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October 2011

Beware: Blogger Aboard

We recently had a lively game of Mexican Train Dominoes on board with John and Dora from Windrifter. We are moderately serious domino players, and chat, laugh, and call our rivals nasty names such as “Triple Swine Dog”. (That’s mine and I may use it forever as my nasty swearword to describe some low life person – such as the one who blocks my ability to get rid of a double ten.)

At some point, the discussion turned to this blog, probably because something was uttered or happened and I said, “That would make a good post!”  EW rolled his eyes, while John and Dora laughed, and we all agreed that EW wasn’t the only person in my sphere who had to worry about being a “Topic”. 

John said, “Maybe there should be a burgee to let people know there’s a blogger aboard.” John and Dora in Rodney Bay 7-3-2011 1-01-41 PM

“Just like the anti-curmudgeon kana I want someone to design,” I said. We all agreed.

This conversation was triggered by Dora’s Excellent Dominoes Night. She took the lead early and held it. Since I can be just a tad cut-throat I exhorted my fellow players to try to stop her by playing an unfulfilled double. “Hey!” said Dora. “I deserve to win. I’m the person everyone knows ‘isn’t a threat’!” Oops. In a recent post about our life in Grenada, I’m afraid that was how I described Dora at the dominoes table. Good thing she’s a good sport and better friend.

I have a few personal rules about blogging, here they are”

1. I make it a practice to ask whether I can share someone’s photo on the blog, and whether I can use their real name. At Goddess Day, the jam sessions, and on our hikes I would generally announce that I’m a fairly consistent blogger and ask whether I can put them in the blog.

2. I try not to embarrass anyone and don’t tell another’s bad or embarrassing story. For example, one of the people who joined us on a trip in Grenada had not had a good time, but that wasn’t my story to tell. That person read and enjoyed the post and thanked me for not including that person's particular situation as part of our day. This is an honest blog, but not a “tell-all” blog. By contrast, the curmudgeon story was mine to tell, but I would never identify the boat or the curmudgeon described.

3. I try to curb my snark. I don’t always succeed. (See the curmudgeon post. Sometimes snark is funny.)

4. EW has veto power for any post in which he is featured. He is also my conscience for snarkiness. 

By the way, here is how the Urban Dictionary describes snark:

 
 
noun 
Combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s). 
Also snarky (adj.) and snarkily (adv.)
His commentary was rife with snark. 

 

My rules are to designed to protect the rights and privacy of others and to create fewer opportunities which may require me to publish an apology or retraction.

Which brings me to Dora. Here are the scores from our most recent game:

Barb     403 (ouch)

John     374 (this is a huge upset)

EW       291

Dora    213

For you who are uninitiated to dominoes, the lowest score wins and all of these scores were pretty high.  Just to let you know how much we need to learn, the winner at ladies’ dominoes at de Big Fish two weeks ago had a score of 28. When I won at the ladies’ game, it was with a score of 169—must have been an off week.

Regardless, since this is an honest blog, I now must announce that, as it pertains to Mexican Train Dominoes, Dora is now a threat. I repeat, Dora is now a threat. Do not underestimate her. (Thank goodness she also has an excellent sense of humor.)

Dora playing dominoes 9-28-2011 12-47-36 AM


On the Concord Trail … Again?

PA120001On Wednesday, I played dominoes, and was joined by Sandy from S/V Magic Inspiration and Dora from S/V Windrifter, who both came over on the bus from Port Louis. Ten women at two tables, played dominoes, drank wine, and mostly ignored the fact that we all had husbands. Until Sandy mentioned, “Hey, we’re going to do the Grand Etang to Concord hike again tomorrow.”

“You are not serious,” I said. She laughed and assured me that she and Jeff were once again taking that long hike over the mountains—the hike that had taken us 6 hours a few weeks ago. “Well,” I said, “If EW hears this, he’ll want to go.”

Ever since that infamous hike across the country, EW has said that he’d love to do it again. The short hike we took to the same falls didn’t appease his sense of adventure. After dominoes, we invited the men to join us for dinner at de Big Fish and as soon as EW heard about the trip, he signed up for another adventure. I declined. I’d like to make that hike again, but not this year, and it was supposed to rain the next day, and I needed to get some things done, and … I did not want to go.

It was fine with me if EW went, but there was a problem. We were seriously low on groceries and I had nothing for sandwiches or snacks--and no bread. Dora, dear friend that she is, offered to make EW’s lunch and it was settled. I’d have the dinghy and boat to myself on Thursday while EW sought adventure on the Concord Trail.

