Tag Archives: Antigua

You thought I was dead right?

Well not quite, although if North Korea have anything to say about that, I might be vaporised some time soon.

Firstly an apology.  In the 12 year history of this blog, I don’t think I have ever suffered a silence this long – almost two months !! So, as you might expect, I have plenty to rant about and as my connection is shit and I need to be quick, I need to type fast so don’t expect it in any kind of relevant order what so ever.

Skype – lets talk about them for a minute.  Couple of months ago, my Samsung auto updated overnight and gave me the all new Version 8 of Skype – what an abortion it turned out to be.  I also took the update on my iPhone to equal disappointment.  The android however, would let me roll back to V7 where it still comfortably sits until this day – making the android my extra special phone of choice again.

I would dearly like to hit the ‘New Skype’ team with a fully charged bolt of lightning – right up their ring holes.  They have turned what was a very unique and life saving application into some pre pubescent teenager dribble, forgetting that the majority of their user base is probably over the age of 30.  I keep checking in on the iTunes Store and also Google Play to see the hammering they are taking in the ratings but still they blindly plug on, forcing the shit that no-one wants on all of us.  What was once a 4*+ experience on the iTunes store has now dropped to just above 1*.

Of course, I have tried half a dozen other applications for communicating with friends and lovers but none of them do what Skype V7 does.  That got me thinking.  See those developers at New Skype must have thought ‘we need to do what everyone else is doing’ and that makes no sense.  If you have a product that is the same as 10 others , your market share is limited, people will choose which they use based on silly things, colour schemes, friends that use them etc.  If you have a product that is different and no-one else does anything to rival it – you have something that, I remember from my corporate days, is referred to as a USP or a unique selling point.  That alone will draw people in, away from those other 10 products in the market that don’t have your function. Sadly though, New Skype is giving its clients something they don’t want or didn’t ask for – a bit like ‘New Coke’ if you are old enough to remember that.  Sadly though, and unlike New Coke, I expect New Skype will not be withdrawn in favour of the old V7 masterpiece, even when customers leave in their hundreds of thousands to other platforms.

Either way, its a loss for the consumer – even more so when I asked Skype to refund me the credit that is on my Skype account and they said no.  For anyone like me who works away and likes to communicate long distance in relative simplicity – Skype was a godsend, now it is just a pile of shit.  All of this at a time where I was seriously considering a move away from apple completely and back to Microsoft – but now that’s on hold.  I hope I can eek out more life from my 7 year old mac.

The world is a changing place too, as I edge towards 50 I am feeling different.  I put some proper grunge on this morning, Soundgarden, no, I am not a fashionista that recently got into Soundgarden when their lead singer recently died – (quick divert here), why is it, that when someone dies, iTunes suddenly doubles the price of their music?  I can see it now, news breaks across the world and the iTunes admin staff go into overdrive to instantly hike up their prices, Chris Cornell was no exception, as were the Beastie Boys when Adam Yauch left us behind, even the mighty Bee Gees get the same treatment – it really pisses me off, these big fat corporations getting even bigger and fatter from other people’s misery.

I just mentioned to my second engineer, how about some real grunge?  I put on Screaming Life and jokingly said ‘this is probably older than you’ – turns out , it was. After the whole album was gone, I turned to a little bit of Green Day just to spice things up a bit.  then it hit me – these fuckers on here probably don’t even know Green Day, FFS.

The biggest frustration I have with the youngsters on board is their lack of caring and respect for the very vessel that keeps them safe and alive.  They crash around, bashing and slamming everything, leaving every electrical device turned on with no thought for their actions.  I have just had a frantic call from the chef about his freezers.  From the sound of his radio call, you would think his freezer was on fire when in fact all that had happened was he had shut something in the door and damaged the door seal.  Now call me a twat if you will but if you can close a walk in fridge door with two steel plates in the way that shouldn’t be there and NOT EVEN NOTICE – you shouldn’t be working at sea.  Go and join a Facebook group or something, complain all you like but please, fuck off and leave me alone.

