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Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Lots of last-minute cleaning and packing. As usual, George showed up 15 minutes early, and I had to tell him it would be another 10 minutes. But our timing is good; the rain has stopped.
Ashore on time, and to the airport. Short line at ticketing, but they charged me US$25 for checking my bag; that's a new fee, although they say it isn't. No line at all at Security. To gate by 8:30 for 9:50 flight. AC power and Wi-Fi.
Uneventful flight to Miami. Realized I brought no US cash at all with me; will have to hit an ATM.
New, automated passport machines in the Miami airport, which took a digital picture of me. Smooth trip through Immigration and baggage and Customs. One electronic sign about Ebola, saying something like "if you've been to West African countries and have a fever, see nearest official". About 3 hours to wait until next flight. No free Wi-Fi.
A little headachey; took a sumatriptan. Found an ATM, had some lunch, wandered around. Tried to practice my Spanish by listening to the announcements, some of which are repeated in Spanish. But it's very fast Spanish.
Then my flight started getting delayed. Supposed to leave at 4:35; actually took off a little after 9. 3.5-hour connection turned into 8-hour connection.
Fairly rough flight to Philadephia; plenty of turbulence, attendants had to stop serving a couple of times, kid nearby screaming for long periods of time.
No problem getting my baggage and getting picked up by my brother. Home by 1 AM. One hour different from Grenada, so today's trip took about 16 hours, door to door. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada. I'm in New Jersey, then Barcelona, then NJ again.
Usual pile of mail and packages waiting for me.
First time in a while that I've been in NJ in time to see the fall colors. Took pictures, then realized I forgot to bring the cable to download from my camera to my laptop. And Amazon one-day shipping has failed me: none of the cables they offer for this are available in less than 5 business days or so. Got them out later: pics.
Took the train up to New York City and went to the Spanish consulate. A bit of a rushed consultation, since I didn't have an appointment, but a nice man came out to talk to me across the Security desk. And said a lot of surprising things, almost all making the process simpler and cheaper than I expected. Good news. Wandered through Manhattan, stopping at St Patrick's Cathedral, Public Library, etc. Pics.
Bought a new USB cable for my camera in NYC, and still can't get pictures out of the camera. I think the camera may be dying, but not having the old cable with me adds a complicating factor to the diagnosis.
Nov 12: off to Barcelona ! Trip diary will be here. New credit card (one with chip in it) didn't arrive before I left. But I'm getting out of NJ just before the cold weather arrives. [Sitting at airport gate, got email from my brother saying new credit card just arrived in the mail.]
Jan 22: Back in NJ, from Barcelona. Snowing when I arrived at Philadelphia airport. At my brother's house, a couple of packages waiting for me: new eyeglass frames and a new external hard drive.
Surprisingly hard to get the external hard drive working; they must sell a million of these per year, yet I had a bunch of hiccups trying to get the drive to appear, the software to run, the software to update itself, etc.
Went to DMV to renew my driver's license, and their computers are down. Sat there for 2.5 hours, gave up and went home. Back again in late afternoon, but computers still down. Will try again tomorrow.
Woke up to 2-3 inches of new snow on the ground. Got to DMV at 9:45, lots of glum-looking people sitting and waiting, nothing going, but receptionist says the computers have been up and down this morning. So I decide to wait, and my brother goes home. I ask what the process will be if/when the computer comes back up, will my name be called or something. And the supervisor takes me to a station and has a woman make me a new driver's license ! Take my picture, pay $24, here's your new license. I was holding my breath, didn't want to ask "wait, I thought the computers were down, you can't do this, why is everyone else having to wait ?". Done by 10, now I have to wait 90 minutes for my brother to come back and pick me up. No problem. As far as I could tell while I was waiting, no one else was getting licenses. Strange.
I'm flying out Monday at 11 AM or so, and a major, MAJOR winter storm is expected to start Tuesday 6 AM or so. Might be 18 inches of snow here in a few days. [They ended up getting less than 6 inches in the Trenton/Philadelphia area.]
Jan 26: Forecast has changed to more like 8 inches of snow here. But still glad to get out ahead of it (I hope). Up at 6, caught 6:54 train, connect at 30th Street station, to Philadelphia airport, through to gate by 8:50 for 11:15 flight. Snowing. AC and free Wi-Fi in the airport.
Flight loaded on time, but then waited a long time for de-icing. Snow doesn't seem to be accumulating, but I think the temperature is right about at freezing. Ended up with the wings colored lime-green; I haven't seen that before. Took off late.
Uneventful flight down to Miami, arriving about 3:05. Flight to Grenada takes off from exactly the same gate in 2 hours. AC and free Wi-Fi here.
Flight to Grenada was about 2/3 full, and uneventful. Landed around 9:30, through Immigration and Customs, and George the taxi driver was waiting for me. As we drove to the marina, he was saying he thought someone had been on my boat, and he tied a hard dinghy to the back of it to make it look like I was aboard. I'm starting to get worried abut what I'll find.
To the marina, into George's skiff and out through light rain, and onto my boat. Sure enough, someone has snapped off the main companionway lock. But there are steel grates and another lock behind that, and they didn't get through that and into my boat. Everything fine inside.
George waited out some rain, and as we chatted, I suddenly realized that my kayak is gone ! And that rings a bell with George: a kayak was found ashore a month ago, a local guy figured the thieves were using it to get to boats, and so he BURNED my kayak ! Bummer.
Boat is a mess, as usual after returning from a trip. Started sorting it out a little, getting toilet working. Then to bed.
Up in middle of night, adding water to batteries. I left the wind-generator running while I was gone; didn't mean to do that. But the batteries aren't boiled dry, and were ruined before I left anyway. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Started getting the boat straightened out. Moved jugs out of cockpit. Pumped up one tube of the dinghy, lowered it, pumped up the other tubes. Hauled outboard up out of cabin, onto stern deck, down into dinghy. Listened to the cruiser's net, and told them about my kayak. Got the outboard started after 6 or 8 pulls, and it runs okay. Put the raincatchers out on deck.
Daniel stopped by to say hello.
Started the water system and filled jugs to put in refrigerator. Started refrigerator and gave it a dose of refrigerant from the can that's still attached.
Ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. Richard says he's off for Florida in a few days, with 5 crew plus himself, via Dominica and Dominican Republic and Cuba.
Out at bank, walked to hardware store, walked to ATM, walked to police station. Spent 45 minutes giving a theft report, which amounted to 1.3 written pages. Bought tomatoes at veggie stand. To supermarket, said hi to Patrick and Bernard, got groceries. Running out of energy; all I've eaten today is a powerbar and a cup of cranberry juice. Had another powerbar and felt better, but sleepy. Into van, veggie store and CK's, back to boat by 1:15.
Refrigerator seems okay, gave it another shot of refrigerant.
Two local guys stopped by at 1:30, to take away the hard dinghy still tied to the back of my boat, and to (sort of) say sorry for burning my kayak. They thought it had been stolen from a couple bays over, or something. I'm sure the thieves were using it, as they thought. And turns out he tied his hard dinghy to the back of my boat to keep his dinghy off the beach so the thieves wouldn't get it, not to protect my boat.
Pulled up 10 feet of anchor chain, to let the stuff growing on it die before I scrape it off: pic.
Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Propane stove running low, but I thought the tank should have plenty of propane in it. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Ran engine for 20 minutes. When I first turned the key, nothing at all. Tried several more times, nothing. Then again, and it slowly cranked and quickly started. Ran okay.
Replaced old propane camp-stove with a shiny new one: pic.
Scraped barnacles off the dinghy painter; the thieves left it dangling in the water, and a lot of stuff grew on it.
Scraped barnacles and grass off 10 feet of the anchor chain, and pulled in another 10 feet.
Gave myself a haircut.
Ashore at 1:30 and walked over to Pickly Bay marina. Played dominoes; about 17 people at three tables. A nice time, and everyone wanted to hear about my trip to Spain and my plans to go back there. Walked back with Peter and Anne and Daniel and Brenda.
Outboard motor still giving me trouble; hard to start, sometimes choking. Squeeze-bulb in fuel line seems to be collapsing a little, so maybe the problem is there or in the tank.
Sausage-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. New propane stove runs better than the old one, but still acts like the tank is running low. Which it shouldn't be. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Loafed most of the day.
Was planning to move to other side of harbor to get more wind power, but the Wi-Fi is better over here, so I think I'll stay put.
In late afternoon, went snorkeling under the boat to scrape hull and prop. Thick, thick growth under there. Got the prop and about 1/3 of the hull done.
Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Ashore in early afternoon. Nice chat with Gary and Dick. Bought a gallon of gasoline. Did some yoga. Went for a walk.
Salad and spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Ashore in early afternoon. Did some yoga. Went for a walk.
Still having problems with the outboard; have to nurse it to keep it running sometimes. Doesn't seem to draw gasoline sometimes; have to run it with the choke 2/3 out sometimes.
Forward water tank has run dry.
Pulled in another 10 feet of anchor chain and cleaned it.
Leftover cold chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Took the sails up onto deck.
Ashore at 1:30 and walked over to Prickly to play dominoes. Nice to see everyone again, 20+ people at four tables. Forgot to bring my wallet; borrowed a 20 from Daniel. Nice game, but I did poorly. Long chat afterward with Mirie and Pierre-Yves. Back to Secret Harbor, saw Daniel and Brenda at the dinghy dock, repaid the 20 I borrowed.
Leftover sausage-cornbread and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Headachey; took a paracetamol-plus.
In late afternoon, went snorkeling under the boat and did a long session of scraping. Sometimes, it feels like this. Finished the job and got everything as clean as it's going to get.
Salad and some PBJ for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Ashore for 9:30 shopping van. Had to wait for last van. To hardware store, and bought motor oil (only had 1 gallon of kind I wanted to buy), can of refrigerant, spark plug for outboard. All sold out of solar garden lights.
Walked to another hardware store, no luck, to ATM. To supermarket, got a ton of groceries, to van with a couple of minutes to spare. Stopped at veggie store (long line), CK's closed (fine with me), back to marina. Back aboard at 11:55, took 10 minutes to stow all the groceries.
Fuel level 6 inches at engine hour 4880.
Added water to the batteries; one cell took a lot.
I'm hoping to leave this harbor on Thursday and start heading north. We'll see how it goes.
Ashore in late afternoon. Did a big run at the book-exchange. Did some yoga. Went for a walk. Chatted with Kitty and then Eric and then Dick. Outboard running very badly on the way out to the boat.
Hoisted the jib, but didn't unfurl it. I think it doesn't furl/unfurl properly any more, so I won't mess with it until I leave.
Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Took forever to cook, with the propane still acting funny, and swirling wind blowing out the flame 6 or 8 times. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Hoisted the mainsail, and realized the furling line needs to be replaced.
Cleaned some anchor chain, pulled in another 5 feet of anchor chain and cleaned it.
Weather forecast has changed slightly; maybe I'll leave on Friday.