Jeff and Sandy, our intrepid leaders from the first hike, weren’t leading this one. There were 11 hikers and one dog who met up at the Grand Etang park to start the hike. Two couples and one dog arrived via truck and planned to hike to the top of the mountain and return to Etang, not opting for the trip through to Concord Falls. The other 7 had traveled by bus and were going to hike the same trail we’d taken earlier in the season, across the mountains to the falls and then out to the road on the other side. What EW, Sandy, and Jeff didn’t realize is that the four who were hiking through “with” them, were the kind of folks who take the runners’ trail on the Hashes and who evidently turn every hike into a runners’ hash. The entire group met up at the turn, four went to the top of the mountain and seven headed down toward the falls, and that was the last EW and Sandy saw of the four hikers in their group.

At one point, during a downpour, Jeff, Sandy and EW were taking shelter under a tree, waiting out the worst of the weather, when they heard someone whistling and calling to them. Jeff volunteered to move down the trail to meet the other hiker who had come back to find them. His position was that if they were going to be “his responsibility” they were going to have to “keep up”. Let’s just say that didn’t go over well with Jeff, or with Sandy and EW when they heard about the conversation. Both Jeff and Sandy are very fit and both of them take the runners’ trail on a hash, but they hadn’t intended to hash along the trail to Concord. It was decided that the other four bore no responsibility for the three slower hikers and the group split.

Jeff, Sandy and EW continued their pleasant, but wet and challenging hike and made it to the falls in four hours.Jeff and Sandy on the ropes 10-13-2011 12-29-08 AM They never saw the other folks who evidently made it to the falls, jumped in, and took off back to town. That’s cool. This is a lifestyle populated with strong individuals. Perhaps those planning the hike should have described their style and pace prior to inviting others along. EW and I enjoyed the first hike because we all stopped frequently, watched out for each other, and hiked with different people at different times. We became friends with sailors who had been acquaintances. For us, getting to know different people is the most important part of cruising activities. We are people people. He was sorry the others didn’t feel the same way, but enjoyed hiking with Jeff and Sandy and had no trouble keeping up with them.

EW Using the rope 10-13-2011 12-31-06 AMFrankly, EW easily kept up with them because he didn’t have to spend time helping slower hikers, like me, for instance. The steepest part of the trail is just before the falls, a rock wall with high natural “steps”, about 6 inches wide. That area had experienced a landslide, making the descent to the falls much more treacherous than it had been a few weeks ago. Thankfully, both EW and Jeff and taken rope along and all three were able to use it to safely reach the falls. Somewhere along the way, Sandy dislocated her baby finger, but EW and I know what to do about that (after the experience at Cape Fear) and Sandy trusted him to yank it back in place. We hear that finger is fine now with a slight yellow bruise, and no swelling or crooked bits.

They hiked, they swam in the pool, and they walked back down the hill to the bus. It was a good day. I got groceries and was able to feed EW a manly meal upon his return, listening to his adventures and very, very thankful that I had opted out of this one.

Looks like they had a good time, though.

IMG_1273

IMG_1273


Another Project with the Honda 2000i

Jenny's Aft End 10-14-2011 2-26-55 AMOops! EW said it wasn’t my fault. He was off for the day, and I had to wrestle the Honda Generator up to the cockpit and aft to the cabin top, and start ‘er up. It was rolling quite a bit and getting “Jenny” up the ladder was no easy task. I persevered, and with little lifting hops I moved her aft to the cabin top, then turned the appropriate switches and stood on the side deck where I grasped the handle and pulled—and almost flew overboard when the cord broke about 5 inches in from the handle.

That’s not good.

I left the machine where she was and went back to my tasks for the day, knowing that I’d have to inform EW that he had “Another Project”, an unexpected task that was bound to take up some of his valuable guitar or regular project time. (Who am I kidding? Except for the 1 hour he spent a few days ago, neither EW nor I have worked on any expected project for some time. We’ve been having too much fun in Grenada. We frequently say that, “This is too much fun!” in the same manner as an acquaintance in Maine, who identified herself with folks from Mainline Philadelphia, and who therefore has an interesting way of talking that pretty much excludes everyone else from her “too much fun”.

Anyway, back to Jenny.

The owner’s manual is no help here. Throughout our cruise we’ve heard other folks offer the Honda 2K repair manual on a disc, but we’ve been negligent in taking any of them up on their generous offer. That’s a mistake. EW opened Jenny’s side and discovered he had no access to the pull cord housing. EW opened her aft end and discovered a fuel tank and all sorts of other things, but no access to the pull cord. I went online and Googled “broken cord Honda 2000 generator”, and found a cruising blogger who had struggled with the same issue, figured it out, and—bless his heart—posted directions in his blog. I love people like that.

