Log of the sailboat 'Magnolia'

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Sun for a new day  1/8/2011 (Saturday)
Boat's at anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia; I'm in USA (NJ and PA).

Up at 6 and off to the airport by 6:45. A little light snow. Delayed checking in because I couldn't recall the 3-character airport code for Vieux Fort, and you absolutely have to have that to check in ! Through security without a patdown (they seemed to be patting down a lot of the passengers, maybe 1/10 of them ?), and to the gate by 8:15. Snowing heavily now, but a plane is at the gate by 8:30 for a 10:05 departure, so I think we're okay. Used my laptop for 15 minutes on slowish free Wi-Fi at the airport, and it suddenly rebooted. So the high-speed Wi-Fi at my brother's place wasn't the problem.

Plane loaded up and then had to wait for a slot in the de-icing process. By then, the airport was down to one operational runway. But we got off the ground okay, a bit more than an hour late.

Uneventful flight, but I felt a bit headachey and feverish.

Landed at St Lucia around 5. No problem with Immigration or Customs. US$8 for a taxi to the fishing harbor (overpaid a little, but I wanted to get out to the boat before dark, and was nervous that few taxi drivers would want a solo passenger to such a nearby destination). US$3 to get a couple of guys to take me out to the boat in a fishing skiff. Eight other cruising sailboats here.

Boat is okay ! Propane tank and gas tank locked in cockpit are still there. No problem unlocking. Looks like there's been plenty of rolling: I left a cabinet door half open and some plastic plates were thrown out onto the floor. Hauled suitcase down into aft cabin, and then hauled outboard out of main cabin and into the cockpit. A cup of granola for dinner, then it was dark.

Windy, rolly night. Took some pills and the headache eventually went away.
Sun for a new day  1/9/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Windy and rolly morning. One sailboat departed. "Salty Paws" is anchored nearby; thought those guys would be gone by now.

Started up the refrigerator. Plugged in the DC-DC adapter and used the new laptop for a while.

Slowly got the boat straightened out a bit. Unpacked my suitcase and put everything away. Got fuel tanks and propane tank and buckets and stuff back into their proper places. But didn't get around to launching the dinghy and putting the outboard back on it; will do that tomorrow.

Went to sew/tie a strap onto my eyeglasses, and couldn't find the little sewing kit my sister gave me years ago. Maybe the thief took it, or maybe I just misplaced it. Got out the sail-repair stuff, and found my new eyeglass frames differ from the old in one critical way: the ends of the side-pieces don't flare out, making it very hard to attach a strap. Added some tape to make it work.

Went to use my new haircutting kit, and found it had some hair in it. Someone must have bought it, used it, and returned it. Should have checked it right after I bought it. Doesn't bother me too much; used it to give myself a haircut.

Tried to open a drawer full of cans of beans, and it's stuck. A can must have tilted and wedged inside, and I can't get it free. Might have to damage the drawer to get it out. Can't remember if I've opened it since the theft; maybe the thief yanked it and jammed it. Another thing to blame on the thief ?

Several more boats came in today, mostly from the W. Must have been a nasty slog coming E against this wind. Haven't seen any activity aboard "Salty Paws"; maybe Greg and Mike flew out for a while ?

Small olive-and-corn "salad" and cornedbeef-noodle and a rum-and-fruitjuice for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/10/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still windy and rolly.

Launched the dinghy, lowered the outboard into it, and got the outboard onto the transom. Lucked out: managed to do it in a non-rolly period. Pumped up the dinghy tubes.

Closed up the boat and loaded up the dinghy. Locked the main hatch with a combination lock, then had to unlock it twice to get things I'd forgotten. Headed ashore. Docked next to three other cruiser-dinghies, and immediately a scary-looking guy appeared to offer to watch my dinghy for me, for money. I said no and headed into town. Hope the dinghy is okay.

Headed to the police station, to see if they recovered any of the stolen items (fat chance), but the officer on my case was busy in court. Over to a bank ATM, but I forgot that my ATM card doesn't work here, and I don't know the new PIN for my credit card. To the supermarket for necessities.

Coming out of the supermarket, my hat has disappeared. Retrace my steps in the supermarket, and no luck. Back to the bank, and there's my hat on the floor next to the ATM.

Back to the dinghy in the fishing harbor, and as I'm loading up another guy appears and tries to "help" me, putting a foot on my dinghy, trying to become my "friend". He starts telling me I should have someone (him) watch my dinghy, kids here steal things like my anchor in my dinghy. I don't want to hear this, guys noticing unlocked things in my dinghy. I cable-lock the outboard and fuel tank, but there's no way to lock the anchor, paddle, fuel line, emergency tools. I try to turn it around, saying that if there's a lot of theft here, cruisers will stop coming here. A more bummy-looking guy appears, and the first guy says that to him, saying something about the internet and cruisers not coming here. I wonder if he's seen the reports I sent to the Caribbean Safety and Security Net, about the theft from my boat and the fuel line theft from "Salty Paws" dinghy ? He or someone here probably has seen them on the Security Net web site (without boat names).

And of course, since I just want to get away from these guys, the outboard starts, quits, then floods. A third guy shows up to join the show, as I pull again and again and try with and without choke. These guys are hoping I'll get stuck and have to pay for help. I finally get the outboard started and head off. The first guy, Christopher, is cursing a bit, maybe because he wasn't able to secure "friend" status with me.

Out to the boat. I notice that a couple of front pilothouse hatches are open on "Salty Paws", so maybe someone is aboard. An hour later, I saw Greg and Mike swimming behind their boat.

Added water to the batteries and cross-connected the starting bank to the house bank.

Dinghied over to "Salty Paws" and chatted with Greg and Mike for almost 2 hours. Patted their dog Toby a little. They get Sirius satellite radio reception here, which amazes me ! Thought no one got it S or E of Puerto Rico. They use a directional antenna and a good radio, and get it.

Greg is signed up for kiteboarding lessons here, and has a new kiteboard on board, but things have conspired to postpone the lessons and keep them and the boat here. First Greg had the flu, then he took a nasty fall on the (very dangerous) sidewalks here and tore up the skin on his shin. Now the wind is a little too strong, and he says it's supposed to blow very hard on Wednesday, with squalls up to 35 knots or so. They want to get up to St Thomas to buy some special dog food that is good for their dog (!).

I've been chewing over whether to go south or head back north. St Vincent is the next island south, but it doesn't look too attractive. Grenadines are south of that, and look nice. Greg and Mike both say I should go there, so I guess I will. Greg says to stock up here; prices in the Grenadines are twice as much as prices here.

Greg and Mike never leave their dinghy ashore here any more; Mike ferries Greg in, goes back to the boat, and picks him up later. Not a good sign.

We talked about various places, and it turns out they've never done any river or ICW cruising, except for going through the Riviere Salee in Guadeloupe. They don't even know how tall their mast is above water.

Back to my boat. Tried to start the engine, and it barely turned over. Let it rest for 10 minutes, turned it over, and it started fairly easily ! Ran it for 5 minutes to exercise it. Had been planning to raise second anchor tomorrow, but now that strong wind is coming, I guess I'll wait.

Replaced the galley water filter.

Salad and a carrot and a cheese sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/11/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still grey and windy and rolly.

The sailboat in front of me left; now I have a little more space to work with when trying to raise anchors.

Dinghied ashore. Right away that guy "Christopher" was in my face and tapping my arm, and I snapped at him a little. Two cruiser-couples came in right behind me, and I warned them about theft here. They were totally unsympathetic, immediately chanting that "lock it or lose it" mantra that the Security Net says. I'm getting a little tired of hearing that; 9.5 years without a theft until I got here, and just because I left something unlocked doesn't give anyone the right to steal it. And when I said someone had the fuel line stolen out of their dinghy here, one of the guys immediately said "oh, probably was taken by white people, another cruiser, we've seen a lot of that". Unlikely, since it was late or after dark, and there were few cruising boats here that day. Mentioned that I was planning to bypass St Vincent because it looked difficult to anchor there and the guidebooks made the boat-boys sound bad, and they said the people there were wonderful and they loved St Vincent. Gee, that conversation went well !

To an internet place, and did 1/2 hour for EC$2.50. Weather forecast didn't mention the 35-knot squalls Greg was talking about. Looks like E 18 knots with gusts to 24 for the next few days, and only a couple of knots less for a week after that. Occasionally a few hours of ENE. Seas in the 3-meter range and not getting less than 2.4 or so in the next 8-9 days. Probably shouldn't head south until conditions moderate a little.

To the police station, and left a message that I'd like to know if any of my property has been recovered. To ScotiaBank, where the ATM gave me cash from my credit card (for a hefty fee, I'm sure). Feels good to have cash.

To the supermarket, where I spent EC$104 of that cash. Back to the dinghy, and all is well. Looked for Christopher to apologize for snapping at him, but didn't see him. Over to the gas pump, and bought 4.2 liters for EC$12.17 (about US$4.09/gallon, not too bad). Evans latched onto me and reminded me that he'd been watching my boat for him, and I gave him EC$40 (about US$15), which seemed to satisfy him. I had sort of mumbled EC$100 before I left; glad he didn't ask for that. Out to the boat.

Dinghied ashore again in the early afternoon, picking the worst possible time: got soaked by a rainsquall just as I was locking up the dinghy. Took shelter under a roof, saw Christopher, and went over and apologized to him. He seemed to take it well, but then spouted a lot of heavily accented stuff I couldn't understand at all, something about fishermen.

Off to the Post Office, where EC$1.70 mailed two letters, one to the hospital in Martinique and another to my brother in Newark NJ. Back to the dinghy, and as I was leaving, I saw that my dinghy and some others had been blocking the docking spot of a fisherman who had come in. I guess that's what Christopher had been saying. Out to the boat.

Disconnected starting battery bank; I've been suspecting that it's draining the house bank down to its level. Will try the system like this for a while.

Chili and a rum-and-fruitjuice for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/12/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

A couple of huge squalls from 4 AM to 5 AM or so, with plenty of wind and rain. Then plenty of gusty wind afterward.

Wind-generator really cranking out the amps at times. But I noticed something I've noticed before: battery monitor showing 17 A going into one battery bank while 3 A coming out of other bank ! With wind-gen cranking hard. What is that ?

So, into the engine compartment at 5 AM and started investigating. Couldn't find any hot batteries or loose connections. Soon found that I have a misconception about the battery monitor hookup; I changed it a while ago when I went to 8 batteries, and never changed it back when I went down to 6 batteries and then replaced 4 of them for new. I used to have the starting bank riding invisibly (to the monitor) off house bank 2, but I changed that when I went to 8 batteries. Anyway, monitor channel 2 now has nothing but the starter (through a combiner) connected to it. So maybe the starter motor is screwed up, and constantly draining 3 A out of the batteries ?

