LeuCat Adventures

Join us in sharing our adventures as we sail around the world. NEW!!************************************************************************* GET A COPY OF OUR TECHNO-TIPS DOCUMENTS--JUST CLICK ON THEM UNDER THE "FAVORITES" HEADING ON THE RIGHT

21 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
20 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
19 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
18 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
17 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
16 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
16 March 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
16 March 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
15 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
15 March 2017
15 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
15 March 2017
15 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
13 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
13 March 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
12 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
11 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
10 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
09 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
08 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten

Year 10 Day 56 New Friends

21 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/ Sunny With Passing Showers
One of the many things we enjoy about cruising is meeting people wherever we sail to. Today was one of those days. We had decided to go ashore and walk along the boardwalk area of Philipsburg to find a restaurant to have lunch. Our marina is on the southeastern part of Great Bay and the town of Philipsburg stretches all along the shoreline of Great Bay. A beautiful white sand beach runs along the shore and behind the beach are lots of shops and plenty of restaurants. It is a very nice setting with the blue water lapping the beach, steel drums being played on the beach and shore birds flying overhead.

There were four massive cruise ships in today so the boardwalk was filled with tourists looking for duty-free bargains, slurping down the rum filled fruit drinks, and lying on beach chairs under the sun umbrellas on the beach.

We found a very nice restaurant tucked back a little bit from the beach and its menu looked great so we opted to eat there. After being seated, we started talking about the size of the cruise ships. Mary Margaret saw a couple sitting near us and thought they may be from one of the ships, so she thought to ask if they were and if they knew how many people would be on each of the ships. As it turns out, the couple was not from one of the ships but instead lived here for 5 weeks out of each year.

After chatting for a bit, Mary Margaret invited them to join our table and this is how we got to know Jane and Darby. They have a time share condo on Little Bay, which is the next bay to the north of us. They live in a rural area of Massachusetts, not far from that state’s capital, Springfield. They have been coming to Sint Maarten for 26 years, enjoying its great weather and scenic beauty during the bitter end of the cold Northeastern US winters. Pretty smart if you should ask me!

After enjoying our meals and conversation, Mary Margaret invited Jane and Darby to come over to Leu Cat to see how we live. They were intrigued about our rather unique lifestyle. Leu Cat was not too messy since I am in the process of winding down the various boat projects I had been working on. Like most people who come onto Leu Cat, they were surprised at the amount of room we have and the layout of the boat.

It was so nice to get to know Jane and Darby a bit as they are a very nice couple and have a wonderful way of expressing themselves. They certainly have a great lifestyle being able to spend 5 wonderful weeks each winter here in Sint Maarten. They love it because they have the added benefit of knowing the people at their condo since they all return to Sint Maarten during the same period each year. Thus, they get together with their Sint Maarten friends each night to share meals, play cards or do outings. How wonderful it that!

It was great to get to know Jane and Darby and we wish them many more wonderful winters here in Sint Maarten.

Year 10 Day 55 Wow! What A Day

20 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
Today was a very different type of day and it was chocked full of amazing events. First, and most importantly, we received word today that our son, David Paul, and his lovely wife, Allison, are expecting a baby girl in September. Whoo Hoo! This will be their first child and they are thrilled, as are we. Given its due date, we will be able to be there to see them and their new baby shortly after its birth. We are very excited for them.

Secondly, we stayed glued to our computer all day and well into the evening watching the congressional hearing on the investigation of the Russian activities to disrupt and influence our recent presidential elections. While the directors of the FBI and NSA could not comment very much on their ongoing investigations, they did make several statements that were what we would call bombshells.

First and foremost, the FBI Director did state that his agency is conducting an investigation, with potential criminal consequences, into the Trump campaign to see if there was any coordination between members of the campaign and the Russian government to influence the election. Wow! While various news outlets have been making allegations on this subject, to have the Director of the FBI state that such an investigation was not only being conducted but has been ongoing since July of last year was a bombshell!

Now, do not get me wrong. I am not approaching this from a Republican or Democratic point of view. This is not a political investigation (while, of course, it does and will have political ramifications) and I am not taking a pro-Trump or anti-Trump perspective on it. It is an investigation into what is now known and openly admitted as an attack of the Russian government into our democratic elective process. While I truly hope that the investigation does not find any collusion from any members of the Trump campaign or administration with the Russian government, the fact that there is enough information within the FBI for the Director to be so forth coming in his statements is simply remarkable.

