Tuesday, December 12, 2017

BEQUIA TO ST LUCIA ON WEDNESDAY

After a great sail up in the flattest water I have ever seen on an interisland passage I am sitting in Bequia and will take advantage of the best wind and sea that I can get in the next 10 days to leave tomorrow for St Lucia.

So no morning lie in for Dizzy.

He is going to be really pissed tomorrow two long sails on consecutive days.



Mr Grumpy for sure.

Monday, December 11, 2017

NO WIND

Well I was up at the 'peep o'dawn' and on my way North with no wind at all.

Eventually a small breeze filled in but it was dead on the nose, so I pick a sheltered bay and will try again tomorrow.

As I passed Hillsborough I picked up on a rescue working out of Tyrel bay. A Russian couple who have no engine had sailed up from Granada to Tyrell Bay were also suffering from lack of wind and were drifting back to Grenada. A tow was soon organised by Suzy of Spirited Lady of Foy.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bequia bound on Monday

The dinghy is on the deck the outboard on the rail and the new GPS is programmed for Bequia.

It will be a long day about 70 miles before I get the anchor down.

Friday, December 8, 2017

END OF AN ERA SVG WHALING and ANOTHER DINGHY DEATH

My father bought the garage business at 10 High Street Kinross in the mid 50s and operated as Kirklands Garage Kinross Ltd.



Eight of us lived in the house attached to the garage for many years until we bought the next door house and moved there. I lived in the garage house for 4 years after I got married. I ran the business for a while as a Mazda dealership with a busy workshop, separate body repair shop and vehicle recovery operation.

I built my stock cars there and raced under the banner Kirklands Garage.

Happy days with Ian Finnie as a dedicated mechanic and racing at Cowdenbeath and Armadale with trips South for the big meetings at Ipswich and Wimbledon.

Lately the business has been operated by my sister big Liz and her husband Donald. But all things must end. Enjoy your retirement.

CARIBBEAN WHALING.

These guys were seen operating off the North end of St Vincent. They may have been after pilot whales, a type of dolphin. In the islands the meat of the pilot whale is known as black fish.


The SVG islands are also entitled to take some great whales as it is part of their heritage but they are supposed to use traditional hand harpoons and work from a boat driven by oars.

ANOTHER DINGHY DEATH

Just had a sharp reminder of the dangers posed to liveaboards, specifically dinghy operations. A French sailor who crossed the Atlantic with his wife in 2015 and had been anchored in Prickly Bay lost his life when he hit an unlit post at night, at speed, in his dinghy. Despite a rapid response by fellow cruisers and coastguard he did not make it. That post claimed another victim a couple of years back.

YAY PELICAN PLUNGE


The pelican population in Carriacou is down to one or two birds but I enjoyed a ring side seat this morning to some pelican fishing. A school of bait fish was being harrased from below by some predators and were jumping all around Elephants Child. A sole Pelican was making repeated dives in pursuit of breakfast.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A day late and we are paddling

The forecasts had a strong wave blowing through early on Monday with an inch of rain. However Monday passed in tranquility and without rain.

Tuesday the forecast was back to normal but to be sure I checked the weather radar and all was clear.

Did some work on my windlass wiring and went for lunch at the Slipway. It suddenly started looking threatening and BLAMMO the heavens opened.

4 hours later and it is still raining hard.

Friday, December 1, 2017

SPLASHED CHICKEN AND PELICAN

I was sitting watching paint dry on the last part of Elephants Child's bottom, the centerboard. I get to work in slings to cleanout the centerboard case and the board itself which then gets the last of the liquid gold as I call the bottom paint.

While I was sitting I thought back to my first visit, Edwyn was the yard manager and travel lift operator and the expert at keeping the ancient worn out machinery running. I was especially frightened by the tires which were showing canvas both on the tread and sidewalls. When I asked about this Edwyn reassured me that new tires were coming on the ferry and would be fitted before they lifted me. The 'new' tires were worn out aircraft tires. Still that went with the yard office in a rusted out shipping container with holes in the floor, the shower with no light, no shower head and no lock and the toilet which was unuseable. Oh yes and the goat poo, herd of goats and flock of chickens that roamed the yard at night.

The goats have gone we have one chicken, a tiled shower block with the obligatory key and best of all Edwyn is the master of a brand new travel lift with the state of the art remote operating kit.

Elephants Child got a new prop a Campbell Sailor which is supposed to reduce drag. Not that I was particularly worried about drag but I was worried about the large pink patches and nibbled edges which indicated some degree of dezincification.

As we went back in I was glad to see a pelican diving on the reef. Only one where before there had been dozens but maybe they are coming back from whatever drove them away.

All boatyars have a zombie a boat that will never be set back in the water but someone somewhere keeps the dream alive and pays the yard storage fee every month.
Tiggy, a pretty wooden boat with traditional lines belongs to a Polish single hander who also has a black and white cat.

It was good to be back in the water and enjoying a good sunset along with my well earned G&T.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean


One of the ways the time in the boatyard is made bearable is lunch in the Slipway Restaurant, the home of the best burger in the Caribbean.

But you have to be aware of the opportunistic pirate grackles. Turn your back for a second and they will have plundered your plate and made off with the booty.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

LIVING UP A LADDER

Hauled out and blocked nose to wind as always. Edwyn the yard manager always gets his mask and snorkel on to make sure the lifting straps are in the right place. It is one of the reasons I keep coming back here.


I am being extra careful on the ladder as I heard recently that my heroine Jeanne Socrates had fallen from deck level while working on her boat in the yard.

Two attempts to​ ​start​ ​off down the Pacific from Victoria, B.C. - on 19th October and​ ​​on​ ​13th November - were thwarted in 2016. This was planned to be a fourth solo circumnavigation and a second sail nonstop and unassisted around the world but​ ​stormy weather twice caused damage, firstly requiring a return to Victoria for repairs and the next time forcing her​ ​to pull in to San Diego​ for further work.

She​ ​was all set to re-start on​ ​5th​ ​October 2017 from Victoria, B.C.​ ​but she suffered a nasty fall from ​a ladder at ​deck-level onto the hard just a week before her planned departure. She's now recuperating well​, despite several broken bones,​ but has had t​o​ postpone this attempt to October 2018.

So it is Extra Careful Jones on the ladder.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

TYRELL BAY CARRIACOU

A quiet passage with favorable winds saw us into Tyrell Bay mid afternoon. Picked a spot well to the left of the two noisy rums shops, However I was so tired I think I could have slept through any amount of drum practice.

Haulout is scheduled for Tuesday at 8.00 am

Thursday, November 16, 2017

CARRIACOU ON FRIDAY PICASO TRIGGERFISH and FOUR BIG CRUISE SHIPS

Well it is big girl pants time. The last really nasty looking Cabo Verde wave blew through Grenada and is sitting off Columbia with a 20% chance of further development. Nothing in the Atlantic looks threatening and the ITCZ is quiet.

So I got my snorkel gear on and set off to touch up my bottom with a green scrubber. I was not expecting more than a light coating of fur, boy was I wrong, there was significant fouling 1/2 inch barnacles and some spectacular soft coal growth. It was time to get the big scraper out again and give it laldy. Now I am used to being very popular with the local fish and expect yellowtails blue runners and various grunts to snack on my scrapings. But today we had only one fish and he was very aggressive to other fish.



It was that most outrageously colored denizen of the shallows, a Picasso Triggerfish.



I had wimped out of going to town yesterday knowing that St Georges would be totally rammed with cruise ship passangers we had no less than four. The facilities can really only handle two medium sized jobbies.





The poor revelation had to anchor out and we had one crammed onto the commercial dock.

A side effect of Irma and Maria.

Meanwhile recovery in the islands worst hit is not going well with Political chaos in St Marten.
“One week later, November 10th 2017, the Magic Eight passed another motion discharging Prime Minister Marlin of his duties with immediate effect and resolving to install Acting Prime Minister Rafael Boasman as the new Prime Minister. Popularly speaking, parliament fired the Prime Minister twice and then requested the Acting Prime Minister, in whom, one week prior, they had no confidence, to become the new Prime Minister.

St Thomas
Now 61 days in the dark for our islands.32% power restoration closest to towns
.

Puerto Rico
Maybe 25% has electricity and again about 25% has mains water although I am told that it is erratic.

With only one small cruiseship in I risked the town and did the rounds of post office [ parcel still not arrived. ] optician [ ne replacement lense ] Digicel top up. and a fruitless search for tomatoes.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

IT HAS BEEN A LONG AND FRIGHTENING HURRICANE SEASON


Tropical Storm Bret was the earliest named storm to develop in the Main Development Region of the Atlantic basin on record. Bret formed from a low-latitude tropical wave that had moved off the coast of Africa on June 12. The disturbance moved swiftly across the Atlantic for several days, steadily organizing despite its low latitude. On June 18, the organization increased enough for the National Hurricane Center (NHC) to begin issuing warnings disturbance while it was located southeast of the Windward Islands. The system continued to organize, and by the next day, it had developed into a tropical storm. It then followed a very unusual path going South of Grenada. was on DEVCON 5 for Bret.

Then we had another storm go South of Grenada DAVCON 5 again.

Everybody knows about Irma and Maria which devastated islands in the North East Caribbean.

Tropical Storm Rina formed today on November the 7th.

Crown Weather reported over the weekend that there could be some tropical storm development in the week of November 12 that could track from the Western Caribbean towards the islands of Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and the Northern Leeward Islands.

Mean while I am still sitting in Grenada with disturbances rattling along ICZ bringing strong squalls and the threat of rapid development l have memories of Hurricane Tomas that spun up from just such a disturbance to fully fledged hurricane in 18 hours and scared the shit out of Gisela and I as we sheltered in Frigate Bay Union Island.

The last three days have seen 40 knot squalls and rain with a storm to the North and another threatening to form to the East. What about OCTOBER ALL OVER!

I need to get up to Carriacou and get hauled as I want to be in St Lucia for ARC. I have the anti fouling the new prop and some other bits and pieces I will get installed. I will put on my big girl pants and leave on Friday or Saturday unless the threatened storm forms and heads for Carriacou.

WATCH OUT PIRATES ABOUT!

On a lighter note I was treated to a breath taking display of aerial piracy as I enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit. The pelicans are gone so the Magnificent Frigate birds are reduced to bullying the gulls who are fishing for their chicks at this time of year. The frigates try to harass the gulls till they drop the fish. The gulls try to outfly the frigates twisting and turning. But the frigates are relentless.

This pic is not mine but illustrates what I saw several times during breakfast.



The frigates had a big breeding colony on Barbuda which was one of the islands hit hard. Reports say less than 10% of the birds survived and there are no reports of them turning up elsewhere.


Friday, October 20, 2017

WEATHER - ESCAPEES FROM IRMA and DIZZY GETS A FISH

We have had a few days of bad weather. I wake up and check the weather radar and BANG strong convection cells rolling our way. We have had big thunderstorms really heavy rain and squally winds over 40 knots.

After an hour of rain like this


The dinghy was full up and my bottom scraper on it's 8 ft pole floated out and went walkabout.



Many thanks to Ally Oop for spotting it and returning it.


Refugees from Irma

Several catamarans that lost there masts in hurricane Irma have come to Clarks Court Boatyard for new ones. I guess all the riggers further North are already fully booked.

DIZZY AND A NEW TOY


He bought it in an presented it to me.



Looking very pleased with himself.

What impresses me is either it got sucked up in a thunderstorm or that 3 inch fish jumped over 4 ft out of the water to clear my toe rail.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DOMINICA ROLLY IN GRENADA AND IT IS TIME TO GO NORTH

Just finished a stint helping to move and pack aid for Dominica. I was glad of the big fan some one rigged as it was REALLY HOT in that shipping container.

It is HOT onboard Elephants Child too but a cooling swim is always available.


The above pic shows that my little non rolly corner of paradise has been invaded. I know from the chat on the VHF it has got really rolly in some anchorages.

I enjoyed a good sunset with my G&T last nigh.


I had just finished a stint scraping the reef of my bottom. 80 % done but I want some good viz for the last few bits. My underwater camera has died and my new one is lost in the post otherwise I would have included some pics of just how bad it was. This is not Elephants Child but the fouling was at least as bad if not worse.The growth is helped by the local rum distillery which cleans its tanks out on a regular basis and flushes all the nutrients into my bay.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

REEF RESCUE and RESCUERS HEADING FOR DOMINICA FACE PIRATES

Artemis suffered an engine failure in the narrow cut entering Hartmen Bay and finished up on the reef.

Getting her off was more difficult than usual due to the really big swell that was running. The breakers came close to overturning several dinghies. But she came off with no hull damage. Her rudder is damaged and she will need to come out for repairs I think.