While I continued to write about dinghy repair projects, I was frequently interrupted by EW waiting for the next set of instructions. I’m  not going to repeat them all here, if you have the same issue, check out Jim and Deb’s Adventures for these instructions. (Thank you, Jim.)

EW started this Another Project at 2:30 PM, and Jenny was up and running by 5:15. What transpired during those nearly three hours? One must--well, not this one, but those like EW and Jim who tackle these projects must--remove side screws, handle screws, three electrical connectors, the back of the generator and the fuel tank, in order to access the pull cord housing. Words were uttered, mumbled, and shouted during the process. I, in my newly softened manner, ignored him unless he asked me for further instructions. At one point, I heard him mumble, “It makes no sense to shout at inanimate objects.” “Hmm.” I couldn’t resist asking, “So why do you?” “I just can’t help myself,” he said.

Poor baby.

Jenny's Handle Screws 10-14-2011 3-17-36 AMIn his post, Jim cheerfully mentions that if you use the Honda, you will have some seized screws. The implication is that if you don’t use it, you won’t have to repair it. EW had to drill one out of the screws in the handle, and wasn’t as cheerful as Jim seems to have been. EW also had trouble disconnecting the third electrical connector and told me to “have at it”. I was successful, mostly because I dared to be more ruthless than he (after all, I wouldn’t be the one to fix it if I pulled too hard).

He got her done, and then said, “Now, what’s he say about putting it back together?” I’d been waiting for this, smiled, and read the following: “Finally, put everything back together and you are set.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep.”

EW wasn’t thrilled. “Don’t worry, Honey, I’ll talk you through the steps in reverse order, OK?”

He mumbled, but I was his only option, so that’s what we did. It worked.

This project cost nothing but time: 2 hours and 45 minutes. How’d you spend your Friday afternoon? EW fixed our Honda 2000i and I helped. Thanks, EW. Thanks, Jim.

The Year’s Project Totals to Date:

Projects

Another Projects

Total Time

Ownership

Items lost overboard

Total Cost in US Dollars

 

3

6 hrs., 5 min

EW

Patch kit tube (recovered)

$26.96

3

 

1 hr., 20 min.

EW

None

$49.68


I Have an Inner Goddess? Who Knew?

As regular readers know, yoga sessions with Gabi have helped me to soften my core, my patience, and my biting tongue. Now I have visual proof that other areas need improvement.

EW and I had discussed finding a small gift for Gabi to take back to New Zealand and display at her future yoga studio. We both have enjoyed her sessions and realize that after Grenada, we’ll be enjoying yoga with other amateurs—which is better than not participating in yoga at all, but just not the same as yoga with Gabi.

In the meantime, other participants in the class came up with a much better idea: A craft/yoga day at a beautiful house on the island. One of our class members is currently house-sitting for another cruiser and she had the perfect space for a yoga/craft day.  Gabi knew all about the day, except that we would be painting baked hearts, into which we’d insert a small scroll with personal thanks for the yoga sessions. The hearts would be strung on a ribbon and could be hung on the wall of Gabi’s future yoga studio. The men in the class had been invited to participate, but respectfully declined. EW, appreciative of the yoga sessions, sent a scroll and asked me to paint a heart for him.

033This event would take place for most of the day one Saturday. Frankly, I’m not all that articulate with brush and paint, and could not anticipate that I’d enjoy a whole day of painting crafty things. In fact, “just kill me now” came to mind. I told EW, “I think this thing is supposed to go until three, but I expect I’ll bug out after lunch.” (Hey, this is an honest blog.) Nine women participated, including Gabi. Six of us were anchored in Prickly Bay and one woman convinced her loving husband to shuttle us all in their large dinghy. Then we walked through a pleasant neighborhood to reach the land base for “Homeward Bound”.

035

Some (all) of these women were very excited about this Goddess Day. “Goddess Day!” I thought. “When did this become a Goddess Day?”  Take a look at the photo above and you’ll know that one of us came in a ripped t-shirt to paint. Others in tank tops and yoga shorts clearly were more in touch with their inner Goddess. Was it Sesame street that had a song, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things doesn’t belong?” That would be me at the start of Goddess day.Goddess Day Atrium Gabi 10-7-2011 9-40-24 PM

But I like these women, I’m willing to try new things, and they made me feel very welcomed. Once we had toured the living area of this beautiful home, exclaimed over the view, and the open-to- the-sky garden in the entrance, we moved furniture and placed our mats for an extended yoga practice. Gabi had brought a brass bowl, a singing bowl used in meditation. She also provided the words to a chant, then instructed us to lie in savasana and prepare ourselves to begin. It was an incredible yoga experience, As always, with Gabi’s sessions, we were instructed to close our eyes for many of the poses. At two points she walked to each, held the bowl in front of our hearts and struck it. The beautiful chime reverberated in my core, and I felt as though I had been given a tremendous gift.

