Category Archives: British Virgin Islands

Curacao Commissioning — November 5 – December 5, 2018

We spent an entire month in Curacao this year, arriving on November 5, on a flight from Savannah via Miami to Curacao, and departing on TT2 for Bonaire on December 5, the longest commissioning time we had ever spent getting the boat ready.  Why so long?  Basically because projects required ordering “stuff” from the USA that took a couple of weeks to arrive in Curacao.  What projects? Our 20-gallon water heater was leaking; it needed replacing. The generator had been running just a little warm of late; the usual suspects appeared to be innocent, so it was time to remove and check the heat exchanger.  When I got it out, the chambers were clean!  But alas, one of the ends was damaged (maybe by me, during the removal.)  So we were forced to wait for the delivery of a new heat exchanger and a new water heater. So what caused the minor over-heating problem.  Not sure.  But replacing the heat exchanger had necessitated partially draining the coolant, so when the exchanger was finally installed, I completely drained the coolant, flushed the system, and replaced the coolant with fresh and new.  That seemed to solve the problem.

The wait for parts was not leisurely, however.  I spent days and days cleaning and painting the bilges.  Maybe weeks.  Seemed like months. (There is a lot of bilge in a Krogen 48 North Sea.)

And then there were the usual tasks.  Removing and cleaning the through-hull covers in preparation for painting. Using an angle-grinder to thoroughly clean the prop and rudder. Applying the outrageously expensive PropSpeed to the propeller, a fussy and exacting process that requires a two-person application team.  (Barb and I have gotten pretty good at it, but don’t eavesdrop while we are working at it; we sound as if we are on the cusp of a disaster.)

But all was not work.  We had delightful dinners with Maggie & Al (Sweet Dreams) and Paulette & John (Seamantha).  Heather & Don (Asseance) were in the Marina when we arrived; it was good to catch up with them.  Barb and I walked up to Rodeo Bar & Grill for dinner many many times; their ribs are second only to the home-made perfections created by Bill (nee Dolce Vita). 

Perhaps the most interesting gastronomic experience was the Thanksgiving dinner we attended with Laura & Jason (Blue Blaze) and Sabrina & Tom (Honey Rider).  Someone saw an advertisement of an American Style Thanksgiving dinner to be held at the Rif Fort in Otrobanda.  Reservations were required; one seating only; 60 persons max at a long table family style; payment in person required in advance.  

We arrived early, and settled in for drinks on a balcony on the east side of the Fort overlooking the St. Anna Bay and the pontoon swing bridge; there we were treated to the sight of the full moon rising over the city.  When we made our way to the dinner venue on the upper inner wall on the west side of the Fort, we were surprised to find the long table wasn’t so long and accommodated only 32.  Our hostess explained that the dinner was conceived as a means to publicize the various eateries in the Fort and its immediate surroundings.  Consequently, each separate establishment would be delivering samples of their fare, and our hosts would bring them out one at a time.  Apparently, the quantities had never been adjusted from 60 to 32, for each serving was enormous.  Apparently, there were MANY such establishments, because there were MANY servings, and they were eclectic!

Here are some of the servings: a complementary serving of Prosecco, and then sushi, two types of pizza, mashed sweet potatoes, pork chops, grilled fish, green salad, small hamburger sliders, french fries, pumpkin soup, a small steak, and  breads.  (And I think I have forgotten some.) And then the finale:  brussel sprouts, stuffing, and roasted turkeys, brought to the table whole and uncarved and as brown and as pretty as you please!  We six Americans (the only non-locals in attendance) almost swooned!  (Although that may have been because by that time we were all VERY full.)  We had to ask for someone to come back and do some carving, an operation we watched with considerable amusement. We had been promised cranberry sauce and one of us asked about that. Apologies were given and then a triumphant and proud return with the strange garnish that those goofy Americans insist upon when they consume those strange birds.  There soon followed puzzled looks on the faces of the six Americans. The “cranberries” each had a single hard sizable pit!. And the “sauce” bathing the berries tasted a good bit like cherry pie filling!  Some among us opined that the berries were pomegranates, but I know better, having consumed gallons of pomegranate seeds when visiting my sister Zona, who likes pomegranate seeds A LOT.  And they don’t have big pits. My guess as to the berry?  Dunno.

Dessert was apple pie served with heaping bowls of various flavors of ice cream.

The launch of Tusen Takk II was mostly routine.  Curacao Marine does a good job.  But the launch ramp was slippery from an earlier rain, and so TWO tractors were used to ease the trailer into the brine.

So we had a productive time in Curacao, but it is good to be in Bonaire.  See our next post.

Ruminations on “luck” — March 26, 2014

We humans sometimes invoke the notion of “luck” in a strange way, it seems to me.  I have already written about our rental-car trip last Fall from Oslo to Kristiansand, Norway, during which I fell asleep while driving and slid along the guard rail which separated my lane from the oncoming traffic.  I said we were “lucky” to have not incurred any personal injury.  I could have said I was unlucky to fall asleep, but instead said we were lucky that it was not worse.

Why do we say we are “lucky” when something bad happens, but could have been worse?

The mathematician in me wonders if maybe we employ our concept of luck in a manner analogous to the application of the concept of conditional probability.  I’ll resist the temptation to launch off into an explication of that concept and simply note that in addition to the mathematical concept of probability, in which we gauge the likelihood of event A occurring , there is the concept of conditional probability, in which we gauge the likelihood of B happening given that A has already occurred.  Maybe we are likewise employing the concept of conditional luck, in which we say we were lucky that B subsequently happened (or didn’t happen) given that A had already happened.

But the philosopher in me wonders if something else may be at the heart of our tendency to say we were lucky when something bad happens that could have been worse. Maybe the invocation of luck in that circumstance is really our attempt to hide from the uncomfortable fact that the universe can be indifferent to or even hostile to our best interests.  So instead of focusing on the fact that A happened, we focus on the fact that B happened (or didn’t happen) given that A had happened.

On the evening of Monday, March 23, we departed a little after 5 pm from Virgin Gorda, BVI and cruised through the night toward St. Martin.  I took the first watch and was relieved by Barb at about 2:00 am.   At about 5 am, I was awaked by Barb calling my name and by the sound of an alarm going off from the control console of our stabilizers. The display revealed that the port stabilizer was frozen in an extreme position, a fact soon collaborated by opening a hatch and gazing down. There being no obvious remedy, we shut both stabilizers down and reapplied propulsion power, only to note that our speed was drastically reduced.  Suddenly we lurched ahead and attained normal speeds.

We were “lucky” that the seas were relatively calm, and that such waves as there were came essentially on the nose, so stabilizers were in fact unneeded.  When we arrived at Marigot Bay, St. Martin, we had some breakfast and then I donned a snorkel and mask to have a look-see.   I found a length of line jammed between the stabilizer and the hull, with a juice container/float pulled up tightly to the jam.  I tried pulling on the line and then tried rotating the stabilizer fin, with no success.  I returned to the transom and had Barb fetch a keyhole saw and a small hacksaw, with which I attempted to cut the line.  I very quickly realized that the task was formidable, and so I returned to the cockpit and donned scuba gear.   And then sawed and sawed and sawed.  The problem was that the line was jammed all across the width of the fin.  As I sawed I could see just a few dark strands floating away during each stroke.  Ninety minutes later, one scuba tank depleted, the fin finally came free, with no damage done to the hull or the fin.  Lucky, huh?

Next day we cruised down to Colombier Bay, St. Barths, and the following day cruised to Antigua.   While out in the deep water between St. Barths and Antigua, we caught a tuna.  Now that is what I call genuine luck!