The other week, one of the stewardesses came to me with a door handle in her hand.  She had slammed the handle down with such force that the shaft that runs through the door from one handle to the other had sheared completely.  That’s a lot of force.  Even better, I don’t think they know that door handles can also be used to close doors gently so that you don’t wake other people up.

Now of late, I have had more of a need to communicate while at sea than I have in recent years.  I am of an age where we didn’t have full time internet connections.  Transatlantic sailing was done from Mallorca to Antigua without any contact with the rest of the world, 16 or 17 days at a time. Now, everyone feels so privileged that they should have it all the time.  This in turn causes the boss to have internet anguish as I like to call it.  His speeds get so slow that he can hardly function.  In fairness to him, if I was paying 4 grand a month for an internet service, I would want all the bandwidth too but it is making my life extraordinarily hard.  On a work level, my boat computer gets shut down from the outside world.  That can be a real drag.  When the boss is on, I have to be very selective about what work I do, most of it is hugely invasive so it has to wait.  While it waits, I normally catch up with suppliers, theories, paper work or just hunt out solutions for current problems.  Cut me off from the outside world and it really hurts.  Most of my shopping is done with suppliers in America who are 12-18 hours behind.  Cut me off at the wrong time of day for a couple of hours and I can lose a whole day – not funny.

Then of course, there is the want and need to communicate with the squeeze. I am not talking about full on video conferencing here but just the need to send or receive simple messages or photos and that gets frustrating. Two days it took to download a recent video message the squeeze sent – as it happens it was a very important clip, a tearful squeeze explaining and sharing how she struggles with my absence – and it took me two days to see it.  Looking at it from her side, she has bared her soul, sent me a message and I haven’t even bothered to respond – or so it seems.  Knowing how things can spiral out of control, i get frustrated at the inability to communicate.  Let me put it into perspective.  When I am finished here today, I will click on the menu area at the top of my screen. i will then wait for around 30 seconds for the menu to appear with the ‘sign out option’.  Now imagine trying to load a whole page?  It ain’t pretty.

So change will come, change will happen, change is good – and if you oppose change there is always Facebook where you can say you protested your bit by joining a Facebook action group where once you have clicked ‘join’ no further action is taken.

So, change is good, unless you are the New Skype Team, in which case your product change was shit but nowhere near as shit as receiving your p45 when Bill Gates sees all the reviews people have left you.

 

Anyway – I want to leave you with a little grunge.  Not my all time fave track but one you are more likely to recognise.  As it happens, it’s not too bad either.  This song deserves your attention so stop what you are doing and take a moment to enjoy it.  Put your headphones in, turn up your speakers, lean back in your chair  – just take a moment.  Grunge is not dead – long live grunge

 


Back to Work!

All seems to be over too quickly but it is almost the end of the month and I have now been ‘holidaying’ since 6th March.

Tomorrow my Virgin Atlantic takes off  at 09:40 in the morning for the return leg back to Antigua before a short hop on ‘Miracle Airlines’ down to St Lucia the following day.  Looks like we may have a week there before we set sail to cross the Atlantic once more – that should give me time to try out the legendary scuba in St Lucia although I will have a little bit of work to do before the boat is ready to leave.

Here’s looking forward to another boring 17 days at sea heading for, as my friend Mase from the Black Forrest calls it ‘Pussy Island’ – due mainly to the large amounts of ferrel cats there (ahem)!  I always maintain though, better a boring crossing than a crossing where I am fighting for my life – always a sobering thought.

Popped into the Comics Cafe in downtown Brussels yesterday for one of their ‘Obilix’ burgers.  Any burger that costs 26€ has to be something special, and this was an absolute monster.  The missus was paying so I also followed up with some American Cheesecake.  After a week of hanging pictures, blinds and changing light bulbs and fittings – she owed me !!  Anyway, while we were there, we noticed an old kids annual – Wayne Thunder and the Lost Continent.  I could hardly resist a photo, I mean, the guy on the cover is a spitting image of me.

