Saturday, August 5, 2017

Settled in for the summer

I just wanted to add an update.  We are in Spearfish SD staying with Cori's folks and working at a couple of part time jobs.  We have some high-buck items we want to add to Hi Flite so we choose to get jobs instead of just taking the summer off.

Our plans are for Cori to make the trip back to the boat sometime in October to work on a couple of projects before I return in November.

Winter plans are to visit the islands we passed by and to revisit some we enjoyed but didn't spend enough time at.

We will keep you posted.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

British Virgin Islands to Newport RI by way of Bermuda

Someone once said “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.”  When it was suggested that we crew for Lee and Sharon on Allegro returning their boat from the BVI to Newport RI we thought it could be an adventure.  Well, we had an adventure.

We finished up getting Hi Flite ready for summer storage and in the early morning caught a ride to the Trinidad airport.  When we tried to check in for our flight to Tortola we were informed we did not have the proper documentation to enter the BVI and we may not be allowed to board the plane.  They finally decided to let us on the flight but the documents from the boat captain had to be faxed to the airline in Antigua before we would be allowed to continue.  They got the documents while we waited to change planes and we were on our way again.  Once off the plane in Tortola we were told by Customs they still were not happy with our documentation but we were allowed to enter the country.  There are strict rules about having a return ticket or some other proof that you are not entering their country with no plans to leave.  Once cleared in Lee met us and we were ready to take the short walk to Trellis Bay where the boat was waiting when the skies opened up with pouring rain.  Once that was finished we rode out to the boat to stash our stuff and came back in for lunch and some wifi.  Trellis Bay is the site of the full moon party and there was going to be a full moon so there were a lot of boats in the harbor and music running late into the evening.  The next day Tony flew in and joined us onboard.  He was going to be the fifth member of the crew.  In the morning we moved off to several other anchorages until it was time to meet with the other boats that were making the trip.  This is a rally run by The Salty Dawgs with about twenty boats involved.  Some were going to the Chesapeake, some to New York and New England and others like us were going to stop in Bermuda on the way.  There were several parties and weather briefing sessions over the weekend and then on Monday most of the boats left.

We left Nanny Cay Marina about 9:30 Monday, the 15th, and worked our way around the island and then were on our way.  We set our course and were off with about 860 miles to go.  We were having a great sail and all was good.  A couple of hours into the trip we had a wave break next to the boat into the cockpit and everything was wet.  The thing about salt water is that it never dries.  It leaves a salt residue and always feels damp and then you drag that salt into the boat and it gets on everything.  At this point we were only uncomfortable but it got worse.  Later in the day while Cori was on watch the auto pilot acted up and shut down.  Lee tried troubleshooting it and found that after the wave broke onboard it migrated down into the locker and got into the auto pilot computer.  After several tries to solve this it was evident we did not have an auto pilot for the rest of the trip.  We began hand steering with six days to go.  We modified the watch schedule so there were two on watch switching off steering every hour.  Steering in the open ocean is a challenge with no fixed points of reference and at night it even harder.  The second night we got a light taped to the compass so we could use that instead of the instrument readout but we were still stuck with staring at the compass and trying not to oversteer.  We had one squall hit and it was timed for just as dinner was being served.  The salsa went flying but the burritos were saved.  Each day the winds would vary so that we were making several sail changes and motorsailed when it was too light.  Our days were set up with four hours on and four hours off when we tried to get some sleep and everyone was getting tired.  The last night and day approaching Bermuda the wind died and the water was flat calm.  Saturday morning we entered St George Bay and reported to Bermuda Customs and Immigration.  After checking in we dropped the anchor settled in.  We made a short trip to shore to check things out and get some ice cream.  Nothing tastes as good as ice cream after a long trip.  Many of the boats going to the Chesapeake were diverted to Bermuda because of bad weather off the east coast so we had a lot of company while we were there.

There were several reasons to stop at Bermuda.  Sharon was going to fly back to the states to help with the grandkids, Chad, their son was going to take her place and the America Cup races were scheduled to start.  Chad was also bringing in a replacement computer for the auto pilot and we did not want to continue to hand steer.  We spent a week sightseeing, checking out the other end of the island where the races were to take place but the race village was not open to the public yet.  We got to watch the first set of races for the eliminations but the second day we found that they were better to watch on television then from shore.  We spent an afternoon in The White Horse Pub drinking dark and stormy’s and watching the races.  One day there was a party for the Salty Dawgs on a private island that had been in the host’s family for four generations.  The house had been built in 1868.  There were several tall ships that arrived and more are scheduled to be there during the races.  They were not open for tours yet but we got a good look at several of them while tied up to the wall.  Cori and I took a day by ourselves and took the bus to the other end of the island to check out the race situation, the old British Cemetery and to walk a beach looking for seaglass.  The cemetery is unique to us because the headstones tell how the person died.  I was surprised by the number of graves of children and how many died in several yellow fever epidemics.  While Cori walked the beach I found a spot to watch the races.  The beach Cori was checking out was next to a former dump and the shore is littered with broken glass that is being ground down by the waves.  It was the first time she reported to being overwhelmed by how much there was.  This was when I found that there is not much to see during the race until the boats get close to where you are.  On Sunday Chad flew in with the part.  In the evening Lee installed it and spent several hours configuring it.

