Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Good times with Chris and Pat for the past week. 

Dropped Chris off at airport in St, Thomas this afternoon. Heading back to the BVI tomorrow. Have Pat for another week!!!

Jim Gregory 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

Beautiful.  Hard to describe....

Merry Christmas!

Fwd: So,,,

You simply CAN NOT make this stuff up!!

Jim Gregory 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Deb Gregory <>
Date: December 23, 2011 9:38:51 AM GMT-04:00
To: Jim Gregory <>
Subject: So....

We went to check into the ferry this am, and the passport Chris had gotten from the passport authority was his expired one.  I do not know why the passport authority didn't renew it.  Anyway.  No valid passport.

I am trying to contact  British authorities and  get him through, but no ones answering.   

Looks like you are coming here and we r spending a US Xmas.  


Friday, December 23, 2011

How dumb can you be....

Just saw a girl walking down the beach with wings tattooed on her shoulders.... They were backwards... Feathers to the inside....


The Day is getting better...

After adventures with expired passports, the day is getting better.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Challenge #136, 137 and 138.

Deb here....

So, Chris is flying in today. Yeah! Chris is not a good communicator during his finals. Boo!

I decided to take the ferries from Virgin Gorda over to St Thomas to meet Chris and do some last minute Xmas shopping. We aren't really sure that he's made his flights, but I have other things to do in town, so it's ok. And getting from St Thomas to Virgin Gorda requires 3 ferries and a cab and a Dollar Hollar bus, so I figure he could use the help getting the last 25 miles.

Get to St Thomas. Got the grocery shopping done, picked up the General Delivery mail, returned the rotting chicken I bought (YUCK!) paid the bills, followed up on about 5 questions on mail, left the groceries at the ferry building.

Chris calls. Flight from Miami is delayed 6 hours due to mechanical difficulties. (The kid is cursed. If anything can go wrong for him, it will.) This means we miss the last ferry back to Virgin Gorda. Arrange for Smith the porter at the ferry building to keep the groceries. I take the Refrig stuff with me. Find a cheep hotel. Power and water go out while I'm in the shower. Its dark Check out. Throw myself on the mercy of the Marriott, figuring they have generators. They found me a room at an amazing low rate, including water and power (for a couple hours. It's off right now... Generators on the fritz.) So I'm at the bar, about to go get Chris. I have a flash light, a glow stick and a glass of wine, and all is good. The guests in the lobby are singing Christmas carrols. We need Rudolph to get here soon.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Patrick kitesurfing in the BVI

One son onboard, and the other soon!!

It's been great to have Patrick with us the past week.  We've been moving slowly and checking out some out of the way spots.  Christmas Bay, Sandy Cay, Little Harbor & Great Harbor on Yost Van Dyke,  Marina Cay, Kitboarding in Long Bay on Beef Island, and finally The Bitter End Yacht Club.

Lot's of photo highlights, but this is his favorite.

Long Bay, Beef Island

And here are a few others...

Thursday, December 08, 2011

There be Pirates in these waters!

Took this picture today of the "Bounty" anchored near St. Thomas. 

Unlike many of the tourist focused square riggers around here she looks ready to cross oceans right now!  Really impressive looking ship. 

I'm guessing that she's used for some type of extended journey education at sea program. Will try to look into it and report back soon. 

Jim Gregory 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Christmas cove

We've spent two very nice days here in Christmas Cove.  Just off the Eastern end of  St. Thomas and across the channel from the St. Thomas Yacht Club where we had drinks and dinner last night.  Very friendly down to earth Yacht Club.  Reminds us both of RYC.  Lot's of families out for dinner and kids running around playing with boats!!! 

I forgot to take a picture of the bar in order to continue my "Yacht Club Bar Tops of the World" survey.  However, let the record show that it has yet another very nice varnished wood bar top.  Add yet another yacht club to the list of those with non-formica tops!!

Christmas cove

Moored for the evening. Very nice.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

It was icky out there...

I can make ice and we have rum.

Maybe tomorrow the waves will be smaller and not so many squalls..

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Out'a ice, out'a beer,

Out'a here.

After 4 beautiful days anchored in Magen's Bay, it's time for us to move on.

We have to restock on some provisions, do some laundry and a pharmacy, so back to the real world for us.

Nudie Beach....


Jim and I have been anchored off a lovely beach here on the back side of St Thomas. A beautiful 3/4 mile sand beach, calm, clean water, light breeze, and no other boats. We have the entire thing to ourselves, once the cruise ship crowd leaves at 3:30.

What the guide book alludes to is that there is another small beach tucked into the protected side of the harbor (read "the best anchorage") that is a nude beach. That's Cool. I grew up in SD with Blacks Beach. Great beach.

What the guide books gloss over is that it's a Gay nude beach. Ummmmm, even coming from SF didn't prepare me. Apparently, if you can't be seen from land, it's OK, even if there is a boat anchored 30 feet away!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Magen's Bay - St. Thomas, VI

We are the only cruising/charter boat in this incredible bay!  It's amazing really because this is high season down here and all the other harbors along the "normal" cruising route are packed with vacationers.  This is one very well kept secret.