Let me leave you with a final thought before I hit the subways of Brussels heading for the Eurostar –

 

The XX second album, just doesn’t hit the spot in the way the first one did – discuss !

 

See you soon munters !!

 

IMG_0067


Dem black girls, dey like my little ting ting

Firmly stuck in the 90’s I am very pleased to say.  Hit the dizzying heights of 90.8 kgs today after what felt like at best, a mediocre week of concentrating on my food intake.  Of course, I managed all of my interval training and have completed the first month of it now.  I was happily amused to see those figures when I stared down towards my feet, held my huge penis over to one side, and then I could see the digits on display.

I would at this stage like to thank AC/DC (both Brian and Bon), The Prodigy, Sister bliss and one particular track by Annie Lennox that had me bounding like a gazelle up hill on the homeward stretch – the song ‘keep young and beautiful’ had such apt lyrics and a perfect upbeat rhythm to get me up that hill.   Music can make a run much more fun.  The Prodigy or Distillers when you really want your heart pounding on the inside of your rib cage trying to get out.  AC/DC if you want to run with a smile on your face because of the lyrics or an old old classic by Faithless – Reverence (kiss me neck) – that song just blew my mind on the way back from the catamaran club the other week.  I couldn’t get my ear buds far enough in my ears for that one.

As a non believer in all this app nonsense, I am converted.  The interval training has made me a stronger runner in the space of a month, I can feel the difference. The hills here are very hard work but it is all paying off.  I have also been playing squash again, and as yet, I am unbeaten.  In fact, I am yet to loose a single game, let alone a match.  This is, as most squash players will know, in part due to my skill level but also having a fitness level above any of my opponents.  I even played a game last night were two of my opponents came on the court together to play against me.  I was 4-1 up when the lights went out.

Fit as a butchers dog !

The big black momma that works on the security gate here is a funny old bird.  I always have a smile and a few words for her when I pass in the car.  She has also taken to lifting the barrier for me when I am cycling too.  The other day, she was busy chatting with one of her friends when I approached. In line with european law (yawn) I have a bell, I gave it a little ring and she jumped to open the gate for me.  Her friend was highly amused saying in her best Caribbean accent – ‘he got a little ting ting’.  It was like having the Lilt ladies in real life.  They got all giggly on me after that – I wonder why ?

Things are looking up on the generator front too – but I am reluctant to speak too soon.

Holidays are nearly upon me – jetting off to Europe next week. My wonderful woman has also arranged an xbox games night for me when I am back in Brussels – that’s not a bad deal! I might even ask her to drop me off in the middle of the forest with my running shoes, a map and a compass and see if I can beat her home.  I also finally get my hands on that Range Rover that I have owned for over a month now.

I have to work tomorrow (Saturday) but a small price to pay for having the rest of the month off – will also give me time to get tidy again and get everything up to full speed before my relief cover arrives on Sunday afternoon.  If I am lucky, I will get my last dive on Sunday.  I may get a chance in St Lucia but I am not holding my breath (no pun intended).

If you are one of the chosen few who are joining me for a beer on the 16th – I will see you there.  If you are missing out, shame on you.

A few hello’s – Max, where are you ? Musher down there in Bristol (said that with a west country accent), Connor – for constantly amusing me with emails, sometimes even arousing me with them. Stevie B – you can have the Rangie when I get eaten by a shark.  I have been wondering lately what happened to Karen Thornham down under in Oz , Lexa in South Africa, Verity McCoy and of course the bird patiently waiting in Brussels

And a special mention to the Cooper sisters and Monica ca ca ca ca


AC/DC vs Adele

Some combinations are made for each other, like Cheddar Cheese and Branston Pickle or Apple Crumble and Custard or even Strawberries and Cream but AC/DC followed by Adele should never be heard on anyones playlist while out running, it is just wrong.