Monday morning, the 29th, Sharon left for the airport and we pulled the anchor to maneuver around the harbor calibrating the auto pilot.  Once we were confident it was working we re-anchored and Lee went in to check us out of the country.  We were on our way again.  As we were leaving the harbor we met with a cruise ship coming in and misread where they were going and basically tried to get run down.  Another adventure was underway.  This time we were going to have a watch schedule of someone in the cockpit during the day and each of us taking a two hour shift during the night.  We were not going to be as tired as the previous leg.

Once we were clear of the island and reefs the seas started to build and it was getting a bit rough but the auto pilot was doing a great job.  It continued to build overnight and in the morning it was rough with seas coming at us from a variety of directions.  We were pretty much riding in a washing machine again.  Something tripped in my system that morning and I suddenly felt sick.  I have not been seasick in years but something clicked and I was hanging overboard getting rid of breakfast.  This knocked me down for two days.  I pretty much slept for the next two days except for my nightly watches.  While I was out the others were keeping things running and the seas were getting progressively calmer.  We were approaching the Gulf Stream and that had everyone worried.  The forecasts were all over the place.  If we hit the stream at the right time and place we could expect relatively mild seas and light winds or if the impulse the weather people were watching turned into a low we could see winds into the 50’s.  Every forecast was different.  We hit the stream and the seas built topping off with some swells at about 15 feet.  Several squalls hit but the winds did not rise above the mid-twenties.  We exited the stream before nightfall and we had a nice ride with light winds and a quarter moon lighting the way.  We eventually had to start the motor and continued on.  We arrived at the entrance to Narragansett Bay Friday morning.  As we arrived at Newport harbor we were approached by a Coast Guard cutter and they requested to come aboard for a safety inspection.  We maneuvered around the harbor with the Coast Guard following us until the inspection was done and then pulled up to the dock at the Goat Island Marina and tied up.  We let the Coasties off, their boat came in to pick them up and Lee made arrangements to meet with Customs to officially reenter the country.  We had traveled about 640 miles this leg giving us a total of almost 1500 miles traveling from the BVI’s to Rhode Island.

Cori and I have rented a car and are going to making a run up to New Hampshire to pick up a used sail we bought and are going are spending several days with her brother who has recently moved to New York City.  After that we will be making a run to North Carolina to visit our storage unit to drop off the sail and pick up some boxes of stuff that we are taking with us to South Dakota.  We will then be spending the summer in Spearfish SD until October or November when we return to Trinidad and re-launch Hi Flite.


We signed on saying that this might be an adventure and it turned out to be one but not a negative experience.  It did make us want to go back to Bermuda to experience more of the island.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Bermuda

We are in Bermuda but with limited Internet access. We are enjoying ourselves and yesterday watched the first of the Americas Cup qualifying races. We will be leaving Monday for Newport RI and will update when we get there and have better access.  We left Hi Flite in Trinidad and are helping friends bring their boat back to the US.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

End of 2016-2017 cruise

Granada to Trinidad

We had everything ready on the boat and we left the marina for a mooring ball in Prickly Bay.  We wanted to be there because the Immigration and Customs office is right there and it is a straight shot out of the bay for when we leave.  We paid for two nights because we plan to leave on Sunday to arrive in Trinidad on Monday.  If we arrive on a Saturday or Sunday we would have to pay an overtime charge when we arrive.  We made a trip to Immigration and Customs to check out of Granada on Friday so we would not have to pay an overtime charge to check out on a weekend.  We were supposed to leave Granada by 2:00 pm Saturday but stayed the extra day illegally.  On Saturday Cori took her kayak and met up with Sperry and her fishing friends to help out another day.  In the evening we met up with Mike and Helga from Making Mischief for happy hour and pizza and to say good bye to friends.