Catastrophe happens!!!!
We hit the reef after engine problems in Hartman Bay. Mayday message sent...many many tenders arrived to help...marina work boat sent...coastguard arrived. Eventually our mast was gently pulled down and we were pulled very gently off the reef! The rudders broken, the keel (so far) looks fine, prop fine.....all looks cosmetic. We were towed to a mooring buoy and fortunately have not taken any water.
Many, many thanks to everyone involved. I cannot thank everyone enough for helping save our boat.
However Miles, Alison and Artemis have pulled through.

From Chris Doyle

Yachts bringing aid to Dominica may need to rethink. Very regrettably yachts bringing supplies to Dominica are getting robbed offshore by armed men in Pirogues. What worried me about this is that it is a societal ill. In Grenada in Janet, no one looted. The next hurricane there was a lot of looting. After a hurricane, when supermarkets are closed and there is no food, at least breaking in and taking some food has some sort of survival justification for anyone who is actually starving . But it has gone way beyond that. Now a hurricane is seen as justification for breaking into any kind of store and taking things for free on the grounds that if they take all insurance will pay. This is very wrong. By doing that insurance rates go way up and this gets put into the cost of things you buy from then on. That kind of permissive attitude has now led to the armed robbery of yachts bringing up aid. This is not stopping all aid but it is stopping some. Including a solar charging system with multiple mains outlets to help people charge their phones and batteries. There is a way too permissive an attitude in Dominica in general about this. To all my friends in Dominica who know stealing is wrong. It should not be considered acceptable when you have a disaster. It is also going to affect yachting. Because once people have got away with going out to sea and robbing yachts off Dominica, they are likely to continue one the storm is over. Dominicans who understand this must communicate to their sticky fingered brethren, and let them know that this kind of behavior i totally unacceptable. This hurricane is not a one off. With global warming you will get more. It is really dumb to harm those who try to bring you help.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricane Maria

She is a big strong lady and even though she is 100s of miles to the North we have a contrary Westerly wind and rain squalls.

I am in a very protected spot in Clark's COurt Bay. GOOD
Other people know that this is a protected spot. err good sort of.
All this morning other boats have been piling in and anchoring around me. BAD
The first big rain squall has just blown through and at least two boats have dragged BAD
But both off to the side of Elephants Child.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

GOOD NEWS FOR ME BAD NEWS FOR DOMINICA GUADELOUPE AND ST CROIX REALLY BAD NEWS FOR THE USVI AND PR

Well I am back at DEFCON 2 as it is clear that Maria will strike well to the North as a fairly compact storm.

Dominica and Guadeloupe are in the cross hairs for a strike by a cat 2 or 3.

St Croix will get hit then Maria is likely to strengthen further and hit the USVI followed by Puerto Rico as a Cat 3 or 4.

I really feel for those people who will be trying to get some supplies in then be faced with starting the clean up all over again.

St John to be evacuated
FEMA and the other government agencies currently on the ground here are recommending that all non-essential persons evacuate the island ASAP.


Back to more pleasant things. Clark's Court Boatyard organised some J24 match racing and they got some unusual light westerly winds for the races.

When they do it again I may see if I can rustle up a wrinklies entry, age 70 + to be in my gang.

But I may just enjoy watching it all from Whisper Cove Marina as I enjoy their very fine Sunday brunch


A local entrepreneur has been working on making this rescued cat into a water and fuel barge but things are proceeding slowly and he has allowed one hull to sink. Guess I need to go in and fill up with water instead of the delivery.


Irma left behind conditions for spectacular sunsets.

Makes my sundowner G & T a little more special.

Friday, September 15, 2017

DEFCON 4

Local weather guru Chris Parker has issued a warning for the possible rapid intensification of the system due to hit on Monday.

Cat 3 or 4 with Guadeloupe or Dominica as the target.

NOT GOOD

MORE HURRICANES

It looks like both the yellow crosses shown in the previous post will develop into storms then hurricanes. It is early days for reliable forecasts as to track but most models have one missing the islands and the one closer to the islands passing over Martinique Dominica or Guadeloupe as a storm or cat 1 hurricane.