The AC/DC songs kind of make me chuckle, especially the ‘Problem Child’ track and I find the tempo good for plodding the trails and pathways but then Adele warbling on about chasing pavements just spoils the pace. Even trickier with sweat covered ear buds that keep popping out with every heavy pound.

It´s been a good week on board.  Shore power faults found, Straub clamps arrived for the main engine salt water intake and fingers crossed, my bad boy generator has now been on line for 8 hours.  I was reluctant to add that last bit as every time I write a note about it, it fails again.  My mark to beat is 10 hours, so by 20:30 this evening I can begin to get a little excited.  Better still, if it is still going in the morning, I may just leave it on all weekend to really prove it. Spares are en route from Rhode Island for the Nº 1 generator and pretty soon I could have this boat up to standard me thinks – then to really piss me off, we have to let the spanish take it apart again to work on it and that will mean another 6 months of putting things right.

My scales also told a very pretty story tonight – 92.5kg, that is my best yet.  Maybe this run for fat loss nonsense is actually working.

Weekend is here again which means scuba diving or surfing.  In fact tomorrow will start with a scuba at the slightly later time of 10:30, a couple of easy dives with some newbies and then a run in the evening.  If there are signs of swell, I will try to talk the deck boys into blasting around to Rendezvous beach to check out the surf.

I am of course officially now on count down – my flight leaves Antigua on 6th March and I don’t return until the 30th March.  Well honestly, I won’t return until December really as I have to meet the boat again in St Lucia.  If I am very lucky, I might get to dive there too – I am told that it is superb.

 

That’ll do for now.


R4FL

First day of the fat loss programme, just wanting to shift that last 4 (ahem) kilos and hit the magic 90Kgs. I am by no way a technophobe but I hate it when there are tick boxes or selections for options but what those options do or how they affect your programme is never explained.  Everyone does it, Apple, Windows, any other software manufacturer you can mention – tick this option but I am not going to tell you what it does, most of the time it is hard to see the difference between the options until all of your data is gone or changed.

So I started my 30 minute programme which was pre-loaded into my runkeeper.  5 minutes warm up and then 30 minutes at 70% max heart rate but did the app tell me when the warm up ended ?  Of course not – so now I have to fiddle with the damn audio cue options to try and figure it out. No doubt I will be half a dozen or more runs in before I get it settled down all because no-one thinks to explain how it works before you start using it.

Double dive this morning and a trip to the beach this arvo to check the surf.  Yesterdays surf was a little better but nothing compared to the surf I had while the bird was here (who is also currently riding camels in Dubai).  Found a dead nursing shark today too, upside down in a cave.  Gave it a tug on its tail but it was definitely brown bread.

Yesterday I also fixed the Go Pro to the front of the BIC.  I switched it on and left it filming for what was probably an hour of trying for the elusive one. Wasn’t until I was paddling back to the beack that I realised it was in fact on stand by rather than record.  Probably for the best as the surf really wasn’t all that.  I was also wearing a real ‘Jams’ from Honolulu – but don’t worry, I have more.

Another week at work beckons but I will soon be in Europe once more.  My flight leaves Antigua on March 6th and I won’t return until 30th when I head for St Lucia.  Once there, final preparations for the sail across the Atlantic to Mallorca.

Life is exciting isn’t it?


Dog days are over !

Day 2 of the Antigua Superyacht Challenge  and the carnage continues.  Today we have managed to damage two sails.  One being the big spinnaker on the front, a huge huge sail, tore in half on race 1 this morning, then on race 2, the mizzen stay sail got tangled on the drop and we managed to put one of the VHF aerials through it.  To make matters worse, as we were trying to recover the sail, the skipper started a turn too early and we caught it again on the main rig – so up went Zayn with his knife to cut it free. So one torn in half, the other holed in two different places, and of course, it’s bloody hot here.

At a party the other night, I realised something obvious that I wish I knew years ago. Chicks like dancing, everyone knows that, and chicks like to dance with their men, and there lies the problem.  Men don’t like to dance unless of course,  they are good at it and very few are, especially the straight ones.  It dawned on me while watching the oldies having a good time on the dance floor that when men get to a certain age, they forget their inhibitions about their dancing skills and just have a go anyway, and they have a good time – better still, the chicks don’t give a toss what their men dance like anyway and have an even better time still.