Goddess Day Chant Susan 10-8-2011 7-38-19 PMGoddess day with bowl Susan 10-8-2011 8-50-15 PMThis longer yoga session included some more vigorous poses, designed to get our hearts pumping faster. It was the best yoga session I’ve had (though I must admit, I’m a newbie at this) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I was so relaxed that I actually fell asleep during the last savasana. Oops. Gabi simply spoke her next sentence a bit louder and it penetrated my relaxed state so I could join the others.

Here’s what I didn’t know about this yoga group: two women teach or have taught art to youngsters; one is a photographer and painter who is, as I write this, signing a contract with a gallery to represent her photographs, another is a creative craftsperson and excellent painter, and Gabi is no slouch with a tiny brush and acrylic paints. I did know that Cheryl had been a graphic artist and later a landscaper in her previous life. That left me and two other women who were rank amateurs, and they were both much more talented with acrylics than I am. Nola and Sharon, the art teachers, had generously provided the supplies, mixed, shaped and baked the hearts, and arranged the room and materials in a pleasing manner.

Goddess Day (10)

Goddess Day Green Thumb Gabi 10-8-2011 12-11-00 AM

 

 

All I had to do was paint, but I had trouble opening the tube of acrylic. Gabi laughed when I told her that I’d always wanted a green thumb.

 

 

 

 

I painted two rocks. On one, I simply wrote my word of the year, “Soften”, in teal blue acrylic. On the other I drew three circles that wrapped around the top of the stone to the back, signifying that what is inside of us (or hidden in the back) is reflected on the outside. Goddess Day me painting Gabi 10-7-2011 11-58-18 PM(Now that’s deep! Also easy to paint.) When I was done, I took photos and set up for lunch. (I do lunch very well. My inner goddess loves lunch.) I also don’t mind washing dishes and volunteered for that job. Throughout the morning and lunch, we talked, painted, learned more about each other, or sat quietly watching the view. It was a beautiful day. Goddess day Soften 10-7-2011 11-05-12 PM

Did I leave at 1:00? Of course not! I washed dishes, painted two hearts for Gabi, and then simply enjoyed getting to know these fascinating women, who are from Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, Alaska, Florida, South Carolina, and Northern Europe.

 

Finally, at five, we realized that this extraordinary day had to end, and we cleaned up and began the walk back to the marina and reality. Now I know, that our reality ain’t half bad, but I’ve not allowed myself to be a goddess on board. I’m going to work on that. 

Goddess Day The group Susan 10-8-2011 7-11-34 PM

GGoddess Day Gabi with hearts me 10-8-2011 2-06-10 AM

 

 

 

Goddess Day Gabis hearts Gabi 10-8-2011 3-02-55 AMGoddess Day me Gabi 10-8-2011 3-52-30 AM

 

 

Goddess Day the View Susan 10-8-2011 5-42-17 PM

Photo Credits in order of photos:

Gabi

Gabi

Gabi

Susan

Susan

Susan

Gabi

Gabi

Me

Susan

Gabi

Me

Susan

Gabi

Susan


Jam Sessions, Living the Dream, Finding the Magic

PA020025

 

Music was EW’s dream. He wanted to become a better guitar player and to play with other cruisers of the same mind. I’m a groupie, a groupie who is delighted to enjoy the music and the magical moments with him.

I also find my own magical moments while he’s playing. The photo above tickled me. These three were enjoying the music and the bar--not necessarily in that order. One of these didn’t get the memo about loud blue shirts.

EW has been thrilled with the Jam Sessions in Grenada—and with the generous musicians who’ve helped him improve his playing and his singing. Twice he’s toted his guitar to Clarks Court Bay, a journey that requires two different buses and a dinghy, in order to play with Peter, or with both Peter and Tony. The proprietors of Whisper Cove Marina are welcoming for the Sunday Jam Sessions, that begin at three and continue past nine. Whisper Cove is even harder to get to than Clarks Court Bay, so they send a free van to Port Louis and Prickly Bay to pick up both musicians and audience members. Each week they offer one or two meal choices, such as cheeseburgers or fish burgers; roasted chicken, or smoked beef sandwich or quiche. We keep a running tab at the bar, and I wind my way around guitars, mandolins, and fiddles, to serve the ubiquitous Carib beer to EW so he doesn’t have to leave the session except to eat. I was starving when he finally suggested I order dinner last Sunday. Starving but happy.

