24 December 2008
Dec. 24, 2008
First Merry Christmas to all! We hope the holiday sprit finds you and you enjoy these special days.
Since last I wrote, we had a Hurricane "Omar" on Kim's birthday. We were very lucky this year with only Omar being a real threat. But that one was enough as the 8 p.m. advisory had the eye of Omar going over our boat with 125 mph winds. The 11 p.m. advisory had the storm moving East of us. It did but it was a worry some time until the eye passed about 50 miles East of us around 2 in the morning.
I did the Caribbean 1500 with Andy and Irene on Aphrodite II. I was gone 3 weeks with 10 days at sea from Charleston S.C. to Tortola BVI. 7 of the 10 days we had rough weather and high seas. There were some problems but we over came them all and made the trip safely. Jon a 30 year old fire fighter from Virginia was the fourth member of the crew and I feel we were a well balance of people and experience. Everyone pulled their weight and remained positive under adverse conditions. As Captain, Andy did a great job with making decisions and taking input from everyone before he did. All in all it was a great adventure from my point of view.
After arriving in Tortola I was home for 9 days and then had to fly back to Florida to deal with the house. I was gone another 3 weeks returning on the 18th of December. My mom came down and helped me clean and paint the house and I could not have done it without her.
Kim spent her time painting and fixing up the inside of the boat. It looks great and she worked very hard to make to look good. She did a great job of dealing with the things that go wrong on a boat by herself. Like generator belts breaking and taking on water when the hose clamps on the shaft log broke.
Cate made new friends and even went to 2 dances at one of the schools here in BVI. She has been doing good with school but trying to see how far she can push Kim. She is a teenager go figure.
Some of our friends are returning to the area, Jim and Amanda on Adventure Bound, Tom and Pat on Lone Star, and Andy and Irene on Aphrodite II. From the chat on the SSB radio more are on their way. With the new friends we have made here in Trellis Bay we stay busy so little time to sit and do nothing.
We have not done much with DDM as we are waiting for the new year to start back with some new projects. Sharleen and Skye are doing good and we enjoy spending time with them when we can.
Guess that brings us up to date, so again, Merry Christmas to all.
passed the peak
11 October 2008 | Trellsi Bay
Guess it is time to update everyone. When last I wrote, we were just getting into Trellis Bay, well we have been here for 6 weeks now (boy time flies). Our first couple of weeks here were slow as I was doing the training at the airport but we are now enjoying it more. Not much has changed in our daily lives but a lot has happen that is changing or life as a whole. We have made lots of new friends as there is a small live aboard community here in Trellis Bay. Everyone pulls together and helps out when needed. The local hang out is the Loose Mongoose where, like back in GeorgeTown Bahamas, everyone meets in the afternoon. Not as many people and not as much activity as G.T. but still a good place to be. Cate has been going ashore more and has met a few local kids, but like in G.T. she enjoys being around the adults too. Even Shelbe has gotten in the route of going ashore and stands at the companion way and barks then runs to the boarding ladder and looks at the dinghy around 3:30 in the afternoon. We don't have US phone service here or TV but that is not so bad. The internet is good and we can call the states on skype when needed. We have even bought a car! Kim saw it sitting on the side of the road one day and it was a good deal and ran good. I did have to fix a few things but knew that when we got it and now it is doing great. Sharleen is keeping us busy at DDM and is talked about projects for next year. Looks like we have passed the peak of Hurricane season so let's hope our luck holds. We picked up our friends Jim and Amanda off Adventure Bound at the airport last Sunday and they will be running a 58ft catamaran charter boat for the coming season. It is nice to have them back on island. Our new friends Kim and Carry had their dinghy stolen, but then it is a 14ft with a 50 hp outboard and center console and they left it unlock at the dock overnight. The good thing is it was recovered a few days later, that would never happen in Florida. Last Monday this place was crazy, the Moorings (charter company) had their interline regatta this last week and all the boats came to Trellis Bay for the kick off. I left to go to DDM in the morning and everything was as normal, when I returned around 3:00 the place was packed with some moorings having 3 boats rafted together on it. All the locals say it gets worst for New Years can't wait (oh boy). But at least we get to watch the mooring ball races again and now there is a twist as there is a bar (shallow area) here in the bay and we have already seen one boat come to a sudden stop when they hit it. Simon who runs the Loose Mongoose pointed to the boat and started counting down to when they would hit, of course he has seen enough of them that he had it right on the money. This morning Kim and I were sitting here and the boat started to vibrate. She said what is that? I thought at first it was someone starting an engine near us as it felt like that low frequency vibration. Then I realized and told her that could be an earthquake. Sure enough, later we found out there was a 6.2 not too far away. There are lots of little quakes here coming from the Puerto Rico trench just off shore. But to feel it the way we did was strange. But then we are only in 10 ft of water. Kim's big 40 birthday is the 14th and happens to fall on a full moon, so we will celebrate it at the Trellis Bay full moon party. So don't call early on the 15th, oh yeah we don't have US phone service here, never mind. Other than that, not much else new here in paradise.
