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October 2012

Safe Here, You?

Our friends and family don’t seem to worry quite so much about us as they used to. After all, we’ve been out here for two years and things have been boringly unexciting in terms of wind, waves, and weather and other dangers—particularly this year. But this morning, I received a Facebook message from a dear former neighbor who wondered where we are and if the hurricane had threatened us. We’re fine. No wind, no rain. In fact, it’s unseasonably hot in Trinidad – we know this because all of the locals are complaining about the heat. You know it’s hot in Trini when ….. well, you get the idea.

Lately, we’ve had more reason to worry about the weather for the folks back home. From that b—ch, Sandy to the earthquake/tsunami, we have friends and former sailors, and nieces and nephews in the path of potentially dangerous events.

We don’t like it.

EW and I are fortunate to have wifi on the boat. It isn’t often strong enough for SKYPE, but we can get online. Others in the harbor have to go ashore to hook up, so when someone announced on the cruisers’ net that there had been an earthquake in Vancouver and a tsunami threat in Hawaii, I dove for the laptop. Both EW and I have nephews in Hawaii, and I also wanted to find out where Sandy was in terms of the Carolinas, Chesapeake, New Jersey, and Boston – where cruiser friends and family are located.

Of course, then I find out that the bi—h Sandy is now expected to head north to the Buffalo area – where EW’s from. So more family to worry and wonder about.

Seriously, people. Maybe you all better take up cruising. It just isn’t safe back home.

So – here are a few photos from the “Fun in Trini” file. NOTE: EW is killing the work projects. Just crossing things off his list left and right. I love EW.

EW participated in a music jam with two families, one from Wales and one from France, and a few other cruisers. Singing, guitars, and recorders. Lovely.

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At the first opportunity, we had Doubles for lunch when in Port of Spain.

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At my first opportunity, I played dominoes in the Sunday game. One of the group brought a tub of ice cream. Linda got the last of the seconds.

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We’ve been to a pig roast at the local yacht club and two potlucks at the next boatyard. Someone brought a bag of marshmallows and Blake and Sofia enjoyed cooking them to order, while we all talked and relaxed.

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Last night, we met up with friends Chris and Jackie from s/v Higheeled. They’re from Canada, and they play euchre. We get together whenever we’re in the same port. Last night the ladies won. Big time. Victory dance and fist bumps were obligatory.

Thank you for your concerns. We’re fine. And we’re getting work done – really.

 

P.S. – for you euchre players – I ordered up trump when our opponents picked up the right bower and won the hand. TWICE!  More fist bumps. My mother-in-law would be so proud. EW wants me to note that we won two out of three. He doesn’t consider that “big time”.  Tough. He’ can get his own blog. Since I lost for years before we went cruising, if I’m on the winning side, it’s “big time”.


Living On The Hard*

 

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And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard and it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

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So, a lot of my readers, friends, and followers have expressed their sympathy that we are now living on the hard in Trinidad. No worries. we’re making it work – even in the rain last week. Unlike EW, I have not mastered the art of climbing the ladder with an umbrella. Fortunately, we aren’t getting a lot of rain now.

Back in Grenada, EW looked across the table in the salon one morning and said, in all seriousness, “You know we won’t be able to use the sinks and heads when we’re hauled out. You going to be able to handle that?” I wish I had replied with humor instead of indignation. After all, we’ve owned the boat for ten years, have hauled out roughly every eighteen months and – except for the Year From Hell, when we lived in three different rentals – we have always lived on the hard and I’ve always “handled it” pretty damn well, thank you. Sheesh. I found the question insulting and responded accordingly. Wish I’d batted my baby blues, put a finger to my lips and said, with a Marilyn Monroe whisper, “Ohhh. I’ll handle it just fine, big boy.” Or maybe not.

She works hard for the money.

So, here’s how one handles it. It’s sort of like camping with Mom and Daddy back in Lily Bay State Park on Moosehead Lake – only with better bathrooms down the road. We do have water on board, and we can wash our hands in the galley sink because I’ve placed a bowl under the faucet. The stove, fridge and freezer all work and I wash dishes in a large cooking pot, dump galley water into a bucket in the cockpit and EW or I take it down the ladder to dump the galley water behind a bush. We did the same thing at the campground, heating water on the stove just as I do here. (We can heat water on our boat and will do so again once we need warm water for showers. I find I use less water washing dishes if I heat it on the stove than if I run the hot water faucet.)