Here’s some tidbits from the recent Jam Sessions:

Jam 10.2 10-2-2011 2-44-34 AM

 

 

 

That’s Tom from Tilly Wind on the left with the mandolin, EW on guitar and Tony also on mandolin. Tony organizes the sessions and has played mandolin and fiddle with professionals. He’s from Australia, but his boat is the Ragin’ Cajun and his favorite genre is Cajun music. Go figure. We met him in Bequia on a party aboard La Luna, and he generously invited EW and his guitar aboard his boat for a private jam session. It was the moment EW been waiting for nearly a year.

Note Carl standing in the back. He didn’t have a guitar… then.

Jam 10.2 Help from Tony 10-2-2011 4-22-52 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jam 10.2 Caroline 10-16-2011 3-05-19 AM

 

 

I met Caroline from S/V Petit Fleur in Bequia when she attended John’s yoga sessions. She and her husband, Urs,  have attended all of the jam sessions, with Urs on guitar and Caroline on recorder for the folk songs.

 

 

Jam 10.2 Peter and LeeAnn 10-2-2011 5-21-23 AM

 

 

 

EW hit it off with Peter and LeeAnn, from S/V Too Much Fun. Peter has played professionally, including with our friend Jonathan Edwards. Peter has also spent time recently teaching EW a few tricks. As you can see, EW isn’t trying to contain his joy at finding folks to play music with.

 

 

Jam 10.16 lizzard 2 10-16-2011 3-06-14 AM

I’m not sure whether this little guy enjoyed the music. He did like the cold water drops that had condensed on the Coke bottle.

 

Jam 10.16 EW and Carl 10-16-2011 2-19-11 AMWho’s that man in yellow with the guitar?

Carl found a cruiser who wanted to sell a guitar and snatched it up, and then practiced all week to join the jam session.

Jam 10.16 Carl 10-16-2011 3-05-11 AM

 

 

 

                            He’s a natural.

 

 

 

 

 

Jam 10.16 EW singing our song 2 10-16-2011 3-17-25 AM

 

 

 

It turns out that EW can carry a tune in a bucket. He’s no Dylan, but then again, I don’t think Bob Dylan can sing, either. While it’ll probably be a cold day in H.E. Double Hockey Sticks before Jon Edwards sings a duet with EW, EW did a great job with one of “our” songs, Boats to Build by Guy Clark.  Tony had coached EW regarding singing and I’m not sure who was more pleased by EW’s performance, me, EW or Tony.

(I got all melty.)

 

 

Jam 10.16 Marie 10-16-2011 6-57-24 AM

 

Marie, one of the owners of Whisper Cove Marina, loves to have the group come and play, so they willingly learned a couple of songs for her. Here they are enjoying a rousing chorus of “A Horse with No Name”. That’s Jim standing next to Marie. He plays guitar, banjo, and the harmonica. He also totes along a bag of percussion instruments so audience members can become part of the band.

 

 

 

PA090090

Here’s Caroline, the week she brought her didgeridoo—making Tony’s day.  She had purchased it and taken lessons in .. wait for it…Northern Europe, of all places.

 

Jam 10.16 John and Caroline 10-16-2011 7-43-50 AM

 

Two weeks later,  Caroline pulled our her new instrument after dinner, a didgeridoo that she’d made from wood found on Hog Island here in Grenada.

John, from S/V Windrifter, was fascinated by the didgeridoo...

 

Jam 10.16 John and DD 10-16-2011 7-42-47 AM

 

 

so he tried playing it.

 

Caroline told us that one uses circular breathing to play the instrument. Here’s how that’s explained on Wikipedia:

The didgeridoo is played with continuously vibrating lips to produce the drone while using a special breathing technique called circular breathing. This requires breathing in through the nose whilst simultaneously expelling stored air out of the mouth using the tongue and cheeks. By use of this technique, a skilled player can replenish the air in their lungs, and with practice can sustain a note for as long as desired.

Later in the evening, Caroline got out the didgeridoo and played a number with the group. Just like harmonicas these instruments have one key – and you choose that key by the length of the didgeridoo. She said she downloaded a tuning program from the web and cut the instrument a centimeter at a time to get the right sound. She played, and Tony led the rest of the group to accompany her. It was a magical moment. Caroline has mastered circular breathing, and it’s fascinating to watch her cheeks, lips and throat work together to create a continuous sound with embellishments, and vibrato.

I was the “keeper” of the bag o’ percussion this week.  Anyone can pick up the bongos, tambourine, or maracas, but you have to go stand hear the musicians and keep in time with the music. A French cruising family with a high energy six-year-old daughter, had come to the restaurant for dinner with friends. Of course, the little girl was fascinated by the percussion instruments. Tony’s partner, Jess, grew up in a musical family in Ireland, but no longer plays, nor does she speak French. Nevertheless, she patiently and adeptly coached the young lady in three of the percussion instruments. Smiles all around. When the evening ended. the little girl held up her hands in the universal child speak for “Stay there,” and ran off to her mum for a bit of tutoring. When she returned, Jess and I got a gapped tooth smile and a “Bye-Bye!” We replied with an, “Au revoir.”

Finally, every musician but Jim had packed their bags and loaded their axes and pipes onto the van. Jim had stowed his banjo and harmonicas but  still had his guitar out when a local young man asked him to play “The Gambler”. We’ve discovered that country music is well-loved by many in the islands. (In fact, I propose that you haven’t really heard “Ghost Riders in the Sky” until you’ve heard the Caribbean version. Really.)

Anyway, this young Grenadian, knew all the words of “The Gambler”, and encouraged us to sing the chorus so he could sing out “When to hold em!” and “When to fold “em”! It was another magical moment.


A Year of Boat Projects–The Old Grey Dinghy

The Old Gray Dinghy ain’t what she used to be. EW’s spent a lot of time with her over the past two weeks. We’ve also spent time researching a new dinghy and will purchase one before the end of the year. In the meantime, EW patches.

On October 1, EW had repaired a hole in the inflatable floor of our dinghy, but hadn’t checked for other holes. (Bummer.) When a new one surfaced less than 24 hours after the fix, he used duct tape to hold it for a few days (it’s a Maine thing) and decided that using the 36 hour cure stuff took too much away from our play time. We were heading in to town for a concert at the museum on Friday, so he suggested we stop at Island Water World to purchase a repair glue that would set in three hours. Flex Set is a two part epoxy from Marine Tex. You can mix a bit at a time, so it doesn’t all go “off” at once, and the three-our set time is crucial to my social life. So after breakfast on Tuesday, PA140016EW got back into the dinghy with soap and the water sprayer, and checked the floor for holes, finding only the one he’d packed with duct tape. He made the repair, we let it set for the afternoon and went in to the jam session at de Big Fish. Unfortunately, a day later, the floor was flat.

For a couple of days we pumped the floor with each use, (Honestly, EW pumped the dinghy with each use. I pumped it if I couldn’t absolutely get away without it.) Friday afternoon became “Another Project” day, and EW started the list by tackling the dinghy floor for the fourth time. (But who’s counting?) Though the glue cures in 3 hours, he wanted to give it more time to set up, so we had a quiet evening at home on Friday letting the holes cure.

Total active time for the dinghy floor repair described here: 2 hours. Cost: $72.00 EC ($26.96 US)

PA140030He also had to glue the foam around the outboard. From Rodney Bay to Grenada we had to hand wind the outboard, so the top was removed frequently. That caused the foam padding on the inside of the top of the outboard to become unglued, and that would prevent the lock from remaining closed. Salt water on the engine is a bad thing, so EW tried a new glue on Friday, clamping the motor to allow it to cure.

Active time for the motor foam: 20 minutes. Cost: 0.00

PA140035Finally, on Saturday morning I had to walk to town so EW took me in and stayed tied up to the dock while he changed the zinc on the outboard and once again cleaned the hose of salt so that it would pump and keep the engine cool. Now, I can drive fast again. He had thought that the motor needed a new impeller and water pump gasket, so he’d purchased those when he purchased the zinc. We didn’t need them, and they’re in the spares locker for dinghy parts, but the cost will be documented here.

Active time for dinghy fix on the dock: 20 minutes. Cost for zincs and motor parts: $132.67 EC ($49.68 US)

Project Totals to Date:

Projects

Another Projects

Total Time

Ownership

Items lost overboard

Total Cost in US Dollars

 

3

3 hrs., 20 min

EW

Patch kit tube (recovered)

$26.96

3

 

1 hr., 20 min.

EW

None

$49.68


Canadian Thanksgiving in Paradise

Thanksgiving Pool Top Buffet 10-10-2011 1-00-18 AM

There are quite a few cruisers from Canada here in Grenada. If fact we’ve met folks from England, France, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, South Africa, Italy, and I’m sure I’ve missed a country or two. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October, so we were invited to a Canadian Thanksgiving at Clarks Court Marina, where fifty-some cruisers sat down to a feast. Bob, the owner of the marina, purchased the turkeys, rented tables and chairs, and opened his kitchen to the two cruisers who roasted two whole turkeys and numerous turkey breasts.

