Dave's First Overnite Charter Nov 2008

Sandi and Rod and Jan came sailing with Dave and Gayle on Bel Ami for several days in late November. We ate (and ate and ate) and sailed and snorkled and Jan slept under the stars and Rod got his feet wet snorkling and we played scrabble and ate some more and whaddaya expect??!

Dec 08 Day Sail with the Trenholms and Felkers

On December 4 2008 two families came and sailed on the Bel Ami. We had a great trip out to Salt Pond on St. James, and back to Cruz Bay on St. John for the sunset. Thanks to Colette for the referral of these wonderful two families!!

Fred's Trip

Fred DeVillers came down for 10 days. We sailed to St. Croix, where I took my SPEX medical licensing examination. I played accordian with the St. Croix Blues Society, and Fred got his PADI scuba diving certification. We also hiked out to Peterbourg Point on St. Thomas with Gayle, who is seen in the photos traipsing around barefoot on the rock!

Dave and Julie's visit

Dave and Julie and friends Hugh and Fiona (please correct me if I got your names mispelled) showed up a couple days after Aunt Judy and Uncle Charlie. Gayle and I showed them a good time on the Bel Ami, where we sailed out to Buck Island and went snorkling. Great picture of Julie jumping in the water!! You Go Girl!

Fun with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Judy

From Fun with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Judy

Uncle Charlie and Aunt Judy came to St. Thomas for a visit. We had a great time showing them around the island, and they made friends with all the regulars at Carigas. Great to see you guys!!!!

News and More News!

Life just keeps happening. Biggest change has been the end of a 10 year relationship with Anne. Me and Annie called it quits in July. We have lovingly parted, and wish each other well. In the meantime, I obtained my captain's license, successfully completed the SPEX examination to get a medical license in the Virgin Islands, and most importantly met Gayle (thank you Arran). 52 years old, widowed a year ago after 30 years together, mother of Sarah, owner of Jolly Mon, a day sail charter boat "Jolly Mon" (http://www.jollymonstthomas.com/), and fisherwoman extrordinaire (not to mention a great scrabble player), Gayle and I are planning on sailing Bel Ami to the Bahamas this winter, then then who knows where!!

I'm a Dude with a Captain's Diploma!

Lots happened since I've last posted on the blog. Hardly know where to start, so I'll start where I left off: In July I got my Captain's Diploma for a Master's 100 Ton License! I'm still waiting to get digitally fingerprinted by the US Coast Guard, and then I will get my official Coast Guard Captain's License. I'm also in the process of applying for a Charter Yacht Business License in the VI. In November I take a special computerized examination to get my VI medical license.

Before I returned to Wisconsin in August I took down all my canvas to make hurricane preparations in my absence. I got back to St. Thomas, hoping to go sailing between the storms. As I was putting up the head sail, a shackle got caught in the rigging, and when I pushed the button to furl the headsail in, I sheared off 3 stainless steel screws that served as the mechanical connection between the furling motor and the furler mechanism. It took several weeks to fully repair this: needed to dismantle the entire headsail furling mechanism from the mast, take it off the boat, and do the repairs on the dock. Skip the Rigger did most of it. Anyway, I'm now writing this on a layover in Miami on my way back to Wisconsin. Never did get out to sail the past few weeks. Darn! But I'm looking forward to some great sails in September!

Other news is my Piano Gig at Robert's American Grille. I'm playing 2 nites a week (Sunday and Tues) through the month of September, covering for the regular piano player, Freddie Rabuse (who is fantastic!) Very much fun!

I'm also working on my Dive Master rating. I've got my Advanced Dive rating completed, just waiting on the paper work. I've done the bookwork for Rescue Diver, and need to do the open water work.

Thats enough about me. Please write and let me know how you'all are doing. I really appreciate getting emails from folks after I send out my blog email. Good way to keep in touch.

I am starting to get bookings for the next season. I'll probably do a lot of day sail charters, with referrals from my friends Sam and Diane who own Aqua Action Sports in Secret Harbor on St. Thomas. Secret Harbor is one of the nicer places to stay when in the islands. Just georgeous! I'd love to also do some term charters, which means multiple days visiting the different islands. So get your calandars out, and let me know when you want to come down, and we'll make it all happen!!

Captain (Dude with a Diploma) Dave
July 4 this year was spent at Carnival in St. John. The pictures tell the story...
Anne and I had a great sail to St. Croix. This was one of our first blue water experiences, traveling over deep Caribbean waters. The boat sailed fantastically, and we had a wonderful time in Christiansted, having met some very interesting people from Denmark and South Africa.
Few weeks ago friends Sam and Diane decided to take a few days off from working in their dive shop. Unfortunately, their dive boat had died--the prop shaft decided to break in two!! Making the best out of a bad situation, they took a few days off and came sailing on the Bel Ami!!
Gerard, one of the more interesting characters in the world of St. Thomas, decided to try out some new island footwear. Stinky Feet!!!!

Hanging Out with Dave and Lynne at the Blue Moon Bar

Hard to take hanging out with Dave Starofsky and Lynne. One of these days Dave is gonna get a haircut!! FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!!

A great afternoon sail with friends...