Given where we were on this just two months ago, I was surprised to have members of the Trump Administration (the two directors) openly state that our country's presidential elective process was hacked by the Russian government to not only harm Hilary Clinton's chances of winning, but to also help Donald Trump win the election. Specifically, Director Comey stated: "And so they wanted to mess with our election, hurt our country in general, that's always the baseline. They hated her, Secretary Clinton, wanted to harm her and thought they might have a chance to help Mr. Trump." That was one of many eye openers that the two directors shared.

Both directors also confirmed that there is absolutely no evidence to support Trump's Twitter claim that former President Obama wiretapped or eavesdropped on Trump in Trump Towers. Basically, their message was that he is lying on this issues. They also agreed with the British secret service's statement trashing Trump's claim that they wiretapped on Trump Tower for Obama. The British response was such a claim was "utterly ridiculous" and the two directors went on and stated that it was harmful to the relationship between the US and Britain's intelligence networks. Wow!

While all of their statements reflect on the current state of our political system, I was actually encouraged by what I saw. After all, the Republicans control the House of Representatives and could have not held this as a public hearing. They could have kept the hearings secret (as most of the hearings are for this intelligence committee). Instead, they opened the hearing to the public and let the chips fall where they may.

The Genie is out of the bottle now and these investigations are going to go on until the many questions and issues of concern are fully resolved. These investigations are going to make Watergate or Bill Clinton's sex scandal look like chump change. After all, we are talking about a foreign government attacking our political process and possibly doing it with the involvement of one of the candidates and his associates. It is simply a very amazing time!


Year 10 Day 54 And The Party Continues

19 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

By now you must be getting very tired of my writing about our alma mater’s basketball team. Well, guess what? You are just going to have to get used to it! This is because Michigan pulled a major upset today by beating the number two seeded team in our regional bracket, Louisville, 73 to 69. Whoo Hoo!

Right now, we are one of, if not the hottest team in the US. We have won 7 in a row and 12 out of the last 14 games! Plus, of those games, we have been playing and beating the best teams in the Big 10 conference and now a couple of very good teams in the entire NCAA! Louisville was picked by several pundits to win the entire championship. Instead, they will be sitting in front of the TV next week, watching Michigan play in what is called the “Sweet 16” round, as the best 16 teams in the tournament get to play to see who will advance to the “Elite 8” round. I am not sure how long this party will last, but as long as it does, it sure is fun!

By the way, the Big 10 conference, which is usually one of the best basketball conferences in the US, year in and year out, has three of the 16 teams that are left standing. What I love is that Michigan has beat the other two Big 10 teams that are left standing. Thus, we just may have what it takes to keep advancing to go up against the most elite teams in the US, such as Kansas, Gonzaga, Duke North Carolina and Butler. The team that was ranked as the best team in the US before to start of the NCAA Championship Tournament, Villanova, as lost already. They lost to Wisconsin (who Michigan beat to win the Big 10 Conference Championship) yesterday: 62 to 65! Whoo Hoo! Way to go, Badgers!!!!

Year 10 Day 53 VPN

18 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
I wrote yesterday about how I could not listen to our Michigan basketball game because for international restrictions that bar the NCAA from transmitting the games of its national basketball tournament overseas. I usually can listen to both our football games and basketball games over the Internet wherever we are using the University's website. However, the NCAA, for commercial reasons, has pre-empted the University from using its website to broadcast the games its team is playing in the tournament. Grrrrr.

I decided to do some more research on how to listen to the games while here in Sint Maarten. Well, I hit upon a treasure when I discovered the use of VPNs. VPNs are virtual private networks. They are not new but their use is rapidly increasing for several reasons. A top reason is that they offer increased security when you use the internet to send emails or buy and pay for items off the Internet. This increase in security is because each VPN uses a more secure encryption technology. While I am sure it is not hacked proof if someone is really motivated to get into your stuff, at least it would take a bit more effort and skill than not having your data more completely encrypted.

Another reason people use VPNs is to hide the source of one's location. With a VPN, you can set your host location to whatever country the VNP supports. In our case, I have set our host location to be the US so that when I try to get access to our University's sports, I am not banned because I am out of the country.

There are several VPNs available. I chose to purchase access to one based on its reviews and it price. For about $4 a month, I am now using TunnelBear. PC Magazine rated it a good buy for the cost. Since I am just looking for a low-cost solution to a simple problem, it seemed to be a good choice.

It was simple to install and is easy to use. To our benefit, not only do I get to listen to the NCAA games, but I can actually watch them in live streaming mode. Whoo Hoo! Plus, Mary Margaret and I can watch a variety of TV shows while we have good Internet. It is not that we are big TV fans but since we are now bidding our time here in Sint Maarten, waiting for my back to heal more before we strike of for St. Croix, we now have something else to keep us entertained.

Year 10 Day 52 Whew! That Was Close!

17 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/ Sunny With Passing Showers

Today Michigan played in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament. The best 68 teams in the US are invited to play in this tournament to see who is the best college basketball team in America. We played against Oklahoma State University. OSU is rated the best team in college basketball for its offensive efficiency. In other words, they are a scoring machine, scoring more times on a percentage basis when they have the ball than any other team in the US. Poor little Michigan having to go against this scoring powerhouse of a team. Especially after Michigan had to play four games in four days in the Big 10 Conference Playoff that ended last weekend. It just is not fair. Added to that, our star player is playing with 5 stitches in his knee from a cut he got when the team’s plane crashed during its takeoff, skidded down the runway, crossed a road and ended up in a ditch that was right in front of some trees. He cut his knee when someone threw out of the plane the emergency hatch and it struck him on his knee. Ouch!! You can see the large bandage he has to wear while playing basketball on the photo posted to this blog.

While I was not able to listen to the game since we are overseas, I could watch GameTracker over the Internet as it posted each score as it was made. By the way, if anyone knows how I can listen to the NCAA games over the Internet while overseas, please let me know. Michigan is barred by the NCAA from directly broadcasting its games while in this tournament. I usually listen to our basketball and football games from the U of M website. I tried various options offered by the NCAA but none of them would allow me to listen to the game. Our next game is this Sunday, since we eked out a 92 to 91 victory. Whew, that was one close and intense game!

Year 10 Day 51 Getting The AirMail/SailBlogs Connection Straight

16 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny


Several of you have been so kind to let us know when our blogs are not posting properly. This has occurred at times when we were making a passage and have had to use our Iridium Go and AirMail to post our blog. AirMail is a neat software package that allows us to send and receive emails, weather data and post our blog when we do not have direct Internet access. We use it as a member of the SailMail Association. This Association runs a network of computers setup around the world that are hooked up to single-side band (SSB) radio stations. These stations can receive the SSB signal we send out from our boat wherever we are in the world and then takes that signal and patches through its computer and links it into the internet, sending to the destination we have directed it to. It can also send to us those things that we request, such as our emails that are sitting in our email account or the weather info we have requested.

During this last decade, the AirMail/SailMail service has also been adapted so that it can be used through the Iridium satellite network. Thus, you do not need to use your SSB if you have access to the Iridium network using a satellite phone or to the new Iridium Go hardware.

You can also use the AirMail/SailMail service if you have direct Internet access but the only reason I would access it that way is just to receive any emails that have been sent to our SailMail account. Since I try to have people send their emails to just our Gmail account, I seldom use the AirMail/SailMail service when we have Internet access.

As you can see, using the AirMail/SailMail service when we are making a passage is the only way we can post our blogs. While we do have, and use the Iridium Go, it is not easy to directly access the Internet using it because its transmission rates are just too slow. However, its transmission rates are much faster than the transmission rate of using the SSB radio as a modem. Thus, we use the Iridium Go to connect to the AirMail/SailMail service while underway to send and receive our emails, weather data and to post our blogs. The Iridium connect is also usually much more reliable than the SSB radio connection.

If this all sounds confusing, don’t worry, because only those who cruise around in a boat or do a lot of traveling in remote and desolate places need to worry about it.

Getting back to the point of today’s blog, we have been having a number of our blogs not posting correctly when we have been using the AirMail/SailMail service. This started happening a couple of years ago and we have been working on trying to find out why. We have been in communication with the SailBlog people who have promised to look into the problem. However, they have been less than responsive over this last year.

Since we will be making a long passage across the North Atlantic in a couple of months, we have been anxious to get this problem fixed. In desperation, today I called the SailMail Association’s Technical Support Section and talked to Steve about the problem we have been having. I asked him if he has ever heard of this problem and he told me that this is the first time anyone has brought it up. Hmmmm.