The rest of us brought side dishes and desserts. I made a version of Julia Child’s cornbread/sausage stuffing and a lemon tart thing. One of the local bus drivers had lived in Canada for 15 years, and he offered to pick up those of us who weren’t staying in Clarks Court Bay. His daughter and two friends joined us for dinner. It was a great day. We ate too much and, frankly, I drank a bit too much wine. We sang Karaoke without a microphone in a group. Basically, a number of women danced and sang to a whole lot of different old rock and pop tunes. A wide screen TV provided the music and words to the songs. Most everyone else ignored us. We didn’t take it personally.

It happened, that none of our closest cruising friends attended Canadian Thanksgiving, so we enjoyed meeting new people and getting to know others we’d met earlier. We met a super couple from Toronto, talked with folks from Ontario and Massachusetts, and I danced with ladies from Grenada, England, Washington state, and Texas. Once the pool table had been retired as a buffet table, EW played pool with the bus driver’s daughter.

I don’t know if Thanksgiving in Canada is as fun as Canadian Thanksgiving in Grenada is – but I’m all for two Thanksgivings a year. You can’t be too thankful, you know. It’s all about gratitude.

Thanksgiving Table 1 10-10-2011 1-58-51 AM

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table One. These people are smiling because they will be first at the buffet. Note the man standing in the back left. His seat is the empty one next to the man in the yellow shirt.

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table 2 10-10-2011 1-59-14 AM

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table Two. Most of these guys are actually from Canada. EW’s from Niagara Falls, NY so he was “almost” from Canada. (See the man standing on the upper right? That’s Ken. He still hasn’t taken his seat.)

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table 5 10-10-2011 1-59-48 AM

 

 

 

This is Table Five. They complained that they’d be last and nothing would be left, but after the meal thanked all of us for leaving them plenty. It wasn’t hard to do. There was a lot of food.(Yep, that’s Ken in the back. He was stalking me – or I was stalking him.)

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Table 3 10-10-2011 2-00-35 AM

 

 

 

 

These folks are happy to be at Table Three. It was closest to the desserts!

 

 

 

PA100102

 

Table Four was a more intimate setting.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Smokers' Tables 10-10-2011 2-01-28 AM

 

Kids sat with the adults, but we had smokers’ tables outside. (That works very well.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving EW 10-10-2011 4-20-56 AM

 

Thanksgiving Pool Partner 2 10-10-2011 4-21-29 AM

Do you think this man is having fun?

 

The bus had to leave, so they never finished the game.

 

 

 

And yes, EW took one photo of me dancing. You will never see it. Never.

But I had a great time!


Work a Little, Play a Lot – Boat Projects

During the first week of October, EW played his guitar a lot, and at one point said, “I feel like a slug!”. I didn’t think he was a slug, just a budding guitar great. Nevertheless, he paused for a while one afternoon and completed the following:

1. He cleaned the breather intake, a strainer that keeps stuff from being sucked into the engine. 15 minutes, no cost.

2. He also did some maintenance on the head. He changed the gasket and lubricated the inlet valve.  45 minutes, no cost.

On that day, one hour of work made him feel better, and he went back to practicing his guitar. Work a little, play a lot. I think he has his priorities right.

 

The Year’s Project Totals at this Point

 

Projects

Another Projects

Total Time

Ownership

Items lost overboard

Total Cost

 

1

1 hour

EW

Patch kit tube (recovered)

$0.00

2

 

1 hour

EW

None

$0.00

 

IMG_0269


If I Were Retired, I’d Play Dominoes Wednesday Afternoons

P9280010Oh, wait. I am playing dominoes on Wednesday afternoons.

Carl and Carrie have faithfully taught us and the folks aboard Windrifter and Fox Sea the art and strategy of Mexican Train Dominoes – the Trinidad version. A group of women get together and play Wednesday afternoons at de Big Fish, and this week Dora and I decided to join Carrie at the games. There were 10 players, so we set up two tables, ordered drinks, and got out the dominoes.

Carrie, Dora and I all ended up at the same table. In a perfect world, the game is paused every three or four rounds and those who have the highest and lowest scores at each table switch to the other table. This allows us to meet other players – and learn new strategies. Our table was a bit late getting started and we played more slowly so the other table decided not to wait for us to catch up. We had a great time, and got to get to know the two ladies we’d not met before. I always like that.