Realized I bought the main furling line extra-long last time, so I can cut it shorter if one end frays. So I did that now. But the furler drum is sticking. Was able to take out a setscrew, oil everything, and get it working.
Realized I'm short a couple of key groceries, mainly dishwashing liquid. Really can't do without that for long.
Around 10, headed ashore. Outboard running so badly that I almost turned around and stayed on the boat. But I kept going, and made it. Started walking into town, and was delighted when Jenny the fruit-veg lady offered me a ride in her jeep, just outside the marina. She dropped me off at CK's, saving me a ton of walking.
Into CK's, bought the dishwashing liquid. Came out and realized I didn't have my hat. Looked in the store, not there, must have dropped it on the scramble in and out of the jeep, or left it in the jeep. Held a paper towel over my head to block the sun while I walked down to the hardware store.
No joy there, still no solar garden lamps. Went next door and bought a big jar of garlic, another must-have item.
Long, hot walk back, holding a bag or towel on my head to block the sun. Didn't find my hat on the road where I got into the jeep.
At the dinghy dock, took out the outboard spark plug, and it looks fine. Motor ran very badly, but got me out to the boat. Done a little after 11:30. Hot and tired.
In late afternoon, took the carburetor off the outboard. Happy to find brown gunk in the bowl; cleaned it out, cleaned out all the passages in the carb. Put it back together and back on the motor, and the motor runs much better. Went over to Dick's boat and gave him some 2-stroke oil I had left over from the previous outboard. Outboard ran well.
Pulled in more anchor chain, finished with the barnacle-scraping. Trying to get the chain fairly vertical so the anchor will loosen a bit overnight.
Dumped 5 gallons of diesel from jug to tank.
Sausage-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.
Weather still looks good, time to get going.
Engine start at 9:25. As usual after it's been here for a while, in deepish water, the anchor is a SOB to get up. I get the chain vertical, heave and heave, it stays bar-tight. Soon I'm able to move the boat, the anchor must be free of the bottom, but I still can't pull it up. Lots of twist in the chain. Heave, rest. I motor around in circles, trying to untwist it a little, mainly trying to shake everything up. Stop and let out 20 feet of chain, pull back up, and the big twist-curl is gone. Pull again and again, start making progress, and my back gives some warning twinges. Rest some more and pull more carefully, and soon I'm making real progress. I can hear the anchor chain untwisting itself, in lurches. Anchor up at 10:15.
Mainsail up by 10:20; furler drum still sticky. Decide not to unfurl the jib. I motor-sail out of the harbor, and start heading W along S coast of Grenada.
A couple of boats come out of Prickly Bay, and one of them, after we're slowly converging for a while, turns and cuts very close across my stern, and heads outside of Glover Island.
At the SW corner of the main island, that boat is back again, all three of us are turning the corner at the same time, but no problem. Around by 11:10.
I checked the engine oil leak a few times earlier, then let it go too long. Check at 11:45, and the bucket is full and overflowing. Stop engine, and it needs a LOT of oil. If I'd run another 15 or 30 minutes, I probably would have ruined the engine.
I have lunch, take my time dealing with the oil, the boat is sailing itself in the right direction but probably making less than 2 knots. Looks like the oil is leaking from the joint where the aft hose screws into the filter housing, but I put a wrench on it and that joint already is super-tight. Engine start again at 12:10.
I keep checking the oil, the leak is steady but not too fast. Am approaching my destination when I decide to deal with the accumulated oil again. Engine off at 1:00, quickly dump oil back in, going again in a couple of minutes.
Harbor entrance is hard to spot. Handheld GPS works once, then is dead; I forgot to charge it. Sloppy. But I've been here before, and soon see the little cabin low down by the entrance.
Into harbor. I've been here before, but anchored in the deep N end; now I decide to be bold and sneak under the low powerlines to anchor in the shallow S end. As I get to the powerlines, they look far too low, but that's an optical illusion. I back off once, then go close to shore (high end of the powerlines, but there are rocks and a wreck here), don't look up, and then I'm past the powerlines. Quickly round up, lower the anchor, find I'm in about 12 feet of water: perfect. Anchor down and engine off by 1:30 at Halifax Harbour, Grenada. Swinging near the wrecked freighter here, but that's okay. Nice, calm anchorage.
In late afternoon, took apart hose connections into oil filter base. There's a broken O-ring, and I can't find my bag of spare O-rings. But a bigger problem: the threads are not grabbing when I tighten the pipe into the filter housing. They grip a little, then are loose. I put in a bunch of thread sealant, tighten it as best I can, and leave it to dry overnight. Hope I didn't make it worse.
Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Halifax Harbour, Grenada.
Started engine at 7:15, and oil is pouring out of the connection. Engine off, took joint apart, tried to put it back together, and the threads are not gripping at all. Used pliers to try to get small pipe section out of other connector, and soon the threads are mashed. Cleaned them up with a hacksaw, screwed pipe into housing, and the threads still are not gripping at all. From the bad angle I have, the threads inside the housing look okay. But the joint just is not tightening. I might be stuck here for a while; can't run the engine without this working. And there's nothing in this anchorage but access to the coastal road. Could dinghy several miles up or down the coast to a town to get help.
I apply teflon tape, stick the joint back together and then wire it together with seizing wire. Tighten it by twisting the wire ends, but it's not very tight.
Start the engine at 8:00, and the leak is manageable. Quickly get the anchor up and motor out.
Start heading north, but by 8:15 the bucket is full and I have to stop and dump oil back into the engine. I could keep doing this every 15 minutes, but the trip up to Carriacou normally takes me 8 hours or more, and this will turn it into 12 hours, maybe. Common sense says give up and turn around and head south to St George's.
Soon the oil leak is making the decision for me: I have to stop again after only 5 minutes. Put oil back in, make a U-turn, start heading south. And the leak is worse: now can run the engine only 1 or 2 minutes before I have to stop.
So I do that for a while, stop, start, stop, start. Would be nice if I could sail a bit, but there's no wind. I tie a rope around the connection and crank that to tighten, and that helps a little.
I take a break for a while, start a cycle of motoring for 1-2 minutes, sit for 10 or so, dump oil back in, do it again. Slowly making progress. Occasionally a little puff of wind lets me sail at a knot or so for half a minute.
I'm bummed; there's a lovely period of low seas for the next week or two, and I'd hoped to get up to Bequia. Now I'll miss most of the opportunity.
Sometimes the leak is very bad, but I figure out how to push the hose down in a certain direction to make it decrease again.
Nearing the cruise ship dock, I have a tense situation with two oncoming sailboats. They're sailing north at 3 or 4 knots, I'm making about 1/10th of a knot sailing south, and they're passing very close to me. I don't want to lose headway and slew across in front of them. I just ran the engine, so have to go below and dump oil before I can run it again, but I have to stay above and steer while they're so close. Wish they'd stay further away. But eventually they're past.
More wind down by the harbor entrance, but of course it's coming from exactly the direction I want to go. At least the leak has slowed a bit; now I can run for 3-4 minutes before stopping.
Eventually up and through the anchorage. Head close to the beach, shut off the engine just before the bucket is full, lower the anchor. Nice depth, but the chain is only halfway out when I get to the huge twists still in it from the months while the boat was idle. Should have gotten them out yesterday afternoon. I quickly furl the mainsail most of the way so the boat stops sailing around at anchor, quickly back to the chain, untwist 5 feet, let it out, do another 5 feet, etc.
Finally done by noon, at St George's, Grenada. Took me a little less than 4 hours to go 4 NM today.
After 1, I start cleaning up the engine a little, and taking the wires and rope off the filter connection. I'm thinking of taking the whole thing out and going ashore to find a machine-shop. But I'm tired, and want to make sure my anchor is holding well before leaving the engine disabled for several days, probably. Tomorrow is Saturday, machine-shops probably will be closed, but I could take it to a hardware store and see if I can buy a couple of little pipe-connectors. And I need to find my O-rings.
No free Wi-Fi over here; would have been nice.
Tired; not going ashore today.
Found the bag of O-rings.
Nice-looking sailboat here: pic.
Salad and leftover chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Quiet night, but there's a slight roll in this anchorage that just never stops. That's why I've never liked it here. St George's, Grenada.
Turns out today is Independence Day here in Grenada, so no stores will be open.
Rain at 7, then fairly grey day, some periods of sunshine.
In midafternoon, took the oil filter housing off the hoses. The outlet won't grip, so of course the inlet hose connection was on extra-solid; had to put big wrenches on it and hit one with a hammer. Got it off: pic. The outlet connection just is too short or the hole in the mount has expanded or something, I think. Maybe the little connector-pipe is screwed too far into one end; never liked that arrangement. I tried to get the little connector-pipe out of it the other day, and ended up just mashing threads. But now I think I'm remembering it wrong; the only connector-pipe is vertical, holding the filter on, not also at the sides ? Will have to try to find the little pamphlet that came with the mount.
Found the picture from when I installed it a couple of years ago, and there are no side-pipes: pic. Bad news: I probably need a new adapter-pipe, the thing on the right in today's picture. Or a new mount.
Party-boat went past in the evening, loud music playing: pic.
Salad and spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. St George's, Grenada.
Awake and thinking at 5 AM, and wondering how a machine-shop could fix the oil-filter mount. And I doubt they really can. So I decided to try a fix myself. Got up, cleaned the parts well with soapy water, dried them well, then JBWeld-ed them together. Will let that dry for 24 hours, then (carefully) put them back on the engine tomorrow morning, and start the engine. If it works, I'll head north. If it doesn't work, I'll take the parts ashore and look for help.
Freighter came in (pic); they're interesting to watch. One or two in and out of here each day, it seems.
Got some free Wi-Fi. Nice.
Salad and leftover sausage-cornbread and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. St George's, Grenada.
Up at 6:30, and carefully assembled the oil filter and mount onto the hoses. Engine start at 6:55, and no oil leak. Took my time getting the boat ready to go, had a little trouble getting the anchor up, and still no oil leak when the boat got moving at 7:15. Motored out, mainsail up, no wind, motored north, keeping a frequent eye on the oil situation. And it kept being fine.
Long, typical day; I've done this trip 5 or 6 times before. Very calm and easy up the W side of Grenada, rougher and windier as the island turned NE, and a real slog NE across the gap between islands. Seas low (4 feet) as forecast, but plenty of them from a couple of directions, and more wind than I expected, and no SE in it to help me. A long, slow trip, with me hoping the engine keeps going okay. Fairly rough at times.
Current and wind forcing me more W than I wanted to go, and the day ended with several hours going mostly E and just enough off the wind to keep the mainsail from luffing. But the engine is doing fine.
Relieved to get into Tyrrel Bay and get the anchor down by 3:55 at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou. Nice and calm and quiet here. Lots of boats.
Salad and leftover spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Around 10:30, launched the dinghy. Stopped at nearby boat and chatted for a moment, asking about a fuel-barge someone had told me was here. But they said no, that is up in Bequia.
