Monday, August 31, 2009

Exploring STT


Exploring STT, originally uploaded by captainjay.

We had a great time out on Arlin's boat yesterday exploring the southwest shore of St. Thomas. We took a ton of pics so we'll try to put a post together tomorrow with a few of them. Botany Bay is really beautiful. I have to figure out how to get there by land out Fortuna Road.

BTW - this pic is of Mermaids Chair

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Fishing


Sunday Afternoon Fishing, originally uploaded by captainjay.

So Deb and I are out on Arlin's power boat doing a little fishing.
Well we are watching the poles and drinking beer. I guess that counts
as fishing. :-)
Jay

Sunday Boat ride


Sunday Boat ride, originally uploaded by captainjay.

It's such a beautiful day out today. We're going out on a friends boat
to do a little fishin then over to Honeymoon for some R&R. :-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Beach Pic


Deb took this shot at Lindbergh Bay Beach last week when the surf was still up a bit from the storms passing. This is the same Bay that we dove on last weekend. There is another event this weekend called Dive In, on Saturday some of the local shops are doing a dive and taking pictures in the "bowl" were they want to dump the spoils from dredging in the main harbour.
Jay

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Tale of Two Post Offices


A Tale of Two Post Offices, originally uploaded by captainjay.

So one day last week I tried to mail a package back to the states for work. It was a piece of 5 inch PVC pipe with fishing poles inside. So the post office in French Town decided that it was to big to ship. This was despite the fact that the combined measurements were within the allowable. I had measured it prior to going. Well some how when they entered it in the computer it was oversized and unacceptable. I was basically thrown out of the place. So this morning I take the same package to the main post office and mail it with no problems. I spent over an hour with wait time at French Town this morning I spent less than 15 minutes.
Jay

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dive pics

Well I was hopeing to have dive pics for the blog today but Jay did not seal the camera housing properly so the camera was flooded! Laura took a bunch of pics so maybe I can get some from her.

So now we have to start looking for a new camera. Oh well. :-)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kick back Sunday

Hanging out at Honeymoon beach on Water Island. It's a really cool, laid back beach.

We just got back from diving at Lindbergh bay with Admiralty Dive shop to check our the area where they plan to dump the spoils from the dredging project at the cruise ship dock. Not a whole lot to see but it's still sad that they plan to dump in the middle of a beautiful bay. We saw some coral ( hard and soft ), lots of conch, juvenile fish, sea grass, etc. The project still hasn't started because they're still waiting on permits. Hopefully they won't get approved and
they'll have to dump somewhere else.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lazy Saturday


Lazy Saturday, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Well today was a lazy day. After the stress of this week we decided to just hang at the house and do NOTHING!! We did take down the shutters so we accomplished one thing. We finally left the house and made it to the Beachcomber in time to catch a nice sunset.

Tomorrow we are going diving with Admiralty dive shop to check out prospective spoils dump sight at Lindbergh to get some pics. So that should be interesting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Beach Pic



Friday Beach Pic, originally uploaded by captainjay.
Another shot of Gibney Beach on St John. If you make it there watch out for the attack coconuts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bye Bye Bill


Bye Bye Bill, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Well, Bill followed his orders and went north of us. Whew! I hope he
stays on track and misses the east coast of US. We had a beautiful day
here in St. Thomas, no signs what so ever that we had a close call
with a cat 4 hurricane. Jay said the buoy north of here at 20 deg lat
is reporting 13 foot wave height so it's pretty rough out there. But
you can't tell by looking out at the horizon.

Our friends that hi-tailed to Vieques are heading back in the morning.
So I hope the seas calm down so that they have a nice sail home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Waiting for Bill







Well, Ana is gone and now Bill is moving in. He's now a category 2 hurricane and soon to be a category 3. But, the current track has him making a northern turn before reaching the VI so lets keep our fingers crossed that they're right. According to StormCarib the windfield of tropical storm force winds for Bill is 175 miles from center and they are predicting the closest Bill will get to St. Thomas is 370 miles on Thursday afternoon. We'll probably still get some rain and wind, but it shouldn't be anything major. We'll still be keeping an eye on all the weather forecasts to see if they are right and we're keeping the storm shutters up, just in case.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bye Bye Ana


Bye Bye Ana, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Well Ana came and went. Some wind and rain but not bad at all. Currently a little hazy with a mix of clouds and blue skies. So now just waiting on more info about Hurricane Bill. Current tracks have it going north of here so hopefully they're right. We're going to keep the shutters up until after Bill goes through just to be on the safe side.

All our boat friends are doing fine, just hanging out in Vieques.

So all is well in the VI, for the moment. :-)

Ana has arrived


Signs of Ana moving in this morning. Just rain and gusts of wind. Not too bad. We only put up half the shutters since we heard Ana would not be too bad and we didn't want to block off all our air flow. But depending on what Bill does by tomorrow, I'm sure we'll be putting up the rest of the shutters before he moves in.

National Weather Service update -

...TROPICAL STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT...
...NEW INFORMATION... THE POSITION OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION ANA HAS BEEN UPDATED.
...WINDS... WHILE SUSTAINED TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS ARE NOT EXPECTED...STRONG AND DANGEROUS WIND GUSTS CAN BE EXPECTED WITH INTENSE THUNDERSTORMS THROUGH THE EARLY AFTERNOON HOURS.
...INLAND FLOODING... RAINFALL TOTALS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES CAN BE EXPECTED THROUGH THE AFTERNOON HOURS...RESULTING IN LOCALIZED FLOODING...ESPECIALLY IN URBANIZED AREAS.
...TORNADOES... TORNADOES AND WATERSPOUTS WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE HEAVIER RAIN BANDS AS TROPICAL DEPRESSION ANA TRACKS RAPIDLY WESTWARD.

Just Another Day In Paradise


A little snotty out here this morning but it could be worse. The winds are 20+ sustained and a few gusts above that. Lots of rain, but the main track of Ana went way south so that's a good thing.
Jay

Sunday, August 16, 2009

25th Annual Texas Chili Cookoff








Red necks :) Cold Beer :) Hot Chili :) Beach :) Good live music :)
You get the idea.

Back on St Thomas


Back on St Thomas, originally uploaded by captainjay.

This was the view from the plane this morning flying back from Puerto
Rico. This is the main harbour on Culebra. Probably do the Chili
Cookoff today then button up the house. Anna is heading further south
than the initial forecast, to early to tell about bill.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sail Rock


Sail Rock, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Well due to the weather I am on the way to Puerto Rico on a boat to get it out of the way. I will be flying home and hanging shutters. It looks like it's going to be a crazy week.

Shutter Time


Well hurricane season has definitely started. The first named store Ana is on the way here; she will be coming through early Monday morning. Then the second storm, currently Tropical Depression 3, but will be named Bill by later today, will be coming through on Thursday. Both storms are tracked to go right through here, but hopefully they will either fizzle out or turn north, keep your fingers crossed. Last year we didn't have a close call until October, so I hope this is not a sign of things to come.

Jay took off for Puerto Rico this afternoon with a group of CYOA boats and won't be back until Sunday morning. The boats were scheduled to go on Monday, but with the news of the storms, it was decided to play it safe and take them today. A bunch of our boating friends are taking off in the morning to take their boats to Vieques (small island of Puerto Rico) to a hurricane hole to ride out both storms. I wish them safe travels and a safe return.

As soon as Jay gets back tomorrow we will start putting up the hurricane shutters at the house. This is a different house than last year so it will be a little bit of a different experience. The shutters at the new place are aluminum panels that have to be put up one at a time, each panel overlapping the next. As you can see from the above pic, we have lots of windows (and three sets of sliders) across the back of the house so it will take a little bit of time to put them all up. The side windows have accordion style shutters that should be easy to put in place. The neighbors down stairs have been through this several times so they will be able to provide assistance, thank goodness. Jay has put up these kind of shutters before but it will be a first for me, so this should be interesting.

We'll keep you posted of the situation over the next several days. Think happy thoughts and hopefully it's all hype and nothing will come of it.
National Weather Service -
... TROPICAL STORM ANA MAY IMPACT LOCAL ISLANDS BY MONDAY EVENING...
.SITUATION OVERVIEW... AT THE PRESENT MOMENT... TROPICAL STORM ANA IS NOT WELL ORGANIZED BUT THE FORECAST IS FOR THE STORM TO SLOWLY INTENSIFY DURING THE NEXT TWO DAYS AS IT MOVES TOWARDS THE ISLANDS OF THE NORTHEAST CARIBBEAN. AT THIS TIME... IT IS TOO EARLY TO PROVIDE EXACT WIND... RAINFALL... AND SURGE FORECAST VALUES FOR SPECIFIC LOCATIONS. A GENERAL CONCERN SHOULD BE FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF AT LEAST DAMAGING WINDS AND LOCALIZED FLOODING SOMEWHERE WITHIN PUERTO RICO AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Beach Pic


This one is on Gibney Beach St John. Taken last Sunday.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Update

FLASH FLOOD WATCH

* UNTIL 10 AM AST THIS MORNING

* A STRONG TROPICAL WAVE MOVING WESTWARD ACROSS EASTERN PUERTO RICO AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS THIS MORNING... AIDED BY THE INFLUENCE OF AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH WILL CONTINUE TO GENERATE SCATTERED TO NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE EASTERN PORTIONS OF PUERTO RICO... INCLUDING CULEBRA... VIEQUES AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS THROUGH THE MORNING HOURS.
* RAPID RATES OF ONE TO TWO INCHES PER HOUR OF HEAVY RAINFALL MAY CREATE THE POTENTIAL FOR FLASH FLOODING OF SMALL STREAMS... URBAN AREAS AND POSSIBLE LANDSLIDES IN AREAS OF STEEP TERRAIN.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That time of year


Well, it's that time of year that we start really paying attention to the weather. It looks like there is some activity out there coming our way, but doesn't look like anything too serious. But it does get you thinking about how the supplies are at the house......water, batteries, food stock, candles, gas for the grill, etc. So I think I better go shopping this weekend and get things in order.


Also, since we are at a new place, we need to check out the hurricane shutters and make sure we know how to put them up. Maybe a trial run is in order.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Walk along the waterfront

Charlotte Amalie harbor


Long Bay


VI Legislature (left) and Fort Christian (right, being renovated)


Federal Building and courthouse


Downtown Charlotte Amalie


Jay has had to go into work early the last two mornings so today I decided to take a walk along the waterfront. It was a really nice walk from Frenchtown by downtown Charlotte Amalie to the the archway entrance of Yacht Haven Grande....45 min, 2 miles round trip, nice temp, not so much traffic, very nice. He has to go in early again on Friday so I think I'll do it again. :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunset in Cruz Bay STJ


Sunset in Cruz Bay STJ, originally uploaded by captainjay.

We had a wonderful time on St. John yesterday with Rick, Christine and
the girls. After gibney we had a late lunch at Sun Dog at Mongoose
Junction.... Yummy! Then off to the beach bar for a forum gathering.
Fun fun day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gibney Beach


Gibney Beach, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Hanging out on Gibney Beach in St John

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Save Lindbergh Bay Day


Save Lindbergh Bay Day, originally uploaded by captainjay.

It was a pretty good turnout for for the Save Lindbergh Bay Rally.
They had some good music playing and tshirt sales. Of course they had
drink specials and jello turtle shots.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Beach Picture

Here is another borrowed beach picture from a trip report on Virgin Islands Online you can read the report here.
The picture was taken from one of the Condos at Sapphire Beach Resort.
Jay

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Save Lindbergh Bay


This Saturday (August 8th) there will be a rally to save Lindbergh Bay. If you haven't heard by now, WICO plans to dredge to make way for larger cruise ships and received permits to dump the dredge material in Lindbergh Bay. This is a terrible idea! This is a beautiful stretch of beach with several hotels, one of which we visit frequently (Island Beachcomer). The idea of seeing and hearing equipment along with all the sediment in the water, not to mention the impact on the Eco system and local economy, it's just so sad. Here is an article in the Daily News.


