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
The hash (hiking)
The bread-nut fruit that caused all the trouble