30 August 2008
Guess all of you have been wondering if we are still alive, well if you get this update, then you know we are. Sorry that I have not updated sooner but we have been very busy. My last update we were heading to St Thomas to pick up Cate. She returned on July 24 after spending time with my Mom in Ocala where she had a blast playing with her cousin Summer. The summer program she was signed up for here in BVI started on July 28 so we headed back to Tortola. Yesterday was the last day of it, so she was sad as she had lots of fun and made some friends. Kids are so funny, before it started she was saying I don't want to go. After the first week she was telling us to hurry or she will be late. On the weekends Cate has been going to Church and the beach with Sharleen and Skye. So all in all she has had a full summer. But school starts for her on Monday. I can't remember right off the top of my head how many projects, meetings and training sessions Kim and I have done in the last month, but like I said we have been very busy. We have moved the boat to Trellis Bay by the airport Lat 18 26 82N Lon 064 31 92W because I am doing some training with the airport fire service for the next 2 weeks. We also have had some fun on the weekends so no complaints. We paid the import fee of $200.00 for the boat so now it can remain in BVI waters for more than 30 days at a time up to one year. With a letter from DDM we got entry permits in our passports so now we can stay longer than 30 days also. We still go and check the mail and like to go over to St Johns for the weekend but clearing in and out is much easier now. We also had the vet come and check the animals so they no longer have to be on the boat all the time. The weather has been good to us so far. And I will not jinx us by talking about hurricanes. Well guess the hits the highlights for us living in paradise.
All better now
19 July 2008
The good news is that the repairs are done and we are back in the water. We are very pleased with the work that was done and have no concerns about the repair. The final bill was even a little less than the estimate WOW! how often does that happen. All in all good work for a fair price can't beat that. We had forgotten how dirty the boat gets being on the hard in a boatyard. So we have lots of cleaning to do. Kim also did some painting in Cate's area while she was off the boat so that added to the mess. Kim and I both rapped up some of our projects with DDM yesterday, we just have just a few little things to do but that will not take long. Cate is still at my Moms and does not come back until the 24th so we have a few days to enjoy before we start our next projects. I have a couple of one day jobs to do with DDM and a big project for PAHO. Kim has another project with DDM but it is similar to the one she just finished so it should go smooth. Plan to spend a few days just enjoying being on the boat before we head to St Thomas and pickup Cate.
