Thursday, January 29, 2009

Anybody interested in crewing home?

I will need crew for the return trip, is anybody interested in sailing
through the Bahamas or back up to Boston from the Outer Banks of North
Carolina? (Or Bahamas - NC?)

I am targeting April for North Carolina and May for my return to Boston. The
longer leg would be about 3 days offshore. The Bahamas would be typically
day trips.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Walter Joseph, are you missing anytin?

My luck is holding.

We have been a bit more on our guard since a man was killed in a botched
robbery in Antigua a few days ago. This hasn't happened in years until about
6 months ago, and again a few days ago. It has made us a little leery, even
though we are not in Antigua.

Yesterday we had a great bike ride around Nevis, and had the chance to
explore some really interesting ruins of an old sugar cane plantation. It
was completely deserted, and barely marked from the street, but Ken and
Leeann pedaled their rented mountain bikes and I my folding hybrid bike down
to the old intact steam engine, cane press, lime kiln, plantation buildings,
etc. Not a person in sight the whole time, and relatively smooth biking
across large pastures leading down the ocean. Fantastic. In one building we
saw a honey bee hive that was enormous, and another was filled with bats.

We were trying to get a picture of the bats, so I clapped my hands to spook
them while Ken was taking the picture. When a whole bunch of them took
flight, there was a whole lot of nothing where Ken used to be. He didn't
even take time to snap the picture. He claims that he needed to save
batteries on his camera, but I find the timing suspicious.

Later we discovered that kids (of the goat variety) are nearsighted as one
persued Ken with a passion, bleating as it ran full tilt after him. It was
pretty clear that it thought he was his mother and was being left behind.
Once itran him down and got a look at him, it turned and fled in terror. It
happened again a little later, though this one may have been a sheep (De
sheep, de tail go down...the goat de tail go up, remember?).

The ride had a long uphill section, followed by a long downhill. The trip up
was a grind, but good exercise, and the trip down was an exciting, fast
ride. For what must have been 15 minutes I was able to keep pace with the
cars. In my excitement, I cruised right by the botanical gardens that Leeann
wanted to visit, so I suggested we take a bus back up, rather than attempt
the hill again. No one was up for that.

After our bus ride, we were walking that last mile or so to the gardens,
when three local girls approached us and said that a man was looking for the
three of us. Shortly thereafter our bus came driving down the road to the
garden (not on his route) and stopped next to us. The driver looked me right
in the eye and said, "Walter Joseph, have you not been missing anytin now?".
I am sure I had a quizzical look, so he produced my wallet, which had fallen
out of my pocket in his cab.

There are good and bad everywhere, and remember, pirates are just bad guys
with boats.


I am a woman!

While on our bike ride, we stopped in a nice little restaurant that featured
nothing but local food. The woman who ran the place introduced herself with
what we noticed was a man's name. She offered to watch our bikes while we
took the bus back up to the botanical gardens.

When we got back I said "Reggie, thanks so much for watching our bikes while
we were gone".

"My name is not Reggie, can't you see that I am a woman? My name is Rodney".

I stand corrected.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kiting challenge

One thing that has become abundantly clear is that kiting is best on the
windward side of the islands, and sleeping is best accomplished on the
leeward side.

There are locations that allow both, but they are more rare.

We had a nice dinner with Laurie and Dawn from Cat Tails last night. They
have been working their way south slowly. We made arrangements to try to
contact each other each day on the SSB and connected just in time to
rendezvous here. They went through a significant effort to make it here, and
we are grateful that they travelled the extra mile to join us in this
tranquil location.

Yesterday we walked around the southern end of St Kitts a viewed some
spectacularly desolate and beautiful landscape. It was made bittersweet by
the knowledge that it is being developed by the Kiawah group into what they
call Cristophe, which will be a mega yacht harbor with exclusive homes for
about 1400 very rich people. That may be a good thing, but it did not seem
that way to us as we walked the area that will become a golf course. But for
now, it is spectacular.

We sat on a hillside high above the southern end, and watched the ferry
arrive and discharge it's load of cars. We stayed long enough to notice the
people walking the beach below, who you would miss had you just looked over
the scene for a few minutes. On the walk back we saw many feral goats, but
none of the green monkeys that live here. We saw the monkeys along the shore
the next morning, traveling in a group of about 7-8, foraging and squabbling
among themselves.

