Previous month:
July 2011
Next month:
September 2011

August 2011

Hash– The Grenada Hash House Harriers, That Is

Hash 699 Virgin List 8-27-2011 2-34-46 PMYesterday, I was a Virgin and now I’m not. I have the certificate to prove it.

Here, I have signed in for the Hash as a Virgin – yeah, insert joke here.  About three hours later, I was no longer a virgin (again) and received this certificate to prove it.

Hash 699 Certificate 1 8-28-2011 2-09-23 PM

 

 

 

 

 

(I never got a certificate for that the first time.)

For those of you who are uninitiated, a Hash is essentially an event for runners with a drinking problem or drinkers with a running problem. Beer is consumed at the end of the Hash, but this is more of a social and family event than the organization’s own jokes and customs would indicate. 

In Grenada, there is a very active chapter of Hash House Harriers, and an equally active group of cruisers who join them every week. 

The best thing about participating in the Grenada Hash is that it’s the first event we’ve found that interests and attracts folk from every group on the island including: local youth, retirees, families, medical and veterinary school students, and cruisers.

The worst thing about participating in the Grenada Hash is that you are moving quickly (some run) up and down steep hills, through brooks and rivers, getting muddy and cut by razor grass. Does that sound like fun to you?

After the 6 hour trek to Concord Falls, our hashing/boating friends all said, “If you can handle that trek, you can handle a hash. Those only last two hours.” Since my dear friend Dora wanted to Hash and her sweetie and EW were still under the weather with colds, I agreed to participate with her.

I was going to provide for you the official description of this event – but you wouldn’t believe it if I told you. It started in 1938 in Kuala Lumpur … and there’s some mention of Hares and Hounds, as if normal people knew what that was. Just think Mad Dogs and Englishmen and you’ll get the general feel of the event. There’s an element of a race – but that isn’t important. In a very minor way it is similar to a road rally, but not really. It is not a walk in the park. I would not participate where there are poisonous snakes. (Since I won’t do much where there are poisonous snakes, this should come as no surprise.)

Confused yet? If you really want to know, go to their website (linked above and read their Bible. (Not kidding about that, either. You can’t make this stuff up.)

Maybe I should just tell you what I experienced.

One of the cruisers is an avid Hasher (She has two Hash Names) and she reserves busses for cruisers. Yesterday we filled three of them. At the chosen site, which is different for every hash, folks arrive by car, bike, and a bus from the university. All ages attend. We all sign in so they have an accurate count and know for whom to look if they don’t arrive back to the starting point in a timely fashion. (This is serious. When we first arrived in Grenada there was an entry on the cruisers’ Facebook page by a woman who was thanking everyone for finding her husband. He took a wrong turn on his first hash and wasn’t found until 2:00 AM! His Hash name is now “Brain-dead”. Hashing is not for sissies.)

Hash 699 Instructions 8-27-2011 3-06-10 PMSo, then the leader of the Hash Chapter stands on a high point and talks and is largely ignored by everybody. (Yes, that is a cemetery in the background and yes, he did refer to it, as in we could end up there if we weren’t careful.) Before we start off, he calls all the virgins forward for instruction, because no one else will pay attention. I am so not kidding. Here are the instructions as I remember them:

1. You are on your own.  However friends and families stick together. Some amble and talk – not too slowly as the event doesn’t start until 4 and one prefers to finish before dark. (Did I tell you Dora told me to bring a headlamp? Yes! A headlamp! What kind of walk was this?)

2. You find the trail by following “piles of paper”. I had no idea what that meant until I saw a pile of paper.Hash 699 Paper Pile 8-27-2011 3-52-27 PM

3-A.  At two points on the trail there will be a large circle of paper, denoting a deception. You will have numerous options for the trail, and if you are in front, or so far behind that you don’t see anyone ahead of you, you will simply have to try each possible trail. Count the piles of paper and if you reach 10, you are on the right trail. If you get to a large black X made of paper, you are on the wrong trail and have to go back. (Still not kidding.)

3-B. Whenever you are confused/concerned about the trail you are on and if there are folks ahead of you, you may shout,          “ R. U?” down the trail. If it is the right trail, folks ahead of you will answer “On! On!” If it is the wrong trail and they are heading back, they will shout “On back!” and you can try another trail. They aren’t supposed to lie, so you can trust them.

4. This trail starts “over there” (the far corner of the field at yesterday’s location).There is a “runners’ trail” and a “walkers’ trail”. I think these are only  separated near the start so the walkers aren’t run over or to separate the hares from the hounds or whatever, but I was in the back and never saw the runners or the two trails. There is no starting gun – once the leader has instructed the virgins, he simply points us all in the direction of the first pile of paper and everyone heads for it at their own pace. This particular Hash was very slow at the start and folks were bunched together for quite a way into the trail. Hash 699 Pile up at first turn 8-27-2011 3-20-48 PM

Except for the miles-long vertical climb through a young forest, this was a fairly easy walk. (I may have exaggerated the “miles-long” part.)  There is no photo of the vertical climb through the forest because I needed two hands to keep myself moving forward, or at least from not falling back down. (Again, not kidding.) I was assured by many that it was the easiest they had ever experienced; some of it was even on paved roadways, and past bucolic scenes.  

 

Hash 699 Very Steep Hill 8-27-2011 4-32-16 PM

 

Hash 699 Goat  8-27-2011 4-13-07 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a bucolic scene for a Hash.

Hash 699 Dead Car 8-27-2011 4-12-10 PM

Even so, I remained near the rear of the pack. I’m OK with that, but was chagrinned to be passed (twice) by two women each of whom carried a baby. I am so not kidding. One woman had a very young toddler in a backpack. She (the mom) was a serious Hasher. They were ahead of us on much of the first part of the trail, but took a wrong turn at a circle so we were in the lead. Dora and I were congratulating ourselves that we would “at least beat the mom with the kid on her back” when said mom ran past us, baby bouncing. Shortly afterward a cruising mom, carrying her nine month old son in one of those fabric slings bounded past us at a brook crossing. Hashing is hard on the ego.

 

Hash 699 Baby at end 8-27-2011 4-44-37 PMAt the end, one can purchase beer. (What is Carib? It’s why we Hash!” – We had to chant that prior to starting. Carib is one of the local beers.) The baby is drinking water. This is the nine month old and the mom who carried him. Hashing is brutal on the ego. Folks also sold ice cream and a boil down – but we didn’t find the boil down before the food ran out. At the end of the event the virgins get their certificates for which they have to pass through a gauntlet of sprayed beer. (Still not kidding.) Also – don’t ever wear new shoes to a hash. Just don’t. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

You know what?

It was fun. Sign me up for next week. EW’s going to attend as well, and we each have a headlamp. (Still not kidding.)


Taking the Concord Trail . . . Twelve Cruisers Hike to the Falls

 

I’ve been wanting to use Gilligan’s Theme Song, for a long time.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,

A tale of a fateful trip

That started from this tropic port

From each crew’s tiny ship. From each crew’s tiny ship.

 

Our leaders were really fit

They run, work out and bike.

Ten cruisers joined with them that day

For a four hour hike, a four hour hike.

 

The terrain started getting rough,

The trail was muddy, narrow, and steep.

If not for spare sandals and one clothes line

We’d have been in it sh –it deep. We’d have been in it sh- it deep.