It was a slow start on Sat, May 17. Friends Dave, Lynne, Sam, Diane, Bonnie, Bob and Barb arrived at about 3 pm and we shoved off at about 3:45 pm, hoping to take the high tide out for a sunset sail. Unfortunately, I slightly miscalculated, getting us stuck softly aground for about 15 minutes while we waited for the tide to come up another few inches. The tide cooperated, and we were off on a great sail to Buck Island. Snorkling and eating followed, then the sail back to east end St. Thomas and our slip at Benner's Bay. The folks hung around for some Tequila out of the bottle (thanks Bonnie) and pretty soon I was playing Tequila on the accordian and the evening progressed from there!! I guess ya hadda be there!

Hot Dog Stand at Yacht Haven Grand

Love eating those Hot Dogs!! Hey Dad, these pictures are for YOU!
Unfortunately, the hot dogs in the cart weren't the greatest. Took one look at those poor little doggies that had been sitting in the pot for way too long and said...Ah,...no thanks!

My buddy Gerard

Here is my buddy Gerard, an otherwise serious wise guy who has just become the Caribbean Distributor of DUX boats www.duxboats.com
Go Gerard!!!!!!

Jim and Ann's trip to the Virgins

Ann Wagner and Jim Penn (Phil DeViller's high school english teach) braved the late winter/early spring weather to travel from Wisconsin to the Virgins. They made very capable swabs, handling such chores as knot tying (not!) and dingy riding. The weather was not as cooperative as we would have liked, but we made the best of it with visits to the Beach Bar at Cruz Bay where the St. John's Blues Festival was wrapping up its long weekend run. We stayed in Leinster Bay by Watermelon (?lemon) key, and hiked over the hillside into Coral Bay for great burgers at Skinny Legs. At Norman Island we dingied out to Pelican Island and the Indians for some of the best snorkling I've ever seen. The dingy motor died later that evening, and I got a ride back from the Willy T from the motor launch of a megayacht. I climbed into the launch and was introduced to Steven Speilberg. Way Cool!!!!! Our week ended by volunteering for the Rolex, an international sailboat race hosted by the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Jim and I transported racers from their boats to the yacht club. Then there was a great dinner and party. And kudos for Jim's culinary efforts!!! Enjoy the pics!

Jamie and Kevin's Trip to the Islands!!

Kevin and Jamie made it down to St.Thomas on February 27th for a weeks long cruise to the Islands. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time. None the least was a local Jost Van Dyke musician who pronounced that Jamie had a body that could grill a cheese sandwich and that she was an angel. And he didn't even know we were from Wisconsin at the time! And didn't he just know what he was talking about!

Jamie is getting buff at the Bathes. The Bathes of Virgin Gorda were one of the highlights of our trip! Kevin is a great photographer, and his pictures give a good idea of what the Bathes are like:

Diving on the Wreck of the Rhone:

Bob and Francesca's VI Adventure

A couple weeks ago Bob and Francesca blessed us with their presence on the Bel Ami for a week. Not only did Francesca paint her toenails pink, but she also climbed the mast to help service our windvane!!! Enjoy their photos!

Bruce and Carol's Trip Feb 2008

Bruce and Carol spent Valentine's week on Bel Ami with Anne and I. One of the first things that happened was the head sail ripped. We did a quick patch with Duct Tape and it worked great!!!!

Here are more photos of this fabulous trip. Check out Bruce and Carol dancing the nite away at the Willy T!!! We hope to see them back soon!

Fred and Marie DeVillers trip to the Islands

Last week in January 2008 I had the pleasure to host Fred and his mom Marie. The big event of the trip was the Packer's game, which we watched while holed up at the Jolly Roger's in Soper's Hole. Well, you know the story. Not only did the Pack not succeed, but it also rained the whole time!!!! Finally, the skies cleared and we had great sailing. We covered a lot of distance, and in the big wind the Bel Ami went like a freight train, easily doing 8 knots upwind! Enjoy the pics:

Gillian and Simon's Trip

Right after New Years Gillian and Simon joined Anne and I on the Bel Ami. We had a most wonderful week together. Simon and I dived on the Wreck of the Rhone, something I've been wanting to do for 30 years. We all did lots of snorkling, great eating, and fabulous sailing. There is really something special about sailing around with your kids, and having Gillian and Simon on board was another one of those lifetime dreams come true for me. One of our best times was eating a half of an Asian Suckling Pig at a wonderful restaurant called the Lotus. Hmmm hmmm good!!!!

Heidi and Kim's trip to the Islands

Heidi and Kim decided to visit St. Thomas and spend some time both on land and on sea. We had fabulous times, none the least were getting stuck at low tide while trying to sail back into the Marina. Not once, but twice!!! And this was the first time I ever got stuck before. Well, I really can't complain, because being stuck on a sandbar with these two georgous fun loving women was about all I could ever hope to have happen to me, being the red blooded american young (old) stud that I am. Huh????!!!! OK, dream on, buddy. Anyway, we had great times, like listening to and meeting and playing accordian with The Fiddler Guy (with a great baritone, my buddy Aaron, singing vociferiously in the background!); doing the Red Hook bar crawl; taking in midnite happy hour at Duffy's; snorkling at Trunck Bay; schmoozing RRRRRRRoberto at Carigas (formerly Bottoms Up). Hope Heidi and Kim come back soon!!!