We will be heading for Nevis soon, maybe today. There is a location that
promises to allow for good sleeping, kiting and hiking/biking.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

St Kitts!

We sailed into St Kitts yesterday, and have installed ourselves in a marina

It is a luxury that I do not allow myself very often, but we were in St
Barth's and the anchorage was very rolly with an east wind and a southern
swell. The rolling was such that it was hard to convince yourself that it
was mother ocean lulling you to sleep. Instead it was your irritating
brother shaking you just to be annoying. When stuff on the galley counter
start falling off onto the floor, you know the anchorage is less than fully

So when we arrived in St Kitts well after the sun went down, and found a
marina with reasonable rates, we jumped on the opportunity to have a nice
quiet, motionless night. We invited Cathy and Rob over from Quatico, an
Island Packet 38 that was at sea the same time we were coming down from
Bermuda. They sold their cars, furniture, clothing, everything except their
house, and they rented that out. They are planning to cruise for 4 years.
After that kind of commitment, I don't know how I could stand the sleepless
night, knowing that it was self-inflicted and that I had burned so many

I think maybe I have been gone too long, as I am focused on the discomfort
of a rolling anchorage, and not on the lovely weather and the thrill of new
discovery. Also, I saw a Dominoes Pizza place, and thought for a second that
sounded kind of good. But I am getting back into the swing of things; today
I made up for the mental transgression by asking our taxi driver to take us
somewhere that had goat on the menu. He complied. I did not have the goat,
but did have some local fish.

St Martin calls itself the friendly island, but I think St Kitts deserves
the moniker. When we arrived, there was a big commercial catamaran in at the
dock and when I asked them if they could move to make room for me, the
captain said "We are all about brotherhood here, I would be glad to move,
and to help you dock". Then they gave us a big bag of ice and a 6 pack of
beer for having graced their island with our presence. Finally we are

Ken, Leann and I took a tour of the island by taxi, and saw really beautiful
gardens, majestic landscape and a monkey. I was the only one to see a green
monkey in the wild, but it was a really, really big one. I think it could
take Ken in a fight, and maybe Leann. (You won't catch me fighting some

I would send pictures, but I only have satellite connectivity now.

Tomorrow we hope to kite a beach south of here, if there is sufficient wind.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


This morning we got a late start because we were discussing the distribution
of wealth.

It is hard not to get onto that topic when you are surrounded by
superyachts. We sailed into St Barth's and noticed one superyacht that had a
helipad (No chopper; it may have been out somewhere), a 50 sailboat, and ~ a
45 foot power boat all on deck. It occurred to us that each of the
superyachts has a Queen Bee, and an associated hive of drones working to
maintain them. Not just the crew, but all of the employess of the companies
these people must own. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it
was an interesting analogy. Of course others are probably owned by the
operators of vast ponzi schemes, and there is something wrong with that.

We ran into YoYo yesterday, he is looking forward to a little cruise on his
boat Cheriveri starting tomorrow. The busy season in St Barth's is starting
to wind down just a little bit.

Not too much else happening. We planned to head south tomorrow, but he winds
are from the southeast at 18 kts, so we may wait a day to head to St Kitts.

The head acted up, making it necessary to discover the True Value hardware
store on the island to purchase a plunger. The anchorages have been pretty
rolly the last few days, making for difficult sleep. I miss having Dana
here. But it is 81 degrees and sunny with 70% humidity, the snorkeling is
good (saw a barracuda feeding today, and a sea turtle yesterday) and most
all is well.



My friends Ken and Leann arrived on Tues from Vermont. I think they have the
record for having traveled the most degrees Fahrenheit - The daytime high
expected in their part of Vermont was 0, with a low of 12 below in the
forecast. Here it is 77 at 0700 as I write this. I don't know what the highs
are, we are never on the boat midday.

Yesterday was the day of kitemares. Ken says that mine does not qualify as a
real kitemare since I never saw my life flash before my eyes, but I think it

Ken also does not consider anything less than 10 feet a jump, but since I
never got up that high, I consider anything the board clears the water's
surface a jump. But I digress.