Sunday was our last chance to get ready to move.  The waterline had gotten very dirty while at the marina so Cori got in with her scraper and scrubbers to clean it while I got the batteries topped off one last time.  We don’t want low batteries on a passage.  About 5:00 pm we raised the mizzen and main sails, with two reefs in the main, and dropped the mooring to head off to Trinidad.  We were leaving in the evening because it is about a 12 hour trip and if we leave in the morning we would arrive after dark.  We started off doing 7 knots but as the night went on we ran from 4-6 knots.  The seas were running 7 foot but again, as we continued they dropped to about 4 foot.  There is also a strong current running east to west so we needed to compensate for that in our piloting.  By morning the winds had dropped to the point we had to motor the last 5-7 miles.  We arrived in Chagaramas about 10:00 am and started looking for the Customs dock.  We missed it, got into a tight harbor and had to get turned around without hitting anyone.  We made it and back into the main harbor we asked a couple in their dinghy where we were supposed to go.  Their response was to pick up a mooring and dinghy in which we did.  Once we cleared Immigration and Customs, no small feat, we made a side trip to Power Boats Marina to see where we were going.  Before moving to the marina we stopped at the fuel dock to top off.  I felt like a power-boater.  We needed about 45 gallons.  Everything here is metric and Trinidad/Tobago dollars.  We put in 169.8 liters at a cost of $892.00 local currency.  Sounds like a lot but it is about 48 gallons at a cost of $86.00 US.  From there we moved to the dock we had reserved.  We had a mess when we tried to dock.  The slip was bigger than we are used to so our lines to the pilings were too short and the stern was not secured as we tied up the bow and we ended up against the boat in the next slip.  Fortunately he had a lot of fenders out.  Cori got into the dinghy to get multiple lines to the pilings and eventually we were tied securely.  It was our poorest showing of docking skills in many years.  We were lucky there was no damage to either boats but our pride took a beating.  I almost wanted to do it again to show them I do know how to dock our boat.  We spent three days at the dock removing the sails and getting ready for the haul out.

One more chance to laugh at Dale: we are putting the dinghy on the foredeck so it needed to be cleaned.  I took everything out of it, including the oars, and motored around to the dinghy dock.  Or tried to motor to the dock.  I ran out of fuel not quit there, with no oars, only a bucket.  I tried paddling with the bucket but ended up leaning over the side and using my hands to finally reach another boat so I could pull myself to the dock.  The marina manager saw me and called over to tell me not to worry, they would not let me drift off to Venezuela.  They didn’t have to launch a boat to get me but were ready to.  After cleaning it up I added a bit of fuel and motored back to the boat and got it hoisted onto the deck.  Next was giving the bottom a good scrubbing.  In the evening we joined a group of cruisers for a pot luck dinner.

Thursday morning we were hauled out and moved to where Hi Flite will be spending the summer.  The only mishap was when the lift operator caught a water spigot and broke it off flooding the area until maintenance could get around to fixing it.  We have been working our butts off getting everything ready.  We got the hull polished, the biggest job and are working at getting everything stored away.  We have never left the boat for this long and everything needs to be removed and stored out of the weather.  The biggest concern is the humidity.  People complain about coming back to several months of mold growing.  We are taking a friends advice and renting an air conditioner to run while we are gone to control the humidity.  We are enjoying the culture, what little we see.  We are eating breakfast and lunch from the roadside stands outside the marina but have not gotten any further afield.  We will have to wait until November when we get back.

Now a review of the trip: we left North Carolina November 21st with our first stop in Puerto Rico.  From there we moved to the Spanish Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Leeward Islands and then Windward Islands finishing up in Trinidad.  We traveled a total of 2376 nautical miles or 2734 statute miles.  We essentially traveled from New York to Los Angeles at about 7 miles an hour or just a bit faster than a jogger.


This brings us to the end of our 2016-2017 winter cruise.  But not to worry, we are starting our next adventure tomorrow.  We will be flying to the British Virgin Islands to meet up with Lee and Sharon on Allegro to be crew for them as they bring their boat back to Newport RI by way of Bermuda.  Once back in the USA we will work our way to Spearfish SD for the summer with plans to return to Trinidad in November to relaunch Hi Flite for the next adventure.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Granada Part Two

We are still in Granada getting things running and preparing for the next leg of the trip.

I was able to get the bilge pump working with a new switch, I had to buy one but that means I still have a spare.  Cori finished up repairing the sails and brought them back to the owners.  This being Thursday we took the bus to the Brewery for cruisers music jam again.  It is interesting, there is a bus that will come to the marina to pick you up and will provide a ride back later.  The cost is $10 EC, when you pay the driver you get a voucher for a free beer.  The beer costs $10 EC.  I haven't figured out if I am getting a free ride or a free beer but we are enjoying it.  Wednesday Cori worked on polishing the stainless steel and the electrician came by to get us hooked to 110 volts.  It still doesn't work and he can't figure out why.  He has made several more trips with assistants but has not gotten it to work so we finally gave up.  If we need to charge batteries we are running the generator.  Not everything is easy here in paradise.

Thursday Cori took a bus to True Blue Resort for a free cooking class.  She ended up the only one there but says it was enjoyable.  She learned how to make fish lasagna with white sauce.  On  the boat I Googled how to replace the pull rope on the generator and decided I could do that.  What a mess.  While dismantling it I had a group of wires come out of their holder and I did not catch the order they were in.  The holder was slightly damaged and the wires would not clip-in securely.  At this point the generator would not start.  I had them in the wrong sequence.  I downloaded the service manual (thank goodness we are in a marina with wi-fi), verified the order they should be in , tried again with no luck.  One more try, making sure that the wires stayed in the connector when I plugged them in but still no luck.  I made a trip up to the shop that was repairing the pump to talk to them and was able to get a replacement cable off of an old generator they had for parts.  This color combination did not match what the service manual showed but what the heck.  Oh, I didn't mention that when I tried to get access to the other end of the wire there was a small spring that popped off.  Luckily I found it but while putting it back together it popped off several times.  I was able to find it each time.  Eventually it all went back together, I connected the cable, reassembled the generator and it started and ran.  I did't mention that everytime I tried something I had to reassemble the whole thing to try and start it.  I am now capable of tearing a Honda EU2000i generator apart and getting it back together again.

Friday the parts for the pump arrived.  I made the assumption that I would get it back and be able to reassemble everything and leave the marina on Sunday so I went to the office and payed up.  When I went to check on the pump I was informed that the service kit had evidently been put together wrong.  There were two of one part where there was only one needed and no seal.  We had the right number of parts but not the right ones.  Another kit was ordered and we were promised it would be here on Wednesday.  Everything was being Fed EXed from outside the country.

Saturday the highlight was free banana bread at the marine store.  In the afternoon a group of us caught the bus to partake in what is called a Hash.  I had never heard of a Hash but it is very popular here and when I Googled it found out it is a big thing all over the world and is done here every Saturday.  A Hash is a form of a hike. A hashmaster sets up a course or several courses for people to follow.  They will vary in how hard of a hike it is.  This week there were two courses: a short walkers, a long walkers mixed with the runners course.  The trail is marked by clumps of shredded paper and there may be some false trails to lead you astray.  Parts of the trails are not on established trails so there is some boon-docking involved.  We chose the short walkers trail and it was still intense.  We had to cross several rivers (streams) there were a couple of areas of steep climbs and descents, some nice open paths and some spots of "where the heck is that trail?"  The Hash starts and ends at a location with beer and food concessions set up along with pounding music on a sound system.  The food was either grilled chicken and fixings or oil down.  According to a Google search: Although many things in Grenada have been influenced by the Europeans over the years, oil down remains something purely Grenadian. No imported spices or seasonings, no choice cuts of meat here. This one-pot meal is made up of local veggies, “provisions” (the local term for starchy roots, tubers, and bananas that fill you up), salted meat, and aromatic seasoning —  all easily accessible, affordable ingredients in Grenada. All these components are combined in a large pot and cooked down in coconut milk over an open fire. In fact, the name of the dish comes from the coconut oils released from the coconut milk as it simmers and is absorbed by the other ingredients.  While sitting and resting we were approached by a couple that picked up on our accents and figured we were from the Midwest.  Jonathan and Susan have bought a house on the island they have been fixing up and will be moving here full time next year.  Johnathan was from Sioux Falls SD so he picked up on our "accent."  After the Hash we rode the bus back to the marina with only one stop at a bar along the way.  It was about 9:00 pm and showers felt good getting the mud, dirt and sweat off of us.  I should mention that the beer and food cost $10 EC each which translates to about $3.75 US, pretty cheap beer and food.

Oil down.


Sunday we were told is the day to go to Hog Island Beach to hang out with the other cruisers.  We were also told not to bother getting there until about 4:00 when the music starts.  It is a nice beach with very fine sand, a "bar" which is just a run down shack and several people with grills that are selling grilled lobster, chicken and a few other items.  There is a small group of cruisers that provide the music and a there are a number of picnic tables.  It was well after dark when we got back to he boat.  Cori was able to sell some of the sea glass she has been collecting to one of the cruisers that makes jewelry so we almost drank for free.  Again the beer was $10 EC.





Monday we joined up with Mike and Hilda from More Mischief and Tom and Jake from Epiphany for a tour of the island.  We got picked up at 8:30 and dropped off at 5:30.  It was a long but interesting day.  We rode around hearing of the history of the island, seeing a variety of the fruits that are grown, one of the waterfalls, toured a nutmeg factory, a chocolate factory and a rum distillery that is still producing rum using techniques and equipment from the 1700's, and saw monkeys.  I did not get a photo of one of the monkeys sitting on Cori's shoulder, he moved off too fast.  Here are some photos:



Sorting nutmeg.


Drying nutmeg.  Granada produces 60% of the worlds nutmeg.


Cocoa sorted for processing.



Nutmeg.  The red and brown shell is Mace and the nutmeg seed is inside of that.


Sugar cane fields used for the making of rum.


Water wheel that turns the cane crusher.


The cane crusher.


Rum distilling.


The final product.


Planes at the old airport from the US invasion in 1983.


Jake and his new friend, until the banana was gone.


Cocoa beans.


Cocoa bean.



Tuesday morning Cori left early to go fishing with her new friend Speery for conch and sea urchins.  He dives, his sister drives the boat and Cori helped with cleaning the conch.  Speery was the local guy that drove her around during the sailboat races on Easter Sunday.  I made another shopping bus trip to pick up a few fresh items.  Otherwise it was a pretty quiet day.

