Monday, December 29, 2008

Rock Throwing

OK, we all know that I rarely go political on this blog and I’d like to think that I’m really not in this case. I read the ‘paper’ in the morning every day like everybody else and lately I’ve been following the war between Israel and the Hamas in the Gaza strip. So, the Palestinians launch rockets into Israel over several days. What did they think was going to happen? Of course Israel retaliates ten fold like they always do. Don’t they teach history over there? Well there you are. Nothing is probably being taught over there except hatred.

Now I read that there are world wide protests going on over Israel’s actions. (Oh and a lot of "down with the USA". What did WE do?) I’m not condoning them. I think it’s mean to drop bombs on people but where were the protests when the rockets were landing in Israel? Interestingly some of the protesters in the mid east and in Greece were throwing rocks. . .

Throwing rocks. Who was the first proto-human to throw a rock at another? Since then we haven’t really gotten past that. You throw a rock. I retaliate with a sling shot. You invent gun powder so your rock goes even faster and is more deadly. I invent a rock that explodes upon impact. Then I can shoot them out of even bigger guns or drop them from planes. You make a rock that wipes out an entire civilization.

Bottom line: We’re still throwing rocks at each other. This ‘civilization’ has not progressed one inch past that and until we do I have a dim view of our future as a planet-wide species.

When people were first roaming around the plains of Africa we were a small percentage of the total animal species on the planet. Not only are there a lot more of us now, we are the only species that via our industrialization we have world-wide effects on our own environment. Now we can’t stop throwing rocks at each other and therefore at some point we’re going to run out of food and water because we never learned to share. Then the rock throwing will really get nasty.

How in the hell do we put a stop to this madness?

Oh yeah....happy new year

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas


AND TO ALL A GOOD . . . . .



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

She Floats!

Very Happy occasion down at the boat yard today. Silandra having sunk in hurricane Ivan was once again back in the water. No leaks and she got away from the dock just fine. She is now moored at Prickly Bay Marina where the work of putting her back together will continue. Some pics of the lift and splash below

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monday Radio Show

Hi all. I've started to do a "Monday morning Astronomy Minute" on our VHF net. Thought I'd start to share them with all the readers. Here's the one for tomorrow Dec 22.

Good morning Grenada Cruisers Net. This is Scott on Enee Marie. It’s Monday and time for our weekly astronomy minute for December 22.

So, Happy winter solstice to one and all! The moment of the solstice was yesterday actually but close enough. The winter solstice means a number of things.
This is of course the shortest day of the year for those living in the northern hemisphere. It IS the shortest day because it is the day when the sun takes it’s most southerly trip through our sky. That also means that a man could stand in the shade of his own sombrero by standing on the tropic of capricorn at local noon on this day.

And why is 23.5 degrees south CALLED the tropic of capricorn? It is because about 2000 years ago the sun was in the constellation Capricorn on this day. Due to the precession of the equinoxes the sun is now in Sagittarius. What THAT means for all of you who read your horoscope is that you’ve been off by one zodiac sign all this time!

By the by. . . Virtually EVERY newspaper has a daily horoscope column and virtually none have a regular astronomy column.

So here comes Dec 25 and you know what that means. . . YES! Happy birthday Sir Isaac Newton. Cheers! And Enee Marie is CLEAR!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday This and That

For those of you who may have wondered what Sue does all day while I'm at work. . .

'nuff said!

Our good friends Kathy and Kerry on Bellagio arrived early this week. Yea! They had a rough time making the crossing from Trinidad. Broken belt, lost the bitter end of the main sheet and all in rolling seas at about 3 AM. Gosh sailing is fun! Here's Kerry getting re-united with Mismo...

Work continues to go well. There's talk again of launching Silandra next week. We'll see. . .

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Merchant Mariners

On Saturday we set up our table at the True Blue resort for their annual Holiday Bazarre. I sold 7 books and Sue sold 5 of her Caribbean calendars. Besides that we met a lot of people who we only knew by voice from the morning VHF cruisers net.

There's Sue setting up our table.>>>>>>>>>>

Our neighbors at the bazarre were some German ladies, Ursula and Lilo, who have actual stores on the island. They kept taking some tables near us and moving their stuff closer and closer to us until I finally said, 'Holy Crap, I feel like Austria with the Germans invading! They laughed. Yes! Germans with a sense of humor!

