Tuesday, July 13, 2010


63 today

Well it was a wonderful morning in the Tobago Cays, a swim before breakfast and as I walked barefoot on the beach I thought life at 63 is pretty good.

Then a cup of special German coffee, the last of the supply Gisela bought out with her in the cockpit as I watched the kite surfers at play and the polite boat boys solicit business without being at all pushy. "Need anything skip" was the usual cry.

Then life issued a reality check when I went to wash up and I realised that I had run out of water, ah well I was heading South to Union Island and on to Carriacou anyway.

The run down from Bequia had been notable as Elephants Child had sailed past an 80+ foot megayacht carrying all sail. Mind you when I had a look at the sails I saw why, baggy and blown out sails are not efficient. Still we were pushing 8 knots at times.I stopped off at Canouan as the sky was dark and stormy and the entrance to the cays is reef navigation by eyeball and you want good light.


A Bahamian Bobby on sleepy northern Eleuthera island did what the FBI had not managed to do and arrested Colton Harris-Moore, AKA the barefoot bandit. At least that was the crac on the SSB net this morning.

Island police picked up his trail after recovering a 44-foot boat stolen from a marina on Abaco, 40 miles to the north, where he crashed the stolen plane and carried out a string of burglaries including one where he watched television and helped himself to snacks from the fridge.


45 years ago I started work in the family garage in sleepy Kinross and Britain was the second biggest car maker in the world after the USA. Some years later I was at Loughborough College and got interested in the global dynamics of car manufacture. It was while I was there that British Leyland became the first UK car maker to sell out to the Japanese and start assembling a Japanese car and badging it as British, anybody have a Triumph Aclaim well you were really driving a Honda Balade. Soon you could buy a Volvo with a Volkswagen gearbox and a Peugeot engine, Fords had Mazda badges and vice versa. Britain sank down the ranks and by the time I took my 7 year sabbatical cruising on Carpe Diem even Spain made more cars than Britain.

Oh yes and someone sang about nine million bicycles in Beijing, very few cars though.

How things change as last year China overtook Japan as the world's biggest car maker. This year it overtook America as the biggest car market. There are 20 or so new carmakers who have sprung up all over China in the past decade many of whom do not export. But one of them just bought the Volvo name from Ford and Volvos are now manufactured in China.

Oh yes and India is not that far behind.

Who cares I hear you say. Well that is a lot more steel, copper, rubber, lead and oil especially oil is being bought and turned into shiny 4 wheel 4 seat vehicles that mostly carry one person. The bad news is the supplies of steel, copper, rubber, lead and oil especially oil are finite.

Everybody loves their car, it is freedom, a positive wealth statement, a piece of territory to defend and the world can no longer afford it. But who is going to tell Mr and Mrs Wu that they can not have a shiny new PJD, sorry Volvo but must keep bicycling in Beijing.

What bought this rant on, well I still pay a little attention to the dynamics of the global car business, but it was the sight of three proud car owners washing and polishing their cars outside what looked like a single family house. A three car family on an island 5 miles long.

Oh yes and as BP is leaking the stuff into the Gulf the date the world runs out of oil has just got a little closer, the crunch cometh in 2027.


  1. I just looked up the Tobago Keys on Google Earth and looked at peoples photos posted there. OMG, what a fabulous place. I wouldn't ever want to leave. It's gorgeous. Paradise!

  2. Oh and I said it on your FB page, but I will say it here as well..

    Happy Birthday to YOU! :-)

  3. Thanks for the birthday wishes and yes for a little bit of unspoilt tropical island paradise the cays is as good as it gets.

    I am just hoping that the Disney style guy GOES AWAY!