Had some collateral damage from Irma, the fresh produce shelves were just about empty in the supermarket as the supply which comes through Florida was disrupted.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Just the three systems to worry about



OK it looks like Jose is no danger to Grenada but it has been doing loops.

The two potential storms are both moving into conditions that favor development.

I am keeping a close watch on the one closest to Africa. I have a BAD feeling about this one.

Friday, September 8, 2017

TOPICAL ONLY IN AMERICA

Some Americans preparing for Hurricane Irma are coming up with unusual ways to show their defiance.
They are planning to fire bullets into the storm or use flame throwers and lasers to show their resistance

although there's no way to stop the path of a hurricane.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

ONLY IN AMERICA

Well not this week. It is only in the UK that I came up with news that tickled my funny bone.

The young lady out on a first date who got stuck with her arm inside a bathroom window as she attempted to retrieve her poo. REALLY?

The mature lady who blew up her car with a can of air freshener. [ I could do that I have lots of practice with making potato cannon. }

THEY GOT OUT OF DODGE

Several cruisers that I know who were in places like St Martin the BVI Antigua St Barts set sail South when it was clear that there was a significant risk of a hit by a major storm.

They aimed for Martinique St Lucia and in the case of little Haymeade Carriacou. I am sure they were glad to drop the hook in a sheltered spot and catch up on sleep.

Their reports have been trickling in of their successful escapes amongst the news of boats who remained in St marten or the BVI and are sunk or damaged. Some of the yards in St marten that insist on dropping the mast and use sand screws to strap down the boats have faired well but there is one that has a trail of damage across it from a low flying catamaran.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IRMA in ANTIGUA BARBUDA ST MARTIN THE BVI THE USVI

Only 2 reported deaths so far. I am sure this number will grow but a lot less than I was expecting.

These are all places I know well and have anchored in. Sometimes leaving friends behind who ride out the season because they are working up there. At least one couple in St Martin have lost their boat but they heeded the advice did what they could and moved ashore for the passage of the storm.

Barbuda got a direct hit and I suspect the damage to the housing stock will be dramatic as they are lightly built wooden houses for the most part. UPDATE 90% of the houses on Barbuda have major damage. I death reported so far

BVI also got a direct hit.


Paraquita bay, Tortola, view of the carnage in the hurricane moorings.


This is the big charter boat Marina on the South side of the BVI

Lots of damaged boats.


I have just heard from two friends who decided to stay in North Sound BVI. This would have been the last place I would have chosen but their boat made it through on its own two anchors. They did the sensible thing and moved ashore into a concrete and steel built hotel.

Nothing heard from Branson's Blog from Neeker island though.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

NOW 180 GUSTING 220 AS IT HITS ANTIGUA BARBUDA


Wow just wow

IRMA THE MOST POWERFUL ATLANTIC HURRICANE EVER

Irma is now the 5th strongest hurricane ever formed in the Atlantic basin - winds 180 mph and the strongest ever outside the Caribbean Sea or Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane hunter is still checking and has not reached the northern eyewall where the earlier strongest winds were so it could be even stronger than that!

This is the wind forecast for Anguilla speeds in mph.
Wednesday

07 AM NE 144 172

08 AM ENE 172 201

09 AM SSE 161 190

Wind speed of 172 steady with gusts to 201.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Harvey 'different' cruising boats and I lost Dizzy for a while.

Harvey has done a number on Texas. I woke up and on my news feed was this very disturbing picture of a seniors facility which had been told to stay put and NOT evacuate. The old lady in a wheel chair up to her chest in water and waiting patiently for help has gone viral. The thousand year flood or so they say.

I was sitting in the cockpit enjoying my morning coffee with a square of strong Grenada chocolate and ruminating on the unusual number of cruising mobos that I could see.

Craziest of them all is the Flying Buzzard a 105 ft Clyde built Tug that is 70 years old.


But the next 4 are the sort of boat not often seen as the home for Eat Caribbean Cruisers.


But as crazy boats go Galatea built over a 100 years ago slim as a starved whippet and part time submarine is one to watch.

She is still winning races and still looking good.

A credit to Judd and his crew.



Speaking of crew I had a nasty fright when I could not find Dizzy and he missed two meals. I eventually tracked him down to a locker I had had open for seconds. He was right at the back with stuff in front of him that I had replaced.

The rascal has an uncanny ability to sense when I am not watching and hops in to any locker.