Virgin Gorda, BVI — March 21-22, 2014

Anticipating a weather window for a passage to St. Martin, a number of us moved to Virgin Gorda to stage for the crossing.   Actually, it took us two days to get into position, since we lolly-gagged in Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI on the 21st, and then lolly-gagged further in West End, BVI in order for me to check into (and out of) the BVIs and for Barb to up her step-count from what she had achieved in Cruz Bay.   (I should explain:  our generous niece Cathy gifted Barb with a wrist gadget that, among other things, counts the number of steps the wearer has achieved during the day.   Barb tends to get antsy if she has not obtained the requisite default 10,000 steps ordained by the instrument.)   As a consequence of the multiple delays, we only had time to get to Caneel Bay off Little Jost Van Dyke on the 21st.   Next day, as we approached the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, we were met by a large fleet of magnificent sailboats that were arriving from the direction of Anegada — presumably they were just finishing some type of race.   We had a number of friends over that night for a sundowner on the cockpit of Tusen Takk II.  Next day, we departed for St. Martin about 5 pm.

Bouncing around the Virgins — Mar. 4-20, 2014

In the time since our last guests (Jon & Cathy) departed, we have bounced around the Virgins, spending time with a variety of friends.   We have hosted sundowners and joined others for sundowners on their boats.  We have hosted dinners and joined others for dinner on their boats.  We spent some time in Charlotte Amalie, where we saw the incredible yacht Rising Sun, built in 2004 by Larry Ellison (of Oracle), and now owned by David Geffen. 453 feet long, with 82 rooms on five levels.  We later learned Paul McCartney was on board.

We happened upon Cruz Bay’s St. Pat’s parade, and posted a bunch of pictures on Facebook.

I repaired a leak in the bottom of our dinghy, and I rewired the speaker for our Single Side Band radio.

I dug out my underwater housing and did some underwater photography in the Caves of Norman Island, where my goal was to finally get a picture of Glassy Sweepers.  I also dove Hurricane Hole in St. John, and became convinced that I need to expand from my usual macro pictures to include some wide-angle stuff.  Barb and I also did non-photo dives on Johnson Reef and Tektite Reef.  The viz was lousy at Johnson, but nice at Tektite, where we saw gazillions of fish.

As this is written we are making final plans to leave the Virgins and begin our trek southward; first stop: St. Martin.


Jon & Cathy Visit Us in the Virgins — Feb. 24 – Mar. 3, 2014

Chuck’s niece Cathy and her husband Jon arrived in St. Thomas late in the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 24.   We barely had time to drop off their luggage on Tusen Takk II, anchored in Elephant Bay, before jumping back into the dinghy to proceed to the ferry dock on Water Island, from which we walked over the hill to Honeymoon Bay.   Yup, we were there to watch the movie shown on a screen fashioned out of two sheets strung between two palm trees.  The movie?  Rush.  The meal?  Chicken sandwiches and/or cheeseburgers, washed down with beer and followed with popcorn.  (Except for yours truly, embarked on a month-long experiment of total avoidance of all things gluten, in the hopes of a further lessening of arthritis symptoms.   So no beer or buns for me.  I miss the beer more than the buns.)

That “quick start” set the pattern for their entire stay; we visited, in order:  Great Harbour and Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke, Pirates Bight, the Indians, Soper Hole, Cruz Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Francis Bay, Waterlemon Bay, Hurricane Hole, Great Lameshur Bay, Salt Pond, and Drunk Bay before returning to Charlotte Amalie after a week of fun in the sun in order to send our guests off to the frozen north of Bismarck, North Dakota.

We did a lot of snorkeling during their stay, but also played some cards and watched a movie on-board and did some boat projects, including installing new gas struts under the master bed and fashioning a new dinghy seat when the original finally gave up the ghost.  Jon felt responsible for the seat breakage, but the truth of the matter is that the seats provided by AB are notoriously vulnerable to breakage; a number of years ago we had one break from the weight of a slight pre-teen girl who was sitting in the middle when the dinghy hit a wave.   (Of course, Jon is no slight pre-teen girl 🙂 , but the breakage really wasn’t his fault.)

Jon and Cathy make lovely guests.   Easy to get along with, easy to please, and always helpful.   Watching Cathy help Barb thread our yoke through a mooring pennant eye is a joy:  Barb uses a long boat hook to grab the mooring painter.   She pulls the painter up to the high Krogen bow and hands the boat hook off to Cathy, who sets it out of the way and then immediately grabs the other yoke line, feeds it around and under the bow roller, and then hands it to Barb, who by this time has secured the first line through the eye and up snuggly to the bow so as to keep the eye within reach for the second line.   Barb feeds the second line through the eye and lets out some of the first line while Cathy adjusts the length of the second line.   Pure poetry in motion.

