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 ;)
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 :)
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.
I hired a bike this weekend and this is what happened:
Hope you like the video :)
This is the view of Port Elizabeth as you come down the hill into the town. I see this everyday as I walk to work (hard life;)
Looking North towards Princess Margaret beach. This was taken in the mid Sunday Sun... It's low season here for another month, but soon I'll be taking pictures with people in them:)
The surge from hurricane Omar left most of the moorings in shatters. This is a fine example.
Looking out over the bay at Port Elizabeth.
I'm totally enjoying myself. Not worn anything other than a shirt, body shorts and flip-flops since I got here... yeeerrr - the weathers amazing:) Will write more soon!!
Time for a little report (and video:). I've been in Bequia for nearly 3 weeks now. My first week was spent settling down. My first big shock was that the cost of living in terms of food and rent is almost the same as in Sweden. The wages for local people however are not. The Government here have imposed a 15% tax because they want to build a bigger airport on St Vincent. Honestly, I have no idea how the local people can afford to live here... something I hope to work out over the next few weeks.
I spent my second week on Camille; one of our Catamarans sailing down through the Grenadines to Tobago Cays which is just stunning. It's a Marine park made up of a few small islands surrounded by a ring shaped reef. Together they have become the home to all kinds of marine life including turtles; one of which we swam with:)
Whilst we were down there a low pressure which had passed over us a week earlier reached the Gulf of Mexico, became a hurricane and turned to head North East (a very rare thing). Even though it was over 100 miles North of us the surge sent two metre high waves crashing into our dock and smashing it to bits.
I have to say I really love it here. I'm swimming almost everyday and experiencing real beach life. Everyone is so friendly and relaxed .... more soon.
This week I moved from Stockholm, Sweden to Bequia, a small island in the Grenadines.
Here is a little video of my trip...
Next week I go out on a boat. When I get back I'll post another video.
I've been in Bequia for a week. It's a small island in the middle of the Caribbean and I was out there to scope out a project. Anyway, the Internet connection was poor, hence the blog suffered. Here''s the blob over the last few days:
With Kosovo still fresh in my mind I'm sat in Barbados airport looking at the cricket. This still has me in shock somewhat. In the last week I left Kosovo, arrived in Stockholm, Sweden. Stayed for 3 days, flew to London and this morning exactly 5 days after getting on a plane in Pristina I am about to get on a plane to St.Vincent in the Caribbean.
Basically a contract came up to work on planning a web site for a yacht company in Bequia for a week. I found out that I got it 24hrs before leaving Kosovo. I can't wait to start this contract. I've been wanting to try yachting for years and never really had the opportunity until now. Diving, yachting, designing a web site....looks like this is going to be a fun week.
The temperature is a cool 29c and I still have my winter jacket on (it was snowing in Stockholm). I have to admit I'm totally disorientated. I did a 24hr stopover in London. It still felt like home when I got back. I suppose you never loose the connection with your country of birth, but never the less, it still felt strange, especially meeting friends and explaining Kosovo and now this to them. Think they thought I was insane. As I sit here looking at the cricket though my totally jet lagged eyes I'm being to think that they have a point.
Day 1 and I got up this morning and jumped off the boat for a swim. It's 34c and considering I was looking at snow 64 hours ago I'm finding this a little weird. I'm working for a yacht company who charters out cabins on yachts with a full crew, I have met three of the crews and they are such nice people. They come from all over the place, South Africa, Australia, Sweden to mention a few and they are all taking people out on week long holidays. There's very few careers I'd trade mine in for, but I have to admit this is one of them.
Day2 : the project is going well although as with most of these things I am now looking at making something completely different to what they asked for. The original plan was to spec out how to get their booking system on line. I am soon realising that they need to focus more on their membership. I asked them where their membership database was and they just laughed and pointed at a filing cabinet. In a way I would far rather do this kind of stuff than work on some large corporate IT thing. I like placing structure in something that has not even grown out of paper. I think the warm weather, cool drinks and Reggae helps though.
Day 3: I sat at a bar last night and just chatted to everyone. I met a painter from Liverpool who came out here 30 years ago and never left and a couple from Australia who sold their house, bought a boat and just took off. I'm finding myself very happy in the company of people like this. Stories and humour with it over a drink - nice.
Day 4: I went to the Cash point today. As I was walking across the street I noticed a group of girls sat outside the Bank. One of them shouted across to me "I like you, do you want a girlfriend?". Now why isn't Sweden like that? Anyway, I just said hello and walked into the Bank feeling a little embarrassed. My card didn't work. On my way out she asked me again, so I explained to her that I could not take her out on a date because I did not have any money. I won't tell you her answer to that except to say that I spent the rest of the day laughing.
Day5: Helped one of the crews fix some stuff on the boat today. I miss fixing things in Stockholm. Living on a boat there is always something that needs attention and that appeals to me.
Day 6: Back in Barbados airport waiting for the flight to London. Magnus (the owner of the company) offered me a job as chief mechanic yesterday. He was of course joking, but I don''t think he realised how close I was to saying yes. One of the crews told me to go to Vietnam, buy some land and get a boat. Sounded pretty reasonable really.
Not a bad view to get up to. The net at the front is a very excellent place to chill and watch the world go by.
Same deal, different angle.
A couple of the yachts. They have 12 and they are a cool $1 million a piece. Mind you, if I had a million I'd probably buy one.
This is a sign outside of the bar. The Parrots here are pretty cool.
I was stood looking at a fishing competition which I found about as interesting as any slaughter farm. This little girl was looking at me so I took her photo. I turned the camera around to show her the photo. She stared and after about a minute she looked up her mum, held the camera and shouted "me" before laughing. Cool kid.
The front room of the boat. More like a Palace than a boat really.
Now let me think, why do I feel at home?
Tom Calthrop, Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines