Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas; Very busy time

I have not done an update in a while, I am not sure where to start.

It has been very busy, with the Newtons visiting for a few days, and now
Paul, Joanne and Valerie (PJV) are here for 8 days. Dana arrives before PJV
leave, then Jonathan and Katie arrive the very next day.

Had a great time with the Newtons, but it is clear that some of them are
glad to be ashore. One of the highlights for me was when Stephanie was using
my training kite to tow herself downwind in the inflatable tube. She started
to get alarming speed, which when coupled with an inherent lack of course
selection resulted in her heading out into the open harbor and deeper water
without any real control. I was running through knee deep water (read:
slowly) chasing her yelling "CRASH THE KITE, CRASH THE KITE". She heard me
and did so, negating the need for a dinghy rescue.

Christmas on the boat was great, thanks to the thoughtfulness of PJV, who
brought me several presents which were eery in their accuracy and precision.
I spilled red wine on my shirt, and Joanne says, "oh, I will give you one of
your presents early - We bought you a stain remover pen". Spooky. Then I
used some duct tape to secure the broken head door, and it left adhesive on
the wood. "Here is the gum remover we bought for you". Weird. I am so glat
that they did not bring an emergency pump or man overboard equipment. Or a
fire extinguisher, or epi-pen. Phew.

We are off to islands south of here, leaving today. We will head to Antigua,
but depending on the sea state, we may get turned back, or head to St Kitt's
or Statia.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I never thought I would utter the words; Kiting Galleon

Today the Newton girls discovered kiting. I set them up with a 1.8 meter
training kite and left them to their own devices. We did nearly bean a local
kid with the kite. Laurie from Cat Tails took the controls thinking it was
just like his two line kite, but it responded differently, so he crashed it
pretty quickly. Poor kid never even saw it coming. It as a lot like the time
my niece Anna crashed it right AROUND her cousin Jonathan. This young fellow
was just minding his own business, making a sand castle, when WHAMMO, an
ICBM takes the castle out, and he was nearly collateral damage.

The Newton girls took to it like flying fish - by the time I came back, they
were body dragging across the lagoon. The prior day we took the surf board
and towed it behind the dinghy, both girls managed to stand up and ride.

Today's nudity report: I was headed back to Madness with Steph and Val who
are 19 and 18 respectively, when a Catamaran pulled up to a mooring that I
was anchored too near. I went over to discuss with the skipper, having seen
a fully clothed woman on deck. The woman was clothed OK, but the man, who
appeared clothed from a distance, was in fact clothed only from the waist
up. By the time we discovered his subterfuge, we were committed to
discussion the anchor situation. This discussion, held primarily in their
weak English and impromptu sign language, went on for some time. When AI
looked at Steph, her expression was priceless. She said that she found many
facets of their boat much more interesting to look at than on other boats.

We later discussed the situation, and decided that it was OK to say: I am an
American and therefore not entirely comfortable with nudity, could you put
on a Speedo?" No there is a string of words that I never thought I would
utter: "would you put on a Speedo?"


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Guests, Guests, and more guests

Ted has come and gone, and now the Newtons are here. As soon as the Newtons
leave, Paul, Joanne and daughter (whose name I cannot recall) arrive. Then
Dana arrives, then Paul, Joanne and daughter depart, then Katie and Jonathan
arrive, then Katie and Jonathan depart, then Dana departs, then maybe Ken
and Leann arrive. Phew!

I am very glad for the company, but the logistics are a challenge. So far,
so good.

Beautiful day today, we may set sail for St Barths, but we will not check
out of St Martin until we establish that everyone is seaworthy. Otherwise we
will do Grand Case and Cul de Sac, maybe Baie de Orient.

The kids enjoyed the nude beach, especially the humorous prospect of having
a nude waiter in the restaurant serving you your scoops of ice cream or your
sausage platter. We decided that it was a good idea for all tables in a nude
restaurant to be bar height.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Full Moon Party

After hearing Sophie and Frederick's tale, we were invited to a full moon
party above shell beach. There is a trail that leads up to one of the
smaller hills. Just bring a few beers and yourself, we were told.

We arrived a little after sunset, and found a small group of people having a
picnic, waiting for the moon to make its appearance. Good food, good wine,
and most of all good music! There was a classical guitar player in the group
(who by day is in the villa rental agency business) who was amazing. YoYo
and Frederick joined in on the spoons, mouth harp and bottles. Frederick
eventually joined in on the ukulele.

The songs were all in French as was much of the conversation, but the event
was not lost on me. I was thankful to be there on that beautiful hillside
experiencing their Joi de Vive. I am at a loss for words...The experience
was so much more than I know how to describe.

BTW - We hosted a small cocktail party on the boat last night, and I found
out two bits of info regarding previous stories - First, Frederick did not
fight to save the boat for two days, he hit the whale in the morning and the
boat was scuttled before sunset. I had been wondering about when YoYo
changed co-pilots on his motorcycle trip from his friend to Edith; It was
after he completed his first world tour and was back in Switzerland. He then
proceeded to do it again with Edith. This time they went through Canada to
Alaska and down the inside passage. There they kept seeing people cruising
in boats, and thought it looked cool, so they sold the motorcycle and
sidecar for a premium price to a collector who was fascinated by its
history, and bought a boat. Off to French Polynesia!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sophie and Frederick

BTW - I sent you a picture of two women smoking in a café last time; I just
thought they looked so French, that I took their picture and sent it along.

Also BTW - Last night we sat on the deck of THE Villa and watched the
Maltese Falcon set sail and head over to Simpson Bay. It was a fantastic
sight. It looks like it sails like a 50 footer.

I think I told you that when we were looking for YoYo, we stopped by his
boat Cheriveri (this is old french for a sea chanty that mocks the captain)
there was a man on board, who knew YoYo and wuold tell him we had come by.
After hanging out with YoYo in the Villa, we went back to his apartment
where we met that same man again - Frederick, along with his wife Sophie.
Over early afternoon beers, we learned Frederic and Sophie's sad tale. It
had happened just two weeks ago.

The lived on their aluminum boat for 12 or 20 years, I don't remember, and
decided that it was time for an upgrade to a larger catamaran. They brought
their boat to Annapolis and sold it there, and bought a Cat. They pulled the
two boats up next to each other, and transferred all of their wordly
possessions and memorabilia from world cruising on their new boat. Sophie
flew back to St Barth's to attend totheir life here and finish the paperwork
on the boat ownership and insurance, and Frederic and a friend set out for
St Barth's. A few days into the trip they struck a whale. I think he said
"Mal chance".

The whale was mortally wonded, and unfortunatly, it appeared to them that
the Cat may have been too.

The whale suffered a large gash in his back, and swam off streaming a swath
of blood meters wide. Frederick could not tell what kind of whale it was,
nor the extent of the injury, as he had to turn his attention to his boat.
The forward compartment on one of the hulls was compromised which did not
present a great problem. Like most cats, there was a watertight bulkhead
behind this compartment. But the saildrive had been stove in, and in
addition, the rudder had been twisted up into the stern section of the hull.
He had water coming in to the forward, middle and aft sections of the boat
on one of two hulls.

One nice thing about cats is that the don't have any ballast. Madness has
about 8000 lbs of lead in her keel to provide righting moment. Cats rely on
form stability to keep the shiny side up. So Frederick did not have to worry
about the lead dragging the one good hull to the bottom. They had a fighting

I was spellbound listening to Frederick tell the story, sipping on our tall,
thin Heinekens at the table in YoYo's living and dining room. On the wall
above Frederick was the picture of the motorcyle and sidecar, not far away
was the guest bed with it's white mosquito net draped over it. Frederick sat
next to two open windows with no screens to block the view of St Barth's
harbor below and hills above though YoYo's lush tropical plantings. I
realized what a rare privilege it was to be there hearing his story and
experiencing the culture adventurous and fun-loving people. I asked
Frederick and Sophie if I could take their picture, the result is attached.

Frederick and his friend fought to save the boat for 2 days but were losing
ground. The USCG flew over to assess the situation and to see if Frederick
was willing to abandon ship. The julls were sinking lower in the water, and
the good hull was starting to be threatened with flooding. Also, they were
not making much progress toward land.

I don't know what information was available to Frederick and Sophie at that
time, but not all of the paperwork was completed on the boat, and their
insurance was not in force. So I cannot tell you if he knew this when he
told the CG that he was ready to abandon his ship and all he possessed in
order to preserve his life.

The Coast Guard routed a frieghter bound for Puerto Rico to his aid, and
they were delivered there. The reason we met him on YoYo's boat is that they
needed a place to live.

What is remarkable was/is their humor and good spirits. You can see moments
when the magnitude wheighs them down, especially with Frederick...but he
shakes it off and tries to lighten his spirit; I think for himself more than
for his company. He said yesterday in french "time to turn the page and look
to the other shore" In French it rhymes - Paagsh and rivaagsh - so it is
more poetic.

