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.

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.