The Save Lindbergh Bay Coalition has been working diligently to spread the word to help save the bay. The rally this Saturday will be from noon to 4pm between the Best Western Emerald Beach and Island Beachcomer. There will be music, raffle and t-shirt sales. Here is the article in St. Thomas Source with more info. You can also find the Save Lindgergh Bay Coalition on Facebook. So if you're a Facebook user, look them up.


If you're on island this Saturday, come out and show your support!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Customer Service Island Style aka None part Duex

So my second rant. While Deb was home last week she wrote a large check from our account here at Banco Popular to our account in West Virginia. With out going into to much detail it was basically moving the money we were going to use to buy a boat last month. When that deal fell through it was time to put the money back were it belonged. Simple enough she dropped off a check while she was there.
So yesterday she was balancing the check books and realized the money had been "reversed" into our account here. Well this can't be good. So this morning I started calling the bank to try to find out what was going on. Well the first call I was "disconnected" after a long time on hold then I called back and was transferred into a voice menu in Spanish after being on hold for a long time. I had to disconnect my self from that, then after another long hold I got a lady on the phone in broken English mixed with Spanish she informed me that the check had been "reversed".
Well now we are getting some where. So I explained to her that I knew that I wanted to know what that meant and if it meant what I thought, why was it done. So after more hold time she informs me that my wife's signature had been rejected. So now I am really happy, our bank in the states has posted this check to our account and now some retard in St Thomas has bounced it and sent it back. So I talk my way into a supervisor, more hold time, then she calls the branch manager in St Thomas, and now we are on a conference call.
I express in no uncertain terms my severe disappointment with this whole mess. This check if it were really fraudulent would have be a felony. So they made no attempt to contact me or my wife and simply rejected the check and sent it back to the US in the normal mail, WTF. The branch manager assures me that the girl that did the "signature verification" tried to contact us but couldn't get in touch. Now those of you that know us know that we are about as easy to get a hold of as any one on the planet. Cell phones genetically attached and constant email. I am actually embarrassed sometimes at the level of connectivity we have. So bottom line they have a check that they suspect is a felony level fraud and they can't get a hold of the account holder, I am thinking calling the police should have been the next step. They sent the check back on the 29th and haven't made any attempt since then to contact us. They put no hold on our account. I just don't get it. You don't want to think the worst but It likely boils down to some one in the branch with a little authority making life difficult for fun. At the very least she is grossly negligent and at best just mean and stupid.
Regardless this shows a total lack of respect for their customers, from both a security standpoint and a customer service stand point. I will be going into the branch when I calm down to talk to the branch manager about whether or not we have a future relationship at this bank.
As for the other end our Bank in the States, I called my personal banker, explained the situation they put a flag on the account to send the check back and that whole conversation lasted five minutes.
Jay

Customer Service Island Style aka None


So in the past week I have had two crazy examples of customer service or the lack there of in the islands. This is a common complaint that the culture here just doesn't get it. I have to say most of the time I love the islands but this just gets to you some days.


First example was last Friday. We bought the new car from Caribbean Auto Mart at their Dodge store last year.

So on Friday I took it in for a "scheduled" service appointment. I had actually stopped in on Monday to try to get the oil changed and the tires rotated but that actually required an appointment you know like to see a doctor. So on Friday I let work know I would be late. I was scheduled to drop the car off at 7:30 am and the dealership was to give me a ride to work. So I showed up at 7:15am and waited around at about 7:35 or so the service writer showed up and a good ten minutes later she set her desk and computer up and started writing service tickets.


There were about six or seven cars waiting. She did have my paperwork for my appointment so that was good. Then she informed me that the guy that was to give rides wasn't in yet but I could wait in the show room with the other person that needed a ride to work. After several I am sorry comments followed by he should be here soon he finally showed up at 8:35 he was actually scheduled to come to work at 8:30 so they scheduled the customers at 7:30 and the driver at 8:30. The fact that I showed up at the appointed time and had to wait an hour for my ride here is the first issue I have for the day but I would have let that pass as island time if it hadn't been for the later part of the day.

So about 3:30 I call the service department to verify that the service has been done. Yes Mr Pennington your car is ready. They were supposed to call me but of course that didn't happen. So I arranged to have a friend take me to dealer to pick the car up, had to leave work a half hour early to get there before they closed. So at this point I have missed almost two hours of work for the day so that I could pay over a hundred dollars for an oil change and tire rotation service. I get there and they send me upstairs to the cashier, nice enough girl, a pay her and she gives me the car keys and head out to pick up the car. It is about five minutes before five now and as soon as I look at the car I can tell the tires haven't been rotated so now I am pissed.

The little things I likely would have let slide but one of the primary reasons I took it to the dealer for service is that I don't have the tools to rotate the tires and the front ones are looking very bad after 5000 miles and the rear ones look practically new. So I go back to the service writer and tell her that they didn't rotate the tires. The first words out of her mouth, I am not making this up, "is you will have to bring it back to have that done as we close at 5:00". OK I stopped her mid sentence before she can finish with a simple statement, this is unacceptable. She was taken aback and simply did not know what to say. I quickly re caped my days events in getting the car there and we walked upstairs to talk to the techs in the shop. She finds an older west Indian mechanic who promptly states that we don't have the tool to recalibrate the electronic tire inflation sensor so we don't rotate tires on cars with those. By the way any US car built after 2008 is required by law to have these. So that means they don't rotate tires according to him.

Again I repeat my previous statement "this is unacceptable" he had a similar reaction to my statement. So I simply asked to speak to the service manager. Well if you thought these too looked confused before you should have seen the look on their faces at this comment. By the way I didn't wait for them to come up with an additional excuse I walked back into the service office and repeated my request in a firm tone to speak to the manager. A fairly pleasant lady who was obviously from the mainland came out immediately I repeated my comments about my day and the fact that I was told by a tech that they couldn't rotate tires. Well she wasn't pleasant anymore. She gave my keys to another technician reminded him how to reprogram the wheel sensor then stormed out into the shop to find the other tech. They did get the tires rotated, I got an apology and that was that.
Alright so the second one was today but since this rant went so long I will write another one about Mi Banco Popular experience today.
Jay

Iggy Watching the Laundry

Well this big guy has been hanging out in the pine tree by the patio for a couple of days now.I am pretty sure he is just watching the laundry dry. I guess the local Iguanas have had plenty to eat with the Mangoes being in season so now they are just laying around in the sun.
Jay

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Small World Sunday


Small World Sunday, originally uploaded by captainjay.

So as we set here at The Beachcomer on Lindberg Bay having a few drinks and soaking up some sun I peck away on the iPhone. I just got an email from a really good friend that is currently in Tahiti, yes Tahiti he is sailing around the world. I got another message from a friend in West Virginia that I have known since junior high school. Deb just got back from NY City and had dinner while she was there with a friend that lives here. I also messaged back and forth this
morning with my neice that lives in WV and is currently in Colorado on vaction with both my sisters and all of their kids. So if this isn't proof of an ever shrinking universe then maybe I shouldn't have ordered that last Margarita.
Jay

PS I also got a phone call this week from Admiral Kenneth Hill and several emails and messages about the Pomeroy Ohio Regatta in September.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Deb's Back


Deb's Back, originally uploaded by captainjay.

I picked Deb up at the airport around 3:30. We stopped by the Beachcomber for a little while and now we are at The Pie Hole in French Town. Mmmm beer.
Jay

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