Saturday, December 27, 2014


Plan A had been to go down to Trinidad and pull my prop shaft as part of the haulout, but that only worked if I had the bits I needed. Despite being able to trace them down to Grenada they have vanished into some limbo.

So there I was hauling in Carriacou instead and hoping I get another year out of my pinkish in places prop. It still goes ting when tapped so I think it will do.
On the pink theme here is a Pinky Schooner the first one I have ever seen. Apparently a design that was developed to fish the waters off Cape Ann harbors from the early eighteenth century. This one was a ferrocement version.

Another different boat was this lift keel steel boat. Not as swoopy as the Pincky and I suppose a better sailor.

I was back down to Grenada and tucked up in my usual spot behind the Buzzard in time for the Christmas party and jam session. I tried to get Dizzy into the spirit of things but he was not amused by the Santa hat.

Boxing day saw me doing a little housework
with a helpful paw coming through the hatch every now and then, at least it was for a time but he got bored and went off to check the fish that hang about off the stern.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sea Sett on the reef

I was dozing in my bunk after lunch. Often I turn the VHF radio off but it had been quiet today so had not bothered. We have had a lot of kids in the anchorages and they arrange their complicated social lives on the radio, mostly with impeccable radio protocol. But they have started to migrate North so as I said the radio is much quieter.

Anyway it bursts into life and a paniced voice announces sans protocol" I am on the reef. I need help. Can anyone come with their dinghies?". I grab the handheld and some rope and head to the reef.

Fortunately Sea Sett was not too hard aground although the sounds of the keel grinding on the coral was quite audible as the swell rocked the boat from side to side.

I sounded around the boat to establish the best route off the reef and unusually it was not backwards but forwards. A masthead halyard was deployed to heel the boat and with a bit of huffing and pulling she came off. Luckily I think there will be no damage but the spade rudder on this model is very vulnerable so needs checking.

I wonder if this was another GPS/chartplotter aided grounding. Not the ideal time for eyeball navigation.

Back at Elephants Child Dizzy was waiting for me. I get ticked off if I am away twice in one day.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


ome people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get

Well it wasn't 16 tons it was only 1 & 1/3 tons but it was a case of out with the old and in with the new.

The time had come to replace my battery bank, by the time I had finished I had lifted a ton and a third of batteries. Next time I do this I will hire in a strong young back.

Still the job done and I have passed the old ones on which still had some life left to Nicholas who is the guardian of the zombie fleet tied up in the mangroves.
It is the end of the 'rainy' season and we were a little behing the average well I don't think that's true. It has been PEEING it down.

Dizzy is busy checking the quality with a taste test but always alert for an unannounced deluge from the trapped water in the bimini.

GRENADA POSTAL SERVICE ************************A RANT

I have been waiting for a parcel. I know it is in Grenada from the tracking but that stops when it hits Grenada. I don't expect it to be delivered as Custom are involved. But I usually get a blue slip telling me it is there.

I have been phoning them for a few days but there is never any reply so I finally give up and take the bus to town and the main post office.

The queue is not to bad. While I am waiting I ask one of the young ladies manning a desk that no one ever seems to visit if the number I have been phoning is the correct one. { got it from their web site and also directory inquiries }. No she says we have a new number and points to a small typewritten notice. Taped on the pillar. "That is good to know" I said, gritting my teeth.

Finally I get to the front of the queue and ask the young lady if she has a parcel addressed to me. She disappears into the back and returns 10 minutes later shaking her head.

Now I have done this dance before so I know that I have to get her to check all possible variants of my name as well as looking under S E and C as the second line in the address is S/V Elephants Child. W and M are also just possible but I keep those in reserve.

20 minutes later she returns triumphant and tells me it had been filed under C. Had a blue slip gone out to Mr Child?, she nodded

Customs take their small bite [ I had my C 14 and two copies of the invoice already stamped ] and I am on my way back home to Mr Child. I had timed things to avoid the school surge. It is truly amazing how many kids a Grenadian mini bus driver can fit in but underestimated the wait time.

Ahh well it is the Caribbean.

Monday, November 10, 2014



Students are often keen to exercise their rights but recently there has been an interesting twist - some in India are talking about their right to cheat in university exams.

"It is our democratic right!" a thin, addled-looking man named Pratap Singh once said to me as he stood, chai in hand, outside his university in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. "Cheating is our birthright."

Corruption in the university exam system is common in this part of India. The rich can bribe their way to examination success. There's even a whole subset of the youth population who are brokers between desperate students and avaricious administrators.

So you are poor. You see rich students being allowed to cheat, paying for essays, buying exam papers in advance and bribing the markers. I can see that they might well demand the same ' rights '.

Doesn't make it right though.

Still I no longer need to worry about such things.



In the middle of the night

I woke up to a new noise. Well a sequence of noises, scrinch thump clonk then click clonk. All new noises are worrying and get investigated.

I splashed out in the hardware store. Well they did not have what I wanted so I bought four little Santa heads. I know it is early but I hung one up.

