Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Martinique bound tomorrow

Fresh fish for dinner tonight as we had a strike on the way down to Roseau and off to Martinique tomorrow.

Martinique bound tomorrow

Friday, March 25, 2011

Portsmouth and an unbelievable Only in America story

I am having a few quiet days in Portsmouth harbor surrounded by an unusually high percentage of British flagged boats. Everything from this little wooden cruiser up to a 70 foot steel junk rigged schooner.

The town is quiet and everyone seems to be able to take their time to look out for each other even this hen was able to guard her brood in the middle of the main road.

Only in America

Hair-Raising Arrest:

Megan Mariah Barnes was driving her Ford Thunderbird in South Florida and rammed into another vehicle that had slowed to make a left turn. Police say that her license was under suspension because of a DUI conviction.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the two-vehicle crash Tuesday at Mile Marker 21 on Cudjoe Key was caused by the 37-year-old woman driver concentrating on her preparations for a date while her ex-husband took the wheel from the passenger seat.

“She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit,” Trooper Gary Dunick said. “

If I wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Oh yes what was she doing? She was shaving her bikini area. Could you make that up?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Had a pleasant sail down to Dominica today after a bit of hassle yesterday when a charter cat managed to drag across my anchor and pick it up. it took an hour or so to sort it out. They had burnt out their electric anchor winch and were having to haul by hand. So I finished up using my winch to lift their anchor and chain.

Anyway down in Dominica with the boat tidied up as usual I timed my evening rum and coke with the sunset. Well someone has to check that the Lords of the Sunset are doing a good job.

Tonight was a bit special with the Lords digging deep into their bag of tricks and showing some unusual effects.

A glorious sunset, a small libation in hand, Springsteen on the stereo and a giant local avocado bought from one of the boat boys for dinner. Life is good!

Monday, March 21, 2011


The trade winds are well North so I will take advantage of the angle and head South today down to Dominica.

I have to get going anyway if I want to make it down to Bequia in time for the Easter Regatta.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RED SAILS IN THE SUNSET and some other stuff.

ROSA of FALMOUTHThe wooden boat I had seen in Deshaies came sailing in to the main Saintes harbour at sunset.

No engine was heard just the creak of old fashioned spars and rigging as they beat up wind in the evening breese to find a spot to anchor.

Just lovely to watch.

I had suspected a bit of French influence in her design and despite being registered out of Falmouth England it turns out she was originally built in Belgium as a fishing boat in the 30s. I had to ask of course, my 'satiable curiosity at work.


The local boy racers were polishing their steeds and preparing to race on Sunday. No souped up Evos here though. Some fifty years ago, every inhabitant of Les Saintes had his own fishing sail boat. On holidays, regattas and races were organized for fun in the splendid Saintes bay.

In 2000, the Comité Guadeloupéen de Voile Traditionnele (Guadeloupean Committee of Traditional Sailing) had been created to encourage building and racing such boats.

In 2005, the class of boats and the races have been made official by an affiliation to the French Sailing Organization.

Spécification as for the boat construction and the material used have been defined in order to be in conformity with the traditional shipbuilding:
Hull of natural wood with ribs, 5,35m max. length and 1,80m max. beam, keel max. 33cm and 5cm thick.
Mast of natural plain local wood, max. 7,25m, collars of creepers for the main sail, wooden cleats, pulleys without winch.
Sails (main sail and jib) without laths of cotton or woven polyester

It has been a successfull endeavour as todays racing shows, the boy racers out on the water doing their stuff and the greybeards sitting under the shade with beer in hand saying how their grandfathers would have beaten them all.

Mind you I wonder if the originals were as tricky to sail as the modern boats seem to be, lots of capsizes today in fairly benign conditions.

OH YES The b*******s towing out the buoys stopped off got me out of bed and said I had to move as I was on the start line. Haven't they heard of a Sunday lie in?

Tony Blair's famous EDUCATION EDUCATION EDUCATION drive was all smoke and mirrors.

Exam grades have been artificially inflated and billions of pounds in increased spending on education wasted, according to a damning international report.

Those relentlessly improving GCSE and A-level results have hidden a true picture of failure in UK schools.

It is REALLY GOOD to be retired and out of it.


UTAH has a state gun!

Until this week, Utah had 24 state symbols, from tree (the blue spruce) to insect (the honeybee) to even cooking pot (the Dutch oven).

Now it's added an official state firearm -- the John M. Browning-designed M1911 pistol, becoming the first state in the nation to have one, according to the state legislator who sponsored the law.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


A bloody great cruise ship shoehorned itself into the Saintes anchorage this morning. Muzak and ferries all day. I don't believe it! [ as Victor Meldrum would have said.]If I had not wanted to do some wifi I would have gone around the corner to Cabrits.

The anchorage had been full of Russians too all on some race/jolly around the Caribbean on Landrover sponsored charter boats. I rescued a dinghy load who had run out of dinghy gas and were drifitng off into the sunset happily intoxicated but without a paddle. The pic shows them starting the leg down to Dominica and the other pic shows my reward.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wooden boats, dolphins and ring of fire worries.

It turns out topsail schooner I had spotted making full sail out of Antigua was built in Nevis. The skipper and crew were busy re - anchoring for the 5th or 6th time so were a bit 'busy' and I left them to it.

There is another inteesting boat at anchor nearby Rosa of Falmouth. I do not know her history but she looks a bit French to me based on the style of her transom but what do I know. I do know she is not a 'Nobby' though.

A pod of dolphins paid Deshaies a brief visit making a quick round of the harbour and skimming under Elphants Child before heading off. They are only the second pod I have seen in the last year.

Like everyone else I have been looking at the reports coming out of Japan with horror. The pictures of the tsunami washing large ships under bridges and carrying 100s of cars and buses along were just unbelievable. As was the clip of the photographer standing there as the water washed over his shoes then retreated as he stood capturing the moment. Bravery or foolishness I do not know, maybe he did not either. Looming over everything is the prospect of another Chernobyl or maybe two or even three Chernobyls.

I checked on our local volcanoes this morning. Montserrat is still venting as can be seen. This is the offical story.

4 to 11 March 2011
Activity at the Soufrière Hills Volcano has been low this week.

Nine rockfalls events and four Volcano Tectonic (VT) earthquakes were recorded this week.

The average sulphur dioxide measurement this week was 552 tons per day, with a maximum of 861 and a minimum of 370 tons per day.

Clear views of the dome this week revealed no major changes. Large steep, unstable and, in places, overhanging areas are present in several parts of the lava dome and pyroclastic flows remain likely, particularly to the north, west and east.

Despite the low level of activity, sporadic pyroclastic flows can and do occur without any warning. The Hazard Level is 3. There is no access to the terrestrial Zone C and only daytime transit access to shipping through the maritime extension of the zone.

Guadeloupe also has a volcano but it has been sleeping since 1976 and seems to be still quiet today.

I am having a lazy day, I do not know if it is still a bit of jet lag or I am still feeling the effects of the sking but I am feeling lazy. I need to look at the mainsail halyard winch [URGENT!] and think about testing the watermaker somehow [non urgent ] before refitting it. Captain Fatty Goodlander, it was I think who, said that cruising is just boat maintenance in exotic locations.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Picked a nice day to sail fom Falmouth to Deshaies. The wind was a round 12 knots just aft of the beam and the swells around 5 feet.

A lot of other boats picked this day to move as well and the anchorages were busy at both ends.

I enjoyed watching an island built topsail schooner making full sail out of Antigua. The crew soon had all the rags flying.

I am heading down to the Bequia Easter Regatta, April 21 - 25 this year, but have no plans to race Elephants Child however I do have the offer of a crewing spot on a another cruising boat. I am not sure if I will take it up as watching with a been in hand from the Green Boley might be more my scene nwoadays.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It was good to see Elephants Child sitting peacefully behind Galatea in Falmouth harbour when I came over the crest of the hill.

Judd Tinius of Galatea had kept an eye on her while I was away and it was a pleasure to pass over to him the Japanese style pull saw [or nokogiri] that he had asked me to source for him in the USA.

But it was a greater pleasure to sit in the warm evening breeze with a rum in my hand and watch the sun set over Montserrat. The visibility was excellent and the volcanic activity in the forms of wisps of white smoke was clear as it rumbles away. Gisela and I visited the observatory and walked across some of ash flows and I am fingering a piece of pumice picked up from there as I write this.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


A skiing bucket list trip


9 Ski resorts
3 pairs of boots
$30 skis
One wonderful B & B in Silverthorne with great company and a HOT TUB!

I had a great time the last three weeks starting with some acclimatisation in Denver and a little bit of shopping, then starting at Winterpark I have skied my buns off for 19 days. I would ski a couple of days then take a day off then I was out again.

It was a sad day when my beloved Salomon SX 90s broke on me. I bought a new pair of 4 clip boots and PAIN PAIN PAIN so against the BOOT EXPURTS [ drips under pressure ] advice I went out looking for another pair of rear entry boots and found a pair in Denver offered that was my size. I wore them for the first time today and it was bliss after my painful boots.

I was at Vail today with 9 skiing Elvis impersonators, a spaceman and a bunch of tiggers in tiger suits and I closed down the mountain.

I was so tired I needed a restorative beer in a little piece of Disneyland.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Another beautiful day on the slopes and another tick on my list.

I was a Loveland today overlooking the I 70 as it exits the tunnel. This Ski Area first opened its slopes to skiers back in 1936 when a tow at what is now called Loveland Basin using a Model T car engine for power.

The pic is taken from the highest lift and starts off a 2 mile run down to the base. The pistes were empty and there were no queues at the lifts, just bliss!

I might ski here again but not the weekend as it is the closest resort to Denver.