Thursday, August 17, 2017

Invest 91 is now tropical storm Harvey

But missing us to the North and it seems pretty unlikely that it is going to do anything surprising.

But in case it does I have tripled my mooring lines and given Dizzy an extra good scratching and smooching session.

Holding at Defcon 4

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Defcon 4 and holding


There are now three systems out there in the tropical Atlantic that need watching.

I am not worried about the two close to Africa but the one in the middle now called invest 91 is going to pass to the North of Grenada according to all the spaghetti models. However strongish westerlies are possible. I will be well sheltered but I am expecting an influx of boats from those at rinsk anchorages on Friday.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Manfred Ruhmer and Valentino Rossi

It was on a hillside in Italy I first met Manfred Ruhmer. I had just finished rigging my glider and was waiting for my launch slot when I was introduced to a skinny Austrian kid who was asking about the run down the valley to the castle turnpoint. He had never flown the site before but that did not stop him winning the competition. Oh yes I was amongst the also rans. The difference was the I would be picking my landing field when I was at 400 ft and setting up to land at 200 ft.

The ones who win hang gliding competitions are those that think up all the time and only think about landing when their toes are in the grass.

That was back in the mid 80s, 30 years later Manfred Ruhmer has just won the Class 2 Hang Gliding World Championships for a record seventh time. Some people are just special.

I read this morning of his win and was transported back to days in the 8os when I shared the same air over the mountains.

Reading about Manfred was the second big nostalgia hit as I had just watched the Austrian Motogp race and marveled at how competitive Valentino Rossi still was at age 38.
Again I remembered the first time I saw Rossi. It was at Silverstone and Valentino had just moved up from the 250 cc class onto the bucking nearly unrideable 500 cc 2 stroke monsters that were the premier class. Lap after lap I watched him come through the corner hit the apex and get on the throttle so hard he was spinning the rear wheel and using opposite lock to control the thing all while he was hanging off the side of the bike with sparks coming of his knee and elbow slider, smoke coming off his rear tyre as he left a big black stripe of rubber on the track. After watching him for several laps I realised that the rubber stripes were superimposed as he held the same line through the corner each lap.

He has won more premier class races than anyone. He nearly won the world championship last year only losing it to some dubious penalty.

I could fly back to the UK at the end of this month and join the rideout from Luton to Silverstone for the British round of the Motogp championship. An old motorcycling friend has been bending my ear to do this and has offered to lend me a bed and a bike and promised we would stop for a bacon butties en route.. It would be like old times as he was there the first time I saw Valentino.

Now if I could be sure it would not rain, maybe just maybe.

Meanwhile it is August in Grenada, the parties are all nighters and the great Cabo Verde hurricane factory has just spat out two possibles.

Oh yes for the non bikers in the picture above Rossi has a lean angle of 60 degrees and is in part holding the bike up using his knee and elbow sliders.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Turning a million dollars into one dollar and the great sargassum flush job.

The story starts with a million dollar 60 ft charter catamaran


coming into Canouan harbor for the night with a professional female captain on board. Rather than anchor they picked up a mooring, probably one of the old Moorings Charter fleet moorings.

During the night in light wind conditions the mooring failed and the catamaran finished up on the reef where the port hull was damaged.

It is alleged that the Captain turned off the automatic drag alarm after false alarms had repeatedly woken the charter guests. It is also alledged that the charter company immediately fired the captain.

Mike and Julie are fellow liveaboards but rather than choosing a sensible 44 ft monohull like Elephants Child they bought a Clyde built steam tug. Flying Buzzard is a 105ft ocean-going ex-steam tug. She was built on the Clyde in 1951 by Ferguson Brothers of Port Glasgow and was one of the last rivetted steam ships to be commissioned. They finished off the job of removing the dead boilers and the 36 ton steam engine replacing it with a Callesen 5-cylinder 575hp diesel driving a variable pitch propeller. The diesel engine was found in Denmark at a ship-breaker's yard.

The initial plan was take her across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, the Panama Canal and up to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. But like so many of us they fell in love with the Eastern Caribbean and when word got around that there was a 105ft ocean going tug available for the odd job he became the go to guy for salvage jobs.

Now there are many stories flying about but one suggests that he bought the catamaran on the reef for one dollar.


It was full of sand as well as being mostly sunk.


Using the simplest of tools and some considerable ingenuity they got it ashore, dug out the sand, retrieved the engine that had dropped out the bottom of the port hull and started thinking about how they would move it to Grenada.

They made it down to Grenada supported by lots of barrels and every flotation device that Mike could beg borrow or steal. [ temporarily ]

Here it is on the hard in Clarks Court Bay boatyard.


It gave me a chance to see just how lightly built a modern catamaran is. No wonder the hull was shredded by a simple reef grounding, it is 1 inch of foam with about 1/8th skins inner and outer.








OH YES all that sargassum well it got flushed out the next day much to the relief of all who might have been afflicted by the stench of rotting sargassum.




