Far from it for me not to have a good time so I slipped into what I lovingly refer to as ‘fuckabout mode’ and rocked the night away coaxing as many of the crew and guests to join me, I even tried the Dirty Dancing lift at one point but couldn’t lift her above my head – and she was far from big too.

I do sorely miss the live music culture that was England, and more specifically Cornwall.  Live bands in venues like Blue Bar -Porthtowan, The Driftwood in St Agnes or even Tricky Dickies so it was good to have a live band here in Nelsons Dockyard.  They weren’t too bad either.  As a final song, I heard the intro chords and thought ‘Florence’ – and I wasn’t wrong.  There is something strangely charming about windmilling or aero-planing your way around the dance floor with a dozen other crazy English fools.

To finish on a pleasant note – I treated myself to a rather spiffing Range Rover Sport last week.  Not that I was after a Sport but when I saw the photos, I loved it.  Steve-o checked it out for me and the transfer was made.  It is now sitting on the drive in England waiting for my return in March where it will stay for a couple of weeks before being whisked off to Belgium for a month and then road tripped to Mallorca for the rest of the year.

Expect more carnage tomorrow – the last day of racing

Antigua Superyacht Challenge


Gérard Depardieu loves Brigitte Bardot

Where was I watching TV the other day and saw big Gérard accepting his new Russian passport?  I don’t really remember where but I do remember watching him struggle to get into one of those traditional Russian gowns that had been made for him. Time hasn’t been good to him now has it?  I also saw Brigitte Bardot threatening to leave France – not for Tax reasons but to highlight the plight of two elephants with TB. Now it`s fair to say if time hasn’t been kind to Gérard, it has certainly beaten Bardot with the ugly stick.

My push for 90 kilos starts in earnest on 3rd Feb.  I signed on to a fat burning programme for two months via Runkeeper. I will be boring you with my progress as I aim for my ultimate target.  Luckily for me, I have February here in Antigua and March between England and Belgium so I will be having fun.  Running or doing anything here in the heat of the Caribbean is a challenge, the cooler climes of Europe will be a welcome change. I am looking forward to running in the forest in Belgium, hopefully in the rain too.

I need some help.  I have a little running route here in Antigua that I use for strength training.  With the skipper and his missus the other week we managed a time of 22’30” but the closest I can get to that on my own is 45” slower. My theory is to use some raging beats to help me improve.  Naturally I am swinging toward the Prodigy but there must be others out there too, I need 24 minutes of uplifting tunes but not so uplifting that I blow my heart apart. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

The final preparations are beginning for the Super Yacht Racing here in Antigua this week.  The boss arrives tomorrow and the race crew are slowly emerging over the next few days.  I have seen the Jams World shirts that arrived in the post this week – the loudest Hawaiian shirts money can buy – and proper Jams too  – I will be proudly sporting mine when the time is right.

Tomorrow morning I will be sneaking into the hotel gym again to get a 45 minute session on their rowing machine.  I didn’t get busted last time so fingers crossed I can get away with it again.

There is a yank on the boat right now, she has been here for maybe three hours and talked non stop – of course being American, she is not quiet.  I am convinced that she hasn’t drawn a breath since arriving yet the drivel that is coming out of her mouth is a complete waste of everyone’s time. It’s like, so, whatever, you know ! I have had to come to my cabin and close the door to get away from it – and I am not the only one!  The United States of Whatever!

That said, it does look like a trip back to Europe is on the cards in April and we should be there until the end of the year.  I did offer my support to the boss during her last visit for a trip to Asia – that would be very cool if it came off but we will have to wait and see, most likely will just spend the summer on Nantucket once more.

Anyway – I am bored now, lets see whats on TV – BBC iplayer is a nice tool to have

 

 

 

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: