We have closed the circle. We are back in Trinidad and have been hauled out and are getting the boat ready for the summer.
We prepared to leave Granada by offloading a lot of “stuff” that we would not need on the boat over the summer. Our friend, Sperry, is storing it for us. Once we had everything off we then needed to decide when to go. We had an appointment at Power Boats in Trinidad to be hauled out May 4. Checking with our weather advisor we decided to take the opportunity that was coming up on Tuesday, April 24th. Better to arrive early then to be stuck with weather problems. Tuesday we pulled anchor and motored to Prickly Bay to take on fuel and to check out of the country. As we entered Prickly Bay the engine started to act up, losing power and then died. The symptoms were the same for running out of fuel. We still showed a half a tank on the gauge but we all know that they can be wrong. Were we out of fuel? Opening the fuel filter showed that it was empty. It wasn’t getting any fuel. We quickly put out the headsail and proceeded to sail into the bay making several tacks to get into a position to anchor. We picked a spot and dropped the anchor. We dropped the dinghy from the davits and I headed to the marina to see if I could get a can of diesel. All of our fuel jugs are now in storage. With a borrowed can and five gallons of diesel, I headed back to the boat. We added the fuel to the tank and primed the filter and pump and she started right up. We then pulled the anchor and maneuvered to the fuel dock and tied up. I was a bit surprised when it only took 41 gallons. We still had a half tank. Something else is the problem, I am suspecting there is something in the tank that is blocking the pickup and causing the engine to starve, drops off when the engine dies. I need to look into it a bit more. After checking out we ran into Dean and Kim from Dreamcatcher and sat down to visit for a bit. They had watched us sailing in and thought we were just showing off, they had no idea how much adrenalin was pumping through our systems as we were coming in. After the visit we moved out to a mooring to get everything ready for the trip. We figure at best it is a twelve hour trip and if we leave in the morning we arrive in the dark so instead we leave in the evening and arrive sometime in the morning.
At 5:00 pm we dropped the mooring and headed out, next stop Trinidad. We had decided to just run with the headsail and the mizzen since the forecast was for winds out of the ESE at around 15 knots. Usually they run a bit higher so we did not want to have too much sail up. We set a waypoint and we then had a line on the chart plotter to guide us. After a couple of hours it was evident that there was a strong west flowing current. We adjusted the sails and our course to minimize it but at one point it had us about five miles west of our line and heading to Venezuela. Eventually the current weakened and we were able to work our way back on coarse again, even moving a bit east. In the morning the current started to build again but we and had gotten enough easting that we were still on course for our waypoint. The track on the chart plotter looks like we were drunkenly weaving our way along. Most of the night we had better then a half moon and it was a beautiful night to be sailing. Eventually we lost the moon but in a couple of hours the eastern sky was getting lighter. We saw the lights of a number of boats but nothing came close to us until the next morning and we still had a lot of room to pass by. During the night the winds died off and we started to drop from five knots to four, to three and by morning we were down to two. The winds had died to below ten knots; it was time to start motoring. We had 25 miles to go and the gps said it would take another fifteen hours to the waypoint. We made our waypoint, went up the channel between two islands without the rough water we had experienced when we left in December and motored into the bay to pick up a mooring. We had arrived. We dropped the dinghy and made our way to the dock at Customs and Immigration to check in. Once that was taken care of we dinghied over to the boatyard to let them know we had arrived. Since we were showing up a week early they had offered to move up our haul out. We would be hauled out the next day, after lunch. It had been a long trip, nineteen hours and we were beat. We keep four hour watches; someone is always on deck and keeping a watch while the other tries to sleep switching off every four hours. We are able to get some rest but we still get very tired.
We were up early the next morning to get ready for the haul out. Just before noon we dropped the mooring, maneuvered to the dock and positioned the boat to be lifted. Once tied up the work crew left for their lunch and we waited. The haul out went without any problems and soon we were resting between the stands and a worker was giving the bottom a good cleaning.
It was our first night without the boat rocking or rolling since we were launched December 11, 2017. We had traveled 876 nautical miles, or just under 1000 statute miles. Most years we will stop and spend a couple of days at a marina to service batteries, take on provision or just take a break but this year we did not. Every night was either on the anchor or on a mooring ball, a first for us. We visited six countries and I am not sure of how many islands. Our Spot reports that we stopped in 26 different locations. I have entered these locations into a Google map and have added a link to it over there on the right side of the blog page.
We have about three weeks to work on the boat and then we will be flying back to South Dakota and Minnesota for the summer. Next year’s pan is still in the works but obviously it will begin in Trinidad somewhere around November, where we will end up is still to be decided.