OH YES

Sunday, July 30, 2017

MORE SARGASSUM AND THE BUZZARD GETS THE BIG CAT OFF THE BEACH AT LAST.

The weed is coming in great rafts.



I have to drive around the mats if I can because I risk blocking the cooling system on my outboard. But at times I just have to go for it. People with little 2 hp outboards find themselves stopping as the weed tangles up in their props.


The Flying Buzzard is back from Canouan having succeeded in their struggle to salvage the catamaran from the beach.

It had come lose from it's mooring and drifted onto the reef which took out the bottom of the port hull.



There was a lot of excited shouting close to my boat so I popped my head up to see some local kids getting some sail training.

Friday, July 21, 2017

STINKY SMELLY TURTLE KILLING SARGASSUM SEAWEED

It is back.

It is not as bad as it was in 2015



But it still to thick for a hatchling leatherback to climb out through then fight it's way down to the water and relative safety.


I just hope the guys with the nesting records with GPS locations are out there with the rakes.


The sargassum may have been the result of the most recent storm threat called Don. Like Brett he barreled through SOUTH of Grenada and gave us a scare. Don gaves us some big Southerly swells and South winds.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

THREE SCORE AND TEN ??

Who would have thought it.

Anyway thank you to all my Facebook friends 42 lane club friendsand cruising friends with a special thank you to Gisela for my splendid birthday lunch and birthday cake.


Jamaican rum cake a la Whisper Cove.

Yum.


I shared a little bit with my new friend.





I suspect Dizzy could smell the other cat because I get his back and a disgusted stare when I returned home to watch the sunset.

The green eyed monster is present I think.



I do like the more subtle sunsets, the pale pinks and gentle purples.

Friday, July 7, 2017

TURTLE WATCHES KITTEN WATCHES and DIZZY WATCHES

The leatherback turtle nesting season is about over and the trips up to the top of the island to watch the leatherbacks come ashore and lay their eggs are over for the year. It seems that the efforts of the conservationists have been successful in the Eastern Caribbean with an increase in the number of nests per annum.

I spoke to the conservationists who had shepherded the last group of cruisers onto the beach who said that not only did they get to see three adults nesting they also got to watch a hatch and protect the little guys from predation by frigate birds at least until they got to the water.

I have been lucky to see this several times and it always amazes me how they hatch 18 inches or so down, struggle to the surface then with their first blink of a sand covered eye they locate the water and head for it.

The Le Phare Bleu tug pulled this large cat of the reef and here it is heading for a damage survey haul out at the boatyard.

My friends on the Flying Buzzard a much bigger tug are nearing success in their efforts to refloat a similar cat which suffered more serious damage. Rumour has it they paid 1$ for the cat.



Speaking of cats this little cat has just appeared at Whisper Cove. Hard hearted Giles is of course feeding it and it has taken food from his hand so it may be able to be handled. he is just at that point where feral habits become ingrained.

A fellow cruiser has said they wil see how he does as a boat cat.


My boat cat is a little softy and always greets me as if I had been away for days. Much head bonking and cheek rubbing. Well if he lets me on to the step to get back onboard.



Here is something new. I must try on if I see it in a cooler.

TAPPED WITH THE UGLY STICK


There seems to be some kind of agreement to ignore external aesthetics when designing large cats.

UGLY or NOT UGLY

you decide.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

BRET WAS BLOWING HARD ALL NIGHT

Bye bye Bret.

It did a fair bit of damage to Trinidad but no deaths or serious injuries reported so far. Lots of flooding and 20+ houses have lost their roofs.

Was it the tornadoes ? Who knows.

In Grenada a few boats dragged ashore but all were refloated at high tide.

The boatyard is back hauling boats.

Monday, June 19, 2017

FIRST STORM OF THE YEAR

Invest 92 has finally got it's act together and developed some circulation.

It has not curved North as nearly all storms do but has gone South and is forecast to hit Trinidad on the 20th in the early morning. Assuming it does what it is supposed to do Elephants Child should see 30 knots gusting 40 and the threatened 15 ft swell will have enough East in it to stay out of my bay.

So it will be a windy old night and a bit lumpy at breakfast time come Tuesday morning.

I do feel sorry for those boats that fled from Grenada down to Trinidad. They are going to be scrabbling around for a good mooring as they are going to get a direct hit in Chaguaramas.

RAIN RAIN RAIN

And we need it.


It is amazing how quickly the hillsides go green.

Dizzy has found a new lounging spot


in the bathroom


the little pervert.

The boatyard in Clarks Court Bay is nearly full up. A cruising friend who has given up running a small skippered charter business in favor of running a boat fixit business says he is turning work away in the yard.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BUMPER BOATS BUILDING DRY HILLSIDE AND WHISPER COVE

There was a panic call on the VHF from a nearby bay.

"Help Help there is a mega yacht bashing into my boat"

Then a bit later there was another emergency call to say that the same mega yacht was bashing into another boat while attempting to leave the bay.



Initial reports suggest that the boats hit only suffered minor damage.

Someone with lots of money is building a new house on the hillside opposite my mooring. He has had to build a road first and is now building a dock as well as the house.

The sad thing is that the mangroves which used to fringe almost all of this bay are slowly bit by bit being destroyed. All that nursery area for baby fish is going.

One of the things I like about Whisper Cove is the way that they have kept as much of the mangroves as possible.


They do a great job of looking after the flora and fauna.

As well as providing exceedingly good lunches in a quiet setting with gentle jazz playing.

We need some rain

you can see from the picture just how dry the hillside is.

The mangroves are still green as they can deal with the salt.

Still we have had a little rain as the first tropical wave of the hurricane season blew through.

Shoulder Progress


It is getting better slowly as Jan said it would, she said think months not weeks.

Finally I had a bit of sad news one of my motorcycling friends from the Ducati days was killed in a collision with a car. By the sounds of the description of the accident it was a typical SMIDSY JOB

Sorry
Mate
I
Did
Not
See
You

Thursday, May 11, 2017

CREAKY OLD SHOULDER and BAD NEWS FROM VENEZUELA ON GIANT OIL SPILL

Well I have had to put any immediate sailing plans on hold because my niggling shoulder problem which I have been ignoring on the ' keep it till it gets better ' principle got worse and had reached the point where it was difficult to sleep and I needed help getting my back pack on.

I went to see a local very experienced chiropractor who quickly diagnosed a rotator cuff issue, the drop arm test showed there was no complete tear and he thought that if there was any tear it was minimal. In fact he suggested that it was most likely to tendinitis and should respond to some manipulation and regular applications of ice [ or in my case 1/2 a kilo of frozen peas.

A US sailing friend called Jan [ AKA HAPPY FEET ]







who is a physical therapist by profession has given further reassurance but suggested that the rest period should be around two months.

Dizzy who has taken to waiting in full ' Kilroy woz here ' pose



Says WOT NO SAILING WHOOPPEE.


Well I have been following the regime doing the manipulation



applying the ice and it is working. I can sleep again and even find it possible to sleep on my left side.


I have been thinking about activities on board that I do regularly which might be causing the problem and came up with lifting the dinghy. I do this every night to protect it from theft and it involves putting my arms above my head and pulling down hard on the pulley rope to lift the stern.

So I have devised a simple workaround which allows me lift the stern with outboard using only my right arm and no overhead stuff at all just a little winch cranking.



VENEZUELA GIANT OIL SPILL


Large quantities of the heavy bunker fuel from the ruptured fuel oil storage tank at Petrotrin's Pointe-a-Pierre refinery has become lodged in the mangroves and on the beaches of Guiria, Venezuela.

There are reports that at least 3 fisherman have died when they ran into the areas where this thick oil was floating on the surface and there outboards conked out leaving them to drift and die.


Also oil-covered leather back turtles have washed up dead, claimed Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) secretary Gary Aboud.

The dead turtles have also been confirmed by Papa Bois Conservation, an environmental group.

Displaying photographs of the dead turtles, Aboud said FFOS' sources in Venezuela have confirmed that over 50 large marine turtles have washed ashore dead since the heavy bunker fuel oil has contaminated Venezuela's coastal communities.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

BACK IN CLARKS COURT BAY AND CATCHING UP WITH THE GOSSIP

The large catamaran we saw in Charlston harbor partially sunk and beached on the southern side turns out to have been a skippered charter boat which had taken a mooring possibly one laid for the Moorings boats. The mooring failed during the night and the boat drifted onto the reef. The story I hear has the female skipper turning off the drag alarm to avoid annoying the guests. The catamaran was worth 1.7 M US dollars, the wreck was sold for 1 $. The skipper is no longer with the charter company.



The Flying Buzzard is up in Canouan working on removing the wreck from the beach possibly by effecting temporary repairs to the hull[s], pumping it out and towing it south to Grenada. If not I guess a chain saw will be used. The mast sails furling gear winches and anchor windlass must be worth 50 k. or more.

DODGY MOORINGS

I am amazed at how many people use the moorings on offer in the Caribbean usually without any form of visual inspection or pull test in reverse.


Failed rope pennant

Failed chain


Shackle about to fail.


If you were to dive on some locally laid moorings this is what you would find at the bottom.








BOTTLE ART












DIZZY



KILROY WOZ HERE pose.







Grenada police carried out a surprise program stopping drivers of cars and motorcycles to check if they held valid Grenadian driving licenses and valid local insurance. Unlike most countries Grenada does not allow you to drive on you country of origin licence, you have to go to the police station and get a temporary Grenadian license. Apparently many students were caught without the correct documentation.

NOW WE ARE 6 WELL 69 with 70 LOOMING UP ON THE HORIZON

I must remember to get my licence renewed HO HUM.