Friday, December 25, 2015


It was about 3 am on Christmas morning and I am about half awake as I shut the hatches. A squall was blowing through the anchorage but I was soon back in bed and drifting off even though the squall was still howling in the rigging, when I hear a very loud bang followed by shouting.

Fully awake I stick my head up and have a look around to see chaos in front of me. I had anchored behind a French boat and was about a hundred and twenty feet behind his dinghy.

I was now abreast his dinghy, but the chaos was the steel boat to my port side that was motoring to keep clear and more frightening was the large catamaran on my starboard side that was lying about 60 degrees to the wind and sheering about wildly.

Pants on, engine started and I take avoiding action as the catamaran has a big swipe at Elephants Child. The old couple on the French boat are shouting at me as I slide up their port side and with a good bit of boat handling the steel boat gives me enough room.

I run around like crazy getting fenders out and watching the erratic behavior of the Frenchman and the catamaran.

The catamaran makes another pass and misses again. There is no one aboard that I can see and it is a matter of time till it hits Elephants Child. It looks like he has already hit the French boat as there is stuff hanging off his side and stern.

This when I really needed a crew member to steer and gun the engine when avoiding action was needed.

Trusting to the helm on the steel boat to avoid me I leave it in gear at tickover on full left rudder and go forward with tools and the bread knife. Blessing the electric anchor windlass I pull in enough chain to slip the snubber hook, and run out the chain.

The shackle connecting my chain to the two hundred feet of rope rode usually sticks in the hawse but for once it pops straight through. I cut the zip tie and unscrew the shackle and drop the chain.

Steeple chasing back to the helm I narrowly avoid another anchored boat whose crew are on deck but not doing anything useful but shout at me.

Getting clear I heave a big sigh of relief and have a "WHAT NOW SKIPPER" moment. Half an hour later I have the reserve anchor shackled on and laid using the back up chain. I am well clear of the shenanigans. As usual Dizzy appears when I pull the engine stop control and I have a sit down for a few moments with Dizzy. Another squall come through and I shelter under the dodger watching to make sure my [t]rusty old CQR is gripping which it is. The rain stops and the wind drops a little but it is clear that the shenanigans are continuing with the three boats getting very close to two other boats.

I decide to go and see what I can do to help, throwing an anchor warp, my 37lb Fortress kedge and a couple of useful tools including the breadknife into the dink I motor over blessing the man who invented the head torch. The moon which helped earlier is hidden behind the clouds. A local pirogue arrives with a couple of young men who try to tow the whole mess forward, they keep things clear of the anchored boats who are all now wide awake and shouting. At this point the Marine Police boat arrives and takes over. The wind has died down and I get aboard the cat shouting to the police to give me a tow and get it on a mooring buoy as it has no reserve anchor. I can now see the side of the French boat and there is some serious damage with vertical splits in the glass topsides and some deck crushing. The three big outboards on the Police boat make short work of pulling the cat and dragging the chain and anchor behind us and we are soon tied up to a mooring buoy.

I go back to elephants Child and back to bed but get wakened up by knocking on the side of the boat. It is the Police who think I am the owner or skipper of the catamaran. Neither spoke English so it was a strain on my fractured French to explain things. My papers were scrutinized and details copied into notebooks. They left and it was back to bed.

Much later that morning I was dragging for my dropped anchor chain which I found on the second pass. I don't swim in Marin. I buoyed the chain went back lifted the reserve anchor and motored over to buoy picked it up and was back to where I was last night. Well not quite as I had 200 feet of 3/8 th chain plus a 50 lb CQR which needed manhandling back to their regular reserve spots.

Job done it was back to bed with a double doze of ibuprofen to ease my aches.


The French boat has had to be hauled with a hull split thet reaches the waterline.

I was asked by the local judge who has the power to order investigations apparently Napoleonic Law Code ? ] to write out a report IN FRENCH. I said no can do Best I can offer is a report in English plus a translation by Mr Google. Had to be notarised but they did that for me.

My creaky bits are much eased by a visit to the French chiropractor and masseur.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


This morning in Marin Martinique I was enjoying my morning coffee when I saw the smoke plume.

A fair size catamaran was ablaze. I jumped in the dink to see if I could be of any help to anyone as it was in a pretty crowded anchorage and if I was near by I would want to move especially if I was downwind.

By the time I got there it was starting to break up and obviously not a lot anyone could do about putting the fire out. The boats immediately downwind were unoccupied and the Sapeur Pompier were not doing anything. As I was leaving there was a dramatic flare so I guess a gas cylinder had cooked off.

Within an hour it had sunk.

Monday, December 21, 2015


My solar panel controller failed. I got on the net and found one at Budget Marine in St Marten.

Monday morning I phoned them up, yes they had one. Great, please send it to me by Fedex to RBM in St Lucia. No came the reply we can't do that it is too complicated. Go see our agent.

Still Monday find the BM agent go in and pay for it and get them to get it sent using their 2 day service with DHL.

Wednesday morning go in and ask if it has arrived, if not can I have the tracking number please. Agent phones BM St Marten to find it has not been sent.

Thursday get tracking number which shows it was picked up by DHL on Wednesday. I have hopes for Friday but accept it will likely be Saturday.

Item finally arrives Monday which is a public holiday.

Tuesday go and see the BM agent to be told it missed the lorry.

Wednesday it is on the lorry.

No it is not,

BM St Marten have sent the wrong paperwork. Flurry of faxes. BM agent sec. is embarrassed and goes in person to DHL office to pick it up only to be told the paperwork has not yet been done. Secretary suggests I go in person to DHL office. I have a meltdown, biting the carpet, frothing at the mouth and speaking in tongues. OK Slight exaggeration but she get the message I am not happy.

Thursday morning am told that a senior partner in the business will take me in to the DHL office. We arrive in the DHL office well prepped with boat papers, customs clearances, multiple copies of both invoices etc. The in house shipping agent STARTS to fill out the paperwork. It is now 11.30am, he goes to see the inhouse customs officer to be told she is on her lunch break and will be back at 2.30pm YUP folks a 3 hour lunch.

I go and sit in Derek Walcott square and practice some calming mediation using the mantra “OMM ISLAND TIME OMM”.

2.30pm sees the partner and I back at the DHL office. The shipping agent has completed the papers and goes to see the customs officer. He comes back shaking his head and tells us that she can not look at it till tomorrow as she is busy.

The partner has a quiet meltdown but an effective one. We are allowed to leave with the sealed packet and the shipping papers on the STRICT understanding that we go straight to the customs office in Rodney Bay.

The customs officer in Rodney Bay asks me to open the parcel, glances at the paperwork and says “Yacht in transit?” I say “yes” “No charge” “Thats it ?” He says “ Yes”. 11 days and I have the part.

So SLAP ME UPSIDE THE HEAD if I ever forget and try to order anything from Budget Marine St Marten by DHL.

Defender and Fedex is the way top go.

Fitting the new controller was a 10 minute job and we soon have a a battery bank that is full charged again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


A great sail up to Martinique at 7 -8 - 9 - 10 knots. Fairly confused seas off the North end of St Lucia but after a mile it settled down to a long swell.

As it is Saturday I stopped at St Annes as it it now possible to check in there. A small back street cafe with a computer check in point. 5 minutes on the keyboard, hit the print out button get the bar keeper to sign it and it is all done.

I will stay in and watch the Christmas parade.


Heading North to Martinique today.

The plan is to stock up in Marin [ Leader Price ] and drop back to St Annes for the festivities.

Julie is now on Scorch as Steve is the better dancer! So it is me and Dizzy for the moment but I have hopes that Jan will make it down for January.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Julie had been exploring the village of Gros Islet which is just along the road from the marina in search of fresh fruit and veg when she stumbled across a catholic church and emanating from the church was the sound of a magnificent tenor in full voice.

It turned out that three tenors from Barbados were over in St Lucia and were appearing in four local churches.

We went to the performance in Gros Islet and even though two were operating on reduced power it was still a good show. When the one who still had full power cut loose it was a staggering reminder of the power of the human voice as he belted out the aria every Brit of my age knows as the music from the Cornetto ad but is "’O sole mio" .

Saturday, December 12, 2015


Julie has had an interesting evening out on the Pearl the new party boat.
It was supposed to be a trip to show it off to the hoteliers and cruise ship booking agents. Julie had gone along to help out with things including sail handling. She was drawn to the boat because she recognized it as being an Indonesian build but it had had a checkered history on it's way to St Lucia.

As there is no marked channel in the bay boats anchor anywhere and not all show anchor lights. On the way back in the Pearl managed to hit two unlit boats fortunately with out doing any serious damage. The skipper was on the helm but was being conned in by a bow lookout waving an illuminated baton.

Much discussion ensued next morning on the net on the topic of anchor lights, cockpit lights, solar powered colored anchor lights and strobes.

The ARC finish line has had a busy couple of days and most of the boats are in now. Three arrived with lack of motorized propulsion and the local water taxi boats having been earning some major dosh by giving hip tows to race boats,

This one had lost it's prop somewhere mid Atlantic.

