31 December 2009

St Lucia Day 3 – New Year’s Eve

Mike has his list organised so after breakfast we go over to the hardware store in an attempt to find some of the things we need at more competitive prices than at Island Water World, but they don’t have much of what he needs so that plan falls through.

Back at the marina, I book a massage for New Year’s Day – one and a half hours’ worth of deep tissue massage.  I probably won’t be able to move afterwards.

The day passes in a flurry of activity, mostly from Mike, as he gradually gets through the mountain of things on his list.  I have to drag him away from his tasks to get ready to go out to the yacht club, and in fact we leave the boat so late we miss all the WCC shuttle buses there and have to pay for a private taxi.

We have a couple of the free drinks then I notice that it is now the New Year in the UK and make some calls, then get back to socialising with our sailing companions and organisers.

P1010326Photo:  Mike with Susan and David from S/Y Voyageur

P1010327  Photo:  Judith and Joe from S/Y Brown Eyed Girl

P1010329 Photo:  Mike (getting merrier by the minute) and I

P1010330Photo:  Three motley crews!

Over the last couple of nights, I have discovered that many of the wives/girlfriends are not actually doing all the sailing but are flying out to various places and meeting up.  What a pity.

Having been awake early (normal boat life) lots of people start to look distinctly tired by eleven but the promise of a bottle of bubbly for each boat keeps everyone going until midnight.  The bubbly arrives and fireworks start to go off all around the bay.

P1010332  Photo:  Celebrating the arrival of a New Year, and a very different one at that!

Trying to get a taxi back to the marina is impossible.  A group of us hang around by the roadside but there are now literally hundreds of people out on the streets in party mode and not a taxi in sight.  Mike and I decide to walk back as we can’t see the point in just standing there.  Walking up Rodney Bay Village strip we see an awful lot of flesh on show – I have never seen such short dresses and skirts since mine were that high in the early 70’s!  The road is just teaming with bodies and music thumps and screams from every club and bar on the way.  It feels like the pavement is vibrating.  By the way, Mike by this time is unable to walk straight, and is very happy.  My husband is quite amusing when merry.

Suddenly out of a side turning, emerging very slowly is a vacant taxi and Mike quickly nabs him for a ride back.  The music is so loud all around us that it feels like the taxi itself is throbbing, then I realise the taxi IS throbbing.  The driver has his music turned up so loud you can’t hear it so much as feel it, and all the time he has his mobile phone clamped to one ear and an arm hanging out of the window.  This along with the furry dice and the carpet on the dashboard probably makes him very cool but he’s a sweet guy and only charges what the guy charged us who took us there in the first place.  I expected a higher charge because of the time of night.

Mike gives him an enormous tip and we stagger back to the boat.  Well he staggers, and I keep him from falling off the pontoon into the water.  We are almost back at the boat when we meet Carol and John from S/Y Eowyn, a boat that was at Grenada Marine for some of the time we were there.  In fact, the other two members of their crew stayed at La Sagesse for a couple of nights.

They come back to our boat for a look around and are impressed by all the storage space and the freezer, the things their boat lacks.  Unfortunately Carol won’t be doing all the sailing but will join the boat in a few places along the way.

When they leave, John steps on the gangplank and there is an almighty crack - the end breaks apart, having eventually rotted through.  Is this the end of Johanne’s tottering torture?  Has the ‘gangplank of death’ gone to meet it’s maker?  We’ll find out in the morning!

30 December 2009

St Lucia Day 2

I wake up to grey, ominous skies and sure enough, it soon starts raining but doesn’t last long enough to wash all the salt off the boat although some of it goes.

Because I have been awake for some time before it gets light, immediately Mike wakes up I offer him tea in bed.  Poor man doesn’t know what has hit him, especially when I bring him a second cup as well.

The swell is quite high this morning and I am glad we are moving into the marina today.  We get ourselves organised then motor through the channel into Rodney Bay Marina.  What a difference a year makes.  When I was here last December, major works had started as the marina had just been taken over by IGY.  There was dredging work, landscaping and building all going on at the same time and now the marina looks great, with all the facilities you need, including the spa which I intend to make use of!

We moor up at the dock near to Island Water World as we are having the 330 feet of new anchor chain delivered today and having the old one disposed of.  Mike goes off to the shop to arrange delivery and exchange some other things that don’t fit/work, leaving me trying to re-arrange some stuff on the boat.  Within minutes four men (yes, four!) arrive with the chain.  Now I know it’s heavy but they have a pulley thing – it’s not like they are trying to carry the stuff.  Apparently they have come to measure it out which seems a little strange as we are having the entire length.  I start to talk to them about getting the anchor down on the pontoon and disconnecting it from the chain so they can remove the old chain and they look at me like I have just sprouted another head.  I say it has all been organised and they just tell me that they are just there to measure it out and get on with doing just that;  one drags the new chain out of the barrel, a second one walks away with an end (not quite sure why he did that), the third holds the tape measure (he’s obviously the head guy and not one of the grunts) and the fourth one … you guessed it, watches! 