He suggested that I send him an email detailing the problem and he would look into it and talk directly to the SailBlog people. I did this and, in the process of doing so, I also posted a test blog where, once again, the text portion did not post.

Within a couple of hours I received an email from Steve with the solution to our problem. Here is what he wrote:
“It (the problem that I have been having) has to do with formats used for sending email, and in particular the coding used for non-standard characters. The format is called "quoted-printable", very common, and allows encoding non-standard characters e.g. European accent characters, and also wrapping long lines ("=" at the end of each line). The line-wrapping is not a problem, but if Sailblogs finds any special characters then it pukes and doesn't post the text. In your case there is a "..." at the end of the second paragraph-- "Such is the life of being a cruiser…". Three dots are just periods, but the 3-dot ellipsis is a single non-standard character.”

Thus, in each of the blogs where I have used the “…”, the text of the blog would not post. As you may have noticed, I use the “…” sequence a lot. Sigh.

Based on what Steve wrote, I reposted the test blog that had previously had not posted the text and this time used “. . .” instead of “…”. Viola! The text posted beautifully. Yea! Problem solved!
Thank you, Steve!


This is the second test of SailMail to Airmail

16 March 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Dave/Sunny
Year 10 Day 48 Things Are Winding Down

I am getting to the end of our boat project list. It actually was not very long. However, there were a few major items that we both were anxious to have completed. This effort was focused on getting Leu Cat ready for our crossing the Atlantic in May. The major items that headed up our list was getting the life raft inspected and certified, fixing the nagging crack in the outboard impellor housing, ordering a replacement E120 chart plotter (our friends Valerie and Joe will be bringing it with them when they come to visit toward the end of April), ordering two new Personal Location Beacons (Joe and Valerie are bring these, also), replacing our washing machine, and tightening the shrouds. There also were another dozen or so little things that cropped up during the day to day of living on a boat but none of them were of much significance.

We were informed that the life raft can be picked up tomorrow and that the parts for our outboard impellor housing are still not on the island. DHL apparently dropped the ball in delivering them and we will not find out until tomorrow when they will arrive. Such is the life of being a cruise. .

Mary Margaret made her yummy pizza for dinner tonight. Her secret is using phyllo dough, which crisps up nicely and with tomato sauce, tons of cheeses, pepperoni, pineapple chunks, green pepper slices and sliced Bermuda onion, it is my favorite type of pizza. OMG, am I stuffed!

This is a test of Posting A blog using Airmail

16 March 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Dave/Sunny

Cousteau Marine Reserve

15 March 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny
Such pretty red, soft coral.
Vessel Name: Leu Cat
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Dana Point, CA
Crew: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
About: Our goals are to spend the next 10 to 15 years cruising around the world and sharing this adventure with family and friends.
Extra: S/V Leu Cat is Lagoon 440 rigged for blue water sailing. It is 44 feet long with a 25 foot beam
Leu Cat's Photos - (Main)
1 Photo
Created 27 February 2017
Wedding and Reception photos April 18, 2015, Yosemite, CA
49 Photos
Created 30 April 2015
Here are some pics that I took while visiting w/ my parents in the Galapagos Islands
22 Photos
Created 29 March 2010
Our Photos of this very magically place
94 Photos
Created 21 September 2009
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 1 April 2009
A tour of St. Kitts that Mary Margaret and I did
75 Photos
Created 7 May 2008
1 Photo
Created 25 March 2008
Pictures of the sea life in the cut between Little Jost Van Dyke and Green Cay, BVI
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2008
Here are a number of pictures of St. Maarten and the places we visited
36 Photos
Created 21 January 2008
Photos of Nanny Cay
6 Photos
Created 11 January 2008
Here what the idoit charter did to Leu Cat
11 Photos
Created 9 January 2008
Join us as we explore the Spanish, American, and British Virgin Ilsands.
15 Photos
Created 20 October 2007
To help get you ready to go sailing with us, we wish to introduce you to Leu Cat so you will know what to expect when you get here! Just click on the first photo and then use the "next" button to advance through this slide show.
19 Photos
Created 19 October 2007
This is a collection of photos documenting our sail through the Windward Islands during May/June 2006 with our son, David Paul.
62 Photos
Created 14 October 2007

Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA