Activities and thoughts outside of my work with Barnraiser. Read my CV for professional information.

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  • I woke up to see what I thought was a white submarine on the horizon. Over coffee I was pondering on whether the UN had submarines as the vessel turned towards our port. Bequias Naval defenses consist of a dozen water taxis and a fort with a cannon last fired over a hundred years ago - I knew we were screwed.

    I finished my coffee and was debating whether to hoist a white flag or scupper my boat when she came alongside. Submarine - No... this was the mother of all Gigayachts - named `A`. I wonder how many people have said to the owner `what?`after they have said `A` as their boat name.

    I've been reading up a bit on her and luxuryproperty blog says she's over a million USD to fill the tanks. Never again will I moan about my fuel consumption!

    Designed by Phillie Starck `A` is 118 meters long and cost a cool 150 million Euros to build. I can't help feeling he designed the thing , then got drunk, held the drawings upside down and proceeded to draw windows into the keel.

    One thing I will say for her, when she dropped anchor a small flotilla of yachties got in their dinghies to go and have a closer look - this is a vessel that attracts attention and divides people with opinion.

    What do you think?

    Here are some more pictures from other blogs/videos:luxuryproperty blog - Malta Daily Photo blog - Video - Video - New Luxury items blog (picture proof that you can judge a mans taste by the tie he wears).

  • The night before the Bequia Easter Regatta Karl; a captain who was in Bequia at the time, asked me if I wanted to help him crew a sail boat called "Carrie" for the "Round Bequia" race the following day. I jumped at the chance. Within a couple of hours we had a motley crew.

    The following morning; 11th April 2009, was race morning and we were packed with enthusiasm for race day! The starting horn went and we had no idea what was going on so we were last off the line, however non of us minded at all - we were racing!

    The Seas were wonderful that day as we tacked back and forth around Bequia head. Out of nowhere a pod of dolphins joined us . They swam so close to the boat that I touched one of them with my toes. The way they played with the boat was thrilling to see.

    We finished the race second to last, but we did not care. We'd raced and we'd won in our minds. We'd been carried through the Seas by dolphins and we didn't need a guy waving a flag to tell us who the victors were!

    We stepped ashore high on adrenalin. Sandra, who works with me, broke the news - my friend, Peter Cox had died in a tragic accident. Peter was swimming with his son off a beach in Ilha Grande, Brazil when a wave swept him under. He did not resurface.

    Peter was one of the big motivational reasons for me to come here. I had wanted to work with him since I first met him way back in 2003. He was a man full of energy, enthusiasm, drive and love for life and family. He was also a director of the company and a very strong force in driving the company forward.

    The first project I did with him was the website. I felt like we were two kids playing - we bounced ideas, words and thoughts around, laughing along the way. It was probably the easiest website I'd ever made.

    After that came the newsletter which again was a pure laugh - I could not really believe I was working with Peter. He listened to my ideas and really considered everything, brought his own to the table and we just bonded around a common set of goals. I learnt a lot from him.

    Peter was a man of many talents, however, the one overriding thing that I will always remember him for was the love he had for his family.

    The seas took a great friend that day. I wonder if those dolphins knew that as they swam alongside.

    I want to thank Kenmore Henville who took the photos above of us racing. Thankfully, for me, he captured a day I'll never forget.

  • I woke up this morning and opened my stern doors to look out from Admiralty Bay (Port Elizabeth, Bequia). I was greeted with this....

    It is said that the Irish leprechaun's secret hiding place for his pot of gold at end of the rainbow. Until now it has also been said that this place is impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which depends on the location of the viewer - when walking towards the end of a rainbow, it will move further away.

    ... However, this rainbow definitely touches down on the French restaurant in Hamilton. I'm off to find gold tonight ;)

  • My Marine Trader 38' was USA registered and named Nylander when I bought her.

    I'm happy to report they she is now UK registered and named Hermione (officially) and with that the old US flag was today withdrawn from service...

    ... and my nice (oh, so many coats of varnish) restored flag pole is now flying scarlet upon stern :)

    The Red Ensign (or scarlet) is the flag flown to designate a British ship (in this case, the red background denoted that it is a civilian vessel).

    A big day for little Britain ;)

  • Hermione (My Marine Trader 38') has very worn teak decks which kinda spring as you walk over them - although fun and somewhat comfortable, they are not practical and give me this constant feeling that I may be downstairs rather faster than one would expect;)

    I've started the project to replace them. Each night I come home and remove more screws (adding to the hundred or more that I have already removed) and pull up a plank or two - It'll take several more weeks to remove it fully.

    Under it is a glassfibre sandwich with plywood in the middle. I will cut out the top deck and pull out the plywood. This will not be a problem seeing as the plywood is sodden and makes cheese look like a more viable flooring product.

    Next I'll epoxy in new marine ply, epoxy the glassfibre back and finally coat it with a few layers of gelcoat...

    ... The poor thing looks like she is having a major face lift at the moment, but she'll look all wonderful again soon!

  • I was sitting on my deck last Sunday reading a book. I looked up and savoured the view - a 360 degree panorama of Port Elizabeth in Bequia.

    One of the things that I like about my view is that the boat swings in the wind, so I can just look up and the landscape moves from side to side as the boat swings.

    Anyway, I got to thinking... this is the first time in my life that I have had a real view and taken the time out to enjoy it! I grew up in cities with back gardens and walls. I've had some apartments with nice views out of windows, but I never really sat and looked out of the window. I've never had a balcony either. With a stern deck, a bridge deck and a deck across the bow I can't help but sit and look at the view these days - I like that :)

    Totally unrelated, but I like this picture... I saw some fishermen preparing their nets the other day ...

  • Some friends came over to the boat the other night. They have come all the way to St Vincent, from Brazil as volunteers. Most of them are on their way to Africa, anyway, a couple of them took a break to come and see the sun set in Bequia.

    Meet Lucas, Mariana and Me. This is about 45 minutes before sun down.

    Often just after Sun down the sky will turn to blues and reds...

    .. then a little later the blue disappear in favour of more oranges... it's beautiful and so are my pictures ;)

  • Yes, I'm back online ... after almost a year of island "not so connected" lifestyle I have got a 3G Modem for my netbook!

    Anyway, I won't give you a history of my last year except to say that I am very happy with my new aboard lifestyle in Bequia. When it gets too hot I jump off the back of the boat into the turquoise waters of the Grenadines.

    I want to try to give you a little taste of what I experience. I have a long way to go when it comes to underwater photography, but here's a start...

    This was from snorkelling. The waters are packed with fish life which if course you can't see here. Told you that I have some way to go with this ;)

    There is loads of life amongst the coral. These things open and close like venus fly traps. Luckily they were small and I survived - They're about a centimetre long ;)

    Let me introduce you to some of my new friends. I've not named them all yet.

    They are quite comfortable with me swimming with them which is cool because you can get real close...

    Like this :)

    More soon.

  • I know, I know, it's been ages since I blogged last. Anyway, enough of that - I have a new toy ->

    It's the one on the right ;)

  • English is a funny old language really. Take for instance a bunch of bananas. I've never really questioned that before. To me a bunch of bananas is somewhere between about 4 and 8 bananas. Take this for example.

    So I ordered 2 bunches of bananas, thus I was expecting around 8 bananas. Be warned, a bunch of bananas in the West Indies is ... well, ehm... not the same.