Friday, December 22, 2017


First and foremost we want to wish anyone reading this a Merry Christmas!

We are in Granada, we thought we were ready and we almost were.

First we need to go back to Trinidad and revisit our final experiences there.  We had planned on being launched on Monday the 11th just before lunch so we could sit in the launch slip and check everything out.  We had serviced all of the thru-hull fittings and the rudder post and needed to make sure everything was good and there were no leaks.  Usually this is rushed since the yard needs to move on to the next boat.  There was evidently some miscommunication since they picked us up and then went to lunch.  This gave us a chance to touch up the last spots with bottom paint but now we would not have the luxury to take our time once in the water.  After lunch we were moved to the launch slip and lowered into the water.  Everything checked out okay and we fired up the engine to move out.  This was my next worry, would we start?  Fortunately she started right up and we pulled out of the slip.  That is when it got interesting.  The wind was starting to push us to the right (starboard) and I began counter-steering, and steering and steering.  I had the wheel full over and instead of turning to port she just kept going more to starboard.  I gave it some thought, quickly, and tried turning the other way.  Sure enough we straightened out.  I had connected the steering backwards.  We moved out to a mooring but it took us several tries to pick it up because I kept steering the wrong way.  Once tied to the mooring I went into the depths of the steering area and tried to figure it out.  It turned out the steering cable needed to be crossed as it goes down the pedestal.  We took the pedestal apart and reinserted the cable, connected it all back together and it appeared to work.   We spent the night on the mooring and made plans to check out of the country the next day and move up to Scotland Bay to spend the night and leave the next day.  On the way in to meet with Immigrations and Customs we stopped to talk to Ron, Penny and Jessica on Arctic Vixen since they had just returned from there.  We were informed that Immigration would check you out and you had 24 hours to leave but Customs gave you 3 hours.  It was time to change plans.  We decided to spend the night in Scotland Bay and come back the next morning to check out.  We motored to the bay without incident and dropped anchor in one of the most beautiful quiet bays on the island.  We were greeted then and in the morning by the sounds of the howler monkeys but did not see any.  In the morning we went to pull the anchor and check out but there was one hitch: the windlass would not work.  150 feet of chain out and no windlass.  After a lot of pulling by hand I had the anchor on the bow and we motored back to the mooring field to go in to check out.  Check out went smooth with the exception that Customs gave us an hour and a half leave or pay an overtime fee.  Back at the boat we dropped the mooring and headed out at about 3:45 pm.  Next stop Granada.

The weather forecast was for winds 10-15 knots from the east with waves 3-4 feet.  They were partially right – there was wind and waves.  The wind was more from the north-east and just at the limit we could sail against it and the waves were running a bit more than 4 feet but from the east, right on the beam causing considerable roll.  After about an hour and a half the sun set and we were on our way in the dark.  The winds settled to about 15-18 knots and shifted a little more to the east but we decided to just keep motoring instead of trying to raise the sails in the dark with the boat rolling severely.  We made good time, running 6-8 knots and made our way North.  Just before sunrise we were arriving at Granada and had to slow down a bit to wait for the sun to come up.  We do not enter a harbor in the dark.  Once it was light enough we moved into the crowded anchorage and picked up a mooring just after sunrise.  Another successful night passage with a couple of rain showers.  We waited aboard until Immigration and Customs opened up.  We got checked in and then paid the marina for a week on the mooring and went back to the boat for a long nap.

Friday Cori took care of some business getting propane tanks filled and such while I started taking the windlass apart.  It turned out that water had gotten into the gearing and over the summer rusted everything.  With lots of scraping, wire brushing and spraying with solvents I got everything cleaned up, got most of the bearings turning and left it overnight to loosen the remaining bearings.  While taking a break from this a boat came over and informed us we were on their private mooring.  We dropped off and motored around to pick up one of the marinas moorings.  They were all full; we decided to pick up another one marked “Private” just before sunset.  In the morning I put the windlass together with a lot of grease and tested it.  It ran intermittently; time to tear it apart again.  The marina apologized profusely for not checking which mooring we were on and promised us we could move to one of theirs when a couple came free about noon.  We moved to the new mooring when it came free and made a quick dash to shore to get picked up for the hash.