On the Hard again
10 July 2008
We once again are living on the hard on Island Siren. But the comedy continues. On Monday I went over to the boat yard to find out when they wanted to haul us out. Was told around 10 that morning. At 10 I went back just to make sure, yep, was told don't think we can do it today, but we will get it first thing in the morning. So next day we bring Island Siren in at around 9 to be hauled. Back her in the slip, straps under her and up she goes. Then the engine on the travel lift quits. So now we are hanging in the slings above the water. Now we left Shellbe and Milo down below and Shellbe is going crazy because she can hear us but can't see us. Two hours later they get the engine running again and we finally get put on land. But they set us down right in front of the haul out slip. Guess the good thing there is that they have to now get us fixed and back in the water before they can haul another boat. After talking with Ben, the manager, and looking at the damage, a plan is put in place. Jackson, a nice young man is put to work on the repair. Now Jackson is learning how to do fiberglass repairs. He has been doing it for awhile but does not have years of experience so he keeps checking with the boss to make sure he is doing it right. Now to me this is a good thing as Jackson seems to really want to do it right and has pride in his work. It is good to see someone like Jackson who has the desire to to it right. Anyway, the repairs are going good. It is not going to be as big of deal as feared. The one down side is, when I removed the MAX prop I found that it was damaged inside with a couple of teeth missing on the gears. Ben is going to take it to a machine shop today to see what they think. We have the old prop that we can put on if needed so will just have to wait and see. Kim is working on painting Cate's head and berth being as she is not here and I am getting some other projects done that were needed like turning our anchor chain around so now we are using the other end all the time. We don't have internet so I will let you know when I can upload some pictures of the work.
the funny, the good and the bad
07 July 2008
OK, it has been awhile so where do I start. OK, the funny stuff first, I forgot to tell you about the day before we headed to St Thomas, I was in town working and Kim and Cate were on the boat. Kim just finished taking a shower to get ready to come pick me up when she heard a funny noise that sounded like something falling into the water. A quick look to make sure that the animals were accounted for and then finish getting dressed, a couple of minutes later she went up on deck to see the dinghy drifting away. I always complain to her about not using the barrel on the carabineer to assure that does not happen. So anyway, in she goes clean clothes and all. After another shower, she came to pick me up. She now uses the barrel to lock the carabineer every time. But pay back is a bitch, so my time had to come too. When we were in St Thomas I had to go to the airport to meet Rose (my sister). So after a shower and clean clothes, Kim takes me over to the concrete wall in town instead of the dinghy dock so it would be easier to get a bus. As I go to jump up on the wall and be nice and push the bow of the dinghy around for her I slip. So there I am hanging on the wall trying to get up before the cell phone in my pocket gets wet. Well I did, but the bottom of my shorts did got wet so off to the airport I go looking like I had peed my pants.
Now the good stuff, my mom and sister both came for a visit. Rose came for 4 days and mom for a little over 2 weeks. While Rose was here we went for a dive with Jost Van Dyke Dive Center. It was a great dive and we had the boat to ourselves with a great captain and dive guide. The next day we headed to Sandy spit and Cate and Rose did a lot of snorkeling and shell hunting. That night we had surf and turf with the big lobsters we had in the freezer. Later that night we had some excitement but more on that later. The next day we headed to Soper's Hole and Rose and Mom did some shopping. The following day Rose went home. The rest of Mom's visit was great and we enjoyed her being here. But I feel bad we did not get to do much, but more on that later.
Now for the bad stuff, if you remember Kim, Cate and Mom all were flying in on June 20th. Their plane was late and they did not arrive until 11 that night. The problem was we needed to be in St John at 8 the next morning because they changed the date for doing the Hurricane Hole permits. So at 4 in the morning we up anchored and headed to St John in 20 knot winds and 6 ft seas. Got there just in time to find out they cancelled it because of weather. Now Rose was coming in later that day at 3. So back we go to St Thomas in the same sea state for another 4 hour trip (and that is when I fell in the water at the wall). Anyway, we got Rose and the next morning we headed to Jost Van Dyke. Going between the islands was not as bad as the trip the day before. Now remember the excitement I told you we had that night, well, we were anchored at one of our favorite spots when we hear a severe weather warning for on the radio, reported to be squalls with 40 knot winds. Well we have out enough anchor chain and good swing room and protected waters in the anchorage so I thought it would be OK. Wrong!!! Right at dark a squall comes through with 60 knot winds and swings us around hard. I was up in the cockpit and started the engine, just not quick enough. What I did not count on was that one rock we hit as we swung around. If I had 3 ft less chain out, we would have missed it too. Anyway, we hit hard enough to put a crack in the end of the keel (see the blog for a picture). It was all over in 10 to 20 minutes and the rest of the night was uneventful. So the next morning I dove the hull to check for damage and found the crack. That is why we headed to Soper,s Hole and have not left here. We had to put Rose on a ferry to get to St Thomas the day she flew home and also why we did not do much the rest of Moms visit. We did take her around Tortola and we had a good time but did not get to do everything I had planned. I took some pictures of the damage and talked to the manager of the boat yard here in Soper's Hole. The estimate is not too bad at $2,000.oo including haul out. I wanted to wait until Mom had left before dealing with the repair so tomorrow we get hauled and I will keep you updated. Cate went home with Mom for 2 weeks so Kim and I have some time alone on a broken boat.