The undisputed real kitemare was a kid with an old school "C" kite, which
has no means of de-powering launch himself into a tree. Without
exaggeration, he took flight on dry land quite by mistake, and was caught by
a tree. He ended up about 8 feet above the ground with other kiters all
grabbing his feet to pull him down. The kite remained powered up doing
loops. They pulled him down far enough that the fall would not hurt him, and
he re-gained his composure enough to release the kite. The kite was still
powered up enough to pull a few 2" limbs off the tree before it flew off out
of sight. The kid was OK enough that he went off in search of his kite.

Mine was much more benign. I crashed the kite while "jumping" (take that
Ken) over the face of a 5' wave in a surf area. I had a momentary brain
failure and the kite was nowhere near where I thought it should be but was
instead crashing straight down into the sea. That was not so bad, as it us
usually easy to re-launch, but my kite immediately began to loose it shape
as though I had burst the air bladder that holds it's form.

The kite them proceeded to "invert", which renders it uncontrollable. It was
a long way to drag to shore, so I ditched my control bar and lines and swam
to the kite working my way down one of the lines to the kite. I straightened
it out and found that the leading edge was still serviceable, but simply
underinflated. I straightened the lines and started to work my way back to
my bar holding the leading edge lines. That was my first mistake. The
leading edge lines allowed the kite to power up and pulled the lines free of
my grasp, but not before giving me some new cuts.

As the kite flew off, I kept one hand on the lines thinking that I could
catch the bar as it went past. That was my second mistake. A powered up kite
generates 200 - 300 lbs of force. The flip side is that a Kite will not stay
powered up long if there is no resistance, so it should crash about the time
the bar got to me. That is exactly how it happened, the kite crashed and I
was able to grab the bar and hook up to my harness.

One aspect of the kites is that you cannot just hang on to the control bar,
you also have to be harnessed in. If you are not connected to the harness,
the kite will be in a fully powered state, and away you go. Fast.

I did manage to get attached to the harness, and could now control my kite
again, albeit with some difficulty as my safety leash got mixed up in the
control lines. But it was enough to drag myself to shore. The board that I
ride was now a distant memory. (Ken brought it to shore for me, I was not
able to recover it myself) so I dragged in.

Now for mistake #3, and it is a whopper. I got to shore, and when trying to
disentangle the leas from the lines so that I could safely land the kite, I
came unhooked for the harness, the kite powered up and started to drag me
over the beach and toward the bushes that lined the beach.

I told Ken that I did not just let go of the control bar, but threw it away.
Goodbye kite, and good riddance. But the kite is not done with me, it landed
on a sea grape bush harmlessly, and was not punctured or otherwise damaged.
It just laid down for a little rest.

Ken in the meantime suffered a much less dramatic and much more
consequential injury. He stepped on something sharp when heading out for a
session, and after two hours of kiting around that gathering sharks,
(kidding) realized that he was bleeding like a stuck pig from a really,
really bad gash in one toe. He refused to let me try out my skin stapler on
it, but we may get use the suture kit they have on one of the other cruising
boats. He can't stay awake forever.

Leann is quite angry with Ken, convinced that he engaged in self mutilation
to avoid the free Salsa lessons they are giving at one of the local clubs
tonight. Ken insists that this is not so, and that it would take much more
than the loss of one toe to further diminish his dancing skills.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Send Lawers Guns and Money part 2

Jonathan and Katie again, recording our trip, starting from the beginning...

At the Airport, unused as we were to the tropical climate both of us
immediately opted to change to a wardrobe more suitable to the conditions.
Also unaccustomed to the local disregard for casual nudity, we chose to
change in the airport bathrooms rather than out in public.

That night we sampled the local culture, hanging around a local New Year's
concert. We then snuck back to the boat for the awesome display of
fireworks, (which we later dinghied out to watch from a closer viewpoint)
and a creation of a compilation of dances for each member of the Dornbusch
family. (You had to be there)

The next morning we woke up to Orient bay, making a brief stop at Anse
Marsalle to learn how to snorkle (In our case, dorkle). We spent the night
at Orient Bay, a beautiful resort beach that was populated with a strange
breed of people who were innately opposed to any sort of clothing. Indeed,
not-far-enough-to-obscure seeing parts (Distance from nudity can be
categorized as "seeing parts" and "we can tell they are nude, but no parts")
away was a Tiko Tiko (aka Naked Party Boat) tour catamaran teeming with
these strange naked old people. The next morning as we came ashore to
acquire breakfast bagettes, we took a walk of shame through a beach full of
people who did not understand our affinity for clothing. Not like we were
tempted, but there were also signs prohibiting picturetaking. Among our
encounters were giddy satchel guy, naked push up dude, and completely
hairless nude parasailer. A strange breed indeed. Later that day we again
took our chances landing on the beach to cross over into a shallow cove
perfect for kiteboarding for Uncle Walt (who we got some mad sweet footage
of) and further dorkling, where we saw a stingray and an unraveled
jellyfish. Enjoying tremendous success in our burgeoning dorkling talents we
then traveled around the anchored Madness, finding numerous conch shells on
the bottom. Then we then set sail for St. Bartholemey, the playground of the
rich and famous. Whatever we ate that morning was lost to Aunt Dana, as she
then spewed it over the side. Trooper that she is, she then washed off the
side of the boat and immediately went forward to raise one of the sails.

We have since noticed that fish follow Madness around asking if Dana is
aboard, hoping for a free lunch.

St. Bart's was an adventure indeed. We met many of the scoundrels that we'd
learned about in Uncle Walt's blog. Also, while we were there, there were
literally dozens of yachts anchored around the island. We even saw
celebrities second-hand (we met people who'd seen them, including Yo-Yo,
who'd housed Richard Gere for a week.) Jonathan ate the fabeled Cheeseburger
in Paradise (Jimmy Buffet was all over this place.) As the night progressed,
we intermissioned our tour of the island with a stop at a local bar where
the featured band was from Boston. People watching has never been so rich!
As we talked to the leader of the band later that night, a severely
inebriated woman came up behind Jonathan, insisting that he make room for
her to pass through. She then proceded to take the guitarist's cigarette and
tell him on numerous occasions that she couldn't hear the words.

The next day was a dorkle-fest. Out of the gate we visited a popular spot
with many fish and coral, a treat that we'd been bereft of on our previous
ventures. The second stop was over a sunken freighter that was creeptastic.
Well, only for Jonathan and Katy, who stayed in the dinghy and Face-Tested
(stuck our heads in from the safety of the side.) As the snorkles severely
impeded our verbal communication, we developed a series of hand signals,
including "dive down," "big scary fish ahead," "I'm peeing," "jellyfish
alert!," and "Let's go blow bubbles under Aunt Dana!" Our third and fourth
locations were a fifteen minute dinghy ride to the tip of the island,
doubtless our best yet. Among the many cool and fun viewings of rocks we saw
a brightly colored sea turtle named Leonardo. That night we again toured the
island, stopping for a sampling of ice cream and beer, then traversing the
town to the famed shell beach. Upon arrival it became immediately apparent
that we were out of place at the rave beach party speckled with drunken

The next morning we woke early to sail across the Atlantic Ocean to an
island called Statia, a breeding ground for tankers and ice-burg shaped
objects, to which Katy found great joy in shouting "Iceburg! Straight
ahead!" in a convincingly British accent. Rumor has is that back in the day,
Statia earned its fortune by stamping goods coming through the Carribean
that never actually graced its ports. Anyway, the island was rich in
dorklage, home to several different schools of fish in an assortment of
colors. We practiced our diving techniques, (or in Katy's case, inverting.)

Next item on the agenda: dominating the Quill volcano. Dominating in this
case means climbing. In fact, we hitchhiked to the base in the back of a
pick-up truck owned by the nicest man in Statia. The hike was a doozie at
times, as we had to keep our eyes peeled for the dangers that lurked in the
vegatation. Dangers like pinky-sized newts, wild chickens, and soldier crabs
(very determined hermit crabs.) We still don't know why they were climbing
the mountain. We also saw three snakes. This climb was definitely not for
the weak of heart. We arrived at our destination and Kodaked the scene, a
glorious view of an impossibly steep crater, but was that enough for our
adventuresome souls? NAY! There was more to be climbed. Shedding unnecessary
items along the way, the four travelers grunted their way to a yet higher
point on the crater rim. The view from up there was breathtaking. We could
see neighboring islands as well as the entirety of the island below. Racing
the sun to sea level, we then had to descend quickly and efficiently,
telling tales of arctic adventure. Arriving at the bottom we traversed the
streets of the town, waving to locals and viewing the remains of a mammoth
ancient Mayan waterslide. Dinner was scrumptious BBQ pork sandwiches and a
black bean concoction, courtesy of competent head chef Katy and dashing sous
chef Jonathan. Ratatouille would be proud! That night Katy was sure somebody
was breaking into our boat! Pirates! Probably not. Murderer? Nay! Katy
concluded that whoever was boarding our boat had the implicit intension of
untying our mooring and our dinghy, setting us adrift into the sea. My how
our thinkers work at night.

Aunt Dana's stomach had learned a thing or two about seaworthiness and held
its contents the next morn on our ride to Saba, the unspoiled Queen,
prompting Katy's new nickname, the unspoiled Princess. Then we murdered a
guy. The ride to the island was rough, and the climb to the main village,
The Bottom, was unnerving, even in a car. The road system had been done
completely by hand and engineered by a man who had passed a correspondence
course, to whom a memorial had been erected. The island really was wild,
completely bereft of flat terrain. In fact, most of the land was incredibly
steep, making habitation a wonder. The island itself was unamimously voted
as the most charming we'd graced yet. The building code included a color
segment that made the towns a harmonic green and red. We picked fresh lemons
and other psuedo-fruit from the trees that hung over the roads. A taxi ride
that doubled as a tour took us all around the islands three towns (The
Bottom, Waywardside, and Hell's Gate,) as well as the world's shortest
commercial airstrip where pilots have to be specially liscensed to land.

That night in Saba was like spending the night in a broken Maytag washing
machine with a very limited soak cycle. In the morning we performed a D-Day
landing on the only beach of the island, which was ripe for a rockslide.
Then ascending the 487 steps(we team-counted,) to The Bottom, which was much
higher than its name might suggest. On the way down we fantasized about a
water slide into the ocean, oh how fun! After lunching and munching on PBJs,
we decided to dorkle once more, as Saba is renowned for its wildlife.
Initially put off by a startling sighting that Uncle Walt believes was a
man-eating black-tipped shark, (no joke.) We observed them from the safety
of the dinghy, face-testing over the edge. When we traveled further inland,
the dorkling episode was undoubtedly the best yet. The underwater scene was
storybook, with numerous fish in a smorgasboard of colors, including on
striking green fish that harmonized every color in the rainbow into its
costume. The jellyfish we encountered knew no fear, and we had to team up to
avoid them in several instances. Our fearless tourguide Uncle Walt led us
through a minefield of jellyfish into and through a cave, where we saw
numerous more incredible sights, including a Giant Squid (joke. But
seriously...) From there we set sail back to St. Martin, thus concluding
what friends Dawn and Laurie described as three full days of touring packed
into one. Oh my, we've graduated to power-tourists.

Today is the last of all, as we are flying back to the states. Katy's
learned several sailing terms, even making some of her own. Ask her about it
and you'll get a mishmash of sailing lingo that will literally blow your
mind. All in all it was a decent trip. In fact, if you ignore the impending
murder trials and the pair of pants I lost when fleeing the authorities, it
was damn fine.

This is juliet kilo tango six six six out.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Full Moon Sunday Night

It is a full moon Sunday night, don't forget to go to your local full moon

Adventures in traveling alone; How to catch Dorado

First, let me say that you should not believe anything Jonathan and Katie
may have to say, they lie.

Moving on - I realized recently that I have had fewer unusual
adventures/encounters to write about lately, and I have been wondering why.

I think I have figured it out. Since Mid-December and until early Feb, I
have had guests. Non-stop. This has been great fun for me, but one
consequence it that when you have a boat full of friends, you don't have to
put yourself out there quite so much, and your adventures are of a more
conventional nature. Not any less rewarding, just more familiar, so I have
not written so much. Or, maybe I have just been too busy.

We had some great times with Jonathan and Katie, and Dana and I, while we
glad to have some time to ourselves, were sorry to see them go. I was glad
that when we arrive in St Bart's we ran into YoYo, Edith, Fred and Sophie.
But now that the youngsters are gone, we can pick up the energy level a
little bit ;-). Next week, Ken and LeAnn arrive for a 3 week stay on
Madness. I am glad that they will be here so long, as it will give us
greater range.

I went to the local chandlery yesterday, where I met Niko. I was shopping
for some fishing equipment to troll behind the boat and asked him if he knew
much about fishing.

"I Know a leetle beet"

Niko was a professional fisherman, and now a full time cruiser who was quick
to show me the ropes.

