Thursday, July 21, 2016


I have been interested in cars all my life which is natural when you know that my mum and dad owned a garage and lived on the premises and I grew up around cars. I fixed them, raced them, repaired them recovered them sold them and took them apart. The simplicity of the Morris Minor engine was not that different the mechanics of the 4 cylinder Mazda engine in the latest model 2 hatchback.
But in contrast with the first car built by Benz in 1885 they are generations away in terms of power output reliability and complexity. The engine used by Mr Benz only had one cylinder and the massive power output of 3/4 horsepower.

Although I was introduced to rifles when I was quite young as I did some 22 target shooting at the Milnathort rifle range and was taught to strip and clean the very basic single shot breech loader that was used for target work I was not that interested in the technology.

This all changed a couple of years ago when I met a self confessed serious gun nut when I was skiing in Salt Lake City and he started me off on the history of gun making and insisted that I should watch this video.

I did and marveled at the skills and craftsmanship of the early gunsmiths.

We have had some bad weather recently and while I have had a good wifi connection I watched and read some material on early gun designers and manufacturers.

Samuel Colt is recognized as the first manufacturer to mass produce guns with interchangeable parts. In other words the first production line was not thought up by Henry Ford.

Peter Mauser essentially perfected the design on the bolt action rifle in the 1880s at the same time as the first crude car with it's one cylinder engine rattled out of that shed in Germany.

That bolt action was used in World War 1 and 2 and is still sold today in a hunting rifle. The exact sane design.

Final thought all gun designers and gunsmiths are men although woman are widely employed on the gun production lines. Why is that ?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Whole hillsides have turned red as the flame trees come into blossom. The effect is made more spectacular because they have no leaves when they blossom.

The hummers like them too there were at least two maybe three working this tree without squabbling.

The other stuff is in bloom as well, it is wonderful what a bit of rain does out here.

Local Boat Names

A positive frame of mind.


I have seen lots of similar small herons before but this is the first one with a bright blue beak.

My bird book failed to help me out with an identification but it may be breeding plumage on a dark heron.


I guess there must have been some fouling on the loop which chewed through my primary line. Just as well I had a backup.

Monday, June 20, 2016


Serendipity strikes

What are the chances of finding Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney puddings in a tiny shop on a small Caribbean island.

Nothing like a bit of comfort food after a day spent trying to spear lion fish, I must have missed 10 time. I used to be a deadeye dick when I was out before. Maybe it is using a prescription mask instead of contact lens and a plain mask.

The tiny shop whoich is set up as a deli has a piece of deli history, a manual slicing machine. Much to my surprise I found they had bought it new only a year or two ago.

After a good fast sail down from Carriacou to Grenada I turned the corner at Calivigny island to come home to my mooring in Clarks Court Bay. I was a little upset to see that we have a sunken ferry marring my my view. it has been rusting away for years and I guess something finally gave way.

What is it with cats and books.

There I am just dozing off with my open book on my chest as I wait for the morning cruisers net to start up on the VHF.

Up he hops and settles down on the book on my chest with no sense of my personal space.


The tenacity of plant life is scary at times. Look at the cactus growing out of the corrugated tin roof over the winch.

For anyone who has seen Vanishing Sail Alwyn Enoe was the last boat builder to use the slipway and it's railway truck to build and launch a boat.


Finding a parking space is just hellish. It is not all beer and skittles in this cruising life.

I will just wedge my nose in here and gun it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


It was good to see one pelican back in Frigate Bay, nothing like the dozens that were here in the past but at least there is one.

Past days

This green crested hummer stayed put long enough for me to get a good shot which is unusual.

Is it safe? [ Marathon Man ] For the first time in 13 years crusing I was feeling unsafe and
I started looking into making it harder to break into the boat. This was in reaction to a boat invasion that happened in the Tobago Cays at the weekend. I found that I could brace the sliding part forward and wedge it tight shut with a wooden batten. The invaders had got past the usual deadbolt which had offered little resistance I reckon my wooden batten will offer more resistance. I did use it for a night then heard that the local police had the three guys in custody.

I am tired tonight as Smiler and I have taken a trip out to Worlds End Reef and snorkeled on the drop off. It was disappointing because as we got there some heavy cloud cover appeared. Even if it had been sunny the bleaching was bad on the area we covered and there was little life to be seen.

I am cleared out and off South tomorrow down to Tyrel bay in Carriacou.

Saturday, May 21, 2016


It was a good Caribbean sunset.

A little different view for me as I had ventured over to the South side of the bay to the Plantation hotel.

So had almost every other cruiser in the anchorage if the dinghy jam was anything to go by.

The water taxis were busy to running a shuttle service and the car park was looking busy as was the queue for a drink at the bar.

We were all here for the local first showing of a film about boat building in the Eastern Caribbean. Traditional boat building on the beach with few tools and little in the way of sophisticated design work. Just a half model held together with pins.

This movie made by Alexis Andrews tells the story of a local Carriacou boat builder a man called Alwyn Enoe building his last boat, sailing it to Antigua and racing it. When you see how much they still had to do just five weeks before the race, it seems impossible they can make it

It was wonderful. I was entranced and think I did not move in my seat for the whole film.

What made it special was that I had met Alwyn when he and his sons were extending the stern of the boat that kick started the resurgence of interest in the class of wooden boats known as Carriacou deck sloops. They just cut off the stern, stepped the planking and extended it back about 4 feet and remade the old stern to fit. All the work being done by eye.

I had also been on the beach at Windward where Alwyn has his boatyard and yes that is the old gingerbread house seen in many shots in the film.

This was the framework built of white cedar cut from trees that Alwyn had chosen as he ranged over the island looking for the right shapes to give his last boat the strength and shape he had in his minds eye.

This was during the launch,

I missed the actual launch party but it was just as well as they are soaked in strong local rum and involve a blood sacrifice. Just a goat rather than a local virgin but I am not sure the goat sees the benefit.

Saturday, May 14, 2016


After a few days round the South side of Bequia anchored off Petit Nevis and snorkeling my buns off I returned to Admiralty bay to meet up with Chris who looks after my bimini and dodger.

She had finally got some of the special white vinyl I wanted and made my new bimini.

This was badly overdue but I wanted made in Stamoid rather than Sumbrella.

I can stop worrying as the old one was fragile and could have been blown to shreds in a squall.

I also had my front dodger windows replaced. I had asked Chris of Bequia Canvas to do this but she had no suitable transparent material that she was comfortable using.

I had asked around and apparently something has changed and many manufacturers are having problems with general chalking and sun related streaking. Mine were only 18 months old and needed replacing.

I had arranged to have some new chaps made for Mr Dinghy. Grenadine Sails do a really good job and for a very fair price. They also did the dodger windows.

Dizzy checks out the new clothes.

Saturday, May 7, 2016



Gisela and I

enjoyed an evening promenade through the village of Hamilton

and up to the battery

overlooking the harbor

where we enjoyed our sundowner.


We went exploring Bequia by bus.

Paget Farm is the largest community in Bequia, an 18 square kilometer island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The predominantly fishing community of approximately 750 individuals of mixed African, Scottish and Carib Indian descent is located on the southwest coast near the island’s airport.

Paget Farm is intricately connected to the sea. Its local economy has been significantly impacted by the loss of the country’s seafood export rights to the European Union in 2004, which now prohibits the sale of products to their main market in Martinique.

All this exploring is thirsty work.

All the houses have splendid views.

We finished off our week in Bequia with a splendid evening out at the Fig Tree.

I had planned to leave it to Sunday before sailing over to St Vincent but the weather was looking iffy for Sunday so we pootled over on Saturday with the wind in our favor we could lay Young island Cut in a single tack.

The rain did arrive but cleared up by mid day Sunday and we took the opportunity to explore Young Island resort.

A lovely old mango tree.

A St Vncent parrot, very rare in the wild.

But Condor was coming to carry Gisela back to Germany and her neglected garden.

While I left the delights of the cut and it's bumpy rolly moorings for the peace of Bequia.

Mind you I wondered what is going on when this rumbled in. Maybe they are expecting a drugs interception. Who knows.
French Navy Maito-class large harbour tug MAITO A636. 
Launched: 6 Jan 1984 In service: 27 Feb 1984. 
228 tons light 280 tons loaded 27.6m x 8.9m x 3.5m 11 knots 
Crew: 6 total + 4 passengers 
Built for service at Muraroa. Based at Fort-de-France.