Monday, June 29, 2009

WAPA Update

Well, we got our first WAPA bill on Friday. The time period was before we got the A/C so it wasn't too bad. It was for $112 which includes washer, dryer, stove, dish washer, lights, fans (ceiling and floor), etc. That's less than what we paid for our share at our previous place and it didn't have a dryer and had a gas stove. It was that darn pool pump! But, anyways, the rate has come down considerably since last summer. It's now 24 cents a kilowatt instead of 45, so that's not too bad, I guess. :-)

Another Boat

We went to look at another boat yesterday. This one is a Pearson Sloop 35'. It had a total refit in 2007 but has basically been sitting since. So some things will need to be redone and also some things that were missed. Jay looked it over pretty good but wants to go back for a closer look and maybe with a second pair of eyes. The owner is a pilot and is not around much so thats why its been just sitting, but he has meticulous records on what was done. He's pretty motivated to sell since we are coming into storm season and he won't be around, so with the list of repairs that Jay is coming up with, maybe we can get him to come down on price. So we will see.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jost for July 4th

WooHoo! Booked a trip to Jost Van Dyke for the 4th of July weekend! We've been to Jost bunches of times but have never stayed on the island. I booked Ivan's Stress Free Guest House. I couldn't believe they had a room available last minute. When I called to check availability the girl was very nice, she gave me the rates and listed the differences in the two rooms. They have a one bedroom suite, which is like a mini apartment with all the amenities for $250 a night and they have a studio which is more like a hotel room with a mini fridge for $100 a night. Of course I booked the studio. If you were going for a whole week, the suite would probably be a better option so that you can cook and have more room to hang out. But for two nights, the studio is perfect. She took my name and said see you on the 3rd. No number, no credit card, nothing. Too funny. I've been told by several people that's how they do business on Jost, from booking rooms to booking rental cars (right Vicki :-) So, hopefully the room is ours when we get there! :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sahara Dust

It's that time of the year again that we are experiencing the haze caused by Sahara Dust. It makes for terrible scenery shots but the dust keeps tropical storms away. There are all kinds of scientific reasons for this but I'll let you google it if you're interested in finding out more. :-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A/C Update

Having the A/C on last night was wonderful! So cool plus nice and quiet. But I did forget to mention one thing. As Doug mentioned in his comment from the previous post, electricity here is very expensive. It's one of the main reasons most people don't have a/c in their house. Depending on where your house is located and how far up the mountain it sits, you really don't need a/c most of the time. If you're up high, then the breeze is pretty good except for August and September, it was darn right hot and no breeze. But, anyway, WAPA (Water and Power Authority) charges an insane rate for electricity. Last summer when the gas prices were the highest, the rate was around 45 cents a kilowatt. In the states it's around 6 to 10 cents a kilowatt. I'm not sure what the current rate is right now. I haven't seen a bill from our previous place since last August and we haven't gotten our first one yet from the new place. I've heard the rate has gone down some, but not sure how much.

I read online that a medium A/C unit uses 1 kilowatt an hour, so if we run it for 8 hours at night for the whole month, depending on the rate, it may cost us close to $100 a month to run the A/C. So we're going to have to be very cautious about how often we use it or just chalk it up to another one of the expenses of livin in da islands.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A/C WooHoo!!

Tonight will be the first time since we've moved on island that we'll have A/C while we're sleeping! WooHoo!! The first place we lived wasn't able to have A/C because it didn't have real windows, just screens and shutters. Although the owners have put in windows and A/C since we moved out, nice huh. Anyway, the airflow in the new place is OK in the living room / kitchen area but the bedroom is on the back of the house so not so good in there. Plus the back of the house is up against a very heavily wooded area so the "critter" noise at night is driving me crazy. Between the crickets, frogs, birds, and the occasional dog, I feel like having a Dr. Doolittle moment and sticking my head out the window and screaming "SHUT UP!" I know most people like the woodsy noise, but I'm a very light sleeper so it doesn't do much for me. So tonight the windows will be shut, the A/C will be on which will drown out the critter noise, and I plan on having it cold enough that I need a blanket !!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

VI Hopper

VI Hopper, originally uploaded by captainjay.

The ITS department decided to have a beach party! We're hanging out
on Lindburgh Bay with VI Hopper. They provide jet ski's, banana boats,
water trampolines. Not sure which one I'll do first!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Beach Picture

This one is of Maho Bay on St John, we "borrowed" it from VickiH of the Virgin Islands Online formum. Deb set me up with a facebook account yesterday because she didn't want me hijacking hers anymore.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Birthday Jay

Happy Birthday Jay, originally uploaded by captainjay.