All in all a good day. Selling stuff and hanging out in a really pretty ocean side bar/restaurant.

The semi-famous author>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Santa even stopped by (but didn't buy anhting!) Look an actual person (Kevin from Exodus) reading my book!

Today then is my official day off. Silandra is not launched yet. They wanted to last week but the surveyor for the insurance company said that the bilge pumps really should be operational first. I've jumped from freezer door builder to bilge pump shelf builder/installer. This boat has 3 huge bilge pumps. One each for the forward, mid-ships, and engine room bilges. Each weighs about 20 pounds and can draw up to 3o amps!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December Birthdays and Holiday Shopping Time

First of all -- Happy Birthday to the family December birthdayers.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Nick B., Liz T., Margaret T., and Brandi. Hope you get lots of presents and lots more on Christmas!!!

Speaking of Christmas -shopping time is near. This Saturday at the True Blue Resort just a bay over from where we are anchored there will be a Holiday Bizarre. And yes this cruising couple will be selling their wares.

Sailor Sue will have (if the printer cooperates) Caribbean Scene cards and Holiday cards AND a 2009 Caribbean Scenes Calendar! Yikes - only 2 1/5 days to make them. This photo is the cover of the calendar.

Scott will be selling his autographed Why Book of Sailing. Only 8 copies left on board. Of course the Why Book of Sailing is always available from Amazon. (See the link to the left.)

Sue's cards and calendar are not yet available on-line. However you never know when they might be. We'll keep you posted on that.

So happy shopping. Tis the season to spend money and enjoy doing it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stepping the Mast on Silandra

Friday was a big day at Spice Island Marine: Stepping the 100 foot mast on Silandra, the 70 foot sloop I've been working on. Check out the Picasa album below for some pics of this process.

Mast Stepping - Silandra
Meanwhile, I've been trying to piece together the cabinets starting in the galley. It's like when you first toss the pieces on the table for that 1000 piece jig saw puzzle. It's turned out to be faster and easier to build new panels for sides, backs or tops of the cabinets as things have changed and even if I could identify any pieces they may not fit any longer. But really, could I just buy a RIGHT ANGLE? The picture shows the galley and some of the various panels lying about. I've finished the lower two cabinets and nearly the third. Some other holes are still mysteries!

Monday, November 24, 2008


So what do you do when you're anchored too close to shore AND you want to clean off some of those barnacles? Go Sailing, of course!

Merengue (Wendy and Jim) and Half Moon (Joe and Becky) joined us for a day sail on Sunday. What a great way to spend the captain's day off. And what a treat to sail with sailors.

We sailed out a few miles as close to the wind as we could. There was just enough wind (about 10 knots maybe) to fill the sails and bring smiles to our faces.

A few hours later we re-anchored further away from shore then quickly jumped into the bay to cool off and float with our 'noodles.' Who knew these foam pipe covers would become so popular. The question is: how can we create a cup holder for our drinks!

There are many, many, many more photos. However- I can't get them to load in a picasa album.

Thanks Jim and Wendy for sharing photos of the day. Check out Merengue's blog for another perspective and more pictures.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Mismo the Wonder Cat

Yet another November birthday to report - Mismo is one year old!

Enjoy the photo album of a year's worth of Mismo. Hey, it's only 70 pictures. Ok.....ok...I know that's too many. I deleted one so only 69.

Click on the photo below to view the album.
Then click on the green arrow to see the slide show.

Mismo the Wonder Cat

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where's the Gold?

Our friend, Steve, on Certitude took this picture of Enee Marie from the deck of his catamaran. There's no gold on this boat though. Trust me!

After gluing in several square feet of teak veneer in Solandra (the 72 foot multi-million dollar yacht I'm working on at Spice Island) we find that we cannot varnish it up to match what is already there. I feel bad about not asking about that before we started sawing and gluing. But, the big boss was there at the time and saw which teak veneer we were using. The plan now is to paint the entire companionway (port side) white with Awl Grip. Ah well. . . a day's pay is a day's pay.

Some adventurous weather for us the next few days. Lots of rain (FREE WATER!) and wind. Wind is good too as that charges our batteries. High winds are a little disoncerting for us though as we are on a lee shore and only about 50 yards off.

Speaking of batteries. I bought two used Vetus batteries from a fellow cruiser who just wanted to go to larger capacity. These are no-mainenance batteries and anything that is no-maintenance is a good thing for this sailor. I think I cooked the water out of the old standard wet cells we had. If these new batteries start to gas the vapor causes a chemical reaction in the top of the batteries which drips liquid water back into the cells. Good for us as I tend to charge the hell out of the batteries with the wind generator and also that the batteries are in the engine room which gets very hot when we are under way.

Going to work a few hours today and then take it easy (my specialty) the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tragedy in Venezuela

This just in from one of the cruising forums...

Doug of
Doug & Diane
s/v Salacia

About 5:30 PM they were approached by 3 men in a piƱero who asked for water. When one of the crew came back up from below with water, they shot Ken with pistols, and attempted to kill Steve. Details are not precise, but Steve apparently then shot at the pirates with a shotgun and killed one and injured another of the bandits. Ken was killed in the exchange and Steve injured but not badly.


We are also here in Bahia Redonda and it is difficult to describe the awful loss that we all feel today.We all gathered on the dock to wish both boats farewell ...and just a few hours later we are all hearing the terrible news of Ken's death on the VHF probably the most surreal thing that I have ever encountered...after what seemed like an eternity both boats returned to the marina Chill to the dock and I lean to the Venezuelan Coastguard.

The fact is that the 3 attackers had no intention of doing anything but killing and stealing..these scumbags shot Ken as he was giving them the water that they requested...Steve from I lean probably saved the 3 remaining cruisers and he is the real hero and as I sit and write this post he has a bullet in his thigh.

This is of course very big news down here. Many people this year chose NOT to go into Venezuelan waters. I think many more are now going to get the hell out. This is just the latest in a long string of robberies , beatings, and shootings. I suspect the Venezuelan government could care less if an American or two get shot. Well, they have oil and don't really need our meager cruising dollars. It's a big world and boats can go ANYWHERE and they can chose where to not go.

A couple of days ago we were approached by the local coast guard and politely told that we were anchored in the channel. We've been in the same spot for about 2 months. I guess there's a channel around here somewhere. So we hauled anchor, cleaning it as we went. Remember I'm hauling nasty chain by hand. Ugh. We moved out to about where we anchored when we first arrived where it is quite rolly with a weak wifi signal. Damn. Long night last night with the boat rocking on her beam ends! This morning we saw a space over by the wifi antenna. A little tight and I'm close to a lee shore but it's quite calm with strong signal. I think we'll be good here for a long time.

Yesterday we decided that it was finally time, well, way PAST time, to clean the bottom of the dinghy. Oh lord...Ocean World! I could have bottom painted this thing when it was new in St. Maarten but Nooooooooo....I decided to wait. Brilliant! It's pretty clean now and we may haul it up on deck and paint the bottom. . . or just haul it up every night on the davits. That will only slow the growth though. I hope barnacles serve some really good purpose in the environment. If not then they are just a gift from SATAN!

Saturday, November 08, 2008


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the November Birthday Girls:

Madison on the 1st (sorry- I'm too slow to be on time for that one)


Cindy on the 8th (just made it!)

Hope you enjoy(ed) your days and why not the whole month!?!?!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back in Grenada

Long day of travel on Tuesday - election day! We left Chicago around 9 am and arrived in Grenada about 10 pm local time. Ah, the joys of air travel. Once we got back aboard Enee (our friends Wendy and Jim on Merengue had left our dingy for us at the dock) we fired up the computer and connected to the internet in time to watch the festivities from Grant Park. My daughter and her husband got tickets to the event but we just couldn't seem to spot them! A great night for Chicago and for our country I think.

I read about some McCain supporters from Texas (State Motto: Here, hold mah beer and stand back!). They were very dissapointed in the election results and vowed to oppose Obama for the next four years no matter what he tries to do. That's nice. The whole world is trying to bring us down and these cretins think that pouting and refusing to play nice is the way to solve our problems. Maybe it would be a better idea to wait until you hear what is being suggested and THEN begin to negotiate if you don't like it. I think that many of the world's problems come from people not knowing how to negotiate. The Palestinians want Israel to go away. That's not going to happen so negotiate. NO. All or nothing. The Al Queda terrorists want death to America. Not going to happen and you can't negotiate with them. We got a LOT done in this country under LBJ because the guy could deal. US politics works when everybody gets (or thinks they are getting ) something out of the deal. We need to get back to that kind of negotiating form of government. Like OLD mayor Daley said, "Good politics IS good government"!