Remember the Hurricane Hole permit process that was cancelled? Well the next weekend it was going to be held again, problem was, we had a broken boat that I did not want to take it out in bad weather. Yep same 20 kt winds and 6 ft seas with small craft warnings but guess what, Yep, they did not cancel it this time. We thought about renting a power boat for the day but the $400.oo price put that out of the picture. We thought about going in the dinghy and hugging the shore line as it was not as far to get there from Soper's Hole but I did not want to risk Kim and I getting in a bad situation so we did not go.
Well I guess that brings you up to date. But life is good and we have no complaints.
in St Thomas again
11 June 2008
Today we head for Charlotte Amalie on St Thomas. Kim and Cate will be flying back to Florida to deal with the house on Friday as out tenant will be out on the 15th. We have been having a great time. Still working hard during the week but we have been taking the week-ends and doing some sailing and enjoying the wonderful places here in the BVI. The summer weather is great and there are only a hand full of boats that come and go unlike the winter season. Sharleen and DDM are keeping us busy, we may have to apply for residency soon, just kidding, well maybe not. Sharleen gave us the name and phone number of the gentleman that manages Paraquita Bay Lat. 18 25.17N Lon 064 34.45W. It is the best hurricane hole in the BVI and managed by the charter companies. They have chain on the bottom for storms and it is a very well protected area. Anyway, after talking to him and telling him we knew Sharleen and was working with her at DDM, it looks like we can go in there if needed. We will find out about the hurricane hole on St Johns on June 21st. Mom, Rose, and Dale will be coming for a visit when Kim returns and we are looking forward to seeing them. Cate has finished her school for the year so she now has the summer off. She complains sometimes about being on the boat, but she is a teenager now and that is normal. No kid can be too unhappy and go around singing and dancing as much as she does. We have her enrolled in a summer program for kids here in BVI for the month of August. It is set up by DDM and has lots of activities and very educational. I am sure it will be fun for her and it will help her meet more local kids that hopefully she will make friends with. She does look forward to the mail runs to see if any of her books have come in and she enjoys the week-ends swimming, snorkeling and playing with Shellbe on the beach.
Well I started this yesterday before we left BVI but did not get it out so guess I will up date some more. We are now in Charlotte Amalie Lat 18 20.17N Lon 064 55.50W. The trip here was good. There was no wind so we motored all the way but the seas were flat as good be. You could have gone to St Croix in a crate (I use to say Bimini in a bathtub on days like this back in the Keys but had to change it). We went in to Coral Bay Lat 18 20.67N Lon 064 41.84W the hurricane hole on St Johns. They have marked all the storm anchors with bouys and there will be a mad dish for them on the 21st of June. So we wanted to know what everything looked like before hand. We have been meaning to do this for some time now and yesterday was perfect for it. Anyway, Kim and Cate are getting ready for their trip in two days so guess that is all for now.