So I go down to the shop and tell Mike.  It turns out the manager hasn’t told them about taking away the old chain (although he sent them down there – grrrr!) and he sends one of the shop girls down to tell them what the arrangement is.  The tape measure holder leaves, his job now done, and the other three watch Mike struggle to remove the shackle from between the chain and the anchor with his arthritic hands.  To be fair, after a minute or so the beefiest of the three steps in and takes over but eventually he has to send one of the watchers off for seriously big bolt cutters as the shackle has rusted so badly that it can’t move.  He manages to cut it and then we wind all the chain off the boat – until we get to the other end, where we have the same problem.  Mike squeezes himself into the bow compartment but can’t get enough leverage to cut it so the big beefy guy goes in and has a go.  He is literally dripping with sweat but after a few minutes he manages it and even hoses out the now empty bow compartment for us.  He has earned his tip!  The two watchers get nothing!!

They disappear with the old rusty chain and Mike and I clean all the rust marks from the stainless steel channel and off the bow of the boat, then thread the new chain onto the winch and wind all 330 feet back onto the boat, reattaching the anchor at the end which manages to swing, pointy end of course, into Mike’s knee right at the end.  He’s very good.  A bit of hopping around takes place but no swearing.  I’d have been swearing like a trooper if it had been me!

Once all the chain is on, we realise that we have forgotten to put the sodding markers on (to help us measure how much chain we put down) and have to wind all the bloody stuff back out on the dock, lay it out in measured lengths and stick the little rubber markers on at regular intervals and then wind it all back on once more.  This time the anchor gets me as I manage to just drop it on my foot, luckily only from a height of about two inches so my deck shoes are enough to prevent damage.  What a klutz!

P1010325 Photo:  Shiny new anchor chain and no rust in sight

By this time we are exhausted and hungry but we have to move the boat into its permanent mooring before we can stop, so it’s lines off, fenders to the opposite side (naturally) and off we go to the other side of the marina, where two kind gentleman from neighbouring boats take our lines.

We have some lunch then check in with the WCC office and do all the boring admin stuff that has to be done.  By the time we finish there’s just enough time for a quick shower and change before we go to the bar to meet some of the other people who will be our sailing companions on the cruise.

The event finishes quite early which Mike and I are grateful for as we both want our bed, and after a cup of tea, we are both tucked up for the night.

29 December 2009

St Lucia – Marigot Bay to Rodney Bay

It rains in the night but only for a few minutes, nowhere near enough time or water to wash off the mountains of salt that were deposited on Jeannius during yesterday’s sail.

Mike has perfect internet connection but immediately I get on to try to use it, it plays up.  Hopefully we will get decent, reliable wifi once we are in Rodney Bay Marina. 

Mike goes off to make us legal at customs and I play with the camera as Marigot Bay is extremely photogenic – they filmed ‘Dr Dolittle’ here with Rex Harrison many years ago, although it is very much more built up now with huge condos, hotels and shops.

 P1010295 P1010296 P1010298 Photos:  Views of Marigot Bay, St Lucia

We leave quite late in the morning as we only have six miles to travel up the coast to Rodney Bay.  Like yesterday, there is a huge amount of traffic on the sea.  Water taxis fly by, there are tour catamarans everywhere, more yachts than you can shake a stick at, commercial traffic and cruise liners.

P1010306 Photo:  “You wait all day for a yacht then three come along!”

P1010307 Photo:  Jeannius and Goliath

P1010315 Photo:  We count 4 cruise liners in town which explains the day cats!

P1010319 Photo:  The Queen Mary II is too big to get into port so waits outside ferrying her passengers to and fro

P1010321 Photo:  Sailing past the Queen Mary II

P1010323 Photo:  A Jolly Roger yacht, its passengers lobster red and legless on rum punch!

We arrive in Rodney Bay just after lunchtime and have a drink to celebrate.  The weather is glorious - clear and hot – and the sea in the bay is a beautiful shade of turquoise.

We have internet connection and make use of it, celebrating while we do, with a drink.  We got here and nothing broke!!

For lunch I make spicy pumpkin and coconut soup while Mike takes a little nap.  Later he goes into the marina to visit Island Water World and arrange for our new anchor chain, all 330 feet of it, to be delivered tomorrow when we are on the dock.  The rest of the afternoon is spent with me sleeping my white wine off and Mike fretting about how much he has to do before the start of the World ARC.  The thing is, when I question him about what exactly he has to do, he can’t think of many things, which makes him then think that he has forgotten them!  I think he’s just been organised and done them already.  We’ll see.

Note to Dr Walker:  You asked about which system we use.  It’s this one http://www.ubnt.com/products/bullet.php (the 2HP model).

28 December 2009

St Vincent to Marigot Bay, St Lucia

We leave a little later than we mean to but that is partly due to the wind and our mooring ball – let me explain.  By Young Island the wind is all over the place.  We just can’t get the sail up – it keeps getting caught in the lazy jacks – up, down, up, down, like a wh…. , well you get the picture!  In the end we just leave it half up and decide to head out and get some more consistent wind.  So I go to release us from the mooring ball and find that the lines are completely twisted around each other under the mooring ball and pull as we might, we cannot get the lines released.  In the end Mike puts Jeannius into reverse which works a treat.  Her pulling power is much greater that Mike’s and mine!

We fart around in the bay for ages before we manage to get the sail through the dammed lazy jacks (those things need a complete re-design!) but eventually we head out into seas and wind that are nothing like the forecast Mike has looked at this morning.  The seas are big and the wind is gusting madly.  We had hoped to head up the island on the east coast which would give us a better sail to St Lucia but in these conditions it will be horrible so we turn Jeannius around a full 180 degrees and go up the west coast instead, going past where we started just half an hour earlier.  What a difference!  Now we are going with the waves and it is really comfortable, so comfortable that I go down and prepare the vegetables for lunch just in case the weather changes later.  Good job I do!!

Again there are lots of yachts about, and hundreds of flying fish, some of them quite large.  The morning passes comfortably;  we are averaging 7.5 knots in no more than 18 knots of wind with both reefs in the main and the genoa reefed as well, then gradually the seas get lumpy (only way to describe them), with waves hitting us in front and side on, and the wind comes in gusts.  One wave comes crashing over the front, through the open windscreens and soaks us both and the whole of the cockpit.  After drying myself off I decide to lie down inside for a while.

About an hour later Mike comes in licking his lips.  He either wants me or food but when I offer him lunch, he seems pleased so I guess it wasn’t me he was after!  In heaving seas, legs firmly planted and almost tied to the stove, I make Indian scrambled eggs again.  It can be quite difficult eating in gusts of wind that scream sideways through the cockpit – they can whip the food off your spoon quicker than you can shovel it into your mouth, so we eat quickly and thwart Mother Nature.

P1010262 Photo:  Approaching St Lucia, Pitons in sight!

The sail to St Lucia is a real rollercoaster of a ride.  At times we are flying, at other times it feels like we are just being flung around in the sea, but we manage to hold our course and stay on our feet, although some of our possessions are flung around inside the boat as we find out later.  How our flat screen flew off the shelf and landed right side up on the sofa is beyond me!

P1010267 Photo:  Mike attempts to sort the lines out ……

P1010272 Photo:  …… then settles down for a read

P1010285 P1010286 Photos:  Posing with the Pitons


 Photo:  Club Med II sailing past the Pitons

At one point we have dolphins swimming alongside us but I rush to get my camera too late.  Having said that, there is so much spray and with the boat lurching so dramatically, I doubt I would have got any decent photos even if I had been in time.  As we arrive at Marigot Bay the sun is starting to set.  There are yachts coming in all directions into the bay as the light starts to fail and all the anchoring spots are gone so Mike has to get his wallet out and pay for a mooring for the second night on the trot – not what a cruiser wants to do!  As we sail in, flag flying, we note the number of boats that are sailing their ARC flags so Mike puts our 2002 one up too - it’s so tatty but he likes it.  I think our red ensign looks much better.

P1010277 Photo:  Flying the flag

Tomorrow we will head north for the last 6 miles to Rodney Bay, our last stop before heading out on the World ARC next Wednesday!

27 December 2009

Mayreau to St Vincent

I sleep badly until it’s time to get up, then I sleep like the dead until my cup of tea arrives.  Typical.

Mike tackles the watermaker.  He decides to go down to the glory hole before diving under the boat the check the intake valve.  After checking all the filters he finds one that is only half full of water.  There is a button which lets the air escape and hey presto, all fixed.  Phew!

We leave Saline Bay mid morning.  It’s really funny, after seeing virtually no other boats all the way down to Grenada in September, and virtually nothing moving on the water actually in Grenada over the last few weeks, there are more yachts out sailing here than you can shake a stick at, and it’s bloody rush hour.