Of course all groceries/laundry/parts/supplies/beer/soda/trash must be carried up or down the ladder. 1-PA170447

1-PA190519And of course we have to walk to the showers and heads. I counted. It’s 350 of my paces. I have long legs and long, elegant feet. (My dearly loved Uncle Clayton used to call me his “big-footed niece, but let’s not go there.) Let’s say that my stride equals a yard. That means it’s not quite a football field to the heads and showers – unless we forget the key.

We’ve put it on a floating key ring – not that we’re in any danger of dropping it in the water, but it does help to keep track of it. 1-PA190501We opted for only one key, it’s supposed to live in the pocked of our bathroom tote, full of towels, tooth brushes, and facial cleanser. One is not supposed to go off for the day, leaving one’s partner without the key. We’ve been good at that, but have both arrived at the heads to find the key is still aboard the boat – up the ladder. More exercise, yea! No money.

I'm a hard, hard workin’ man.  We aren’t alone in our pain. In fact, this is the most social haul out we’ve had since the year we purchased and launched La Luna, which is the only time we were hauled out with all the summah sailahs. We made new friends, shared chores and ideas, and went out to eat together at Beale Street Barbeque in Bath. Here, we have friends from Grenada on three boats nearby, and on other boats in the neighboring yards, and have met new friends at some of the social events and shopping trips. All of these hauled out folks could sing I'm a hard, hard workin’ man or woman. So far, EW has cleaned the propeller, PA1103001-PA190520replaced the Plexiglas I broke in the hatch over our bed, removed a steering thingy to have new holes drilled for the autopilot, and is currently reinstalling that and servicing the steering system. I’ve kept house – which certainly takes more time here – and have started the sewing projects, completing some of the smaller projects. We’re having the yard raise the waterline and paint the hull, freeing us up for these other tasks. My list is short: sew covers for the side cushions in both staterooms, make an awning/rain catcher for the boat, keep house. write daily.

It’s a Hard Day’s Night. And I’ve been working like a dog. It’s a Hard Day’s Night. I should be sleeping like a log. You’d think with all of this work and play that we’d sleep soundly. Not so much at first. We most assuredly do not want the boat to rock here on land, but we do find it hard to sleep on the hard. We are also parked in the “dirty sanding section”, right next to the road. And it’s hot. On Monday I finally reached Richard of GoKool, 1-PA170450who stopped by the boat that morning and fitted us with an air conditioner, which we’ve rented for the month. He has been doing this for 14 years, and certainly knows how to install these on any boat without causing damage or letting the rain in. We even have a remote for the controls. I love Richard. We’ve gotten used to the lack of wave motion, and sleep with car noise muffled by closed hatches and gently humming air conditioner.

1-PA190509Really, this living on the hard isn’t horrible. The heads are nice – private, and cleaned often. Instead of a men’s and women’s room with multiple toilets and showers, they have a row of small powder rooms with toilets, sinks and mirrors, followed by a number of individual, white tiled showers. The same key opens all the doors.  Yes, EW and I have showered together, if only to allow another cruiser a chance to use one of the showers. It’s the right thing to do. We are nice like that.  Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.

On Thursday, we joined a group who had arranged a shopping trip for fabric. We were able to find exactly what we needed in the first store – and for an excellent price. Now, I have no excuses to start the awning or to re-do the mess I made of the headliner in the forward cabin – five years ago. EW is a bit disgusted that I hadn’t tackled that project sooner. I somehow kept forgetting to purchase the necessary six yards of material. Since he was with me on Thursday, there were no more excuses. It’s a hard knock life. I’ll have to remove the books, take down the trim, remove the headliner and put up new stuff. Oh joy. Someday in the future, our guests won’t have to see this from their bunks. 1-PA190528Sewing the awning has a higher priority and EW has first dibs on working in the forward cabin chain locker, so I have a bit of a reprieve.