23 May 2008
Almost two weeks since my last update, but you did not miss a lot. As I said before, Kim and I both worked on our projects hard the first week and got lots done on them. Cate got caught up on her school work and now only has four days left. Summer weather is here for sure and it is great. Irene and Andy (with Andy, aka Monkey Boy) made it back to Florida. We talked to them on the SSB every morning until they got to the Bahamas. After that we knew it was an easy trip. We miss them and can't wait until October and we get to see them again. Talked with Stephen and Kelly on Selkie from Key Largo and looks like late June before they leave to head this way. We can remember everything they are going through with final preparations trying to get the boat finished and ready to head out. It will be so nice when they get here. This last week most everyone was out of the DDM office so we figured we would get some fun time in and some boat projects done so Tuesday morning we headed over to USVI to check mail and such. Stopped at Hawksnest and ran out to our hunting grounds for lobster, got four big ones with one being a monster (2 really) pics to come on the sailblog soon. Talked to Jim and Amanda on Adventure Bound and decided to meet them at Sandy Spit off Jost Van Dyke Lat 18 27.07N Lon 064 42.65W great anchorage now that it is summer time. Open to the North so winter time and north swells would not be fun here. But with the settled weather it is super. Had Jim and Amanda over for lobster dinner and it was great. This weekend is music fest at the famous Cane Garden Bay so we have plans to check that out. I keep wondering what it was that I did right in my life to deserve all this.
12 May 2008 | BVI
Not a lot going on here in paradise. Kim and I had meetings all week so that kept us busy. Our projects are coming along good. Cate got some of her books in the mail last Saturday so she enjoyed reading those. Problem is, she reads them to fast and now we need to order more. Saturday was a little exciting as we did another mail run, then over to RedHook for the animals vet appointment. We were done by noon so we headed to Leinster Bay Lat 18 21.966N Lon -64 43.395W on the way back to Soper's Hole. Leinster Bay is just around the corner from Maho Bay and a little closer to Soper's Hole. Spent the afternoon swimming and snorkeling. Great little Bay with a nice beach. Not much else there so there are not as many boats as Maho or other places. The exciting part came when we were sailing from RedHook to Leinster. We were on a tight pinch beating into the wind and would pass very close to the Two Brothers (large rocks) Lat 18 20.588N Lon 064 49.028. As we closed with them on our Lee I thought it a good idea to start the engine just in case. Sure enough we were to close for comfort. Now I could fall off the wind and pass on their Lee or used the engine and get just a little more room. If I fell off the wind I would have to tack to make the mark going through the channel between St Johns and Henley Cay. So I put the engine in gear and gave it some gas - with no response! Remember all those things that happen to keep the universe in balance? Well this was another one. Kim took the helm and I went below to find a c-ring had come off allowing the throttle cable to come off the engine. I put it back on and had Kim give it a try to make sure that was all it was. Knowing we were closing on the rocks I did not have time to fix it better. So back up top I went. Seeing where we were I decided to fall off the wind and pass Two Brothers on the safe side. Just another reason to always be ready for the unexpected. Had I waited longer and if the wind shifted or eased (and it does that a lot) we would have been in trouble and other boats going by in the future would say now how did some idiot hit those rocks in the middle of the Bay.
I did find a cool website: http://www.bvipirate.com/BVIWebcams.html
If you go to the page it has links for all the webcams in the BVI. The top one on the page is for Jolly Rogers, it is in Soper's Hole and you can see Island Siren. The picture is not good enough to pick us out across the harbor but we are there. But it does give you a look around Soper's Hole and the other links will let you look around the BVI.
05 May 2008
The last week as been good but with out much excitement. We worked on our projects and they are coming along. I did learn that when we were in St. Thomas there was a big fire at one of the local grocery stores in Road Town. It was one of the cheapest stores around so everyone is upset about it. I am sorry that I missed as I would have liked to have seen the "boys" in action. A lot of boats left out of here (Soper's Hole) the other day all heading to Bermuda in the Anlantic Cup race/rally. You can tell the season is coming to a close as there are fewer boats here everyday it seems. I will miss watching all the charter boats come racing into the harbors in the afternoon each trying to get a mooring ball before they are all taken. It really is a hoot to watch as you can see them looking at each other and trying to get to one first then watching them try to pick up the mooring ball is even more fun. We went over to St Johns on Saturday to check our mail and pick up some packages. It was a quick trip over and back. Round trip was about 3 ½ hours with a nice sail over. Strange taking 3 hours to go check your mail, but that is life on a boat.
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