P1010248Photo:  Yachts anchored at Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau 

We have the genoa and main up and we romp along at an average of 8 knots in just 16 to 17 knots of wind.  The sea is quite smooth and we overtake everything in sight.  Jeannius, with her smooth, de-barnacled, anti-fouled bottom and folding propellers is flying!  Actually we advance at an alarming speed on another catamaran causing me to cry out to Mike, “We’re getting rather close to that boat, actually we’re getting really close to that boat, Mike we are bloody close to that boat!”.  Mike, who is standing at the wheel the whole time, one foot away from me, turns to me calmly and says “I am right here, you don’t need to shout and it’s fine”.  With that, he casually turns the wheel a fraction and we shoot past her on her port side.  I just sit there muttering about there being a whole sea and why do they have to be so close to us.

P1010250 Photo:  A lovely gaf-rigged cutter passes us by

P1010245 Photo:  Too many toys?

The sea around the Grenadine islands is the same beautiful turquoise that it is around Anegada in the BVIs.

P1010251Photo:  Open sea and it really is that colour!

As usual, I have an afternoon sleep and only wake up when the boat starts to pitch about and make a terrible racket.  I get up to find that we are sailing down the east coast of Bequia where the sea is quite unsettled because the current is going one way and the wind is going the other way.  I remember this from eleven years ago and remember feeling quite seasick.  With that in mind I tuck into a huge piece of banana loaf.

We arrive by Young Island around 4pm and are immediately approached by a boat boy.  This is Jimmy.  He is adamant that we will need a mooring buoy and says he will pick out a good one and meet us there.  This is despite Mike telling him that we want to anchor (and pay nothing).  As luck would have it, the place we want to go is too deep to anchor and Jimmy is waiting around that spot next to a ball, so we hand over the lines, $15 US (cheaper than the BVIs) and wave him goodbye.

We get good internet connection here and catch up with some work before watching the Christmas edition of The Royal Family.

26 December 2009

Grenada to Mayreau – Boxing Day

Mike wants to get going relatively early so I have to heave myself out of bed in order to have a go on Skype which was playing up last night when I was trying to talk to Johanne.  It is just as bad this morning and again, eventually, we give up.  It’s even more frustrating as we actually paid for this connection!

Leaving Grenada we pass a motor yacht, an old one called ‘Talitha’.  She is huge but nothing like the sleek modern ones.  Even Mike passes a compliment about her appearance.  Apparently she was built in 1927 and has been owned by the owner of the Packhard company as well as the head of Woolworth and is now owned by the Getty family.  Little people in white uniforms scurry around the decks while we watch.

P1010214 Photo:  The 1927 built ‘Talitha’

The sail to Mayreau is lovely although I have definitely lost confidence on Jeannius which I do every time I leave the boat for a while, and this time it has been three months since I sailed.  I wobble around the place grabbing hold of anything and everything but gradually I get my legs under control.

Whilst under way it is calm enough for me to cook Indian scrambled eggs.  My friend Laura had a maid when she lived in Mumbai, and the maid used to cook this every morning for me.  It was delicious.  Mine lacked half the fresh ingredients that hers did and had the addition of bacon but was lovely just the same and a welcome surprise for Mike who thought he was just going to get a bag of crisps for lunch.

Later on I have a little nap.  With the fan on it is quite comfortable despite the heat outside but am rudely awoken by a terrible crashing noise which has me leaping, naked, from the bed to see what is happening as it sounds like the sails are going crazy.  Everything turns out to be fine – I have just forgotten how noisy it is in the cabin when we tack and the genoa is taken from one side of the boat to the other.  I have forgotten so much!  I go back to bed and manage to sleep for a little while longer.  Mike wakes me when we are ten minutes away from our anchorage in Saline Bay but fails to remember that this is the first time I have taken the sails down for ages and that we have a new rigging arrangement!

It takes much longer than the ten minutes he has given me to get everything ready, and in that time we are bearing down on a French yacht with its crew/guests in the water at an alarming rate.  They look horrified but Mike just waves to them cheerily and we fail to run into or over them.  We have a ‘discussion’ about this later and I remind him that I need more time for everything until I get back into the swing of things and learn the new system.  Little bugger!

I have no intention of leaving the boat to go ashore here.  The last time we were here together with Victoria was nearly 11 years ago when we chartered a Sunsail boat out of Blue Lagoon, St Vincent.  We went ashore for dinner, having made reservations over the VHF (and giving the boat name) and when we got back to the boat it had been broken into lots of our stuff was missing.  I know this was probably an isolated incident (the restaurant owner was horrified when we told him what had happened) and the break-in could have been done by someone from another boat just as easily as by an islander, but something like that leaves a nasty taste, and I have a long memory!  Mind you the incident did give us a few laughs afterwards, as reporting it to the police on nearby Union Island was something else.  There was test match cricket on the TV in the next room and the policeman kept running out of the interview room to watch it.  Only in the Caribbean!