Breaking up is hard to do, and I love him, so I’m not going to give EW more grief about his rather thoughtless question back in Grenada. (Plus he’s spent three days fixing the hatch I broke and he hasn’t really complained about the forward cabin headliner.) While I wouldn’t want to live on the hard for more than a few weeks, I can handle it just fine, thank you. Don’t feel sorry for me – but you can let EW know he’s one lucky fella if you want. I’m one lucky woman, too.

*With apologies and thanks to (in order ): Bob Dylan, Donna Summer, Brooks and Dunn, John Lennon, Mac Davis, Strauss and Charnin (That one’s for you Chrissy and Kathy), and Neil Sedaka.

Two additional items for your pleasure:1-PA190517

A local restaurant offers this tasty sounding appetizer: “Wanton Shrimp”.  And we think the local stainless steel guy works on bow pulpits, but we’re not sure.

 

 

 

 

 

And finally -- On the shopping trip we found our street: PA180471

 


From on the Hook in Grenada to on the Hard in Trinidad, Part Two*

*48Hours involving friends, problems at sea, new ports,

another projects, and more friends.

 

 

 

 

In the last installment, we focused mostly on the first 36 hours of this fun-filled two days at sea and on the hard. I bet you can’t wait to see what happens next.

1-PA110264These colorful homes are on the island in Chaguaramas Bay. This looks ideal, but the bay itself is very industrial, polluted, and rife with floating trash. This is definitely a working harbor, most marinas have a small number of docks and all except one are boatyards with some slips, not marinas as we know them. I wouldn’t stay here except to have work done, but others enjoy it for the season.

While we were hovering near the custom dock on Thursday morning, I tuned the VHF to listen to the local cruisers’ net. Like all such nets, they offer the opportunity to announce your arrival to the harbor. I, of course, announced that, “ We are Barb and Stew aboard La Luna from the Great State of Maine and have just arrived.” Consequently still more of our cruising friends called to welcome us. In addition, as we were tied to the slipway waiting to be hauled, I heard someone calling “Hello, La Luna.” I popped up on deck to meet Maureen, who couldn’t wait to greet someone else from the Great State of Maine. Maureen and Bruce are from Boothbay, sail Memories, a Whitby 42, and are currently hauled out in a nearby boatyard. We agreed to get together.

I checked the boat – but not that pesky head port, dammit – gathered the camera, my hat, and Kindle and prepared to be off the boat until she was placed in her on-the-hard spot. Just as I jumped onto the dock, I heard, “Hello, Bar-bar-a!” and turned to see Nina from Brazil , who sails with Michael from Germany. We did the two-cheek kiss thing that’s all the rage with European and South American sailors … and folks in the Caribbean … and pretty much everyone who didn’t grow up in the Great State of Maine. I’m getting quite good at it. Anyway, we did that, and promised to get together.

1-PA110279Marcel and the boat lifting crew got to work. EW had asked me to open the laptop to show the lifting points for our boat so that the shaft doesn’t get bent, but we didn’t need our pictorial display because the yards in Trini each have a diver who jackknifes brilliantly into the icky water in Chaguaramas Harbor and guides the slings to their appropriate spots. 1-PA110286That is a brave man. This is a filthy harbor. He said he was, “just doing my job.” I think he’s wonderful. The boat was lifted, I took oodles of photos of the process and of that guy pressure washing the bottom. ( You remember that guy with the pressure washer, right? ) We met Greg, the Yard Manager and discussed the work and their operation. We found out where the facilities were, EW went to get us some water and ran into four more cruising friends. La Luna was expertly and safely moved to her spot by Michael and his crew. Michael apologized for our location but I told him I knew we were going to be in the outer reaches of the yard since there was going to be sanding happening.

EW and I walked to a nearby restaurant for a late lunch and discussed the air conditioning thing, coming to agreement. We are getting one. Period. When we returned to Peake we found Maureen looking for us. Here’s what is interesting about Trinidad. So many people are hauled out here that they have a social life. Maureen invited us to a pot luck for on-the-hard-live-aboards. My first thought was “Cool.” But then I realized that I still had to clean up all those ocean bits in the head, and had no supplies on board for a  pot-luck. Before I could say anything, Maureen said, “If you have something to grill, I’ll make a potluck item that you can share.” Now that is a thoughtful offer.