Meanwhile, Jon is pinning the stabilizers while I am closing down the electronics.

What a team!

Thanks for coming, Jon and Cathy.   See you next year.

Friends from Savannah; BVI & USVI — Jan. 14-21, 2014

Friends from Savannah, Beth Logan and Steve Ellis, arrived at Charlotte Amalie late on the afternoon of Jan. 14.  We got them settled in and oriented and had dinner aboard.  Steve was heavily medicated for his cold – an affliction that nearly caused the cancellation of their visit – and was much quieter than usual, but as the week wore on he became more and more his usual voluble self.   Next morning we departed Crown Bay Marina and motored up to Jost Van Dyke, where we checked in to the BVIs and had lunch at Foxy’s.  Later that day we caught a taxi over to the Soggy Dollar, where our guests did some swimming and we all did some sunning and some drinking of Pain Killers, the libation which became the drink of choice during their visit, with those served at Soggy Dollar clearly the best.

On Jan. 16 we moved around the corner to the east end of the island, where Beth and Steve got in some serious beachifying on Sandy Spit.  When they were suitably browned and toasted, we moved over to the mooring field just off Foxy’s Taboo.  We took the dinghy in and hiked the short distance to the Bubbly Pool, where Beth and Steve enjoyed being thrashed about by the breakers that occasionally came crashing in.  Next morning I returned alone and photographed the White-cheeked Pintail ducks (and several other birds) that populated a path-side pond.

When I returned to the boat we headed for the Indians, but found all of the moorings occupied.  So we went in to Pirate’s Bight on Norman Island and took a mooring and dinghied over to the Caves and snorkeled there instead.   Then, a visit to the restaurant/bar/beach at the east end of the Bight, for more Pain Killer sampling.  And then a trip to the famous Willy T’s, for, um, a Pain Killer.   We were on the upper deck when a couple of young things decided to honor the Willy T tradition and bare their upper torsos and jump over the edge.  I had only Barb’s camera, which suffers from the usual point-and-shoot malady of a long delay between pressing the shutter button and actual image capture.  #$*@!!!!

Next morning (Jan. 18 – are you keeping up with this chronology?) we moved over to the Indians and were the first to take a mooring.  Great snorkel, after which we took the boat all the way back to Caneel Bay, St. John, USVI, so we could dinghy in to Cruz Bay in order to check in to the good ol’ USA.  After some shopping and some lunch at the Beach Bar, we returned to TT2 and motored over to Cinnamon Bay, where we took our guests ashore so Beth could do some reconnoitering for a possible site for a family reunion.  Later that day we had prime rib at the campground restaurant.  Next morning we moved to Waterlemon Bay, where Barb took a break and the rest of us snorkeled.   Then we took the dinghy to shore and walked up to the ruins at Annaberg Sugar Plantation.   We were back on the boat when a dinghy approached our stern and its lone occupant asked about our boat name.   Turned out he was on the boat Viking Spirit and is from Kristiansand, Norway, where our friends Lars Helge and Tove Brunborg live.  Not only did Arild Anderson know the Brunborgs, he is a former colleague of Tove!  Lite verden! (Small world!) 

Waterlemon is such a popular place for snorkeling that we felt guilty about continuing to occupy a mooring after having already snorkeled there, so we moved over to Francis Bay, where Barb and our guests did some snorkeling along the point separating Francis and Maho Bay. 

On Jan. 20 our guests did more snorkeling (along the north shore of Francis Bay) and then we moved to Christmas Cove in order to stage for our return to St. Thomas.  Next day — you guessed it – Beth and Steve did one last snorkel before we moved to Charlotte Amalie.  We had lunch at the Green Garden and our guests did some window-shopping before we sent them off to the airport in a taxi.

It was a great visit; we hope they enjoyed it as much as we did.