Headed ashore, going around a fuel tanker that just came in to fill up the big fuel tanks on land. Docked at the ferry dock. Took a big load of garbage to the dumpsters. No one selling produce at the dock today, and little on offer from the shacks. Into the grocery store, and bought a lot of stuff. Back to the boat, swinging wide around the fuel tanker, which has floated a hose in to shore to deliver the fuel. They used to use an undersea pipeline here, but I guess that's not working any more.
After lunch, looked at engine. Oil leak situation seems okay. But there's a steady drip of water from the raw-water pump while the intake valve is open; have to investigate that.
Got a tiny bit of Wi-Fi, very flaky. It lasted a few minutes and then went away and I couldn't get it back.
Took the cap off the engine's raw-water pump, and the gasket disintegrated. The impeller looks reasonable, and I'm not taking it out, because it's a royal pain to put back in. Turns out I have three spares of that gasket aboard, so no problem.
Scraped the remains of the gasket out, and put new gasket and old end-plate on, using lots of anti-seize and teflon jelly. No water leaking now. Will see if that holds next time I run the engine.
Made a general radio call for information about fuel, and my friend Flemming on "Tinuviel" answered. He says there's no fuel-barge here, but the marina sells fuel very cheaply. We chatted a bit about my oil leak and such.
Around 3:30, dinghied over to the boatyard and checked out the fuel dock. Guy who runs it was busy elsewhere, but I got the prices (EC$8.64/gallon, 4% charge for using a credit-card) and scoped out the navigation needed to get in and out. Only tricky thing is a shoal fairly close by on the W side, and I want to do a U-turn right near it. But I think it will be okay.
Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Fair amount of wind all night; wind-generator running. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Had been planning to take the boat to the fuel dock this morning, but it's blowing pretty hard, not sure I want to do it. Boat's rocking a lot; getting the anchor up will be slightly tricky. Went back and forth on the decision, finally decided not to do it today.
Ran the engine for a couple of minutes, to check the oil and water leaks. Everything fine while it was running, but after stopping, plenty of water dripping from the war water pump again. Felt around and decided the water is leaking from the front, not the back where I replaced the gasket yesterday. So the pump needs a rebuild, probably a new bearing. I might have the rebuild kit in my spares; will have to look.
Ashore to Slipways restaurant before 2, to play dominoes. About 18 people playing at 4 tables, and lots of people I've met before. Some nice conversation. I came in about 4th.
Went over to the fuel dock to confirm a few things, and tell them I'm coming in tomorrow morning. I'm nervous about it; don't like close maneuvering near hard things.
Salad and leftover chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Engine start at 8:30. Called fuel dock on radio, they said a couple of boats occupying it, so I shut off engine. Waited 20 minutes, called again, a boat at the dock needs to be towed away.
Around 9:15, a sailboat is towed past me. Start engine, raise anchor, get it free, back to helm and find engine has quit, I accidentally left it in gear. Now I'm drifting back toward the boat behind me, "Xanadu". Try several times to restart the engine, and it won't catch. Finally give up on that and dash back to the bow. Put the anchor out, with about 50 feet of chain, and it catches and stops me about one boat-length directly ahead of "Xanadu". Call them on the radio and ask them to stand ready to fend off if needed.
But the anchor holds. Over the next hour, I try several times to start the engine. Not cranking well, and not catching. I investigate, find a slightly loose ground connection on the starting battery, tighten it. Battery is so low that the combiner is cutting in and out, not charging it properly, so I bypass that with jumper cables. Wait for solar and wind-gen to charge battery, with clouds coming over to delay things.
At 10:15 or so, I take the jumper cables off and crank the engine, and it cranks well and starts. I give a thumbs-up to the people on "Xanadu" and another cruiser in a dinghy at their side. Engine runs for 20 seconds or so, then surges and dies.
Don't want to swing so close to them any longer, so I ask them to use their dinghies to help me re-anchor. They're unsure that a 5 HP plus a 6 HP will be strong enough, but I'm sure it will work. They get on my stern and push, and I get the anchor up, but they're not being very smart about it, pushing me over the anchor before I can get it all the way up. Then it's up, and the bow is falling off to leeward. I run back to the helm and put full port rudder, and we slowly come around. Come a bit close to another boat, but we're okay. Get to where I want to put down the anchor, and they're still pushing hard. I yell at them to stop, but they can't hear me. I put down the anchor, and let out chain as they keep pushing and pushing. Finally I run back to the stern and tell them to stop. Takes several minutes for the boat to drift back, anchor holds fine, I'm right where I want to be. Done by 10:30.
We speculate that I must have water or clogs in the fuel filters. I thank them, they leave. I'm sweaty and wrung out; need to calm down. Put the jumper cables back on to charge the starting battery better.
I'm very glad this happened in this safe anchorage, instead of halfway through a trip between islands.
Turns out I do have a rebuild kit for the engine raw water pump. As well as a couple of sets of new fuel filters. But no diesel in the jug, which I need to fill the new filters.
Headed ashore after 1, to the boatyard fuel dock. But the guy who runs it is at lunch. Saw Mary in the cafe and chatted with her a little while; her boat is being splashed today.
Back to the fuel dock, chatted with some people on a big charter-catamaran. The guy told me they were anchored at PSV last night, dinghy in the water out behind on a medium-long painter, and a local skiff from the resort came flying by in the total dark, no lights, and ran right up on top of their dinghy and got stuck there. Took a while to get it off, too. The local guys came back this morning and dove down to retrieve the dinghy's outboard motor cowling, checked that everything still worked, then tried to charge the catamaran people EC$350 for helping them ! No money was paid.
Got 4.5 gallons of diesel for about EC$39, or US$3.60/gallon. Water costs EC$0.20/liter here, or about US$0.28/gallon.
Had some trouble getting off the dock: several boats had me stuck in a tight space, and lots of mooring balls and a couple of anchor ropes. Paddled out, got outboard started but it quit any time I put it into reverse, then it wouldn't start any more. Paddled out some more, pumped the bulb, eventually got it started and back to the boat by 2:30.
Took out first fuel filter, and it was fairly black, fluid was black, and there was black stuff in the bottom of the housing. Cleaned up the housing and put new filter in, filled up with diesel, put it back on. Did the second one, the water-separator, and the filter was fairly black, no gunk at the bottom, fluid that came out was lighter and more watery.
When done, cranked the engine and it wouldn't start. Gave up for today.
Salad and cornedbeef-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
In mid-morning, cranked the engine for a long time and eventually it fired and ran for a couple of seconds, then quit. Left the battery to charge for a while.
At noon, tried again, turned key, and ... nothing. No click, no starter motor, nothing. Looked in the engine compartment and found that the connector holding the negative cables onto the battery negative terminal has broken: pic. Put jumper cable across it and tried to find a spare connector. Couldn't find one; thought I had one kicking around somewhere.
Went ashore around 2, disposed of garbage, walked up to auto / home store. They had exactly what I needed: pic. Walked back into "town", chatting to some German tourists on the way. Bought some bananas. Back to the boat, the outboard running very badly.
Put the new connector on and started charging the battery. Half an hour later, Flemming stopped by to say hi, and while he was there I tried the engine. Cranked it for 20 seconds or so, cranking well, and then it started. Ran for 20 seconds or so, racing and surging, then it died. Need to bleed air out of the fuel system. But first I think I'll replace the third fuel filter.
Started to work on the water pump, but first I have to clean up lots of spilled engine oil. Cleaned up in the engine compartment.
A local guy stopped by to tell me I was swinging over one of his mooring balls, and in a day or two he might need to put a boat on it. If so, we'll move my boat again using dinghies.
Tried to clean up the bilge, and got nowhere. Can't get the hand-pump to prime. Gave up for today.
Salad and leftover chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Started cleaning the bilge a bit.
Went ashore and bought a few groceries, and fruits and vegs.
Replaced the third fuel filter on the engine. Tried to use the lift pump manually to drive fuel into it, but that didn't work. So now the fuel lines and filter are full of air. Cranked the engine in hopes it would drive it out. Will try that a few more times.
Started trying to get the water pump off. Lots of thick, short, stubborn hoses in awkward places.
More bilge-cleaning. More engine-cranking, with bleed-screw on side of fuel injector pump open. Another try at getting hoses off.
Salad and hotdog-onion-mushroom-cheese-omelet-sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Took the fuel lift pump (pic) off the engine and disassembled it. Couldn't find anything wrong, except that it wasn't full of fuel. Put it back together and back on.
Headed ashore for dominoes at 2. Outboard running very badly. Got about 80% of the way there and the outboard quit. Every time I restarted it, it ran for one second and then quit again. Paddled in to the dock.
Nice dominoes game, seven of us playing. I did great for 5 hands or so, had a couple of disastrous hands, came in about 4th. Outboard still won't run. Flemming towed me back to my boat.
Took the carb off the outboard and disassembled it. Some chunks of yellow gunk in the bowl. Cleaned it out, blasted all the passages, put it back together and back on the motor. Took the fuel filter off, looked okay, blasted it out with cleaner, put it back on. Took off the fuel pump, disassembled it, a little yellow gunk, cleaned it, put it back together, put it back on the motor. Started the motor, and it ran as if it were brand-new. So, I'm not totally incompetent.
Leftover cornedbeef-cornbread and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Opened up the fuel lift pump and poured diesel into it to fill it. Was swinging close to another boat in unusual N wind, and the guy suggested bleeding by loosening injector lines, instead of the bleed screw on the side of the injector pump, as I have been doing. So I did that. Cranked the engine and got some fuel out of both injector lines. Will have to wait for battery to charge before cranking again.
After several more cycles, at 1:50 got the engine started and ran it for several minutes with no problems. So I think the fuel system problem is fixed !
I'm still wondering how this happened. My best guess: when I was getting ready to go to the fuel dock, I opened an inspection pipe on top of the fuel tank and left it open. I wanted the additional venting when I added fuel; the normal vent line is very narrow, so fuel goes in very slowly. Somehow, I guess, that inspection pipe can not be left open when running the engine; it must let air into the fuel pickup in the tank. I can't see how, but that must have been the problem.
Worked some more to get the raw water pump off. The hose-to-pipe connections are tough to get loose.
Got the aft ends of the pump-hoses off. Tried to loosen the collar around the pump shaft, and it sheared right off the engine; not good: pic.
Eventually got the hoses off the pump, and got the whole pump out: pic.
Salad and sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Cleaned up the forward end of the water pump; you can see why it needs a rebuild: pic.
Water pump mount area on side of engine is pretty bad: pic. Cleaned off much of the rust and scale so I could see the situation better. It's a big bracket held to the engine block by four big bolts. I'm reluctant to try to take it off: I'm sure it's been on for 42 years (the boat is a 1973), those bolts won't want to move, I easily could snap a couple of them off. I think I'll just try to jury-rig something to replace the snapped-off top piece.
Took the impeller out of the pump (not easy, even with the pump out and easily accessible). Now I need to take a circlip off the shaft. I have a toolset for that, but where is it ?
