Thursday, February 6, 2014

Power Of A Net

Cruising Community French side towards Port Royal and Marigot City Center
VHF Channel 10
As I mentioned before VHF Channel 10 is the cruisers channel here in St Martin and each morning there is a cruisers net, except Sunday.  Mike at Shrimpy’s runs this net and does a great job with a good dose of humor thrown in to keep it light and entertaining.  The purpose is to share important information with all the Cruisers.  He kicks it off by saying “Goooood Morning Cruisers.  This is Mike at Shrimpy’s and I will be your net control for this morning’s net.  Any objections please come now.”  (*Other nets throughout the Caribbean on VHF and SSB have a different person as net control for each day thus sharing the responsibility.)  Then he covers the following items in order each morning
·        Safety/security
·       Arrivals/departures“If you have just arrived in St Martin please give us your boat name, the      names of your crew and a little bit about you.”  
·       Announcements – like on Wednesday he reminds everyone about cooking gas (gas bottle refills at Budget Marine drop off before 9am for return after 4pm).  Additionally he reminds cruisers of the services Shrimpy's offers.  Others like Coastal Canvas announce their services.  Custom Fit announces the services they provide cruisers and cruiser Mason on s/v Out of Africa announces that he services all wind generators onboard his boat.  Another cruiser announces that he repairs clocks.  Yet another cruiser announces they have flats (cases) of Oettinger beer - supposedly Germany's best selling beer (as near as we can tell the equivalent to PBR or Natty Light in the US)... for $16 each delivered to your boat.  Time Out Boat Yard has been announcing the last week about their Marine Flea Market coming the first Saturday of the month.  
·      Buy/Sell/Swap/Items looking for – cruisers announce things they have for sale, or for free and other cruisers come on to ask for things like – explore charts for Bahamas.
·      Anything in general –this wraps up the net with anything else anyone wants to announce, ask, get assistance on and such.  s/v Sea Life announced the Sheer Hell Hike coming Sun 9am –some hike up really steep hills for all that want to join them….we did not!  But s/v Terrapin did.  See their hike here s/v Terrapin.
There immediately after there is a flurry of radio calls with boats trying to connect with each other on the various items mentioned on the net or make plans for the day.
Cruising community Marigot Bay - outside the lagoon on the French side
Cruising community inside the lagoon on the French side need the causeway bridge
 Jan 29th

Tom and I were just finishing up a late dinner in the cockpit when an announcement came over the VHF on channel 10 – “All cruisers, all cruisers.  There is a medical emergency on a boat in Simpson Bay Lagoon off Witches Tit.  A cruiser has had a seizure and medical assistance is needed from someone with medical training.”  Numerous boats jumped to action.  The original caller acted as net control for the emergency taking the various radio calls, organizing the actions and communicating with the crew (wife) onboard the boat with the emergency.  Shrimpy’s was contacted to arrange transportation to the hospital on the French side.  It was amazing to listen to how fast everyone responded.  Within 5 mins a retire EMT trained cruiser was onboard the boat.  Within another 10 mins, they had the guy off the boat, into a dinghy and on the way to Shrimpy’s.  In the mean time, several other boats launched their dinghies and headed to Shrimpy's to help get the guy out of the dinghy, up onto the dock, into Shrimpy's and finally into a car - no easy feat.

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