Talk about being the only gay in the village (Brits will recognise the Little Britain reference), here we are the only Brits in the bay.  We are surrounded by French, Dutch, German, Finnish, Swiss and Norwegian registered boats. 

P1010218 Photo:  Mike hoists the yellow flag to show we have not cleared in

P1010233 P1010235 Photos:  … and we have a cup to tea in the developing sunset

I have been so deprived of sunsets in Grenada.  The way the hotel and marina were positioned I never saw one so this evening I go into sunset overdrive!

P1010229 P1010238 P1010242 Photos:  Beautiful sunset

Mike runs the watermaker again but there is still a problem.  It is only producing half the amount of water it should.  He will have to get his new dive gear out in the morning to sort it out but hopefully it will be something simple as it worked fine before the boat was hauled.

I start to prepare some of my provisions for the freezer.  I am terrified of running out of things for flavouring food so have bought rather a lot of onions, garlic, ginger and chillies.  I peel, slice, chop and deseed my way through a lot of it, but by no means all, and put them in Ziploc bags for another day.

I cook another okra curry and we settle down to watch a film.  Just before the curry is ready, I decide to add some of the dried, flavoured soya chunks that Jo and Kev gave us.  I hope we like it as I have already bought 6lbs of it for when we are at sea and are getting tired of fish (or haven’t managed to catch any!!).  I like it.  Mike isn’t so keen.  Never mind, Mike.  When it’s reconstituted, there will only be 18lbs (or 24lbs – I can’t remember if 1lb makes 3lbs or 4lbs) of it to eat!!!

25 December 2009

Grenada Day 23 – Christmas Day

It was a bit of a rocky, rolly anchorage last night but we were beautifully rocked to sleep and it didn’t bother us.  It was also fabulous to go to bed and stay dry as we had used the air conditioning in the evening to dry the boat out but turned it off when we went to bed and just relied on the little wall fan to keep us cool.

I come to slowly, luxuriating in a lovely clean bed with my new 400 thread Egyptian cotton bed linen, to see my husband’s smiling face next to me.  “Good morning, beautiful” he says.  He says this every morning, no matter how scrunched, bleary-eyed and grumpy I am when I wake up.  “Happy Christmas, would you like a cup of tea?”.  What more can a girl ask for?  Well, my South Sea pearl necklace that has been promised to me but that will have to wait until we get to the Pacific.

I lie and wriggle in bed, and my cups of tea duly arrive along with a still smiling husband.  I get up to another beautiful day, put on my bikini and make a few Christmas day phone calls on Skype while Mike pours me some champagne and orange juice.

Phone calls over, I make some scrambled eggs and bacon.  When I assemble the grocery items, I notice the eggs are from Wisconsin USA, the butter is from New Zealand, the milk is a Waitrose brand from the UK and the bacon is all the way from Redditch, about 8 miles from where we used to live in the UK.  How ridiculous is that!  We take it outside to eat in the shade of the cockpit.

P1010211 Photo:  Happy Christmas everyone!

P1010213Photo: Another glass of champagne slips down

After breakfast, Mike announces that we are moving round to Prickly Bay as we can clear out of customs there.  They are actually open on Christmas Day which means that we can leave Grenada tomorrow and head island by island to St Lucia.

He explains our new rigging system ie which brightly coloured bit of rope does what.  The new ones all look like the colours of Opal Fruits (are they Starburst now?).  We can pull all of them from the side of the cockpit now and even the main halyard now comes back to a winch so it goes up much more easily and smoothly.  However am I going to work those calories off now!

We arrive just outside Prickly Bay without mishap, if you don’t count the encounter with the fishing line cunningly hidden underneath the waves that is helpfully strung out across the channel as we leave ST David’s Bay.  Honestly, the fishermen would be the first to complain if we dragged their nets.  As it is, I spot it just before we go right over it, engines running, and Mike manages to get into neutral before any damage is done.  Getting the main sail down is now done with the new downhaul, which electrically pulls the main down even if you are not facing into the wind.  No use for the "’Sutton Method” any more, Steve.  The boathook can stay in its place!

We anchor and Mike immediately goes off to customs to clear out.  Luckily they are still open although they should have been shut – the guy hadn’t noticed as his watch was wrong – thank goodness.

The internet connection isn’t as good here so Skype plays up badly and keeps cutting out as the line drops.  It’s a good job I can use it to send text messages cheaply.

Mike and I have a little lie down late afternoon and read.  He seems to be a bit burned today and for some reason we both feel a little sick.  I think it’s all the tension and pressure of the last few weeks.  Certainly he has never spent so much money in such a short space of time on anything other than a house.  Oh, and a money pit boat!!

Neither of us feel like eating in the evening which is lucky as I don’t feel like cooking.  After a shower we just settle down to watch TV, just like any other Christmas Day really.  Not!

