Sunday, May 29, 2011


Back in Bequia and watching the harbour antics. The mooring buoy vendors scurrying out to greet every incoming charter boat, the magnificent frigate birds harrying the masked boobies and the efforts of the tug crew working on the inverted barge.

They tried again to flip the barge yesterday and got it past the vertical for the first time but as soon as the tug stopped pulling back she went.

Friday, May 27, 2011


Friendship Rose

This old island schooner, veteran of many an interisland voyage is out of service and getting some attention from island shipwrights. I watched as they tested for rot in the time honoured way with a spike and then set about digging out the rotten planks they found.

Upturned Barge

They made a couple of attempts to pull it over with it partially sunk and sitting at an angle without success. So they have sunk it further and the angle has increased but things seem to be on hold for the moment, at least I have not seen any further attempts.

Snorkeling at Petit Nevis Petit Bayault and on the Devils Table.

I sailed round to Petit Nevis, the site of the old Bequia whaling station and anchored out off one of the great snorkeling spots. There were some shoals of bait fish but nothing like the shoals seen at the Devils Table just off Elizabeth Harbour. Here there were shoals of several different types of bait fish and all being harried into the shallows by a variety of predators.

However this horned box fish was happy to be picking up scraps from the bottom as well as posing for me.

Locals fishing in a bay with a couple of people snorkeling around to direct the setting of the nets.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Circumnavigating square rigger, more barge antics and another visitor

The Barque Picton Castle is a three-masted tall ship based in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada but best known for their sail training voyages around the world.

They are just completing a fifth circumnavigaton of the globe in. Many crew had no previous sailing experience, just a strong back, a willing heart and the $46,000 US for the trip!

It looked a little salt spattered and well worn as it sailed in fro Cape Town and rested at anchor just behind us for a few days while the crew chipped and painted. When they set off this morning their sail handling skills looked wel honew and all sail was soon flying.


The first effort to right the barge by partially sinking it and then towing it sideways failed and they have carried on sinking it deeper on one side and towing but again without success.



A black headed gull has decided that my dink is a suitable roost. He or she is a welcome visitor as long as it leaves a clean wake.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I spent time with a charming old girl recently. I was getting to know her really well but It was frustrating me. I tickled her bits, checked for lubrication, but despite a prolonged spin she just was not a goer. She had been interfered with by several locals before she came to me so I was expecting problems.

These old girls are usually reliable and get going without much trouble this one was stubborn and I was getting nowhere. So it was back to first principles and time to get up close and personal and dirty with this rather mucky Scandinavian lady and look for her bleeding nipples.

BTW she is a 2 cylinder Bukh diesel fitted to Anni and Michels Choy Lee and I don't know what the rest of you were thinking about.

In the end I found a blocked up filter that they did not know about hidden in the stern cave behind the fuel tank. The genius who fitted that should be condemned to spend eternity bleeding Bukhs in the tropics with a good swell running and a stinky bilge. None of us could get in there but we found a really skinny young local who wriggled in and by passed the d******* thing. Instant start after we bled things through her nipples again.

So I added to my good karma bank and got a nice meal that I didn't cook. Breadfruit gnocchi, kallalou and fried salt fish. YUM YUM.

More visitors, I heard something come aboard, and got an unexpected flash of a brown booby peeking round my roller furler. Yes I finally had a bird on board Elephants Child.

My next visitor was a real high flier but sadly died on board.

The last visitor was a large lady called Alice. Like many large ladies she took her time but did get settled in. Fortunately her visit was a short one as she is a bit gassy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jeanne Socrates

When I have a good Wifi connection I like to keep up with some other sailing blogs. One that I follow makes me realize that I am just a wimp. Jeanne Socrates has just completed a circumnavigation.

So what you say, lots of people circumnavigate but not many do it by going south of the 5 great Capes.

Plenty of people have done that you say, well there is no other woman has done it at age 68 or older and she had the fortitude to go back out when she lost her first boat.

On her way down the west coast of Mexico from Guatemala, she lost "Nereida" on a steep surf beach north of Acapulco, less than twelve hours and about sixty miles short of completing her first circumnavigation, on 19th June '08.

Nothing daunted and fortunately well insured she bought a new boat and set of again and on friday 6th May 2011 crossed over the track made in December 2009 when sailing down to Cape Town from Lanzarote (Canaries). This completes a single-handed circumnavigation of the globe, her route taking her from Cape Town, around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas, past Cape Leeuwin (Australia), through the Bass Strait and Cook Strait (New Zealand) to Kauai (Hawaii), on to Cape Flattery (Pacific US/Canada), Sth from Victoria, B.C., around Cape Horn where she suffered a knockdown

The knockdown damaged the yacht badly including breaking the boom and created total chaos down below. Declining offers of assistance at sea she limped in to Ushuaia the capital city of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

There was little in Ushuaia in the way of facilities. At the time, Jeanne was uncertain as to how to proceed. However, with incredible perseverance, she ordered the spares fought with customs repaired Nereida once again, and set off from Ushuaia heading for Cape Town, where she had previously spent two months replacing her engine.