 

P8190009The cruising guides and tour books for many of these islands mention numerous trails and waterfalls and taking some of these hikes has been on our “to-do” list for some time. So, when our friends from Magic Inspiration offered to lead us on a hike to Concord Falls, we readily agreed and we’re glad we did. We’re also glad I didn’t do any research prior to setting out. Here are some of the things I would have learned:

 

 

From Geographia.com (emphasis, mine):

Fedon's Mountain & Concord Falls
eco05.jpg (19207 bytes)Advanced hikers and trekkers should not forego the opportunity to take these two more substantial hikes, which link to the Mt. Qua Qua Trail in Grand Etang. The Concord Falls trail branches off from the Mt. Qua Qua Trail after about an hour, leading down through rainforest canopy, over hilltops and gurgling brooks, to bring you to the triple cascades of the Concord Falls. …

… This well-maintained but arduous trail takes you deep into the very heart of the Grand Etang rainforest, through shady groves mahogany, teak, and many of Grenada's other tree species.

 

From Guide to Caribbean Vacations, I learned  this:

With 160 inches of rain falling annually, the hiking trails can be quite muddy and slick. Long pants are not essential if you stay on the trail path and avoid encounters with razor grass, a climbing grass with extremely sharp edges. I find it takes a long time for even minor razor grass cuts to heal.

And this from the Grenada National Parks:

CONCORD FALLS: This trail follows the rugged Mt. Qua Qua route for about an hour, and then departs left before a rocky viewpoint.  The substantial trail meanders below the rain forest canopy, crosses sparkling streams, and majestic hilltop views. Providing a good four-and-a-half-hour hike … 

IMPORTANT PRECAUTIONS

  • Grand Etang receives a lot of rain so the trails can be muddy or slippery - take care and stay on the trails for your own safety.  It is strongly advised that proper footwear, such as waterproof hiking boots be worn. 
  • There are no poisonous snakes or animals in Grenada, but watch out for razor grass (climbing grass with sharp edges) that can cause minor cuts; long pants and long sleeve shirts will protect you from abrasions.
  • Take care not to damage or take away any flora & fauna (plants or animals).

Finally, from Wiki-loc:

One of the best and more challenging trails on Grenada. ..  Impressive views and impressive drops - its very steep both sides. The path is steep in places and can be very slippery. … After this its a 3 hour slippery descent to Concord. You may find out why its called rain forest. …The end of the trail just before descending to Concorde is also challenging as you have to descend a steep rock face. If you suffer from vertigo don’t do this trail!

 

EW and I don’t have any hiking sandals, so we both wore boots, and that was a good thing. He brought his old leather Redwings aboard, and I have a wonderful pair of hiking shoes – from Eastern Mountain Sports. Good traction and breathable – and getting them wet isn’t a problem. We had water, lunches, snacks, band-aids, swim trucks for EW, and bug dope in two backpacks. As we were getting into the dinghy, EW thought of one more thing, “Where do you keep your clothes line?”  “Ummm. OK. In the cupboard up forward.” Bringing the line turned out to be a good idea, but I may never get it clean enough to hang laundry from it.

We took one of the local busses to the end of the line and joined the other 10 hikers, crowding into the Number 6 Bus to Grand Etang National Park. Along the way I had a very interesting discussion with a local gentleman who had purchased some king fish for a fish soup he was making. I’d like to try that soup. Behind me, Jeff and Sandy from Magic Inspiration were talking with the other cruisers about the shorter hike they’d taken along the same trail the day before. I perked up when I heard them mention feeding piranha type fish from a dock.

“Is that the pool we’re supposed to swim in today?” I squeaked. (I would have shrieked but we were in a small bus.) One of the local ladies squeezed in near us starting laughing. Jeff assured me that the piranha were in an entirely different pond. I began to wonder a bit about this trip.

Group Shot Concord Hike 8-19-2011 8-50-19 AM

 

At the entrance to the park, we paused for a before photo where the trail met the road. We were clean then. I don’t think my shirt will ever be the same. Starting the Concord Trail 8-19-2011 8-06-15 AM We hiked with a great group of cruisers – in addition to Jeff and Sandy, there were three other couples and a father daughter team. Most wore Keen or Teva hiking sandals, some wore sneakers. We all wore shorts over swimsuits (or as swimsuits), I had on a long sleeved shirt to protect me from the sun and was glad of it when we encountered razor grass. That stuff is nasty!

What did we use the clothes line for? To help a couple of us up over very steep muddy sections where there were no handholds. Others showed that it was possible to ascend without a rope, but since EW offered, Caryn and I accepted the help.

It was a wonderful day and I’d do it again. Really. But this was not a four hour hike for normal people. We started upright, spaced along the trail and quickly resorted to this: Caryn and Sandy 8-19-2011 8-37-59 AM 

 

 

 

 

I had remembered that Jeff and Sandy had said the hike would take four hours, so I expected a two hour hike to the falls, lunch, swimming, and a two hour hike back along the same trail. An hour into the hike I was already worried about getting back down the trail, when we stopped to enjoy the view. 

 

 

 

Sandal Repair 2 8-19-2011 9-04-52 AM

Bill’s Teva sandals had come apart in the first hour, so EW passed him the clothes line and Bill demonstrated a sailor’s make-do attitude in sandal repair. Just as he finished, Brandon and Caryn arrived at the rest stop. Brandon laughed at Bill’s repair and then said that he actually had an extra pair of Keen’s with him. I’m glad Bill didn’t have to try to hike 5 hours with the rope sandals. 

 

 

 

 

The View is Worth it 8-19-2011 8-20-42 AM

 

At that same stop, Jeff indicated we were moving more slowly than he’d expected. ”At this pace, it’ll take at least five hours to get to the waterfalls.”

“Huh? I thought this was a four hour hike! Are you saying it’s supposed to be four in and four out?”

“Oh no. It's a one way hike. Three or four hours to the falls, then an hour after that down to the road.”

 

                                                                                 Below, EW and Jeff.

Greybeards At First Rest Stop.  8-19-2011 8-20-04 AM

 

 

 

mud happens 8-19-2011 8-46-02 AMI was delighted to hear that we wouldn’t  have to retrace our steps over that steep early trail. Little did I know. We actually used the rope only during the first hour, but I don’t think the trail was easier, we simply got used to staying low, getting dirty, and using improbable hand-holds. One of the articles quoted above asked that hikers not damage any flora or fauna. We were the only fauna harmed on the hike, but a lot of flora was used to help us up the steep areas or break our fall/uncontrolled descent when heading down. EW personally killed one small banana tree. When it came out in his hands on his way down a slope, he paused, yelled at it, and threw it off the trail. We are sorry but not repentant. It was us or them.

Coming from Maine, I have climbed Mt. Katahdin, refusing to travel the Knife’s Edge. This hike had a lot of narrow sections with the ground dropping away on one or both sides. That didn’t worry me at all, as the drop was camouflaged by all that flora. in fact, I was reminded of the scene from Avatar where they drop gracefully through the leaves and branches, and imagined that these benign leaves would cushion my fall as well. (If anyone is looking for a film site for another Avatar, I can recommend the rain forest of Grenada.)

This IS the Trail 8-19-2011 10-34-09 AMDon’t get me wrong, this trek was a blast. In addition to being a great group of people, these cruisers are funny. I had brought a notebook and pen in order to record events – but they had to stay in the backpack and I’m afraid I have forgotten the best lines. I do remember standing at the top of a number of steep grades, unable to move because I was laughing too hard to pay attention to the terrain.

Mud Happened 8-19-2011 8-53-38 AMAbout three or four hours into the hike, we were heading mostly down toward the falls and were on a very steep, slippery slope. Bill had actually been down and back up that section and could direct me.

“Grab that branch there. It’s a strong one. Then you’ll see another large branch right next to you.”

I swung part way down the slope using that first strong branch and held on grimly as I looked for the next one, my feet threatening to ski down the slope.  “What branch?” I asked.

“It’s that little twig by your right hand.”

Really? A little twig? How did it go from “large branch” to “little twig” in less than 60 seconds? This safe hand hold was less than a half inch in diameter. I’d call that little. Folks behind me had to wait for me to stop laughing. If Bill had said little twig the first time I might have not been as cavalier about starting that section.

I was the first to get a muddy bottom, (I was the first to fall on my butt) but Bill Bill on the Trail 8-19-2011 11-32-26 AMwas the first to tear his shorts. Mike and I also ended up with holes in our pants. I holed my shorts because I chose to go down on the seat of my pants quite often. We all were scratched by the razor grass, and we were wet and muddy to our knees. Joanne and Joanne and Dina 2 8-19-2011 11-52-27 AMDina had been participating in the Hashes – strange two hour treks on Saturday afternoon – so they were familiar with the hiking trails in Grenada. They said that this hike (it took us six hours to get to the waterfalls) was the equivalent of three hashes. “If you can do this, you can do a hash.” I’ll consider it.

 

 

 

EW and Bamboo 8-19-2011 12-50-37 PMEW Hearted Me 8-19-2011 10-39-04 AM

EW and Bamboo                                                      EW and Heart for me.

P8190056      P8190049

 

Waterfall 1 8-19-2011 1-20-48 PMAfter the third group rest, Jeff, Sandy, and Kevin struck off ahead to scout the rest of the trail. When they arrived at the really, really steep section mentioned above -  the one that reminded me of Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” – Jeff got worried that we’d all hate him by the time we arrived at the falls, but one glimpse of Concord Falls, and a dip in the pool, washed away all of our mud and aches and pains. It was a great hike, and a beautiful, magical spot. The water was cold by Caribbean standards, though not nearly as cold as Maine’s mountain streams. We swam, ducked under the falls, and sat on submerged rocks, chatting and laughing. 

 

 

Inviting Pool 8-19-2011 1-21-10 PM

 

 

Ready for a swim 8-19-2011 1-22-25 PM

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we ate lunch, repacked our stuff, and prepared to hike to the road. EW and I brought up the rear as it had taken a while to get back into wet muddy socks and hiking boots and EW’s knee was slightly painful. It was an easy walk over mostly level terrain, with three brooks to cross. And Beer 8-19-2011 3-10-58 PMAt the end, next to the falls visited by cruise ship passengers was a bar and gift shop. While the sign doesn’t list beer as an option,  I can assure you that they sell beer and they’ve probably replenished after our visit. I’m sure they’ve also cleaned the mud off the chairs.

We asked the bar tender to arrange an taxi for us and negotiated a rate to Port Louis Marina, where the other 10 have their boats. EW and I decided to head back to La Luna and were dropped at the bus stop outside the marina. A bus came by immediately, but the conductor got out, took one look at EW and asked him if he had a clean shirt. He did not and we were refused passage. I had taken an extra t-shirt and was wearing a clean shirt. Our shorts had been worn for swimming so they looked respectable. EW Dirty 8-19-2011 4-50-44 PMThe backpacks and EW did not, but the second bus that came along did agree to let us ride as long as EW didn’t sit back in the seat.

The whole day was a wonderful adventure. We’d do it again.


Windlass-less

We’ve experienced boat –breakage since we left Maine ten months ago. This falls into the category of “Another Project” – those part failures that occur unexpectedly. EW had to tackle a major repair a few days after we arrived in Grenada.  Fortunately, La Luna has had excellent timing and we have been able to say, “Thank goodness it happened here,” with each unexpected break. The windlass is no exception.

We had anchored in tiny Calvigny Harbor for a couple of days of quiet with the crews from Sanctuary and FoxSea, and then hauled anchor to head to Prickly Bay, When FoxSea ran aground on a nasty reef, we had to drop the hook nearby because we’d overheated the engine trying to pull them to safety. The anchor went down and the anchor came up – no problems. We followed FoxSea into Prickly Bay and anchored near them to provide any support we could, and the windlass died. 

Prickly Bay can be rolly, on occasion and it was quite uncomfortable the first couple of days, so EW prepared a bridle that would pull La Luna’s bow into the swells. Once the bridle was in place, he had to raise a bit of the anchor chain in order to attach the hook 30 from the bow roller. The windlass wouldn’t work. EW went below, looked into the anchor locker, and saw an electric cable hanging, unattached. The battery terminal lug that had been pressed on to the cable had pulled out, leaving the cable end dangling.  He was surprised, but believed that he hadn’t made the cable properly, so set about to re-attach both ends of the cable and lock it to the electrical post.

Back on deck, the windlass didn’t work again.

Back down below, another cable had pulled. Um, there’s no nice way to say this. EW was treating the symptom and at that point didn’t look beyond for the disease, which tuned out to be terminal. Once he’d attached the second new cable, he went back on deck. “Bubs! Go look in the anchor locker and see what happens when I press the button.”

Not being a fan of electricity, I didn’t stick my head in the locker, but could clearly see the cable pull away from the connector. Once EW stopped pressing the button, I stuck my head in the locker and looked up at the windlass motor. Wow. This wonderful, strong, 26 year old windlass had disintegrated around the perimeter about one inch below the bolts. There was a 1 inch gap nearly almost the way around the casing. Every time EW tried to start the windlass the unit moved so violently that it pulled out the electric cables. The windlass was dead.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of the one inch gap and a windlass motor barely hanging on. Here is a photo after EW had dropped the motor and gear box into the chain locker. I made him hold it up so you could see the destruction. Windlass dead 3  8-5-2011 11-55-35 AM(Yes, I am like that.)

We were well-anchored in a good harbor (as long as no tropical storm approached) with a Budget Marine store just a dinghy ride away. Thank goodness it happened here, but now we had to purchase and install a new windlass.

Let the research begin.

We went ashore to Budget Marine to see what, if anything, was in stock in Grenada and how much it would cost. On the shelf, they had a Tigres horizontal windlass by Lofrans.  I began to learn about vertical and horizontal windlasses. Our old windlass was vertical. The motor and gear case were below deck with a vertical shaft through the deck to the winch part of the windlass. This type of windlass takes up less room on deck and more room in the anchor locker. They are harder to install and service, but out of the elements. Even so, enough salt water dripped on it over the years to cause the failure. Out came the marine catalogues, and up went the Wirie Wi-Fi antenna.

Lofrans has a good website, but it didn’t provide all of the information we needed.  Safety-Marine in the UK had an accurate foot print of the Lofrans Tigres and Imtra Marine had a good description of the Lofrans, and a lot of different sites have charts to help boaters choose the right windlass. In some ways the Tigres might possibly be considered undersized  and frankly I obsessed over that. Big time. The next size in a Lofrans is the Falkon and that would definitely be overkill. Big time. Still, we almost ordered a Falkon, which would have been a big time mistake – and a huge unnecessary expense..

We were protected from ourselves largely by our fellow cruisers – new friends and strangers – who listened to me obsess and who allowed me on their boats to view their windlasses and take measurements. While EW was almost as focused as I about choosing the perfect windlass, he was more concerned with getting a windlass and getting it installed, quickly. It would have been possible to raise the anchor by hand, with help from a halyard and winch, but it would not have been fun. If a named storm had turned our way, we were looking at raising the anchor, heading to a safe harbor and the potential of setting and raising the anchor at least one or two additional times prior to getting a windlass installed. EW wanted a windlass and he wanted it now.

There seem to be two ways to figure optimal windlass size. In each you add the weight of your chain or chain and rope, and anchor (in our case two anchors) and multiply that number times either 3 or 4. In our case, that number is either 1417.5 pounds or 1890 pounds.This total is amount of pull needed if we drag over a shelf and the chain and anchors were hanging in the water. Obviously, that is a (hopefully) rare occurrence. When we haul anchor, we drive the boat slowly along the length of the chain and most of the weight remains on the bottom.  We currently are comfortable with 225 feet of chain, but when we go to the Pacific we’ll need more, adding more weight, and that is one of the things that got us thinking about a larger windlass. Also, many of the charts showed the Tigres to fit boats up to 40-45 feet. Some suggest it would work on boats up to 48 feet. At 47 feet we are close to the edge.

EW would have ordered the larger and much more expensive windlass – with my total agreement – if it hadn’t been Carnival Week. When he dinghied in to Budget Marine on Saturday afternoon, he found that they had closed 20 minutes early. This was one of those moments where we were saved from ourselves. All during Carnival I made a pest of myself on the Grenada VHF net and with any cruisers who couldn’t avoid me.  The folks from Kookaburra invited me aboard to see their Tigres windlass and clearly thought the Falkon would be too big for us. I listened and took note, as I did when others gently questioned our choice. Ultimately, I spoke with Steve and Alice from Ocean Star. When I stated, “We’ve decided on the Falkon.” Alice gave a quizzical smile and raised her eyebrows just a tad, “Really?” I listed our reasons, and frankly, I don’t think she felt she knew me well enough to say, “Are you crazy?” but I got the message. I’m good at reading non-verbal clues.

Back aboard La Luna, I said to EW, “I think we need to re-think this Falkon model. I’m getting a lot of surprised looks from other cruisers.” He agreed and we went back to the calculator, Internet, and measuring tape.  If we added 200 feet of chain and multiplied that figure by 4, we’d be at 3930 pounds; times 3 we’d be at 2947.5 pounds. That’s a bit over the maximum pull of the Tigres, but the Falkon has a maximum pull of 3520 pounds. Sailors who travel to the extreme Latitudes and anchor in 100 feet of water near ice floes need that kind of security. We do not. What were we thinking? When the store re-opened on Wednesday, we purchased the Tigres off the shelf and EW prepared to install it.

 

DORADOTIGRES


Motor power            1200 Watt 12-24 Volt

Gypsy for chain       Ø 6-7-8-10 mm (1/4”-5/16”-3/8”)

Haulage speed        22 mt/min kg 50
 
Current draw            80-110 Amp (1200 Watt 12 Volt)
 
Maximum pull          Kg 1100 (2420 lb) 1200 Watt
 
Weight                         Kg 24 (53 lb) 1200 Watt

 

Old Footprint 8-11-2011 9-36-24 AMThe challenge in the installation is that only one of the holes through the deck could be re-used for the new windlass. We had to cut a new hole, fill old ones, and make and attach a new backing plate and level mount. He worked for a day to find the right hole saw, but without a drill press it is very difficult to cut 2.5 inch teak into perfectly “straight” holes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P8110090 I opened up our cruising guide by Chris Doyle and found Jim Cottle – a Rhode Island raised, Maine taught marine carpenter. He came here nearly 20 years ago and now  runs Cottle Boat Works. In addition to being a very good marine carpenter, he’s a nice guy, and he and EW know a lot of the same folks from Down East. Jim visited La Luna, planned the project and returned to test his cuts. He filled the large holes, and installed a purple heart plywood backing plate and a teak mount.

 

 

 

P8170131EW made the new wires and filled the screw and bolt holes. Six days after he’d purchased the new windlass, we raised the anchor for a test.  Here’s a photo of the anchor locker with a fully installed windlass. Now, the chain drop is farther aft and into the deepest part of the locker. There’s no large motor to knock my head against when I clean the anchor locker. That’s a good thing.

 

 

 

 

P8210085This is a good windlass. Yesterday a thunderstorm rolled through with wind from the north. We were uncomfortably close to a green channel marker, so we raised the anchor and moved to a new location across the bay. It was ‘one of those” anchoring jobs in that we landed a bit too close to other boats twice and had to raise the anchor and re-set it. Still, EW came back to the cockpit sporting a grin.  “I love this windlass!”  Good, because we’re sticking with this one for the next 26 years at least.

 

 

 

 

P8210086NOTE 1: Throughout the process folks kept asking us about the gypsy size. Evidently a typical mistake boaters make is to purchase a windlass without making sure it will fit their anchor chain. EW checked that first, second, and last. I knew we’d have the right gypsy. We just had to make sure it was attached to the correct windlass.

 

 

 

 

P8210082NOTE 2: EW has requested that I create a windlass cover to protect his new baby from the elements. It’s almost done.

FINAL NOTE: Ocean Star recently re-located to this harbor. When I saw Alice I thanked her for the raised eyebrows and told her we’d purchased the smaller model. We’re friends, now (she’s a lover of large dogs, also currently dog-less) and the next time I go crazy I’m sure she’ll bluntly ask, “What are you thinking? and set me straight. I’m meeting and making a lot of boating friends like that. It’s a good thing.


It Takes a Village–or - Networking in Paradise

Back in Maine, I was an active “networker”. I attended Chamber events and even held seminars to teach new members how to get the most out of networking breakfasts and after hour meetings. I Tweeted, helped folks make connections, and gathered and imparted information. When my girlfriend’s parents wanted an accordion player for their anniversary, I knew just who to call – and we found one who knew the Maine Stein Song. (I am that good.)

That’s nothing compared to networking in Grenada during hurricane season. Folks don’t Tweet much down here as we aren’t sitting at a computer most days and our iPhones and Blackberries are stored away. We do have a Facebook page for Grenada Cruisers, and instead of business cards, we have boat cards with contact information that includes email addresses. Most of us have access to Wi-Fi at anchor or on the dock, some of us go into various restaurants or cafes to get on line, and we have the VHF Radio tuned to a designated harbor “working channel” through which we can all contact each other. Most of us keep our radios on 24/7.

The other day, I had errands to do in town and EW had to have the dinghy to ferry Jim Cottles to La Luna for the Windlass Project. Our hand held VHF awaits a new battery, so EW told me to have friends call him on the radio when I was ready to head back to the boat. Here’s how that went.

 

It Takes FoxSea 8-18-2011 9-42-00 AMI walked to FoxSea, (left) which is on the hard getting repaired after a hard grounding. It’s been hard on them, but they are coping well. (Sorry, this was hard to resist.)

Vicky got on the radio. “La Luna. La Luna. This is FoxSea.”

Nothing. Again, “La Luna La Luna. This is FoxSea.”

Still nothing. I figured EW was on the bow with Jim and couldn’t hear the radio, so I settled into FoxSea’s cockpit to wait it out. Again she tried. “La Luna. La Luna. This is FoxSea.”  Just as she finished the call, another boat came back. “FoxSea. FoxSea. This is Celebration.”

Vicky didn’t want to miss EW’s return call, and we both though Celebration was still at Port Louis, so she put them off with a “Celebration, can I call you right back?”

We waited for La Luna. Nothing.

It Takes Puma 8-18-2011 10-56-17 AMThen, “FoxSea. FoxSea. This is Puma.” Well, since we hadn’t just called EW and since we knew Puma was anchored off La Luna’s starboard bow, Vicky responded to Puma. “This is FoxSea. Pick a channel.”