Wednesday was a big day.  Cori had made an appointment with a local dentist to have our teeth cleaned.  It had been several years since we are spending all of our time traveling.  The price is right, under $100 US for both of us and there is no difference between here and the States in technique and equipment.  Once back to the marina we checked and the pump was done.  I spent the rest of the afternoon reinstalling the pump and everything else I took apart to get at it and did a test run.  The pump was pumping water and not leaking.  Success!  However the alternator was no longer charging.  I tracked sown a connection that had broken.  Once that was fixed everything is as it should be.  We are ready to move on.

Today, Thursday, we were going to check out but decided to stay one more day.  Cori is off with Speery fishing for conch and urchins again and I am charging batteries and updating the blog.

We plan on leaving the marina tomorrow, checking out with immigration and making our way to Trinidad over the weekend.  Once in Trinidad we will be getting the boat hauled out for the summer.

Just a note on our preparations for this trip.  Today I had my last diet coke and yesterday I opened my last bag of breakfast cereal.  We are running low on things just as we had hoped for but still have too many provisions to finish off before we leave.  We may have to give some away.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Carriacou & Granada

On Wednesday, 4/5/17, we made the run to Hillsbourgh.  It was a bit convoluted.  First our driver needed to pick up more students, drop them off at the school, head out around the other side of the island to pick up his wife, stop at a teachers house to pick her up and then drop her off at the school.  Then we made our way to Hillsbourgh where he dropped us and his wife off.  We did a bit of wandering around the main street checking out the tourist center for information.  After a bit we caught another bus to go out to Windward.  We had heard of a man there that is still building wooded boats the old way.  We saw a lot of the island and when dropped off we walked over to his yard where he has a 60+ foot boat under construction.  His last boat was in the 40 foot range.  He has been working on this one for two years and says he hopes to launch in December.


 After riding back to Hillsbourgh we had lunch, bought a few vegetables and fruit from vendors and caught the bus back to Tyrell Bay.  Thursday Cori went to shore to look for sea glass and I took care of charging the batteries and making more water.  Later we dinghied around in  mangove salt pond.  While riding through the anchorage we came across a boat we recognized.  It used to be next to us at Matthews Point Marina.  The new owners are out cruising the islands.

On Friday we pulled anchor to make our way to Granada.  Raising the anchor was interesting since the control for the windlass started acting up.  First it would run intermittently then it stuck on "up".  This worked until the anchor was on the roller and I had to quickly disconnect it to keep everything from getting jammed.  Along the way I had time to take it apart and in spite of it being "waterproof" it had gotten salt water inside and corroded the electronics and the "up" micro-switch.  When we put out the headsail we found that the winch that controls the sail was not working properly.  We made do and I can take it apart later. The route from Carriacou to Granada takes you over the  active underwater volcano known as Kick Em Jenny and you have to stay clear of the exclusion zone.  Once past that we made our way down the west shore having a great sail in fifteen knots of wind with about a three foot following sea.  We had an idea where to stop for the evening and maybe go ashore for their Friday Fish event but the anchorage was not one I wanted to spend the night at so we continued on.  Along the way Cori had her fishing gear out and caught another barracuda that went back and then another nice black fin tuna.  When we got to St George Bay we started scouting a place to anchor.  We decided instead to move over to Dragon Bay and pick up a mooring.  Just around the point at Dragon Bay is a dive and snorkeling site that features an underwater sculpture garden.  Once we were settled on the mooring I noticed that the bilge pump would run about every five minutes.  We pulled the cover for the engine and found that the pump that brings in the cooling water for the engine was leaking.  After that I took the winch apart but could not find anything wrong and once back together it was working just fine.  In the morning I jumped overboard with my snorkel gear and went around the point to see what I could find.  The coral was in tough shape and there were not a lot of fish to see and I never did find the sculpture garden.  I think I figured out where it was but it was further away then I cared to swim.  Next time I will have to use the dinghy.

Saturday morning the batteries were low again so I ran the generator and watermaker before we moved on.  I like running the watermaker while the generator is running since that way they do not have a draw on the batteries.  We make between three and four gallons an hour so a couple of hours of charging the batteries also gives us a couple of days of water.  We rolled out the headsail and sailed off the mooring heading for Prickly Bay.  The guides show that most of the cruisers activities center around Prickly Bay and you can catch a bus or taxi at several locations when you need to visit town or go on excursions.  We pulled into the bay and started looking for a spot among the many other boats to anchor..We came up to the mooring field and a couple of "boat boys" talked us into renting a mooring ball.  It was only $10 per day in US money and gave us access to the marina facilities.  In the evening we went in for their half price pizza special.  Unfortunately there was nothing special about the pizza but at least they did the cooking for the night.

Late Sunday morning we went to shore and walked to where we were told we could catch a bus and made our way to St George to check out the Port Louis Marina.  We had seen a notice of a music festival there.  Once there we found out that it will be next month.  We consoled ourselves with beer, a burger and fries and wi-fi.  Once back at the boat I got the generator out to see if I could fix or replace the pull cord that chaffed through and broke.  I got it working but it still needs some attention and a new rope.  At least now I know how to take the generator apart.