Despite this and a few other problems along the way, it will have taken just 14 months to complete sailing from Cape Town back to Cape Town (March 2010 - May 2011).

The lady has bottle.

I am getting wussy at the moment at the possibility of having to sail up to St Lucia this weekend with a forecast of 25 to 30 knots and squalls and an erratic depth sounder.

Still it is only one doomsayer that is giving that sort of forecast, the others that I usually rely on are not expecting things to brew up so strongly.


Still upside down.

They have been working away and apparently have a plan to flip it in the water somehow. This I want to see!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Just as well as I was about to have to run the engine to charge the batteries. But the sun is shining, my solar panels are putting out more than 20 amps and the bank is coming back up.

It is good to get the hatches open again and the air moving through the boat.

I was down snorkeling off the Devils Table the reef by the entrance to Elizabeth Harbour when I saw Jambalya flying all sail as she came across from St Vincent. A working charter boat she is the first Antillean schooner to be built on Carriacou in many years, once one of the great centres of wooden boat construction in the Caribbean. Crafted by the last master shipwrights on the island, she is an authentic and actual expression of the wooden ship building culture that once dominated the Caribbean. The name Jambalaya is an anagram of their initials. Alwyn Enoe who I saw working on Genesis when we hauled out in Tyrell Bay was one of them.

I thought she might have been competing in Antigua this year like last but not according to the entry list or the results.

Still with entries down to to less than a 100 things are not flourishing. The Heineken in St Maarten being the best attended regatta so far this year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


“Into every life a little rain must fall”, I don't remember to whom this quote is attributed but it has been falling big time for the last two days in Bequia. I thought it had finished yesterday and as I was a bit fed up with sitting in the boat so went over the the Gingerbread for a fish sandwich [ yum ] and some of Marianne's famous ice cream [ yum yum ] both eaten sitting under the tree and watching the comings and goings as the cruisers scurried around doing the chores on deck and ashore that had been put off during the rain.

I had one of these to do, posting some letters but the rain returned with a vengeance and I sat it out for a while on the bookshop veranda but gave up, got wet, posted the letters and got really wet getting back to the boat.

It continued to rain and I really regretted not having my raincatcher sorted out as I could have filled the tanks with ease. As it was the buckets filled in minutes and I filled my empty containers. I have bailed the dink 4 times in the last 36 hours, it filled up again overnight!

I have grumbled about the wifi in the Caribbean from time to time esp. HotHotHotSpot the supplier with the best coverage but often slow and inclined to drop out. Well they must have upgraded it in Bequia because it was lightening fast yesterday and I watched some online video stuff with almost no delays, caught up with my mail and began sorting out my online poker accounts. Life has got difficult for players with any kind of US connection because the US authorities have shut down the big online US sites. My accounts got caught up in the shutdown as I have used my US bank to make withdrawals in dollars when I was in the US. It will get sorted eventually but some of the big time nosebleed gamblers that are US based are faced with having hundreds of thousands of dollars in frozen accounts.


Cindy Vong uses fish to eat dead skin off clients’ feet in her beauty salon.
But the Arizona Board of Cosmetology went to court and took away her licence, why, well the board alleged the fish were unsafe because they couldn’t be sterilized.

Only in America

Still on a vaguely fishy subject on my last snorkel I came across this mooring block just stuffed with lobsters. I am realy surprised that they have not been harvested by the locals, but maybe they know the season has just closed and this is the lobster equivelent of the finger.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


I went over to the tugboat by the upturned barge to see if I could find out who the owners were or at least the name. A fellow forumite on Sailnet was on his way down to the Caribbean and knew the operators of the tugboat and barge service working out of Carriacou. I had seen them when I was anchored in Tyrell bay and knew that both barge and tug were somewhat similar in size.

However a closer look showed that the paint scheme was different. I could see no name but some of the superstructure damaged when the barge tilted and 3000 tonnes of cement slid across the barge and hit the side of the tug, is covered by tarpaulins.

I talked briefly to a couple of the crew who were being close mouthed about things but they did confirm that this tug and barge operation works out of Bequia.


Well it is a boat with a tender, nothing odd about that except that it is a motorboat with a sailing tender.