Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Product review "Jabsco Lite Flush Electric Toilet"

At the beginning of the year we decided that our guest bathroom on Sailing Yacht Billy Jean will get a makeover! Therefore we ordered a new shower head from Jeanneau in France and installed it and then there was the good old pump toilet that looked a little antiquated. In a boaters magazine I saw an ad for this brand new" innovative design, low power" electric toilet by Budget Marine. The fact that it was designed to "instantly retrofit your existing manual toilet" was tempting and we went to the store, found out the price, had a look at it and got the first and only one off the shelf, ten minutes after they put it there.
The next day a seasoned mechanic installed it. After 3 hours he said "this will not fit, the room is too small".
What happened? The footprint of the toilet is the same like its manual brother, but because all the pumps are enclosed, what makes it look pretty (can a toilet look pretty?) the big water hoses in and out had no place to go. But because we never give up and find solutions for problems, we used an old cutting board to extend the pedestal by 2 inches, so we could move the toilet away from the wall and ....voila! another 3 hours later the toilet had her first electrifying flush!
The next day our first of 5 charters in a row started and the happiness did not last long. It took about 4 days and 5 sheets of regular toilet paper to cause a clog and the damage was done. We got all the paper out, but the out pump made a high pitch noise. The toilet survived until 2 days before the second charter ended. That was it!
Jabsco was very helpful to get a new toilet to St. Thomas over night, our brave mechanic installed it the same day and we changed the toilet paper to the "rapid dissolving, septic tank safe - made for RV's and boats" kind. Since then, 3 more charters later everything works like a charm.
The toilet looks sleek, is easy to clean, less noisy the other electric toilets and because it does the whole flush cycle with one press of a button it is very "landlubber friendly". But DO NOT USE REGULAR THICK AND CUSHY TOILET PAPER!!!!!!
I like the version with the foot switch better then the one with the wall mount switch. It is easier to install and eliminates one unsealed connection, what is always problematic in a wet area.
We will keep you updated!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Peter Island Resort and Marina

Last week we had the opportunity to dock in the Peter Island marina for Valentines Day. Our guest wanted to attend their dinner at night, so we suggested to dock, so they can get dressed up.
We expected to see the marina busy, but found us and three other small yachts as the only customers. What happened? All the bays been full with large yachts, why is nobody enjoying the beautiful setting and amenities of this marina? A short blink on the rate sheet explained it all. "boats over 100 feet $425 plus electricity $150 per night, water $1.00 per gallon"
I guess like this you can even repel the rich and famous.
We enjoyed our night for $125, did not plug in for electricity and our water tanks been full. We took advantage of the surprisingly cheap $4 ice. Unfortunately we ran out of milk and had to invest $10 to get one quart, right, not a gallon.
Our guest enjoyed the breathtaking scenery, lunch at the beach side and not to forget the Valentines dinner with live music in one of the best restaurants in the BVI.
If our guest are happy, we are happy.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

bargain hunting in the caribbean

Bargain hunting is the new pastime in America. Everybody is complaining about the bad shape the economy is in and therefore nobody wants to pay the regular price for any product, including yacht charters. Lower prices for almost all products and specials everywhere seam like a great deal, but a deflationary scenario is the worst economic situation we could be in.
Lower prices lead to lower profit margins for companies, this leads to pressure to cut cost, this leads to switching to lower cost suppliers in countries like communist China, cutting quality and services, all that leads to further job losses in America and therefor the economy loses even more potential buyers of goods.
"Live and let live" is now more important then ever or the recovery will be very slow or we will even slip into a depression.
Putting the blame on "the others" or the government is easy but I think we create the world we live in ourselves and therefor it is time to take on responsibilities in our own lives.
So, America, go and change your light bulbs to fluorescent to solve our energy crisis, buy that reusable bag in your supermarket and stop using plastic bags to solve our waste crisis, turn off the water when you brush your teeth and cut your shower time to solve our water crisis and stop asking for specials to solve our economic crisis.
Or the next time you want to book a charter yacht and pick up the phone you might hear:
"for yacht charters in the Virgin Islands, please press 1"

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Anegada and the Lobster Season

On our last visit to the BVI's in August we finally found the anchorages empty, the way we like it.

One of the highlights was a visit to Anegada and a planed lobster dinner at the Anegada Reef Hotel, our choice for the best lobster in the VI since more then 10 years. We knew about "lobster season", but so far this rule wasn't enforced here. After the new government in the BVI took over, a lot of things changed and this is one of them. So, no lobster in the Anegada Reef Hotel from August 15 - November 31. They still have fish, chicken and steaks.

Anegada is the only, non vulcanic, coral island in the VI with the highest point at around 8 feet. If you really want to experience Anegada fully, you need more then just a few hours in the afternoon after your sail from Virgin Gorda.
Our suggestion: Stay the night before you want to sail to Anegada in the North Sound in Virgin Gorda. Grab a mooring from Saba Rock (says: "pay at Saba Rock"), so you can get up to 250 gallons of water and 1 bag of ice for free, in the morning, before you sail to Anegada. This makes it a great deal and saves you at least $30.

If you approach Anegada look out for 2 pairs of red and green buys and head for the left pair, to avoid coral heads and shallow areas right in front of the entrance to the anchorage. If your yacht draws more then 6,5 feet, be very careful and don't go too far into the anchorage.

That afternoon have a walk on the beach and dine this night at the Anegada Reef Hotel. Make your reservation for this dinner before 3.30 via VHF.

The next day take a safari taxi to the other side of the islands. Take your snorkel equipment, sunscreen, a good book and a towel and tell the driver to drop you off at "Flash of Beauty" (and pick you up at "Big Bamboo"), one of the best snorkel places if the weather is not too rough. Beware of currents! This is not a spot for snorkel beginners!

After you snorkeled here walk to the west to the next bar and restaurant called "Big Bamboo". Here you get drinks and lunch and you can always ask if they have Anegada Lobster. Take a nap in one of the hammocks under the trees in front of the restaurant or take a walk on the endless beach. The last pick up is at 5.00

Have a happy hour drink at the bar at the Anegada Reef Hotel and enjoy the spectacular sunset.

Just another day in paradise!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Kenny Chesney - somewhere in the sun - revealed

As a real Kenny Chesney fan you saw the TV show "somewhere in the sun". Did you feel the urge to walk in his footsteps, to visit the places he was talking about, to experience the sunsets he showed you?
We can get you there - on a Caribbean sailing vacation.
Start your Virgin Islands yacht charter in St. Thomas in the Marina American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook, where Kenny keeps his motor yacht. Cruise to St. John and have a burger at his favorite beach bar "Woody's". Make a tour over the island and see the gorgeous views from the hilltops. Anchor in front of palm fringed beaches like Cannel Bay or Trunk Bay and dive into the turquoise waters for a swim or snorkel trip. Have a drink in the cockpit of your crewed charter yacht "when the sun goes down" and get blown away by an indescribable sunset. Sail the BVI and visit one of his featured restaurants at Jost van Dyke, "Sydney's love and peace" and have a delicious lobster meal. Swing in the hammock at "White Bay" and experience yourself the feeling of "living a different pace".
No shoes, no shirt, no problem!

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Passport rules for Caribbean sailing Vacations

Beginning Jan. 1. U.S. citizens will no longer be able to cruise through the Caribbean and then re-enter the United States with only a driver's license or voter's registration card as identification. A passport will be required. The office of Homeland Security initiated this new policy due to heightened concerns that terrorists could smuggle equipment or operatives into the United States from neighboring countries. This doesn't apply if you're only making stops in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These islands fly the U.S. flag, thus no passport is needed. However, if you cruise over to the British Virgin Islands or down to Sint Maarten, for example, U.S. immigration officials will insist on seeing a passport before they'll let you back in the country.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jost van Dyke, BVI updated information

Jost van Dyke is one of the must see islands to visit during a BVI sailing charter. The world famous beach bar Foxy's attracts thousands of sailors every year. The only downside is the poor anchorage at Great Harbor. The available anchor space now even got smaller since the authorities installed buoys to mark the access channel for ferries. A good alternative for safe anchoring is Little Harbor where you can find overnight moorings and even some great lobster restaurants that refund your mooring fee if you eat there. Take a short taxi ride to Great Harbor to visit Foxy's and you do not need to worry about your anchor at night. Good news: At the right side after the reef entrance at White Bay there are now also overnight moorings available, which make this beautiful but tricky and narrow anchorage now easier to visit. For a fun ride ashore try the new ATV rental at White Bay. You will always get the latest information from us for crewed yachts and bareboat charters at