Coast guard inspection? Check!

While performing the open heart surgery on our holding tank, we also passed our Vessel safety check from the local Coast guard auxiliary! Which could save us some aggravation at a later date, during the summer.

It was full day event organized with the Coast guard Auxiliaries, and the fire brigade. A real hands on event where you were able to try some flares and all sorts of safety devices, something you don’t get to see on your every day basis! You read the book, you ask question but until you have the real thing you can never be certain whether you are equipped with the right tools or not. Rather than being boarded and then fined we opted for the old adage : “Better safe than sorry” and joined the festivity organized by our marina. And later in the afternoon we connected with a very friendly officer, who found us in compliance on all aspects.

Here is one thing we learned and want to share with you : the fire extinguisher. The ones you can find at home depot, be sure to check the bottom of it. The two numbers stamped under are in fact the year of manufacture, they are still valid for 6 years before refill. There is also another kind with plastic handles,  cheaper but non-refillable another thing to take in consideration when you are purchasing them. To illustrate this : I had purchased some this past September 2010 and they were made in 2006, so next year they were done! To re tag was $15  or buy a brand new one $40…  a no brainer really. Hence we have now have four metal ones mounted in their bracket along with 4 spare ones.



In a field nearby we were able to try out our expired flares! Evidently this brought some excitement to shoot guns and burn highly flammable products, with enough uniforms around to keep the ladies eyes happy and busy for a while! Fire department, coast guards, auxiliary and other agencies were at the scene, after all it was a day on safety and you do need to supervise some 50 crazy sailors discarding hundred’s of those flares…

What did we learn? The pistol one’s are useless : Although easy to find and small, you really can’t see them in daylight, they last 3 seconds and make more noise that light. On the other hand the flare showed below burns like crazy! One point to remember: make sure that you are downwind and that your arm is well extended over the water. Because if your boat is not on fire, it will be, by the time it’s done burning. Look at the picture below and see the drop of melting plastic coming off it.

The orange smoke one, is just amazing. Very expensive but worth every penny, the Coast guards will find you from anywhere once they start looking for you, everyone stopped their activities when those ones started.

*V*  playing relay, well it’s one way to run quickly!


No noise but smoke galor.

*B* at the practice range.

As we all know in the end of course nothing replaces an Epirb! I told you we had fun over the week-end…

Why don’t we go to an island where all the flare in the world will get you little help, being so remote. Prince Edward Island, not the one in Canada comes on. But the one in South Africa. Now you are running to Google aren’t you?

The Prince Edward Islands are two small islands in the sub-antarctic Indian Ocean that are politically part of South Africa.  The two islands are named Marion Island and Prince Edward Island.

The islands in the group have been declared Special Nature Reserves under the South African Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, No. 57 of 2003 and therefore entry to the islands are restricted to research and conservation management activities only.The only human inhabitants of the islands are the staff of a meteorological and biological research station run by the South African National Antarctic Programme on Marion Island.

The islands were discovered in 1663 by the Dutch ship Maerseveen and was named Dina (Prince Edward) and Maerseveen (Marion). In 1772, Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne visited the islands and spent five days trying to land, thinking he had found Antarctica (then not yet proven to exist). In 1776, his expedition, now headed by his second-in-command, Jules Crozet, after the death of du Fresne, met James Cook in Cape Town. Cook subsequently set sail for the islands, but was unable to attempt a landing due to bad weather conditions. Cook named the smaller island after Prince Edward, the fourth son of King George III, and to the larger gave the name of Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne.

The first recorded landing was in 1803 and was made by a group of seal hunters. These sealers, however, found signs of earlier human occupation, probably other sealers. James Clark Ross also visited the islands in 1840 but was also unable to land. Finally, the islands were surveyed by Captain George Nares in 1873.

In 1908, the British government granted William Newton the rights to exploit guano deposits for the next twenty-one years, and a ten-year grant for seal exploitation to a sealing company in 1926. Also in 1908, shipwrecked hunters established a village at the north coast, called Fairbairn Settlement.

In late 1947 and early 1948, South Africa annexed the islands and installed the meteorological station on Transvaal Cove on the north-east coast of Marion Island. The research station was soon enlarged and today researches the biology of the islands, in particular the birds (penguins, petrels, albatrosses, gulls) and seals. Today, the research station is called RSA Marion Station.

On September 22, 1979, one of the US
Vela spy satellites recorded an activity near the Prince Edward Islands, which was initially interpreted as the “double flash” of a small nuclear test. The event is still controversial and is known as the Vela Incident.