Looked and looked for that set, never did find it. Eventually got the circlip out by using two screwdrivers. Got the shaft out, but the main bearing is disintegrated and the shell of it is bonded into the housing of the pump. Chipped at it with screwdriver and hammer, but that did little. Started cutting it out with the Dremel, having to be careful not to cut into body of the pump. Slow going. Stopped for today, doused the area with penetrating oil.
Diagram for the pump: here.
Around 3:30, I was about to go ashore, when here comes the local guy, Dexter. He tells me that he needs to put a boat on the mooring early tomorrow morning, I need to move. And he points out that my chain has ripped off his mooring ball; must have happened last night, and I must have dragged a bit. Bummer. He says he'll come back, and leaves.
I ponder for a little while, then decide not to wait for him. I go ashore, looking around on the way for any cruising boats with people I know aboard, or with beefy outboard motors on their dinghies; no luck. Everyone I see either is a charter-boat or has a 2 or 3 HP motor on their dinghy.
Dispose of four bags of garbage. To Budget Cafe and use the book-exchange. Rain starts. Into the grocery store, where they have no bread at all. Buy a couple of items, wait a little for the rain to ease, back to the dock, out to the boat. No sign of Dexter.
I decide to head off any attempt by him to charge me for recovering the mooring. I snorkel and find it and pull up the mooring line with a grapnel, and put a float on it.
I go to a neighboring boat "Ansari" and ask for help. The guy, Peter, is friendly but has guests arriving any minute. He says he'll get a couple of guys and come over with three dinghies tomorrow morning at 8 and we'll move my boat. Fine.
Salad and chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
I'm a little anxious in the evening, watching the boat swing; I've definitely dragged a bit in the last few days. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Around 8:15, Peter is over in his dinghy, and goes to scout out an anchoring location for me, and drops a buoy at it. He comes back and says we'll need to use my dinghy, so I launch it. Soon three or four more people in three dinghies are around. They want to tow my boat or kedge it over or tow it with a dinghy on each side, but finally they do what I want: two dinghies pushing on the stern, one near the bow to coordinate things and push the bow sideways as necessary. A lady, Sue, comes aboard to take the helm of my boat. I'm doing the anchor-handling.
We raise anchor, veering quite a bit from side to side in gusts of wind and with uneven pushing from the dinghies. Finally it's up, boat is moving forward, we have steerage. Up to the buoy, put the anchor down, overshoot as people still are pushing a bit. Boat starts settling back, then stops too soon. I think the anchor chain is looped and grabbing a hillock on the bottom.
Peter insists that I snorkel the anchor, so I do that. Sure enough, the chain is making a bit hook-shape on the bottom, and the anchor is not dug in. I dive down repeatedly, 8 or 9 feet down, to move chain and anchor, as the dinghies try to drag my boat back. Finally all is set. I go back to the boat, and I'm much farther from the beach than I wanted to be, close ahead of a couple of mooring balls and anchored catamarans. But it's too late to do much about it. Peter says no one has used that white mooring ball in years. The others leave around 9:30, telling me my outboard quit and couldn't be restarted, and strongly suggesting I put out a second anchor. Great.
Soon the boat is settling back a bit closer to that white mooring ball, and to a catamaran anchored behind it. The guys on the catamaran are giving me anxious looks. I start working on the outboard, and can't get it started. A guy on the catamaran tells me I'm swinging over their anchor, and they want to leave. I tell him my engine and outboard are dead.
I take the carb off the outboard and open the bowl, and the jet-screw falls out; it was loose. Put that in properly, put everything back together, motor still won't start. I take off hose from outlet of fuel pump, squeeze the fuel-bulb, and what comes out looks like milky lemonade, not gasoline. Bad gas at the bottom of the tank. I pump out until it looks right, and fairly soon have the motor started. A relief. Boat seems to have stabilized; I'm not dragging.
So I stand by in the dinghy with the outboard running, as the catamaran slowly gets ready to raise anchor. Sure enough, their anchor is close by my starboard side, so I use the dinghy to push my boat to port a little, and keep it there. They get their anchor up with 30 feet between the sides of our boats, and they're gone.
To the bow and pull out the second anchor and chain and rope rode. Into the dinghy, around to the bow, and pull anchor and chain and rope down into the dinghy. Out to the NE and drop anchor. Back to the boat and haul in until I have all-chain to the bow from that anchor, which seems to be holding. Done by 10 or so. Boat now at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
I shower off. The catamaran behind me to the NW raises anchor and leaves. Five minutes later, a dive boat coming by tells me I'm too close to his two mooring balls, I should move. Great. The white ball behind me (in ENE wind) is no problem. The red ball to port might be a problem when the wind goes SE again. I'm not moving, for now.
Did a small bucket of laundry.
Went ashore at 11:30. To grocery store. One loaf of bread in the whole store, and I grabbed it. Got eggs and hotdogs, back to the boat.
Used the Dremel on the water pump some more, trying to carve that old bearing out of there.
After 1 or so, there was a boat on the mooring I used to be swinging over, so Dexter really did need to use it.
Ashore at 2 to play dominoes. Nice time, I came in 3rd out of about 14 players. Over to fuel dock afterward, and bought water (39 liters for EC$7.80, about US$2.90). One or both of my water-jugs might be leaking; hard to tell.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cheese-egg-sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Fairly grey and some rain in the early morning, but I did a bucket of laundry anyway. Half of the water leaked out of one of my water-jugs overnight; time to throw it away.
Sunny after 1 or so. So I did a couple of hours of cutting and pounding on the water pump, trying to get the old bearing out (in chunks). As Peter said when he swung by to say hi, I'm carving hard stainless steel out from inside soft bronze, a tricky job.
Eventually I realized there's an old circlip embedded in a channel in the bronze pump-body, in front of the old bearing shell, and everything is welded together. Got out a few shards of the circlip, then got out two big chunks of the bearing shell: pic. Light at the end of the tunnel ! Should be able to get out the rest of it tomorrow.
Salad and leftover chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Fairly rolly night; light N wind holding me parallel to the beach and the swells. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Headache; took a couple of rounds of paracetamol.
Headachey until after noon; finally sumatriptan and lunch made me feel better.
Finished Dremeling the water pump; got out all the old bits of bearing and circlip.
Went ashore. Nice walk, chatting with a couple of new cruisers. Bought veggies at the ferry dock. Bought a few groceries at the market.
Salad and tuna sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Still headachey; took another paracetamol. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Still a bit headachey.
Still can't find the circlip toolkit. Started putting together the pump, doing a little more Dremeling to make the bearing slide in easily, but now I really need that toolkit. Didn't mind if I damaged the old circlips a bit getting them out, but I'd rather not twist the new ones when putting them in. Hmm, the rebuild kit came with only two of the little circlips, but both diagrams I have show three are needed. Fortunately, I have one more left over from a previous rebuild.
Spent more than an hour searching for the circlip toolkit; looked again in the likely places, and in many unlikely places. No luck.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.
Still a little headachey; took another paracetamol. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Still slightly headachey.
Searched a few more places for the circlip toolkit; gave up.
Took a sumatriptan.
Made a radio call to borrow a circlip toolkit, and got an immediate response from Marcus on "Island Kea". Got in the dinghy and went all the way downwind, about as far as you can go in this harbor, to his boat. He had a bit of a search for the toolkit, but found it after about 5 minutes. Chatted a little, then back to my boat.
Fairly quickly got the circlips and bearing and seals-spring assembly onto the shaft, and into the pump housing. Then struggled to get the impeller in. That's always a hassle: you have to rest a key in a slot on the side of the shaft, then force a big, stiff impeller into the housing and down the shaft, perfectly line up the keyway in the impeller with the key in the side of the shaft, and push the impeller down over the key. All without being able to see what the key is doing and how it is lining up with the keyway in the impeller. Tried 6 or 8 times and took a rest.
Finally got the impeller in. Had to tap on the other end of the shaft to get it in the last 1/4" or so. Sprayed a lot of teflon lubricant, let it sit, tapped it a few more times, seems to have settled in properly. Put the cover on the pump.
Ashore at 2 to play dominoes. Ten players, premier-league football on a badly-focused TV, and free Wi-Fi so I left my laptop doing some downloading.
Salad and leftover hotdog-cornbread and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.
Still headachey during the night. Took a paracetamol, but it didn't help much. Eventually took a sumatriptan, and that worked. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Got the raw water pump back onto the engine. Working on the mounting: one pipe from the pump can be tied to another pipe to steady it, and I need to cut some wood to hold the pump down onto the remains of the mounting bracket.
By early afternoon, had everything in place. Started the engine, and everything ran fine. Ran it for 15 minutes, no leaks of oil or fuel or water, and the water-pump didn't shift, and the wood I put in place didn't shift. Success !
Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Engine start after 9:45; everything seems okay. Raised two anchors. Got the second halfway up, called the fuel dock, there's a boat occupying it. Shut off the engine and waited 10 minutes, with the anchor slowly dragging, toward a mooring buoy behind me. Eventually started engine, fuel dock says they're clear, raised second anchor. Left it dangling off the bow and headed through the anchorage.
A real obstacle course here, lots of boats anchored or moored. Was heading towards one gap when a catamaran came in and started anchoring in it. Tried to go behind them, and they started backing down towards me. Waved them away and got around them. To the fuel dock, and no one is there, no one answers the radio. Turned up into the wind and managed to hold the boat stable; not a comfortable situation. Eventually the guy appeared and waved me in. A downwind docking onto the upwind side of the dock; not what I prefer. But I got in okay.
Started pumping diesel, and the guy is admiring my boat. I told him he can have it for a low price, and he's interested. He wants a boat he can sleep on, and a couple of visitors can sleep on.
We get 100 gallons of diesel loaded, the guy doing half the pumping, which was nice. Paid EC$875.22 (about US$325); includes 4% surcharge for paying by credit card.
Gave the guy a tour of my boat, and he's interested, but I'm planning to leave tomorrow morning (had thought of leaving today). If he reached for his wallet or started negotiating price, I'd stay. But he wasn't that excited. And I quoted him a very low price, my end-point of a negotiation instead of the starting-point.
Off the dock at about 11:40, a little tricky in the NE wind. Up through the anchorage, anchor down by 11:50 at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou. Checked the engine, and everything still looks okay with oil hoses and water pump.
Trying to decide whether to hop across to Union Island tomorrow. Stronger weather is coming in right afterward, so I'll be stuck there for several days, and it's more pleasant (Wi-Fi, dominoes) to be stuck here than there. But I feel the need to start making progress northward.
Salad and chili and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.
Very calm night. Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.
Ashore at 9:45 to check out with Customs and Immigration. Had to pay EC$20 departure fee, and bring my cruising permit up to date (4 months, total of EC$300).
Ran into the fuel-dock guy, told him last chance to buy my boat, and he said "If I had the money, we'd both be smiling and you'd be looking for an airline ticket". Oh, well.
