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  • 2 moorings for sale in Admiralty Bay, Bequia. Block and chain moorings off Plantation house; one in approx 35ft and the other in approx 16ft of water. Offers.

    The picture above shows the view looking North over the bay. The two red dots are approximate locations of my moorings.

    A google map of the bay, again, the red dots show approximate location.

    Please note that these are sold as is. Buy at own risk.

  • Herniated disc and self healing

    On December 12th 2012 at around 8PM I lifted up my dinghy as I've done 100 times before, only this time things did not go to plan. I felt and herd a snap in the top of my pelvis which was followed instantaneously by the feeling of someone stabbing me in in the lower back. Pain shot up my left side and my leg went numb. I crawled into the dinghy and made my way home, howling with pain as I crossed the bay.

    I limped around for the next few weeks having days of "ah, it's getting better" and days when it was not. Being the "independent guy" that I was I did not seek help.

    I had a couple of relapses, the second of which was as painful as the original wound. I found myself on the floor of my boat crying and lost. See, I've never really been in a situation like this before where I was unable to help myself. I was effectively out of action and without a plan.

    Very thankfully my office co-workers and fiancé came to my assistance. One of my team helped by calling a surgeon in St Vincent and making an appointment. One of my team took me across on the ferry where I met my fiancee and took a taxi to the surgery.

    Frankly, I was ready for him to explain that I was about to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair. To my surprise he explained that I had a herniated disk in my lower lumber region of my spine and that, if i did exactly as he explained, I will be well in 3 months and without surgery.

    He was right. I am "fixed" and I have written my experience down in the hope that it can assist you. Firstly, I am not a doctor nor do I have any medical experience. You HAVE TO get to a doctor. You need x-rays and to find a doctor that knows this type of injury. Read this up front and ask loads of questions. The more you understand about your injury the more chance you have of conquering it. Knowledge is power.

    I have read frightening stories on the web of surgery and limited success rates. I have also read increasingly that people are finding ways to treat back problems without surgery. I am living proof that there is hope and knowledge out there.

    So, forgive me if I go from the basics. This was all news to me...

    Your nerves run down your spine and exit at specific points. Your spine is made up of a bunch of disks which are best thought of as a pile of donuts stacked on top of each other. Some donuts have bites out of them for the nerves to exit.

    Each doughnut has two shells; a soft inner and a hard outer shell. Inside is mayonnaise. The idea is to keep the mayonnaise inside the doughnut. If it leaks in between the shells then you have herniated your doughnut. If it seeps out of both shells your have ruptured your doughnut. I have no knowledge of the second injury as mine was a herniated doughnut.

    Loads of people herniate their doughnuts without knowing it. If you are unlucky (as I was) you badly herniate one of the doughnuts that have your nerves exiting. In this case the outer shell pushes against your nerves from the mayonnaise stuck between your outer and inner doughnut shell. If this is the case, you will know it because the pain is beyond words.

    If you have a dead leg then look around for pictures of nerves. For me the pain was in the back of my thy and in the base of my foot/ outer side of my foot. Pictures of the nerve paths will show you that the nerves feeding these areas are the S1 and L5 nerves. It was these nerves that I had damaged.

    Pictures of nerves at :

    Now just to add to this mess. Your donuts are compressed by muscles in your back. My herniated disk was actually caused by no one ever explaining to me that my back muscles need a work out and my desk/computer job is not it. Basically my back muscles were like cheese, so they were not able to protect the disk from damage.

    If you have a desk job and you are lucky enough to read this before you screw your back up, please consider back exercises. They may save you a dosing of excruciating pain.

    So, the disk is herniated which means when it is compressed it compounds the damage (more mayonnaise leaks) and the muscles compress the disk, so you need to relax those muscles, BUT, your nerves are shot which means your leg muscles spasm which causes pain which means you lock up your back which compresses the disk which inflames the nerves which causes your leg muscles to spasm which ... see the pattern here? The first step is to break this cycle.

    My doctor made me sign up to a set of rules to start with. It went something like this: Just lay for a moment and repeat after me. I am screwed and I have to accept that I cannot be anything other than a patient for 3 months. I will not be able to work, have great sex or dance like Elvis for 3 months. I MUST be careful at all times and testosterone or male pride are my enemies. I must comply, learn and listen to what my body tells me. I accept that I am going to have low points and times where I want to give up, however, my body is very clever and if I remain positive and in a mental state where I truly believe that my body can heal itself, then it will.

