Monthly Archives: December 2012

Brake Fade

I am still bemused – why do so many people land on my little blog after searching for Lisa Melvin?  If it’s not her, it’s another search ‘Scandinavian Beauties’.  I had always assumed that my blog would be so far down the list of pages that google search pops up that only the stalkers and mental cases bother to go so far through them.

Before we get into the swing of things – let me wank on about how good I am…..blah blah blah!  Just did a 27 miler on the mountain bike up to the highest point on Antigua and back again, maximum height – a tad over 1200 feet, average speed for the whole ting (not a typo but Caribbean speak), an impressive 11mph and a top speed just above the 41 mph mark. Don’t believe me?  then take a look at my stats mofo’s

how good am I

and if that doesn’t impress you, take heed – I tipped the scales this week at just 93.5 kgs – the 90 is in sight.


Now, I am certain that this information will ‘upset’ some of my loyal fan base so let me rectify that by asking you all to pause and think for a moment.  It’s Christmas and you are all cozy and safe with your family – but there are members of the armed forces who will still be risking their lives to keep you free and safe, fighting battles that you may hear of and of course covertly risking their lives for things you won’t hear about for 50 years until the official secrets act allows them to be aired. Just think about that when you are moaning about sprouts again in your Christmas dinner.

Now here’s a strange link.  You may remember that I have recently started an epic James Bond journey, watching the whole catalogue of movies. I got to ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. An epic bond for several reasons.

1. Released in 1969 – we all know what a cool year that was

2. George Lazenby – One of the better looking bonds and opened with the unforgettable line ‘this never happened to the other fella’ as his leading lady runs away from him on the beach.

3. This was the bond movie where 007 got married and also widowed all in one hit

So, remember the Louis Armstrong song ‘we have all the time in the world’ – this was the tune from that movie.  Because, of course, it is such a wonderful song, I started listening to Louis Armstrong while working in the engine room. The older people amongst you (Mr. Hewson) will be familiar with the style of Armstrong and his entourage, trumpets, trombones etc – well it suddenly dawned on me that this is the exact style of music that is used for backing in the old Tom and Jerry movies and it was almost as if I was working in a cartoon.  So now, when I think about James Bond, I think Tom and Jerry.

This morning I also went for a double dive again.  John’s wreck was first on the cards and I touched the depths of 40+ metres before my Nitrogen alarm started ringing. Never had that happen before!  Second dive we broke off from the main group and bagged a couple of Rays.  First one being a huge Eagle Ray with a span probably larger than I am tall – effortlessly gliding through the depths.  The second, I was almost on top of before I saw it.  Half buried in the sand, he seemed content to watch us as we watched him.

Tomorrow, the boss arrives late afternoon and will be with us until the new year but she is so easy going it really is a pleasure to have her on board.

Photos will follow very shortly

So the Mayans were not predicting the end of the world after all – I said it before, I think they just got bored all those years ago of writing the calendars for a time when obviously none of them would still be around – so they simply downed tools and went to the pub for a pint.





Evacuate the Dance Floor

For I am feeling BUFF!!!

Honestly, I have been struggling with the heat here, it makes exercising difficult – or should I say very sweaty. I am only managing half my normal distance and stamina wise, half my normal time (please, no jokes there!).  Of course, the terrain is much more interesting though.  Running out of the harbour here and up the hill side is hard work.  Better still, when it gets too steep to run and I end up scrambling on all fours.

I have also had two runs at the hill down from Shirley Heights, both of which failed to surpass the New York 44.6mph.  I have just managed to crack the 40 mph mark before diving on the brakes to make the 90º turn.  I checked the data tonight and that 90º  bend is still rocking at 25 mph although I did manage to lock my front wheel before coming off the brakes and peeling in for the turn.

We have also had a very famous (well if you are an F1 fan!) neighbour this week – a certain fella called Eddie Jordan, on his new boat called ‘Lush’ of all things.  I did a fly by on Mr. Jordan on my second attempt down from Shirley Heights as he was coming up with his Mrs. in tow.  I think I impressed him enough to get a drive next year so look out for me on the grid!

I have just realised today that Christmas is dangerously close now, less than a week away.  Thankfully – I have seen next to nothing of it and I hope to keep it that way.   ‘Bah Humbug’ I hear you cry but honestly, I don’t miss all the fuss and effort to celebrate the birth of a baby that for me is purely mythical.

I saw a goat climbing a tree yesterday – I kidd you not (did you see what I did there ?) – It did look familiar to the one I saved the other day.  I took a photo of it and will add it to a new album, most likely to be called ‘Antigua 2012’ in the coming days.

I am off hunting on Christmas morning.  There is a new fish in these parts, not native to the area with no natural predators.  It eats up all of the other fish on the reef and breeds like nothing on earth.  They call it the Lion Fish.  It has 3 rows of venomous spines along its body and apparently tastes superb (once the spines have gone of course).  I saw 5 last week when we dived on Hercules so should fill the freezer for a while.

Getting back to my buff statement, the terrain here is excellent for hard training so I am expecting some good things when I get on the scales this Friday.  Don’t worry, I will be sure to tell you about it.

The Boss arrives on Saturday so that’s my weekends gone for the next two weeks.

I’ll be back …

How to save a life !

Haven’t been in Antigua long but already having fun.  Now I get some hills to play with which means that finally my trail running shoes have come out – and beauties they are too. Gliding over Middle Ground tonight in a smidge over 22 minutes – which was pretty sweet considering some of it is more of a scramble or climb…….I like it.

This mornings walk was a bevvy of experience for my senses.  Contrary to popular belief, the Caribbean, in particular, Antigua and St Maarten are not safe places to be.  Every year I read stories of tourists or yacht crew being brutally murdered.  It was still dark when I left the boat this morning so I stuck to the main road.  As the morning light started to drop in, I noticed a man walking toward me with a machete.  I am sure this is not normal for any part of the world so I braced myself to give him a swift punch in the throat should he decide to try and chop me up. Thankfully he decided to pass me by.

I even survived ‘Crack Alley’ as the locals call it.  Always a heart stopper walking through there – at any time of day. Yes, I am talking about Antigua still.!

Finally got up onto middle ground where I saw my first real life Mongoose scurrying around with the goats. Then I saw something very worrying.  A girl coming towards me with her ear buds in listening to music while walking the trail.  Second time in two days I have seen girls on their own walking across here with buds in.  So distracted was todays girl, that she failed to notice a bleating goat with its head stuck through a rock maybe 2 feet from where she had just walked.

At first I thought the little fella was looking through a gap at me, a bit like that dog I photographed in Mallorca a few years back

Guard Dog

But no – this fella had crashed his head through a gap that his body was too big to fit through.  the silly sod had also forgot that his horns on his head would act like a barb on a fishing hook when he tried to back up and draw his head out.  Worse still, in his panic, his arse had also gone in the wrong direction and was also wedged against the rock – he was proper stuck and no doubt shitting himself as I passed by.  I had to stop and help him.  I tried holding his horns and guiding his head back through the hole but his arse kept getting stuck. So I tried pulling his rear legs but his horns kept getting stuck.  The rock he was stuck under was too big for me to reach both ends of him at the same time so there was only one thing I could do – head back to the boat and get help.

When we got close to him again, the bleats were sounding a little coarse, like he had been screaming for help for hours. Poor fella was so distressed, when I reached down to hold his horns again, he turned his head away so that his eyes couldn’t see me coming.  I am assuming that was his instinct, he thought he was about to be eaten and didn’t want to see his doom moving in.

This time with Richie on the horns and me pulling at the legs it looked more promising.  I dug out some rocks with my hands, grabbed his legs and gently pulled him free.  Hurrah I thought – I saved his life.  The silly sod only tried to run straight back into the same hole again, no doubt trying to avoid myself and Rich on the other side of the rock.  Lucky for him I still had hold of his legs so another grab backwards then I grabbed his horns and guided his head to the safe side of the rock and released him.

Now, this may sound daft, but he gave a short bleat as he went.  Not a long cry for help, nor was it the call for his friends – they were much longer and different tones.  I am certain this little short bleat was ‘thanks’ in cliff goat language.

I had started my day by saving a life ! From this point forward, I have been hearing the theme tune to Grey’s Anatomy in my head all day.

How to Save a life

On the flip side – I also heard that Ravi Shankar had died.  I actually heard this over someones radio as I was walking past their house this morning.  I am guessing most of you will have no idea who Ravi Shankar is.  Shame on you!

This weekend it’s deep dive time.  John’s Wreck, a touch below 40 metres.  Been a few years since I saw it, and back then it had only just been sunk so I am hoping that it is well inhabited now with local life.  Dropped in at Pillars of Hercules on Saturday morning and managed to spot Matilda.  A menacing yet serenely beautiful thing is this green Eel.  Longer than I am tall and with a body thicker than my thigh – I don’t like to get too close to her and keep a respectful wide berth.

Stingray Alley also turned up trumps with a couple of big Stingrays in one dive.  Even saw a carcass of a dead lobster that was head to tail as long as my arm is from finger tip to elbow.  The local fish were feasting on its remains.

And of course the water temperature – according to my computer………… 28ºC

Starboard Tack

For 4 days now, it wears a bit thin after a very short time.  Constantly leaning over makes life hard, even the simple things like getting dressed or taking a dump become a chore.

Thankfully I switched cabins so at least my shower has a seat in it.

We passed the Bahamas a day or so ago and are now heading toward the Virgin Islands and then beyond onto gentle, calm, drug and violence free Antigua where we shall stay until April of next year.

Then, finally, back to Europe and civilisation!

Some good does come from being down here though – the water temperature is already at 24 degrees so expect a host of diving adventures soon.  My injuries are all but cleared up so running, walking and of course cycling will be on the cards again – and yes Susan, I will be telling you about my top speed runs from Shirley Heights on a very regular basis.

For those of you in the know, my old American number is now dead, a new Antigua number will shortly be issued and then of course there is always the ever faithful Skype.  It does look like I have lost my Portuguese sim card so after a mighty 8 years with the same number, a change is on the cards there.

Almost time to start my watch so I am off to make a cup of tea.  The stewies on board recognise the importance of good tea for an englishman so regularly stock up with PG Tips Pyramid bags – I have ample stash


And I haven’t heard a single christmas song yet




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