The fact that we like it so much means that we stayed here all day today and who knows we just may stick around for another day.  Here are a few pictures from our day...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The "other" side of St. Thomas

Most sailing visitors spend very little time on St Thomas. Instead they charter their boats and head ASAP for the British Virgin Islands. 

We have some time on our hands as we wait for our kids to show up and perhaps more importantly for Debbie's passport renewal. So we are doing some exploring in US territory. 

Today we sailed around from Charlotte Amalie to the upwind side of the island. It was a good trip. The trade winds have backed off and this side is full of beautiful bays, lots of very large homes. And very few cruisers!

We have anchored for the night in Magen's Bay. Very very nice. Hope the picture publishes correctly. 

Jim Gregory 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

More on the tree...

Here's our little tree lit up. The LED lights overwhelm the decorations, but it's so tacky it's fun, and it draws NO power!

'Tis the Season...

We said goodbye to the Quackenbush family yesterday. They came down and helped us celebrate a good ol American Thanksgiving, Carribean style.

Now waiting 2 weeks in American VI so i can get my passport renewed. Should have done it this summer, but didn't notice it was expired Feb, 2012. Ooops.

Also waiting for Pat to shown up on his Xmas break in 2 weeks and Chris in 4 weeks! Can't wait for the boys to be here for Xmas. I'm soo excited, I've even started decorating.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Not sure about this!

Jim Gregory 

Re: Engine

All better. Interesting actually. Had two mechanics on the boat within three hours. Turns out it was a good scenario in the end I think. 

I have an automatic fire extinguisher system in the engine room. It went off and automatically shuts down the engine. 

All I needed to do was flip a switch from auto to manual and the engine started

Now the real question is why did the extinguisher go off????

Jim Gregory 

On Nov 25, 2011, at 1:04 PM, Bob Branstad <> wrote:

Sorry to hear.  I would think that there would be some sign on the enine such as leaking oil or water if you had a blew head gasket.  Another possible cause could be a valve problem, but then you should be able to hear banging metal.  I will put more thought into it.

Any Engine experts out there??

Seeking opinions.  My best guess is that I just blew the head gasket on my engine....

After running at cruising speed for about an hour, we were idling looking for a mooring and I heard a significant sound of pressure release from below (near the engine box).  Then the engine died (right away) and all the alarm buzzers sounded just in case we'd not noticed it.

Checked the bilge for oil, water, etc.  Nothing.  Checked the oil level.  Fine.

Tried to start the engine, nothing close to ignition. 

I'm thinking lack of compression.

Any other opinions???  Email please jim at, and wda7721 at



PS.  Anyone know any good mechanics down here???

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Morpheus @ Bitter End Yacht Club

Jim Gregory 

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Denise and her kids are onboard this week!

Today we are moored right next to an Express 37 at the Bitter End Yacht Club!!

Outside one of Patrick's favorite spots!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

747 Jumbo Jet - Inbound!!

Sunset Bar - St. Martin

We had some fun yesterday afternoon hanging out at the Sunset Bar in St. Martin (Sunset Beach Bar).  This bar is right at the end of the runway and incoming planes seem to cross only a few feet above your head!!

Very unique and lots of fun!


After 3 hot sweaty weeks...

Guess what I'm doing! Yeah! Clean DRY sheets tonight!

Why are these people smiling?

We need to offer a special thank you to Kevin and meg for their time and assistance getting morpheus from Bermuda to st Martin

They flew in to Bermuda two weeks ago thinking an immediate departure was the plan. 

But....the weather had other ideas, and they end up riding out multiple storms in Bermuda for a week before we finally headed south. 

They then got to "enjoy" a 5 day, uncomfortable passage, before finally reaching our destination in st Martin. 

I don't think they will stand in line to do it again, but they were great to have onboard, an we would have them back anytime!

THANK YOU Kevin and Meg!!!!

Jim Gregory 

Morpheus in St. Thomas

Jim Gregory 

St. Thomas

After just a bit more than 24 hours on St. Martin,  Deb and I said goodbye to our faithful crew of two weeks, and set sail at sunset yesterday for St. Thomas!

After a perfect downwind sail in 15 to 20 knots of wind, we arrived this morning just after sunrise

This afternoon Denise Quackenbush and her three (mostly) grown children arrive. We have big plans for a lazy week of relaxed cruising in and arouNd the virgin islands. 

Sounds good to me!

Jim Gregory 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Land Ho!

Deb Here:

I am finally warm. Sweating in fact. No ports open since we are still in a swell, so every time we open a port, we get a deluge through it. It is VERY stinky below.

The seas have been confused the whole way. Yucko. Most of them were from the North due to TS Sean, but then we'd get a east to west wave caused by the new wind. I wanted to call the Maytag Repair Man to fix this washing machine cycle. This goes down as a delivery, not a passage. No sea sickness, but definitely a yucky ride. I have a great bruise on the outside of my calf just below my knee where I fell out of bed with a cross wise wave!