So I disconnect the starter motor cable, and look again. Still 3 A coming out ! No loads, no solar, wind-gen turned off, battery switch not set to "All", how can this be ?

Eventually I realize that monitor channel 2 is reading 0.5 V, because it's not connected to anything, so the drain (through the negative cable) is 3 A at 0.5 V, or almost nothing. So probably nothing wrong with the starter motor. Back to bed, and will think about this more later.

Loafed all morning, some of it in bed. Very windy morning. Then looked out and found a cruising catamaran has come in and anchored directly in front of me. Crap ! This will be awkward when I start trying to raise anchors. Raising them is going to be a chore: I have two down, they seem to be snagging on coral on the bottom, and the wind is going to be strong for the foreseeable future. And I hope this guy doesn't drag onto me if we have strong squalls tonight.

In the afternoon, back into the battery system. Starting batteries, sitting disconnected for less than 24 hours, have fallen to 12.47 V; I think they're toast. Wired the system to start from the house bank, disabling (always on) the battery combiner and adding jumper cables across it: want the strongest possible path to the starter motor, and I'm not sure the jumper cables alone were thick enough.

Oiled the hinges on my eyeglass frames; have to remember to do that every couple of months.

Got that stuck drawer in the V-berth open. Sure enough, the thief must have yanked it straight outward with great force, breaking loose one of the wedges that keep the drawer from sliding open due to boat motion.

A sailboat left around 4:30, sailing S toward St Vincent and rolling horribly in the huge swells.

Carrot and salad and cold leftover chili for dinner.

Around 9, strong swell came in from the S and horrible rolling started, and kept going all night. Very uncomfortable night. Strong wind from E, strong swell from S.
Sun for a new day  1/13/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still grey and windy and rolly.

At 9:15, looked at the boat ahead ("Zanadu Seas") and saw someone climbing the mast ! Okay, as a catamaran, they're rolling a lot less than I am. But they're still rolling quite a bit, making for a rough and dangerous trip up the mast. [I think they may have thought better of it; the guy never went more than a few feet above the boom.]

The laptop's fan doesn't seem to be running any more; will have to investigate. That's what killed the old laptop.

By mid-morning, had decided to try raising the anchors. But after going out on the bow a couple of times, and finding the wind to be howling, decided I'd wait another day or two. I'd like to move somewhere a little more sheltered from the swells, but there doesn't really seem to be anywhere a lot better. I'm sure tonight I'll be exasperated with the rolling and wishing I'd been able to move.

Got out the Bebi LED anchor light I bought and soldered it to a wire so I can hang it in the cockpit at night. Seems very bright; will see how it looks after dark. It's supposed to draw less than 90 mA, be visible to 2 NM. My old Davis incandescent fixture was looking dim and yellowish.

Glued the wedge on that stuck drawer. Had to throw away two half-used tubes of glue before finding a third that worked.

Another catamaran came in, from the W. So now three here, plus me.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-fruitjuice for dinner.

Hung the new anchor light in the cockpit, and it's quite a bit brighter than the old light. Can read by it, mostly.

Also tried out a new 32-LED fixture I bought to maybe replace the round Perko cockpit lights. The new fixtures aren't bright enough to replace the old lights, so I guess I'll keep the old lights and add the new fixtures as reading lights in the cockpit. I'd like to be able to sit and read in the cockpit at night, without draining the batteries.

Not nearly as rolly tonight as it was last night.
Sun for a new day  1/14/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still quite windy, and sometimes rolly.

By 9, the catamaran ahead of me was gone, and I can't see where they went to. I see a sail far downwind to the WNW; that must be them.

Dinghied ashore. To internet place, and did 1/2 hour for EC$2.50. Weather forecast says conditions won't ease until next Thurs/Fri. Wind will be ENE 13-14 and seas E 8-7 then. Wasn't able to upload log file; something wrong with my web site provider.

To a hardware store, then an auto store. They had a starting battery of 650 CCA for EC$425. To NAPA Auto, where similar capacity battery costs EC$533.

To police station, where there was no message on my case, no contact with the CID officer, and it's plain the front-desk people just want me to go away. So I think I'll give up on that.

To the supermarket to stock up, then back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Tried to start the engine half a dozen times; no luck. Starter motor not cranking, and battery voltage down quite a bit after each try, so either the batteries are weak or the solenoid or starter motor is bad ? Tapped on the solenoid a couple of times with a hammer. Pulled in some slack in the second anchor chain by hand.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Around 11 PM, suddenly got very rolly, and stayed that way almost until dawn. Very uncomfortable.
Sun for a new day  1/15/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still quite windy and rolly. Swell got worse around 11 AM.

Using the laptop, heard the fan kick in briefly. So maybe it's okay.

After lunch, to work. Measured voltage on old starting battery bank at 10.71 V; there must be a shorted cell in there somewhere. Moved a battery cable end to bypass the combiner and get rid of the jumper cables, and the engine started on the first try ! A relief. Immediately started trying to raise the secondary anchor. Worked at it for about an hour, got the chain almost vertical, but it's stuck to something on the bottom. Hard work, in windy and rolly conditions. Maybe the boat-motion overnight will loosen it up. Will try again tomorrow.

Sloop "Cinnamon Girl" came in from the W; must have been a slog in this fairly strong E wind and swell. Three or four more boats came in before nightfall. Eight cruising boats including mine here for the night. One boat anchored a little close in front of me.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/16/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still quite windy and grey. Strong squall half an hour after dawn. Grey and very windy around 7:45.

At 8:15, a boat came in and anchored alongside me. Might be a bit surprising to them if my second anchor works loose and I slide back onto the primary anchor, not that that's going to happen. But it won't be a problem if it happens. Another boat coming in from the W (but then I think it headed S to St Vincent, rolling badly; the horizon is jagged with steep swells). Rain.

At 11:30, sunny but wind howling. I wanted to snorkel today and look at the anchor and scrape the prop, but maybe I won't. Big swell making the boat roll a lot by noon.

I'm getting pretty anxious about the anchor situation. The second anchor seems to be snagged hard on something, and I hope I don't have to hire a diver to get it free, or abandon anchor and chain. And every now and then it yanks pretty hard on the bow rollers, since I have the chain snugged in tight to see if the anchor will work loose.

At 12:30, while reading in the cockpit, looked up to see that the sloop "Vela" which had been anchored in front of me was now pointing downwind and drifting past me. Yelled "ahoy" to them a couple of times, and the couple came up on deck and saw what was happening. They started the engine, pulled in their rope anchor rode, and found that something on the bottom had chewed right through it.

At 1, grey and wind howling and some rain.

Saw "Vela" apparently anchored inside the fishing harbor; really not enough room to do that, I think.

ARC sloop "Vulcan Spirit" left the S side of the bay and came over to anchor nearby. Hope they don't think the swell will be less out here; probably a lot better in their previous spot.

Around 1:15, "Vela" came out of the fishing harbor and motored off to the W. I guess they're giving up on this place, and heading to the W coast of the island. No sails up. They've had a quarantine flag up, so I guess they've just arrived from St Vincent, so heading W and then N fits their plans.

Salad and a cheese-sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/17/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Still very windy and grey, with a big squall every few hours.

Dinghied ashore. Up the street to a small bulk-type food store. Stocked up on tuna fish. Despite having cases and cases of soda and liquor, they had no Coke or Diet Coke. Supermarket is the same way; found 4 small bottles of Diet Coke there the other day, but usually they have none. And it's not because it's sold out; there's no empty space or anything. Strange.

Into a small store and bought a used paperback book. To the internet place, and did half an hour of internet for EC$2.50. Still can't upload the log file; tried a couple of different ways, and got a message saying the site provider is doing an upgrade, try again in a couple of days. Email from Dell saying I signed up for a support contract for $54; no, I didn't. Weather forecast says seas will ease to 7 feet starting Saturday, so maybe I'll go to Grenadines next Sunday/Monday. Not sure if officials here are open on Sunday.

To the supermarket, and got a bunch of stuff (I'm stocking up here, because the Grenadines are expensive). Back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Squall with a lot of wind came through as I was eating lunch. Anchorage getting rollier afterward.

Shortly after 1, gritted my teeth and went snorkeling under the boat. Windy and rough and boat rolling badly. But my first pleasant surprise is that the water wasn't too cold; not bad at all. Then I swam up to the anchor chains, dove down 5 or 6 feet, and found the problem: the primary anchor's chain is wrapped around the secondary anchor a couple of times, pinning it tightly. I guess the primary anchor is stuck firmly to the bottom, causing the occasional hard yank on the bow rollers. So I can work on freeing the secondary anchor.

I snorkel under the boat and scrape the hull and prop; they're not too bad. But I have to be careful: the boat is rolling badly, and I don't want it to come down on me or slide a barnacle across my skin.

I scrape for 20 minutes or so, call it good enough, and get back into the boat. Engine starts without too much trying. Then I start working at hauling in anchor chains, and it's a chore. Boat is rolling badly, wind is gusty and shifty, slime from the chains gets on my hands and feet and makes everything slippery. And I'm pulling up combined weight of anchor and two chains, having to hustle from helm to bow to make use of the small bit of time when the bow is over the anchors and there's some slack to be taken in. Have to be careful not to get my fingers crushed when the weight of the boat suddenly comes back onto the chain I'm hauling and cleating off. Sometimes I motor forward, hustle to the bow, and get only 6 inches of chain in before I have to cleat it off. Tiring, slow work.

Finally get the second anchor up out of the water, and the tangle is ugly (pic). Get it up to the bow rollers, and I can't get enough slack on the chain to lift the anchor and tangle up over the rollers (pic). Eventually get smart and fetch a chain-snubber out of a cockpit locker. Into the dinghy, attach the hook to the primary chain below the tangle, back into the boat, and soon have the snubber taking the strain off the tangle.

Now I can ease the primary chain, swing the second anchor to the side and haul it and the tangle up onto the bow. Have to detach the anchor from the chain to clear the tangle. Dump the length of primary chain back over the bow. Re-attach the second anchor to the secondary chain. Haul in some more primary chain and now I can remove the snubber. Forces on secondary anchor mangled it a bit (pic); it must have gotten stuck on something on the bottom and pulled sideways while I was gone.

Primary anchor still stuck hard to the bottom. Even when I get the chain to near-vertical, it takes several minutes of gentle forward and side-to-side before it lets go and I can haul it up. Boat is free !

I motor only about 75 feet to one side and put primary anchor down again. Just want to get a little farther away from the reef, and any snaggy bits on the bottom over there. Water is deeper here (bad), but okay. Swell still coming on the beam and rolling the boat badly.

Clean up the bow a little, then rest for a while. Clean up the snorkeling gear, then shower. Then rest some more.

Dinghied over to "Salty Paws". Chatted with Mike; Greg was ashore. Exchanged half a dozen books. Told him about my anchor adventures. Nice to talk with someone for a while.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Wind howling as I ate dinner, and into the evening.

Rolling stopped around 8, then started again around 2.
Sun for a new day  1/18/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Wind howling all morning. Watched an anchored sloop sailing back and forth wildly. Huge, powerful storm/squall from 9:40 to 10 or so. Glad I went ashore, and did the anchors and scraping, yesterday; not going to do much today.

Wind blew hard until noon, then light until squall at 2, then light again. Very grey afternoon.

Salad and cheese sandwich and carrot for dinner.

Huge squall around 8:45.

Fairly rolly all evening and night; uncomfortable.
Sun for a new day  1/19/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Grey and breezey. A sloop left around 7, heading for St Vincent through big-looking seas. Another sloop left around 9; didn't see which way they turned. Totally grey and rain at 11. Again at 11:45, and at 12:15. And at 12:40.

Fuel level 7.0 inches at engine hour 4759. Looked at the throttle cable, since engine has been idling too low, but it looks okay. Started working on a new connector for the laptop power adapter.

Big squalls at 3:45 and 5:20.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Several big squalls during the night.
Sun for a new day  1/20/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

A little sunnier this morning, and a little less windy.

Dinghied ashore. Checked into several grocery stores, and finally found one that had Coca-Cola. Decided to stop there on the way back to the dinghy.

To the internet place, and did half an hour of internet for EC$2.50. Finally was able to upload the log file. Weather looks okay for going to the Grenadines on Monday night; seas will be 6-7 feet, which is bigger than I like, but better than the 9 feet we've been having. I'm planning to go down the windward side of St Vincent, which is more exposed than I'd prefer and has no harbors in case of emergency, but the best route from here to Bequia.

To the supermarket. Forgot to mention that grapefruit has been "in season" and cheap here; I've been eating one a day. Loaded up with some more, and stocked up on other groceries. Can't find chopped garlic in oil here, so I bought some whole cloves. Paper towels very expensive here.

On the way back to the dinghy, stopped in the other store and bought eight half-liters of Diet Coke. Back to the dinghy and out to the boat.

Sharp squall at 12:45 caught me with towels out drying and hatches open. Another squall at 1:30.

Big powerboat "Balaja" came in and anchored nearby at 2 (lots of antennae and satellite dishes; pic). Small sloop came in around 2:15.

Finished splicing a better connector onto the laptop power adapter.

A cataraman and a sloop came in from the W around 3:45, and both are anchoring near that spot where "Salty Paws" got their anchor stuck, and near where the thief got me. Too far away to see their names, so I can't call them on VHF to warn them.

Powerboat "Balaja" left at 4:45.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Rain at 5:15.

Nice night, until about 4 AM, when it suddenly got rolly.
Sun for a new day  1/21/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Sunny, breezey and rolly. I've been reading about Bequia, and it sounds really nice, but the seas are too big to go there right now.

Two boats left around 9:30, headed S toward Bequia. Another headed W and then N. I'm still staying put.

Wind howling from SE at 11:25. Then rain, then wind from S. Forecast says wind is supposed to be going ENE starting yesterday, but I haven't seen that yet. Grey, humid afternoon.

Installed an LED reading lamp in the cockpit (pic). There was no easy way to run the wires inside the pilothouse walls, so I'll have to paint the wires to make them less visible.

Powerboat and several sailboats came in from the W.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-fruitjuice for dinner. Very rolly while I was cooking dinner.

Around 6 PM, wind switched to NE ! Very welcome. But an hour later it was back to E.

Read in the cockpit for a while after dark. New light works well.

Nice night, until 5 AM or so, when it suddenly got rolly.
Sun for a new day  1/22/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Wind back to NE around 6:30. Good for going S to Bequia, but I need to wait for the seas to go down a bit. Wind soon wavering between ENE and E, then solid E.

At 10:30, surprised to see "Salty Paws" moving over to the S side of the bay. Guess they got tired of the rolling, although it isn't bad this morning. And they're a catamaran, so they roll a lot less than I do.

Loafed all day. Conditions pretty rolly.

Salad and cheese-sandwiches for dinner.

Thinking about passage to Bequia, I decided to do it during the day instead of overnight. It's about 43 NM S from here, plus 15 NM W (on a diagonal), so maybe 48 NM total. Averaging 4 knots, that's 12 hours. If I leave here at 4 AM, I'd arrive at 4 PM, with a couple of hours to spare before dark. And if something goes wrong, I could feel my way into that harbor after dark; the biggest problem would be avoiding anchored boats. Traveling only 2 hours in dark would be better than doing the whole trip in the dark (leaving here at 6 PM and arriving next morning at 6 AM).

Fairly rolly night; pretty uncomfortable.
Sun for a new day  1/23/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Wind still stubbornly E and some ESE; where's the ENE ? Rainsquall at 8. Rolly.

Mostly grey day. Rain at 11:30 and 2. Very rolly for a few hours around noon, but not bad after that.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Pleasant enough night, a few squalls, not very rolly at all.
Sun for a new day  1/24/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Grey morning. Periods of lighter wind. A little ENE wind, but mostly E. At 7:30, very dark with thick low grey clouds. At 7:40, powerful squall from ESE with a lot of rain.

Hoping to go to Bequia tomorrow morning, depending on the weather forecast I get today. But this morning's weather isn't looking promising.

Dinghied ashore. Slight hassle from some guy at the dock wanting money to watch my dinghy for me. To the internet place, and did an hour of internet for EC$5. Weather forecast not great; seas will be about E 8 all week, and who knows after that ? Decide to go tomorrow; wind and seas will be ENE the only time all week, and seas are 7-8. Fixed a problem with picture filenames on my site; I think maybe my new camera is behaving slightly different from my old camera.

To an ATM for cash, then to the supermarket, then back to the dinghy and the boat.

Around 1, dinghied ashore again. Walked up to near the supermarket and caught a bus (EC$2) around the airport and into it. Got into the Customs/Immigration area, and found I was at the wrong place. The guidebooks say you have to go to the airport to do Immigration, but the officials here say I have to do Customs at the commercial dock (seaport), and probably Immigration there too. So walked out of the airport to the road, and caught a bus back (EC$1.50). To the supermarket for more stuff, then back to the dinghy and the boat. Stashed the stuff, and right back into the dinghy. A couple of sailboats are coming in from the W.

Headed over to the commercial dock, and halfway there, my fuel line started acting funny. The squeeze-bulb started collapsing; something is clogged and making a vacuum develop. Fiddled with it and couldn't fix it. Fortunately, got to the dock without the motor quitting.

Up a tall ladder, through the dock area, and found the officials. Filled out a form, no money to be paid, and done. Back to the dinghy, bulb is okay, back to the boat with no problem.

Started the engine and ran it for a couple of minutes, to increase the chance that it will start at 4 AM tomorrow morning.

"Salty Paws" moved back over near me. I guess they were on the S dies of the bay to have some work done.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

At dusk, Greg and Mike stopped by, and we chatted for an hour or so. They were a bit horrified when they heard I'm planning to leave; they said "we don't go anywhere when there are 8-foot seas running". And maybe they're right; maybe I shouldn't go.

Can't sleep at all; too anxious about the trip.

Finally, somewhere a little after midnight, I decide I'm being stupid, I shouldn't try a trip through 8-foot seas. Just have to stay here and be patient. So the trip's off, and I need to go back to the officials and check in again. Not a big deal.
Sun for a new day  1/25/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Huge squall at 5:45, with rain and wind for quite a while. Smaller squalls at 7, 7:30, 7:55. Wind has shifted to ENE mostly, as forecast.

Crap ! Catamaran "Goyave" has anchored directly in front of me. Not too close, but it will make raising anchor a little awkward; I'll have to get close to them. And last night Greg said if I move forward 150 feet or so, the rolling will be reduced. Not sure I agree, but I'll try it.

Shortly after 9, dinghied into the commercial port and wnet to the Customs office. Officer confused me with another boat for a few minutes. Then said "your clearance out is good for 3 days; come back in 3 days if the weather still is no good". Didn't want to tell him it's supposed to be 8-foot seas all week. I'll come back on Friday. I think he just didn't want to do the paperwork if he can avoid it.

Back to the boat, started the engine, and started raising anchor. Got pretty close to "Goyave" in front, as a guy left aboard watched me apprehensively. Not really a problem, since if anything slips I'll just drift back away from them. But I got within 30 feet or so, not much scope on my anchor chain, and the anchor is stuck firmly on the bottom. Probably could get it loose if I went forward another 15 feet, but I don't want to get that close to them. And the next squall is here; lots of fine rain soaking me. So I gave up, let out the chain again, shut off the engine, and I'm back where I started. Totally grey and raining for half an hour or so.

Grey and horizontal rain at 10:30. Stayed grey, and wind howling after 11. Rainy and grey and wind howling at 11:30. Quiet from noon to 1, but then howling again. Another squall at 3:15. Grey most of the afternoon.

Found a cracked swage on one of the dinghy-hoisting wires (pic); started fixing it.

Grapefruit and leftover cold chili and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Blue-hulled boat came in from W around 5:30. Looks like a monohull sailboat with absolutely no rigging: no mast, no boom.

Catamaran "Goyave" ahead of me raised anchor and moved over to S side of the bay, so maybe I can raise anchor and move forward tomorrow.

Very rolly from about 8:30 to midnight.
Sun for a new day  1/26/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Fairly sunny morning with lighter winds. Seas in open water still look ugly.

Around 8, started engine, raised anchor, and moved forward 200 feet or so to be closer to the jetty, and next to "Salty Paws". Will see if rolling is less here. As usual with an anchoring job, once I was finished, I wished I'd ended up about 20 feet over that way, a little further from the reef. But it will be fine.

Catamaran "Goyave" (I think) left for St Vincent around 8. Didn't look like they were rolling too badly, but they're a catamaran and they were heading SW, for the leeward side of St Vincent, which is tolerable in E seas. I want to go down the windward side of St Vincent, going SSE and then S in E seas, which would be rough. If I went down the leeward side, I'd have a nasty SE segment against E wind and seas and current for the last 15 miles to Bequia; going down the windward side, that last segment would be a fine SW jaunt in E wind and seas and current. That's why I'm waiting for the seas to diminish.

Squall at 9:30.

Can't quite get free Wi-Fi here; Greg on "Salty Paws" says he does. But I'm using the internal antenna on my laptop; haven't been able to get the external adapter to work.

Strong wind from S for a couple of hours in early afternoon; not in the forecast.

Swaged the dinghy hoisting wire; not a very neat job, since the bent wire ends resisted going through the sleeve and bunched up a bit (pic).

Tried the Wi-Fi some more and got connected for about 5 seconds.

Several boats came in from the W.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner. A little heavy on the rum; got fairly tipsy.

Greg stopped by briefly. Gave me a couple of bunches of totally green "cooking bananas" (pic); he says you boil them with a bit of salt and they taste a lot like potatoes. He says Chris Parker's weather (which I haven't been able to hear in quite a while) says maybe seas will lessen on Mon/Tues, then stronger again on Wed.

Got some really solid sleep, first time in a week or so.
Sun for a new day  1/27/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Sunny morning, grey afternoon. Loafed all day.

Salad and apple and cheese sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/28/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Low, dark grey clouds passing overhead. Powerful squall howling from the SE at 8:20. Followed by strong S wind.

Laptop crashed / restarted suddenly. I think it's the first time it's done that since I got back to the boat. I was doing a lot of disk activity, no Wi-Fi or typing when it crashed.

Dinghied ashore. To the internet place, and did half an hour of internet for EC$2.50.

Weather looks like it will be barely tolerable for going to Bequia next Tues or Wed: wind a bit strong at about ENE 15 up here and ENE 18 down there, seas fairly high at ENE 6-7. For anyone interested, I'm getting my weather forecasts from WindGuru for Vieux Fort and WindGuru for Bequia, and trying to pick a window for a trip heading mostly S.

Stopped in a couple of places looking for Diet Coke, but finally had to settle for a few bottles of Coke. Didn't bother traipsing over to the big supermarket; I'm fairly well stocked up right now. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Soon into the dinghy again, and over to the commercial port, to go to to Customs office. After a delay and filling out a form, the officer remembered my situation, and told me just to come back when I'm ready to leave again; I think we'll fill out the form as if I'd never had the false start. Pretty decent of him, actually; avoids any extra charge to me. Back to the boat.

At 4 PM, looked up from my book to see a sloop coming in and motoring around behind me, heading straight for the reef on my port-aft side. Went out on deck and started yelling to them and waving them off, but about 2 seconds later they hit the reef with a pretty good bang. They backed off and went elsewhere to anchor. Don't people look at the chart or a guidebook before coming in ? Or watch their depth-sounder (although maybe the reef edge is too steep for the sounder to give them warning) ? I'm anxious and constantly checking those things as I come into a new anchorage.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-banana and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Greg was right, the boiled green bananas tasted like potatoes, which means they were filling but pretty tasteless.

Greg and Mike stopped by around 6, and came aboard for a chat and a rum-and-coke. They had a lot of news. They heard a rumor that a ketch, maybe "Fido", was ransacked while anchored the other day in the same area where my boat was boarded. They're not sure, they're going to try to get confirmation. And while we were talking, a big ketch (not "Fido", they're gone) came over from that area and anchored in our area. Greg thinks a police boat went over this afternoon and warned them about staying in that other area.

And then Greg said he got mugged today ! At 10:45, down a couple of side alleys from the main street, some guy followed him and bear-hugged him from behind and demanded his money. Greg is pretty fit, and threw the guy off and shoved him up against a wall. The guy was trying to pull something out of his pocket, maybe a knife, and Greg wouldn't let him. Greg yelled at him a bit, and then the guy tried to sort of talk his way out of it, and maybe even sell his watch to Greg. Greg went to a nearby guy he knows, got the name of the mugger, and went to the police, who reacted with a sort of "what should we do about it ?". So now Greg has had enough of this place; they're getting out of here as soon as a few last pieces of boat-work are done.

[Laptop crashed out from underneath me as I was typing this log entry.]

I was thinking, at 10:45 this morning I was on the main street, shopping for soda and then walking back to the dinghy. So I probably was only a few blocks from where Greg was getting mugged.

Greg also mentioned that many of these small island countries down here have fishing harbors just like the one here in Vieux Fort. And they were paid for by Japan, as a bribe in exchange for the island countries votes against the whaling ban resolution in the United Nations.
Sun for a new day  1/29/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Sunny, breezey morning. French boat that was anchored a little too close to me left.

Laptop hung while I was using it. I was trying to copy from a damaged CD at the time, so maybe that was a factor.

In midafternoon, got some Wi-Fi from the boat ! It cut in and out as the boat swung. Weather looks okay for going Wed AM; seas will be ENE 6, wind will be ENE 13 or so. Later in week, seas will be slightly lower but wind will be down to 10 or so, which is too low to sail.

Salad and cheese sandwich for dinner.

Light wind tonight.
Sun for a new day  1/30/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Did a bucket of laundry.

French catamaran came in around 1, ping-ponged around the bay for quite a while, then anchored between "Salty Paws" and me, much too close to "Salty Paws" in my opinion. The French have a reputation for being bad about anchoring too close, and I think it's justified.

Got a little Wi-Fi around 1:30. Weather forecast says go wed am, thurs okay too, fri more NE but a little light, sat too E.

Got email from a reader or two saying something like "St Lucia sounds bad, why did you go there ?". Yes, Vieux Fort has turned out to be pretty bad. And St Vincent has a bad reputation, which is one reason I'll be skipping over there (the other reason is no good anchorages). But in the last year or two there have been muggings (after dark) in St Thomas and an attack on board a boat in St Martin, a woman from a small cruise-ship murdered near a beach in Antigua, lots of outboard-thefts in Trinidad. Nowhere (including USA) is completely safe, so I try to avoid the worst islands, avoid being ashore after dark, etc. And of course some people have delightful experiences in places where other people got ripped off.

Around 5, that French catamaran re-anchored, a little farther from "Salty Paws" and a little closer to me. A much better position.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  1/31/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Fair amount of strong, gusty wind from about 3 AM to 5 AM.

Around 7:15, looked out to see a sail in the distance heading for Bequia, sailing the route I'm going to sail, to the windward of St Vincent. I think it's one of the catamarans that came in late yesterday afternoon and anchored behind me. Hard to tell how much they're rolling.

Another catamaran left around 7:30, heading to St Vincent (the leeward side).

Got a little Wi-Fi. Windguru still says leaving Wed AM is best; Tues would be okay except wind is more ENE on Wed. Seas E 6 both days.

Around noon, dinghied ashore. Dubious-looking guy hanging around the area where I docked; hope he doesn't mess with my dinghy. Went up the main street, keeping to open areas and feeling a bit paranoid. Across and up to the supermarket, and got a bunch of stuff. Back to the main street, bought some soda in a store, then back to the dinghy. All is fine with it, but that guy is still hanging around, and he tried to cadge some money from me for "watching my dinghy". Back to the boat. I think that's my last trip into this town; I'll just go to Customs tomorrow.

Did some more Wi-Fi. Downloaded various audio files and web pages to read later. If you want to read a good cruising magazine for this area, check out Caribbean Compass back issues.

Salad and cold leftover chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/1/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Starting to get some ENE in the wind at times. A ketch left at 7:15, heading down windward side of St Vincent to Bequia. Later a monohull heading to leeward side of St Vincent, then a catamaran bound for Bequia.

Got some Wi-Fi. Weather today identical to tomorrow.

German monohull left at 9:30, heading for leeward side of St Vincent. Motoring for a while, and rolling badly. Eventually they put up a sail.

Dinghied in to the commercial dock around 10, and went to Customs. British-type guy ahead of me, checking out; they're going to Bequia tomorrow too. He's done this trip several times, and he's doing a quick trip: four of them flew in a couple of days ago, go to Bequia tomorrow, back here a few days later, then fly out.

I checked out with no problems, and back to the boat. Planning to leave around 4 AM tomorrow morning.

Big powerboat came in around 12:30.

Added water to the batteries (they took a lot). Started the engine and ran it for a couple of minutes.

Around 3, went over to "Salty Paws" and chatted briefly with Greg and Mike, telling them I was planning to leave. They said there's strong wind coming this weekend, with seas up to 10 feet again [later I looked at windguru, and strong wind starts Monday]. Nagged Greg into letting me report his mugging to the security net.

Around 3:45, a monohull with Germans aboard came in and was heading onto the reef at a brisk speed when I waved them away. People must not look at charts !

Fairly rolly this afternoon, and into the night.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-banana and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Up at 3:30 AM, got the boat ready to go. Turned the key at 3:45 and the engine wouldn't start; barely turned over. Let the batteries rest and get a bit of charge from the wind-gen, and tried again 15 minutes later. No go. Tried every half hour or so all AM and into the morning, and no luck. Watched other boats leave one by one, heading to Bequia or St Vincent. Grrr !
Sun for a new day  2/2/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Vieux Fort, St Lucia.

Watched boats leave all morning, heading S. Can't understand why some of those doing the longish trip (50 NM or so) to Bequia wasted precious hours of daylight, not leaving until 9 or 10. Maybe they're fast enough to not worry about it. Unless something goes wrong during the trip, then things would get interesting and they'd wish they had some daylight back.

Whenever the engine starts, I'm going. If I have to arrive in the dark, I'll do that. Won't be nice, but navigating into the harbor will be easy enough. The bad part will be avoiding anchored boats.

It occurs to me that I could look at the latest weather forecast, but I'm trying to put every bit of electricity into the batteries, and I doubt the forecast has changed enough to matter.

Still can't get engine started by 11. Mike and Greg stopped by at 11:15 to see why I was still here. We chatted about several things, but mainly my engine problems. Since each starting attempt drags the batteries down quite a bit, and the cables get warm, I think the problem must be in the starter motor. That guy on Martinique who charged me an arm and a leg probably adjusted the solenoid and didn't even look at the motor. Added jumper-cables to make a more direct connection from batteries to starter, and the jumper-cables don't get warm, so I think the main cables are carrying the load okay.

Greg and Mike want to get out of here ASAP, and want to sail one big shot N up to St Martin. But getting some boat-work finished by locals is delaying them, and strong weather with some N wind component is coming in soon. I suggested they hop up to Rodney Bay, then some other intermediate stops, but they seem to want to do one big jump.

Finally got the engine started at 1:15 ! Got the boat ready, and then raised anchor by 1:30, and sailing by 1:35. Out to the point, and got caught a bit in the wind-shadow; speed down to 1 knot. Started the engine and motor-sailed. Out into open water, one stretch of strong wind, and then it's lighter.

Seas are better than I expected, mostly 4 feet or so, with some 6-footers. But a pretty good component of the seas coming from the SE, which is bad for me. And wind is light, maybe 11-12 knots from E right now, and I really can't sail in strong seas with that wind. I keep motor-sailing.

And almost right away I realize I'd better motor-sail the whole way. If I try to sail in these conditions, I'll make some horrible speed such as 2.5 or 3 knots. I won't even be across this channel between St Lucia and St Vincent by sunset. I'll spend all night sailing along a lee shore (St Vincent) with no engine. If something goes wrong (foul current I can't sail against, lose a sail), I'll be in big trouble. And since I didn't sleep a wink last night, a slow trip tonight will see me arriving at dawn or later tomorrow having no sleep again, then having to wait for midday to start the engine and get into harbor. Not tenable. Rather burn $75 worth of diesel and do this the ugly but safe way. Anyway, my boat is a motor-sailer.

So I motor-sail. This channel between St Lucia and St Vincent has a reputation for strange seas and currents, and I see some of that. Speed generally is 3.8 knots, with engine at a low throttle setting, but sometimes speed drops to 3.2 knots for several minutes. Seas from SE, E and ENE. Wind staying light, from E.

Takes a long time to get across; I'm still not even with the north tip of St Vincent when the sun sets around 6 PM. Boat is rolling a bit, but there are stretches where the motion isn't bad at all.

Crap ! My nice new LED bow navigation lights aren't working. Connector must be corroded or something. I scuttle up to the bow to fiddle with it, no joy, back to the cockpit. Hate to go on deck in rolly conditions; if I go overboard, I'm dead.

Carrot and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

By 9 or so, I'm getting down to the midpoint of St Vincent, where I can start to edge a little more SSW. Right around there, boat speed increases a bit to 4.2 knots or so, wind is a little more NE, more from astern, and the SE component of the seas seems to have gone away. Not bad at all, and if the engine quits, wind and seas will help me sail along the island, not push me into it.

Still, steering is taking a lot of attention, with seas pushing the boat off course. In the dark, with no clouds to use as targets, it's harder to stay on a consistent course. And the wind is close to directly from aft, so the mainsail keeps wanting to jibe. Can't relax or go below for very long; soon the boat slews off course and we get an accidental jibe.

Lots and lots of stars out here. I'd see even more if the boat-lights and the lights of St Vincent weren't on.

By midnight or so, I'm nearing the S end of St Vincent, and can see a tiny spot of the light-loom of Bequia. I jibe and turn more WSW down the channel between the two islands, having some trouble figuring out a few lights. Are they on St Vincent, or maybe fishing skiffs ? Another light further out seems to be a fishing boat, but how far away ?
Sun for a new day  2/3/2011 (Thursday)
In transit from Vieux Fort to Bequia.

Had been remarking on how fine the weather has been on this trip: no squalls. But that ended as I headed W down the channel between Bequia and St Vincent. No really powerful squalls, but several came up from behind and rained into the pilothouse from the back, and pushed my speed up a bit.

Started trying to head more SW, since the N side of Bequia slopes SW. The island is quite dark, and I'm nervous about hitting it, although I'm using charts and GPS and being quite conservative and staying a couple of miles off. A little more work to navigate when the terrain angles instead of following nice N-S or E-W lines. And the wind is from dead astern, so I can't quite sail the most direct line; I have to jibe a couple of times.

No moon tonight; had hoped a nice moon would be lighting my way into harbor.

Finally got to the harbor, and now the fun begins. Since I have no working bow lights, turned on several cabin lights and put the anchor light on deck, so I'm more visible to anyone else moving around. Got the sails furled fairly easily, and started nosing in E along a latitude line. Greeted by a small squall; I don't need this right now. Lights very confusing; hard to tell distances and if anything is moving. At first I think I hear a ship blowing a horn at me, then I realize it's part of the rigging vibrating in sympathy with the engine. And I've found I sometimes have auditory hallucinations when I'm tired at the end of one of these passages.

I get into the neck of the harbor, and start to sort out which lights are on shore and which are on water. Slow and careful. Ease around a big poweryacht anchored in the entrance, and start trying to spot anchored sailboats. Tricky: some boats have anchor light at the top of the mast, some in the cockpit, some no lights at all. I'm trying to nose in just far enough to find water shallow enough to anchor in. Some 30-foot water passes by. I veer off from a couple of boats, circle around. Going very slowly in case I run into somebody.

Nudge inshore of the back of the first sailboat I saw, find some 25-foot water, and go to lower the anchor. Another squall starts raining on me; I hurry to lower the anchor and chain before I get soaked. Finally it's done. Anchor down by 2:35 AM at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines. [By the way, it's pronounced "bek-way".]

I test the anchor gently, then let the engine run for 5 minutes to cool down and to see if the anchor holds. I straighten up the boat, we get some wind, and things look okay. Finally shut off the engine. If the anchor drags during the night, I'll be in real trouble; I don't think the engine will restart. Guess I could lower the second anchor, or get into the dinghy and push. Or try to sail off anchor.

Crap ! Batteries are down to 12.55 volts. Alternator must have stopped working, and interior lights and fridge really dragged the batteries down. I think I've seen that before on long motoring passages, the alternator charges for quite a while and then just stops. Probably the fault of that custom regulator in it; some day I'll replace it with an external regulator.

Something odd with the hard dinghy: it's snugged up against the starboard quarter, as if there's current versus wind here. I let it be, but then find it's banging against the hull and making the hull in the aft cabin shudder very annoyingly. So I go out and poke at the dinghy with a boat-hook, and find that one of the painters is wrapped on something under the boat. Can't be wrapped on the prop; that would have destroyed painter and maybe the dinghy. Maybe wrapped around the rudder ? More likely wrapped on part of the swim platform. Have to leave it that way for tonight. Wasn't jammed that way as I approached the harbor, I think. Must have happened right as I was furling sails, maybe ? Or as I was anchoring ?

Not too shabby a result for the trip: no major equipment failures, three oddities to work on. Wish I'd been able to sail instead of motor-sail, but I'll take safety over style-points any day.

Finally to bed by 3. [Looked for BBC on any FM station, but couldn't find it; that was a nice thing about St Lucia, BBC from 11 PM to 5 AM on FM.] I thought I'd have trouble sleeping, being wired after the trip. But soon I was out. Woke up at 5, all looks okay, back to sleep. Up at 7, can see the harbor now, but not ready to deal with the day. Back to bed for a little while, then up to eat and update the log file.

Half a dozen boats heading out from 7:30 to 8:30, heading NE and N back to St Lucia, and it looks like that would be a slog today. But I guess if your charter or vacation is over, you have to go. Mike said there's supposed to be more NE in the wind today. Greg and Mike said they waited down here for a month before getting weather where they could sail that leg heading N.

Glancing around, this harbor isn't as big as I expected from looking at the charts, and it seems a bit crowded with boats. But I think I'll be able to find a better anchoring position later today (assuming I can get the engine started).

Got a little bit of Wi-Fi, just enough to upload the log file and do one or two emails.

A skiff stopped by and gave me a handbill offering services to the boat: fuel, water, ice, laundry, fresh bread. Water costs EC75 cents/gallon, about US28 cents/gallon.

Noticed that the hard dinghy has freed itself from the jam, and is floating behind the boat. But two out of three painters have parted.

Launched the RIB dinghy. Retied the painters on the hard dinghy. Headed ashore, swinging through an empty stretch of water I might want to anchor in later.

To a nice big dinghy-dock S of the ferry dock. Forgot to bring my keys; will have to leave the dinghy unlocked. But others have left theirs unlocked here.

To the govt office. Did Customs (EC$35 or US$13) and Immigration; no problems. They check you in for one month here; I'll have to come back to renew. And going to Tobago Cays (E of Mayreau) costs EC$10/person/day, US$3.70.

To a deli for a loaf of fresh bread (EC$10). Then to the dinghy and back to the boat. I'm a little worried that my anchor might be slipping a little, sliding me toward that big poweryacht "Redemption". Sure enough, it looks like the boat is slipping, but as I get to the boat, "Redemption" is raising anchor and leaving.

Engine starts on second try ! Raise chain from 37 feet of water, then chain and anchor from 25+ feet; tiring. Motor forward into a nice-looking area that everyone seems to be avoiding; the guidebooks show shoals in this direction, but I think there's room. I edge forward carefully, heading straight upwind so I can get off if I ground. But there's plenty of nice water here, and I soon have the anchor down in about 11 feet of water at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines. Swinging slightly close to one boat when wind is NNE, but the holding will be rock-solid, I think. I'm very happy to be further away from the harbor entrance and worst of the ferry wakes, too.

Feeling a bit headachey. Think I'll take a pill and lie down.

Watched the antics of a couple of European boats next to me. One is the boat that is behind me when the wind blows NNE. He's on a mooring ball. His friend shows up in another boat and anchors ahead of him (when the wind is E). They both snorkel to check his anchor. The guy on the mooring ball casts loose from it, and motors up around his friend. I'm watching because I'm worried he'll anchor ahead of me. But then, pointing downwind (which is wrong, you always face upwind, lower anchor, and fall back while letting out chain), his wife on the bow lowers the anchor (with electric windlass), very near where his friend's anchor must be. Now he's motoring downwind along the side of his friend, letting out chain, and I figure, okay, they're going to raft together, he'll spin around after putting out the chain. No, he keeps going and going downwind, letting out maybe 150 feet of chain, until he's practically back next to where he was moored. Now he's anchored, probably blocking anyone else from using the mooring, potentially swinging a huge circle, potentially swinging into me, potentially fouling his friend's anchor chain. Amazing ! And these aren't charter boats; they look like serious ocean-cruising boats.

I lie down for a while, get a little rest but no real sleep.

I look out at about 1:20 and that European guy is back on the mooring. And I think he still has all of that chain running to his anchor positioned ahead of his friend's boat. Maybe that's what he intended all along, but it didn't look that way, he and his wife were looking over the position they ended up when anchored. And he certainly did it in a half-assed way.

Pretty strong ENE wind blasts from about 12:50 to 1:25. Glad I'm in harbor and secure.

Big trimaran anchored inshore behind me (pic). Wonder what its story is ?

Did some more Wi-Fi. Saw another boat do a bit of a downwind anchoring job.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.

Slept solidly, and woke up with headache gone.
Sun for a new day  2/4/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Loafed, napped, looked for decent radio stations. No cruiser's net. Guy in a skiff came by selling bread, then asked if I wanted to sell my hard dinghy. Strong E wind by mid-morning.

Tried to get a Wi-Fi signal, but it was tough. May sign up for US$50/month Wi-Fi service; worth it. Uploaded log file, but I don't know if it really succeeded. Saw weather forecast; close to E 20 starting today, then E 22 starting Monday and staying up near there all week. Boat well behind me has two anchors out; maybe I should do that. My brother in USA received check I mailed from St Lucia; took 12-14 days to get there.

Dinghied ashore at noon. To a dinghy-dock very close to my boat, but a bit exposed to the rough chop. Started walking towards town. Checked out businesses as I went. Couldn't find a marine store that is supposed to have a book-swap in it, but my guidebook is 5 years old; maybe it's moved. Found a maritime museum with US$5 admission; will do that another day. This island has a whaling heritage. Saw a couple of houses that looked like Rasta places: pics.

At the gas station, diesel for EC$10.35/ImperialGallon, I think, which is US$3.19/USGallon, which seems too low. Maybe it's EC$10.35/USGallon, making it US$3.83/USGallon. [Stopped in a few days later and confirmed it's Imperial gallons, so that's a good price.]

Chatted a little with a couple from Toronto, but they arrived yesterday too, so we had little island info to exchange. For some reason, the guy thought I had a South African accent.

Best price I found for an hour of Wi-Fi in the internet cafes was EC$11.50/hour, which is US$4.26/hour. I think I'll sign up for the Wi-Fi from the boat.

Found the library, closed for lunch. Eventually found the marine store I'd been looking for (they've moved), and exchanged 10 books at their book-swap. Found another swap in a cafe next door.

Back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Got a fair amount of exercise.

Tried for Wi-Fi but got none. Reading latest issue of Caribbean Compass, more good-and-bad-news stories: nightly security patrols starting up in more places. Good that they have them, bad that they need them.

Salad and a cheese-sandwich for dinner.

Slept well again; I love how calm it is here. And there was just a little stretch of semi-loud music played for a few minutes, very little for a Friday night. I'm reasonably far from the town.
Sun for a new day  2/5/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Signed up for 30 days of Wi-Fi service for US$50, then did almost 2 hours of Wi-Fi. Signal fades a little when the boat swings a certain direction, but generally it works well.

After lunch, headed ashore. But on the way in, a friendly guy on a Canadian boat waved me over, and I ended up chatting with Michael and Doreen on S/V "St Leger" for more than an hour and half. A little awkward, standing in my dinghy and holding onto the side of their boat, but we had a lovely chat. Nice people.

And they're the kind of cruisers who make me feel like a kid playing with a toy boat in a bathtub. They built their boat, have lived aboard 28 years (Michael just turned 63), have crossed the Pacific twice, crossed the Indian ocean 4 or 5 times, spent 8 years in Asia, have cruised India and Australia and South Africa and who knows where else. Alaska, California, Mexico, Panama, etc. Recently spent a month at St Helena on the way up from South Africa. This is their first time in the Caribbean, and so far they're not finding it as nice as they expected. They liked Trinidad, but found the weather of the last couple of months up here stronger than they expected. They'd expected that you could sail any day you wanted to, and it's not like that. And they like long ocean trips, not island-hopping.

They've been here a little more than a week, and gave me lots of good local info. The cheapest fuel, water, ice, laundry is from an orange tugboat "Kingfisher" moored in the middle of the harbor. But right now it's out of fuel. Their water is half the price of the other vendors in the harbor, and their fuel maybe 10 percent cheaper.

In Trinidad, I think, they had a hard-bimini roof made from structural foam (the result looks like plastic or fiberglass), and it's tough and light. I'm going to need to replace my pilothouse roof, and maybe the whole pilothouse, in the next year or two, and I guess that's the way to do it.

I mentioned that if I went to Trinidad I might look into having the hull sides painted, and they said a friend had that done for $5000 or so. That's quite a bit more expensive than I'd hoped, but I really haven't researched it.

They liked Trinidad, and said I should go there.

While we were chatting, a big steel sailboat with some Germans (I think) aboard came in and tried to moor to a big ship-mooring next to "St Leger". A local in a skiff came by and told them they're really not supposed to do that, and got a torrent of nasty swearing in return. But the sailboat went away.

We saw a local guy come by on a jet-ski hull that had been gutted and an outboard motor mounted on the back.

One thing Michael said was surprising. He said they have a "monster" battery bank, about 1000 AH (that's about 8 or 10 golf-cart batteries; he didn't say exactly what kind of batteries they have). And they have one big solar panel and four small ones to help charge the batteries. But they don't use 12V refrigeration; they have a generator mounted on the main engine, and power the refrigeration that way ! That's a very bad way of doing it: lots of fuel, and wear and tear on the engine. And so why do they have that big battery bank ? Refrigeration consumes about 2/3 of my daily electrical power, and I think that's typical. Maybe they have a watermaker, but even so, they'd drive that off the generator too.

Like me, they've done little fishing, but they're going to try some here. And like me, they've been surprised at how expensive it is to buy fish even right in fishing harbors. They said in Union Island, not far S of here, the fisherman don't even offer fish and lobster to the cruising boats any more, because of the reactions to the high prices; they offer them only to the charter boats.

Michael says we're supposed to get sustained E 28 wind on Monday; I hadn't heard that. I think I'll put out a second anchor. My first anchor is holding solidly, and we've probably had some E 25 gusts already, but why take a chance, especially with a flaky starter motor ? [Later, thought of another reason: I soon will remove the starter from the engine and have absolutely no possibility of starting the engine for a while.]

Since they've been to South Africa, I asked if they think I have a South African accent, and they said absolutely not. But if I want to talk like a South African, I should say "pleasure" anywhere I'd normally say "thank you" or "you're welcome" or "okay" or "bye" or "fine".

Finally got ashore. Looked for the "garbage dumpster across from the market" mentioned in the guidebook, and found a flock of nasty dumpsters behind the market (pic), and added my two bags to the top of the pile.

Down the street, to the book-exchange at the Porthole cafe. Exchanged 4 books for EC$2. Saw a sign for another book-exchange, and Michael told me about yet another place. One of the best things about retiring has been all of the free time to read books.

Nice-looking sailboat: pics.

Did some Wi-Fi. Windguru says several hours of sustained E 24 on Monday morning, then E 20 from then on.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/6/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

At dawn, very grey and somewhat rainy. Later, sunny and windy.

I've been messing around with a "where I've been" service, filling in countries I've traveled to. Map. Unfortunately, they have a lot of bugs; for example, I wasn't able to tell it that I've traveled to Antigua.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Around 10, put the secondary anchor over the side, dragged the chain out of the chain locker, and tried to start the engine. Didn't crank, but waited 5 minutes for the batteries to recover a bit, and it started then. Motored forward, put secondary anchor down, floated back, and found I hadn't put it out far enough: primary anchor still doing all of the work. Raised the secondary anchor, motored forward further, put it down, now the strain is on the secondary only. That's fine; it probably will drag a little as it settles in, and anyway I know the primary will hold if the secondary lets go. Whole operation took about 20 minutes.

Did more Wi-Fi. Ordered new sandals; I always buy Ozark Trail Men's Sandals from Walmart.com for $12/pair; can't beat them. Shipped to NJ, so I won't see them until the summer, unless I have my brother send a package to me down here somewhere.

Heard that there was an airline that flies from the various Grenadines and St Vincent to St Lucia, and wondered if (someday) I could leave the boat in Bequia, hop up to the big airport at Vieux Fort, and fly to Philly from there. Looked online at fares, and round-trip Bequia to Vieux Fort costs US$320 ! Distance of about 50 miles, and it costs more than 50% of a fare from Vieux Fort to Philly (just about exactly 2000 miles) ! So that's not an option.

Lots of grey and then a squall at 2:15, then more grey.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Squall around 6 with fair amount of wind, and my wind-generator was putting out 29 A at 15 V or so. I've seen it do that before, and at 16 V. There's a "30 A" rectifier block in the control box, and I guess that's imposing a limit.

Decided to go ashore to catch a bit of the Super Bowl, although it's not an inviting evening, windy and wet. Launched the dinghy around 6:30, when there still was a bit of light to see what I was doing. Then at 7, took the LED flashlight with me and headed ashore through the dark. Went to the nearest dinghy-dock and tied up and locked up the dinghy, in rough conditions.

Walked down a fairly dark street along the waterfront, eventually to CoCo's restaurant. Not as many people as I'd hoped; 8 or 10 older white visitors at tables, and 3 or 4 black local guys at the bar. Half a dozen more people came in later, part way through the game. I sat at the bar and had a couple of Carib beers at EC$6 each, and watched the first quarter of the game. Chatted a bit with a local guy named "JJ", who worked in various places as a bartender. He's a Steeler's fan and a Chelsea soccer fanatic. But conversation was difficult with a couple of loud TVs going. Enjoyed the game but had had enough by the end of the first quarter.

Poured rain just as I started to think about leaving. Waited 5 minutes and then headed out. Dinghy had a fair amount of water in it, and another dinghy had gotten its painter into my prop. Unlocked and untied and got untangled, started the motor, and back to the boat. The new anchor light, hanging inside the pilothouse, really does make my boat very visible. Hoisted and stowed the dinghy, using the flashlight to see what I was doing at a couple of critical points. Heard later on the radio that the game was pretty lively, with plenty of scoring. Would have watched the whole thing if I was at home in a quiet setting with a comfortable chair and no one pressing me to buy drinks. I'm just not much of a bar person.

Windy and rainy all night long. Turned on the wind-generator for short periods of time, as the fridge took the batteries below full charge, but had to keep turning the wind-gen off to avoid overcharging. Probably should buy a regulator.
Sun for a new day  2/7/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Very grey and very windy. Probably had some E 28 gusting at 4 AM; blowing E 22-24 or so much of the time, as forecast. Rain every hour or so. Second anchor holding fine; hasn't budged since I put it down. Could power the whole town from my wind-generator if I left it turned on; have to keep it off most of the time to avoid frying the batteries.

Wind fairly light from maybe 9 to 11:30, but then howling again.

Finally bestirred myself to do a little boat-work. Bow navigation lights themselves check out okay; now have to check wiring to them. Wiped down part of the cockpit that tends to collect a lot of nasty dust from the undersides of the cushions. Took apart a seemingly loose connection on an outlet in the cabin, but didn't find anything wrong with it.

Lots of grey and wind and some rain starting around 2 and going on for a while.

Big squall starting at 5. Bigger squall starting at 6:15.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Had to cook (in the cockpit) during a squall, and eat below instead of in the cockpit as usual.

Wind started blowing seriously around 7:15 and kept building. Howling through 10 PM and beyond. When the batteries get below 12.7 V, I turn on the wind-generator and within 10 seconds it's putting out 15-25 A and quickly running the charging voltage up to 15 V. I let it do that for a few minutes and then turn it off again.

Wind showed some signs of easing between 11 and 12, but then came back strong and stayed strong all night. Big squall at 12:45.
Sun for a new day  2/8/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny and windy. Supposed to stay windy for another week or so.

Did some Wi-Fi. Skype-called Mom and said hi, but the connection was terrible, since I was holding the laptop out a window to get good Wi-Fi, it's windy, and I'm using the built-in microphone since my nice USB headset was stolen.

Noticed a series of boats rafting up to that "Kingfisher" tugboat, so I guess they have fuel again.

Took the starter motor off the engine. Last night, I read most of the starter motor chapter in "The Boatowners Mechanical and Electrical Manual" by Nigel Calder.

After lunch, dinghied ashore and walked up the 300-foot hill that has the ruins of Fort Hamilton on top. Not much fort to see, just some cannon (pic). But plenty of good views of the harbor (pics; "Magnolia" is in lower-right corner of 3rd pic), and I had a nice chat with a lonely shirt-and-trinket vendor up there. Nice square-rigged sailboat: pics.

On the way down, took some more pictures. Interesting house: pics. Good view of my boat: pic. Some nice sailboats: pics.

Back down to the dinghy, and as the padlock balked at opening, the first sprinkles of a squall hit me. Got back to the boat before the squall really started. Boat that sells fuel, water, ice, laundry services went by: pic.

Big squall came through at 1:55.

Spritzed WD-40 into the dinghy's padlock. Dinghied ashore to town. Big tanker moored fore-and-aft close in, next to where "St Leger" was anchored (they've moved forward). Disposed of a bag of garbage. Someone has made a dent in the trash-mountain: the heaps are gone, and one dumpster is empty, but the other two are completely full.

Walked S to another place that's supposed to have a book-exchange, but they're closed, maybe permanently. But the bar in front had a bookshelf, so I exchanged half a dozen books there.

Walked further S looking for a particular supermarket, but it's not there. My guidebooks are out of date, or maybe I didn't walk far enough, since the road turned uphill. Walking back into town, found a medium-sized supermarket that had everything but produce, and prices aren't bad at all. Maybe 20% higher than in St Lucia ?

Stopped at the outdoor market, but no yellow bananas; one lady said maybe in 2 days. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Salad and a carrot and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Squalls at 5:30 and 7:15.

Wind somewhat lighter during the night, but then suddenly gusting up. Several squalls.
Sun for a new day  2/9/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Saw that big square-rigger sailing or motor-sailing out to the W.

Big squall at 7:15. Rain at 7:35 and 8. More later in the morning.

Took the end-cap off the starter motor (pic). Brushes look good: they're not worn down or loose. Springs pushing them against commutator are good. Wires to them are good. A little gunk where the brushes rub the commutator; cleaned it a bit. Got out multimeter and checked resistances between adjacent commutator sections: none shorted or open. Oil-reservoir in end-cap hadn't been opened in ages; took some force to open it. And the wick inside was dry; oiled it. But no explanation for the starting troubles here.

Fuel level 5.5 inches at engine hour 4773.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/10/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did some Wi-Fi. After a couple of hours, laptop froze while I was using it.

Dinghied ashore in midafternoon. Disposed of a bag of garbage. To the GSE marine store, and exchanged 5 books at their book-exchange. Back to the dinghy-dock, and ran into Michael and Doreen from "St Leger", and chatted for a little while. To an ATM, and to my surprise my ATM card worked ! Got EC$500 (US$185). Looked at a fruit/vegetable stand, but no yellow bananas, and prices seemed a bit high (EC$4/pound for onions, EC$2/each for grapefruit). Into a small grocery store and bought some onions. Into the main fruit market, where a Rasta vendor named "Mr. President" latched onto me. He showed me green bananas that were like yellow bananas inside, but I didn't buy any. He gave me a taste of mango, which was delicious, but big mangoes were EC$5/each and small ones EC$3/each, which seemed expensive, so I didn't buy.

Into the dinghy, and headed down the SE part of the harbor, which I haven't been to. Looking for any boats I knew, and for a hotel that's supposed to have a supermarket a block inland of it. Saw lots of boats, got a bit lost relative to the shoreline, and started looking for someone to ask. First boat I tried turned out to be in the process of re-anchoring, so I quickly turned away and left them to it.

Second boat I tried was "SaltScar III", flying a Canadian flag and with a friendly-looking guy sitting out on deck. He promptly invited me aboard. John and Sue, and I chatted with John for over an hour. They've been living aboard about 10 years. Bought the boat in Florida, trucked it up to the Great Lakes, refitted and lived on it over a winter. Then down the seaway, across to Bermuda (stayed there for 4 months), down to the Virgin Islands, eventually to Antigua, a fast 16-day crossing to the Azores, up to Ireland, over to NW Scotland, through a canal to NE Scotland, down to Newcastle area where they both were born. Eventually down the Channel, down to Spain, into the Med, and spent 3 years in Turkey. Then to the Canaries, did a 26-day crossing to Trinidad. Stayed there for a hurricane season, have the teak decks redone, the hull painted, the rigging redone. Got to Bequia on Boxing Day. Had a very nice conversation.

They liked Trinidad, and said I should go there. Same thing "St Leger" said, so maybe I will go there.

I'm sure Turkey was nice, but he did confirm something about sailing in the Med in general. A woman I met in St Martin had just gotten back from the Med, and told me she hadn't liked the sailing, because there was either no wind, or strong wind that immediately generated steep waves. And John said the same.

Boat next to theirs is yellow-and-black sloop "Iron Bark II". Trevor aboard spent 13 months in the Antarctic on it; see Annie Hill's blog. He arrived in Bequia after a 62-day passage from the Falkland Islands.

As we were talking, we watched the gyrations of a sailboat trying to find a place to anchor, and coming dangerously close to several boats, passing close across their bows. Finally they passed somewhere out of sight downwind, luckily.

The whole time we were talking, a diesel generator was running. Turns out their boat is very AC-oriented. Mine was when I bought it, but I changed to DC and propane. With fuel prices as they are, I'm surprised anyone still runs on AC. But I guess a lot of boats do. And they just came from Trinidad, where fuel is cheap, I think. Don't know how it is in Turkey.

And as I was leaving, he set me right about the position of that hotel I'd been looking for; will try for that another day.

Crossing the harbor mouth in rough conditions, back to my boat, I passed behind a big steel sailing ship "Ocean Star" that was anchoring. About a dozen people aboard, including several nice-looking young women in bikinis.

Salad and a carrot and cheese sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Very windy evening and night. Running the wind-generator in short bursts to avoid cooking the batteries.

At midnight, just after shutting off the wind-generator, smelled smoke. A quick sniff into the engine compartment said things were okay in there. Up into the pilothouse, and very strong smell up there. Looking out, I saw a fire ashore, about 1/4 mile directly upwind of me. Didn't look like a house or car; looked like a section of a yard or beach was on fire. Maybe a trash fire that spread a bit ?
Sun for a new day  2/11/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Very windy all morning. Did some Wi-Fi.

Looked at the starter motor some more. Opened, cleaned, and oiled an oil reservoir on the pinion end; it had some nasty-looking rusty water in it. To get the wick out and clean it properly, I'd have to take the whole motor apart, I think. Tried to open what I think is another reservoir between the motor and the pinion, but the hex-hole is completely rounded off. Pinion gear seems a little stiff, but maybe not too bad, and I guess I'd have to disassemble the whole motor to get at it properly.

Skype-called Mom but she couldn't hear me at all. A little later, laptop froze again.

Looked at price of a new starter motor, and it's about $300 (plus a huge cost for shipping, I'm sure). Downloaded a service manual, and it's slightly overwhelming. Full disassembly would look like this: (pic).

Took the end-cap off the starter solenoid, and I'm not sure if what I'm seeing is normal or bad. Contactor: pics. End-cap: pic. Will have to read some more. Looking in Nigel Calder's book, I'd have to say that one of my "points" is badly pitted and eroded (pic); the other one looks fine.

Wind kept blowing hard all day, and is supposed to keep blowing all weekend.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/12/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey at dawn.

Did a little Wi-Fi. Had email from several people asking if I'd checked the ground wire to the engine, as a source of the starter problems. I wiggled that cable but didn't remove and check it. But the fact that plenty of juice is drawn from the batteries, and the cables get warm, leads me to conclude that plenty of power is getting to the solenoid and starter, and something is going wrong at that point. Does that make sense ? Nigel Calder seems to think warm cables mean corroded connections. I guess I should take all of the connections apart and clean them.

Dinghied over to "Kingfisher" and bought 9 Imperial gallons of diesel for EC$85.50. At EC$9.50/Imperialgallon, which is US$2.93/USgallon; a great price. [Later I questioned that; I think it may have been 9 US gallons, which is US$3.51/USgallon.] Back to the boat.

Weather still very grey. Dinghied ashore to the market-dock, walked to the gas station, and bought EC$10 worth of gasoline (EC$12.20/Imperialgallon, or US$3.77/USgallon).

Dinghied down to a hotel dock; I'm looking for the Frangipani hotel and the Euroshopper supermarket behind it. Ended up at the Gingerbread hotel. Exchanged 5 books at their bookshelf. Walked up into the hills behind the hotel, but no store. Took some pictures of the harbor, but no good vantage point, and the pictures came out poorly. Back down to the hotel, and a cruiser lady cutting another lady's hair told me that store has been closed for a couple of years.

Then it started raining, and I waited under a little gazebo there. Soon joined by a young German couple with a baby. Then it started pouring rain, like it hasn't poured since I've been here, and it poured and poured and blew a fair amount. Weather got greyer and greyer and darker and darker. Kept going for an hour or so. Luckily I had the books with me, so I read one of them. Finally the rain eased to a light mist, so I jumped into the dinghy (splash), didn't bother to bail it out, and headed for the boat. Got a little wet, but made it to the boat and inside before the next wave of heavy rain hit. Soon back to light rain, but still thoroughly grey.