They selected a clear channel for conversation and we found out that yes, indeed, Puma could see La Luna.  (Puma's view of La Luna is at right.) The generator was making noise on the stern, Jim was running a grinder on the bow and EW was crouched nearby. There was no way he would hear the radio. Puma offered to dinghy over and let EW know I’d been trying to reach him. We thanked them, and I climbed down the ladder to head back to the dock, reminding Vicky that she still had to call Celebration. She reached them as I reached the ground.  It turns out that Celebration had moved to the Prickly Bay anchorage and  were now near La Luna, so they’d been calling to relate the same information as Puma. EW picked me up – but it took three other boaters to make it happen. I like our village where everyone “pays it forward”.  (Celebration had a clear view of La Luna, too.)

It Takes Celebration 8-18-2011 10-53-30 AMWe were able to pay it back right away, as when I arrived at the dinghy dock, we met up with the First Mate from Aqua Viva. She’d just returned with groceries and laundry and had left a message on the Captain’s cell phone. Because she was sure he was on his way in she wouldn’t accept a ride with us, but. I told her that we’d check the location of their dinghy and confirm that he’d gotten her message. We met no other dinghies on the way to La Luna so we turned to port and headed for Aqua Viva. The Captain was below and the dinghy was tied astern. We let him know that he had crew and provisions awaiting his arrival.

I loved the symmetry of this. Networking is much simpler out here, but the basic premise is still the way I described it in my seminar: Givers’ Get. It all works when we simply strive to help each other. 

By the way to those of you still attending Chamber events, always wear your name tag, high on your right shoulder. It’s been a long time since I’ve had occasion to provide that tip. 


There are Bare-Boaters and There. Are. Bare-Boaters

 

Sunrise Before Antigua 4-19-2011 5-06-29 AMForty years ago, I attended music camp in Farmington Maine, where one of the adult counselors spoke to the girls during orientation. We thought she was old, (she was at least 40!) old fashioned, and fussy, and we didn’t take her seriously. Music Camp was held on the campus of a small state university which was situated right in the town of Farmington, so those who were responsible for a few hundred 14 – 18 year old teens must have lost a lot of sleep at night. This woman was trying to impress on us that some of the boys we might meet in town may not be the kind of boy you’d want to introduce to your grandmother. Her phrase was, “There are town boys ---- and there are Town. Boys..” Try it. Say “There are town boys” with a lift at the end in a June Cleaver, welcome to dinner, manner. Now say, “And There. Are.Town. Boys,” in the same manner as you would say, “And there are Werewolves.”  Repeating this phrase to each other could send us into a fit of giggles at any moment.

P7230097We who’ve sailed to the Eastern Caribbean and are taking one or more years to explore these waters don’t often (ever?) socialize with the Bare-Boaters – those folks who fly to weather and charter a boat for a week or two. Some of us may have been Bare-Boaters in the past as it’s a great way to try out cruising, but our agendas are different.

  • Cruisers are sailing on their home. Bare-boaters sail OPB’s -- Other People’s Boats.
  • Cruisers believe they anchor much more successfully than Bare-Boaters, and take 30-60 minutes to make sure they are well-anchored. Some Bare-Boaters steam into an anchorage, drop the hook, get into their dinghy and run ashore – all within 15 minutes. (For this reason, when Cruisers see a Bare-Boat coming into an anchorage, many cross their fingers and chant quietly, “Don’t anchor near us. Don’t anchor near us.”
  • Cruisers fix and install things. Bare-boaters call the charter company for service.
  • Cruisers are on a budget for a year of normal living. Bare-boaters are on a vacation budget.
  • Cruisers have established friendships, VHF radio nets and even Facebook pages. Bare-Boaters may not know about any of these resources.
  • Cruisers are singles, couples, or “nuclear” families, so establishing a network and reaching out are priorities. Couples do charter - especially honey-mooners, but Bare-Boaters may include a group of friends, 3 or 4 couples, two families, or three generations. One purpose of their trip is to have time to sail and play together. The honey-mooners don't socialize that much, either.
  • Cruisers have weeks and months to explore the harbors, towns and beaches. Bare-boaters have one or two weeks. Consequently, Cruisers may stay in an anchorage for weeks, while Bare-Boaters move every two or three days.

The MooringsThe result: we rarely meet and get to know the Bare-Boaters (called “Squigglies” by some Cruisers in reference to the Moorings Logo).

 

 

The other day, EW and I met three Bare-Boater couples the evening before their last day at sea. I so wish we’d had time to invite them over for drinks or meet up with them on shore. I chatted with them the next morning when I stopped by in the dinghy while running errands. (This is the cruisers’ version of a Maine “Dooryard Call”, where you drop by for a chat but stay in the driveway. Cruisers stop by for a quick visit and stay in the dinghy.)

These folks are the finest of Bare-Boaters. They are experienced sailors and one couple are both licensed Captains. They all sail in San Francisco Bay, so they’re used to rocks, mud, fog, squirrely winds and huge ships. They’ve chartered in Greece, Turkey, and throughout the Caribbean..

They are African American and readily discuss what it’s like to be among the few. Evidently at least one Grenadian was excited to meet his first African American sailors. I was simply delighted to meet and chat with six charming and experienced  fellow-sailors. That’s one of the reasons we’re out here.

Bon-voyage D., B., E., W., J., and C! Have a safe flight home. Give us a call the next time you’re in the neighborhood. We’d love to have you over. You are Bare-Boaters of the finest kind.


I “Heart” EW

 

News about EW – my partner and captain.

 

Early Stew

Early EW. Before my time.

 

(The photo below is from our honeymoon.)

scan0008I always knew he had a magnetic personality. Now he positively glows.   As you may remember, last week, I got caught in a storm while in the dinghy when EW was aboard FoxSea, helping them to take her to the travel lift. It was a fierce storm and lightning struck a couple of businesses in the area – and EW was jolted as well. He was standing on FoxSea, holding on to the handle of the bimini and the guard rail on the binnacle. (Both are metal). ”I felt a jolt and it went right through my arms  - hand to hand – across my chest. Then I heard thunder. My hands were buzzing and I sat right down. It was quick.”   I first heard the story from Vicky, who told me I’d better “watch him.” I have no idea what to watch for – twitching, hair loss, religious conversion.

When telling the story, he takes his hat off and exclaims that his hair turned white. Long pause and then he laughs. (NOTE: When we met over 27 years ago, he was so grey then that I wondered how old he was – I can assure you that lightning did not turn his hair white.) Two days after the strike he was approached at the mall by missionaries who want to introduce him to Jesus. He’s a lapsed Catholic and I think it’s going to take more than one lightening strike for him to convert. Just sayin’.  So far he’s not twitching, either.

P6280225Color me green for envy. He is in great shape and he doesn’t seem to work at it.  We  both lost weight at the start of the trip, he continued to lose more weight after Hampton, Virginia. I did not. I’m happy for him, but a slimmer body has presented problems. Before we left he had purchased three sets of swimming trunks in Maine and he’s been complaining that they are now a little loose, but that hasn’t been a problem when we swim off the boat and snorkel. However when he attempted a manly lunge out of the pool at Port Louis Marina, he placed his hands on the edge and launched himself up into the air. The trunks did not follow. EW felt a draft and immediately fell back into the pool but not before he had mooned everyone. I’ll probably have tailor his trunks a bit. 

 

 

 

 

P8080064Getting back to above his shoulders, some of you may have noticed that EW looks a bit scruffy in recent photos. Yes, he’s due for a haircut and finally he’s going to go to a barber and get a professional cut – the first since Maine.

But it’s more than a shaggy head of badly cut hair.

EW is growing a beard.

We are past the “Oh my god that’s prickly!” stage and I quite like the feel of it now. It’s a good kind of tickle and very useful. ‘Nuf said.

Though I am clearly affected by this growth on EW’s face and neck, I wasn’t consulted. It took a few days to realize that he did not intend to shave for the foreseeable future.  I didn’t have any power regarding this issue, and from chatting with other cruising wives I’ve found that this is a common occurrence – particularly by men of a “certain age”. They don’t want an earing or tattoo so they show their cruising freedom by ditching the razor.

Most of  these men have nicely trimmed cruising beards. Once EW’s beard has enough hair to shape/style/trim he says he’s going to do all of those things to make it look good. In the meantime I’m married to Captain Scruffy – and that’s OK.  Of course neither of us know how to shape/trim/style a beard. This should be interesting.

The currency of EW. Astute readers will have notice that in the Carnival post I listed the price of the package as $70.00 EW. I’ve fixed the typo, but “King EW” was mentioned, and I think he’d like having his own currency. He may be a scruffy sailor with a magnetic personality, but he’s my scruffy sailor.

 

IMG01003Bonus round. Why do I call him EW?

If you know this, you can stop now. For new readers ..when we lived aboard year-round in Maine, we were frequently interviewed by local reporters looking for a new human interest story. One of them spelled our last name incorrectly and I was not pleased. When a different paper approached us a week later I was insistent that the young reporter get it right. “He’s an EW Stewart”,  I said – with some force. OK with a lot of force and insistence and I may have said it more than once … or twice.

When the article appeared my husband had become “E.W. Stewart Hart” and was referred that way through the entire article as in, “E.W. Stewart Hart is ..” and “E.W. Stewart Hart said ..”  So, on Twitter and in my blog, he is EW. 

Thank goodness my scruffy, svelte, kingly sailor is a good sport.


Women’s Techsun 2 from Columbia–Worst Boating Sandal Ever?

There are always a couple of partial posts waiting for tweaking. I’m currently working on two that list the best and the worst of the stuff we bought prior to our trip. The Women’s Techsun 2 hadn’t made either list – until this week  The skinniest part of me are my feet – long and narrow – so it’s a challenge for me to find shoes that fit.  In the 60’s I wanted go-go boots, and  in college I wanted Frye boots but they didn’t fit and I’ve never been a masochist who wears uncomfortable shoes. Fortunately, I’ve found boat boots, sandals, and shoes to fit my elegant tootsies.

In Hampton Virginia in November I purchased a pair of the Columbia Techsun 2 boating sandals at West Marine. Yes, they are moderately priced, so perhaps I shouldn’t expect much.  Somewhere in the Bahamas the bottom sole detached from the top sole. EW glued them with 5200, but it didn’t last – that should have been a major red flag. In boating, you don’t attach anything with 5200 unless you’re sure you want it there forever.

In Puerto Rico, we rented a car to go to the West Marine in Farjardo for a major shopping expedition, and new boating sandals for both of us were on the list. EW found a wonderful pair of Teva boating sandals, but the only thing available for me were … Columbia Techsun 2 – again. Columbia is a good company, and the sandals fit me so well that we decided to give them another chance.

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

We were in Puerto Rico just before Easter. P8070011It is now early August of the same year – barely 4 months have passed and this week as I was walking in Grenada I felt the familiar old flap-flap.   The soles had partially separated from both sandals.

Let’s discuss how we use boating sandals:

  1. They are worn on our feet when we walk on the boat, docks, beaches and rocks.
  2. We also use them to walk to town.
  3. In all situations noted under Number 1 above, these sandals often do get wet. That’s one reason we purchase boating sandals, so we can jump into the water off the beach to haul the dinghy ashore. We wear them in the rain. We wear them when wading where it is rocky. They are boating sandals and “boating” implies that we can get them wet.  In fact, here’s how Columbia describes the sandal on their website.

SWhether you’re spending long days on the water or just whipping the garden into shape, the updated Techsun 2 has you covered when summer sets in.

Adjustable, supportive and incredibly water worthy, they’ve evolved from last season to offer even more comfort and durability. Water-resistant straps adjust for a customized fit and a textured, anti-slip footbed prevents embarrassing wipeouts. Techlite™ provides lightweight contour and cushioning in the midsole and a dual lug pattern on the Omni-Grip® rubber outsole offers ultimate traction on both wet and dry surfaces.

The sandals I purchased in Puerto Rico were an improvement from those I had purchased in November  - 5 months before, so I had high hopes. They are comfortable, they fit very well, and they have good treads. The treads on my sandals show a bit more wear than EW’s do, but his Tevas are more expensive and certainly tougher sandals than the Columbia Techsun 2 for Women. I can accept tread wear, but the flapping is annoying. So, guess what EW discovered when he repaired these sandals (using a different type of adhesive)? Wait for it ..

You’re not going to believe this….

 

Cardboard.

 

Cardboard 8-7-2011 1-32-36 PMCardboard. You know that somewhat stiff paper product used for boxes? There is a layer of cardboard between the upper and lower sole. What do you suppose happens to cardboard when it gets wet?  If you suggested that it disintegrates, you win the carnival beads.  I do not consider cardboard to be “incredibly water worthy”.

How can Columbia manufacture boating sandals made with cardboard and why would West Marine continue to sell them? We (EW) had to repair my shoes on Sunday since no stores are open during Carnival in Grenada. I hope the repair holds, but expect to be flapping my way around the island until I can find new boating sandals.

Columbia Techsun 2 – you are dead to me.

Columbia Sportswear, you are on notice.

NOTE:  I emailed customer support for Columbia and sent them this article, giving them the opportunity to respond. That day, August 8th, they sent the standard notice:

On Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM, Columbia Sportswear Customer Care <columbia@custhelp.com> wrote:

Thanks for writing to us, and we look forward to helping you with your inquiry. Our current response time is 2-3 business days; for fastest service, please contact our customer care team at 1-800-622-6953 with the incident number you received. Our business hours are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (PST) Monday thru Friday. We look forward to serving you.

It is now noon on Thursday, August 11.

Nothing heard.

La Luna Out.


Dancing in De Mas

P8080032I must be getting older because I don’t bounce back from a night of dancing in the Monday Mas like I used to.

Wait.

I’ve never before danced in the Monday Mas so age has nothing to do with it – though this is clearly an event for the young adults and such tourists and cruisers who are foolish adventurous enough to participate.

We arrived in Grenada in time for Carnival, and had to decide which events we wanted to see. 

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Caribbean Carnivals in general:

Caribbean Carnival is the term used for a number of events that take place in many of the Caribbean islands annually.

The Caribbean's Carnivals all have several common themes all originating from Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, based on folklore, culture, religion,and tradition, not on amusement rides. Carnival tradition is based on a number of disciplines including: "Playing Mas"/Masquerade; Calypso Music and crowning a Calypso King or Monarch; Panorama (Steel Band Competition);Jouvert morning; and a number of other traditions.

Since we have no windlass, right now, we aren’t raising the anchor for anything less than a hurricane – so our participation had to be weighed against the bus ride to St. George and the times of the events. I had hoped to see/hear live music, but we missed out on that and will have to seek a steel band performance somewhere on the island.

Many of our cruising friends had decided to participate in the Monday Night Mas and we opted to join them. This is not a parade – though locals and tourist line the road to watch the groups dance by. The Mas is made up of a number of large trucks sponsored by various local companies – most of which make and/or distribute booze. One purchases a Mas Package from their chosen poison, dons the gear and shows up at the appointed hour.

And waits. Because the appointed hour in the Caribbean is never the hour stated in all of the material. Once things get rolling we follow the truck, fill our mugs/glasses with their beverage, and dance.

For hours.