OK, enough politics!

The weather here is always about the same but the one thing that can make it seem really much hotter is when there is no wind. There is basically NO wind these past few days. Luckily it has still be cooling off at night so sleep is possible. I think I'll stick with jobs that put me in the water like scrubbing the moss off of the water line. Fun!

More of our friends are in the anchorage now having returned from Trinidad. Good to see Randy and Lynn on High States and Jay and Jen on Rum Runner. We haven't seen Jay and Jen since parting company in Georgetown back in '06! We had a fun rum filled reunion with them last night.

I go back to work on Monday so looks like I'm on vacation until then. . . Woot!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Reflections on Chicago

Tomorrow we will fly back to the islands. Grenada to be exact. It’s been a wonderful visit in the most exciting city in the galaxy (sorry NYC). Especially so as the election nears. Grant park is getting ready for a celebration that this city hasn’t seen since, well, since forever! Last Illinois president was honest Abe. If I could stay for the party I would walk around and pretend that it was for the world champion Chicago Cubs but just wait until next century! So, as we do our laundry and prepare for the pleasures of air travel I have some thoughts from Chicago.

In Grenada as with most other Caribbean islands we’ve become accustomed to making eye contact and saying hi to people we pass on the street as they are quick to do the same. Rude to not do so. In Chicago this isn’t really done. It’s not because Chicagoans aren’t friendly. They really are. If you were to talk to someone at random or ask for directions they would help you immediately. It’s just that it is nearly impossible to make eye contact when most people are on the phone, or deep into their iPod, or pushing buttons to text someone. Chicagoans (and I suspect many Americans in big cities) walk around in their own little bubbles of entertainment. It’s ok I guess but it was a noticeable difference. Check out this video from youtube. They've actually padded the lamp posts on a London street because people are walking into them so much while texting!

Winter makes Chicagoans crazy. This town has two faces. The summer face is just one long downtown festival. There is some ‘fest’ about every weekend. The lakefront is loaded with runners, walkers, bikers, sunbathers, tennis players, and boaters. Then winter comes and Chicagoans hunker down for the long wait. Their only solace through part of the long winter are their beloved Chicago Bears. While some people are baseball fans in there some are Cubs and some are White Sox fans, it seems ALL Chicagoans go nuts for their Bears. They are 5-3 by the way but lost their QB yesterday and have yet to play the dreaded Packers. We’ll see. The parade of boats down the Chicago River brought this home to me. Every spring about 10,000 boats are put back in the water and every fall those same 10,000 boats are taken back out. I sure don’t miss winterizing my boat but at least when they haul out here there are no barnacles on the hull. Not yet anyway!

Non-green leaves are a treat. We happened to be up here for the prettiest time of the year - Fall in the midwest. I had some drives in Indiana and the trees are just spectacular. The islands are always pretty but they are always the same pretty. Fall jacket weather is the best but I will enjoy having warm toes when we return to the island.

If things go as planned (right) we will hang in Grenada for at least 6 months while we work. That means there is no question where we’ll be (probably) so come on down. Get out of that Chicago winter and enjoy a week or so in Grenada. We can help find hotel or resort and make your visit extra enjoyable. Keep reading and stay in touch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wind Power

A few days ago we visited my sister in Indiana (State motto: corn!). We decided to take the scenic route back to Chicago and just took our time driving north on old route 41. When we got into Benton county we discovered a huge wind farm. (Check out the link to Benton County for cool construction pics). There are 87 huge wind turbines. It makes the otherwise boring landscape of northern Indiana look like something from a science fiction movie. But, what a great old idea! Using the free power of the wind to generate electricity.

I say it is an old idea since farms typically had a "wind mill" not for milling actually but for charging batteries (much like we do on the boat) in the years before the nation's electrical grid reached into farm country.

Of course wind energy grabs the attention of any cruising sailor. We get OUR energy from the wind two ways. It makes us go (when we are going) and we also have a wind generator for our electrical needs. The principles involved are exactly the same for these giant 1.5 mega watt monsters as our KISS generator. When ever you are using the power of the wind, for sailing or generating, the power you receive goes with the CUBE of the wind speed.

P = \begin{matrix}\frac{1}{2}\end{matrix}\alpha\rho\pi r^2 v^3

That means if you double the speed of the wind you get 8x the power. Not unlike a sail the vanes of the generators are actually air foils to redirect the wind and provide lift for making them spin. The vanes can be turned to provide optimum attack angle to the wind.

We noticed that there seemed to be no pattern to how the towers were laid out. Later I discovered by reading (yes!) that they have to stagger them because the turbulence off the back end of one would disturb the next one if they were placed in line. That sound familiar to any of you racers out there?

The towers are quite tall (~130 feet) for obvious reasons. One to allow for huge vanes which are 65 - 130 feet long but also, as sailors know, the wind speed increases with height. The power from the wind also goes with the square of the radius so long vanes are good.

It would be nice if we could line the country with these things from North Dakota to Texas. It's free energy and it's clean. Unfortunately energy farms cannot account for much more than 20 -25% of our current energy needs. Still everything added to the grid that doesn't harm the environment and reduces emissions is a good thing. In 1999 total US power consumption was about 100 Tw. That's 100,000,000,000,000 watts (10^14). Let's say each wind generator can produce 1 mega watt (1,000,000 watts) Then it would take one hundred MILLION such generators to completey replace all our current power plants. Ain't going to happen. So, I'm for wind generators but people shouldn't think that we can live on that alone.

Disadvantages: Control. Can't MAKE the wind blow harder when you need more electricity. Dead Bats. They are finding a disturbing number of bat carcasses littered around these things. It's not clear why bats, who are known to be good at not running into things, are dying. Some think that the disturbed air around the vanes causes huge pressure differences that can disrupt the bat's lungs and capillaries. Asthetics - Do we really want to make such places as Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire look like this? It's one thing to dot the corn fields of Indiana with huge generators and another to put them in beautiful wilderness places.

Farms like this are popping up all over the world. Germany's farms contribute 5-6% to their total energy needs. England is proposing building wind farms out on the ocean where prevailing winds are stronger and more predictable. They have a plan for 7000 wind generators which would provide HALF the energy needs for England allowing tea twice a day perhaps! A plan has been approved to install 40 turbines 3 miles off of Jones Beach Long Island.

Of course the other side of the power consumption coin is to not USE as much. Building homes and office buildings to be more energy efficient. New fluorescent and LED lighting devices. Opening windows instead of air conditioning. Remember, the earth is a closed system. Except for solar (which keeps on streaming in) we have all the energy we're ever going to have. All we do is convert it from one form (typically chemical) to another (electrical). We won't ever run out of solar or wind (actually a form of solar since it is the unequal heating of the planet that causes the wind to blow) but we WILL run out of oil, gas, coal. Not soon but someday.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Volvo Around the World Race

The Volvo Ocean Race is on right now. For those of us cruisers who get excited at hitting 7 knots or making a 50+ mile day this brand of sailing is certainly off of our charts. For example, the record for distance in a 24 hour time period in this race is 563 nautical miles! That's average 23 knots! The boats themselves are fascinating. They are identical designs with canting keels. These are swung up to 40 degrees to windward while beating.

The boats are not built for comfort. No fresh food. One change of clothes. Looks like a pretty wet ride too. Some of the legs of the race are over 30 days. Stinky.

They are on the first leg of the trip now from Spain to Cape Town with about, 3500 miles left to do. Take a look at this race tracker and you'll see that they sail all the way to South America before tacking to South Africa. Crazy. The entire Volvo Ocean Race website is pretty good. Lots of pictures, videos, stories, and frequent updates. There is supposed to be a 3D tour of the boats but it keeps jamming for me when I try it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Angle of the Sun

I've been having a wonderful time just walking around my favorite city - Chicago! The weather has been perfect for doing so. Nice crisp fall days around 50 degrees. Good jacket weather. I had not brought a hat with me though and I notice I am often holding my hand in front of my eyes. Jesus, the sun is bright. I know I often wear a hat but not always and this seems extreme. Am I that sensitive to the sun all of sudden? Then it hit me. NO, dumb bell, you just moved 30 degrees north putting the sun 30 degrees lower in the sky! Now as I look around I realize that the very look of things is slightly different. Shadows are longer. Light is more subdued. In Grenada the sun is almost always high in the sky and nearly straight overhead mid day.

One of those things that you KNOW because teacher told you (or this teacher remembers telling) but never realized how it changed the look of things.

Neat. Here's a clever little applet that shows what I'm talking about. If you want to see exactly what I'm talking about, put 12 degrees in the left box and about 42 in the right hand box to compare Grenada to Chicago. Note that sometimes when I go to this site I just see a white square. Click in the square and the applet will appear. Enjoy!

Another treat during my walk yesterday was the parade of sailboats heading up the Chicago river for their winter quarters. While I do miss sailing in fresh water sometimes I never miss winterizing my boat for the long Chicago winters.

These bridge days are scheduled and you have to hit one of them to move your boat. No, Chicago won't open a bridge, unscheduled for a single sailboat.

I've never made this trip myself but I'm guessing you must go through a dozen or more bridges on this trip. Looks like fun!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just One More Thing on Warming

I don't really want this blog to become a forum for discussing global warming but here's a quick link to some FAQs from NOAA. It's very readable so enjoy!

For example, these graphs show the increase in diurnal temperatures (day and night) since 1950 (a GREAT year).

Sailing FAST!

CNN reports that the French trimiran ________ (imagine a bunch of vowels and accents in that space) has sailed at a speed of 53 knots, about 60 miles per hour, in training runs before going for the record. The official test is over a 500 meter course. Current record is about 48 knots and held by kite or wind surfer. This site shows some video of this crazy boat underway.

The crew was happy enough after the test run but pretty down about the fact that they can't possibly light their cigarettes at this speed. Se la vie!

Interesting is the fact that the perfect winds for breaking the record are between 20 and 25 knots. That's about half their speed over the water which is a dramatic example of the fact that sailboats are not simply being blown across the water but are cleverly designed wings to redirect the airflow and get 'lifted' (sideways) across the water. Certainly the faster the wind the more force can be generated but boat speed is not equal to wind speed typically.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Are Things Warming Up?

I think it is easy for all of us to maybe hope in the back of our minds that the planet is not really warming up due to our own industrialization but that it is just the natural warming up followed by a natural cooling off. I think this graph shows that we probably have to drop that hope and get with solving the problem. Notice that the spike in temperature at the far right edge of the graph and CO2 gases correlates with the onset of the industrial revolution. Not surprising.

More direct to our current lifestyle is that the warming is killing the coral reefs around the world. This article from National Geographic explains this connection very well.

So if it ever comes up where someone wants to pretend that the planet isn't really heating up you might show them or describe to them the above graph. You can get active too! There's tons of organizations to join or just support by reading their literature and maybe the occasional letter to the editor or your congressman. Remeber the grandkids have to live here too!

However, it is definitely NOT warming up in Chicago today! Brrrrrr....

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just a note to all our friends in the Spanish, US and British Virgin Islands and St. Maartin. Hope you are all safe and your boats survived Omar.

We hear that when Lenny went through on a similar track all the islands in the Caribbean chain suffered from huge western swells that destroyed some beaches. We are tucked into a bay that is open to the south and we are near that bay's western shore so I'm hoping that not too severe swell sneaks in here to Prikley Bay, Grenada.

Anyway, we're leaving tomorrow for Chicago! Our friends Wendy and Jim on Merengue are keeping an eye on Enee while we're away for a couple of weeks. We promised to bring them lots of Cub World Series parafinalia which I'm thinking ought to be pretty cheap. And, ok, go Phillies. Their organization is almost as miserable as ours.

We VOTED yesterday! Yes. We faxed in our absentee ballot and that means that right now Senator Obama has a 2-0 lead in Florida! How's that for early returns?

Next report from the windy city or from an airport.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Thanks so much to all the commenters! I knew you were out there and it was so fun for us to hear from you. Also nice to hear that many have bought and read my book. My publisher thanks you too!