    PS: He's a really cool doctor.

    Back to breaking the cycle. My doctor put me on series of pill. They were Diazepam (vallium - a muscle relaxant, Norflex (counters pain and cramps) and Prednisone (inflammatory drug which works on the nerves).

    Whilst taking these I HAD to stay in bed for the whole week. I nearly died when my doctor told me this as I am a five hours sleep per night kind of a guy, but weirdly, my body and the drugs all helped and the week in bed shot by and was not bad at all. A word of warning, the Diazepam is not targeted. It relaxes every muscle, so expect to feel yourself sink into the bed and your whole body to behave like jelly.

    Secondly, the bed must be hard with slats on the base. If it is not, then put the mattress on the floor or consider a bed of sofa cushions - You MUST support your back!

    The key to all of this is to get your spine flat. That means elevating your legs a little to relax the lower back muscles. I put two sofa cushions under my knees with a pillow on the top and behind my bum to allow this to happen. Note I am 6'3" and this will vary depending on your height. When you lay down slide your pointed hands under your back. You should feel the same pressure all the way down your spine with no gap between the bed and you in your lower spine.

    Take your time and adjust the height and the bum pillow to get this right.

    After the first week you get up and spend an hour up, then 2 hours lying down. Without pushing it, over the next month this increased to 2 hours up and 2 hours in bed, with some 4 hour stretches. Again, listen to your body. It will tell you when to lay down.

    After the first two weeks I started an exercise regime and you'll think this is hilarious. I was told to stand against a wall facing it and standing upright. I took one leg ad moved it back about ten centimetres five times then repeated with the other foot. To explain, I could not do this for the first few days... kind of shows how in a mess I was.

    The other part of these exercises is to push your shoulders back a few centimetres (effectively arching your spine).... same approach, start with five and work your way up.

    The time in bed decreases and the exercises increase - all very gradually. Any relapse and I headed straight for bed and reduced the repetitions of the exercises.

    PS: You add ten repetitions each week to the exercises cycle.

    After about three weeks I came off the drugs. I was doing well, except for when I slept for over three hours. I would wake up with tremendous pain in my lower back. After sitting or standing for an hour the pain would abate. I eventually discovered that if I put a small fold in the bum pillow it sat my bum up by about five millimetres and the symptoms stopped. After two weeks of being scared to sleep I was able to get a great eight hours sleep every night. I mean it when I say that you have to take your time and adjust your sleeping position night my night and millimetre by millimetre. Log it, discuss it with your partner and use logic to adjust one thing per night until you get it perfect.

    Eventually, I was able to lay on my front and lift one leg at a time (so, same exercises, but laying down and thus lifting the entire weight of the leg... again, you start with five and work your way up).

    When I was getting up to twenty of these I started to go out for a walk.. usually no more than five minute slow (on flat pavement) walks. After each walk I went straight back to bed.

    The walks got longer, the exercises easier and now some eighteen months later I am able to lift 35lbs, weedwack and jump around with my boy.

    My doctor says it takes two years for a complete recovery IF you don't have any setbacks. I get the occasional twinge and head for bed then take it easy for three days, but the bottom line is that I feel 100%...

    The drugs I was given over the time were:

    • Norflex (100MG) - approx 34 tablets (relieves pain and cramps)
    • Prednisone (5MG) - 28 tablets (inflammatory,, reduces the inflammation in the nerves)
    • Diazepam (10MG) - 21 tablets - (vallium - muscle relaxant - nights only)
    • Lansoprazole (80MG) - 717 tablets (I guess this countered a side effect of another of the drugs)
    • Co-Codamol (500MG) - 30 tablets (pain killer)

    My Doctor is Dr Robinson in St Vincent and the Grenadines. He is a general surgeon that suffered the same injury seven years ago - he understands your pain and can relate. He also does not pussy foot around. He tells you like it is. If you are like me, you need to hear the no BS version!

    Dr Robinson, if ever you read this, I cannot thank you enough. You gave me back my active lifestyle and made me a Dad that my son can have fun.

    If you are reading this in agony, the I feel for you - there is hope and I hope this helps.

  • Yes folks, we are selling our plot of land in North Eastern Dominica. It's too far to drive there with the family working in Roseau. It's a 1.2 acre lot bordering Pagua River for sale in Hatton Garden, St Andrew. The lot is within 1 mile of Marigot, home to the Melville Hall Airport.

    Details and pictures can be found here ->

  • Tiller. Easy single person sailing. All new seacocks and thru-hulls. Yanmar 30HP. Ready to sail. Lying Bequia. Named "Akemi". Formally known as "Duppy".

    Like many Columbias built, she has a Crealock design built in California with all hand layup procedures and thus there has never been any blistering.

    Enter from large 10' long bimini covered cockpit area. Engine under cockpit. Either side of engine is quarterbirth (8' long each site). Midships is galley and seating area (can become a double bed). Towards bow is head (new head fitted) and chart table. Forepeak containes a v-shapped bed which can sleep 2. Water tanks under forepeak and midships.

    She has a very fuel efficent Yanmar 3GM30. Both deisel pannier tanks are overhauled. Each holds 25 Gallons. She has a 5 Gallon day tank which is gravity fed (stops air entering the system; a common problem with healing and pannier tanks).

    ALL original plans and blueprints on board! Plus Yanmar service manuals.

    2 Trojan T105's (6V each) power the house bank. LED lights are throughout which put a negligable drain of the house bank. Engine / house bank can be connected via a battery switch if need be. Electronic battery monitor and regulator working.

    Garmin GPS, VHF and Raymarine ST40 (giving speed and depth) on board.

    Rocna 33lb anchor. Best anchor I have ever owned!

    Price includes Mercury 8 person (full glassfibre keel) dinghy and Mercury 2.5 outboard included. They are not in good condition, but work perfectly.

    ALL new thru-hulls and seacocks. New cushions fitted throughout. Price excludes mooring.

    I hernitated a disc in my back. This has lead to me not able to sail for another couple of years, hence a forced sale of a very boloved yacht. She is a dream to sail! She's either perfect for a weekend sailer or (as I did) as a live aboard.

    I am happy to hear of offers, but you must have cash.

    Bottom painted April 2012 with 3 coats of interlux

    Photo tour

    From the cockpit looking forward. The cockpit area is about 10 foot long and has a full length bimini and shades. Outside cushions are new (not shown).

    Looking back into cockpit. Tiller. Easy access to main sheet. Winches either side of tiller make for trouble free tacking/jibing. Perfect setup for single handed sailing, yet able to sit up to six people in and sail (note: beds for up to six onboard).

    From bow looking toward aft. The cowls are off, but will be re-fitted soon. They are new vetus Jimmy2's. The mid hatches are completely open if you are wondering what is going on mid-ships there.

    Looking forward (nice view of Admiralty bay). Simple decks. Minimal varnishing.

    New Rocna anchor. No windlass. Fully manual and maintenance free by Captains design :-)

    Another view of cockpit... 3 steps take you down to...

    A large galley are to starboard. Plenty of storage. 1 year old stove. Galley all re-built and is shiny new. Salt and fresh water.

    Port side is the gear cupboard and a horseshoe shaped sofa area and table. Plenty of storage under sofa. New cushions. If the table was re-done, this can drop down to make another bed.

    Heading foreward... the head (toilet) is port side and chart table starboard side with forepeak bed ahead.

    Chart table is small, but I got used to it and found it surprizingly easy. Some may argue that the chart table should be stern, but I found this to be very accessible even when needing to access it in a hurry.

    Forepeak bed... the santuary. Shelves either side. 3 shelf deep cupboards either side.

    The view you wake up to.

    New manual Jabsco toilet.

    Sink and shower (new forset).

    The galley looking aft. Apologies for not clearing my junk off the far end. Full length cupboards to rear (sliding doors). Under sink storage. 4 draws at far (just out of range of shot). Deep sink, Cold box (lid needs making - I have the materials).

    The pictures you see on the walls are not included in the sale. Cupboard doors are removed for varnishing, but are with the boat.

    Complete with new (used for 10 days onl) 8.10 inflatable Yacht Tender with electric pump and 2.5 Mercury engine - Ideal for easy storage either below or tied onto forepeak. (deluxe package) for details.

    Currently on hard at Ottley Hall Shipyard and Marina. In hurricane cage. Viewing can be arranged.

    A mooring in Admiralty Bay, Bequia is available with the sale. Moring is large engine block and chain to sea level with bouy. Ropes are from buoy to deck and were made for this boat (visible in top picture).

  • Yes folks, I'm selling Hermione and moving onto Akemi!

    Additional Specs, Equipment and Information:

    Builder: Marine Trader

    Dimensions: LOA: 38 ft 0 in / Beam: 12 ft 10 in / Maximum Draft: 4 ft 0 in

    Engine: Engine Brand: Lehman / Engine Model: Email for model / Cruising Speed: 8 mph / Maximum Speed: 11 mph / Engine Hours: Less than 500 / Total Power: 120

    Dimensions: Displacement: 22,000

    Tanks: Fuel: 300 / Fresh Water: 250 / Holding: yes

    Solar: email for details

    Genset: email for details

    The Lehman engine only has 200 hours on her since a major overhaul. 2 GPH when pushing the boat along at 7-8 knots.

    Why the price?

    The woodwork needs attention. Wood under the windows needs replacement. The windows themselves are glass and would benefit from being replaced with tinted perspex.

    There is a cut away section in the roof where the engine was dropped in. This needs glassing over.

    The windlass does not work and I have attempted a fix. If I was to keep her I would simply replace it as it (although technically working) will dump oil all over the deck.

    The stern log is leaking and will need replacing within the next 5 years (with a glass fibre tube). This is an easy enough job when hauling. It's probably not a bad idea to consider this when hauling for bottom painting.

    The REALLY good news is that all decks are replaced. Marine Traders are known for having rotten decks. This is because they screwed teak decking down into a plywood sandwich flooring and the ply (of course) got wet and rotted. This was all cut away by myself and new marine ply glassed in using WEST systems glass (receipts and pictures available upon request).

    In summary, she is a great boat, but needs woodwork attention and a bottom paint.


    There are three entrance ways to Hermione; either the door (seen) next to the helm, or on the opposite side, or from a stern entrance into the master bedroom.

    Included is sonar and VHF. Recommend that you optain battery monitoring and GPS.

    Next to the helm is the switches and the stairs down to the forepeak cabin.

    The forepeak has a twin v-bed configuration. Just to the left you see the entrance for the forepeak head.

    The forepeak head is all working, but no shower fittings are in place. The head itself is old and eminates a bad smell. I would replace it immediately. This head sits on top of a blackwater tank. If I was to haul the vessel I would install Y-values and seacocks so that you can disharge directly to sea as supposed to pumping into the blackwater tank, then to sea.

    Just behind the helm is the galley. It has a double sink, stove and plenty of storage space. The fridge does work, but does not remain adiquate temperature under solar panels. I was going to rip it out and build a cold box in the same place. There are 2 110v outlets in the galley for microwaves etc.

    At the rear of the main room is the entrance to the stern master bedroom. The pieces of white wood stored are for the ceiling (see below).

    The master bedroom has a large island bed with good quality matress. This sits atop the main water tank (125 Gallons) and a spare fuel tank (125 Gallons).

    In front of the bed is the entrance to the master bedroom head.

    As you can see, this is one of the projects that needs completing. There was originally a small bath fitted. I ripped that out in favour of installing a water maker (not working and possibly pickled). I was then going to move the head to be in front of the water maker which would give me a much larger shower space).

    The roof of the main room has a cut out section. This needs re-glassing and to have the internal woodwork re-fitted (all on board).

  • I've got a new boat ! And this one has a mast :) Her name is "Duppy" which is weird. I think it means "a spirit or ghost" in Jamaican. Can't say I am too enamored by the name, but she sails like a dream! She's been in Bequia for at least 20 years and I think she was manufactured in 1969. She's a Columbia 36.

    As you can see, she is fully rigged and ready to sail. She's got a huge cockpit meaning that six people can day sail on her with no problems at all.

    You step inside to see the seating area to the left (port side) and the gallery (kitchen) to the right (starboard side). As you can see, she is derelict inside... she won't be like that for long though!

    The gallery needs a new top and a new oven (and a new sink).

    You can see the head (toilet). There are two doors which swing out and block the corridor making it a huge bathroom and shower area. In front of that you see the bedroom.

    The seating area is big, but needs a new table. The table is a hexagonal shape, but the original was rectangle, allowing it to drop down and make this area into a double bed.

    This is the "under the sink" cupboard. The whole inside of the boat looked like this! Everything was covered in oil and grime - nasty stuff.

