Friday, April 11, 2014

HUNTER $1000 LIONFISH FOR DINNER


The Sunday hunt was over, the hunters had returned from the reefs, one was richer by a $1000 which was the prize for the hunter with the biggest bag and the prey were having their venomous spines scissored off and prepared for the grill.

The lionfish, which was introduced accidentally most likely when some escaped from home aquariums in hurricane Andrew, is a very successful ambush predator and is changing the population of the reefs in the Caribbean. So these sponsored hunts turn the apex predator, man in Lycra with speargun, loose on the reefs to do a little to redress the balance.

WRECK SNORKEL

The Andes with her cargo of Trinidad pitch came into Deep Bay after being refused permission to enter the commercial harbor in Antigua. The harbor authorities rightly suspected that as there were plumes smoke coming from the hollow masts on the Andes there might be a fire on board. The crew opened the hatches after they had anchored and the fire which had been smoldering below got going in earnest, the Andes burned out and sank in Deep Bay. The stump of the main mast is still visible above the surface with the hull just under the water so it is a great snorkel spot. The gulls like to perch on the stump too.

It is amazing how well the wreck has held it's shape but the sea is slowly reclaiming the iron and the wood will go too.

There were fewer fish species than usual but the Sergeant Majors were abundant,

After our morning's exertions we treated ourselves to lunch ashore which came with two hungry young cats. It was with some difficulty that I restrained myself from shanghaiing the black one into a life Elephants Child.

Friday, April 4, 2014

CHILLING OUT IN FIVE ISLAND HARBOR ANTIGUA

While we are waiting for Classics and also Budget Marine / Tohatsu to come back with a decision on the warranty claim on the engine



we moved to Five Island Harbor for a little quiet time. But even here Lorrie found she had to fight off the unwanted attention of the dinghy.

We spotted this unusual rig and are wondering what you would call it. I guess they are lug sails so is it a lugger?

We went for a walk along the beach at the Hermitage resort. $1500 a NIGHT for a room there. But the sand is the same for us. We saw lots of shells like this and wondered if there was some kind of marine predator that can drill such neat round holes?

Such questions continue to baffle us as we deal with the urgent business of which sundowner and what appetizers to go with them.

Hmmm Dark and Stormies I think with smoked salmon cream cheese on posh crackers!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Collapsed bearing on the crankshaft

Well the reason behind the clonk bang bang became clear on dismantling the engine.



The bottom seal on the crankshaft had failed and the bottom bearing had been subjected to salt water so it failed also. This would also explain why the bottom spark plug needed frequent replacement.






I can only hope that the spares are going to be available.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

RUMBLE BANG BANG CLONK CEASED MOVEMENT OH DEAR!

Well I was zipping across Falmouth harbor in Antigua when my two year old Tohatsu 18hp 2 stroke started sounding very unhappy and slowed down.

I throttled back and it clonked on for a moment or two before stopping. It restarted briefly but now does not turn at all. Some kind of catastrophic internal failure I think.

OH POOT!

The situation is complicated of course by the fact that I bought the OB in St Maarten and am now in Antigua with no intention of going to St Maarten this year.

Tohatsu offer a five year warranty. I wonder has anybody had any success claiming on this.

Or should I just buy a shiny new Yamaha?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SLC AIRPORT and BACK ON BOARD

I just can not believe how slick Salt Lake City airport is compared to Miami. I drove in the rental car and dropped it off with the people at Alamo processing me through in 2 to 3 minutes. Walked across the road to the flight check in, used the automatic check in device to scan my passport and got waved forward to baggage check in where the guy was waiting with my boarding passes and the luggage label, another 3 minutes.

Relieved of my luggage I ambled down to security to find again I was prechecked and avoided the scrum removing shoes/belts/jackets/laptops etc. My carryon went through the scanner I went through the usual arch and reunited with my bag and a minute laterI was free to enjoy some airport retail therapy. I remembered from last year that the WIFI was free, so I fired up the lappie and was soon deep in my email inbox.

OK if I return next year I have to find a way of avoiding Miami.




Spotted this hanging from the roof though. Weird?

My knees are saying well before you book a return to the ski slopes can we talk about this. But I reminded them of the 80 year old we met still skiing on 210 GS race skis and the old farts group all 80+ that meet regularly to hoon about at Alta. Yes I am creaky and it is not getting any easier but to manage to cruise down the blues and easier blacks on a sunny day in the rockies is such a delight. Also I am lucky to find a poker game that is laidback and not too cut throat. Eric runs a great home game and varies things to stop it being boring.




So somehow I think I will be back in Salt Lake City next February, maybe a week or two earlier than this year. The memory of standing at 11,000 feet in the Rockies on a sunny day with a perfectly groomed piste falling away in front of my feet is so vivid, so sharp and so amazingly life enhancing that I have to see if I can repeat it. To say nothing of carving my way at speed down the hill with the snow hissing as it spumes off the tails of my skis.

Well I collected Dizzy Sox from cat hell
and I have been on maximum guilt trip ever since. He has been welded to my side and as good as gold. I can hear cat telepathy bouncing off my brain as he beams messages of cat love and pleas not to be sent back. Although it looks like they did a good job at PAAWS he is obviously happy to be back on board.


Marker buoy misplaced. Anyone looking for the port side channel marker at the entrance to Falmouth harbor will find it in the car park behind the gas station.

23 days with out water. We need water onboard Elephants Child. We do have a watermaker but I like to keep things simple so fill up our tanks when ever we can. I knew there was a water shortage in Antigua but when I called the fuel dock for water and diesel they tell me it is 23 days since they have had water. From the taps in the marina. I wonder what the mega yachts are doing?

After calling around it turned out that Catamaran Club had water and we got our tanks filled. So I did not have to go to all the hassle of recommissioning the watermaker which would have been a real PITA.

All the supermarkets have HUGE stocks of water in.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HURRICANE WINDS IN THE MOUNTAINS

I took a much needed day off yesterday as the forecast was for a strong cold front to blow through with very high windspeeds.



Most of the high lifts were closed and resorts were reporting winds in excess of 90 mph. This is equal to a cat 1 hurricane. I did not hear of damage in the resorts but trucks were blown over and barns destroyed.

I woke up today to snow on the car



but nothing like the snow I had last year.



With the promise of better conditions lower down I decided to make the trip up to Snowbasin for my last day on this ski trip. After all a bit of luxury never hurts.


Marble tiled toilets.


Elegant washbasins.


Comfortable chairs in front of real fires when you feel the need to relax for a moment.

And last but not least the best on mountain lodge with the best chilli I have tasted so far.

But it was cold and with enough wind to add significant wind chill so I was in silk balaclava and inner gloves mode for the morning.

In the afternoon the clouds rolled in and the light went so I stayed on familiar runs until my knees cried uncle.

I drove back to Salt Lake City thinking that although the dates were kind of forced on me by the problems with the autopilot and cutlass bearing delays skiing this late on had given me a lot of blue sky days and as Alta has a base station that is higher than the summit lift at Whistler good snow conditions as long as I chose the resort for the day carefully.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

MORE BLUE SKY DAYS AT ALTA

Well I got my to do list seen to in the morning with visits to Harbor Freight and an auto store so headed up to Alta.



I was a little worried that it would be crowded as it was the weekend and certainly I did see this queue at the bottom lift but once I was up the queues disappeared.

Just another perfect day in the mountains at Alta.