Our crew has been great, but I don't think they will ever do 5 days again. I think they were ready to get off at 3. But no complaints, awake for every watch, and positive attitudes the whole time. Not frightend or freaked out. Kevin was a huge help in a couple of situations where more muscle was required. Megan has a great "WooHoo" when we catch a big wave. We just sighted Anguilla, and we are all very happy. Moving beers into the refrig for celebratory arrival drinks. All good here.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Southbound and Moving Well

Greetings! I've just realized that we've been off from Bermuda for 51 hours and this is my first update to the blog. Sorry about the lack of information, but overall there is not much to say.

We left Bermuda in a 15 knot NE wind which soon built to 20 knots. We've been sailing in that very same wind ever since. I think we navigated around three buoys to leave Bermuda safely behind during the first hour following departure. After that third buoy we set a course directly for St. Martin and other than some small course adjustments that's been the story.

20 knots just aft of the beam, hang on and go!!

We have been sailing with less sail up than normal in an effort to keep the boat more comfortable for our rookie guests Kevin and Kim from Newport. This is the first time that they have been farther offshore than Block Island! I'm not sure that reality is matching up very well with their imagination. But, they are serious troopers that seem to be able to deal with whatever comes their way. (For instance, they spent a week with us in Bermuda during all those storms when they thought they were flying in for an immediate departure!)

Anyway, our progress may be a bit slow, but all aboard are doing well, and we should arrive Thursday perhaps around noon.

The auto pilot repair was my big concern leaving Bermuda and I am happy to say that at this point all seems solid. (This is another good reason to back off on the throttle, until we are comfortable with it's performance.)

Will try to provide a couple more updates. The winds are forecast to remain the same, so let's hope there is not much to report!!!


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Friday, November 11, 2011

Where did I put those Ruby Slippers?

Ok... 7 days of 30 knots is quite enough. We are leaving tomorrow for St. Martin, or I'm going to have to dig out the Ruby Slippers.

There have been lulls, which are great. Sun and 18 knots. Food has been EXCELENT (stuffed pork loin last night.). No new Dexter because Internet is too slow to download but other shows are good. We watched Captain Ron 2 nights ago.

Ita is fine. I've almost finished my needlepoint and the whole Twighlight series, yet again.

It's time to go!


Another lesson learned!

Bermuda - 8am - 11/11/11 (great date!)

All is fine onboard Morpheus this morning. Tropical Storm Sean decided to spare us the bulk of it's anger and vented a good deal of it prior to arrival. We have seen some gusts in excess of 40 knots, and Bermuda Radio which is positioned on top of the tallest hill of the island reported gusts in excess of 60 knots. I think we are on the downslope of Seans influence now and are seeing steady high 20's with gusts to 35. Next we get the combined/reinforced flow of the SW corner of Sean's low pressure system, and the SE corner of the high pressure system moving in. The good times never stop here in Bermuda!!

Anyway, the lesson...

Yesterday, in preparation for the storm, I removed the jib sheets to reduce windage and tied the clew of our roller furling jib tightly around the headstay with a short piece of line. This seemed like a great thing to do, clearly the jib could not unwind itself if I tied it this way??? I was under the impression that this was the ultra safe way to leave things.

Well, as I've said before the boat is always trying to find ways to break and unfortunately many times it's clever enough to get the better of us. This was another case.

I've never seen this before, but the strong winds seem to have caught a small section of the jib up high towards the top of the headstay and worked it loose. To get loose that section had to obtain slack in the system by pulling the wraps of the jib up the headstay. Because of the way I tied things, the sail could not unwind, but there was nothing holding it down!!

So, we had a 3am drill where eventually about 3 sq. ft of the sail was exposed near the top of the headstay. We had to pull the wraps of the sail down during lulls in order for me to reach the line holding the clew. Not easy in 40 knots, but we did it. Then released the roller furling line so the entire sail was free (that was noisy!) and then dropped the sail to the deck. Very exciting and I'm sure that we woke more than a few people up during that exercise!

Damage was not too bad. Looks like the leech of the sail will need to be refinished as it basically blew the cover finishing that edge right off the sail! As I said, 40 knots is windy powerful stuff!!

The best news is the anchor held perfectly through all of this and we did not drift down on any of our neighbors!

Key Learnings

1) Leave your jib sheets on and make sure your roller furling jib is tightly wrapped.

2) Even better, when you have time and know a storm is coming - take your jib off the headstay and store it below.

Thats all for now. If we keep doing this we will have it all figured out in about 10 more years!!!

-Jim and Deb

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not Happy!

I used to like Bermuda!

I should have stayed in Newport!

What did I do to piss the wind gods off??  Does anyone know the correct offering to reduce the winds??  Do virgin sacrifices work both ways?  I need my brother to get this right!

Tropical Storm Sean forecast to become Hurricane Sean as it passes Bermuda at 0300 tomorrow morning!

We are anchored close to shore in the lee. Storm anchor deployed. Should be fine will let you know tomorrow am

Jim Gregory 

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Find someplace windier than Bermuda


With plenty of time on our hands and not much to do, I've been looking for places with more wind than Bermuda.  So far, I'm not finding too many.  How is it that we've managed to find ourselves in one of the windiest places in the world??  I'm tempted to push the restart button, go back to Newport and start this entire process over again.  Did we accidentally leave on a Friday???