P8080050The Monday Night Mas which “began” at 7:30 PM and continues through the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

About 50 cruisers elected to join the Carib Beer truck for the Mas and we all paid our $70.00 EW EC per person ($26.21 US). Late last week I walked to the Carib Brewery where they had a room with four clerks selling Mas packages. We each got a hat, beer mug, and wand – all with little battery packs to power the lights – and a t-shirt (or lady’s tank top) and beads that had to be placed in the sun so they’d glow in the dark that night.

Many cruisers had opted for the “Carnival” deal at the marina in St. George, and we took a bus over to meet with the crews of Windrifter, Sanctuary, Magic Inspiration, Iolea, Celebration, FoxSea and the others. One savvy cruiser had negotiated with a local taxi driver to provide vans to take all of us to the gathering point. Most of us had never participated in the Monday Night Mas – an event we suggest every cruiser try once. I think most do it once and move on to other things in subsequent years. Monday Night Mas is a lot of work and a lot of fun.

P8080067First we hung around as 300-500 people gathered -- all wearing the required hats and t-shirts. Some of the local women had modified their shirts so they looked stunning and sexy in a t-shirt while we cruisers looked like (mostly) middle-aged cruisers in bad hats. P8080064

Carnival is not an artificial event designed to get tourists to come to the island. It is a local celebration/holiday and tourists are encouraged to watch and to participate. Throughout the week locals on the street have welcomed us to Grenada and invited us to enjoy Carnival with them. Men unloading hops at the brewery stopped to greet me and express their pleasure that we would be joining them at the Monday Night Mas. Some cruisers had wondered whether we had been encouraged to join a truck that was “reserved” for visitors, but that wasn’t the case at all. We were definitely in the minority and we were most definitely welcomed. It was great fun. L and S 8-8-2011 8-47-25 PM

P8080045

 

 

 

 

 

P8080051

 

 

P8080059

 

P8080061In addition to the large tractor trailer with the DJ on board, Carib had a smaller truck that served the beer. We dancers would break ranks, make our way back through the crowd and hold up our mugs to men with kegs on top of a truck. We are amazed that no one got trampled and no feet were run over by the wheel. Getting a beer was an experience not to be missed.  I know, I successfully obtain beer three times. There was spillage, but no carnage.

Ahead of the Carib Crowd, the DJ on the music truck would exhort us to wave our wands “To de left! To de right! Left! Right!”P8080074 with a particular song. They played only a few songs, repeating them through the night, and the locals knew the words and sang along. And danced. And my how they danced. Frankly “Shake your booty” has a whole knew meaning for me.  Let’s just say that the man stands (closely) behind the woman who bends slightly and shakes. They both shake, as they continue to move forward, rhythmically, in tandem. I assume you get the picture. Others danced alone, but when the music was playing everyone danced.

Walking takes a certain set of muscles. Dancing as you move down the street uses a whole different set – even if you aren’t shaking your booty. (Or aren’t shaking it as rigorously as others were.) At one point around 10:00 PM, as Carrie and I were walking along (in step to the music, but definitely not dancing) a handsome young man came by, smiled and said,

“There is no walking in de Mas. There is only dancing in the Mas,” and he exhorted EW to make sure we continued to dance. Evidently he had caught us when EW had been dancing, as I think he danced a bit less than I did. From that point on, I danced. We all danced. We talked with the locals – many of whom congratulated us on joining them, welcomed us to Grenada, and included us in their celebration. One of the more distinguished looking cruisers was especially welcomed. At one point a young man offered him a joint. Later as our friend watched a couple dance as described above, the young man turned and said, “You like to try?” and offered the young lady for a dance. 

Did our friend partake of either of these offered gifts? That’s for him to say. What would you have done?

The route probably only covers 3 – 5 miles, but the Mas moves very slowly. After midnight we had traveled only halfway and were back to the marina. It was amusing to see 30 white cruisers turn from De Mas en mass and head for the toilets. We hear that some hardy folk rejoined the party. EW opted to crash on Windrifter and Dora and I joined a few others in the marina pool before taking showers. When we arrived back at the boat, the boom boom boom of all the different trucks could be heard as the Mas danced around the bay toward the stadium. In spite of the noise, EW slumbered in the cockpit, dead to the world. I must say that when I joined him, I too, slept soundly until 4 or so when I was awakened for a moment by the silence. The Mas was over. Roosters were crowing. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Sail to Grenada                        Check

Participated in a Mas               Check.

Replace the windlass              In Progress

 

P8080036

P8080033NOTE: The photo at the top and these two here were taken at a more family focused parade of tribes held Monday afternoon. As you can see, whole families participate. The children danced and danced well.


Curmudgeons at Sea

cur·mudg·eon

[ker-muhj-uhn]

noun

a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.

 

We need an international symbol for curmudgeons – just like they have for Walk/Don’t Walk and No Bull Poop – a kana to create anti-curmudgeons zones. 

Can you tell I met/ran into a curmudgeon today? Actually I inserted myself into his space and had to put up with an amazing conversation. Here’s how it went.

We are anchored in one of the numerous bays in Grenada, a lovely country. Yesterday we had a harrowing experience leaving a different bay and our friends went aground. It was painful to see, especially because it brought back to mind our hard grounding in the Berry Islands in the Bahamas. Our friends were towed off the reef by the Grenadian Coast Guard who brought them to this harbor. (That is their story and not one for me to tell on this blog.) They asked for EW’s consul regarding the damage and it was decided that they should haul out this morning, so EW went along to help handle the lines, and I took our dinghy in to lend moral support and retrieve EW.

As I dropped EW off at our friends’ boat he remembered that we wanted to take paperwork ashore to register at the nearby marine store. I told him I’d go back to La Luna and as I did, the sky darkened ominously.  My inner voice suggested that I stay on La Luna until the squall had passed, but the dinghy motor was running and is was a bit of a bother to start, so I elected to grab the paperwork and head in to the marina “ahead of the storm”.

Right.

It started with a nice, gentle shower, which quickly became a downpour. I was full steam ahead across the bay until the visibility made it difficult to find the marina, the rain pelting on my face hurt,  and someone cued the thunder and lightening. I was passing a catamaran and saw a figure in their cabin so I pulled in next to their pontoon and waved, giving my best wet puppy expression. The young man in the doorway (Sloops like La Luna have companionways. Catamarans have sliding glass doors.) gestured to someone behind him who came to the door, and said I could come in out of the weather.

As I crouched on their pontoon, carefully tying the dinghy’s painter (rope) to their rail, the captain muttered something that included the phrase “lesson learned”. I had a pretty good idea what he was alluding to but waited until I was in under his covered aft deck before I said, “Thank you so much. I didn’t hear what you said as the rain is so heavy.”

“I said that I bet now you’ve learned your lesson about leaving your boat in this weather. The sky had been getting darker for at least a quarter hour.”

I smiled (he did not) and said, “Yes, I almost stayed with the boat but thought I’d beat it.”

He harrumped and disappeared into his salon, the young man remained in the doorway and chatted with me for a bit. I sat, dripping, but out of the rain, and was grateful to be there while thunder boomed and lightening flashed.

The captain returned with a sandwich. It is difficult to convey his tone – not harsh, exactly. I would bet that, if he thought of this conversation at all, he thought it was just fine. He’s a man who speaks the truth as he sees it. His tone indicates that there is no room for other opinions and I certainly felt like a perky idiot. But I stayed planted on that deck until the rain stopped. And I continued to smile.

Where you headed?”

“We have friends who are having their boat hauled and my husband is helping them with their lines. I’m going it to give him a ride home.”

“Why are they being hauled?”

“Well, they ran aground yesterday,” I began and we discussed the incident very briefly.

“Don’t you all have Satnav?”

Now, Satellite Communication has nothing to do with running aground, but this man’s demeanor and the fact that I was a wet stranger on their deck made me choose to stay cheerful and not challenge him, but I looked at him quizzically. He realized his error and said, “I mean GPS. Don’t you have a chart plotter?”

“Well yes, we do, but there was some confusion and quite large rollers over the reefs,” I explained. He was not impressed.

“This happen yesterday morning?” I said that it had. “I heard the Coast Guard go out early.” I said that yes, we had called the Coast Guard.

“What do they draw?” (For you landlubbers, he wanted to know how deep their draft is – how far below the water their boat extends. Mono-hulls tend to have deeper drafts than catamarans.)

“I think about the same as us. We draw six and a half.”

“That’s too much for the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Shouldn’t come here with boats like that.”

We weren’t going to become best buddies. He had just damned us, our friends, and 75 per cent of all the boats in the Caribbean. I dripped and smiled, and decided to change the subject.

“So, how long have you been down here?”

“Three years.”

“Nice. Do you spend all your time in Grenada, or have you visited other islands?”

“As far as I’m concerned. Grenada is the best. No reason to go anywhere else.”

My thoughts quickly went to Isles des Saintes, Bequia, Chatham Bay. My lips stayed sealed.

“Where you from?”

“Maine. We left there in October.”

He harrumphed. “Cold up there.”

I refrained from telling him we had lived aboard, year round, for 8 years. I couldn’t take the ridicule.

“It can be. We certainly enjoyed the warmth here this winter.”

About this time the rain stopped and I thanked him for the shelter and got into my dinghy. This is one of  the least hospitable cruisers I’ve met. The other two were in Luperon. All are men of a certain age, and all would be curmudgeons in any neighborhood in the world.

It’s a good reminder that our boating neighbors are as varied (or more varied) than the folks in our neighborhoods back home. I suspect that Captain Curmudgeon and I aren’t going to become friends and I respect his right to being a curmudgeon, whether or not he respects my right to have a mono-hull with a 6.5 foot draft, blond hair and a perky personality. (I may actually have perkied it up a bit in his presence. That’s my curmudgeon defense.) 

Instead of a kana, perhaps there should be courtesy flags that indicate “Curmudgeon Aboard”. Ashore, houses with young children have signs they hang indicating the kids are taking a nap. At anchor, we can raise a martini or beer mug flag to announce PARTY!  If there was an international sign for curmudgeon a Curmudgeon Aboard flag could be flown at all times by habitual curmudgeons and during “curmudgeon moments” by the rest of us. Given the warning of Curmudgeon Aboard, I’d have chosen a different boat for refuge.


Sorry. Blame it on the Windward Islands

We’ve been out of touch for a bit, and now folks who watch these things know that a potential hurricane is brewing south west of us. I’m sorry if you’ve been worried. We are watching the weather and listening to the reports and talking with our boating neighbors.

Let me tell you about our “neighborhood”. Now that it’s summer in the Caribbean and we are below 13 degreesP7200040 North, our boating neighbors fall into two categories: Bareboaters and Cruisers. As snobby as this sounds, the two groups rarely interact. Oh, we’re nice to each other. In the grocery store at Rodney, Bay, we had a lovely chat with some young men who had rented a catamaran for a week. They were stocking up on the essentials, beer, soda and sea sickness tablets – and lots of meat. Nice guys. We hope they had a good time. The other day, EW and friends tried their darnedest to  reach a bareboat before it banged onto a small reef here. They didn’t have their radio on,  and paid no attention to the yelling, gesturing cruisers so they banged the cat onto the reef and backed off. Now we know why that reef is known as “Bareboat Alley”. Really. But bareboaters are here for a week or two in good weather, sailing boats that aren’t theirs. They may have been cruisers or they may become cruisers. Right now they have their own agendas.P7200041

We are cruisers and have “joined” this group of like-minded folk on sloops, cutters, and cats who have all madeP7200039 their way here from South Africa, California, New Zealand, Florida, France, Maine (three boats!), Germany, Nebraska (not sure how they did that), England, Rhode Island, and many other U.S. States. We are all neighbors and form friendships, share ideas and recipes, and keep track of each other. Most mornings, EW and I check into the Coconut Telegraph, a scheduled opportunity to let your neighbors know where you are anchored, when you are underway, and where you are headed. If we were missing from the net for a few days, folks would wonder about us, and contact us on the radio. We are not totally out of touch. And we have parties. These first photos are from an impromptu cocktail party aboard La Luna – attended by 12 or 14 people.

But we have been missing from the Internet for a few days (A week? Two?) and I know folks are wondering about us.  Here’s a brief recap

  • We loved Bequia and had a hard time leaving. I have posts about that visit partially written. When we didP7230097 leave, with dear friends John and Dora on S/V Windrifter, we decided underway to visit Chatham Bay on Union Island – the last island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Chatham Bay was idyllic – nearly deserted, good snorkeling, turtles, and very few boats. No town or Wi-Fi.  We stayed there for three days.
  • When we left on July 25th, we went to the other side of Union Island to Clifton,to check out of the country and we could  have gotten on-line. However, the anchorage was very crowded so instead of staying the night, we picked up a mooring for three hours, went to shore to check out, eat lunch, and get produce and left that afternoon for Petite Martinique.
  • We anchored in PM (as it’s known in these parts) a small island in the country of Grenada. It does not have a customs office but they do have a store with great prices on good wines – so we stopped for the night, went in the next morning to load up, and raised the anchor for Carriacou – the first major island in Grenada. We dropped the anchor in Hillsborough, checked in, raised the anchor and moved over to Tyrell Bay, on the afternoon of July 26. That’s a lot of anchor up and anchor down, so no Wi-Fi.
  • There was a regatta in Carriacou – a local festival that cruisers have participated in for the last 13 years.P7280025 Events for cruises included races, barbeques, parties, an auction and more. EW had the chance to race on a modern classic, Spirited Lady, owned and captained by Susie, from England. Susie has a Springer Spaniel and a Cocker Spaniel, Jester, who is only eight months old. Jester doesn’t race so I traded EW for Jester on race days. I also made lunch for the crew one day. They loved my macaroon brownies.

In addition to the racing, we’ve been very busy here yoga, auction, taking a bus to town and attending the Carriacou Regatta – great photos of classic boats and their classic beach start.

We’d planned to take a mooring at Sandy Island before leaving as we hear they have great snorkeling, but the weather news was iffy so we decided to leave Carriacou on Monday. Emily was no longer a threat (actually she wasn’t even Emily at that point) but there is another Tropical Wave forming and Monday was a calm day for moving, so we hauled anchor at 8:00 AM and headed south with S/V FoxSea and S/V Sanctuary.

Since there is potential for squalls with south winds at 30 knots, we opted to follow Sanctuary into Calvingy Harbor, a very protected (two reefs, narrow entrance) harbor on Grenada’s south shore. We’ll stay here for a couple of days before moving to Prickley Bay.

EW and I have priorities for the next few months – boat projects, writing projects, euchre, dominoes, volunteering, cruising kitty projects, fun, and self improvement. I’ll finish all the partially done blog posts and share stories and photos. For the next few days we’re going to learn the area, make some plans, and figure out what Carnival activities we will join. So many things to do, so little time.

So, I’m sorry that you haven’t heard from me. Know that we are happy and safe and keeping an eye on the direction and intensity of any potential storm. We’ll have plenty of time to head to safer waters if we need to. We are far from our families and many close friends – but we are among friends here and we all watch out for each other. We are not alone. We are not at sea. We are not totally out of touch, even though it may seem like it.

And we’re having a great time.