Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dinghies Disturbances and Dongles


Elephants Child came with a slightly faded Caribe RIB dinghy and an aged Johnson 15hp 2 stroke. Which is a good thing. I do not need to obsess over security like the owners of brand new dinghies with shiny 4 strokes. Yes it will still get nicked if someone needs a new prop for that model or wants a ride back to their boat and can't be bothered waiting for the others to return from the bar.

It still gets locked up on the town quay but I don't lift it aboard every night like some feel they have to.

You can tell the long term cruisers by their dinghies, this was taken at Red Hook and I am sure that the owners of these have all been cruising for years.


Elephants Child had been at anchor in Benner Bay for about a week while I got on with fitting the Lofrans Tigres Anchor Windlass I had treated myself to. I finally got the job done and had tested it out without actually lifting the anchor but was expecting no problems there. We had planned a trip round to Magens Bay for Christmas but the weather gods were not very cooperative and the forecast showed a strong cold front coming through and a big northerly swell setting up.

So the decision was made to sit tight and see what it looked like after the front. However along came a local member of the armed constabulary who told us we had to move now and now meaning within the next 10 minutes. When we asked for more time he said we had to be gone within 30 minutes and at that point questioned our right to anchor here at all. He was working on the previous USVI registration for anchoring which showed the boat in Choclate Hole on St Johns.

So we upped anchor and took ourselves across to the closest anchorage, Christmas Cove. In retrospect we should have gone back to Charlotte Amalie but the forecast for the cold front did not say that it was a particularly strong one. The sun was shining as we anchored and the snorklers were hard at work in the cove as we cooked tea and settled down for the night.

The front arrived later around midnight with a serious squall. We do not have an anometer so it is only a guess but 40 knots plus is a fair bet. It continued to squall all night with copious rain and a very disturbed sea. I was glad I had worn my Extra Careful Jones hat the night before and laid a second anchor out although I don;t think we ever laid to it. The primary doing it's job all night. Several other boats in the cove dragged and had to re-anchor so there was much shouting, revving of diesels and clanking of chain. I do not think anyone in the cove got much sleep that night.

Anyway Carol finally decided next morning that the sailing life was not for her and Hemel Hempstead was calling her home.

So it was back the Charlotte Amalie and a flight home to the UK for her.


I had just got the papers through to prove deregistration of the boat from the US registry so I took the opportunity of having good coms available, [ the WIFI in BADASS COFFEE always works if the power is on ] to get some paperwork done, registering the boat on SSR and changing the EPIRB over to my name and looking through the impressive cabinetfull of documentation that came with the boat. I also have to register the windlass, TV, HF radio and some other minor stuff.

I was working away on this, head down, when I realised someone was on the boat! Sticking my head up I was greeted for the second time by a pair of shiny black shoes and a uniform asking me to move. This time it was for the New Years firework display. So this disturbance was for a good reason. I heard the forecast and yet another weather disturbance was forecast for the end of the year so I moved early and settled down just off the waterfront. Again I enjoyed standing on the bow and watching the anchor being whisked from the depths by the windlass, no more sweated labour on the manual Seatiger.

So here I am today the 30th and the disturbance has arrived. The hills behind Charlotte Amalie protect the harbour from the direct blasts of the squalls but the wind is swirling atround the harbour and the boats are all dancing around their anchors.

This disturbance like the last one has bought a lot of rain and the dinghy will be filling up. I am using this as an opportunity to check for deck leaks and so far so good.


One of the things I bought for the boat and am trying out for the first time is a little WiFi booster with a rubber duck aerial. Even sat on the table, down below, it has allowed me to connect up from the middle of the harbour when the cruise ships are in.

The cruise ships have their own very powerful wifi set ups which blanket the weaker signals the local transmitters provide.

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