So enough of this sadness, Frederick concluded. Tonight is the full moon
party, do you want to come?


Monday, December 15, 2008


I promised you a glimpse into YoYo's life here in St Barth's so here we

We headed to St Barth's on the promise of a party. Ted knows a Jazz singer
Christine Gordon who performs often in St Barth's.
She promised us a party and a performance, so we had no choice but to set

We sailed into St Barth's a few days ago, and started looking around for
YoYo, his son Gael and their friend Kareem (who I called Guy in a previous
post, because I could not recall his name; sorry). You may recall that Omar
killed Kareem's boat.

As we sailed in to the harbor, we had much to look at. First we sailed
circles around the Maltese Falcon super yacht) (Google it, you will be
amazed). We also swung by Emerson Fittipaldi's yacht "Pilar". Then as we
approached the inner harbor, we admired a house high on a precipice looking
back over the harbor entrance and admired the architecture stonework and
location of this villa, and we waved to the men on the deck who seemed to be
watching us sail in (obviously with envy).

We found a spot to anchor, and went in in search of either Christine or
YoYo. We found Christine right away and met her at Le Select and made plans
for the evening. At Le select, we asked the Bartender about YoYo, and he
pointed to the house on the precipice and told us that YoYo lived there! We
walked up and found that it was YoYo that was waving to us, and he had
recognized Madness.

The villa belongs to the guy who owns Bannister's wharf in Newport, and YoYo
is the live in caretaker. If you want, you can rent the villa (~$100k/week)
He took us up to the main house (there are 2 houses and 2 guest bungalows)
through the courtyard. As we walked across the teak deck, turtles started to
appear out of the hibiscus bushes moving toward us like little reptilian
zombies, moving slowly, but clearly heading toward us, inscrutable intent.

"Ah, these are my turtles, they come to me when they hear my footsteps! Pick
them a Hibiscus, they love to eat them" see pics. YoYo was justifiably proud
of his gardening, his herb garden with Ginger, mints, sage, thyme, etc. and
his naturally balanced fish pond above the infinity pool. No pumps, no
chemicals, just an ecologically balanced system, which I think is very hard
to do. We looked down on his 44' Jeanneau Sun ??? And Madness right below
the cliff.

YoYo showed us around the villa (more pics) and invited us back to his
apartment in the second house for refreshments where we once again met
Frederick and Sophie who lost their new catamaran on the delivery back to St

I can't remember whether I told you about them, I will go back and check. If
not, I will tell you about that tomorrow. I must go eat my croissant now.

BTW - we were invited to tour one of the superyachts today, and YoYo offered
us his car for the day. Nice!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

St Barth

Really, I have nothing against my American heritage, but now I think I may
want to be French.

Last week, I met three men from St Barth's in a 26 foot boat. They were
waving enthusiastically to me as I sat in the dinghy talking to another
cruiser. They wanted a ride to shore, which I was happy to oblige. Once I
deposited them on the concrete wharf, one at a time, timing each with in
incoming swell, they invited me to join them later for drinks.

Drinks turned into drinks and dinner with good conversation and growing
fellowship. Yo-yo and his son Gael (Guy-el) were bringing Gael's boat back
from repairs in St Martin to St Barth. They had Gael's friend Guy (Gi) along
for the ride. Guy's boat As the conversation unfolded, I Learned that Guy's
boat had been destroyed in Hurricane Omar. He was not without humor about it
though, we spent a good deal of our time talking about different ways to
dispose of the wreckage - like C4, spreading rumors that the ballast was
contraband, having a boat de-construction party, where everyone goes home
with a souvenir. As you may have already guessed, no actionable plan was
arrived upon.

Another bit of humor regarding his lost boat. There was a news story in
France that was very much in the public dialogue regarding a women who was
murdered and had apparently scrawled in her own blood "Omar killed me". See: Well, after the winds
subsided, someone went out and scrawled "Omar m'a tuer" on the bottom of his
boat. See the picture.

Yo-Yo told me that he had once traveled the world on a motorcycle with a
sidecar. He went all through North and South America, then took a freighter
to Cape Town, and headed north through the dark continent. They went all the
way up through Europe. Somewhere in those travels, he met his wife, and she
joined the trip in place of his friend. See the picture of Yo Yo and friend
in the dessert. He said that they saw the bones of a camel in the desert and
took the picture to say "F%$& you desert, you killed the camel, but we are
still alive!".

We are in St Barth's now, and have looked looked up Yo Yo. Wait until you
hear about his life on the island...


Thursday, December 11, 2008

More About Zen It

Lavanya asked me to say more about Zen It, so this is what I know:

Zen it is one of two restaurants that are owned or operated (I don't know which) by the very lovely Natalia and her pleasant and unassuming husband Alex. I guess that they are in their 30s, they are expecting, and they are just building their first home on a hillside. They radiate contentment. They are shopping on Ikea online for furniture.

We were drawn to Natalia that first time we saw her. You may remember that we were wandering down the main street in Grand Case when we encountered her. She was walking her dog, literally barefoot and pregnant. She was dressed in a camisole and a island print wrap slung low across her torso, exposing her fecund belly. She just looked so happy, we liked her

The restaurants are both kind of funky cool chillin. Zen it has a few deck chairs out on the small sandy beach separating it from the sea. Hmm. Separating it is an exaggeration; when the swell is from the north, the sea sweeps right up past the big driftwood log and brushes the basement of the structure. When there is less wave action the beach is usually covered with fashionable thirty something French vactioners, and the occasional 40 something American tourist.

Every morning Stan cleans the beach, rights the potted plants upset by the gusty winds coming around the hillside, and shovels the beach sand from the entrance to the basement. There are a few rocks placed around that door, but the attempt to stop the shifting sand is futile.

I really enjoy the music there. There is a fair amount of French Rap, which for some inexplicable reason, I like. (Even if Achilles once told me "French Rap ees Bollscheet"). This is a disturbing development to Dana, and I avoid playing it when she is here. There is also a lot of Amy Whinehouse, Some Arrested Development, and the various Marleys.

The tables and chairs are pressure treated rustic, and the menus are large chalkboards that are brought to your table. The lights are covered with palm fronds that rustle in the wind. Each table has a kerosene lamp. In the mornings I see Stan and Achilles filling them and trimming the wicks getting ready for the evening.

Emily is the bartender and mixmaster, and not infrequently, she and Achilles will break into spontaneous dance and all are invited. Emily's brother works next door at Calmos Café, the other restaurant run by Natalia and Alex.


It began to get uncomfortable

We all have different comfort levels, but I think I have found an outlying

First, let me say that there is an outbreak of Dengue fever in the tropics,
and St Martin, while not affected the most, is not the least affected
either. It has been interesting to see how people react, both those visiting
me and those who live here. Those who live here are barely aware of it, and
if you bring it up, they are dismissive. I don't know if that is under the
direct orders of the Tourism Cabinet, but I think it is just a higher level
of comfort with uncertainty. Plus, you must remember that these are French
people with their Joi de vive and fatalism. They all smoke, what is the
threat of a fever to them?

My American friends are much more concerned, perhaps because it is
unfamiliar. No one has chosen to cancel or postpone their visit, but they
are concerned.

But I think the highest threshold for discomfort came when talking to
Michael, Ursula and Bernard about their cruising history.

Michael is near the very hard core of the cruising world. Michael moved to
Thailand in the early 80s and returned to Germany only to visit family and
to attempt to convince Ursula to join him in his bamboo hut. He was only
able convince her to come when he was able to offer the relative comfort of
the open boat that he bought there. He described it as the kind of boat
"Like on the James Bond movie"; not the mega yacht, but the open boat with
the engine high on the transom and a propeller way back at the end of a long
shaft. It had 10 cm of freeboard (distance from water to gunnel)in the back,
and yet they lived on it and traveled from island to island. Michael did
admit that it had some drawbacks, like the open sores that you would develop
after a long passage exposed to the elements, lack of a galley, head, etc.

But it took more that that to drive him from his boat and his chosen
lifestyle. When the Heroin trade really invaded the area, it became a feudal
society with very rude boys wandering around terrorizing folks with
automatic weapons.

"When they confront you, loose your pride. You just look down at the ground,
give them whatever they ask, and very, very slowly pull up you anchor and
slip away. There is usually one or two really aggressive in their number,
and one or two more moderate. When the moderate one speaks up you can start
to crawl away. After the third time I woke up with a gun to my head, it
began to get uncomfortable".

I don't think he was trying to be funny.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Three guys from St Barts

FW: Madness turns to piracy- Now we have three dinghys, and a slave!

From my brother Ray:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ray Piescik []
Sent: Monday, December 08, 2008 4:30 PM
To: 'Walterpiescik'
Subject: RE: Madness turns to piracy- Now we have three dinghys, and a


"It turns out that this kind of deception is not strictly legal, so we had
to let him go..."

Not sure, but I think slavery is also a bit of a grey area nowadays.


Who would wear that?; Dana Walks Through Restaurant in Bikini; Crew of Madness joins Mud People Tribe

Who would wear that? I am sure that you have asked yourself that question from time to time when you receive the Victoria's Secret catalog and there is a breezy satin blouse cut down to the navel, or an impossibly low bikini.

Well, we now know the answer: French women on vacation. That is who would wear that. Possibly French women, on vacation or not.

It is really rather nice to observe, and because it is prevalent, it does not seem overly suggestive or self-conscious.

And it affects your fashion outlook. While she was here, Dana walked through a restaurant in nothing but a bikini. Yep, it's true. No wrap, no self consciousness, just walked right through.

I suppose this was not just the result of the fashions. Three times we walked down the beach following a 50 something year old "naturalist" wearing nothing but a satchel over his privates. Ridiculous. As I have said before the nudity is pervasive, and I decided to give Dana the shock treatment when she got here and take her right to Orient Bay.

When you sail into Orient Bay as Dana and I did, you have to land your dinghy on the extreme south end of the beach. This means that you have to pass through the naturalist beach to get to the semi-clothed beach. There is a sign prohibiting cameras on the beach. As If. I didn't really need to see this in the first place, much less remember it. None the less, it does affect your standards. When we went ashore, I predicted that the shear modesty wrap that Dana carried with her to conceal her bikini would not be needed for long, once she saw French women wearing the same shear wrap with no bathing suit underneath things would seem different. She thought not. SoI have to say that I enjoyed pointing out to her that she had just walked through a restaurant without the wrap, just the bikini. "Hmm, I guess I did..."

After Orient Beach, we went on to Tintamar, an uninhabited island off of the uninhibited coast. Tintamar is known for its fine beach, reef, and mud baths. That's right, just like in the salon, you can smear yourself with fine clay, let it dry on you, and wash it off in the sea. It is what society
people do. Plus, when we asked the owner of the restaurant on Orient Bay about the practice she said: "wey (OUI), you must do eeet, you rub mud on your self unteeel you look like a big sheeet, and then wash it away" I really do not think I misunderstood her. With an description like that, how could you pass it up?

Once on Tintamar, we followed a couple from St Barts along the shore, since we did not know what the clay looked like. They led us to a place beyond the end of the sandy beach, where the fossilized coral that formed the island met the sea abruptly. Climbing just a few meters above the surf on a ledge, we found layers of a very fine, dense hard clay for the taking. Well the
taking was not all that simple, we had to go back to the boat for a hammer and a bucket to make up some mud out of what was essentially yellow brick. We laughed a lot applying the mud (See photos). It really felt like we were victims of a hoax. It was not all that pleasant; kind of sandy. But after it dried, it did feel great coming off. It really felt silky smooth, and your
skin felt clean and smooth even right after getting out of salt water. Emily asked Dana later whether she had used it on her hair (she had not). "ees majeek" We are having a ball. More later. Off to live music now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Madness turns to piracy- Now we have three dinghys, and a slave!

We were on our way back from Tintamar, when we encountered a mariner in distress in a large dingy. We approached under the guise of being helpful. As we approached I yelled "jew na parlay paw Fransay, parlay vew Anglay?"

"On Pew"

I turned to first officer Dornbusch and said "what?", to which she replied "I don't know, but he did not say yes". She cleverly yelled to him in English "Do you submit to our command and surrender your vessel to us?" while gesticulating in such a way as to make him think we were offering him a tow to shore.


Score! Madness has a great dinghy now (it is called "Method", so that we can claim that there is a method to our Madness). We didn't really need this booty, but his dinghy was very large and
had a 30 HP motor that might simply be out of gas. Plus it had a manservant!
(See picture)

It turns out that this kind of deception is not strictly legal, so we had to let him go; But not before we forced him to scrub the topsides and fetch us water from shore. I am happy to be rid of him since Dana seemed to be overly appreciative of his trim physique, anyway.


Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Walt. 
Are you taking the day off for your Birthday?  Going anywhere special?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Emily, Achilles, and Stan; Mele; Gabriel and Matthew

Here are some pictures of my new friends in St Martin. You will see pictures of Stan, Achilles and Emily of Zen It restaurant, as well as a picture of the view from my private table.