"You need dees". We gathered some 300 lb test line, a couple of
Squid-looking lures, some high quality hooks and some sinkers. No pole, no
reel, no leader, no swivels; no device for wrapping and storing the line, no
gaff. Very little money, overall.

"no ting else"

"Do I really need 300lb test?, I don't want to catch a fish bigger than my

"Eef the feesh eez to big for you, you let heem go. Eef you use weak line,
you keel a feesh you never see, you leave a hook in eem, and he will die"

Niko went on to show me the knot to use, not that sissy fisherman's knot,
but a simple knot that works every time and can be done in the dark on a
pitching longline tuna boat. He also showed me how to reel in the fish once
hooked. Make sure you scuff the new line with 220 grit sandpaper, or you
will have no grip. Get a bike inner tube and make a palm protector to give
you grip and keep yourself from getting cut. You keep your feet in one place
just pull the line in hand over hand and let the line pile up around your
feet. When you get the fish up to the boat, you just pull him aboard in a
smooth easy motion. "don't jerk eem". Just bring him in easy and smooth and
don't move your feet. Once you unhook him, you throw the lure right back in
and the line will go out smoothly, because you have not moved your feet, and
are therefore not tangled in it.

Hmm. I can't really picture it happening that way on a pitching deck at sea,
excited as I will likely be at my first catch, and with a thrashing 30
bundle of muscle on deck. But I trust that after years of experience, It can
be done that way. Niko was a professional fisherman, but he gave it up so
that he "would not empty the sea".

"Thees eez less money, but my karma eez good" he said touching his heart and


Friday, January 9, 2009

Send lawyers, guns, and money

Walter's passed out in a drunken stupor and Dana's gone missing with some
creep named Bongo, and we are on the lam.

This message is from Jonathan and Katy, Walter and Dana's Nephew and neice
and guests on Madness. We have locked ourselves in the V berth with Uncle
Walt's laptop and in a last ditch effort to document our side of the story
before it corrupted by the undoubtedly ruthless interrogation techniques we
will be subjected to when the authorities catch up to us. We are sending
this out to all who can hear us. We are on a small French island where the
burden is on the accused to prove their innocence, which may no longer be

It began innocently enough when Walter met us at the airport. The dinghy
ride back to Madness was spiked with glasses of rum punch, and so began a
pattern of corruption of the innocent. This pattern eventually expanded to
include several counts of illegal immigration, smuggling, petty theft,
hitchhiking, murder, and perhaps several other offenses that fade in our
compromised memory.

We were taken to the nude beach where we witnessed the push-up guy, satchel
man, Chief Wanatalk and other characters. Then on to St Barts where we met a
collection of scoundrels and N'er-do-wells who proceeded to contribute to
our delinquency. Our meeting with them was on the lam, as we were not yet
officially cleared into port, hence one of our first international offenses.

When we were no longer welcome in this playground of the rich and famous, we
moved on to Statia, where Dana first met Bongo, and where she encouraged us
to smuggle a bunch of conch shells out of the country in defiance of their
laws. It was Walter's idea to hitchhike across the island. It was on Statia
that the petty theft took place. We swear that Walter was the one with the
sticky fingers, and Katie was just the mule.

When the Dana-Bongo situation began to get out of control, Walter insisted
on an early morning passage to Saba to put some distance between those two.
It was there that we launched an assault on the back side of the island and
scaled a rock cliff to land unnoticed.

Under the advice of counsel, I will not discuss the whole murder thing.

I think he may be coming to...more later.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mountains, above and below sea level; natural elements

Dana and our niece and nephew Katie and Jonathan are here.

Dana and I bought them swim fins and masks for Christmas and they are
getting their chance to try snorkeling for the first time.

I had planned a dive over a sunken tugboat that lies in about 50 feet of
water. You can't dive down to it without SCUBA, but you can see it down on
the bottom like a toy boat. Well, this is in pretty open water, and it is no
place for beginners.

I was pretty much raised in the water, and I forget that not everyone is
comfortable in it. Thankfully we decided to have a quick practice session
with the two of them to kill some time while waiting for the French to
finish their two hour lunch before filling our tanks with water. The two of
them were very uncomfortable with snorkeling, which I had mentally reduced
to just breathing through a tube. For the uninitiated, there is a lot more
to it, like swimming against the current so that you can get back when you
are tired, clearing the fog out of your mask, making sure that your hair is
not preventing your mask from making a good seal, how to swim with fins,
etc. etc.