Today is Jays Birthday!! We thought we were buying a boat for his birthday present but that doesn't look like that's going to happen. But no worries, we will find the right boat.

So now we need to find something special to do to make up for not getting the boat. Jays boss is out of town through Sunday so no chance of getting a day off. Maybe one day next week we'll rent a boat for a day and get out on the water. That always cures eveything. :-)

Happy Birthday Jay! Love you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Well....the boat deal or no deal??

So I spent the day on the boat yesterday with a surveyor. It wasn't pretty. I knew the boat needed work and was prepared to a point to take on the tasks, or so I thought. The reality is worse than I thought and we are at the point of washing our hands of the whole thing and starting the search over. I won't go into the details but the boat needs some serious refit work that will require time and money that I don't think I am prepared to put in. We have until tomorrow evening to make a decision so we have some more thinking to do.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today is the day

Well, today Jay is heading over to St. John with the surveyor to inspect the boat from top to bottom. He is supposed to call me throughout the day and give me updates. I hope they don't find anything major that would break the deal. He is taking the camera and promises to take a bunch more pics. He's also supposed to get the current name of the boat, because neither one of us can remember what it is. I just remember saying that name had to go so we've been trying to come up with names. We're thinking "de Life" to go along with our blog name. If you have any cool suggestions, leave a comment. Maybe if your boat name is picked, then you can join us for an afternoon of sailing once everything is done.... provided you are already here on island! :-)

On the way back from Red Hook this afternoon, Jay is going to stop at Independent Boat Yard to see when they will be able to haul the boat out for a bottom inspection and then set up some time for the boat to be cleaned and bottom painted, plus a few other odds and ends. The current owner said he could sail it over during the day and we could meet him at the boat yard in the afternoon. I think it would be better for Jay to take the day off and sail with the guy just so he could check everything out during the sail over. We'll just have to see what everyone's schedule looks like and see what can be worked out. But, first things first. Get through today's inspection and see where to go from there. Keep your fingers crossed! :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Boat Soon Come

Well, if you haven't heard yet, we bought a boat! WooHoo! Well, it's not quite official, but pretty much a done deal. Jay found the boat listed on Ebay and it was located in STJ for a great price. So Jay, myself and Doug (a coworker at CYOA) went over to check it out. Jay and Doug went over everything , Jay even snorkeled around the perimeter to check out the hull, and they both had a pretty good feeling about the boat. It's a 1979 Ericson 39. But before you freak over the age, it had a total refit in 2002, new engine, refrigeration, sails, etc. There are still several things that need replaced or repaired and it needs a good cleaning, but overall, it looks like it's going to be a great boat.

On Monday, Jay and a surveyor will be going back over to go over everything again. If that goes well, then the current owner will sail it over to STT Tuesday or Wednesday to one of the boat yards (haven't decided yet which one) to have it hauled out so that the bottom can be inspected. If that goes well, then the boat is all ours. Jay doesn't expect to find anything he doesn't already know about, so lets hope he's right. Since it will out of the water already, we will keep it at the boat yard to have the bottom cleaned and painted. We may do a few other things as well. But the yard said they weren't busy yet, so it should be done in less than a week. So if all goes well we could be boating by the last weekend of the month. WooHoo!

As you can tell, I'm not excited about this at all. We've only been wanting a boat since we moved here almost a year and half ago! Since we're coming into the slow season, maybe Jay will have some time to start working on it right away. It's ready to sail as is, after a little cleaning that is, but we still would like to get a few of the items checked off the list before we really start using it.

Before you ask, it's not going to be a live aboard. Just for fun, weekend trips, etc. The way it's laid out it only sleeps four comfortably. There is a v-berth and two opposing settees in the salon. There is a quarter berth in the aft, but it's so small that the previous owner used it as storage, so that's probably what we will do also. Currently there are two sea berths above the settees in the salon that we are going to get rid of. We're going to move the seat backs further back to make the settees larger and more comfortable. Of course, this is one of the items on the list that doesn't have to be done right away.

So stay tuned for more pics and updates as we go through the process of bringing this Ericson 39 back to life!

Friday, June 12, 2009

We The People

Thank god for the Governor because the delegates to the convention are crazy. I have stayed out of politics to this point but the "Constitution" that the convention passed and sent to the Governor was and is severely flawed. He said it better than I ever could.

