Monday, February 28, 2011


Well there I was again driving up to Breckenridge, dodging the giant potholes and listening to the weather forecast. The sun was shining but it looked like it was blowing hard and I had heard the ski patrollers say that the higher runs were vulnerable to being closed with the wind.

I enjoyed the morning but by early afternoon the giant wind devils were dancing on the tops and their baby brothers were appearing on the slopes along with occasional whiteouts from blowing snow.

So the upper lifts were shut down as forecast and I was back down on the lower slopes.

Still the wide groomed [ pisted ] slopes were ideal for blasting down GS style with hard rock on the earphones.

Another good day on the white stuff

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Skiing the "Boat"

I drove over the continental divide at Rabbit Ears pass to Steamboat Springs AKA "The Boat" on a snowy day.

The skiing was good but the visibility was much poorer than my previous day at Beaver Creek where I was able to ski gently down some of the famous Birds of Prey downhill course in the sunshine.

My legs are protesting at dealing with skiing in the powder at Steamboat even though it was the famed champagne powder that the resorts on the western slope are famous for and I spent an hour in one of the local natural hot springs that night. So I will have a day off tomorrow and relax.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Beaver Creek is one of the sort of places that have gates on the roads and the wealthy but frightened people pay for guards and valet parking and hot and cold running service.

Opened for 1980–81 ski season, Beaver Creek was a very costly state-of-the-art European style village. However, as most of the condominiums built remain empty during the ski season, as their owners do not need the income of renting them out there is not much going on off the slopes..

However the skiing was some of the best I have had so far and I will be going ack for another day along with Breckenridge.


I added to my collection of adorned trees and learned from a ski patroller I talked to over lunch that this strange habit is somehow derived from the New Orleans tradition where woman bare their boobs in return for plastic beads during Mari Gras.

He did not quite explain to me how this leads to people throwing beads and bras over trees close to ski lifts.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Rated by some as the best ski resort in North America I hit Breckenridge today.

I liked the parking sign on airport road.

After a few so so days weatherwise the sun came out although the wind was still blowing hard on the tops. As you can see from the snow devil blowing across the piste.

But it was really beautiful day in the mountains.

Breck as the locals call it has the highest chair lift in North America at 12,840 feet, servicing one of the steepest runs in the resort. Several inches of snow had fallen overnight which made for relatively easy skiing despite the steep nature of the piste and I enjoyed it so much I went back up and did it again.

I had been worried about skiing and staying at altitude as I have been at sea level for months but so far so good. In fact this is the best I have felt for some time.

I am staying in a great Bed and Breakfast which is a luxury home with a terrific view of the Rockies.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Spent a day sorting out some boots, it was cheaper to buy than rent and to buy I had to find a seller who would let me hand carry the boots out of the store as my skis have bindings that they will no longer adjust. [ Nice racket to sell more kit ! ]

So it was off to Arapaho Ski Basin known as A Basin by the locals who ski there rather than the tonier places like Vail or Breckenridge. Simpler facilities and no ski hosts or people to carry your skis for you but the day was sunny, the snow good and I had a great day.

I liked the exterior bar made out of ice.


Arapahoe Basin's infamous "Beach" scene cannot be replicated by any other ski resort in Colorado. The Early Riser parking lot is home to a stretch of prime real estate known as the "Beach." The Beach backs up to the three lower mountain chairlifts, snow and great skiable terrain.

Come Saturday and Sunday, it is home to birthday celebrations, events, employee parties and crazy costumes.

Due to its popularity, the Beach fills up fast! Availability for reservations start February 19, 2011. There are 10 spots total.

Starting February 19, 2011
Monday through Thursday $100 per spot
Fridays $150 per spot
Saturday and Sunday $175 per spot

Friday, February 18, 2011


I lost old friends today. My Salomon SX 90 Equipes my old faithful ski boots finally gave up. I had had two really good days sking at Winter Park when on the last run down yesterday I felt something give on my right boot. Having already had some issues with the back clip I thought it was just that clip coming undone so I carried on down to the bottom but when I took my skis off I saw that the boot was broken.

Still I had a great days skiing in powder but the snow kept falling as you can see from the ice in my beard. No smiles though as I am in mourning for my boots!

I drove up to Summit and will be based at Silverthorne for the next few days while I ski Breckenridge Copper Keystone Arapaho and Steam Boat. But first of all I will have to find a pair of boots to buy or rent.

The pic is of the sunset from Winter park.

As promised I visited a MEDICAL CANNABIS CENTER. I can only show the outside of the shop as they would not let me take pics inside.

They had a doctor there on site with a list of things for which they can offer a prescription for legal marijuana. [ and the things to say that allowed him to offer it ]

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting high again in Colorado

Getting high in the Caribbean is easy if not legal. Everywhere you go you see mellow people rolling giants zoots and you come across marijuana plants pretty often. We saw some as we hiked around Indian Creek last week. However it is still illegal and the locals do get busted from time to time. As a result there is a popular song that gets a lot of plays about going to Amsterdam to the “smoke” shops to get a legal high.