British Virgin Islands — Dec. 29 – Jan. 5, 2014

On Dec. 29 we left St. Martin at 4:00 am and travelled west 80 nm to Virgin Gorda, BVI, where we nestled in to the crowded anchorage at Vixen Point, off Saba Rock.  Our depth sounder was acting flakey, so we dropped anchor in fairly deep water.  Next morning we put down our dinghy, picked up Hunter and Devi, and crossed the Bay to the Customs and Immigration office at Gun Creek Marina.   It was a wet ride back to our boats, but we explored the southern shore of the Bay and made several stops, looking for a good place to be on New Years Eve.   We settled for the restaurant at Saba Rock, and made reservations for an early buffet dinner.  After the dinner on Dec. 31, we returned to Tusen Takk II and played some cards and Quiddler.  To our pleasure and surprise, the Terns actually hung in until past midnight, breaking their usual visiting pattern by a couple of hours.

On Jan. 1, we both moved over to Pond Bay, where we found a delightful and peaceful anchorage behind the reef.   When forecasts predicted a shift in the wind and waves a bit more northerly, we moved on Jan. 3 to a mooring off The Baths, and after going ashore and crawling through the crowded crevices of that remarkable location, moved to Marina Cay, which was not nearly so nice.

Next day we moved over to Little Jost Van Dyke and took a mooring near Diamond Cay.  We walked to the Bubbly Pond north of Foxy’s Taboo restaurant, and later that day returned to the restaurant for dinner, where the mashed potatoes that accompanied my (delicious) order of ribs inspired some mischief.  On Dec. 5 we moved to Francis Bay, USVI, checking in by phone, Barb having filed ahead a cruise plan with SVRS (Small Vessel Reporting System.)   On the way to the US Virgin Islands, as we passed Soper Hole, we noticed a very strange-looking vessel.  It turned out to be Venus, the $250 million, 260 feet-long superyacht that was commissioned by Steve Jobs.  Tragically, he died a year before the vessel was completed.  We know not the present owner.

But to learn about our experiences in the USVI, you will have to wait for the next episode of this blog.

USVI to Antigua – April 3 – 12, 2013

On April 3rd, we said goodbye to Charlotte Amalie and motored over to Christmas Cove.  We spent two nights there, and then moved to Francis Bay, stopping along the way at Caneel to briefly moor the boat while we dinghied in to Cruz Bay for a final pickup of mail and some grocery shopping.  When we arrived at Francis we provided Hunter and Devi (Arctic Tern) and Paul and Susan (Island Roamer) dinghy transportation to the Maho Bay Resort for our last-ever Friday-night partake of prime rib at the resort, not because we expect never to return to Francis, but because the resort has lost its lease and must vacate by May 1. Horrible news.  It will be sad to see the little tent-cabins replaced by upscale private housing; it will be sad to no longer have the prime rib; it will be sad to no longer be able to watch the fascinating glass blowing that was hosted every Friday night after the meal.

Saturday I finally got over to Francis Pond to attempt to photograph the White-cheeked Pintails that I had seen there much earlier in our stay in the Virgins. Procrastination is a strategy that I have often employed with considerable success, but it failed miserably on this occasion. We have had very little rain, and the pond had shrunk both in circumference and in depth. There were wading birds out in the middle, but at first no pintails.  Finally I noticed movement WAY off on the other side, where presumably the water was deeper.  See the disappointing pictures, below.

Early Sunday morning (at 3:08 am) we set out for St. Martin.  We had been watching closely the weather forecasts, since the howling winds had been predicted to slack only slightly for two days in the near future.  Originally we planned on moving up to Virgin Gorda on Sunday in order to shorten the distance to St. Martin, but when a last-minute weather check indicated that Sunday looked as good as the predicted lull of Monday/Tuesday, we decided to strike out between Salt and Peter Islands of BVI toward St. Martin.  It was a lumpy ride, all the more so since one of the stabilizers failed only a couple of hours into the trip.  We disabled that side and continued.  Midday we were passed by Maltese Falcon, also heading toward St. Martin, but making considerably better time, their retracted sails notwithstanding.