"Surely no one should expect me - one of only three African-American governors in our nation and, by the way, a native and ancestral Virgin Islander - to forward a proposed constitution that is clearly unconstitutional to our nation's first African-American president, who happens to also be a constitutional scholar and a former law professor," deJongh said. "A man, incidentally, who even though he has been elected to our nation's highest office, would be ineligible to run for governor or lieutenant governor of this U.S. territory no matter how many years he lived here under the terms of this proposed draft."

Kudos to the Governor to have the guts to throw this rag in the trash and force the "Carnival" to start over.


Friday Beach Picture

Here is another borrowed picture from Mary Beth. It is sad to see the tree that far down to the sand. It probably won't make it through many more strong storms. Also for those of you that haven't seen Deb's posts on Facebook there should be some interesting post about a boat in the next few days. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Listen up - On the Radio

Friends of ours that own Admiralty Dive Center (Duane and Laura) will be live on the radio this afternoon (6/10/09) at 3:00 pm on a show called On the Water. You can listen online at then click on Radio One.

Intresting Threads on the USVI Relocation Board

So for those of you thinking about bailing out and moving down here are some interesting insights to island life in these two threads. Believe it or not its not all Rum drinks and beach chairs down here.

Top 10 list: It's hard living in the Vi Because

top 10 reasons I love living in the VI

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Road to Neltjeberg

Ok, let me tell you that you definitely need 4-wheel drive to safely get to Neltjeberg. It was a crazy drive! There are sections that are poured concrete but the biggest part is a rough dirt road with boulders, ruts, drop offs, you name it. And to me, it wasn't that great of a beach to be worth the drive down. There are beaches that are much more beautiful and have easy access. I wasn't too crazy about the permanent shelters that were set up with people sleeping in them. And the sand was dirty, it had black stuff in it so after walking down the beach your feet are covered in black sand. The plus is that overall it is a pretty beach, and you have it pretty much to yourself (except for the people sleeping in the shelters). So, I'm glad I went and I would go again if someone offered to take me in a big monster truck but not my top pick of St. Thomas beaches.

More Neltjeberg

Camps on the beach

looking at Inner Brass


Silvia and I decided to be adventurous today and find Neltjeberg. We had some people tell us that you need a hummer to get down there and others said it's not that bad and well worth it. So we decided to give it a try in Silvia's little Suzuki Aerio. Not a four wheeling type of car but what the heck.

First we took the wrong road down the hill and had to call a coworker for directions. She gave us some details on how to find the road that included looking for a sign that says "private property thief will be shot"...nice. There is also a car port with junk cars with tarps over them and a ratty house with flags. So were not getting a warn fuzzy feeling about finding this place. But we go for it anyway.

So we find the right road and start heading down. It's not that bad at first so we continue. Then there is a section that's paved so we thought this is going to be easy. Then the rough part starts. Rough road with huge rocks protruding, trenches, drop offs, you name it. We kept saying what in the heck have we got ourselves into. Then we'd hit another section of paved road so we thought we were in the clear. So this repeats several times but we finally make it to the beach...,whew!

It is a pretty beach but don't think I'll go through that again unless we have a big monster truck! All i know is I hope we can get back up the road when it's time to leave. If it rains we're screwed! I'll report back once we make it back up the hill....keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Beach Picture

Well MaryBeth was down a couple of weeks ago so we have all kinds of new pictures to "borrow". This one is of Hawksnest Beach on St John.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

One Car Family Again AKA Island Car is Gone

Old Car
New Car

So we sold the Island Car yesterday. For those of you taking notes there is a saying that free boats are never free. Well cheap cars are never cheap. As you know our original plan was to buy a "cheap" car for cash when we got here and not have a car payment and keep tings simple. Well that just didn't work out to well. The car cost more per month to keep running than the payment on the new car. The new car also came with the added benefit of not having to spend my time off changing alternators and wheel bearings and batteries and transmission solenoids, well you get the picture. So what we have learned is that we lost more money on this cheap car than I did on my first boat. If you know anything about boats this tells you something. So lesson learned is that if we had it to do over again we would have bought a new or newer car when we got here or we should have taken advantage of our contacts in the states and bought and shipped a late model SUV prior to moving.


PS the new car has been great. The only time we have had it back to the dealer was to pick up the tags.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hurricane Preparedness

It's that time of year again to start gathering all the items necessary for your hurricane preparedness kit. The University is having a town hall meeting tomorrow to discuss thier plan and help you get your plan put together. I'm definitely going to the meeting, the more information the better. We don't have a generator at our new place so that sucks. Maybe we should start looking for a good deal on a used one to have just in case.
Update: the meeting has been changed to Friday, June 5 at 10:00 am.