Monday, November 30, 2009

Last day of official H-Season

November 30th is here at last!  The last day of "official" Hurricane season in the Caribbean.

Buffy is prepared

I've heard that historically, there have been those H-type storms in every month of the year and not just June through November. So always be prepared.

Dr. Jeff Master's has an interesting blog entry today on his Wunderblog, titled Hurricane Season Draws to a Close.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday Sunday Sunday in St. Thomas

Can't believe it is 3pm already.  Where did the day go?

Well, I did sleep in for an extra 45 minutes... and Bob & the kittens didn't seem to mind the extra snooze time either.

Had breakfast outside in the cockpit which was nice and then we went inside to check our email.  Sometimes the internet just seems to trap you and you're not even aware that time is passing.

I did call Kim (45 minutes!) of the charter yacht QWEST and had a nice chat.

I then posted comments from our recent guest aboard QWEST that you can read HERE on our Paradise Connections Charter Yacht Blog.

Had lunch. More email... Oops, forgot to give the cats their lunch (they are such good girls!).

Then we got to looking at recorders (musical wind instrument type) on We watched the  Great Big Sea's DVD the other night who play alot of traditional Newfoundland music which got us headed in this direction.  Bob wants a Bodhran drum Should probably get an instructional DVD for that, too :)

I think I'm going to order this one.  It's a Yamaha 3-piece Soprano Recorder. It's pretty inexpensive and I like the blue, although the pink is cool, too. The instruction book costs more than the instrument but I think our neighbors will appreciate it :)

Maybe Kim & Rich will let me play along with their ukeleles?

Aren't you glad we anchor far away from the crowds?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday in St Thomas - Reefco, Opus, Cruiseship

On Friday, we went to Reefco to pick up a package that was quickly sent to us... Thank you US Postal Service.  Priority Mail works great to get things fast to the US Virgin Islands and is so much cheaper and less hassel than FedEx or similar that classifies St Thomas as an exotic, international destination and thus charges you through the nose (what an odd expression!).

Here are photos of the dogs of Reefco...

Edy & Denny's Jack Russell Terrier, Zoe

Tracy & David's Scottish Terrier, Connor

After chatting for a bit, we went to see if Scotty of Hi-Tech Watersports had our dive tanks ready, then we went to visit the trimaran OPUS which is a charter yacht that has a new owner-operator.

Billy bought OPUS in May this year and we were happy to meet him and see how OPUS was doing as we haven't inspected the boat in a few years as it has been out of charter. Looking good!

Billy has lived in St Thomas for over 20 years (thought he looked familiar) and thus has excellent local knowledge for running a charter yacht. He is a dive instructor who enjoys diving (some don't!) and first mate/chef Kimberly is a dive master. We are confident that OPUS will be a successful operation as they fulfill a niche that has been increasingly ignored over the past few years...  A good, affordable multihull that offers diving and fun for 6 guests with 3 double cabins. We have plenty of "luxury" catamarans but not enough of the meat & potatoes variety :) We already have our first charter group booked on Opus! HURRAY!!!

You can see Opus' online brochure: and contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters for more information.

While chatting with Billy aboard OPUS on his mooring in Elephant Bay, there was a nice sunset.

Then, there was this disturbing sight as the cruiseship was leaving port

They do have powerful bow thrusters... fortunately :)

Too close for MY comfort though, especially if I was that little yellow sailboat.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cat Blogging Friday: St Thomas Disney Cruiseship

On Wednesday, the Disney cruiseship Magic was in port at Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

The Disney cruise ship leaving St. Thomas, USVI

Our cats, Buffy & Willow, don't like it when the megayachts sound their horns when they pass through the bridge in St. Maarten. Car & truck horns don't phase them, but boats make them go below.

I wondered what their reaction would be to the Disney's annoying "When You Wish Upon A Star" horn... sort of like mine... run below :)

Willow & Buffy hiding

Poor things... Hopefully we'll be gone before Disney comes back to St Thomas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Must Have Thanksgiving Music : Alice's Restaurant Massacree

This is such a classic and I'm surprised we don't have it... Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant Massacree

"This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the restaurant, but Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant, that's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's Restaurant.... Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago, was on - two years ago on Thanksgiving, when my friend and I went up to visit Alice at the restaurant..." - Lyrics from Alice's Restaurant

Arlo Guthrie's Thought for The Day is:
"If they're only going to play one song of mine on only one day each year, it might as well be the longest one I wrote" - ADG

This album came out in 1967 and my brother had it recorded on reel-to-reel tape! I loved it then and I love it now.

You can buy Alice's Restaurant Massacree through's MP3 download... I just did.  It is only 89 cents and it is almost 16 minutes long... SUCH A DEAL!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

St Thomas USVI - Lunch with Hanalei Bay

Yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon, the charter yacht HANALEI BAY invited us to lunch at Coconuts in downtown Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.

