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Sunday, October 31, 2010

IT AIN'T OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS ...............



AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE HURRICANE SEASON.............. Out of the blue and from way down south near the Equator, comes another one that has quickly changed from being "INVEST 91" to Hurricane TOMAS................... Anyway, the morning after FOXY'S, with some of us in better shape than others, we sailed out of the BVI'S and into the U.S.VI's, all the way to Magen Bay, in St. Thomas ............... Wind 20 kts plus, and big seas, and on the beach are more than 5000 people ..............All wanting a piece of 'The Salt Life' and PARADISE ........... This was also the day on which the crew of the Pilot boats decided not to go to work, leaving five(5) cruise ships drifting outside St. Thomas Harbour ............. Well, that one made CNN, and eventually the Port Captain ferried the pilots out to bring the ships in .............. Every passenger was given 'Extended shore leave' and those at Magen Bay took full advantage of it ............. Being the only yacht in the bay, we had a front row seat, to view "humanity" up close .......



Then another great sail from the USVI's to the Island of LUIS PENA near Culebra PR, to do some snorkeling, some beach combing and .................... Yes, another practice run of washing hair in salt water ............ That "PRELL" is good stuff .......... Captain Tony Shiver is a natural, which made us put 'Capt. Ron' the DVD on at night for a great laugh ................. And despite the turbulence in the water, Lauren Anne was able to capture some great underwater shots ............... Clever girl .............. And good looking too........... Takes after her mother ........... Same shampoo ...............



Back on board, the other Captain attempts to repair the stove for the umpteenth time ..............Words and parts go flying ......... The d--- thing cost more than a thousand dollars, and it refuses to work the way it should .......... And yes, I did read the owner's manual .............. Never say 'die' ..... Sadly, a wonderful time with the newly-weds, and the cruise within the cruise, has come to an end ...... I offered to hug Tony at the airport, beard to beard, while we dried each others eyes with tissues, the way mother and daughter did, but he declined ...............



Here then is what is bearing down on our region ............. Do a double-click on them to enlarge the graphics .. A massive system out to destroy everything, when it finally makes landfall, most likely as a Category 3 hurricane, and most likely in the Dominican Republic or Haiti, who have surely had enough already ................... Can't wait for the 'Fat Lady' to sing ......... It will be the sweetest 'ting' .................

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE 'BATHS' AT VIRGIN GORDA, BVI ..................




It is really hard to get the water babes out of the water ................ Caught them laughing and joking, and trying to wash their hair with this magical 'salt-water' shampoo and conditioner ........... We arrived and picked up a free mooring at the famous 'BATHS', a group of large granitic boulders surrounded by blue water and white sand on the very end of the island of VIRGIN GORDA ............... A playground for young and old .................With wonderful pathways that take you through cleavaged tunnels and over rounded boulders .................



Every which way you turn is another photo opportunity with the stark contrast of colours and textures mirrored by the sky and the sea .......... And if you were half smart you would probably wipe the water drops off the lens on the underwater camera, before you take the photograph .............. Note to self : DO THAT NEXT TIME.



We soaked up the beauty of the place till we could take no more, had a hamburger and a drink, and sailed to the other end of VIRGIN GORDA ............. The "BITTER END" ........... They even have an extensive resort there called " THE BITTER END YACHT CLUB ".............. Personally I think it is a bit rivalry ......... The very next island is NECKER ISLAND, the private home of Sir Richard BRANSON ........You know, the VIRGIN AIRLINES, VIRGIN CELL PHONES, VIRGIN EVERYTHING guy .........Smart, rich and handsome, no wonder the Queen of England knighted him ............. Nice to see some Pandanus trees again, my Pacific favorite, and of course we, and now Anne and Tony, never get tired of looking at that blue, blue water .....................



The 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' pictures of Hurricane Earl's passing ........... It took out one but barely touched the other which was around the corner .........



With mainsail up and genoa out, we sail for most of the day to reach JOST VAN DYKE island, still in the BVIs, and anchor for the night to go-look-see 'FOXY's' tavern .............That's FOXY himself talking to the Heiress (below)........ The rest of the photos we took that night are blurry, fuzzy, way too dark and generally useless, mostly due to the fact that the drink of choice here is called "FOXY'S FIREWATER RUM" ......... A concoction incredibly powerful, probably on a par with formaldehyde,........ 'We sure was pickled', for we really don't recall exactly how or when we got back on board ........... This was meant to be a night of 'letting our hair down' and if this 'RASTA' guy, dancing with Anne is anything to go by, we achieved our objective ........No bruised egos, nobody got hurt,.............. A rip-roaring success....... By the way, FOXY was also awarded an MBE by the Queen of England, for 'Services to the Empire'......... Wonder if that makes him SIR FOXY .............Wonder if he slipped her Highness a bottle of his firewater before or after the ceremony ........... He personally signed Laurie's white T-shirt "FOXY MBE" ..... Then somehow other people got into the act ........ Then the T-shirt got swapped .........It gets foggy and hazy after that ........Laurie came home with a silky black T-shirt ...............Looks good too....... But speaking of T-shirts ....... There was one that read "HERE'S TO THE NIGHTS I CAN'T REMEMBER AND THE PLACES I'LL NEVER FORGET" ......... And that is FOXY's in a nutshell ...............Make that a clamshell ..



This is FOXY'S PLACE, the morning after ..............And wherever FOXY is, his dog is right there also, ........ And to quote FOXY verbatim " My dog TABOO has all the typical traits of an island dog..............He's black, he's lazy, he sits on his butt all day waiting for a handout, he doesn't know who his daddy is, and he has puppies all over the island and he doesn't know where they are .............." His words, not mine ........... and by the way, that's not me 'pimping' for T-shirt signing rights ........... Though I do have a 'fistful of dollars' ........ And a rum-filled gut ............

Now if you really want to know how the VIRGIN ISLANDS got that name, it refers to SAINT URSULA, and the eleven thousand virgins killed by the Huns in the Middle Ages ........ Did not know that there were that many ............. Then again, the Middle Ages were just after the DARK AGES ...............

Sunday, October 24, 2010

THE WATER BABIES GO UNDERWATER ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



Our two mermaids donned snorkels and fins and disappeared underwater for most of the day with their cameras .............. Finally came up with amazing stories to tell ........... All about colours, about ferns and frills and corals of incredible beauty ...........About fish and turtles ............... You can see for yourself ............. Just double-click on any of the photos to enlarge them, and then for the big surprise, you just have to see Lauren Anne's video clip of the 'Great turtle Chase'.......... Amazing ......



And in a state of EXHAUSTION AND EXHALTATION we fall asleep on board re-living the beauty of a World we rarely see and have barely touched ............. And tomorrow we sail further to the Island of VIRGIN GORDA to show the newly-weds the " BATHS ".
But first you need to see this beautiful video of grace itself ............

video