Monday morning we went to shore at Spice Island Marina because there is a Budget Marine store there.  They do not handle the pump we need so we walked down and caught a bus to the Island Water World store.  They also do not carry our pump but were able to tell me who to contact to maybe have it rebuilt.  From there we caught a bus to take us downtown to be tourists and to stop at Digicell to get a SIM card for my phone.  I now can make phone calls and have a data plan.  We are able to communicate again without having to sit in a bar or restaurant.  Back at the boat we went to the marina office to pay since they were closed when we came in on Saturday.  We got the code for their wi-fi, got keys for the showers and treated ourselves to nice long hot showers.  Back at the boat we connected our wi-fi extender to their signal and settled down to downloading and getting up to date.  It is amazing how we take having the Internet, emails and messaging for granted and miss it when we don't have connectivity.  Unfortunately we were not getting a great signal from the marina and after the signal dropped one too many times our extender could not attach to it.  We had the same problem while in St Martin and there is no easy solution.

Thursday we decided to stay on the mooring ball another day so we went in to pay and then walked up the road to The West Indies Brewery.  They make Cori's new favorite beer.  We hung out for the afternoon using their wi-fi and then went back to the boat to get ready for the evenings entertainment.  There was a cruisers music jam scheduled for the evening at the brewery.  There are some very talented musicians in the cruising community and they provided an evening of very good and entertaining music.

We had been making phone calls on Monday and Tuesday to make arrangements to get our leaking pump to the repair shop and since they are located at Clarks Court Marina we made arrangement to rent a slip, I don't want to be sitting at anchor or on a mooring with the engine dismantled.  Wednesday morning we dropped the mooring and motored the five miles around to the  marina.  Once tied up we needed to wait for the engine to cool down before I removed the pump.  I also talked with the marina about getting a 110 volt connection.  I want to give the batteries a good charge and run an equalize cycle on them.  We had heard on the morning cruisers net that there was going to be a full moon party at one of the other marinas.  We took the dinghy across the bay and caught a bus with a group of other cruisers to the party.  They had three bands playing and food and drinks for sale.  A good time was had by all.  Thursday we hung out on the boat waiting for their technician to get us connected to the electrical system.  They use a 220 volt system and we use 110,  By the end of the day he had it figured out, he made a patch cord that connected the appropriate sized transformer to one of our shorepower cables and we would be set.  By now it was 5:00 pm.  It doesn't work and he can't figure out why, it may be a defective transformer.  Did we mention that Friday and Monday are Holidays and they also don't work on weekends.  We still so not have power.  Maybe on Tuesday.  Also while we were waiting we decided to do what is called "pickling" the watermaker.  This process cleans the membranes and prepares it for storage.  We won't need it until next season since we can fill the water tanks here at the marina for free.  It is a simple process but not everything happened to match what the manual says to expect.  I have been emailing the manufacturer (in Minneapolis) and they have given me a number of things to try.  They believe that it is OK but want me to give them a call after the weekend.

Friday was Good Friday and is a Holiday here so almost everything is closed.  We spent the day with the boat, Cori washed the boat, I did some troubleshooting on the watermaker and then I hoisted Cori up the mast to reset the wi-fi antenna.  The reset button they want me to hit is on the radio that is attached to the top of the mizzen mast.  While she was up there the reset didn't help so I had her remove it and I can deal with it on deck if I can get some network cable.  Did I mention it is hot here?  It is in the 80's and 90's with a stiff wind blowing all of the time

On Saturday the supply store here at the marina was open in the morning so I was able to buy a new control for the windlass.  They also told us where we could catch a bus into town if we walked a ways. We walked to where we thought they said to go but no bus came.  One of the marina employees stopped and told us the bus did not come there but she would give us a ride.  On the way she showed us where to catch it but it is further then I care to walk.  We told her we wanted to go to Prickly Bay so she dropped us off at the Prickly Bay Marina.  We should have been more specific, we were at the wrong part of the bay and had no way across.  Cori asked a gentleman at the dock if when he finished refueling if he could give us a ride across.  Not a problem but we would have to wait until his passengers arrived.  About a half hour later we were ready to go.  We wanted to go to The True Blue Resort for their Easter craft show and from the other side of the bay we could walk there.  Instead he gave us a ride around to the next bay and dropped us off at their dock.  There were a few thing there Cori was interested in and when we left we needed to find an ATM to get more of the local currency.  Google maps showed where to go and we started walking.  We let a number of buses pass by and when we got closer and stopped to check the map a taxi stopped and offered a ride, $10 EC.  We told him we didn't have it but he said to get in and he would take us to the bank.  It was a good thing, it was going to be a lot further on a much busier street.  Once we had cash he was ready to take us anywhere.  We wanted lunch, and we wanted local food, as in "where would you eat?"  He took us downtown and around several side streets to the back of a supermarket with a restaurant upstairs.  It was where the locals eat, we were the only two white people there and not sure what we were eating but it was good and inexpensive.  The cab driver not only took us there but showed us how to get upstairs and led us to the buffet line for his $10 EC ($3.75 US).  After lunch we walked around a bit, I bought a network cable, my big purchase for the day.  I had figured out how to fix the wi-fi extender.  We walked down to the market with all of the stalls selling goods and wandered into the fish market.  I pointed out a big tuna to Cori but the vendor said that is we wanted to see a big tuna to follow him.  He led us in back and opened a bin.  Under the ice was a yellow fin tuna around 150 pounds.  It was caught just a couple of miles offshore so it was fresh.  After buying some fruit from one of the street vendors we started back to the bus station but stopped to take a look at the old meat market.  It is a very old building with the windows broken out.  Inside are several booths set up with rusty steel partitions and each booth had a chopping block, a big knife and various chunks of meat sitting out with no refrigeration.  Very different than what we are used to.  From there we loaded up on a bus to go back and it was packed.  Instead of taking the number one and getting dropped off at the end of the run with a long walk ahead we caught the number two that goes to Woburn.  We explained to the bus driver that we wanted to get dropped off at the closest spot to the marina.  We figured that would be a shorter walk.  His understanding of closest is to drop us off near the town dock where we would have caught the bus if we had crossed over in our dinghy.  Once again we were on the wrong side of the bay.  There was no other option then to start walking.  Fortunately we had not bought much.  Eventually, as we neared the marina a taxi that someone had called to pick them up offered us a ride.  After arriving hitting the shower felt real good.

Sunday, Easter Sunday, everything is closed but we had heard that the Woburn Sailing Club would be having their Easter races.  They are the local working boats so when we saw them getting the boats ready we dinghied across to check it out.  It turned out to be an all day event.  The boats are wooden construction with a wood mast, a bamboo boom and a piece of bamboo lashed to the mast at an angle to reach the top of the sail.  The sails are lashed to the mast and boom with no provision to raise or lower them.  All of the rigging is done on shore with the boat on it's side and then pushed into the water.  There were four races.  The start is uncontrolled chaos.  The crew is trying to get into the boat, someone is bailing like crazy and the boats and sails are bumping and hitting each other until they get enough maneuverability to separate.  Cori made friends with the escort boat and she got to ride with him for each race and at one point towing one in after it broke it's rudder.  In one race one of the boats had to go ashore, lay the boat on it's side, re-lash the mast extension back into the race.  It was a great day except for the pounding music they were blasting us with.  Cori got handed a plate of the lunch they had cooking in a pot over an open fire, some kind of rice and meat dish.  I never found any meat on the bones, they may have been there to just add flavor.  In the evening we dinghied back to our boat for the night but could hear the music that went on until 1:00 am.

Monday, still a Holiday so everything is shut down.  I was getting ready to start the generator again when Cori looked into the bilge and noticed the water was higher then usual.  The automatic pump was not coming on.  I spent several hours troubleshooting and splicing wires trying to figure out why it was not getting power.  I believe it is the switch that connects the float switch and the pump.  The pump is not getting the message that it needs to run.  We have a spare but can't find it.  They sell them at the store here in the marina so in the morning I'll go get another.  They are not expensive and I would have to buy another spare anyway.  Cori spent her afternoon repairing sails.  With the generator running she got out her sewing machine and repaired several sails from the race boats.  She had tried to repair some of their sails with adhesive sail tape but it did not hold and one of the boats tore their sail when they got too close to another boat.  At the end of the evening she had collected their sails and rinsed them down so they would be ready to sew today.

On another note, several weeks ago in a message to our good friend Weezie, I said that things were going great and nothing had broken.  Since then we have had problems with the windlass, a winch, water pump, wi-fi extender, watermaker and the bilge pump.  I should know better.



Sail repair.


Local work boats.


This is how they pole out the headsail for a downwind run


No way to take the sail down when you break your rudder and get towed in.

Chaos at the start, people in the water, boats bumping, sails and booms colliding.
See the video below



video

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Carriacou Island

We have Internet!  We are in Tyrell Bay on Carriacou Island.  There is an organization here, The Carriacou Children’s Fund, broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal to the harbor.  For a donation they will give you the password.  The money is used to raise funds for the school and the students.  It is a win-win, we get internet and they raise funds.

We spent a couple more days in Isle de Saints sightseeing and relaxing.  We joined Bob and Brenda form Pandora for a golf cart tour of the fort and the island.  The views from the fort and a variety of other locations were spectacular.  The fort is well maintained and set up as a museum of the island.  I only wish it had more information about the fort itself.  On Wednesday I decided to address our fuel situation.  We are down to about a third of a tank of diesel and I am not comfortable with running low.  We only carry 80 gallons.  The next bay over has a fuel dock for the fishing boats, it is only accessible from the water: no roads lead to it.  We took our three jerry jugs, borrowed another and a gas jug and motored around to the dock.  It is too small and shallow to go by sailboat.  Back at the boat we added the new fuel to the tank bringing us up to a half tank, enough that we can motor all of the way to Trinidad if we had to.