Aboard our various sailboats, Carrie has been a frequent winner and Dora – well let’s just say she hasn’t been a threat. Carrie did not have a good afternoon, which she blames on the glass of wine I convinced her to share with me. Dora didn’t bring up the rear, and kept her score under 400. And I won!  I’m amazed. Aboard our sailboats, we have code words to indicate our displeasure with someone’s play. We refrained from voicing those words at this friendly game in a public place. We did good.

EW and I have to purchase a larger domino set, and those cute little trains. I need to practice.


How to Speak Australian

One of the best things about this lifestyle is the chance to meet and make friends from all over the world. In Bequia, we met Tony when we had a bunch of boaters aboard La Luna for a  four-hour cocktail hour. Tony is from Darwin, Australia and since we saw him in Bequia he’s been joined by his girlfriend, Jess, who is from Ireland. I love to listen to them talk, and frequently ask them about some of their phrases. “Taking the piss” means to mock or ridicule someone. When Jess and I were talking about the guys, sotto voiced, Tony accused us (accurately) of “taking the piss” on him. Busted.

034Tony is an excellent musician, and the organizer of the Sunday jam sessions. He’s also very nice about offering tips to EW, who enjoys playing with him. At the recent jam session, Tony and Jess broke for dinner after EW and I had eaten and EW had returned to the music corner to play with another cruiser. Tony began to tell tales about Darwin, his mates, and his yacht club. His language is very salty – Tony drops a lot of f-bombs – and he told me and a couple of other cruisers that true friends in Darwin insult and swear at each other. “I’d been sailing for a few years when I returned to my old yacht club. (Tony is a past commodore.) I walked in and saw the current commodore who took one look at me and said, “For F;%$ sake! I thought we’d gotten rid of you, Aalksjfd;!” (think donkey butt) Tony told us he had been delighted with the greeting, and laughed when he said that it had been great to see his mates and be so warmly welcomed.

We laughed along with him and I filed the information away, never expecting to use it.

A day or so later I ran into Tony and we talked about red wine – and I relayed that conversation to EW. Now EW likes to occasionally surprise me or our friends with a small spontaneous gesture. That afternoon he was running some errands and decided I needed some red wine and chocolate and returned home with the treats. Over a glass of the “plonk” (that’s Australian for wine) in the cockpit, EW gleefully told me he had “dropped a bottle” of wine off into Tony’s dinghy. “He’ll probably figure it’s from us, but I hope he enjoys it.” I told him that was a super idea, and was delighted by his gesture. A couple of times that evening, EW wondered if Tony had been pleased by the wine.

The next day, we were off the boat for hours, and returned to find the bottle of wine in our cockpit. Evidently in Australia, impromptu gifts are discouraged. EW had locked the dinghy, but I told him to unlock it as we were going to take this wine back to Tony. I wasn’t at all mad, as I realized this was just a cultural issue, but I wanted to let him know that he couldn’t return a spontaneous gift. I could have told him that nicely, like the New England WASP I was raised to be, but I figured that my intent would be lost in translation. So I decided on the way over to speak Aussie, as Tony had taught me on Sunday.

We pulled alongside his boat and hailed him. When he popped his head up the companionway, I cheerfully told him to “Get his A%% on deck!” His eyes opened wide in surprise, but he complied with a smile. I handed him the bottle of wine and cheerfully said,  “You F;%$in Aalksjfd;! When we give you a gift, you bloody well take it, and you don’t F;%$in give it back. If you try to do that again, I’ll shove it up your F;%$in Aalk!”  Tony laughed, and thanked us for the wine, and laughed some more.

Here’s what I couldn’t see: I was in the bow of the dinghy and EW was in the stern at the motor. He hadn’t been a part of the conversation on Sunday and had never, ever heard me threaten to shove something up anyone’s donkey. He’s certainly heard me drop an f-bomb or three, but never in this manner. While I was letting Tony know we were good friends, Tony had a clear view of EW’s aghast expression. EW was so stunned, that he spoke not a word during the entire dinghy visit. I said my piece in Australian, called Tony an unspeakable name one last time and shoved off. Tony thanked us. laughed and waved.

I turned to EW and said, “That went well.” Still speechless, he just looked at me, and light dawned in Barbara Land. “Oh!” You didn’t hear Tony tell us how friends talk to each other in Darwin, did you?”

Long pause. “Noooo.”

So I explained and EW laughed, and continued to laugh. In fact the rest of the evening he would break into spontaneous laughter as he thought again about the incident. He told me the next morning that he’d awakened in the night, laughing over it.

Guess I can still surprise him after 26 years.

Don’t try this at home.