A hash is a walk or run in the woods and a party at the end.  There are some rules and ceremonies and Cori got caught up in one.  There is a rule that since we are on private property we are not allowed picking or collecting any of the fruit.  Cori was interested in finding out what that one fruit was and was given one by the person tending them.  Once pack to the end she was accused of picking fruit and had to suffer the consequences.  They put a piece of PVC pipe that runs from your shoulder to your wrist, are given a beer and you are required to drink it which means pretty much just pouring it on your face trying to get some in your mouth.  The penalty also includes several people spraying and pouring beer on you.  This is a flagrant example of alcohol abuse but what can you do?  There is a very good possibility that she was set up but on the other hand they did not know about the cocoa beans and nutmeg that she had in her bag.

The next day, being Sunday we spent with our friend Sperry and his family as Cori went over the things that she brought for his wife.  She is a teacher at an all-girls school and Cori brought several large suitcases of supplies for her.

On Monday I got the Honda generator out to make some water and charge the batteries.  Unfortunately it ran for about five minutes and quit.  Attempts to restart it were in vain.  The marina contacted a mechanic to check it out but one last attempt to start it before bring it in succeeded.  I canceled the mechanic and went back to the windlass.  With more grease and testing with the motor removed everything looked good and I put it all back together.  It works!  The next test will be next week when we move off the mooring and anchor out.  The next morning I made another attempt at running the generator and making water and everything seemed fine for about an hour.  At that point it was running but not making any electricity.  A call to the marina lined up the mechanic and we brought it in.  While I waited for him Cori went off to get her hair cut.  Once I turned it over to him I caught up with her and we took a walk to the bank and shopping center to pick up local money and supplies.  In the evening we came in for showers and to go with friends to the brewery for beers and to listen to the music the cruisers were providing.  At the office l ran into the mechanic and he was very apologetic that it took more than the two hours he had promised.  It seemed to run so we paid him and went our ways.  The evening was enjoyable with a number of different cruisers getting up to play with the highlight of a bagpiper in full Scottish dress playing a number of songs.  You never know who will show up to play.

On Wednesday I finally got to run the generator and make some water and charge the batteries.  We annoyed the neighbors with our noise for five hours and made enough water for another week or so.  The generator did not run as smooth as before but it was running and making power.  That evening we went into the marina for bingo night.  This was the special Christmas bingo with a variety of cash and other prizes including a microwave, an oven and a refrigerator and a number of other small and gag prizes.  I didn’t win anything but I really don’t need the items they were giving out but would have taken the cash if it came down to it.  I ran into the mechanic and told him of my concerns of the generator and he said to bring it in the next morning.  When I came ashore with it the marina attendant was waiting for it since he had checked with them as soon as they opened.  I did not get back in the afternoon to pick it up but it was sitting in the office when I came in this morning.

It is now Friday the 22nd; we have been here just over a week and are getting ready for Christmas.  We think we will stay a couple of weeks then begin moving up the chain of islands.  Cori is back on the boat making a batch of her caramels and listening to the only Christmas CD we have on board.

We hope that everyone who reads this has or has had a Merry Christmas.  I will try to post again before the New Year.

Hi Flite in the slings ready to launch

Scotland Bay Trinidad

Arriving in Prickly Bay, Granada

Banana tree

The hash (hiking)

Orange tree

Cocoa pod

The bread-nut fruit that caused all the trouble

Sunday, December 10, 2017

We think we are ready

We think we are ready, we have scheduled our launch - just before lunch tomorrow.  Why before lunch?  After they lower us into the water we need to make a check of all of the through-hull valves and where the prop-shaft and the rudder post go through the hull to make sure there is no leaks.  We will have the time to check everything and get ready while the crew is off to lunch and we will not be so rushed.  If everything checks out we will move out to a mooring ball and finish putting everything back where if belongs.

The major projects have been checked off the list with the most recent being replacing some of the steering gear.  The steering wheel is mounted on a pedestal that has a chain running through it connected to cables that run through several pulleys then attach to the rudder post.  One of these pulleys was no longer turning when we turned the wheel and needed to be replaced.  A call to the manufacturer informed us that our system was well beyond it's expected life and most of it needed to be replaced.  Since being able to steer is high on our priorities we agreed.  Of course, any project creates several more.  While the locker that gives us access to the steering was empty we took the opportunity to replace the packing where the rudder post goes through the deck.  Unfortunately I couldn't reach it to do the work so we had to hire it done.  The pedestal is made of aluminum and had some corrosion in a couple of areas that I always meant to get at and now was the perfect time while it was out.  Again, I looked at it and decided there were two ways to do it, my way and the right way.  We opted for the right way and hired one of the workers to strip it, etch the aluminum so it would hold the paint and to paint it.  This turned out to be the right decision since it turned out looking like new.  Replacing the steering gear was almost an easy task, if you consider crawling in and out of locker and trying to work either upside-down or on your side with only one arm easy.  I only lost one nut to the bilge in the process, almost a record.  Of course Edson (the manufacturer) was right, we had reached end of life.  Several of the other pulleys could have been replaced but a local machine shop was able to replicate the worn center pins and there are as good as new.  The new chain and cable assembly went in without too much trouble.  The bearings and parts in the pedestal were replaced and it appears that the rudder is properly turning when the wheel is turned.  Steering is good!

Not all of our time was spent on projects.  We have met a number of other cruisers that are also getting their boats ready and a number of happy hours have happened.  We also took a day off to go on what is called "The Taste of Trinidad Tour".  This is a tour around the island stopping to sample traditional Trinidad foods.  Trinidad food is derived from African and East Indian settlers using their traditional recipes with the local fruits and vegetables.  The tour kicks off when the bus picks up at 9:00 am after the driver (Mr. Jesse James) has picked up some traditional breakfast dishes on his way.   We were eating before we left the parking lot and that is what we did for the next eleven hours.  He would drive for a bit, stop get a dish which we could all sample.  There were nine of us on the tour.  There were many foods I cannot remember, pronounce or will ever have again.  Only a couple of them I would say I did not like.  By lunch time we had made over 13 stops and had sampled around 40 different dishes or fruits.  Lunch consisted of five Indian dishes eaten at a beach on the east side of the island with the Atlantic Ocean behind us.  From there we continued.  We lost count of the number of dishes we tried.  Some of the memorable one were: bbq pigs tails (delicious), cow heel soup (okay), and what Jesse called the "alien fruit" which he was able to get at one of the fruit stands.  It is not a fruit but looks somewhat like a flying saucer, if you use your imagination.  After chopping off the top we found brazil nuts inside with the shells easy to crack open.  Brazil nuts fresh off the tree, who would have imagined it?  We made stops at every imaginable restaurant,(we stayed in the bus), roadside vendor, roadside fruit stands (one selling pickled fruits), and even a stop at a cocoa field to steal a cocoa pod for sampling of fresh cocoa beans.  The day ended with a stop at an ice cream vendor in Port of Spain, the capital city.  Eleven hours of eating, traveling and learning about this beautiful and fascinating island and it's people.  We took one evening to experience several steel band performances.  The steel drum originated here after WWII and has become an art form.  During Carnival in February there is a steel band competition with bands in different size classes.  We saw five bands in the 20 member class perform.  Bands can be up to about 120 members.  We have often heard one or two drums performing but that is nothing like twenty playing their hearts out.  I have posted one of the Christmas songs to our YouTube channel.

We finished a couple of minor projects: touching up the bottom paint and the non-skid paint, scrubbing the boat down, servicing the thru-hulls and just getting prepared for the coming season.  We have made a couple of trips for provisioning, they have scheduled buses that will take the cruisers to several stores and on Saturday to the public market.  Saturday we made the run to the market and then got dropped off downtown Port of Spain to do some sightseeing.

We think we are ready, so continue coming back to read of our adventures.

Steel Band

Barbecued pig tails

Roadside fruit stand

Jesse with the "alien fruit"

Brazil nuts

Atlantic Ocean



Friday, November 24, 2017

Time for an update

It's time for an update.

We are back in Trinidad working on the boat.  There is always something that needs to be done.  Cori has been here for five weeks and has been buffing and polishing almost non-stop.  I am not sure Hi Flite has ever looked better.  I arrived three weeks ago and have been checking off jobs while adding more to the to-do list.  Every job seems to create several more.  For example: there was a small leak above the nav-station.  It had caused a shelf to delaminate and was loose, also ruined a number of CD's that were stored there.  We gave it to one of the shops here to have it remade and since it was out Cori decided it was a good time to varnish the area.  As the table top was being sanded she found a small problem with one of the hinges (there is storage under the tabletop) that we thought could be replaced.  In order to get at it we had to remove the two shelves under the table, and then remove the bottom of the storage area all in order to get at the hinge from below.  Of course all of this did not help since the hinged top cannot be opened far enough to get at the screws that need replacing.  Basically the boat was built around the station and short of a saws-all it is not coming apart.  However, it all looks really nice with its new coat of varnish and it is all more secure with the old and somewhat corroded screws replaced.