I was able to replace the hydraulic arm when we reached St. Martin after a 96-nm trip of 15 hours and 25 minutes. Next morning the wind/waves were still higher than is completely comfortable, so instead of getting up super early and slogging directly to Antigua, we opted to head to St. Kitts.   That added about 10 nm to the overall distance to Antigua, but meant that we would only be out in the washing machine conditions for about 64 nm, arriving at our intended anchorage in St. Kitts after 9 hours and 40 minutes. We anchored in White House Bay, one among 16 vessels.  Next morning, on our way to Antigua and out about one hour from the anchorage, we heard Arctic Tern unsuccessfully hailing Unicorn. We hailed Arctic Tern, and learned they were just outside Basseterre, several miles up the western coast of St. Kitts.  Their intention was to check in to St. Kitts and wait for better conditions to proceed to Montserrat, and to get some rest, since they had motored directly from North Sound, BVI, having departed sometime in the darkness early Sunday and just arriving in St. Kitts shortly after daylight on Monday. We learned later that Unicorn had opted to sail instead of motor, and when wind angle had not cooperated, had diverted to St. Martin.

Our trip to Antigua was uneventful, if once again a bit uncomfortable. 48 nm in just under 8 hours.  We anchored in Five Island Bay, nestled up close to the resort – close enough to get gratis wifi using just our computers’ antennas, a “good thing”, since our external wifi antenna failed this season.  Next morning we moved around to the outside approach to Jolly Harbour and took the dinghy in to check in. Yes, we took the dinghy.  The customs nazi “lady” infamous for being a – um, I cannot use that word in our blog – has been transferred elsewhere and replaced with a thoroughly friendly gentleman. So, no more silly requirement that the vessel has to be within sight of the customs dock in order to check in. There were quite a few folks ahead of me in the line; apparently Antigua is attempting to use eSeaClear again, and there was some kind of problem with the computer or its data so we were all reduced to filling out umpteen copies by hand.  But we learned from the gathering that cruisers planned to assemble that night for dinner at the adjacent restaurant Port Afina.  Bill (Dolce Vita) made the arrangements.  About 26 of us, arranged in tables for six.  Each table received three pizzas: pepperoni, cheese and veggie.  Two types of pasta and salad served buffet style.  Quite good food, and quite a party.

In other news, the dredging of the channel into Jolly Harbour appeared to finally be getting started on our last day there.  We had read that it would start on March 25, and then that it would start on April 2.  So actually starting on April 12 was something of an accomplishment.  There also appeared to be a lot of construction going on in the area; there were backhoes on tracks working on the hills both to the north and to the south of the channel.

On Friday, we moved into Falmouth Harbour, where we anchored near many cruising friends, all here for the approaching Classic Yacht Regatta.  We joined many of those friends at The Mad Mangoose, the venue for the first of many rum parties at which a ticket is given for each rum drink ordered.  When enough have been collected, they can be redeemed for a coveted red cap sporting the notations “Mount Gay Rum” and “Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta”, and the year of the event.  Redemption occurs on Friday, April 26, at a party entitled, naturally enough, “Mount Gay Rum Red Cap Party”.

Complications — Virgin Islands, Mar 20–27, 2013

After the departure of Mom and Sis, we did some re-provisioning and laundry, and then on Mar 22 left Charlotte Amalie and traversed up to the BVIs to do some diving.  We checked in at Soper’s Hole, and then moved over to Norman where we dove Angelfish Reef, in the extreme southwestern corner of the island.  The winds were just enough north of east that the site was protected, so we spent the next two nights anchored in adjacent Privateer Bay, thereby avoiding the noise and mooring fees of the Bight.  We were able to refill our scuba tanks at Sail Caribbean Dive Shop, Pirates Bight Branch.  On the 23rd we dove Ring Dove, just outside the entry to the Bight.  On the 24th, Spyglass Wall, on the north side of Norman.  On the 25th we got bogged down with chores and getting tanks refilled, and on the 26th we dove the southeastern corner of Pelican, the small island just east of the Indians.