We worked like fiends doing some Day/Morning/Minutes Before Hauling Out tasks, coupled with After Hauling Out tasks, and one Boy That Was Dumb task. Once the head was clean – again -- I marinated two pork chops, assembled drinks and plates and utensils, and we walked to the yard next door to meet new friends and get hugs from a bunch of sailors we knew in Grenada – and Antigua – and St. Thomas. We dined with Bruce and Maureen and found out that, in addition to having many Mainah friends in common, we also share friendships with a number of cruising buddies. They know John and Dora on Windrifter, Jeff and Sandy on  Magic Inspiration, and Joanne and Bill on Ultra. We spent time name dropping and time getting to know them and some of the other cruisers who joined us. And we exchanged a bunch of hugs with Jackie and Chris from High Heeled, with a promise to get together for a euchre game soon.

So, how’s Trini? Well, the harbor is almost as dirty as folks told us it would be. The local people we’ve met here near and in the marinas are as friendly as folks are in Grenada. The crew seems to be very knowledgeable and patient. It’s damn hot. So far, not many mosquitos. The ladder they give us to use, is big and strong, and has a bit of flex that takes some getting used to. The cruisers have tours, domino games, shopping trips with a local bus driver, and a strong network for fun and information. Good prepared food is plentiful with much variety and cheap – that’s a good thing, remember I can’t use the galley sink. Can you say washing dishes in a bucket? Speaking of which, can you say getting off the boat, going down the ladder and walking about a hundred yards to the facilities. Oh! Don’t forget the key!  That’s life on the hard. We’ve been told to expect the work to take three weeks. That always means more. I’ve never lived aboard on the hard for more than 12 days.

This should be fun. Either way, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Bits that didn’t make the post:

  1. After reading this post, EW reminded me that our friend Peter on Too Much Fun says that the reason folks kiss two cheeks is so that one cheek doesn’t get jealous.
  2. At the pot luck, we net Mike, a Brit sailing down here. He delighted us with his one visit to the Great State of Maine, twenty or thirty years ago. As a merchant mariner, he crewed on a tanker that went into Searsport, Maine. They had to moor a bit out of town and walk in along the train tracks on a cold winter evening. He was impressed with the scenery and the cold weather. Of course, being merchant mariners, the entered the local bar and were enjoying the atmosphere when they heard a siren. All locals immediately jumped up and dashed to the windows as the ambulance passed by. Then, sporting big smiles, they turned to the visitors and exclaimed, “That’s our brand new ambulance going out on its first call!”  Mike was charmed by there pride. Maureen and I agreed that there had probably been a lively town meeting the previous March  as the residents debated spending the money on that ambulance. That’s how things work in Maine’s small towns.

From on the Hook in Grenada to on the Hard in Trinidad, Part One*

*48Hours involving friends, problems at sea, new ports,

another projects, and more friends.

As I write this, it’s closing in on midnight on Thursday the eleventh of November  um make that October. (Thanks to Alice from Ocean Star for pointing out that glaring error. Rested now, on the 14th of October.) I’m tired and should be sleeping but though my body is pooped, my mind is active. When I found myself imagining being inside of a huge bouncy room, pinging up to the ceiling and rocketing back down to land on one idea or item on the to-do list, then springing back up to the ceiling to bounce down on yet another idea or to-do thingy – I gave up and got up.

La Luna is on the hard at Peake Yacht Services in Trinidad. So far, we like the yard and the crew. As for Trini – well it certainly isn’t Grenada, but that’s why we’re here. It was time to move on, we wanted to see Trini, and we’d heard good things about the boat yards and the shopping/provisioning opportunities. (I’ve been told that they have excellent fabric stores ) EW has opted to have the boat yard crew sand, paint the bottom, and raise the waterline – what a concept . Since much of this had been my job in the past, (see here and here) I now have time for other projects – so I told him that I’d get the awning made if I could have air conditioning below. We’ve called the air conditioning guy, but don’t have it yet.  We’re on the hard, parked next to the main road, with no breeze. We’re hooked up with electrical power and have two fans in the bedroom so that we don’t dissolve into puddles of sweat. The noise isn’t bad and I’m not sweating much, so why can’t I sleep?