Back to boat, hoist and stow dinghy, get everything ready to go. Engine start around 10:30, anchor up at 10:30. Motored a little to near ferry dock, rounded up and unfurled mainsail, motor-sailed out.
Around W tip of island, and smack into teeth of wind and current. I'm heading NE today, and wind is from the ENE or so, and stronger than I expected. A slog.
Making decent progress, heading up toward N tip of Carriacou, when at 11:50 suddenly the engine races slightly and the boat stops making forward progress. I idle the engine and run below. Nothing wrong with oil leak or water pump. Put the engine in gear, prop shaft is turning, but no forward motion. I assume the worst: prop has fallen off or the key has sheared off.
I start sailing toward Hillsboro, only a couple of miles away, and I can get there. Soon I wonder if I just snared a fish-trap on the prop, and try some reverse and forward, back and forth. But no go. I'm fearing the worst, thinking I might be stuck here for weeks, maybe I can get a tow around the island and back into Tyrrel Bay. Bummer. I'd have to check back into the country. Hillsboro is a lousy anchorage; I've never liked it.
I'm worried that I'll be in a wind-shadow from the hills as I get to the anchorage, and start calling on the radio to see if I can get some help. Would be great if a cruiser anchored there could get in their dinghy and push me the last 300 yards. But the only response is from boats in Clifton, my original destination.
One of those boats calls the Marine Park rangers, and they come over in a skiff. I explain that I want to get into shelter at the NE corner of the anchorage (I'm assuming I might be there for a while, and strong NE weather is coming). They aren't too interested. I put out fenders and docklines in case they need to raft to me, and keep sailing while they hover nearby.
Suddenly I'm heading for a shoal. The chart shows it just deep enough for me to pass over, but they insist on towing me away from it. So we scramble to tie together, and soon all is confusion as my sail still is up, they want to tow but don't put their motors in gear, etc. Eventually they start towing me in.
But then we start arguing about where to anchor. Now that I'm in 15-20 feet of water, they want me to go to the bow and put the anchor down. But I'm half a mile from land, in open water, in the general channel used by all the traffic. I keep coaxing them to take me closer and closer to land. I want to get about 100 yards from shore, but eventually I put the anchor down about 300 yards out at 12:50 and they take off, washing their hands of me.
I lower the dinghy, get out the snorkeling gear, and go under the boat. I'm delighted to find that the problem is just a big net wrapped around my prop, making it into a useless ball; I can fix this. I do some chopping and cutting, not so easy with thick poly netting, boat rolling and slewing a fair amount, careful not to get myself tangling in the netting. But eventually I figure out how to unwind it, and get it all off fairly easily. Pic. Back aboard, hoist dinghy, rinse and stow everything, ready to go again by 1:25. But I pause for a bite to eat.
Engine start at 1:40. A hassle to get the anchor up, with the boat rolling and gusty wind making the bow slew back and forth. Anchor up by 1:50 and head NE again.
Rough at the N tip of Carriacou, as usual, and a rough slog across the gap. I think the wind is a little stronger than forecast, at least some of the time.
But the engine keeps going, mainsail gives me some drive and lots of stability, and eventually I get across to Union Island. Into the Clifton anchorage.
Anchor down by 3:35, but I'm too close ahead of "Tinuviel". Raise anchor, while a catamaran that came in behind me is hovering around behind me and making me nervous. Hard work, since I have no anchor windlass, and it's windy and gusty. Finally anchor down again by 3:45 at Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
And now the wind is a bit ESE, and I seem to be close to another boat directly behind me, and the big catamaran "Aral" alongside me is swinging a little differently than I am. Where was this wind direction when I needed it today ? But my anchor is holding solidly, and I get ready to go ashore. Soon the wind is more E, things look better. And once in the dinghy, I see we have plenty of room between us; everything looks closer from on deck on the big boat.
Ashore to the Yacht Club. As soon as I put the netting on the dock, intending to throw it away, a local guy wants it and I give it to him.
Walk to airport, and check-in is more expensive than I expected, because after 4 PM is "overtime". I pay EC$81.25 to Customs and EC$35 to Immigration, total of about US$43. When I was here last year, it cost me only EC$35 total. "Tinuviel" says they paid EC$75 to check in a week ago.
Back to the Yacht Club, use the book-exchange, back into the dinghy. Out into the anchorage, and I stop at "Tinuviel" to chat for a while. Back to my boat around 5. As I'm unloading the dinghy, a cruiser stops by and says I left some clearance papers at the airport, here they are ! A lifesaver ! My brain must not be working very well.
Leftover chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.
Wind blew fairly hard all night, probably E 18 knots or so. As much wind-generator power as I wanted. Anchor held fine.
Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind blowing harder, probably 18-20 knots, with a slight bit of N in it. Now I'm lying better, as expected when I put the anchor down, no longer a boat directly behind me.
Did some work on a "Magnolia is for sale" section.
Got a teeny burst of Wi-Fi, just enough to upload my log file. Couldn't get any web pages to load.
Wind a little lighter than expected in the afternoon, but picked up in the evening.
Salad and spaghetti and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
A little headachey; took a paracetamol.
Still getting VHF radio net from Grenada, and also one from Erica's here in Clifton. Seas are running 7-10 feet in open water, winds around 20 knots, and on Saturday there will be some 25-knot wind.
Went ashore in early afternoon. Disposed of two bags of garbage. At some point, wind blew hard enough to break off a table-roof: pic.
Walked down waterfront, through town, up hill to hospital to take usual picture of the anchorage: pic. Nice to get some exercise and be off the boat.
Back into town, stopped at half a dozen stores and a fruit/veg stand, bought groceries. Went for my usual rum, 70% alcohol by volume, but they had some that was 84.5% by volume. Rough, wet ride back out to the boat.
Got a little Wi-Fi. Was able to get a few web pages. Strangely, WindGuru weather for this area says seas are in 6-foot range with wind gusting to 20 knots, and seas won't go over 6-7 feet even when wind is 20-25 knots. Not sure I believe that. Probably can get out of here on Tuesday.
Salad and leftover spaghetti and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Strong wind as a front/squall came through at 9:15. But the rest of the day wasn't any stronger than yesterday. 17-18 in the morning, maybe 19-20 in later afternoon.
Salad and leftover chili and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Around 7:15, suddenly wind blasting 25 knots or so, and then suddenly one of my sails is flogging. I run onto deck to find that the top of the jib has come unfurled. I rush to loose the wire halyard on the winch, and start bringing the sail down. The open part is catching a lot of wind; have to be careful it doesn't lift me off my feet and throw me. I get it mostly under control, 2/3 down. lashing it with free end of the main furling line.
Then Neil from the neighboring big charter catamaran arrives in a big dinghy, and I accept his offer to come aboard and help. He holds the sail, I grab some more line out of the cockpit, then I loosen more halyard while he pulls the head of the sail down the forestay to the bow. I lash up the whole length of the sail, I thank him and we chat for a moment, then he heads back to his boat. I get another line and lash the sail down some more. By 7:30, the wind is easing back down to 18-19 or so.
Another blow after 8, and another around 9. Kept going that way all night, every hour or less. I was very anxious through the first couple, standing in the companionway, watching the three boats near me, ready to start the engine. But the anchor seemed to be holding fine, and you can't stay anxious all night. Went to bed, and only got up occasionally.
In the middle of the night, my eyeglass frames came apart. Moved the lenses to a new set of frames. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Grey, windy morning, blowing steady 20+ knots. Anchor held fine all night.
Strong front/squall came through just before 8. Lots of rain and wind. Another one at 9:50.
Went ashore at 2 to play dominoes with Flemming and Hella from "Tinuviel". Barracuda's bar said we couldn't play there ! We ended up in the Clifton Beach Hotel, had a nice game. Saw an enormous sloop come down from the north, turn in front of the harbor, then anchor off Palm Island: pic. Did some Wi-Fi during and after the game.
Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Wind starting to ease a bit; probably 18-20 knots. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Still a little too windy and rough to leave today. And cruiser's net says no easing tomorrow; WindGuru says conditions will be lighter tomorrow.
Reasonably strong squall at 7:35.
Wind getting lighter starting at 10 or so, but picked up again in late afternoon.
Went ashore in midafternoon. Exchanged several books at Erica's. Walked up to the top of Fort Hill, looking down over the airport and the anchorage; great views in all directions. Pics.
Back down to town. Stopped in half a dozen places and bought groceries. Noticed the clock in one grocery store: pic. Big excitement at the ferry dock as a ferry came in and picked up a couple dozen schoolkids, as well as other traffic.
Wind getting stronger in the early evening, and mostly NE, not much ENE. Not good.
Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Big sloop came in well after dark and anchored. Fortunately they weren't near me.
I'm hoping to leave here tomorrow morning, but the wind blew a bit strongly all night, probably 18-19 knots. Doesn't bode well for leaving. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Grey, windy morning with lots of waves on the horizon. I'm not going anywhere today. Might be stuck here for a couple more weeks.
Got a bit of Wi-Fi. WindGuru is just flat-out wrong about today's weather here: says it's 11-12 knots of wind, while we're getting more like 17-18 right now.
Weather calming down around 10:30, but I think I'm going to stay anyway.
In late afternoon, gave myself a haircut and a shave, then went snorkeling under the boat. Scraped hull and prop. Was wondering why the prop looked different than usual, when I realized that the prop-shaft zinc is gone ! It was old, and I guess the net tore it off. I'll have to put on a new one; I have a spare aboard. Last time I did that myself, it worked loose and fell off in a month or two, and I had to get someone else to put on another. Maybe I'll do better this time.
Wind picking up, getting stronger.
Sailboat came in: pic.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Big front came through around 7, and wind blew quite hard for several hours afterward, probably 23-25 knots. Blew fairly hard all night too. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Ashore at 2 to play dominoes, through fairly strong wind. On the way in, I had to dodge two boats leaving, a swimmer snorkeling his anchor, a local skiff, and then I circled back when someone's dinghy drifted loose (but a skiff corralled it).
Nice game with Flemming and Hella, but my luck was strong, and I won again. At one point, we watched as a big ferry/freighter did some strange docking gyrations at the ferry dock, and a charter boat came in for a downwind landing at another dock. At first both situations looked like problems, but eventually they both got settled okay.
Did Wi-Fi. Skyped with Dora in Spain; nice.
Very rough and wet dinghy-ride back out to the boat; wind really strong.
Salad and leftover chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Very strong wind all night. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind still very strong.
Around 11:30, a shiny big sloop (with a bow-thruster) came in and anchored just off my port aft quarter, a little too close. Not really a problem unless my anchor drags, in which case there would be no time to handle the situation before a collision. But my anchor is very solid, it's been solid for a week. But the sloop sails around at anchor quite a bit, often ending up practically in a "T" close off my stern; very disconcerting. Looks like an expensive charter boat.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cheese-omelet-sandwiches and a rum-and-Coke for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind still very strong. It eased a little around 5 AM, but then a strong front came through at 5:45, and the wind started blasting again.