Yup it was hurty paw leaping up and clawing at poor Santa's beard which was unravelling and he would fall onto the bug spray can. At the same time this would fire the ping pong ball sideways hitting the cooker front and coming back to hit the bug spray can.

Knowing now what was going scrinch thump clonk then click clonk I could go back to sleep.

He was still at it next morning when I took these pics.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


I am sitting in the cockpit watching the world come alive and working on my first mug of excellent locally grown coffee.

Was a song outside my window. And the traffic wrote the words. It came ringing up like Christmas bells. And rapping up like pipes and drums

Brmm Brmm Brmm

It is just the 'NOODLE BUS' coming by picking up the early morning noodlers. Off to the beach for some early morning water aerobics. I really should go but I don't DO early.

Last night I had a visit from goblins and goths and gobblers in search of more sweets. I made sure there was plenty of pink food colouring in my offerings to keep them bouncing along.

There was some early morning radio traffic too as the 9 year old cruiser was negotiating with a 10 year old on another boat the loan of a wake board so she could go and have some fun behind a third boats high speed RIB. Impeccable radio procedure throughout.

But not every dinghy driver needs speed. Which is just as well as a Walker Bay is at best a sloth among wind powered dinghies.

Unlike the kids on Hobie that were wihzzing around with disaster a gust away at any moment.

It is charter boat season and yes an AB 10 will carry 8 people if they don't mind wet bottoms.


Dinghies get a hard life especially in places where they have to be dragged up the beach. I was 'reading the mail' [ listening in on peoples conversations on the VHF ]while in the cockpit with my coffee and a neighbor needs a ride in while his bottom patches dry.

BUT not all beach landings go as planned. This is not my pic but it represents what happened to one newbie cruiser who learned the hard way that even on the mildest of days there can be sufficient surf to flip a dink. Nobody was hurt and the outboard was running again that afternoon after copious quantities of WD 40.

I am sitting a little longer in the cockpit this morning as I am waiting on that essential of life down here Raymond the garbage dinghy driver! I am also noting that the Flying Buzzard manages to collect more dinghies than the average cruiser.

And finally this creation has never been seen down island but if it was ever spotted it might cause some to wonder if they had overdone the strong rum the previous night and that it might be time to start that 12 step plan that runs under the third palm tree on Hog Island.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


The final of the hotly contested volley ball tourney was held this Sunday morning.

It was hotly contested in more ways than one as the sand was so hot some people needed socks.

Then it was over to Whisper Cove for Sunday Brunch and some discussion as to what the luckless sailors who are currently beached in St Marten SHOULD have done.

To round off the day it was the Dinghy Concert at Le Phare Bleu.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Well it has been snowing in the mountains

and Arapahoe basin in Colorado wins the race to be the first to open. First tracks will be this Friday.

October surprise or not? Most people in the northern leeward islands like St.Maarten/St.Martin, Anguilla and St.Barts, were expecting a tropical storm, instead they got a strong Category 1/2 hurricane. Unfortunately most people were not prepared for this, and apparently one man lost his life on St.Maarten. As far as I know, two more are missing (one on St.Martin and one in St.Barts).

Something like 50 boats are sunk or badly damaged and 5 to 10 light planes are damaged or unaccounted for.

But the power and water have been restored, planes are landing and St Marten is open for holiday makers again.

Just a little battered.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I took this from a fellow cruisers FB page. She goes for a brisk early walk most mornings sometimes on her own.


You're walking down the road and the only other person in sight is a guy in his underwear swinging a machete. And this doesn't bother you at all.

Another fellow cruiser who had to return suddenly to the States on discovering she had cancer has just returned to her boat with the all clear.

A cruising couple who were in the Baja when the devastating hurricane hit have finally managed to get their boat and home refloated and are saying as far as they can see the damage is only cosmetic.

Bad news though as they confirm that Paul and Simone are definitely dead and their boat sunk. It is ironic as they were one of the few who stripped all the canvas and sails off their boat in preparation but their mistake was to stay on the boat. I knew Paul and he was working as a divemaster building up the cruising kitty.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Yes it has been really hot the last few days. I have been out where I catch the wind so it is not too bad but the fans have been on just to make it a little cooler.

I wonder how the visitors on the first cruise ship of the season coped. Yes the magic kingdom came calling.

Trips into town require excess hydration efforts or you dehydrate. It is not often I wish for A/C on the shopping bus but if one bus had it I might move. As I write this I am thinking ' dumpkoff ' the survival anchorage bus has A/C.

We have had a few 50 knot squalls and it was with some alarm I watched a boat anchored in front drag past Elephants Child go out and reanchor in the same spot and drag past me again. Looks like a an experienced cruiser too with a big Amel.

One of the squalls had a lot of rain and it has boght down a lot of rock onto the tunnel.

This tunnel is an important part of the traffic circulation in St until they find the money to move the rock and stabilize things it is going to be really bad at rush hour.

We have had some vivid sunsets recently, quite worthy of a Walt Disney movie but I liked the contrast in this one. The low clouds were light blue with just the tiniest hint of purple.