24 December 2009

Grenada Day 22 – Christmas Eve

Mike is awake early and moving around obviously wanting to get a head start on the day.  I wake up too but drift off for another hour before he starts making too much noise for me to ignore so I drag myself out of bed.  He wants to be at the boatyard by 8am so that there can be no excuses from Herve that we weren’t there for the radio testing when he arrived.

We pack up, check out (I don’t want to see the bill!) and leave.  Unfortunately the owners, Nancy and Gerry are not around so we can’t say goodbye.

When we arrive at the boatyard, it is like a graveyard again.  This is one of the reasons they probably wanted us in the water yesterday – they were more than likely worried that half the yard guys wouldn’t turn up for work, it being Christmas Eve.

Mike switches the watermaker on and it fails to start.  The motor turns but no water is produced.  There can be a couple of reasons for this.  It could just be just an airlock or the guys could have failed to remove the masking tape from the inlet pipe when they were doing the anti fouling.  Mike hopes it’s the former otherwise he will have to get his diving gear out and go underneath!  We strip the cabin, bed and all and down he goes into his glory hole emerging somewhat grubby and sweaty to announce it is an airlock and is now fixed.

Herve arrives on time and tests the radio system.  It seems to be working but with no one to talk to, who can tell.

Mike goes out to buy some last minute provisions and return the speakers to Island Water World as they are too big.  He swops it for the blue paint we need to finish the stripes, only realising when he gets back that he has bought Dark Blue instead of Deep Blue.  At least his supermarket shopping is more successful as he has managed to find champagne, orange juice, eggs, bacon and chocolate.  Alas, no smoked salmon.

I manage to talk to Victoria on Skype - not seeing her at Christmas is very hard.  I miss you sweetheart.

We have some of our local meat pie for lunch then start trying to clean up the boat.  I want to scrub the cockpit and decks as they are filthy with three weeks’ worth of dust and dirty workman’ feet.  They always take their shoes off before coming aboard but I think their feet are far worse than their shoes!  Unfortunately the water from the dock hose comes out at a trickle and we are unable to power wash.  I scrub with the broom but just get the top layer off.  It’s exhausting but it looks better than it did.

Mike wants us to get off the dock so we slip the lines and we’re off.  This is the first time I’ve moved across the water for three months and I discover I’ve lost my sea legs as I wobble around the boat constantly losing my balance.  The anchor is a bit of a pig to settle but it does eventually, although the boat continues to rock and roll as some southerly swells come in.  Thank God I’m on a catamaran and not a monohull!

We try to get some semblance of order to the inside of the boat.  What this actually involves is us moving everything from the salon into one of the empty cabins until we can decide what to do with it.  Just putting it off for another day but at least it looks presentable for now.  We shut the boat up, put the air conditioning on and spray the inside of the boat liberally with Bop to kill any mosquitoes lurking inside.  I’ve got enough bites to last me quite a while thank you.  We run outside before the fumes get to us and watch the boats rock and roll

I go for a shower but when I have finished, no matter how hard I press the pump button, the shower empties a drip at a time.  Now what?  Have they taped over the outlet pipe?  Mike answers my shouting and comes to investigate, pulling up the boards in our cabin to inspect the valves and pumps.  The pump filter is totally clogged.  He takes it out and hands it to me to clean.  It is totally disgusting, only made marginally better by the fact that whatever has clogged it has come from us (well Mike actually) as we are the only ones who use that bathroom.  I clean it out pulling faces all the time.  I did feel clean but by the time I have finished I feel I need a shower again.

By 7.30 and after a glass of wine (a dark and stormy for Mike) we are feeling a bit more human – exhausted humans, but human none the less.  Neither of us are hungry so we eat crisps and chocolate and watch Gavin and Stacy.  What a strange Christmas Eve.

23 December 2009

Grenada Day 21

Three weeks in the boatyard.  Hopefully this is our last full day.  The new propeller cones arrived yesterday so Mike fixes one together and attaches it to the boat – so much easier when the boat is out of the water.

He then has the laborious job of restringing the trampoline to the crossbeam – we had to untie it all in order to paint it.

We arrange a hire car so that we can go into St George to buy some provisioning for the next week and also to get the missing safety items that we need to comply with the WCC safety regulations.  However, later in the morning, Nicholas arrives and tells us that the boat is going in the water at 1 pm today.  All change again.

Louis arrives to cut the screws off that are sticking out rather dangerously from the ceiling.  As he grinds them down, sparks fly everywhere.  I have visions of my lovely (if rather untidy) boat going up in smoke, but he keeps dampening the steel down so that it doesn’t overheat and all is well.

P1010167 Photo:  You can just about see the sparks flying!