Big sloop close off my port aft quarter left around 10:15. Less than 5 minutes later, a captained charter boat came in and anchored off my port forward quarter, not too close.
Just after noon, mounting on one of my boat-hooks failed, and it fell in the water. I managed to run around and grab the other hook and fetch the first one out before it could float away.
In midafternoon, went ashore. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Walked through town and then up a hill to the "Donalson" neighborhood, just for exercise. Back down into town, bought a fair amount of groceries, back out to the boat.
Before 4, wind easing quite nicely, down to 10-15 range. But at 4:15 it came blasting back again, and blew hard all evening and night.
Salad and chili and a rum-and-Coke for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind still very strong.
Got a small bit of Wi-Fi, first in a couple of days.
Gave myself a bit more of a haircut.
Salad and leftover sausage-cornbread and a rum-and-Coke for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind not so strong; seas still look fairly big. Weather forecast on VHF says wind picking up again tomorrow.
Around 11, "Tinuviel" called to say they're leaving for Mayreau, so no dominoes today.
Mild wind today; maybe should have gone to Canouan today. Changing my mind back and forth.
Saw a big sailing ship passing off Carriacou, heading N or NW: pic.
Went ashore around 1, to do Wi-Fi. Town pretty quiet, anchorage fairly empty, dinghy docks fairly empty.
Wind picking up a bit around 6, blowing pretty hard again by 8 or so.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cheese sandwiches and a rum-and-Coke for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Forecast on local VHF radio said it's going to blow 20-25 knots all week. Sure enough, by 8 it was blowing 25 or so. Yesterday, WindGuru was saying there will be a lower-wind day on Thursday or Friday.
Aft water tank just ran dry; I think the forward tank has only about 10 gallons. I'm a little surprised; thought the aft tank had more in it. So I'll have to go ashore and buy water. And I'll have to buy an additional water-jug; I'm down to one 5-gallon jug, because the other started leaking and I threw it away.
Switched water tanks and confirmed that I do have some water. Dumped the 2-3 gallons in the jug on deck into the tank. The water in the rainbuckets is cloudy, not fit for use.
Went ashore around 3, through rough conditions. Used the book-exchange. Disposed of a bag of garbage.
Walked through town, looking to buy a 5-gallon water jug, but none is to be had for love or money. Found two places that had 5-gallon gasoline jugs, and bought one for EC$98 (US$36). Not too bad for such a small town. Is there some reason, other than volume production, that gasoline jugs are slightly cheaper than diesel jugs ? Are the diesel jugs stronger ? Would proper water jugs be even stronger ?
Bought EC$20 of gasoline at EC$16-something per gallon, double what it was Tyrrel Bay. Should have bought gasoline, water and water jug when I was there; was stupid.
Bought groceries and produce and back to the dinghy dock. Had to wait a big rainsquall; lots of lovely water coming through sideways at 20-25 knots; hard to catch. Bought 10 gallons of water at the Yacht Club for EC$10 (US$3.70); not too bad. Rough, wet ride back out to the boat. Dumped the water from jugs into the water tank. My remaining old water jug may have a slow leak in it; not sure.
Salad and leftover chili and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Wind blew very hard all night long. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind still very strong. Headache; took a Neobrufen.
Went ashore in midafternoon. Went for a walk down towards Ashton. Got to the "Jerome" neighborhood, sat and talked with some locals for a while, then walked back to Clifton. Bought a couple of grocery items, then another 10 gallons of water (cost EC$11 today, instead of EC$10, for same amount of water into same jugs as yesterday). Wet and rough ride back out to boat. Dumped water from jugs into water tank.
Salad and leftover hotdog-cornbread-etc and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Wind really blowing hard this evening, probably in 23-25 knot range. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Slight headache; took a paracetamol.
Ashore after noon. Did Wi-Fi. Decent weather-window forecast for next Monday and Tuesday. Bought a few groceries. Bought more water; accidentally stopped one jug half a gallon before full, but bill still came to EC$11. Wet and rough ride back out to boat. Dumped water from jugs into water tank.
Salad and tuna sandwiches and a rum-and-Coke for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind slightly less this morning; supposed to sag quite a bit for a few hours in the middle of the day, according to WindGuru.
In midafternoon, lowered the dinghy and went snorkeling under boat. Lots of grassy stuff growing there; I didn't expect that in such a barren anchorage. Scraped the prop and hull a little, then put on the new propellor shaft zinc. A little tricky: it comes in two halves, with a bolt loose in each half, have to be careful not to drop anything. But got it right on the first shot: dove down and got the first bolt started without letting the second one get free. Dove down again and got the second bolt started. After that, the rest was simple, just tightening. Definitely need a new cutless bearing: the shaft is coming through below-center in the bearing, but it doesn't wiggle much.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-Coke for dinner.
Strong wind suddenly started up again at 7:45 or so. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Grey and very windy morning.
Got a little Wi-Fi.
The day stayed very grey and windy, with frequent light horizontal rain, until midafternoon. Then I went ashore. Disposed of a bag of garbage. To the ATM, since I'm just about out of EC dollar cash, but as expected it won't take my card. I could use my credit card (incurring big fees), and I have plenty of US dollar cash.
Went walking, past the power station and out to the salt pond and beach, up over the hill, back to town. Got a couple of groceries. Wanted water at the dinghy dock, but it's charter-boat change-over time, and they're very busy. Waited more than 20 minutes and gave up.
More N in the wind now, and that has a big catamaran directly behind me, barely a boat-length away. I was here first, and we have no problem unless my anchor drags, but it's an uncomfortable situation. If we get a huge NE squall in the middle of the night, it could be bad.
Salad and chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind easing slightly, and back to ENE or so. But later in the morning it was blowing harder again.
In late afternoon or early evening, wind eased down nicely to 12 knots or so. I started thinking maybe the forecast is a bit wrong, maybe I can leave tomorrow. But of course around 7 the wind blasted in again, and pointed me right at that big catamaran close behind for a while. Then it swung less N, so not so close to that catamaran. Wind blew fairly hard all night, not as hard as earlier in the week.
Salad and chili and a rum-and-Sprite for dinner. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Big catamaran that was too close behind me left before 9:30; didn't even notice them leave.
Ashore after noon, to do Wi-Fi. Skype-called Dora in Spain, and my Mom in Pennsylvania.
Salad and leftover hotdog-cornbread and a rum-and-Sprite for dinner.
Wind supposed to ease after midnight, but I think it kept going 15-17 knots all night. More than I expected. Clifton, Union Island, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Wind not down quite as much as I hoped, maybe 15-16 knots, but it's not going to get any better than this. Time to go.
Engine start at 6:40. Anchor up by 6:50. Guy on catamaran "Genesis" ahead of me motored out of my way a little because he was swinging almost over my anchor; very nice of him.
Motored out, unfurled mainsail, started motoring up the channel. Ferry went out. Across in front of the reef, over towards Mayreau. Seas not too bad. Engine running fine; I check the water-pump and oil filter mount often.
Passed west of Mayreau around 7:45. Seas rougher off north end of the island, but not too bad. Easy jump up to Canouan. Wind just barely off the nose.
Passed west of Canouan around 9:15 to 9:30. Lots of boats coming out from there, and other anchorages.
Seas quite big off the north end of Canouan, but after 20 minutes or so I got out into lower seas. Long, slow slog up to NNE, with wind just barely off the nose, as usual. Halfway across, seas from several directions, very ugly, but not too big.
Got up to the SW tip of Bequia around 2:15, and the usual current and waves coming off there, and wind just about dead on the nose. Slowly, slowly got around the corner and up toward the harbor. Finally far enough in to get out of the waves, and furled the mainsail at 3:40. Motored in. Anchor down at 4:10, but swinging too close to another boat. Raised it and put it down better at 4:20, at Bequia, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Relieved to be here, calm anchorage, all quiet now that the engine is off. Little wind in here.
Scoping out the next hop north: 50 NM or so to St Lucia. I averaged about 3 knots today, so that's 17+ hours overnight on next hop. Leave at 4 PM, arrive at 9 AM. I could leave tomorrow, but it would be nice to get an extra day of rest here, weather allowing. Don't want to waste too much time; we have a nice weather-window this week.
Leftover cold chili and a rum-and-Sprite for dinner.
Got a solid 6-hour chunk of sleep from 9 to 3 or so; first really solid sleep in a while. With all the wind blowing, and anxiety about getting north, I haven't been sleeping too well. Bequia, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Medium-sized cruise ship in harbor this morning.
Did a small bucket of laundry.
VHF cruiser's net at 8. Weather forecast sounds good for going north for next several days, so I'll leave tomorrow afternoon.
Got a bit of free Wi-Fi. Weather looks good for heading north for next week or more. Wind E to ENE, waves down in 4-5 range.
Went ashore around 10. Did yoga near the dock, to the amusement of many local people. Used book-exchange at marine store, getting a couple of books by authors I like. Disposed of two bags of garbage. Did a walk up into the valley above town, getting a lot of exercise. Pic. Stopped in the stadium to rest and cool off. Down into town. Bought groceries at a fruit/veg stand, and at the main grocery store. Back to dinghy and back to boat around noon.
A bit headachey, and a sore muscle in my neck; took a Neobrufen.
In late afternoon, went snorkeling under the boat. Prop is clean, shaft zinc still on solidly. Cutless bearing really looks bad; should haul out and replace it. I guess I'll have to do that in St Lucia. Which means missing the remainder of this nice weather-window. I guess I'll check it again after arriving in St Lucia, and decide then. Kicking myself for not seeing this and hauling out in Tyrrel Bay while working on the water pump; wasted a lot of time. Or I could have gone back from Clifton to Tyrrel and done it while the wind was blowing hard for 2 weeks.
Salad and hotdog-onion-mushroom-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-Sprite for dinner. Bequia, St Vincent and Grenadines.
Didn't hear any cruiser's net this morning.
Did some soldering to get a jury-rig working for the bow navigation lights. And there seems to be something intermittent right in the light fixture.
Tried and tried to get some Wi-Fi. Eventually got the WindGuru page; weather good for going tonight, and for the next 7 days or so.
Hmmm, my whole web site seems to be inaccessible. Files still there, I think, but not being supplied to visitors.
Checked engine fluids. Oil down slightly; added some. Fresh/antifreeze coolant down a lot; added a lot of water. I've been checking the level occasionally, but I think maybe the reflection from the metal was fooling me, and it's been low for a while. Another thing to worry about.
Went ashore around 2. Disposed of garbage. Got a couple of books at one small book-exchange. Was heading for another one when some cruisers hailed me. Bill Kale (I think), who has read my site, we met in St Thomas, and now he's cruising on a catamaran. His wife and another couple. We chatted for a while; nice.
To the govt building, and checked out to go to St Lucia.
Back to the boat by 3:05. A little tense and achey; took a paracetamol. Got the boat ready, then engine start at 3:20. Anchor up by 3:30. Motored out, unfurled the mainsail, started heading NE along the coast of Bequia.
Out into the big passage between Bequia and St Vincent, and things are bad. The wind and waves are fairly low but right on the nose, as usual. And after a while I realize there's a stiff west-setting current down this channel, and I'm bucking it. For a long time, I seem to make no progress at all, maybe 1 knot over ground. I slowly edge up to the St Vincent side, and now I can see I am making progress, but it's very slow.
Eventually I realize the mainsail is hurting more than helping, and furl it.
I eat leftover curry-chicken for dinner, and it's not too appetizing. Too much cold slimy onion in it. Not a good idea for this situation.
I slog it out, and it takes me a good four hours to get up that passage and start to turn the corner. Dark by then, and I'm close to St Vincent, trying to get out of the current.
Past Milligan Cay around 9:30. Now I'm going NE, wind still right on the nose, but the swells are more from the E, and the boat is rolling badly. I unfurl the mainsail, and try to keep wind in it so it doesn't luff. It stops the worst of the rolling.
But then at 10:15 there's a big bang and lot of noise, and the mainsail is loose and high in the air and flogging. Somehow both feet of it have come loose from boom and gooseneck, and only the halyard and the furling line and outhaul line are holding it to the boat. The furling line is at the aft end of the boom, not much use. I ease the halyard and try to pull in the outhaul line, while trying to find a helpful heading for the boat. Have to be careful I don't get injured or go overboard. I struggle for 15 minutes or more, the boat gyrating, the sail trying to fly away, before finally getting it mostly down and lashed up.
Managed to avoid having it tear anything off the boat (such as the wind-generator), kept it from dropping into the water and creating enormous forces that way, kept it from smacking hardware into the pilothouse windows and breaking them. Looks like the track for the outhaul block failed again; I fixed that once. The bolt must be undersized. Not sure how the furling drum came loose from the gooseneck. Good news is that I think the sail is undamaged. At first I had assumed the tack had torn off the sail.
But I'm stressed and anxious and coming down from adrenaline, and the boat is rolling badly again. I want to keep going, so I lie down in the cockpit and steer with little nudges, and try to keep the rolling from making me seasick. I have to get up several times to lash down things that are sliding around; the rolling is very violent at times. Wind still right on the nose, so no point in trying to put up the jib.
I have a couple of really depressed hours, bummed at the problem and slow progress and the horrible boat motion. I think about getting to St Lucia and offering the boat for some low amount of cash, take it and run. Or just dumping the boat somewhere for a while, or even hoping a hurricane takes it while I'm gone.
I wonder if I should have gone up the lee side of St Vincent instead of the windward side. The wind was supposed to be E, not NE. And I didn't plan on the mainsail failing. Slogging NE against current in that channel was horrible, but the same is supposed to be true when coming off the lee side at the N end of St Vincent.
But I keep going, and the engine keeps going. Hard to gauge progress; none of the islands and passages down here are square, everything curves, I'm heading mostly NE.
Seas may be low and wind fairly light, as forecast, but nothing is helping me tonight. I have to hand-steer constantly, and the boat motion is terrible at times. Any time I leave the helm for 20 seconds, the boat is off course and slewing around and rolling.
I find that two glass jugs in the refrigerator have bashed together, and one broke.
Rain at 3:30 AM, as I'm nearing north end of St Vincent. Well behind my expected progress.
Shut engine off at 4 AM. A pint of oil has leaked out so far; not bad. I reclaim it and top off the engine with fresh oil. Restart the engine and keep going. All grey ahead of me, nothing to guide my steering, so I sit backwards and steer relative to a bright light on St Vincent.
First light around 5 AM, usable light by 5:30. I fix some problems on deck, re-lashing dinghy and mainsail and jugs and buckets and dock-boxes.
Quick glimpse of two dolphins around 8 AM.
I have a couple of big bruises and other aches; take a Neobrufen.
Partway across passage between St Vincent and St Lucia. My eyes are playing tricks and suggesting land everywhere on the horizon ahead. Finally I get out the Mini-GPS and it says St Lucia is 15+ NM ahead, a little more north and less east than I've been steering.
The conditions keep varying; sometimes rolly, sometimes waves right on the nose slamming the boat to a near-stop, other times flatter or easy to find a quartering line through.
Land ho at 9:10; GPS says it's 13+ NM to the anchorage. But conditions still are opposing me; it's going to take a long time to get there and in.
As usual, the last couple of hours of the trip are interminable: I can see the anchorage, it's right there, why is it taking hours to get there ? But I'm only making 3 knots or less through waves from various directions and wind right on the nose. And there's probably current here, too.
Finally, finally, I pull up to town and anchor down at 2:40 at Vieux Fort, St Lucia. A relief to have the engine off and the boat stable.
Surprised to find almost no other cruising boats here; one cruiser-sailboat far on the other side, and one liveaboard trawler I've seen here before. There was a cruiser murdered here 6-9 months ago, I think, so maybe that explains it. A tug and gravel barge anchored here, too.
Start untying things. Launch the dinghy, lock up the boat, head ashore to the commercial port. To Customs and Immigration, and no hassle, no charges at either one. Nice ! Done and back to the boat.
So, the trip. I'm glad I took the pills before and during; that was a good idea. Maybe going north while there's still north in the wind and waves was a bad idea, but I don't want to wait another 4-6 weeks for the south in the wind to start appearing. Probably should have gone on the leeward side of St Vincent. I kept myself fed and watered pretty well; didn't let myself get dehydrated. Should have put on sunscreen; I got a lot of sun somehow. A trip I hoped would take 17 hours ended up taking 23 hours.
Tied the mainsail down more and turned on the wind-generator. A few funny noises, but seems to work. Later, decided the noises probably came from something else.
Got a tiny bit of Wi-Fi, just enough to upload the log file, and see that my site (at least the home page) is working again.
Salad and leftover hotdog-cornbread and a rum-and-Sprite for dinner.
Slept and slept and slept. Vieux Fort, St Lucia.
Fairly rolly at times; not the most comfortable anchorage. Maybe that's why it's so empty.
Untangled the mainsail a bit, and it looks like there's a shackle missing that should have been holding the furling drum to the gooseneck. The bottom end of the furling drum doesn't look too solid; probably should get it welded. And at the other end of the boom, the track pulled up and let the car there loose. Pics. Not sure which end failed first; probably the track at the aft end of the boom. Found the set-screw from the furling drum on deck, but I don't see how that could have caused a problem; probably came out as the sail flogged, before the failure.
No Wi-Fi this morning. And now the laptop is playing up, the charge connection not working. A long-standing intermittent problem with no easy solution. Eventually got it going again.
Cruising ketch "Emily Morgan" came in some time in early afternoon, I'm not sure from what direction.
Patched a small worn spot/tear in the mainsail, unrelated to the overall failure.
Got out a new shackle for the drum-to-gooseneck connection, did a temporary tie of the outhaul block to the aft end of the boom, hoisted the mainsail. Took three tries to get the furling line onto the drum correctly. But I think I see a cause of the failure: the hole through the furling drum axis is fairly small, so I had to use a shackle two sizes smaller than I'd like to, to get the shackle pin to fit through the hole. So the shackle is undersized for the job, I think.
Cruising catamaran came in around 4, probably from the SW. But they took their time anchoring, didn't rush ashore to the officials, so maybe they came from the N, already checked in.
Tied a jury-rig lashing of the main outhaul block to the aft end of the boom.
Another catamaran came in sometime in late afternoon.
Checked engine fluids. Coolant is down slightly, not too bad. Added some water.
My left knee is really hurting; must have compressed the tendon just under the kneecap when climbing up onto the pilothouse roof to sort out the main halyard.
Found a sharp, rusty shard of metal on deck; I wonder if it's a remnant of the failed shackle ?
"Emily Morgan" re-anchored twice, then left toward the W and N around 6 PM.
Got ready to hoist the jib and furl it; it's been lying on the deck since Union Island. But the wind picked up a little, and then dark set in, so I didn't do it.
Saw a freighter heading E, and the tug and gravel barge left here and headed S.
Salad and chili and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Hard to cook with the boat rolling heavily every few minutes.
Knee still hurting, and various other aches, so took a Neobrufen.
Four other cruising boats, plus the trawler, here for the night, far down at the S end of the harbor.
Quite rolly all evening, until after midnight, then it calmed down. Vieux Fort, St Lucia.
Engine start at 5:55, anchor up by 6, unfurled mainsail, motor-sailed W.
Lovely mild conditions, not much wind, very overcast for first couple of hours. Wind started out on the beam, eventually came onto the nose as I went clockwise around the island. Just past the Pitons, as I turned NNE, the wind became stronger. Furling the mainsail was a bit tough, with lines sticking at various points, and the outhaul managing to get wrapped around the aft end of the boom. But got it done, and motored on. Wind eased down half an hour later, but still right on the nose.
Lots of boats out today. And I can see Martinique to the NNE.
Past Marigot, past oil depot, past Castries. Just chugging along.
Wind picked up again as I neared the harbor. But finally up and in and anchor down at 12:45 at Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
A bit lumpy and rolly here. One network supposedly offers free Wi-Fi, but I think I'm too far away to use it.
Went ashore around 2. Everything still where it was when I was here 4 years ago. To the boatyard, where the office is closed on the weekend, but I did confirm that I can live aboard while the boat is hauled out.
To the shopping area. Found Scotiabank and my ATM card worked. To the supermarket, and it's so nice to be in a proper big supermarket, the first since the south end of Grenada. Lots of nice-looking women, too. Got as many groceries as I can carry. Back to the dinghy-dock, where I found my dinghy had blown around the corner of a fence, and I had to stand in someone else's dinghy to wrestle mine back around. Back out to the boat.
Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
Totally grey and still morning. Low grey clouds, boats pointing all directions at times, heavy rain at 8:15. Very light wind from W or SW.
A little sun starting around 10:15, and wind starting to get back to E. Sailboats racing in the harbor, at first in almost zero wind, maybe 1-2 knots: pic.
Went ashore around 2 to do Wi-Fi. Found an ice-cream shop with Wi-Fi and an AC outlet, but after I got the computer booted they changed from "yes we have Wi-Fi" to "Wi-Fi isn't working anywhere in the marina today, they've been trying to fix it". Went upstairs looking for a book-exchange, found some people who told me the password for another network. But the password wasn't quite right, or has been changed. Eventually gave up and went back to the boat.
Got out the spare cutless bearing. It has a red dot painted at one end, obviously meaning something. Should the dot go at the forward end or aft end ?
Went snorkeling under the boat. Cutless bearing looks no worse than before, but definitely needs replacement. Shaft can be moved up more than 1/8" or so, and probably there is some metal contact with the prop shaft.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cornbread-cheese and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
Put a new can of refrigerant on the refrigerator.
Checking my records, seems my last haul-out was 5/2006. Thought it was more recent than that.