Well, while my mind is running a mile a minute, the boat isn’t moving. This sleeping on land is a difficult thing to get used to. Some cruisers love to take a break to visit friends or stay in a hotel and “sleep in a real bed”. We are not those cruisers. I’d love to see my land-based friends and would sleep on land to do so. The lack of motion on board combined with the bouncy room in my mind, pinging from to-do list and ponging to articles and blog posts I want to share, then ricocheting off the very full day we’d just experienced was too much to contend with while curled up next to one’s gently snoring sweetie. So I’m up. Now that you know where we are, let me tell you how we got here.

By the way, I guarantee you two things:

  1. Gently sleeping sweetie will have no idea that I didn’t get to sleep or even that I was out of bed until after two in the morning.
  2. Gently sleeping sweetie will complain of not sleeping. How does that happen? I suspect he slept but woke up frequently, falling back to sleep fairly quickly.

NOTE: GSS (AKA EW) – confirmed all of the above on Friday morning. I know my GSS/EW.

Now, back to our story.

Lynn and me at the Canadian Thanksgiving. First, we had to leave Grenada. We love Grenada. EW makes music there. We have made a lot of friends there – fellow sailors and local Grenadians – and we’re not sure when or if we’ll see most of them again. That’s always the worst part for me, and I find myself prolonging our stay if I can. EW and Peter at our last Jam.This time, we had a haul-out scheduled for ten on Thursday, so we had to leave on Tuesday night in order to get there on Wednesday, check into the country, and take care of some in the water chores before hauling. All of that goes under the “Best Laid Plans…“ category. We said our good-byes, visiting some folk, seeing others at our last Whisper Cove jam on Sunday and at the Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday. We hugged still more friends when they swung by the boat to wish us well on Tuesday afternoon, and talked with a few on the VHF. Lynn from Silver Heels III delivered a loaf of her spice bread “for the road”, many others made dinghy “dooryard calls” and – my favorite – as we made our way out the bay, at least two boats blew their conch horns in our honor. “Wow,” I said in awe. “We were conched.” I was teary-eyed, but bravely sailed – well, motored – out the channel while EW tied down the Fortress anchor. 1-PA070063

The engine sputtered and died just as we were safely beyond the reef. The words “fuel management issue” were spoken and I was not pleased with EW. He quickly determined that while the tanks were low, we did have plenty of fuel, which meant that the fuel filter was clogged – probably because the line had picked up stuff from the bottom of the tanks. Neither of us wanted to motor all the way, and EW almost never consents to motor if there is any wind from the right direction. We decided to sail through the night. EW would take care of the fuel filter and bleed the engine in the morning after we were rested. We sailed slowly on in an easterly breeze of  ten to twelve knots, knowing that the best-case the 9-10 hour trip would last 14-15 hours, and I mentally re-did my Day Before Hauling Out to-do list. We had dinner, he took the first four-hour watch, and I tried to get some sleep. That was a mistake as I have a hard time falling asleep at seven at night and therefore usually take the first night watch. As a result, I barely slept two hours before it was time for my watch. One hour into said watch, Casey, our auto-pilot died. We had to hand steer all the way to Trinidad – a long, boring , and tiring twenty-four hour trip.

On Wednesday morning, EW successfully tackled the fuel filter, and we turned on the engine to help us make up some time. The current was still a problem, so even with the engine and sails we were only averaging 4-5 knots over the ground. I mentally re-did my Day Before Hauling Out to-do list again. Hours later, we approached the Boca De Monos. This narrow, deep cut between mainland Trinidad and Monos Island leads into Chaguaramas Harbor. There is a hell of a rip going through there. Big time. It was almost five and we had just enough time to get into the harbor, check in with customs and immigration, paying their overtime fee, and tie up at Peake. My Day Before Hauling Out to- do list had become my Early Morning Before Hauling Out to-do list, but it was still manageable and possible. As we headed up to stow the main, we were joined by a group of dolphins. “This is a good sign,” I thought.

Boca De MonosOur friend and fellow Maine sailor, Dave hailed us in the VHF and gave us pointers about the cut, scaring me a bit about the current and insisting that we favor the eastern, or left hand side. EW and I worked that out – it was not pretty – and we optimistically began the last phase of our journey. The dolphins dazzled us by riding the waves, leaping out of the water, and smacking their tails in glee. I enjoyed them, though at one point I told EW he was still too far to the right and that the dolphins, by dancing in the waves on the right were trying to tell us to go to the left. He was not amused. We didn’t get much time to enjoy the dolphins, take photos, or debate their mystical affinity for sailors before the engine died again. In the cut. The cut that isn’t much wider than the length of a football field. The cut that has a fierce current and standing waves. That cut. See the red star on the chartlet; that’s where the engine died.