Also attached are a cople of snapshots that include Gabriel and Matthew, local (awesome)kiters who are arguably the most attractive men that I haveever met in person. They really are very welcoming, and quick to share their knowledge. One is a dentist and the other is an engineer; both live here full time. I think I get some cool factor by association. I mentioned having met them to Emily who said that they are "too much knowing how good looking they are". It is a small island.

Kiting with them was great, but the wind is dying and not likely to come back until after the weekend. I am carving turns much moree fluidly now, and have been practicing line tension jumps. These result in 3-4 feet of air, not the 20 feet that you may have seen at the beach. I am also getting much better in the breaking surf right at the sand.

I don't have a picture of Mele, who I met on the bus this evening. Born in Morocco, he lived in Paris, Florida, Atlanta and a few other places. He has been in St Martin for about 3 months. He is here trying to forget his old life and ex wife. In the time it took to ride from Marigot to Grand Case, he told me about the nasty separation and his experience with the US legal system. He told me that his wife had a prior hitory of domestic violence and when whe went after him, the system was biased enough that he was the one who had to leave his home and child. He says he is quite content to be here without real estate or car working as a butler in a very fancy villa because he is beyond the reach of his ex wife and the legal system. I imagine that there are plenty of people her running away from something.

Magical place

I am sitting at my usual table at Zen It doing my email, when I look up to see the most perfectly formed rainbow I have ever seen. The colors are in vivid contrast to the blue sky and clouds in the backround, and I think made more intense by the turquoise water below. Both ends are clealy visible, and so close, only about 2 kilometers away (oh, I guess that would be about 1.2
miles to you ;-)

I wish my camera were with me, but it is on the boat, under the rainbow.

It is gone already, but for the memory.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Better now than this morning

Today was a day of transitions. You know - hockey stop, toeside carve, pop

I put in two long sessions and absolutely hammered my legs again. I think
they will recover enough so that I can go out again and progress some more
tomorrow. I came off of the water pumped after the first session knowing
that it was, without a doubt, the best kiting I have done. I almost wanted
another scar to commemorate the event.

I have a scar on my left shin that reminds me of the first day I managed to
return to the spot I left from. When you first start, you tend to get pushed
downwind, and have to do the walk of shame to return to your stuff on the
beach. On this particular day, I got a small gash on my left shin in some
kind of fall, but pressed on because I knew I could make it back. Whenever I
notice it I smile; like a tatoo, a permanent reminder of a temporary

Today I recounted that story to new acquaintences. They are the captain and
crew of a Swan 60-something foot long sailboat, and kiters all. I told the
captian that I was glad for the scar; that if it had been an option on the
customer satisfaction survey after the ride: "Scar/No Scar" I would have
selected "Scar". I am hoping that a relationship develops with this crew, it
would be nice to have some conversations with folks for whom English is

Speaking of getting maimed, I had near misses with two sea turtles today. I
am ripping along with marginal control when up pops the head of a sea
turtle. He/she was about two feet across the back. I don't think this is how
it is supposed to happen. I think the encounter with a sea turtle is
supposed to be peaceful and serene. Well, the turtle chose the "No Scar"
option and dove immediately, so I did not have to try my first intentional

Tomorrow I try my first intentional jump. Not today.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Kiting St Martin

Managed to get in three sessions yesterday at Orient Beach in about 15 kts - which is just enough to kite. Today through Weds is supposed to be 18-20, which for me is ideal. The local kiters are very cool about visitors, even those like me with limited skills. Some of the kiters are awesome jumpers in light air, with great acrobatics. I hope to get some pointers over time.

I just spent most of this morning planning the next few weeks and coordinating with those coming to visit, so I am anxious to get kiting again.

Last night I went to hear live music at Calmos Café and ran into the crew from Krill, the Belgian, German, French boat I first made contact with here. I had a pleasant evening in their company, and got some literature recommendations from Bernard. Micheal and Ursula are pleasant enough to be around, except for their insistence on generalizing averything remotely American. "That is Sooo American". Yeah, I know. I'm American. It is a weird fascination that may expain why the German boats mostly stick to themselves.

I am determined to ignore it.

Bernard is an ex-hippie. No. Bernard is still a hippie minus the hair. He has no fixed address right now, but has a Volkswagen van back in Marseille that he will return to after Christmas. He seems to be very well read, and very passionate about literature and philosophy.

The band was French, and did French renditions of songs like "Sunny side of the Street", "My way" and other Sinatra/swank/Vegas type songs.

Inexplicable but quaint, kind of like the Jerry Lewis thing.