Fuel level 12 inches at engine hour 4880. But the engine-hour meter is lying; the alternator output drops to zero if I'm motoring along and the solar panels drive the system voltage high, so the meter doesn't run. That fuel level means about 120 gallons in the tank. Which is enough to get me to St Martin at least, probably St Thomas. But if I go to the fuel dock here to get water, I probably should get some fuel too. Will have to find out prices.
Got some Wi-Fi from the boat; a relief.
Cruiser's net on VHF 68 at 8:30; nice to hear.
Went ashore around 10. To boatyard, where there's bad news: they require me to have insurance before being hauled, and I don't have insurance. Talking to them and looking at the paperwork, they've arranged it so most liabilities are pushed off onto other people. Even placement of the lift straps on the boat is my liability. The office manager is going to consult the top manager and decide if they'll haul me. The yard boss later said maybe I can sign some kind of waiver. They have a slot at 1 PM today, and 8 AM tomorrow.
Over to the marine store to see if they have the right kind of bottom-paint in stock; the yard wasn't sure. The store has 3 gallons of Petit Trinidad 75 Black, and another 3 or 4 of the same in blue, and my boat should take 4 gallons for 2 coats. Back to the boat.
If they won't haul me, how can I jury-rig the worn cutless bearing ? Stuff some hard rubber or Teflon into the bottom of it, from outside ? Maybe.
Refrigerator still isn't running properly; another thing to worry about.
Fruit/veg boat visited nearby cruising boats: pic.
Did Wi-Fi, had lunch, while waiting for any radio call from the boatyard office.
At 1:30, the lift guys at the boatyard called on the VHF and said "you were supposed to be here at 1, where are you ?". I told them the office was deciding if they'd let me in. They went away for 15 minutes, came back, said "come on in". I said it will take me a while to hoist the dinghy, start engine, raise anchor, be there at 2:30.
So I run around and do everything, and get the anchor up and start heading. At the entrance to the channel, another boat is ahead of me, and going very slowly, so I circle around and put some distance between us before heading in. Then get in and up to the lagoon, and call the lift guys on the radio. No response for a minute, and then they tell me to stand by, and I do a loop while eyeing the situation nervously. I have to back in, because the forestay would prevent the lift from getting far enough over the center of my boat. And there's a bit of a crosswind, and it's blowing in the same direction as my prop-walk when in reverse. I have a few fenders out in case of a crash landing.
Soon three competent-looking guys come out, and I get the boat in fairly easily, no bumps, no crashes. The wind is blocked by the high sides of the haul-out slip, and with a bit of futzing with getting lines out and reversing in and such, we get the boat in.
I get off the boat at 2:30 and head for the office. Do the paperwork, no mention of insurance, and back to the lift. They have my boat up out of the water, and even though they put the aftmost sling back a little further than I specified, all is well. They start moving my boat over land, then start pressure-washing it. The lift is controlled by a guy standing nearby with a wireless remote control, not a driver sitting on the lift.
The pressure-washing goes on and on, as I wander around the yard and talk to workers and wait. Of course I forgot and left my camera aboard, so I can't take pictures of my boat in the slings, or anything else in the yard. One of the contractors tries to talk me into using him to polish the hull-sides and such, but I'm not doing any of that. I find the bathroom and showers, which turn out to be fairly nice.
The pressure-washing goes on and on. Finally around 4:30 they're done, and start moving the boat. They set it on blocks, put jacks on the sides, and they're done. I'm up the ladder and aboard by 4:45.
Soon back down the ladder with camera and tools. Took a few pictures of my boat (pics) and the yard (pics).
Yard boss and I went in his car, over to the marine store in the marina. He said they usually use paint called "Hempel" or something, but I want to stay with Petit Trinidad modified epoxy. Updated my registration with the store. Bought four gallons of Petit Trinidad 75 bottom paint, on the yard's account. Got one gallon of blue and three of black because they didn't have four of black; the blue will go on as part of the first coat. Back to the yard.
Soon got the prop off (pics). Yard boss stopped by and noticed something wrong with the rudder shoe, and I found a broken weld on it (pics). So took it off the rudder skeg.
Sounds like the bottom sanding and painting will take about 2 days; that's fast.
Salad and leftover chili and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Down the ladder and to the showers. Not the best shower, but a treat after my usual showering on the stern of the boat.
Down the ladder a couple of times during the night to go pee at the restrooms. Have to be careful to avoid falling off the ladder. If you fall overboard at anchor, you get wet. If you fall overboard in the yard, you break your neck. boatyard at Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
Very grey morning. Steady hard rain from 8:30 to 9:30 or so. A bit more at 10.
Took the safety collar off the prop shaft. Tried to loosen the stuffing-box nuts on the propellor shaft, but they won't budge, and I don't have good wrenches. Loosened the shaft setscrews up at the forward end.
Some of sanding crew showed up at 10:45. I talked to the yard boss, and he said only light sanding is included in the standard sand-and-paint deal, and I need power-sanding. I agreed to pay extra, maybe US$150, for that.
Told him about the stuffing-box nuts, and he says I want a chain-wrench, which should be cheap to buy. Went to the welding shop, but the guy is busy. More rain at 11.
Went across the street to Johnson's Hardware. But they only have the large model of chain-wrench, EC$192 (about US$71), not the cheaper model. To the marine store in the marina, and they have no wrenches of any kind that would work on stuffing-boxes; surprising. Back to the boatyard.
To the welding/machine shop. Gave the rudder shoe to the guy; he says EC$90 (about US$33) to weld it. He'll come to my boat later to see what needs to be done for the shaft, and quote me a price for that.
More light rain, off and on, and weather staying mostly grey. Depressing. But at least I can throw money at the boat to get problems fixed.
Got a little bit of free Wi-Fi; that made me feel better.
Realized I haven't tried any penetrating oil on the stuffing-box nuts, so applied that.
At 1:30, someone started power-sanding my hull.
Took another shot at the stuffing-box nuts, and got them free ! It took a little judicious pounding with a small sledgehammer. And I'm sure the penetrating oil helped.
About 2 minutes later, there's the guy from the shop at the top of my ladder, asking what we need to do. I tell him we should be able to take the shaft out now to do the cutless bearing, and he says we should be able to do it without pulling out the shaft. By the time I get dressed and down to ground, he has the set-screws out and the old cutless bearing slid out a bit; he put a big pipe-wrench on it. (Last time we put one in, we left half an inch hanging out for exactly this reason: you can put a wrench on it to get it out.) He took off the zinc, got the bearing out the rest of the way, and cleaned up the set-screw holes a bit. I put a bit of grease on the outside of the new bearing, to make it easy to get out next time, and he was able to slowly pound it home (last time, we refrigerated the new bearing overnight to help get it in). Put the set-screws back in, put the zinc back on, he's done.
To his shop to get the rudder shoe he welded, and paid EC$200 (US$74) for the two jobs combined; not too bad. He says the metal on the shoe isn't so good, he had a little trouble doing the weld. I've heard that every time I take something from this boat to a welding shop: the stern ladder, the steering wheel, now this shoe.
The old cutless bearing doesn't look as extremely worn as I expected. I'll keep it as a spare in case of emergency; it could go in upside-down next time. Sure, it well needed replacement. But I don't think there was any metal-to-metal contact as I feared. The guy showed me that the prop shaft was worn where it contacts the bearing, but I think that's just because it's (probably) a 42-year-old shaft with lots of mileage on it. And I think barnacles have built up in there from time to time as the boat sat unused for months and months.
Later, I showed the bearing to the yard boss. He said it was extremely worn, and also showed that the rear end of my engine should come down slightly: on the bottom, where all the wear is, the outer end of the bearing is more worn than the inner end.
Sunshine starting around 2:15 ! Nice.
I put the set-screws back into the forward end of the shaft, at the coupling to transmission. Fortunately I didn't get that end loose, so the screws went right back in without any alignment hassle.
Put the propellor back onto the shaft. It's a bit loose; I noticed that a month ago. As far as I can tell now, the key is fine, it fits tightly into the slot on the shaft. I think the slot in the propellor has become slightly enlarged. The propellor is pretty old and tired; a new one would be nice.
I started working on putting the rudder shoe back on, and had some problem getting the through-bolt aligned and through. Just as I got it right, the yard boss came by and pointed out that his guys had started power-sanding my bottom again, and I was breathing the dust from it. So I stopped and washed up and went aboard.
They've hauled two more boats today; watched one of them go past: pic.
Achey and headachey; took a paracetamol-plus.
Showered, and did a few pieces of laundry in the restroom sink.
Salad and hotdog-onion-cheese-egg-bread and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Not sure I'm allowed to cook on board, but I need to use up some food before it spoils; the refrigerator seems to be not working at all. boatyard at Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
Somewhat grey morning, but no rain.
Did a little more work on the rudder shoe.
Looks like the hull-sanding is about half done. Talked to the yard boss. They've sanded down to the gelcoat in some places, so need to apply primer there before applying bottom-paint. But they should be able to apply first coat of paint this afternoon.
I looked at the hull. I don't see any resin weeping from pinhole-blisters, as I saw in previous haul-outs.
Grey and raining by 9:30. Fairly heavy rain, stopping the hull work, but by 10 or so it was clear and a bit sunny, and work resumed.
At noon, looks like the sanding is done but the priming hasn't been started.
Adjusted the rear engine mounts. Put the stuffing-box nuts back together.
Nothing happening under the boat from noon to 1:30. Went to ask, and I think the boss is over at the marine store buying the primer.
Checked at the fuel dock. Diesel EC$9.96/gallon (about US$3.70), but you have to be cleared out to get that price. Water EC$0.40/gallon (sounds too low, maybe that's US$0.40, but I specifically asked if it was EC$).
Before 2, the boss was back and primer was going on.
Finished adjusting and screwing down the rudder shoe. I added a wooden shim at the forward end to make the shoe mate more solidly with the rudder shaft at the aft end.
Grey clouds moving in around 2:30; hope rain doesn't prevent painting the first coat this afternoon.
Tried to diagnose the wind-generator, and I think the diode block may have been damaged by overheating. Expecting some strongish wind on Friday and Saturday; will see how it behaves then.
Heavy but brief rain around 2:45.
By 4, I'm getting worried that priming has been done, but painting the first coat hasn't started. I find the boss, and it turns out the guys are mixing the paint right now, blending blue with black. And soon the paint is going on, and first coat done by 5:15 or so.
Took some more pictures in the boatyard. A surprising number of boats with bow-thrusters, often very small bow-thrusters. Pics.
Salad and leftover hotdog-cornbread and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Futzed with the wind-generator in the middle of the night, and found the problem was the simplest possible thing: somehow the disconnect switch got flipped. Must have snagged it while I was moving in and out of the engine compartment a few days ago. boatyard at Rodney Bay, St Lucia.
Guys getting ready to paint second coat, at 9 AM.
Walked over to marina to use Wi-Fi in ice-cream shop. Need to warn my credit-card company that a large charge will be coming today.
Please send any comments to me.