Well I am here in Denver and I guess I am high at least 5000 feet and going to get higher as I drive up to the ski resorts. but it was a shock to find pages and pages of advertisements in local free papers for marijuana and how to obtain and grow it legally in Colorado.

Colorado removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physician affirming that he or she suffers from a debilitating condition and advising that they “might benefit from the medical use of marijuana.” They can possess up to two ounces of a usable form of marijuana and they or their primary caregivers can legally possess no more than six marijuana plants, with three or fewer being mature flowering plants that are producing a usable form of marijuana.
So you really can get high in Colorado.

I guess John Denver new what was going to happen when he wrote “Rocky mountain high in Colorado.”

Stoners rule in Denver! Bob Marley would like it here!

They even have competitions to compare brands and award trophies.

I am off to do some on site research tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

After some days in Indian Creek where we lazed about and Pelican watched we sailed down to Falmouth harbour and decided that we needed some shoreside exercise.

So we walked over to English harbour and took the water taxi to Gallion beach to make the climb up to Shirley heights. Wanting to make sure of our directions I asked the water taxi driver for directions. This proved to be an error as he sent us the wrong way.

Still we had a pleasant walk around some of the other fortifications and cactus.

During our wanderings we met other groups who had also been misdirected by the water taxi man.

This one reminds me of something rude but Gisela says I have a low sort of mind.

We found the route up and set off climbing on a steep path chopped out of the hillside by Desmond Nicholson although I suspect he might have been following indications of an earlier trail made by soldiers commuting to the Dockyard from Shirley Heights.

On the way up we saw some large airplants decorating the trees and bushes beside the trail.

Shirley Heights itself refers to the military complex, along the whole ridge just to the North of English harbour. It is named after Sir Thomas Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands, who strengthened Antigua’s defences in 1781. Britain had lost all her West Indian colonies (including North America) at this time except Antigua and Barbados. Much effort, therefore, was put into Antigua’s defences, mainly because of the island’s great sugar producing value and the important Dockyard.

We got there and found the advertised barbecue and steel band.

However the place was already overflowing with people and more were flooding in with minibuses queuing up to discharge their contingent of cruise ship Q tips, so we decided to walk back down on the road and look for somewhere quieter and less crowded. A friendly local retired policeman took pity on us and gave us a lift down, we must have looked a little footsore.

He made up for the bum steer we got from the water taxi captain.

A quiet dinner and we both were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow on Elephants Child.

Friday, February 4, 2011


We moved to Indian Creek to get away from the party music that will boom out all Friday and Saturday night at Falmouth harbour.

After topping off our water tanks at the marina [- boy was I nervous as I manouvered around multi million dollar mega yachts! ] we headed out past the splendid copper stripe that marks the entrance to Falmouth.

We snuck in past the magnificent estate [$14million] owned by the rock icon Eric Clapton.

We parked ourselves in the inner pool which we have had to ourselves most of the time except for the pelicans and one white heron who fish around us all day.

The snorkeling has been excellent in the outer part of the harbour.

Mind you this barracuda did a quick 'drive by' checking us out.

Just a reminder that it is a fish eat fish world down here.

However best of all is the peace, perfect peace we enjoy at night. Serenity is a thing greater than money.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Back in Antigua again,

We are tucked up in Falmouth harbour and enjoying some peace, quiet and a bug free environment.

The anchorage is not so busy but the marinas are full of mega yachts, most of which are available for charter.

The charter mega yachts are not seeing much business and some are even anchoring out to save the dockage.

However the Maltese Falcon, a stunning tall square rigger was on the dock. It has fifteen square sails stored inside the mast which unfurl into tracks along the yards. The masts rotate. It's weekly charter fee is between €325,000 to €335,000 per week plus expenses. Who pays for something like that?

We spent a fascinating afternoon looking at the history of the English Harbour dockyard. It was abandoned in 1889 after a 150 years of service to the British navy.

The Nelson exhibit in the dockyard covered his life including the time he spent in English Harbour which he did not like much, the locals wanted to arrest him because he enforced some unpopular legislation so he stayed on board and he was badly affected by mosquitos. We both could appreciate the last point as we got badly bitten when we transited the River Salee this time, Gisela suffering more than I.

Gisela was intrigued to find that some of the troops stationed in and around English Harbour were mercenaries from the area of Germany where she lives. A Ferdinand von Hompesch raised over a 1000 troops reputedly worth £24 each to him ! which then fought for the British Army in the Caribbean.

I was intrigued to find that in the very early days of chartering out of English Habour in fact some of the very first charters anywhere in the Caribbean were Philip Openheimer, the father of the atom bomb and C S Forester, author of the Hornblower novels. Names to conjure with!


The little herons are off to roost in the mangroves on the River Salee.

This fellow seemed to pose for us but was also keeping a wary eye out as he had already lost one tail!

This fine fellow Gisela spotted is about 5 inches long and is a Tetrio sphinx caterpillar. They love frangipani trees and can defoliate a tree in a few days or couple of weeks.

The caterpillar will eventually become a giant gray sphinx moth.