Last Days in the Eastern Caribbean, Part One
Bill and Barbara barely got their visit in before our time was up in Grenada. I am not doing their visit justice, for which I deeply apologize to them, but we were able to see Kirani James run in the Olympics from his hometown of Gouyave, Grenada. We stood beside Kirani’s friends and neighbors and cheered him on. He has now won gold and silver medals for the small country of Grenada.
It was exciting and fun and had an atmosphere very similar to Carnival. Some people even wore their Carnival costumes.
Bill and Barbara were great crew! They pitched in wherever they could and made things easy for Dave and I. They are no strangers to boats, but are not necessarily sailors. Bill had done some deliveries and that’s how we met him in St Martin. They looked quite at home at the helm while we sailed to the underwater sculpture park, Ronde Island, and Sandy Island for some snorkeling.
The water was cloudy and we didn’t get great pictures, but here are my favorites.
It was fun taking the time out to visit and we couldn’t have asked for better guests. As always when you’re having fun, time ran out and Bill and Barb flew back home. Know that you are both welcome back aboard Livin’ Life, Bill and Barb.
Time also ran short for us and we had to prepare ourselves for our new adventures out west. We also had to prepare Livin’ Life for the journey. She’s in pretty good shape and everything was working (if not perfectly then functionally), especially after Bill showed Dave how to change the fuel filter on the generator. But there were some miscellaneous things to finish up.
Airflow throughout the boat is a problem. The wind typically comes over the bow of the boat, because when you are anchored or moored the boat turns facing into the wind. One of the issues is that our hatches open backwards. This is so that water that comes over the deck in rough seas does not easily make its way into the hatch. That’s great, however, the hatch blocks the wind instead of guiding it in like a forward facing hatch might. I did recently learn that our hatches fold all the way down to the deck, so that it at least doesn’t block the wind any more. How can we live on the boat for over two years without realizing this? Because we usually open the hatches from the inside and cannot reach to push them all the way down. Okay, maybe we are just a little slower than most. At least we still have things to learn all the time. Anyway, the wind scoop Dave bought is pocketed on four sides to direct the wind in from multiple directions in case we are side tied to a dock or something. Again, great in theory, but the pockets block the wind. So I cut and stitched to correct that. Next problem, we had no way to attach the wind scoop.
I won’t go into the boring details but after thinking about it a few days, I figured out a solution that we could fine tune as we used it. It all worked and now we do get a breeze coming in right over our bed. Yes! Our nights will be cooler. Dave? Dave? I said nights. Oh no, fixing the airflow has created a new problem: I can’t get Dave out of bed!
In Florida we had a huge freezer made and replaced the small freezer with a refrigerator. The new freezer and refrigerator have been awesome and well worth the expense. The new fridge is self-defrosting and evaporating. No fuss, no muss. The old refrigerator, however, has been problematic. It self-defrosts but all the water collects in the produce drawer. I obviously can’t use it for produce, so I use it for sealed items like bacon and cheese and dump the water regularly. That fridge also has a mind of its own, sometimes getting as cold as 46F degrees but also as warm as 60F degrees. Ugh. I can’t keep milk or anything that may spoil in it since it is so unreliable. We had the compressor changed in St Maarten, but that didn’t fix the problem. We should have just replaced the whole fridge. Oscar at Onboard Refrigeration in Grenada came to have a go at it and I think he is right, we have a gas flow blockage. However, he didn’t have time to fix it. So he recharged the gas and said good luck. That drama will continue.
I am a list person. I make to do lists, grocery lists, boat work lists, etc… This was our final list before leaving Grenada. Dave used to make fun of my lists, but now he participates in them. The line was for the dinghy hoist system. That’s a problem we’d been working on for a while. It was so stiff and hard that it took all of Dave’s strength to get the dinghy up on the platform. I changed the lift line, but that didn’t solve it. Dave put WD40 on the bearings in the track cart and that helped a lot. Now we needed to replace the line that pulls it in and out. There’s not much else we can to do on that system. We changed the line and it did help, but I think the bearings are starting to go and we need to lube them regularly.
Yes! Our house sold. Only problem, we will be sailing and out of contact to sign papers and such. So we needed to get as much done as quickly as possible before we left. We used Marion, a local attorney and notary public, to notarize the deed and Fed Ex to send the papers back and forth. Unbelievably, it all worked like a charm. Now we are just waiting for word that escrow closed.
Catherine on Mowzer came up with an amazingly simple but brilliant idea: make a wind scoop to direct wind into the cockpit. Our cockpit is very protected while we are at sea as well as at anchor with a permanent windshield. This means, however, that there is no airflow into the cockpit. Catherine tried out her idea with sarongs and it made an immense difference on Mowzer. Here I am shaping a cotton sheet to fit our need or trying to anyway.
The next step was to sew it up and create straps to tie it in place. My sewing machine has been getting a workout lately for wind scoops!
So here is what I made. It’s not very good but it does work. When I next get some down time, I will tweak it and tighten it up. The problem is that I have nothing to attach it to that gives the correct angle. I think it was a good first try, though. Let me know if you make something brilliant with the sheet, Catherine!
Our final project was getting the rigging checked. We were about to make our longest passage ever, so we wanted to make sure the boat was ready. Turbulence in Grenada came to do the check. They walked around testing the shrouds, looking at stays and such, and went up the mast. For the most part everything looked good.
Two problems were found, our gennaker halyard is starting to chafe, but was not bad yet. Our main halyard was also chafing and this was much more of a concern. The chafe was deeper and it was our main sail, after all.
Fortunately, the chafe was right at the top and reparable by cutting off the end and splicing it back on. Unfortunately, the chafe was right at the top, so it meant another trip up the mast. We didn’t feel comfortable doing it ourselves, so Turbulence returned to get us all squared away. He’s so high, you can hardly see him, but he’s up there: 68 feet up. With that done, we were ready to go!
Of course, we’ve been watching the weather very closely and there has been one WAVE and tropical storm after another. All have traveled north of Grenada, sucking the wind right out of the south. The water has been eerily still. As long as everything stays north of Martinique, our biggest problem would be lack of wind. The sunsets have been beautiful (top of page). The vivid colors reflecting off the calm water, it’s like Grenada is trying to tempt us into staying!