Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Government workers including customs and immigration officers here in St Lucia are staging a week long 'sickout'.

Why? well as usual it is wages. Negotiations broke down with this impasse.

Neither side was willing to budge from its position—on the one hand a zero percent increase from Government and a one off EC$1000 bonus, and on the other a 16% increase for the triennium 2010-2013 by the Unions.

However as usual there is a Caribbean solution for those needing to checkout with the "small special charge" helping the papers find their way to the officials.

Students though are welcoming the extra holidays.

Monday, February 25, 2013



They are not regulated and often visiting holidaymakers are whizzing round the bay and slaloming through swimmers after a couple of minutes tuition. I take my swim early before they appear but it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident. A bunch of the yotties have petitioned the local mayor to suggest a separation zone to keep swimmers and jet skis apart.


As part of their Independence celebrations there was this race and I had a berth aboard Jamabalya. However decided not to go as I am still under the weather. Flying back from skiing really does me in!


She was a beautiful wooden schooner berthed in Le Phare Bleu marina with a liveaboard. Le Phare Bleu organises floating dinghy concerts and this time Raindancer went round to the next bay to be part of the happening. O the way back to Le Phare Bleu something went wrong and she finished up on a reef. Despite lots of help she could not be refloated abroke up.


Yup it is true, there is such a thing as 'magical mormon underwear'. They even played a part in the last presidential election.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


It is good to be back on board but it was sad to see Jan head back to the states and the world of work.

I was sitting with a few friends and talking about Utah when one of them asked if I had got any sight of the famed LDS magical underwear.

This a new one to me. He sent me this as well.

OK I will buy it, is this a real thing?

Monday, February 11, 2013


Well the last day on the slopes rolled round. I have skied Alta, Brighton, Canyons, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Solitude and back to Snowbasin. It had snowed overnight then froze making the early part of the drive up treacherous with icy roads. In the first few miles I passed 4 accidents one of which might have been serious. But once out from under the inversion with it's lake effect snow the roads dried off and things got safer. This was good as I had organised a MEETUP for a tour of the mountain and I thought I was going to be late.

No worries though as Rob and Meg arrived as I got my lift ticket and we were soon being whisked up the Needles lift and hit the slopes. A few inches of the famed Utah champagne powder lay on top of the groomed runs and it was like skiing over silk.

Lunch was taken at John Pauls lodge, definitely a cut above the usual burger shack sometimes found on the mountains, check out the chandelier.

A few more runs and by 3.00 my knees were crying uncle so I said bye to Meg and Rob and packed the skis for the drive back down. As the miles rolled by under cruise control I thought of the strange things I had seen in the last three weeks.

Yes Victor there are still lots of telemark style skiers even on the most difficult runs especially at Alta

The two guys skiing in shorts.

The squirrel foraging for food under the tables on the restaurant deck seemingly oblivious of the human presence at the tables.

The empty slopes and zero lift queues

The inversion which degraded air quality and kept the temperatures below freezing all day in town while the mountains were sunny and warm with good air to breathe.

The WW1 howitzer relegated to starting avalanches.

The hole in the side of the skilift garage from the time they got the aim wrong.

The kids on their tiny snowboards.

The obligatory bra and panties tree, an aspen this time.

I learned some surprising things too, The snow I was skiing on in the Cottonwood canyons resort might be coming out my Studio 6 tap next day and that it is really hard to buy a double rum in a bar , [ Apparently it is against State law for the bartender to pour you a double measure. ], and that a Chevrolet Impala with the V6 is a rocketship.

The MEETUP website worked well for me, finding like minded poker players with home games who were glad of a chance to win a Scotsman's money. [ Fat chance there ] and other skiers who were looking for piste buddies for a day on the slopes.

I am writing this at 35,000 feet heading South back to Jan in St Lucia who has been looking after Elephants Child for me. With the wonders of modern comms I could even connect to in flight wifi and post it from here but being tight I will wait to I get a free connection. Anyway I have pictures to sort out.

Monday, February 4, 2013


I got wiped out by an out of control skier at Deer Valley. Being Deer Valley he was well dressed and as there are lots of patrollers ski hosts, safety guys etc around one arrived almost immediately. The local slang for the event is 'having a yard sale' as my equipment and clothing was spread over 50 yards of mountain. No I was not going fast but it was steep and icy. The patroller made sure the culprit stayed around, insisted that I took his name and address and wanted to call out the blood wagon. That was avoided. However I felt stiff and sore next morning so had a day off.

I have now ticked off Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, Solitude, Canyons, Deer Valley and Snowbasin. Apart from Deer Valley I found that the fellow skiers and boarders were safety conscious and almost all the skiers were on the radically different skis they like out here, wide and rockered. But best of all there are no lift queues.

The roads have been a little scary with lots of snow and ice around with temps below freezing. So I had treated the accelerator with caution. Well I needed to pass someone on the way up to Snowbasin so floored it. WOW. I did not know that my Ford Taurus sized Chevy contained some sort of rocket engine, well when I looked it was a fire breathing V6. I guess that makes me officially old, driving something without knowing what is under the bonnet.

Well I arrived into SLC with poor air quality caused by a strong inversion. The fronts bought clear air and I could see the mountains from my window but the inversion is back,