There is a new Indian restaurant in Rodney Bay

and I liked the look of the ceiling decorations, inexpensive but effective. The food was excellent and I will be back for another lunch.

Two more green flashes and a sunset that even Julie had to concede was pretty good.

Finally I give you a rare and unusual site, a traditional fisherman anchor on a modern boat.

Monday, December 7, 2015


A fairly dramatic and vivid sunset after a series of so so ones.

Julie had never seen a green flash before and we finally had a good one. Julie was unsure if the brief wink of green which was really what every body makes a fuss about which we had seen before one night was the real deal. But the good one last night convinced her.

After many years when I was able to find a free open wifi connection in Rodney Bay I finally had to admit defeat and go for a paid connection through a Digicel dongle. Well at least that was the plan. I got the dongle, the sim card and paid for a few gigs of data.but after an hour or two playing with the options I gave up and went to see the 'experts' in the Digicel head office.

I sat and waited my turn and soon had a young tech to show me how to do it. However tech one failed and called in tech two who also failed. At this point they called in the expert who was the telephone receptionist, a most competent young lady who activated my sim, woke up my online account and got me to reboot the lappie.

GERONIMO we had a connection.

The Christmas decorations are going up on Elephants Child and of course Dizzy is eying each and every addition to the boat as just the best cat toys going. The current favourite is a large hazelnut which painted silver which he is chasing very noisily around the deck. But he is also eyeing up the dangling santa.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


A great sail this Sunday morning from Bequia up to Wallilabou. Well At least Julie and John thought so, Dizzy was of a different opinion.
Still he put up with it and is at this moment watching

the boys at play on the old dock from the Pirates of the Caribbean set built by Disney.
The locals who have been enjoying the extra visitors who come to see the sets and general memorabilia are appalled that the sets are disintegrating and have been pressing Disney to come and rebuild them. The chances of this are somewhere between slim and none and slim has left town.
I am not sure if I will trust my stern line to the remnants of the dock for much longer, perhaps a tree might be better next time.
Julie and I set off to walk up to the falls leaving Dizzy on guard duty.
I said " Hi " to Issa as we passed the sculpture garden and then a local stopped and gave us a lift the rest of the way, I must be looking prettty decrepit I guess.

The falls

and the gardens worked their magic on both of us.

Afterwards I had a reflective beer while Julie set off to do some more hiking.

I meandered home to Elephants Child and Dizzy.

We set off at crack of dawn next morning and hung on through the usual rough seas and accelerated winds on the North end of St Vincent. The conditions were starting to settle down when I saw we had a fish on. The Mahi Mahi hit the grill for dinner that night.

Marigot Bay is a great introduction to St Lucia but all the businesses are in shock as the anchor business, the Moorings charter operation has left for Rodney Bay.
I heard as I checked in that the first ARC boat was in and had set a new record. Team Brunei making it across in an elapsed time of 8d 7h 39m 30s.

Monday, November 30, 2015

St Lucia

Arrived safely in Marigot Bay St Lucia after a so so trip from St Vincent,

Just had a magnificent fish dinner of the Mahi Mahi we caught on the way up.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


First there was one.

Then there were two

and finally three monstrous cruise ships all vomiting guests into tiny Bequia.

The shuttle boats were queueing up at the dock.

The taxi drivers were queuing up at the gas station to refuel.

I don't know what the cruise ship visitors thought but I was safely on board.

Off on Sunday morning to Wallilabou then on to St Lucia on Monday.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Here in Bequia anchored off the North shore in Elizabeth Harbor although Julie wants to be back in the Tobago Cays getting close to turtles.

We had a good sail up from the Tobago Cays to Bequia with the SOG [ Speed over Ground ] registering 7 + knots most of the time. I had the center board all the way down so we were pointing well but I was a little miffed when a big catamaran ripped past us pointing almost as high. Still we made Bequia early afternoon and dropped the hook amongst some familiar hulls in the anchorage.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Julie and I will be sailing up to Bequia on Monday. We have had a great few days in Union Island then the Tobago Cays.

More pics to follow!

Thursday, November 12, 2015


Julie is back onboard with the eye scare something that is still serious but not immediately sight threatening so that is good news.

After a couple of days tidying up the boat we had a day off and headed over to Windward to see what was going on boat building wise.

We found that Alwyn Enoe had just launched his 'last' boat and they were working on the mast and other fittings. It has his trademark turn to the top corners of the stern and looks fast.

It was heartening to see a small boatyard on the beach with a number of guys working on wooden boats.

I am not sure what this one is going to be maybe an island trader.
This one has good artwork though.

Julie was taking lessons in ' liming ' with the locals lubricated in the locals case with some Jack Iron.

We are off tomorrow for a jolly round to Sandy Island and a chance to relax on the beach.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Got splashed on Saturday with the yard boys and Edwyn working like Trojans. We were no 4 of 5 boats.

Julie who had arrived to crew for me for the season and do some serious snorkeling had also been working like a Trojan cleaning up the boatyard dust and my casual packing ideas.

We relaxed with a sundowner as we settled in to our anchor spot just off the Lazy Turtles.

However our laidback Saturday morphed into a rather frantic Sunday as Julie decided with the help of Mr Google that the peculiar vision disturbances she was dealing with was likely to be wet macular degeneration, a serious eye condition, and one which requires rapid treatment to stop any further deterioration.

We established the there was an eye clinic in Grenada who might be able to deal with the problem, failing that there was a Virgin Atlantic flight back to the UK with space, there was nothing available by air back to Grenada from Carriacou except standby on Monday and Julie got through to her insurers to find out the protocols for further action.

The standby by seat was available but the small twin engine plane was already at max take off weight.

So it was onto the slow ferry down to Grenada which would get her in to St Georges in time to be seen by the eye clinic on Monday.

I had casually quipped earlier about the Amelia having had several breakdowns and being towed in so we both are keeping our fingers crossed that she makes it today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


After a weeks delay I was hauled on Sunday. The yard has had some issues with their one and only travel lift.

Edwyn did his usual careful job of ensuring that the straps are in exactly the right places, there is only a 2 inch tolerance on the rear strap.

It was not all good though as the Sunday dock boy let the bow get away from him while turning the boat and badly scuffed my topsides. Also he broke the weld on my pulpit stanchion trying to keep the boat under control.I will fix the weld but hope Edwyn will come up with a gelcoat whizz to match my topsides.

I got some help with the prep as working right under the boat kills my back nowadays. But it all went well and I got the first coat this afternoon Wednesday the 4th.

I have used the same make of anti fouling for several years but last years basically fell off in the high splash zones as you can see.

However the manufacturers came up with some free tins of the liquid gold so I guess they are making good.

Anyway Elephants Child has a blue bottom again and gets another coat tomorrow.

All I have to worry about is the yard mechanic who has been absent all week. Problems with his own boat I hear.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Left this morning at 8.15 after the cruisers net finished. This was clearly the best day to head North weatherwise and I thought that I might be part a large fleet but I could only count 7 boats when I left.

I was able to shut off the donk as soon as I got the sails up and we were half way up Grenada before it had to go on again and only for 5 minutes to power through a dead spot.

Once clear of Grenada we made good progress and I even shook out the reef in the mainsail.

Dropped anchor in Tyrel bay at 2.00pm

Friday, October 23, 2015


The forecast looks favorable for Saturday so I am off, leaving St Georges early and if we get a good run I will stop for lunch at Isle de Ronde before making the last leg.

Kick'em Jenny the big underwater volcano is quiet so I will take the passage East of the three sistors but West of Diamond rock.

I will be thinking about the boaters in Puerto Valarta and other coastal harbors and marinas in Mexico and hoping they all left their boats after doing what they could and have sought shelter.

ZeeHag and Bubba the boat cat get my best wishes for a safe passage through the most powerful hurricane to hit Mexico. A thousand year storm.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Clean clothes Dirty bottom and Very dirty fender

One of the great services offered by Nimrods Rum Shop is wash line dry and fold. Bernadette does a great job for a very reasonable price.

One of the not so great jobs done by locals at least in one case is a bottom job.

Now this is not my boat, mine is lots worse than that. But you can see it is at best only half done.

I only hope that the young man concerned comes back and finishes the job off.

Up to now I have always cleaned my own bottom and while I am feeling older and creakier I thought I would give it a go. Once I was in the water it was not to bad and I cleaned the whole boat in one stint. I had a feeding frenzy below me, smaller snapper 10 inch blue jacks and slightly larger barracuda were whirling around snapping up the stuff i was scraping off. Just a little worrying as the viz was not great and I would not have seen anything large and evil till the last moment. I do not have pics as my cheap underwater camera failed to light up this morning. Maybe it has finally died after 7 years of good service.

But I have another cleaning job to do.

This is my fender which has being a stand in for the promised mooring ball for the last ten or so weeks. The gooseneck barnacles are 50 mm long, the regular barnacles are 12 + mm and the soft coral is 6 + mm thick.

Skip this bit unless you are thinking about having a mooring installed in Grenada.


I decided that I wanted a mooring in Clark's Court Bay, one of the key factors was a feeling that I can see the creeping tide of government moorings and I thought that if I had a mooring registered in my name then "grandfather rights" might kick in. But I was also fed up cleaning chain. I discussed the mooring installation with the installer making it very clear that it must be formally registered in my name and that this was a deal breaker. No problem he said, I am already talking to the official. The mooring was installed and it seems to be a good job except that instead of fitting the usual mooring ball he took a fender off my deck and used that instead. For the next ten or so weeks he promised every Friday that he would come the next day and fit the ball. Finally I told him that I was leaving and really needed the ball. No worries he said. I phone him to remind him, yes yes i have the ball and will come and fit it before you go. Well a young man whizzed in on the morning I was leaving and tied a fender to the boat end of the mooring strop and left me to recover my fender. [ Thanks for the help Chris]
This renders the mooring unusable as you have to lift 40 feet of heavy duty chain about 10 feet to get to the strop. Now about the registration, after several weeks delay he tells me that yes the mooring is registered but not in my name but in his company name. So at the moment I have a badly fouled fender to clean and a new hang line to buy. The mooring is not registered in my name but as XXXXXX Marine Services. If I wanted to pick up my mooring tonight or tomorrow I can not do this. I hate having to hassle people to do what they promised and I hate having to deal with people who give you the runaround.

At anchor off Calivgny Island tonight

and my Cuba Libre was enhanced by the splendid sunset.

Saturday, October 17, 2015


The powerboat Hawk found itself on the reef in Secret Harbor. The reef is marked on the charts and discussed in the guides. I wonder what the driver was using?

Luckily he went aground on a rising tide although there was only inches to go.

We could not get him off an hour before HW.

But at HW the dinghy gang plus a couple of big tenders and some serious bow thruster work by Hawk loosened the grip on the reef and he slid off.

I suspect there was some serious relief felt aboard the powerboat.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Mostly I don't sweat the small stuff but the last few days have been trying.

I got a local guy to lay me a mooring. Which he did and I am happy with mooring and he was pretty prompt.

But he was supposed to register it with the government in my name. He now come up with a story that says he has had to register it in his name along with some others.

When he laid it he did not have a buoy so borrowed a fender from me. 7 weeks of promises every Friday [ he drives the shopping bus ] and I still have no mooring ball. So it looks like I have to abandon my fender when I go North.

My Force 10 cooker has 4 burners three are small, one of the small ones has always been wimpy but the others are now wimpy too. This did not matter as the big one did the business and I could swap things around.

But the flame failure device on the big one has failed and it turns out that I will have to dismantle the whole top of the cooker to get this fixed. An attempt to do so soon showed that a key part is cast from a very low grade alloy and that the screws used are made from something close to cream cheese. N.B. This is a seriously expensive, top of the range, supposedly MARINE grade cooker.

I called in a local called David Benoit who is the goto guy on cookers and between us we managed to drill out and clean out 3 burners. So the good news is my coffee will not take 30 minutes to make in the morning.

I was planning to be up in Cariacou by now. The hurricane center keeps warning of waves coming off Africa with "potential". Well we have just have had a succession of these waves giving 30 knot + squalls thunderstorms and heavy rain. One just like these developed into Hurricane Tomas with no warning and only 18 hours from Carriacou.


Man injured by pine cone in San Francisco park sues the US government for $5m. Ha I thought another crazy. But it turns out that the guy got beaned by a 7kg "Bunya" pine cone which fractured his skull.

Which reminds me not to walk under coconut trees as around 150 people are killed by falling coconuts every year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Is it to check the quality of my sanding?

Or is it just to be difficult?


They were supposed to come Friday, then it was Monday, they arrived this Tuesday morning wearing their crisp new shirts. Very spiffy.

However their pump was clearly struggling and after only 40 gallons the magic smoke escaped. As all those of you who work with anything electrical know that means that it is usually FUBAR.

Maybe manana.

Who cares we run on Island Time.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's hot, really HOT

Too hot to do much work. Dripping sweat into the varnish ruins the finish.
But I am gradually knocking down the TO DO list.

While Dizzy stretches out in the coolest spot he can find and demands a belly rub.

We have two three masters in the bay, Vela is tied up to the dock at the new boatyard while Sagitta is at anchor.

I have to wonder at the deckhouse. Who on earth stuck that abortion on such a sturdy little ship.

Sunday Brunch at Whisper Cove and the locals were tucking in too.


Some Mormons are stockpiling canned goods. The “blood moon,” coupled with recent natural disasters and unrest, has led some to believe the end of times are coming and retailers who sell emergency preparedness kits are making a killing

The sales of Mormon 'magic underwear' has skyrocketed too.

I will be over at the full moon party in Benjie bay and no special underwear will be worn.

Good sunset last night.