Tuesday, April 28, 2015



Hope tells me that she goes for $424,000 per week.

Well they did not seem to get their moneys worth. I was doing some deckwork and then relaxing with a book in the cockpit and did not see anyone move on deck or get in the water. Was I being nosey well a little but I always keep my eye on anything large anchored close and directly upwind of my floating home.


The 1951 Clyde built steam tug [Now a diesel]. has been doing duty a the committee boat for the Classics Regatta in Antigua. On it's way up there it delivered some palm trees and rescued a broken down ferry which was drifting 30 miles or so downwind and getting close to Venezuelan territorial waters.
These ferries are mostly from the Baltic and I suspect one they can no longer pass the insurance survey there they find their way to the Caribbean where they run them to they sink or collapse mechanically.

I think it is not the first time they have towed this one.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wind is down sun is shining and boats are on the move [ except not me ]

This newcomer arrived yesterday.

I do not know what to call the rig, it is a schooner but has a cross yard on the aft mast for a square sail.

Comfortable looking boat anyway.

Matt and Sue on LuLuDu are finally on the move making the short trip round to Grenada marine for their haulout. I think their target date was sometime in January but it's ISLAND TIME.

The sunset was spectacular and I really enjoyed my Dark and Stormy as I have got some special Westerhall rum and genuine fiery Jamaican ginger beer. Finest Kind as Trapper would say.

As I am writing this I am continually fielding Dizzy who has decided to attack the desk fan from another angle and instead of poking a foot in is intent in investigating it with his nose.

" Dizzy it will HURT! "

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I have just listened to three boats on the VHF buddy boating up to Union Island from Grenada. They are all complaining about how rough it is, how strong the current is and how bad the wind direction is. They are all saying that they are motor sailing but making less than their estimated speed so all three will arrive at Union Island after dark.

Yes it is going to be rough going North especially off the North end of Grenada, all the forecasts have been showing big NE swells of 2.5 m + for today.

Yes of course they are going to have a serious westward setting current as it is spring tides and in fact the biggest tides I have ever seen in the Carib It has even been catching the locals out. They timed their passage to hit the gap when the current was at it's peak. 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 knots.

The wind has been North of East for days and blowing 20 +. Today it has come down a little but is still well North of east which is going to make that trip a hard motor sail and you need to be doing 8 knots plus to make it in daylight.

If they had just waited to Sunday they would have had a pleasant sail and probably would not have needed the motor at all. 12 knots of wind SE favourable tide which would have given then some rough spots but as the swell was down to 1 m it would be tolerable. Finally they need to plan to leave at FIRST LIGHT.

POSTSCRIPT They made it and it was after dark with no moon. Clifton harbor at Union Island is shown as being well marked with lights on the marker poles but as usual in the Carib maintenance is sporadic and when I last visited with Jan and Hope in January only 3 of the 6 lights were working. The entrance is fairly easy but there is a reef in the middle and the channels round it are narrow. Anyway there was a bit of a clusterf*** when anchoring and there was a coming together resulting in some damage including a ripped dinghy and pulled out davit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Having a few down days but then got some good news.

Losing my poker table friend Dave and two hang glider pilots that I knew to cancer made me a little more aware of my own mortality.

J R [Nershi] was another larger than life character that I met flying at Telluride and also at the Aussie Worlds. He too loved bluegrass.

Having spent a lot of my time in my youth with friends doing stuff out in the sun in the mountains, I now hear from the friends that they are making regular visits to their dermatologists to have suspect bits of skin cut out. Jenny Ganderton gets one lump free for every ten and is always on at fellow flyers to check their skin. If you read this Jenny congrats on the the latest success at Lake Keepit Soaring Club

Any I found a suspect bit and after keeping it for a week decided a visit to the dermatologist in Grenada was in order. Phoned at 11am for an appointment and got one at 1 pm same day. I wonder how long it would take back in Stopsley?

Went in to town on the bus this afternoon and got the all clear. I will sleep better tonight.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I just heard that he died. The UK poker scene will be a much duller place without Dave.

A criminal 'face' a loving father, I was never sure how many kids he had, an amazing kareoke singer and best of all a master of the one liner.

“I can out-fight ‘em, out-fu** ‘em, out-think ‘em, out-drink ‘em, out-sing ‘em and out-bling ‘em.” A comment from him on the internet players.

The night I met him on the tables was a small tournament at the Grovenor Luton. There was some discussion about his new double rings and it turned out that he made them from scratch carving the mould casting then polishing. The gold of course was stolen according to Dave.

When news broke that he had been given just days to live by his doctor, Dave however maintained his trademark wit, responding to an enquiring wellwisher with a classic slice of black humour:

“I’m not saying the prognosis is bad but the doctors told me, if you go out for a meal, don’t bother ordering dessert.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I was having a lie in after a great jam session.

Dizzy started making some unusual sounds so I popped up to see what was going on.



I did get one for him and it was duly cooked and cooled to tha accompaniment of some serious meowing.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

WOW just found Vanessa Mae HOT GAS

Elephants Child is getting a musical upgrade to solid state media storage. So I have been working my way through my MP3 files setting up playlists and moving stuff to the MP3 player.

One important playlist is the storm one. I once had to helm for a couple of hours as the autopilot was not coping when we were surfing and had chill out flute music on repeat when I really needed Bat out of Hell et al. One track that I was looking to improve was my very low grade version of Classical Gas by Mason Williams. Instead I came across Vanessa Mae playing Classical Gas on her Red Hot tour.

I am totally blown away. How have I missed her music for all these years?

I was vaguely aware of her name as she had scammed her way into the Grand Slalom at the Sochi Olympics and although she made it down she was way slower than the other runners, about my speed on a good day in fact.

I am off on a Vanessa Mae hunt and have already found some amazing jazz stuff.

Well the above is classical gas and an elevating discovery but on my everyday cooking gas system I have just made a very sobering discovery. For 7 years I have been sailing with my gas alarm sensor bypassed. I did not do it so someone in the past history of Elephants Child did this bad thing.

So the local gas expert is coming to give my system the once over but I think I will replace everything from bottles to cooker.

He was supposed to be here Thursday morning and it is now after 3 pm. So ISLAND TIME rules.

Finally my Dizzy Sox is limping again. I wonder why?

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Another yacht finds the reef - rescue gets interesting - the rescuers needed rescuing

I was working on my part 1 registration inscribed plank to comply with the final step of the arcane requirement that my Thames Tonnage measurement is 'permanently ' marked onto the main bulkhead when a panicked voice comes over the VHF radio " HELP HELP WE ARE ON THE REEF".

So I throw my long anchor rode and big Fortress anchor into the dinghy and speed round to see a yacht well up on one of the outside reefs with big swells breaking over it.

A big yellow local speed boat arrived and as it had some serious horsepower it took on the job of being the big puller. But we could not get it off. The usual technique of pulling it over sideways to reduce the draft did not work as the boat had a wing keel. The dinghy squad had to keep a watchful eye out as every so often a big wave would break and if you did not meet it just right even a RIB could get rolled as a couple of people found out. The rescuers then became the rescuees getting pulled onto another dink and suffering the indignity of needing a tow ashore with an upside down RIB. Local Customs were on the scene but they decided they needed more horsepower and went back for a bigger boat.

It was not looking good for the boat on the reef at that point as the noises were quite alarming as it crunched up and down with each wave and the odd one breaking over it. I wondered if it was going to join the list of boats broken up on reefs this year.

At that point the little tugboat that could arrived from Le Phare Bleu which is just round the corner.
Calico was quickly hooked up and although she looks to small to have any real bollard pull soon had the boat off the reef and back in deep water. The yacht inspected the bilges and reported no obvious water ingress and that the engine was OK and the rudder was working.

I went back to Elephants Child for my economy sized can of WD 40 to find a visitor sitting on my solar panels and Dizzy retreated to the furthest point he could get to down below.

Next morning they reported no damage which I find hard to believe but maybe it was tougher than it looked.

The flipped dinks were turned back over in the shallows and the engines washed down with fresh water and with copious applications of WD 40 we soon had them running again.

The Oasis Bar used to be the social hub for cruisers in Clarks Court bay and I have spent many happy hours there at jam sessions pot lucks TV events and other activities. When the owner finally lost his long battle with the bank he somehow retained possession of the bar and lifted it off its foundations and onto some floating docks which he rescued from his old docks.

We wondered what was it's fate going to be but it got towed round into Mt Hartmen Bay and seems to be under new management.

Finally my last Lofrans windlass foot switch rotted away.