I feel a little bad in that many people are reading each day to get a taste of the sailing adventure. Now we are in place for awhile and, gulp, working! Well, when we left we knew this was going to be some kind of an adventure. We knew that it would be totally different from our life ashore whatever that lead to. With the stockmarket in the dumpster and Enee Marie wanting a new windlass, autohelm and jib, employment seemed to be the right move at this time. We too look forward to getting back on the cruise in the near future. As you have all figured out reading this blog there is way more to the cruising life than simply sailing your boat. That IS the best part though!

Thinking ahead a little, Grenada is one of those 'Lands End' places. Key West is like that too. You make it all the way south from NYC and really do come to the end of the land in Key West and wonder, Now what? Same here. The chain of Caribbean islands ends here in Grenada. Now what? One choice is to do what many of our friends are doing and head back north through the islands. You never see everything in one pass or even two so you can go back to favorite spots and pick up some that you missed. Part of the draw here is how hard we worked to get so far east. Now we get to make nice long reaches up and down the chain. It's hard to give that up. Another common choice is to continue south to Trinidad and/or Venezuela. Many of our friends kept their boats in Trinidad for hurricane season with mixed reviews. One boat yard worker said to a cruiser, "We wish we could figure out how to get your money without actually having you here". I guess a lot of cruisers are not exactly feeling the love in Trinidad. Venezuela is run by a complete idiot which always makes you think twice before going. Pirating is common off the north-east coast of Venezuela and cruisers have to stick together and know where and where not to go. To me, the world is a big place and I would like to think I could find places to go where I was a little more welcome. You can stay pretty far north of the coast of Venezuela and hit the little islands of LosTostigos, Blanquilla, Ochita and some others and make your way to the bigger islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. This could be nice as it is all downwind sailing! Hundreds of miles , plenty of islands and no beating to weather. Of course now you've given up all your easting and you either continue west to Columbia, Panama, etc or you can make a long reach north back to Puerto Rico and start over!

So, one thing a long stop like our Grenada stop can do for us is to give us the time to plan, read and talk with other cruisers. Planning and dreaming is half the fun!

Thanks again for reading.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who's Out There?

Hi to all who stumble upon this blog. I know there's not too much right now about sailing but still we are living aboard and enjoying being in Grenada. I also notice that we receive about 300+ hits a week on this site. . . and yet, about zero comments. I'm curious who is stopping by and not saying hello?

So we'll do an experiment. For the next several days if you come here PLEASE leave a comment. There is no link back to you if you are worried about getting e-mail or spam. Just click on the work comments at the bottom of this post. Write something like you're name and where you live. You'll submit it as annonymous which just means you are not a fellow blogger. Then you'll have to type some word in a box to prevent us getting spammed. Easy. Let's all do this just for fun, OK?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I want my money back!

Not from the stock market. Forget about that money! I'm talking about the beautiful Caribbean weather. . . it's been raining off and on for about a week! Haven't seen the sun (or the stars which are suns themselves but really far away) in days. Getting a little depressing! Also it has been dead calm. Creepy. Today more rain but it came with some wind so we have our KISS wind generator pumping up the house batteries.

We've finished laying up the veneer in the big boat and it looks great. Great work by (left to right) Ronel and Johnny who did all the detailed fitting of the jigsaw pieces I cut out. Hope owner likes the work!

Yes, girls these guys are single!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


What's with cats? Now that Mismo is nearing one year old she is falling into some routines. IN the morning when I get up is time for me to chase her around the boat. Now I don't, OK? What I do is have a cup of coffee and walk around on deck while Mismo runs around, jumps on the bimini, up on the sail bag like her butt is on fire. (As usual, click on the pics for extra cute-overload)

In the late aftenoon is her time to be on lookout on the anchor roller. Looks comfy doesn't it? From behind it looks like she is pooping about a meter of rusty anchor chain. Nice.

Our friend Wendy swam over today for a visit and then towed Sue around in our dingy for the pics. Wendy is working on her synchornized swimming moves!

Work is going well. All the veeneer is up in the boat and ready for varnish. Looks great. Ronel and Johnny did most of the detail work. I've finished re-doing two engine room doors and am working on two table bases. Getting to be a pretty good veneer guy now that this part is about done!

Next Friday we head to Chicago for a visit. Supposed to be to watch the Cubs in the World Series. Looks like I missed it by a century! Mismo is going to stay with a vet student from St. Georges University here. Hope she doesn't try an experiments on her! I mean the student on Mismo not the other way around.