I manage to sweet talk Louis into chopping off the overlarge screws that stick out from the solar panel clamps and have been damaging the outer skin of our dinghy.

I am just cooking lunch when I hear the familiar bleeping of the Travel-Lift approaching.  I hurriedly get off the boat, grabbing my camera on the way to film the event.  The lift is manoeuvred into place then the slings are arranged in the right place (hopefully), then she is lifted and her supports are removed.  While she is in the air like this, men scurry underneath her and paint the very bottom of the keels with antifouling.

P1010174 Photo:  Jeannius is airbourne!

Then the Travel-Lift starts to bleep again and she is off.  As it heads down towards the sea, we walk behind, rather like a funeral procession.  As long as she stays afloat (after all, holes for various wires have been drilled into the hull since she was last in the water) we won’t be having a burial at sea!

I leap onto the back of the boat just after she goes in the water and throw the lines to the guys waiting either side of the slip.  Gradually the slings are lowered below the hulls and withdrawn, leaving Jeannius, thankfully floating on the water.  We motor out, just managing to clip the wooden pilings at the end of the slip due to a sudden gust of wind, but it’s a gentle clip and my paintwork is not damaged.  Heads would have rolled!!!

We tie up just round the other side of the slip.  We have already proved that both engines work.  We turn on the generator – that works too and both the fridge and freezer come start up so we know we can go shopping.  Firstly though, Louis and about 5 other guys come over to put the main up to check that there are no hitches with the new rigging arrangements.

P1010179 Photo:  Final adjustments are made …….

P1010176 Photo:  … and all is pronounced to be OK

As it is now nearly 3pm we leap in the car with Tim, our ‘neighbour’ from the boat that has been standing behind us for the last three weeks.  We visit Island Water World where Mike spends a fortune (the actual amount he refuses to tell me) on safety equipment that we hope we will never has the misfortune to use, then we go food shopping.  How we manage to fit everything in the car I don’t know but we just about do.

I unpack everything and fill up the fridge and freezer.  It’s so nice to have them working again, and now they both have new seals they should stay colder and use less power.

Having dumped all the safety equipment in the salon, it looks more of a mess than ever.  We lock the boat up and go back to the cottage for our last night.  We are halfway through watching a film when Mike says he wants to go back to the boat to check that she is OK where we tied her as the wind has changed direction.  He is gone for ages, but returns having tied Jeannius even more securely with even more lines.

22 December 2009

Grenada Day 20

We meet Gerry, Nancy and their puppy, the delightful Molly in the restaurant as they are going to take us into the mountains to see a bit more of Grenada and their house.

P1010145Photo:  Molly, a Blue Lacy , with blue/grey eyes

You can feel the air cool as the car climbs the hillside.  Apparently the top is shrouded in mist a lot of the time but today we have clear blue skies.  The house and gardens are absolutely beautiful.  It was built two years ago and is timber framed.  The views are stunning.

P1010151 P1010153 P1010154 P1010163 P1010164 P1010156 Photos:  Views of Nancy and Gerry’s beautiful mountainside home

They grow most (if not all) of the fruit that is used in the restaurant at La Sagesse and the grounds are tended by a lovely Rasta guy who lives in a little house there.  What a beautiful spot.

P1010155Photo:  Nancy and Gerry on their veranda 

They take us back to the boatyard where the views are not as beautiful!  I put another coat on the blue boot stripe which looks marginally better than it did with just one and Mike fiddles with the dinghy, devising a system for pulling it up higher than we have been able to for our long passages, and another coat of anti fouling goes on – a nice pale blue colour, as requested by Victoria. our daughter.

As usual, we are the last people working in the boatyard, and we leave absolutely exhausted.  I know I take the piss out of the speed the guys work here but I have to say, the heat really saps your strength.

When we get back to the hotel, I grab my netbook and head for the bar.  There is a good wifi signal there and supplies of Sauvignon Blanc.  I have two very large glasses (thanks Sammy) and a long session on Skype.  Very late I wander back to our cottage to find Mike flat out, already asleep.

21 December 2009

Grenada Day 19

We arrive at the boatyard to find that one layer of undercoat had been applied yesterday after we left – the guys really wanted their overtime!  By 10am they are busy applying another coat but Isaac is now saying that the boat needs lots of time to dry out and although Wednesday is possible for going back into the water (the slot we have booked) it would be better if we could wait until Thursday, so Mikes go off and books a slot for 10am.

He also buys more masking tape, rollers and paint for the blue boot stripe.  Naturally we can’t get the same make as the green paint which was so good, nor the same colour as the original, so we will have to do it all rather than a patch job which is what we hoped.