The biggest news is that the wind generator got installed.  One of the reasons we got jobs this summer was to buy some new stuff for the boat and top of that list was a wind generator.  Just before Cori left for Trinidad we ordered the generator to arrive just after she did so she could pick it up after it cleared customs.  Then she had to fine a shop that could make the mount for it and arrange for a rigger to remove the old TV antenna and install the mount when it was ready.  Now remember we are in the islands and are dealing with "island time".  Of course they need to know how soon we need it, "no problem mon, it be ready".  After several weeks, he shows up to test fit it and says it will be ready Thursday.  Thursday comes, no mount.  Rigger gets rescheduled to Monday.  Saturday comes and here is the mount to be checked for fit before adding the support piece.  "No problem mon, it be ready Monday".  Monday morning, lo and behold here it is and it is beautiful.  Where is the rigger?  Cori finds him up another mast and he will be here is the afternoon.  Afternoon comes, no Gary, still up the mast. "Be there in the morning" and shows up after lunch.  He had been up another mast in the morning.  Once up our mast and measuring, marking, drilling and feeding the power cable it was looking good until he looked out and said "rain in five minutes".  It was only three and work had to stop but they will be back in the morning.  Wednesday morning they are back and after several hours the mount is mounted.  During this I have been working out where to locate the controller and how to run the cabling.  The controller will look real good where the AM/FM radio is mounted.  No problem, I can relocate that later (every project creates several more).  After several days of working out the cables and several trips to one or both of the supply stores it was completed.  The only thing left to do was to connect the wires and mount the generator.  Friday morning Cori winches me and all of the turkey, stuffing and other Thanksgiving food I ate the day before, up the mast.  With a minimum of cussing and a major change in the wire connections it was mounted and tightened down.  Next Cori hoisted up the blade assembly and I got that installed and tightened down just as the wind came up and it decided to start spinning.  Once back on deck the rain started.  We had finished just in time.  A quick check of the controller and it seems to be working.  SUCCESS!!!

It has not all been work.  There is a social life here with different events scheduled such as drumming night at one of the other marinas, pot luck and grilling on Thursdays and music jam sessions on Fridays not to mention trips to town for shopping and a variety of other activities.  We have been able to get into the city (Port of Spain) several times for provisions, a new phone for use in the islands, the public market and Cori even got a trip to a fabric store for one of her projects.  We have several other outings scheduled during the next week.

Along with all of this we have had to deal with insurance problems.  Not a claim, just trying to renew.  It seems our insurance carrier decided to stop writing marine insurance but didn't tell anyone.  Also the agency got bought out.  The bottom line - we have no insurance.  We got several quotes but both are higher than before, go figure, and need a new survey.  We choose a surveyor and he shows up to start going over the boat.  At the end of the day he is not done and is back the next morning.  By mid-day he is done, for now.  We need to call him back when we start working on the steering project so he can check that when we are done.  That is the next big project: replacing some of the steering components under the cockpit.  I am not sure if I can actually fit under there and get the work done but I have to try.  There is only so much we can afford to hire out.  We seemed to have picked a good surveyor since he is looking at everything, stuff that had not been looked at in previous surveys.  Things like when were your fire extinguishers last inspected, not just where are they and how many.  This morning we had to send all of the extinguishers out for inspection.  The spreaders are out of alignment, so we have the rigger go up the mast and adjust them.  More unexpected $'s. He is just looking too darn close.

The sails are back from the sail loft, and are ready to be bent on and we will start looking like a sailboat again.

At the market

The new wind generator

Thanksgiving pot luck

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


We are still in Spearfish.  The trees are changing colors, last night we had more then a frost warning - actual frost, and there has been snow reported in the higher hills.  It is getting close to our time to head back to the boat.  We have both given our notices at our jobs and have booked our flights.  Now it is a matter of what to pack to bring back with us.

The next cruising season is in sight!

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


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