I set the jib and took the wheel and finally agreed (after an intense but short discussion) to let EW leave me alone on deck while he began to change the fuel filter and bleed the engine. Again. In the meantime, Dave called on the VHF, saying, “Hey, where are you guys?” When I told him our situation, he was so concerned that he jumped into his dinghy and braved the cut and current and waves to come help us. Thank you, Dave. Ultimately, Dave steered so I could concentrate on helping EW bleed the engine. My part in that job takes place on deck at the controls, so we could have done this by ourselves, but it was much nicer to have a third person aboard, steering us in the cut. The current and jib moved us straight along the cut and we never saw less than 118 feet of water under the keel. 1-PA110253

At right, is a photo of a power boat in the cut on Thursday morning.

We were beat, it was getting dark, and we were done. Dave suggested that we turn up into Scotland harbor and anchor for the night. That made sense to us. He jumped back into his dinghy and we anchored at the yellow star on the chartlet. 1-PA110242In the meantime, folks had heard us talk to Dave on the radio and it turns out that a whole bunch of our cruising friends are here in Trinidad. A whole big bunch. A few called on the VHF during the fuel filter/cut or anchoring moments, so we couldn’t talk , but I was delighted to hear from them. I made a quick supper and fell asleep in the main salon at seven. We made it to bed at eight and slept for more than ten hours.

Above, is our view on Thursday morning. We took a very short moment to enjoy the beauty of the harbor, but of course we had to raise anchor before seven with the plan of tying up at the custom’s dock before they opened at eight. Every cruising guide quotes the rules that you “must tie up at the custom dock immediately upon entering the country”. Humph. Many sailors evidently anchor or tie up in a slip and take their dinghy or walk to customs. We tend to be “Do-Bees” and wasted a lot of time complying to the rules. We arrived at the small dock well before eight to find pilot boats waiting for in-coming crew for the oil rigs and tanker and cargo ships. We hovered in La Luna for over an hour. I started my much reduced Day/Morning/Minutes Before Hauling Out to-do list, and called Peake to say we’d be late.1-PA110269

Of course there is a fee to enter the country and we had no Trinidadian currency, but that wasn’t a problem as the cruising guide assured us that there was an ATM right next door to customs. Sigh. It’s been closed for 2 years. EW filled out paperwork and sent me to walk around the harbor to the nearest ATM. Remember that to-do list? Yeah. We checked in, called Peake, and were told to head directly into the slipway for immediate haul out.

I’ll tell you more about that in a subsequent post. For now, let me tell you about my Day Before/Minutes Before Haul Out to do list. Since we can’t use the shower, heads, or galley sink while we are hauled out I wanted to clean them and douse them with vinegar. I managed to scrub the shower and heads, but never got to the galley. I also never closed the port in the aft head. My bad.

1-PA110316For you non-sailors, immediately after your boat is hauled, the yard uses a pressure washer to clean the bottom. This was a really high pressure washer. It cleaned the bottom very well. The man operating it very nicely sprayed the hull to get rid of the bits of barnacle, weed, and sundry ocean flora and fauna that had been blasted off the bottom of the boat. When he did that some – quite a bit, actually – of these nasty bits ended up in the aft head. The clean aft head. This afternoon I spent an hour or so using Amazing Roll-Off to clean ocean bits from the head. Yep. It was that kind of day. 1-PA1103471-PA110350

 

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  The sole of the head, the counter, and the walls of the shower. I have no idea how it sprayed around a corner into the shower. All of these areas had been thoroughly cleaned about one hour before.