Thursday, the 30th, we dropped the mooring and started our way South again.  We have several islands as options to stop but we wanted to get further along.  We figure we will stop at those islands next year.  Cori had her fishing gear out and caught a barracuda that we were happy to let go and a big Mahi that started stripping the line off the reel until he broke the line and left with the lure.  We know it was a big one when we saw it jump after the hook was set.  We really wanted that fish.  The winds were out of the southeast and in the afternoon switch around to the southwest with a lull in between that we motored through.  It was a little rough.  We sailed and motored through the night and then sailed on Friday.  The winds had shifted more from the east and we had a nice broad reach with the waves slightly behind us.  This is how we love to sail, later in the day it dropped again and we went back to motoring.  We were making between 4 and 7 knots and our chart plotter was showing that we would arrive at Carriacou around midnight.  We do not like arriving at night so we decided to change headings and stop at a little bay on St Vincent for the night.  It was the perfect location.  A black sand beach, high hills on three sides to protect from the winds, and we were the only ones there.  We also had a problem with the fuel again.  The priming bulb was collapsed and restricting the fuel to the engine.  We cut our rpm’s and it ran all right again.  In the morning I decided to eliminate the priming bulb and rerouted the fuel line.  So far it is working.

We left St Vincent early, we had not checked in so were technically not allowed there and set sail again.  We had another great day of sailing, the wind on the beam and following seas.  Cori had the fishing line out again and after catching and releasing another pesky barracuda she caught a real nice skipjack tuna.  We decided to stop at Mayroux Island for the night instead of going on.  We could just anchor for the night and if we didn’t go in we wouldn’t have to check-in.  St Vincent and the Grenadines are expensive to check in and out of and we didn’t want to pay.  We will do that next year.  Patrick, one of the local “boat boys” came out and tried to talk us into taking a mooring and visiting the restaurant and shops on the beach but we told him we had not checked in yet.  His advice was to raise the courtesy flag so it looked like we had and then we wouldn’t be bothered.   We ran the generator for a while and the water maker then settled in for a quiet night.

Sunday morning we took our time getting going since we only had about 15 miles to go.  We had stopped so that we would not arrive on Saturday and when we checked in we could say we arrived late on Sunday.  There is an overtime fee for checking in on the weekend.  As we were approaching Tyrell Bay Cori caught and landed another nice black fin tuna.  We are in tuna heaven.  We maneuvered into the harbor and around several boats and dropped anchor.  We were approached about going to a mooring but we are secure and comfortable where we are.  Since we were in early we got to watch the other boats as they arrived.

Monday morning we went to check in.  We had read several reviews in Active Captain about the anchorage and several have negative things to say about the Immigration and Customs officials.  Some of it is right.  When we arrived there was a lady mopping the floor.  She said that the others were outside in the patio area.  There is a television and we got some news but the main report was about the subway bombing in St Petersburg.  I asked a man in a pressed white shirt who I needed to see to check in.  I was answered with complete silence.  About five minutes later he looked up and said loudly “good morning” and stared at me.  It seemed I was one of those annoying tourists that forget to greet before starting with questions.  We had been warned of this in several guide books.  Once he had made his point he gave me the forms to fill out but we forgot to bring a pen.  Not wanting to ask him for one Cori borrowed one from another cruiser that was also filling out paperwork.  We all waited outside until the floor was dry.  One guy got chewed out for going into the office and tracking the floor.  Maybe they should have put a sign on the door telling us where to go.  They then started checking people in.  When it was my turn it turned out that I didn’t fill my paperwork out correctly but with a few changes it passed.  The problem then was I couldn’t tell if he was talking to me or the Customs lady.  They had a constant conversation going with short interruptions to ask or tell me something.  Rather confusing.  Then it was time to pay the Customs lady.  Previous reviews had commented on and I have to agree that it seemed an imposition to interrupt her to pay our money.  And of course I didn’t have enough Eastern Caribbean money on me so she had to calculate the amount in US dollars.  It is easier to check in on the French Islands where I don’t speak French then to deal with these two people.  But we were in, passports stamped, papers filed and fees paid.  We won’t have to bother again until we check out in Granada.  We stopped at the restaurant next door to get the password of the Wi-Fi and then back to the boat to log in and get emails and start communicating with the world.  Later we went ashore to see what is there and find out where to catch the bus to see the rest of the island.

Today, Tuesday the 4th, we had planned to take the bus to Hillsborough, the larger town on the island to check it out.  We got up and decided to do a boat project day.  Cori slept in and once our neighbors left I did a check on the batteries, topped them off and ran the generator and watermaker.  Since we have ample power while the generator is running Cori defrosted the freezers.  Once that is done they run for a long time getting back to temperature so it is best to do it when the generator is running and the batteries can recover.   For the rest of the day we will hang out here but may run into town for an ice cream.  The shop was out of it when we stopped yesterday but said they would have more today.


We plan to stay here for a few days then make the move down to Granada to get ready for the trip to Trinidad.  We hope to find several other boats that are making the passage so we can travel together.