 euros/litre on the French side.

I must do a proper post on prices in St. Maarten / St Martin.  When we were at the Grand Marche the other day, I was really surprised to see that their regular, plain, young Gouda cheese was three times more expensive than it was a couple of years ago. I used to buy a chunk for about 9.50NAF per kilo (guilders) and now it is 29.95NAF/kg.  1.80 guilders = $1.00... it is always the same rate, unlike euros. A 300% increase in 3 years for cheese seems a bit steep to me... but it is what it is... so it goes...

I'll have to go through and price the staples like rice, sugar, eggs, Bounty paper towels, toilet paper, cat litter, etc. Must make a list.

Our friend Kerry, owner of the charter trimaran Promenade, told us that in St. Thomas USVI they paid almost $8/gallon of milk and about $4 for a loaf of white bread.

Buffy & Willow say butterflies are free (doesn't Elton John say something about that, too?) and plentiful.

Willow brought the butterfly inside and Buffy is there providing backup in case it gets away :)

Going to take laundy over to Yvonne's at Bobby's Boatyard (Lagoon) this afternoon.  That's $9/load for wash, dry & fold.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gray, winter-looking day in St Martin / Maarten

Another gray and rainy day.  Looks like winter somewhere up north and not an October day in the Caribbean.

Where's the typical blue sky and puffy white clouds? No butterfly hunting for the kittens this morning.

But, one year ago today we were preparing for the category 3 Hurricane Omar, so I'm really NOT complaining.


Well, it has improved... Here's a picture I took at 5:45pm.

Have a good evening!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Still thinking about Halloween & cat costumes

Now I'm thinking about cat costumes and Halloween... So I went and looked at AMAZON PET COSTUMES

Here's one that would be good for Buffy...

She'll have to remove the gloves to get into Slayer mode.

And, of course, Willow needs this (just hope she doesn't say "bored now")


They'll stay at home and we'll have a party with Buffy & Willow here on So It Goes. Probably watch Trick-R-Treat again.

Hurray! We've had a few sprinkles this morning and it seems to have cleared up for the day. Can take the laundry over to Yvonne's at Bobby's Boatyard (Lagoon) this afternoon.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

HALLOWEEN Festivities & Foxy's Annual Cat Fight

Foxy's Halloween Cat FightIt's that time of year... Halloween will soon be upon us with Trick or Treating, Horror Movie Marathons, Fun Costumes, Halloween Theme Parties or how about something different like a Tiki Party....

And, of course (drumroll, please!) Foxy's Halloween Cat Fight! This popular & fun event is held every year at Foxy's, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. This year it is Friday, October 30 & Saturday October 31, 2009. Friday night is the Welcome Party and the Cat Fight racing is on Saturday, followed by the Awards Party.
Foxy's says: "Wear a costume, or just wear yourself, but show up at Foxy's annual Halloween Cat Fight. There will be surprise feature bands both nights! The West End Yacht Club again is our host for the Cat Fight, starting about 11AM on Saturday, Great Harbour. Neither rain, nor cold, nor lack of wind will keep these cats from a good fight."
If you don't have your own boat, treat yourself (no trick here) to a crewed yacht charter and enjoy yourselves.  Party down, watch the racing, party down some more, do some of the other above-mentioned activities such as dressing up and trick-or-treating around the anchorage, and then settle down to some DVDs. See our Paradise Connections "All About Yacht Charters" post to see some charter yachts that are available for Halloween.

Well, once again we have left it too late to get a moose costume for Halloween.  It just wouldn't get here on time.  But, some of you lucky readers may be able to take advantage of this:

Here's a good costume if you have the right type of dog...

So, check out's Halloween stuff

It's fun to stroll around their Halloween Store... sort of like way back when I was a kid and reading the "Monkey Ward" Christmas Catalog. Always a favorite of mine...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Zoom Q3 - Cool Video Recorder with Decent Sound Quality

Yesterday, sent us an email about the Zoom Q3 Handy Video Recorder.

The Zoom looks like a pretty nice unit (love the color).

I carry around a Canon PowerShot in my bag so I'll have something handy in case we see something interesting. The pictures the Canon takes are fine for general use, plus it shoots good-enough home movie video, but the sound sucks.

This Zoom would be a great camera to use for posting little serendipitous videos to YouTube where your sound quality IS important.

The Product Description definitely has some good points...
"...The Q3 has two condenser mics on-board, engineered in the same X/Y pattern that gives recording pros the best stereo recording possible... The Q3's X/Y microphones are directional, so you can "focus" the mics on your sound source like an "audio zoom" function. Use the onboard audio meters to set the gain to Low, High or Auto so you can record in very loud or very soft environments. Or use the Q3's Auto Record Level function to automatically set the appropriate recording levels for the situation! Shoot your video with the confidence that the Q3 is capturing great audio at the absolute best level possible."

Seems like a good little, affordable camcorder for boat folk, depending upon your needs... I know that it's not for everybody but take a look

Friday, October 09, 2009


It's Friday again.  This week has gone by fast.

This is a photo of Willow & Buffy together in the cockpit waiting for the butterfly buffet to begin.  The past 10 days we've had LOTS of cabbage white butterflies passing by the boat in the mornings.  I'm sure that Buffy has gotten her share, but Willow sometimes will bring them down to the salon to show us her prize.  Right now I can see their heads swivelling around tracking the butterflies.

Cats love the nighttime. Sometimes they just hang and take it easy.  Other times they go crazy and chase each other through the boat, up and out of the hatch, down the deck, and back inside.  They make this circuit many times, often running over my feet and leaving little punctures.