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I earned this in the Bahamas

a few years ago assisting in getting a boat off the reef that lay outside of Farmers Cay.

Well I helped someone on Friday in a tropical downpour and so far no thanks, no T shirt, no bottle of rum, ho hum I guess I will just have to view it as positive karma.

I was on the internet early on Sat as I know some people who were sitting out hurricane Odile

on their boats in Baja Mexico. Zeehag and Bubba the boat cat made it through OK but Pail and his girlfriend are missing and it is not sounding good.

I am amazed that people do take the most elementary of precautions to safeguard their boats, leaving the headsail up is so foolish.

Dizzy is pissed of with me as I have been off the boat a lot the last few days.

I think he wants to come too but has not plucked up the courage to get in the dink when it is in the water.

A final thought for the day, did you know that Arizona has a ' stupid drivers law '?
If you drive into a flood and have to get rescued you owe for the full cost of the rescue.

Friday, September 12, 2014


Friday is my day for shopping. The ship from the USA arrives on Thursday and the shelf fillers are hard at it of Friday. Well something ' done mash up ' at the docks

so this is what the shelves looked like.

Ho Hum.

The hardware store was my next stop as I needed a new deck scrubbing brush with a handle. Well they had brush heads and they had handles; it is a shame they did not match up.

Ho Hum.

On to the next hardware store. They had handles of a totally different type but no heads at all.

Next stop the post office where I spend 40 minutes waiting while they look for my parcel. No luck. They say they have it ... somewhere.

My final stop is the litte bake shop who do the best spicy beef patties, yes you've guessed it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Sunday it was raining but the wifi was good so I entered for an online Pot Limit Omaha tournament, PLO as I have grown a little bored with No Limit Holdem, I don't win but do make the final table so well into the money.

Monday the sun was shining so I dink round to Secret Harbor for the Cruisers poker tournament and win that. That evening flushed with success enter a single table tournament and win that. I am HOT.

So I am not even going to try to sweet talk any ladies this week.

I have not bothered snorkeling for a week or two as the swell has been rolling in on the reefs and there would be very poor viz. but it has been down for a day so I go out and try one of the outer reefs.

Conditions were excellent except I kept getting photobombed by this parrot fish that followed me around.

Not sure about the turtle, it might have been a Ridley [rare] or a Green [not rare].

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Calivigny Island is owned by a billionaire and while it is really his holiday home he does rent it out supposedly for half a million a week.

I am at anchor off their beach so kinda know what is going on by the comings and goings of the various boats that service the island and bring the workers out.

I was aware that there was some guests in residence as the covers were off the pool chairs and the full lights were on at night. The jet skis had blasted around but stayed well away from the anchored boats and the big sports fisherman had been out working the reefs. But it was generally quiet. That all changed last night. It started with a kind of nightclub with all the lights, then there was a laser light show with music which lit up the clouds. This was interspersed with a DJ playing some stuff but more pleasant music than the thump thump thump of the soca we usually here.

That all changed when the fireworks started. What a magnificent show. This was no $100 dollar assortment. This was the pros with their best stuff.

When the first air burst cannon went off Dizzy came down below at warp speed. I went up to watch and soon he came back up curiosity getting the better of his fear.

The smell of the black powder drifted across the water and the moon lit up the drifting smoke trails. This was a show to rival New Year on the Thames[ when they had the money! ]

It was no 5 minute flash in the pan it must have gone on for 20 minutes and this is the finale.

Well it will be as soon as I find out what Windows has done with the file. GRRRRRRRR

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


As Jenny and Bob have finally lost the marina back to the bank and a new consortium is beavering away to reorganize everything on shore and n the water there is no place for me to fill up my tanks here in Clarks Court Bay.

So it is off round Hog Island to Mt Hartman bay and Secret Harbor Marina for some water and diesel. I don't really need the diesel but like the security of having the tank topped right up in hurricane season just in case. It has been twenty years since I made this short but reef strewn passage and I was a little anxious as I powered out of CCB.

No worries! I had good sun over my shoulder and they announced their presence clearly even the sneaky brown ones could be clearly seen.

So here I am back in CCB with full tanks. I stopped off at Nirvana [ I said the gang is all here ] to see how Morgan Dodge and Lindsey were getting on as he is missing his mast. It turns out that he was on passage down here and spotted one of his mast stays had several broken strands. It turns out that many of his stays had broken strands and he was very lucky not to have had his rig come down.

Anyway his mast is with the riggers and bits are on their way from France. Nobody stocks 25mm turnbuckles and 19mm wire out here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I have a hurty paw again daddy.

Well stop sticking it in the fan you dozy cat.

The Flying Buzzard made it back in this afternoon. The home of two interesting eccentrics got a lucrative job towing a mega yacht up to St Martin.

The yacht on it's maiden voyage with only 400 engine hours had one engine blow up at idle at the dock. The owner understandably said it is not going anywhere on one engine.

So I guess that is another year or twos cruising in paradise paid for.