It was a very goo d thing that we did this practice run, as it did help me
realize that these two would not be ready for that tugboat dive for several
weeks. They are only here for one week.

It was fun to watch them have fun learning. They were laughing so hard and
cutting up so much that it was making me concerned that it would get in the
way of their progress. But the point was to have fun, after all, and they
just had skipped right to the point.

We dove in Orient Bay and Galleon in St Martin, then off to St Barth's for a
dive by Pan de Sucre and the wreck in the channel, then off to Colombier.
They told me tonight the idea of diving over the wreck creeped them out and
it did take them along time to get out of the dinghy. I am not sure exactly
why it creeped them out, but I think it may have had to do with pirates of
the Caribbean and ships of undead. I don't know, for me it seems natural to
want to see a shipwreck.

They saw two sea turtles, one in St Barth's and one this afternoon in
Statia. I did not get to see either from the water; I saw one from the

We hiked the volcano on Statia today, the crater was very dramatic. It took
about 4 hours of climbing. I think this may help sort out one of our
cruising incompatibilities. They want to stay up until midnight and get up
at ten. I want to go to bed with the sun and get up in the morning light at
6:00. I think I may have tired them out enough that they will retire soon,
but I fear that they may be getting a second wind. They are out in the
cockpit talking with Dana now.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Laurie sets new record!

You may remember Laurie and Dawn on Cattails. We first made contact over the
ssb when waiting for southbound Herb, then we met in Bermuda and toured

We are back together here in St Martin, they via the BVIs and I via

About a week ago I was sitting on their boat having the sundowner, when I
noticed some writing on the window of their boat in reverse, something about
laurie's head and a tally under with two strokes.

"What is that writing?"

"We keep a tally of how many days since Laurie last hit his head on the
boat", Dawn replied. "It is no problem for me". (dawn in about 5'3", I don't
know what that is in stones or whatever unit the locals might use ;-)

Laurie went on : "I hit my head constantly moving from cabin to cabin on the
boat, sometimes so hard I see stars. One time Dawn came in and found me on
the floor in the fetal postion. I had hit my head so hard that I had to take
a little nap on the cabin sole"

I saw that it had been two days since Laurie last hit his head.

"What is your record for safe intra-boat movement, Laurie?"

"You are looking at it, tow days and counting".

Well last night, new years eve, I looked and saw a new record for Laurie, 4
days and counting. I am afraid to look this morning because they were having
Ti punch with friends on New Yars eve, and I think his new record was on
borrowed time.

Paul, Joanne, and Valerie (PJV) just left and Dana just arrived. I had a
great time with PJV, and you could not ask for a better group of guests.
Every time I turned around, they were cooking or cleaning or Paul was fixing
something. When the going got tough and we had a VERY rolly night off of
Saba, everyone kept their spirits up and the next morning began a fine fine
day of sailing. This is an accomplishment for those who got little or no
sleep. Valerie gets kudos for being a good shipmate even though she never
seemed to miss her sleep.

Her ability to sleep through noise and motion was the envy of all. Most
nights it rains for a while, so when you feel wet, you have to get up and
close the hatches, ans later, when you get hot, you have to get up and open
them. You get used to it. Valerie could sleep through driving rain and
stifling heat in a rolling boat, no problem. One night, when getting up to
close the hatch in the main cabin where Valerie slept, I accidently knocked
my hardcover book from my bunk flat on the floor - WAP. (Freud may have read
into this, but I believe it was an accident). I thought "that will wake her,
and she will close the hatch". No such luck. We teased her about it to the
piont that later in the trip she started dreaming that she needed to get up
and close the hatch. A 42 boat is tight quarters for 4, but I miss having
them here, and hope they can come again.

We made it to several harbors in St Martin, did some kiting, sailed to St
Barth's, Statia, and Saba, then back in time for their flight. These are
very cool islands and I will write more about them later.

BTW - While in St Barth's, we were in the process of leaving Baz Bar after a
night of dancing when Jimmy Buffet showed up and played a few songs. The
rumor was that he was going to play New Year's eve, but it was too much
trouble to get there and back with the flight schedules. Maybe he will show
up at the next full moon party, as he has been known to do.