 

 

 

 

 

Bits that didn’t make the post:

  1. When friends would call on the radio, I tried to tell them where we were anchored that first night but couldn’t remember the name of the harbor. I could remember that it was a country that began with “S”, so the conversation would go like this: I’d say, “We’re in Sweden - Stockhom -Switzerland – no Scotland harbor.” My conversation partner would laugh and suggest I get some sleep.
  2. Did I say it was hot here? It is. When I set out to walk to the bank the security guards at Crew’s Inn suggested I get a taxi. I ambled out to the main road and didn’t see a taxi and didn’t have local money for a bus. A woman, likely a cruiser was walking toward me and I asked her. She was a French cruiser, stepping smartly along in the heat. “Ze bank is just along there. I have just walked it. It’s nothing.” This was uttered in that charmingly disdainful way only really mastered by a French person speaking English. I walked.
  3. We got to the slipway to find the crew waiting to take out lines. They were delightful from the first moment when Lou smiled and exclaimed, “We’ve been waiting for you for hours!” I laughed and threw him the line. Perfectly, thank you very much.

Don't Tell Diana

That seems to be the theme this week. Our friend Diana flew back to Canada to get ready for her daughter’s wedding. Her partner, Ross, is still aboard their catamaran, enjoying this week with Tim, who is visiting from Florida. Many cruisers leave Grenada for some part of the hurricane season. Sometimes the whole crew will leave for a few weeks, but most often the first mates fly out to visit adult kids, parents, grandkids and friends. It’s sexist, but often those cruisers left behind will feed the lone captain at least once while they are living as temporary bachelors. In this case, we enjoy Tim as much as Ross, and Tim is an excellent fisherman – so we’ve spent a lot of time with the guys from One White Tree.

Two phrases have been uttered often: “What happens at Hog Island stays at Hog Island” and the more succinct, “DON’T tell Diana.” Ross, Diana’s partner favors “Whatever happens …” but I’m fond of “Don’t tell …” and this is my blog, after all.  I actually never promised to keep these things secret – plus I bet Diana doesn’t have time to read blogs before the wedding. She’s busy with a lot of last minute details, relatives, attendants, and making (fingers crossed) cute little shoeless sandals for the ladies in the wedding party.

FootblingAnd that brings us to the first item in the “Don’t Tell Diana” category. A few weeks ago, I wore my shoeless sandals for an evening aboard One White Tree and Diana loved them. Between us we decided to make them for the bride, bridesmaids, and moms so that they would look dressed up once they had removed their shoes at the reception. (Don’t get Ross started on boaters purchasing (very) high heeled shoes to be kicked off after just an hour or so.) But, I digress. My sandals are crocheted and both Diana and I have the hooks and know how to use them. We spent the better part of two days scouring Grenada for the materials and beads, to no avail. We finally had to give up – but not before Diana had sent a link showing her daughter the sandals. Now she has to make them alone in Canada during the frenzied two weeks prior to the wedding. So – Don’t tell Diana that the first mates from Shilo and Kya Moya make shoeless sandals and they have TONS of beads and materials on board. Instead of taking multiple bus rides and hiking over hilly streets, we just had to dinghy within the Hog Island anchorage for sandals for all.

Tim, fisherman and excellent guest, arrived in Grenada the day before Diana left. We had them all over for dinner so Diana didn’t have to worry about hosting on his first day and her last. When he unpacked, he stored a particular item in their fridge. Rumor has it that Diana saw it and exclaimed, “Oh! I hope some of that will be on board when I get back!” Don’t tell Diana that we ate most (all?) of the Dark Chocolate Peanut M & M’s. This is what happened.  The crews of Shilo and Kya Moya, and I checked in with the fishing boat while they were at sea on Monday. The fish weren’t leaping on board, so I offered to make pizza that night. (Oh, evidently Diana loves home-made pizza. Who knew? Don’t tell Diana that I finally made pizza after she left Grenada. My bad.) Anyway, after a lovely meal, Tim emerged from the cabin with a huge bag of Dark Chocolate Peanut M & M’s. The men grunted in appreciation. The women swooned and essentially said “Gimmee!”. Satisfied sighs – OK, they were moans – ensued. At one point someone (must have been one of the guys) dropped a green M & M into the cockpit – the clean, white fiberglass cockpit. Before any of the first mates could react, one of the captains scooped it up and tossed it overboard! Three women actually screamed. I was one of them. Don’t tell Diana that it was Ross, her love, who killed the M & M. Such a waste. EW would never have done that. He knows better than to mess with chocolate.

John from Kya Moya on his 12 StringTuesday found us once again on One White Tree. The fishermen had actually been successful late in the day on Monday and had caught enough fish for a feed for ten. Tim and Ross prepared the main meal and crews from Shiloh, Kya Moya, and Into the Mystic provided salad, desert, and appetizers. Nothing transpired that we have to keep from Diana, though Tim regaled us with the marine fauna he photographed as he swam around the boat and Hog Island. Don’t tell Diana what he saw, OK? She worries about what sea life may joiRoss from One White Treen her when she swims in the ocean, and she’s been quite brave lately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, for those of you wondering, the four men fishing caught one Strawberry Grouper (Tim), a yellow-tailed snapper (Kya Moya John) and a Ciro Mackerel (Tim). No. EW didn’t catch anything this time, but he did ask me to spit on his lure before they left. How romantic. <sighs>

We plan to leave here on Tuesday or Wednesday, heading for Trinidad to haul out. We’ll be gone before Diana returns and aren’t sure when we’ll see One White Tree again. That’s the problem with this lifestyle. It’s OK to tell Diana how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with her. And how much I’ll miss her.

 

Here are photos of chef Tim, our fish feast, and the crews filling their plates. (Roll over the photos to see captions.)

Tim in the Galley

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EW and KM John

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Grenada Spam

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So – I was tweaked on Facebook recently for not putting up a blog post in nearly a month. It’s been that kind of summer – and yes, it’s still summer here – in the eighties and we are still watching for hurricanes. EW and I have been kind of lazy, frankly. There haven’t been many onerous boat projects and we haven’t jumped on any major planned projects. We have made plans for the next couple of years – more on that later.

This week, I’m determined to get back on the blogging trail, so I went through my photos for August and September and found not five, not ten, not 15 … but 28 events photographed for potential blogs. That’s a huge back-blog of topics. (Did you see what I did there? I slay me.)

Anyway, it seems apt to begin with an easy post – just to let you know we are still out here having fun in the sun. As some of you may dimly remember, a spam post consists of mostly unrelated photos and events – sort of like the junk found in Spam. I first posted a spam post in the Bahamas, after finding not one, not two, but 5 varieties of Spam in the grocery store at Georgetown. That’s just about five more than the world needs – so the Spam post was born. (The above photo fails to depict the regular Spam flavor – so don’t try to find five varieties.)

Here we go. In chorological order – sort of. Photos from the back-blog, not worthy of full posts:

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I visited home of Island Violin with owner Beth Wolfe, who teaches Donnell Best. Donnell is a talented violinist and vocalist who has been accepted to Berklee College of Music. He needs some help to attend and I hope he finds a way to achieve his dream. (See the original post here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course EW is participating in the Sunday Jam Sessions at Whisper Cove Marina. Chris from Troubadour is another regular and very, very rarely his lady Linda joins him in a song. I loved this photo. I remain a groupie at these sessions, taking photos and getting EW a beer whenever he requests it. I can be nice like that.

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Biat is a solo cruiser – well, he doesn’t have a human crew. He does sail (and visit Hog Island) with his two crew members.

 

 

 

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Lee from S/V Krasna was joined by his son and daughter for a few weeks this summer. All are talented. I’m not sure who was happier about being together and making music, but it certainly worked for us.

 

 

 

 

 

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RUN, EW!  RUN!  This doesn’t look good at all.

 

 

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Never mind.

 

 

Actually, many small farmers have one or two steers tied up on the farm in a new location each day. We’ve gotten used to walking past them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The good news for farmers in Grenada … the soil is incredibly fertile.  

The bad news – it’s a very mountainous country. Here’s one farmer’s bamboo framed terraces.

 

 

 

 

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The cemetery in town – with a blooming flamboyant tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An unfortunate inscription.  Oedipus much?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The tyke on the left performed her own interpretative, spontaneous dance when Barracuda played at Secret Harbor Marina.

The folks on the right, also performed their own spontaneous dance at the First Friday in September. That’s Carolyn Goodlander on the right.

 

 

 

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The former Houses of Parliament and a church – destroyed by a hurricane still not repaired.

 

 

 

And finally – because I couldn’t resist --- heck, I didn’t every try.

 

One of the worst beach signs ever ……

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