It takes ages to do the masking out even with us both doing it.  There’s nearly 400 foot of it (and that’s without the top stripes which will have to be done in Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia).  Eventually it’s done, Mike cleans it off and I put the first coat on with a roller.  For some reason it doesn’t adhere that well in places so I know I will have to do it all again tomorrow, but I know that it already looks a whole lot better than it did.

We leave relatively early (4pm) as we are going to have dinner with Jean and Gordon.  I am absolutely exhausted as I have been on my feet all day in the heat and immediately we get back to the cottage I lie down on the bed with my feet in the air.  It only helps a bit.  We can see Jean and Gordon swimming and wave to them from our veranda.

At 5pm they call for us and drive us to their house in Westerhall.  We sit outside having a drink until it cools enough to go inside and eat.  I’m glad to see that although they are both native Grenadians, they have both lived outside Grenada for long enough to be as neurotic as me about getting bitten, so the mosquito screens are all being used!

Jean, apparently, never cooked when she lived in Canada and has been learning since getting together with Gordon.  I’m very pleased to say that her meal, which included baked barracuda and roast sweet potatoes, is very good.

P1010141 Photo:  Jean and Gordon

After dinner Mike repays their hospitality by sorting out Gordon’s computer.  Where ever he goes, he seems to do this for people.  He loads Skype and some games that have disappeared, before they drive us back to the hotel.  It is a lovely evening.

20 December 2009

Grenada Day 18

We both manage a good night’s sleep and wake up around 6am refreshed.  Well Mike wakes up and he wakes me up by rummaging around in the fridge which is next to my side of the bed, trying to pour himself a glass of cold water, so I whinge for tea to be made.

When we get to the boatyard, we are the only people there.  I have decided that I will go back up the mast to do the painting higher up, so I get my stuff together, and armed with primer (which is now practically the consistency of toothpaste but at least it can’t drip) and camera, I clamber into my giant nappy and up I go.  It’s like an obstacle course going up.  First there’s the sail bag to get over, the stays and lazyjacks to avoid, and each time I encounter something attached to the mast, I have to unhook my life line, get past it then re-attach it.  I reach the spreaders,  take some photos and paint the bits I missed yesterday. 

P1010128 Photo:  You can just make Mike out sitting on the bow

Then I make the mistake of glancing up.  Now I am higher, I can see more places, much higher up past the spreaders that need painting so Mike hauls me up further.  The boat is now a very long way beneath me, I mean REALLY a long way so I get the camera out again.

P1010132 Photo:  That’s a long way down which means I’m a long way up!

I am now four fifths of the way up and the view is amazing.  At this height I don’t need to tie myself to the mast as I swing only a foot away from it.  I hang there and take photos before putting the camera away and get on with the real work.

P1010133Photo:  Grenada Marine looks more attractive from above 

Getting down is interesting.  It’s the same obstacle course as yesterday but this time I have to avoid going through the painting that I did on the way up (thinking it was the only piece I had to do).  But I manage it.  Back on deck, I go to start putting a second coat of paint on the boot stripe but the guys have turned up and are doing a bit of rubbing down as well so I wait for them to finish.  An hour later they have gone and I do my painting while Mike attempts to clean out the shit coloured calcium from the toilet pipes in preparation for re-routing them into the holding tanks rather than the sea, ready for the Panama Canal.  A very revolting job!!

P1010135 Photo:  Rather you than me, Captain!

We’ve bought some REALLY noxious stuff called “On&Off” – a very nasty mix of chemicals that removes anything from anything as long as you rinse if off within 60 seconds otherwise it eats holes in it.  Mike holds the brown calcium caked valve (wearing gloves) and I gently pour a small amount over it, over a bucket of water.  Smoke rises and the brown gunk just fizzes away.  It is truly horrible stuff but boy, does it do the trick!

After Mike is thoroughly scrubbed down, we have lunch at the bar/restaurant again and it is very good.  We both have the fish – ocean gar – which neither of us has heard of, cooked in ginger and garlic.  When we get back to the boat there is activity as another coat of epoxy is going on.  When they finish we strip the masking tape from the boot stripe and it looks really good.  The problem is that we now have to do all the blue as well otherwise the green will make the blue look worse.  As we have no more masking tape we call it a day and phone for our lift back to the hotel.

We both go for a swim and meet Gordon and Jean, the two Grenadians that I met on the beach last week.  We chat for a while and they invite us for dinner tomorrow to experience some Grenadian hospitality.

Mike starts to feel like he is burning so we swim back to our little cottage and have showers before catching up with some PC work.

P1010137Photo:  Mike in his usual evening position

P1010136  Photo:  That view and the sound of the waves – just beautiful

I admire the view for a while then catch up with my blog.  Another good day’s work.  We eat the remainder of our bread brick for tea and watch a DVD for our evening’s entertainment.