Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hurricane Tomas

There is good news and bad news.  First the bad news.  Tomas is officially a hurricane.  The good news is that it is moving north of Grenada but that can hardly be considered good news for the islands of St. Vincent and St. Lucia as it passes between the islands.  Hopefully it won't grow in intensity and will move through quickly with little damage.  The winds at the center of the storm are currently 75 mph and the eye of the storm is currently 112 miles from St. George's, Grenada.

 Here in Grenada Prickley Bay is calm and the wind, when there is any, is coming from the northwest.  Forecasts are for it to keep changing directions until it blows from the NE tonight and E-SE tomorrow.  We are expecting about 20-25 knots of wind.  The government told workers to stay home today due to the tropical storm.  They were anticipating heavy rain and the resulting flooding and we still may have some of that overnight.  But overall we got lucky.  Mother Nature decided to give us treats, not tricks this Halloween. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tropical Storm Tomas

Here's what Prickley Bay looked like just before sunset today.  More clouds were developing but the sun broke through and lit up the shoreline and the boats at anchor.

 The tropical wave to the east of Grenada has been upgraded to Tropical Storm Tomas and could reach hurricane strength.  We are expecting tropical storm strength winds in Grenada currently predicted to reach 55 knots.
 We decided to stay in Prickley Bay.  Our anchor is well set, we let out extra chain and we've tied down anything that might move on the deck.  Nothing to do now but wait and watch the weather reports.  Will Tomas gather strength quickly and hit us hard?  Will Tomas veer farther north and skirt the north edge of Grenada?  We'll just have to wait it out.  Tropical storm warnings have been issued from Trinidad to Dominica.
A comment was left on our last blog posting regarding my comment that we were getting this weather with only 2 days left in hurricane season.  The comment pointed out that hurricane season technically goes through November.  That's true.  It also technically starts in June but here in the southern Caribbean cruisers consider hurricane season to be July through October.  Most insurance companies will only require their policy holders to be south of 12 degrees north latitude until November 1st.  Many cruisers already started heading north in the past week or so.  I hope they have all found a safe harbor to tuck themselves in to.

Tropical Storm Tomas

Projected path of Tomas

Storm Watch in Grenada

With only 2 days left in hurricane season we are on a storm watch in Grenada.  A very large tropical wave to the east of us is showing a 80% chance of developing into a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.  The tropical wave is the large, red circle at the bottom of the following image.

 There is a large amount of rain showing in the satelite image. 
Wind is forcast to be 25-30 knots on Saturday.

 Of the 4 projections, one has the storm passing directly over Grenada.  The others show it passing to the north.

This is not the biggest storm we've ever been through but it certainly has the potential to grow and drop a lot of rain as it passes.  We're keeping a close eye on this one.  This morning we are off to the supermarket to stock up for the weekend as we won't be going anywhere for a few days!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Reminiscing with Songbird

How about doing some reminiscing with us?
Our friends Pat and Carol on the S/V Songbird put together a CD with photos and a video of some of the great times we've spent together.  We sailed together for several months back in 2008 when we were all making our first trip through the islands.  Many of the photos were taken then when we hiked on Saba and celebrated my birthday on St. Lucia.  Last year we spent the holidays in Antigua and then hooked up again in St. Martin in June.  We sailed from St. Martin to St. Lucia together.  We have soooo much fun!
So sit back and relax and enjoy a recap of the adventures of Songbird and Merengue.  First there is a slide show of some of Pat and Carol's photos.  Second, there is a video of Merengue under sail between Bequia and Canouan in the Grenadines back in 2008.  Don't forget to turn up the volume as Pat even set them to music.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blue Water Insurance Update

Time to give you an update on our communication with and from Blue Water Insurance.  Things are looking up.  Thank you to our readers who left comments and suggestions on the blog.  I guess this topic touches a nerve with many people.  One reader sent a letter to Blue Water.  I'm sure that helped move things along.  Another reader asked for the name of the company that insured the other boat with lightening damage.  We'll try to find that our for you.  We know it was another European company but don't know the name.

In our last update, we told you how we had sent 2 emails after a month of waiting to hear from Blue Water.  No response.  So Jim sent one directly to the insurance company in London with a copy to Blue Water.  The rep at Blue Water contacted us on October 5th and said that he sent us the approval on September 29th.  Hmmmmm?
We never received it.  We were checking email everyday anxiously awaiting the approval.  So, it either was never sent or its lost in cyberspace!  The important thing is the claim is approved!

Now, in the interest of fairness, here are good things about our policy with Blue Water Insurance.
Blue Water is not depreciating our equipment and only providing us with a partial reimbursement.  We are receiving replacement value.  That is a very good thing especially because we are replacing in the Caribbean where everything costs more.  They will pay us now or when the repairs are completed, our choice.  If we discover more damage we can notify them and the claim will be reviewed.  We do not have to sign off now if we accept the money now.  This relieves some anxiety because we have not had the boat surveyed and are concerned that we could discover more damage.

I was a little upset when the customer service rep said in his email; "It appears that you have not initiated the repairs with the questions you are asking?"  What!!! His email from August said "Send me the repair estimates before you do any repairs so the insurance company can review and determine if they need to assign a surveyor/adjuster to handle this matter."  Of course we didn't start the repairs, we hadn't heard back.  We were following directions!

Repairs will start in about a week.  We are waiting for a wind instrument to arrive as both marine stores were out of stock on the model we want.  They also didn't have the VHF radio we need and that will take 5 weeks to get.  Jim can install that himself later as the antenna and wiring will be done with the other repairs.  So I think we are finally back on the road to recovery.

Hopefully our next blog update will return to showing you the fun things we do accompanied by Jim's beautiful pictures.  But hey folks, this is real life on a boat.  As I've said before, it ain't all rum punch and sunsets!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blue Water Insurance Doesn't Help!

We are Frustrated, Angry, Ticked-Off, Pissed!
Someone tell me why we even bother buying insurance?
Merengue was struck by lightening the night of August 26th.  We emailed Blue Water Insurance the next day to notify them of the situation.  They responded by sending us a form to fill out and instructions to get 2 estimates on repairs.  We were told we shouldn't repair or buy anything until we heard from them.  They also told us that the approval process could take about 7-10 days.  It has been almost 4 weeks since we submitted the forms.  To make matters worse, we sent 2 emails this week to ask for an update on our claim.  Blue Water Insurance hasn't even given us the courtesy of a response to either email.  

Our policy is now due for renewal.  Are they waiting to see what we'll do?  We refuse to throw good money after bad.  We have been their customer for 4 years and spent thousands of dollars on insurance, more then the repairs will cost.  If they aren't going to honor this claim why would they think we would want to renew our coverage with them?

Another boat was also struck by lightening on the same night we were.  They called their insurance company the next day and their insurance company called the marine surveyor in Grenada and scheduled an appointment.  They didn't have to do the legwork like we did and they are currently repairing their boat.  The survey showed they sustained $30,000 dollars in damage!  We can't even get Blue Water Insurance to contact us or approve a survey much less make repairs!  It's a good thing we are still planning on staying in Grenada for a while.  What if this happened while we were moving the boat south?  We would be without instruments and our system for obtaining weather reports.  This is a safety issue.  Does anyone have any suggestions on what we can do?  Who's the watchdog for the insurance industry?  We need help!