Franz & Diane of Charter Yacht HANALEI BAY

It was nice to see Franz & Diane again. We have had many charters aboard Hanalei Bay, plus we have clients aboard for New Years! We know that they'll have a wonderful sailing vacation and an excellent celebration to bring in the New Year.

For information about chartering Hanalei Bay, contact Paradise Connections Yacht Charters.

I had the grouper salad which was very nice.  I've been wanting fish for a while.

The waiter took a group photo and said it would be up on their website next week. Franz had twisted my arm to have a Bushwacker so I hope I don't look too whacked out :)

BLOCKBUSTER closing St Thomas US Virgin Islands store

Shame on you, Blockbuster!

I was VERY disappointed today when we went to Blockbuster. We have $7+ credit and we wanted to use it up before leaving. They have $.99 DVDs Monday to Wednesday. We had already selected 3 movies and a clerk came up to us and asked if we were renting.  Yes, of course... that's the normal activity at Blockbuster :)

Well, she said they are no longer renting DVDs, but we can buy them if we wished.... WHAT?!

Turns out that Blockbuster is closing down the store in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and also some in Puerto Rico. Bummer!

Big Bad Bummer for the employees who I think just found out about this as they would have mentioned this to us when we were just in the store a couple of days ago.

I felt so bad for them (and that we couldn't rent movies & use up our credit). To lose their jobs especially during the holiday season... How awful.

Thumbs down for Blockbuster. Boo Hiss.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

St Thomas - Thanks Promenade

Yesterday morning (Monday) I sent a quick email to Lisa of the charter trimaran Promenade asking if she could pick up 6 12-packs of Coke for us when she goes to Cost-U-Less.  I thought I was probably too late and that they would be gone before receiving my request.

In the evening we were pleasantly surprised to see Rich & Lisa dinghying over to us with a stack of Coke Zero and Fresca boxes.  That was so nice of them and we really appreciate it.

Here are a few photos that Lisa took of us...

Caught relaxing on the foredeck

Buffy was being very sociable

Even Willow came out to say hello

Thanks for the photos.  Have a safe trip back to Tortola and hope to see you soon!

Monday, November 23, 2009

St Thomas Sunday - Promenade is here!

Yesterday (Sunday) we went to the local K-Mart and bought a few things, then we went to the fuel dock at the Yacht Haven Marina.  They are open until 4:30pm on Sundays so that was useful.

We got a couple jerrycans of water ($0.20/gallon) and some gasoline ($3.37/gallon). This time we asked for a receipt :)

We also went to Wendy's because we wanted a Chili & Cheese baked potato.  Again, they didn't have chili... I don't know about potatoes :)

Just as we were returning to So It Goes, Bob sees a schooner and then he recognizes that it's the trimaran Promenade... COOL!

My camera was having problems, but you can still make it out OK

They were anchoring right behind us so we told Lisa who had just dropped the anchor (of course) that DPNR made us move from there and they should move up a bit. I hoped they didn't think I was trying to get rid of them :)

Later, Lisa & Rich came over in the dinghy.  Buffy was very friendly and played with Lisa.  Willow even got up the nerve to come out a couple of times and check things out.

By the way, Promenade is still available for New Years!
PROMENADE (trimaran)
10 guests maximum
Open for New Years on or after Dec.28th through Jan.4
Rate: $15,990/wk for up to 10 guests - Lowered rate!
This low rate is also in effect for open dates in January 2010.
Contact Paradise Connections for details.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

St Thomas USVI Saturday: Tutu Park Mall

Yesterday, Saturday, we went up to the big "country" K-Mart at Tutu Park Mall.

Again, it was a bit of a disappointment... at least it wasn't as busy as I expected for a Saturday. The only thing we bought there that we couldn't get at the smaller "downtown" store at Lockhart Gardens was a couple of pairs of shorts for Bob. They have more magazines at the big store but not really any more products that we could get excited about.

We walked down the mall and went into FootLocker but there's one across the street from where we are anchored... need new sandals... Bob's Columbia Sportwear sandals fell apart before their time awhile back and I noticed that mine have just (I hope) started to have that sandal smell.

We went to the video/music/game store near the end of the mall but we were not really in the mood. We get most all of our DVDs and music from Amazon.

The food court was sad. Only two choices and neither were appealing.

We then went outside and around to the Plaza Extra supermarket. We were told that they were better/cheaper than Pueblo, but we didn't find that to be the case. We did buy a pumpkin pie ($4.99) and enjoyed that for our lead up to Thanksgiving.

We popped in and out of Western Auto and also Office Max.  Boring!

We caught a ViTran bus back downtown with our one shopping bag.