We enjoyed all of the dives, with Spyglass being our favorite, but they were all not without complications.  On the first dive, Angelfish Reef, I had decided to take my housed camera down and renew one of my passions: underwater photography.  I spent a great deal of time on Mar 21, relearning the controls, greasing o-rings, remembering how to rig the two external flashes, etc.  Just before the dive I put the housing in a bucket of water to check for any leaks.  Then, in preparation for the dive, I hung the housing (with camera inside) on a painter that suspended the outfit about 10’ below the surface.  When I entered the water I checked the housing, and all appeared to be well.  So I detached the housing and dropped to the edge of the reef to a depth of about 45’.  Kneeling in the sand and adjusting the positions of the flashes, I noticed water drops on the inside of the lens port!  Yikes!  I immediately surfaced, but by the time I got myself and the housing aboard, there was almost a cup of water in the housing.  Long story made short:  my beloved Nikon d200 was ruined.  I sent the housing back to the States to have all of the seals and o-rings replaced, and with any luck it will be finished in time to be sent to Bismarck, ND, so that niece Cathy and her husband Jon can bring it with them when they come to see us in Antigua in the middle of April.  And I immediately ordered a used d200 from B&H in New York.  (The housings are brand-and-model specific, and the d200 is no longer made.)   As this is written my “replacement” d200 awaits our pickup at a mailing service in Cruz Bay, St. John.

In other news of “complications”, we first attempted to dive Spyglass from Tusen Takk II.   But it was very windy and the painter on the dive mooring was very short.  While Barb was attempting to get the end of the painter up high enough for her to send our lines through the eye at the end of the painter, the wind blew us off.  Barb bravely tried to muscle the boat back into position by refusing to release the boathook from the painter, all the while shouting for me to come and help her.  We have been in that situation before, and I am of the opinion, reinforced by bitter experience, that even such a brave and strong person as myself cannot prevail; the only hope is to stay at the controls and try to move the boat back into position, a task made especially difficult when, as is our case, the bow thruster is inoperative.  Barb, on the other hand, maintains that had I come soon enough I could have threaded our line through the eye before we were blown off. (Digression:  we have mentioned the bow thruster problem before; we are still awaiting the parts for a repair.)  Our boathook is longer than many; it contains three sections rather than two, and extends to 12’ instead of 8’.  This, because the bow of a Krogen is higher than many other trawlers, and certainly higher than most sailboats.  Can you guess what happened?  The last section of the boathook separated from its companions!  But it floated, so we were able to retrieve it by using a fishing net.  But the section, after being re-attached, refuses to telescope back into its intended nested position.  So after the dive, which we did from our dinghy after temporarily anchoring the boat in Benures Bay, we made a special trip over to Nanny Cay, only to find that they only stock the 8’ versions.  (Days later, Barb took a ferry over to St. Thomas where she purchased a shiny new 12 foot, three-part boathook, while I saw to the problem of mailing off the underwater camera housing.)

When winds shifted a bit more southerly, we ceased anchoring in Privateer Bay and spent our nights in the Bight.   There, we enjoyed a few sessions at Pirates Bight restaurant/bar, including a reunion with long-time cruising friends Chris and Barbara (Moonsail), who we met oh-so-long-ago when we first entered the Caribbean in ’07.  The Bight was unusually busy while we there, since it was the week before Easter and the Puerto Rican “armada” was in evidence.

But why is this entry entitled “Complications”?  When the goddess of irony asked if we wanted any, we thought she said “compensations”, and we asked for extra!

The doors on the pilothouse are sturdy, metal, and “barn” style, with separate top and bottom.  In addition to the latch and lock mechanisms, there are “dog” handles on both the top and bottom doors than can be used to close the doors extra tight during inclement weather or heavy seas.   When we are washing the outside of the pilothouse and its windows, we employ the dogs to ensure that no water leaks inside.   Recently, an outer dog broke off in Barb’s hand when she was preparing to spray a door.  Krogen Yachts happened to have just one set on their shelf, and they sent it to us.  We were anchored in the narrow shoulder at the approach to Cruz Bay when Barb took the ferry over to St. Thomas to look for a new boathook.   When I had gotten the camera housing mailed off, I returned to the boat and decided to install the new door dogs, which come as a unit:  an inside dog, a shaft and an outside dog.  I removed the setscrews, but the inside dog would not come free from the shaft.   I decided that before struggling with that complication, I should double check that the gap between the dogs was the correct length for our doors.   So I opened up the door and stepped outside.  No sooner had I done so, than the inside dog spontaneously separated from the shaft and fell to the deck and bounced into the water.   I donned snorkel gear and fruitlessly searched for the dog in the sandy bottom.  When Barb returned, I switched to scuba gear, and found the dog immediately.  The sound you may hear is that of a goddess giggling.

On Mar 27 we checked out of the BVIs at Road Town, Tortola.  Possession of the exit papers rendered us eligible to purchase duty free diesel at Delta Petroleum.  We had done so last year as well, but this time there was a, um, complication. The large sailboat that snuck in just before us took forever.  We couldn’t understand why.  Circling endlessly just outside the fuel dock, we could see with our binoculars that there was no activity.  What was the holdup?  When at last it was our turn we learned the problem.  New rules:  a customs official must be summoned to ok and oversee the fueling operation, presumably to keep locals from the USVI from checking in briefly and then buying cheap fuel on their exit.  But there was an additional complication, of course.   The customs official that had serviced the sailboat had departed, and was not inclined to return so soon.   So we waited.  And waited.  Finally, a different customs official was summoned, and we could proceed while the official napped dockside.  But there was a complication.  Strong winds from the east had necessitated that we dock on the port side.  Not optimal, because the tank intakes are on the starboard side.  We followed the rule of thumb that says to fill the tank furthest from the dock first.  We had transferred most of our remaining fuel from the outside tanks to the center, so there was not much fuel in the starboard tank when we began fueling.   So by the time the starboard tank was full, the boat was listing strongly to starboard.  When I switched to filling the port side, the hose running from the starboard intake to the port tank apparently ran too steeply “uphill”, because the fuel would not flow into the tank.   So the best that I could do was to top up the center tank, giving a total less than what I wanted to purchase.  Four hundred and forty-six gallons at $3.95 per gallon. Not particularly inexpensive by USA standards, perhaps, but a good deal here in the Caribbean.

British Virgin Islands — Vi får besøk av fire nordmenn, 10. mars, 2013

On March 9 we checked in at West End, BVI, and spent the night at a mooring in Soper’s Hole.   Early on March 10, we moved to Road Harbour, where we anchored briefly outside of Wickhams Cay.  We were there to pick up four guests for the day: Rasmus and Kari Morvik and Terje and Kirsten Seim, all from the Kristiansand area of southern Norway.  They had flown in to San Juan, Puerto Rico for several days of visiting that island before boarding “Brilliance of the Seas” to the Virgin Islands. Their cruise ship arrived at Road Harbour just about the same time we did, but there would be a short delay while they had breakfast aboard and then found their way off the huge ship.

While we waited for the appointed time, we were surprised by a dinghy visit from a sailboat anchored nearby.  Paul, aboard Distant Shores II, had recognized our vessel and came to say hello and present us with a gift.  Paul and his wife Sheryl are videographers that produce a television series entitled, naturally enough, Distant Shores.  We had appeared in one of their programs, an episode that featured a rum-tasting party aboard Seaman’s Elixir hosted by Linda and Steve Kraskey in Culebra way back in March, 2007.  Anyway, Paul presented us with a copy of the rum-tasting episode!  How gracious!

Barb stayed on board while I took the dinghy in at 9:30 to Village Cay Marina, in order to fetch the four Norwegians for a short visit. They had but one day in the BVIs, so we had to pack a lot into a little time.  We crossed over to the Indians for some snorkeling and then in to the Bight for some lunch on board and then watched the rum-tasting episode. Then, a brief visit to the always-raucous Willy T’s for an introduction to “pain killers”.  And then a hustle back to Road Harbour in order to get our friends back on board the cruise ship by 4:15, so that they could continue on to Guadeloupe and Barbados and back to Puerto Rico.

All too brief.  Vi gleder oss til å se dem igjen i sommer.

March 31 addendum:  the pictures marked below with (TS) were provided by Terje Seim.