We used to keep the hatches fully open at night so they could go out, but I couldn't get a good night's rest as I would be having one ear waiting for a "splash" noise (or "ploof" in French).  They would be chasing each other about the deck... thumpa thumpa thumpa... screech screech (claws on fiberglass making sharp turn)... thumpa thumpa... and hopefully no "splash".

Buffy likes a good paper bag.  We get ours from Island Water World on St Maarten... they understand about cat toys.  The string (2mm double braid cord) on the left, is the kitten's favorite toy right now.

It looks like is having problems today as my "What I'm currently reading" widget on the right is sometimes not displaying the book, so I'll place it here in the text...

Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated

I like this book and I take it down from the bookshelf from time to time and read a bit of it which just happens to take my fancy.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tropical Storm HENRI soon come

Just read that at 5pm they will be declaring Tropical Strom HENRI... another storm that skipped the Tropical Depression phase.

Wasn't it just yesterday that we had the Magnitude 4.5 earthquake centered 18 miles to the east of us?  Didn't I mention that it was still "that season" and Omar happened October 15-16...

Screenshot of at 4:30pm AST Oct. 6,2009

Well, the thing I read at 4:30 said that it is to pass well north of the Lesser Antilles... We'll be keeping an eye on good 'ole Henri.

*** UPDATE 5:04pm

NHC has issued Advisory #1 and TS Henri forecast is good so far. When at 61W it is 21.5N & not TS but "remnant low" with max wind 25kt.

5pm October 6 2009

We'll keep checking though, because those things change... Like Ana earlier this year who kept us on our toes... She's going south, no north, through us, no south...

So It Goes :)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Earthquake in Sint Maarten / St Martin / SXM October 5 2009

Wow, here we are at anchor in St. Martin in the Simpson Bay Lagoon near Explorer Island and at about 12:30pm AST the boat started shaking.

What's that?  Are we dragging?  Is something pushing us?  What's that vibration? An explosion?  No "boom" so probably not... An earthquake?  Never felt an earthquake at anchor before.

Looked outside and everything is OK.  Our neighbor is also looking about, so obviously he felt it too.

Called the radio station (Island 92) and he said that their building (FedEx) was shaking. At 12:52pm the radio station had to go on generator power as GEBE must have gone down.

Nothing on the internet yet...

12:58pm AST

Just found this:

(which appears to be inaccurate as reports lower down says it was EAST of St Martin....)
SECA62 TJSJ 051651

1251 PM AST MON OCT 5 2009

1:09pm AST
More info... Map
Odd map... That's not SW of St Thomas... That's southEAST and right on top of St Martin!

So what's up???

1:19pm AST
I think that first report, mentioned above, from San Juan Puerto Rico made a typo when they said southWEST...
This site
lists it as being 18.043°N, 62.781°W and
29 km (18 miles) ESE (102°) from Marigot, Saint Martin, Guadeloupe
30 km (18 miles) E (87°) from Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

That's more like it :)

Hopefully we won't get tsunami... Kick 'em Jenny???

Saturday, October 03, 2009

French Bridge (St Martin) still closed

When we went to get water yesterday, we were told that the French bridge (Sandy Ground, Marigot, St Martin) will be closed through October 15, 2009... Hopefully not past that :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

More Tsunami News Pago Pago Samoa

Here's a link to Get the latest info direct from Samoa News.

Here's a link to a photo gallery "These are pictures taken by NOAA employee Gordon Y. in Samoa during the tsunami after the mag 8 earthquake. Images are in chronological order." There are 70 photos and you can either do a slideshow or click on the individual thumbnails.

There have been updates on the Living & Learning Aboard the Good Ship Learnativity site.
I am surprised that "tsunami" or "pago pago" was not a leading topic in Twitter.  Maybe it was but if so, I missed it.

Here's a sad post on Cruiser Log Forums:
  • "I realize this isn't really the place to list a boat, but... The woman who lost her husband in yesterday's tsunami just wants to go home to her family and is hoping to sell the boat without delay." READ MORE...
This must be about Joan who lost her husband, Dan.  So sad! I still cry when I read about them in Part III, listed above.

And another cruiser's blog Wandering the Oceans (Kimball Corson):
Latitude 38, 'Lectronic Latitude:
- - - - - - - - -
So far, it has been a gray and breezy day here on the other side of the world in St. Martin.

Enjoy life and those around you. Stay safe.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tsunami report : s/v Learnativity in Pago Pago

Wayne from the sailboat Learnativity in Pago Pago has an interesting post on his blog this morning.
Now that I’ve got a bit more time let me start at the beginning and take you through the day of September 29th, 2009 on the good ship Learnativity.
Read it here : Doing the Tsunami Tango in American Samoa: Part I

Ursa Minor in Fiji - Tsunami report

We received an email from Judy & Bryan on Ursa Minor this morning letting us know all was well and that they were not affected by the tsunami that hit Samoa this week.

Plus, they have put up a blog post to reassure their friends. I think the date should say 1st October 2009...
No Surfin' for Ursa Minor
09/25/2009, Vuda Point
By now just about everyone has become aware of the tsunami that rocked the Samoas and parts of northern Tonga yesterday. and, although some areas of eastern Fiji saw small tsunami waves, none were seen on the western side of Viti Levu. We followed developments closely on the internet as we still have friends in American Samoa both on and off yachts. And, the harbor in Pago Pago where we anchored for a month two years ago was one of the most devastated locations. Tomorrow we head out for Vanua Levu and another chapter in our Fiji experience.
Have a great sail!