At least it is nice to know that we haven't been missing anything :)

We'll hit Cost-U-Less for a bit of provisioning the day before we leave towards Antigua.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday CAT BLOGGING ... Friday again?

Can't believe it's Friday already/again and that we've been in St. Thomas USVI for 8 days (although my feet know it!)

Here's a picture of Buffy trying on her Halloween costume.

Willow had one, also, but was too excited to hold still for a sister picture.

My brother sent me this photo today of Edgar the Basket Case :)

He loves sleeping in baskets and he barely fits in this one.  Edgar is a Ragdoll.  He sleeps there just about every night now.  Too cute.  One of their other cats, Aquila who is larger than Edgar, likes to sleep in it during the day, but Edgar sleeps there at night.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

St Thomas USVI - Cost-U-Less & Home Depot

This morning we went to Home Depot and Cost-U-Less... but first a bit about yesterday's water run.

We went to the Yacht Haven Grande marina in Long Bay, St. Thomas, USVI to fill two jerrycans of water. They are the blue 5-gallon ones (6 gallons if you fill tiptop). The guy at the dock was very nice. He told us that water was 20 cents/gallon and that we had two 6-gallon jugs.  He asked if we wanted a receipt and we told him it wasn't necessary. He then used a calculator to figure that 12 gallons at $0.20 = $3.60.  I had $2.50 out and then gave him $3.75 instead.  I was a bit confused but didn't want to make a scene... I don't think he did it on purpose. He probably charged us for 3 jerrycans or entered 30 cents instead of 20.  Next time I'll ask for a receipt.

This morning, DPNR asked us to move.  They didn't ask the boats in front of us so we moved up with them.  The DPNR officers seemed surprised that we didn't make a fuss... we said OK no problem... He said you must move immediately... OK.  He hesitated and then told us Thank you for your cooperation and have a good day.

So, after sorting that out, we hung up the rest of the clothes to dry and then dinghied into the Coast Guard dock near the green Legislature building. We crossed the street to catch the bus and dropped off a small bag of trash into one of the three small garbage cans they have there at the corner of Vendors Plaza and the Fire Station where the traffic lights are.

We caught the VITran Bovoni bus and he dropped us off in front of Home Depot's parking lot (we didn't have to walk up the hill).  It only cost $1 (exact change for the machine) each, while the safari/dollar bus is $2.

Home Depot was a bit of a disappointment. You can tell as we only spent $17 there :)

Cost-U-Less... No tortillas? darn! Didn't see the guacamole either. We bought one of their roasted chickens ($5.99) for lunch and now have some nice leftovers.  Buffy thought it was pretty tasty, too! Coca-Cola products were a bit cheaper there at $4.39 a 12-pack but it is easier for us to walk over to the Long Bay K-Mart and pay $4.99. Good price on potato chips (same as St. Maarten Cost-U-Less).  The corn chip strips they have at this store are good ($4.95?) but really bulky to carry on the bus unless you scrunch them down in your bag :) Price on an 8-pack box of S&W corn was good ($6.95?) so got one. Bought the box of Crystal Light which is cheaper than the tube.  Only place we've ever seen it is at Cost-U-Less. We might get a blue water jerrycan from them for about $12 which is much better than the marine stores. They didn't really have anything super special though :(

Maybe we'll go up to Tutu (hopefully on a ViTran bus as I'm cheap) and check out the big K-Mart and see what Plaza Extra has for food shopping. We've been told that they are less expensive than Pueblo.  The thing about Pueblo is that they are closer and easy to get to by dinghy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Laundry & Prices on St Thomas, USVI

This morning we went to Crown Bay Marina to do our laundry to find that they are closed for renovations for another couple of weeks.  So, we walked our clothes to the laundromat right across from Nisky Center, which worked OK as we wanted to go to Radio Shack to buy a new multimeter.

Speaking of multimeters, we went to Radio Shack the other day to buy new batteries for our current Radio Shack multimeter but the set of three cost $15.  The new unit we bought today (batteries included) came to $23.

Back to laundry...

This laundromat was very clean and airy. The machines appeared to be in good nick and they have several large tables for folding. There is a soap dispenser, too. The manager was nice and helpful but a bit tedious with his instructions on how to use the machines but I understand that...

The machines take quarters and they have 2 change machines that will change up to a $20 bill.

They have 5 or 6 standard top-loaders in the back for $3.50

The front loaders:
  • small = $5.00
  • medium = $6.75
  • large = $11.75
Unfortunately, they didn't say how many pounds or kilo machines these were, so I can't tell you.

The dryers were $0.25 for 4 minutes. Worked well.

We then stopped in at Gourmet Gallery to pick something up for lunch. I was thinking about lettuce for our sandwiches but at $2.75 for an iceberg lettuce, I passed.  We got a dozen large eggs for $4 and a 6-pack of pita bread for $2.