    Amazing what some scrubbing and a coat of paint can do :)

    So now you have met Duppy. I bought her to learn how to sail and she came with free lessons from the former owner. I've been out on her the last 3 Sundays and I'm loving every moment. She'll take me from Grenada to Dominica as I explore more of this wonderful part of our planet.

  • No Internet for the past three days so this is a bit of a catch up blog entry.

    We motored down from Bequia to Charlestown Bay, Canouan. The bay has starfish all over the seabed. I started the day with trying to take a photo only to discover that my very expensive camera case had utterly failed and drenched the (now dead) camera.... so we are down to two cameras now - shame, but who cares - we're in paradise!

    A quick stopover and we headed south to one of my favourite places on earth - Tobago Cays... a horseshoe reef surrounding several tiny uninhabited islands. We pick up up a mooring right in front of the turtle grass, jumped in an got right down to business - 2 hours of snorkelling whilst watching turtles (Emmy, you'd love this!).

    There are no shops or bars in the Cays, so we sat back and watched the sun set over this beautiful little corner of our world.

    The next day we piled into the dingy and headed for the reef. Imagine swimming in an aquarium full of coral swaying in the current and fish who swim all around you.. lobsters with a backdrop containing every colour under the sun... envious yet?

    After two days of doing as little as possible Micke joined us as S/V Windward Star dropped anchor off our starboard bow. She looks more beautiful everyday!

    After watching sun up we headed for Mayreau and Saltwhistle Bay. Yup, more paradise. The bay has a think white sandy beach splitting the sea and providing the ideal anchorage for us to drop anchor just meters from the beach. Micke took us to Roberts bar where we had great food and fantastic company (thanks Robert!).

    We were joined by Sam, one of the taxi boats. Sam had a little too much strong rum that day. I guess that he has no idea that he met us, but he did want a million dollars for the photo - we have him a beer and he looked like he'd won the lottery.

    Oscar and Nick got up early the next morning and went jogging whilst Patrick and I cracked open a beer and wondered what all that was about.

    We reluctantly left Saltwhistle bay to head to Union Island and Chatham Bay... this place is dive mecka, but i'm not going to tell you why because I want to keep it as a secret. One thing though, I've seen more live coral in one dive that in every other dive put together that I've ever done! It was simply, a drift dive out of this world!

    Chatham bay is deserted apart from a few small bars and trees and cliffs and, erm... well, that's about it to be honest. We went to the beach for sun downers then headed for the bar.

    The next morning was a little busy. We were attempting to leave when a couple who are on a beautiful boat called Annie came over... followed by Jannica (who was on Jo) and Silvia who was on Camille (two of our companies catamarans)... Everyone loved the boat and decided that everyone should have at least one Swedish friend even if they are as white as cream.

    We got away and motored for an hour to the other side of the island and Clifton (the town) where we picked up a mooring and rediscovered the Internet ;)

  • After a pretty crazy night out last night we crawled out of bed, fixed the boat, bought the last few food items and headed for Canouan... calm seas all the way...

  • With the waves still reaching three meters cruising was ruled out early in the day. We went to Sailors restaurant instead and had breakfast.... more breakfast and finally lunch. In between we did take a little walk up to the old British battery (little hill with old canons facing the bay).

    After lunch we went for a snorkel at Devils Table; a little reef off the north point of Admiralty bay... wonderful coral formations - you'll have to trust me because I don't a photo :)

    Off to Frangi tonight... it's jump up with the steel band.

  • Wednesday morning and we are going to motor down from St Vincent to Bequia. The day started of with high winds through Blue Lagoon and that means high seas between the islands. Hermione, my 38\' Marine trader is kinda made with cancels and calm lakes in mind. Three meter high waves were not part of the design spec! We headed out and within 30 minutes we had a routing... we zig-zagged the whole way... with Hermione performing perfectly.

    The weather was overcast which was good for the crew.. too much Sun today would have burnt us up seeing as we were out at sea for 2.5 hours (exactly one hour more than it took me to go to St Vincent from Bequia on Monday.

    After we got here I showed Oscar, Nik and Patric Port Elizabeth, then we went for a quick snorkel (saw Eagle ray, moral eel, stone fish amongst others). Now it's out on deck for sun-downers...

    More tomorrow plus pictures.