Prices in general are higher in St Thomas than St Martin.  Beef is cheaper.

Tomorrow we plan to go to Home Depot and Cost-U-Less. Not sure if that will be $1 or $2 on the safari bus.  Where is the breaking point? I know Tutu is country, but is that the beginning of the country designation? We'll see.

Going to return DVDs to Blockbuster and get a few more.  Monday through Wednesday if you rent three or more "non-new-release" DVDs (the DVDs in the center part of the store, not including TV shows) they are only $0.99 each. Such a deal!!!

We are also going to take jerrycans for water and gasoline over to Yacht Haven marina to top up.

It is a nice sunny day to hang out our laundry.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St Thomas - Mail Call

Today is a much nicer day in St. Thomas USVI weatherwise.

Although, Bob did have to go and rescue a tiger that was swimming in the bay.

We hope to find it's owner.  If not, we'll adopt him.

This morning we went to Reefco Services and picked up our treasures!  Many thanks, Edy, for being our mail drop. We didn't go to St Thomas in May as we had planned so our Amazon, Harmony House, Animal Rescue Site, etc orders kind of built up and it was like Christmas with all of the goodies we had waiting for us.

 These DVDs will last us several months, especially since we usually watch at least the previous season of a series before watching the new one. Books, too!

Lots of dried vegetables & dried meat-like substances from Harmony House (see link in the left column).

So, now we are off to Radio Shack to buy a spindle or two of blank DVDs and go to Pueblo to do a bit of shopping for dinner.

Tomorrow might be laundry day at Crown Bay Marina.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stormy weather in St Thomas this morning

It has been a pretty crappy morning weatherwise today in St Thomas US Virgin Islands.  The radio said we received 1.5 inches of rain in 90 minutes and the weather station shows a gust of 30MPH. They are forecasting more funkiness for this afternoon.

In the wee hours of the morning between 2-3am, a sailboat anchored near us in Long Bay, "downtown" Charlotte Amalie STT. They were flashing a spotlight around so I put on our deck lights for about 15 minutes to help them see us.

This morning when the alarm went off at 7am I was tired and thought about delaying putting on the coffee for a half hour... This was not to be.  There was a strange noise that we recognized as being a motor and then Bob saw a pair of masts through the port above our bed.

Our new neighbor was motoring to keep off of us. This was a bit worrying, so Bob put on foul weather gear, let out some chain, and stayed outside for about an hour until the weather let up a bit.

This photo was taken at 9:45am... MORNING!!!

I must mention that the crew from our new neighbor dropped by and apologized for being so close to us after the wind had shifted this morning. That was a nice gesture.

The water is very brown from the run-off from land.  There's also lots of stuff floating in the water that comes from the "guts" or ditches that collect lots of trash and branches, then gets washed out into the bay during heavy rains.  Quite often when this happens, people see all of this garbage floating in the harbour and blame the boats for it when in truth it is from the land dwellers... So It Goes :)

We still have a light drizzle, so we are staying put on the boat rather than collecting all of the treasures we had sent to our friends at Reefco Services. Thanks again for holding our mail, Edy. We are so looking forward to our DVDs, books, and whatever else we ordered :)

Haven't blogged in a bit. We left St Martin on Tuesday and arrived in St Thomas USVI Wednesday, cleared in on Thursday morning. More on that later, maybe.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

We are out of Simpson Bay Lagoon HURRAY!

This morning we left the Simpson Bay Lagoon (St. Martin) at the 8:15am opening of the Sandy Ground (Marigot) bridge.

We are back at our spot in Marigot Bay and what a difference both Bob & I feel.  Freedom!  The water is such a light, clear blue and such a nice breeze.  Just feels clean and fresh. HAPPY!!!

If you are entering the lagoon, we are on the right side of the channel to the bridge, all by ourselves.

No problem seeing the chain.

We plan to sail to the Virgin Islands tomorrow morning to attend the St. Thomas charter yacht show. This is the way to St. Thomas...

Got a few more things to do and then it's time to go swimming!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Cat Blogging Friday: Wacka

Thank you Derek, for scanning and sending us photos from the Black Moon era. We really, really appreciate it... they're priceless!

This is Wacka. We found her through an ad at the American Church in Paris (France). She came from the Paris suburb of Sceaux.

These photos are when Bob & I lived on the River Seine aboard the barge Black Moon in Le Port Marly, downstream and to the west of Paris.  We used to see the actor Jean Reno when we went shopping at the Monoprix in Saint-Germain-En-Laye where we'd catch the train into Paris :)

Here's me and Wacka at the kitchen window watching the ducks.

This is Wacka sitting on the ledge of our bedroom window.

Fond memories... Has it been 25 years?