Not much rain (a bit like "hasn't got much Spam in it") from 2 to 3, but then darker and raining fairly heavily again after that.

Big sailing cruise ship has come in (pic). Interesting: looks like it has wooden masts.

People often ask me how much it costs to cruise. I have a very hard time knowing what my own costs are, what with paying a mix of cash and credit, in person or online, stocking up in one place and then not spending anything in the next place, etc. And cost is very dependent on your personality, lifestyle, boat, area, breakdowns, etc. Here is a very detailed account from a family of four cruising in Mexico in 2010: SV Third Day's "What it Costs to go Cruising: 2010". And I have a Costs page on my site.

Grapefruit and salad and cold leftover chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/13/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did some Wi-Fi. Dumped fuel into tank through a filtering funnel; looks clean. Did more Wi-Fi.

Looking online, couldn't find any place that sells solenoid rebuild parts for my solenoid (Delco 1115510). Looks like people just buy a complete new solenoid, which is only $25 to $30 anyway. Now have to figure how to get it shipped to me.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/14/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did some Wi-Fi. Launched the dinghy and got ready to go ashore at 10:15, and a squall and rain showed up, so I waited. Went ashore at 10:45.

Disposed of a bag of garbage. To a couple of marine stores, looking for starter solenoids or solenoid parts, but no luck, as expected. To a tiny auto-parts store, where the lady was very helpful, calling a couple of places in Kingstown, St Vincent. But they all were clueless, basically. One guy said he had a solenoid, it had a black body and silver bracket, it probably would work for me, $40. This without paying attention to the part number I was trying to give him; I told him there are hundreds of types of solenoid and odds were low that his random one would work for me.

Along the way, I had stopped at the Post Office and gotten an address I could send packages to. So I think I'll order a solenoid over the internet and have my brother send a package to me here.

Guy walking through town carrying fish: pic.

Stopped at a fruit-and-vegetable stand to check out prices. Into the supermarket to get a few things. The only produce they carry are onions and garlic. They do have big bottles of locally-produced vanilla essence and almond essence, for very cheap prices. What can I cook with those ?

Out to a couple more vegetable stands and the central market, and bought cabbage, tomatoes, and carrots.

Back to the boat, getting sprinkled on and blown along faster by a squall as I went.

Rain at 1:30 and 2:20.

Did some Wi-Fi. Ordered a new solenoid, $29 including shipping. Will be delivered to NJ. Ordered a Rosewill RNX-N2LX Wi-Fi adapter, $21 including shipping. Ditto. Still would like to find a place to buy a rebuild kit for the solenoid.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Filed the point and contactor on the solenoid and put the end-cap back on.

Did some midnight Wi-Fi, and ordered a Grundig G4000A radio ($70 including shipping. It's an AM/FM/SSB receiver, the successor to the Grundig YB-400PE I've been using for about 10 years now. The original cost $120 as a manufacturers refurb 10 years ago; the new one is priced at half what I expected.
Sun for a new day  2/15/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Windy and sunny morning.

Hmm. With solenoid assembled but not connected electrically to the starter motor, I applied jumper-cables to it and then a wire to make the solenoid energize. But it didn't work: the solenoid didn't click and move the lever to the gear. So either my intermittent wire wasn't applying enough current (entirely possible), or something is sticky in the solenoid plunger or the lever or the gear. Unbolted the solenoid body from the starter motor, then couldn't figure out how how slide it free so I can see the plunger. My unit doesn't match the pictures in Calder's book, in this case. Guess I'll take the end-cap off again and see if I can figure it out from that end.

But then a look at the disassembly diagram showed me that I was doing the right thing, and a little more force pulled the solenoid free of the plunger connected to the lever. Messing around some more, the plunger is very stiff; maybe it's supposed to be that way. Will have to figure out the whole plunger-lever-gear arrangement.

In early afternoon, dinghied ashore, mainly to get off the boat and get a tiny bit of exercise. Found the Frangipani hotel and exchanged 4 books at their bookshelf. Wandered a little through the harbor, taking pictures of interesting-looking boats: pics.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

I had sent email to NAPA Auto, asking about a solenoid rebuild kit. They mis-read my email, and sent info about a compatible solenoid they have for sale. The price is $80 ! More than three times as expensive as compatible solenoids from other places. Maybe it's a better solenoid; no one else seems to sell exactly that make.
Sun for a new day  2/16/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did Wi-Fi.

I've been getting bummed that I've been spending too much time doing Wi-Fi and not knocking boat-jobs off my to-do list. So I buckled down and did a couple of the easy ones. Painted some exposed wires in the cockpit to make them less visible. Sanded and painted a nasty dirty section of the pilothouse, where the grime had gotten into the wood and couldn't be scrubbed off.

Added water to the batteries. Found that one bank needed a lot more than the other bank. Found a couple of corroded connections in that second bank and sanded them clean(er).

Fiddled with the starter motor a little more. Suddenly see how the gear-clutch-lever-plunger move. But the gear doesn't turn very smoothly on the shaft, and the rubber sleeve seems to be stuck around the plunger. Maybe I should take the whole thing apart. Futzing with it some more, it seems the pinion gear and clutch slide up and down the shaft okay; it's the gear freewheeling relative to the clutch that has more friction than it should. Probably could use a new clutch.

Odd: the service manual contains a warning "Solenoid contacts and plunger will be damaged if current is applied to solenoid when removed from starter motor". Why would that be ? Because the lever-spring will not be holding the plunger mostly in place ? Reading further, it appears there are two separate windings in the solenoid, a pull-in winding and a hold-in winding ? [By now, I think you realize I'm a bit in the dark about this thing.] Yes, when current first applied, both windings are energized. Then after plunger and contactor move, only hold-in winding remains energized. Maybe that explains the warning; if the starter motor is not there to absorb the current, pull-in winding will remain energized, which must be bad. But how could that damage plunger and contacts ?

Salad and cheese-sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/17/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Around 9:15, launched the dinghy and went ashore. To a dock in front of a defunct bar/hotel. Dock had some sections missing. Place looks a bit like something out of "Heart of Darkness" or something, statuary and tilework overgrown with weeds a bit, goats wandering around. A couple of nice murals, a big anchor. Pics.

Threaded my way through the place and up to the road. Then lots of uphill hiking, toward Mt Pleasant (height 760 feet). Road started switchbacking, and some nice views back at Admiralty Bay: pics.

Got a lot of good exercise, going up and up. Passed by several tourist-jitneys, riding up to the place I'm hiking to. But I'm doing this mostly because I need the exercise. Just don't get enough exercise, sitting on the boat. A more sedentary life than you'd expect.

Finally got up to the "top", the place where the jitneys stop. Not really the top-top, and views are obscured a bit by some trees. But we can see Battowia to the SE, Mustique to the SSE, Canouan to the SSW: pics. I chatted with one of the jitney drivers for a little while. Tourists, probably from that sail-cruise ship: pic. Big house or estate or villa on a hilltop: pic. And a modest house on a hilltop with great exposure to the E, lots of solar panels, and the same KISS wind-generator I have on my boat: pic. The wind-generator is really flying; they probably get 350W from it 24/7.

As the jitneys leave, I walk a little way down a dirt road that looks like it might go to the top-top of Mt Pleasant, where there are a couple of communications towers. But the road is very muddy, starts out downhill, goes through a pasture full of goat and other animals, and I wonder if I might encounter a dog. Decide to give it a miss.

Downhill hike is easier, although my leg muscles are aching. I catch up with the jitneys, chat a little more with one driver, and when I tell him about my starter-motor problems, he gives me a business card for his nephew, who does boat and engine work.

Back down, to the dinghy, and back to the boat. A morning well spent.

In midafternoon, dinghied ashore to dock near market. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Up the street to GYE marine store, where they had no line (rope) of any kind in stock; completely cleaned out. They quoted me a price of EC$1.50/foot for 3/8" double-braid, which sounds very low. Wandered into the small marina and found nothing of interest there. Back into town, picked up a ferry schedule, and down to Wallace's marine store. No 3/8" in stock there, but they directed me to a third store I didn't know about, Piper's. There they have 3/8" double-braid in stock for EC$4/foot, which is a high but believable price. I think I'll wait until Grenada, or look in Kingstown.

To a fruit vendor who had yellow bananas. I've been missing my usual PB-and-banana sandwich for lunch; no one else here has yellow bananas. Bought some tomatoes, too; they have nice tomatoes here.

Into the only big grocery store, and bought a bunch of stuff, including a fifth of locally-made vanilla essence for EC$4 (about US$1.50). I don't know exactly what I'll do with it, but I love vanilla, and this was so cheap I couldn't resist. They have almond essence for the same price; I'll get some of that later. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Tired.

The Wi-Fi has been very unreliable the last day or so. Very hard to upload pictures and log file.

Made a sausage-onion-cheese-biscuit concoction for dinner. Also a rum-and-dietcoke with a healthy shot of vanilla essence added; worked pretty well. I tried a little sip of the essence by itself, and it's pretty bitter; I was expecting sweeter.

Did a little midnight Wi-Fi; working pretty well then.
Sun for a new day  2/18/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Still failing to accomplish what should be a simple job: get the bow navigation lights working. On the way down from St Lucia, the stern light worked but the bow lights didn't. They're controlled by the same switch, so should be a simple matter to trace the bad wire or connection. But once I got here and started working on it, the stern light hasn't been working either. Today, I tried jumpering across the switch, but it has three poles for some reason, and is buried up among other switches and stuff in the helm binnacle, not easy to see or get to. Pic. Today, jumpering in various combinations didn't get the stern light lit or any voltage to the bow-light connector.

Took the compass off the top and looked at the rats-nest of wiring from that angle. Pics. Started probing with the voltmeter, and the major terminal-blocks are dead; no voltage. Eventually decided it must be driven by wires that connect at the starter solenoid, which is disconnected. So put it back together and will try again when the starter is back in.

I guess another project on the list is to rewire the helm binnacle completely. The number of things still working in there is getting smaller, and ripping everything out and starting over is looking more and more appealing. The biggest problems are that there are a couple of immovable things in there (hydraulic tubing for steering, and the throttle cables), and the wiring doesn't have enough slack left in it so you can pull things out so you can work on them conveniently.

Salad and tomato and PB-crackers for dinner.

Very still night; almost no wind.
Sun for a new day  2/19/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did some Wi-Fi. After a couple of hours, laptop froze while I was using it.

Re-assembled the starter motor, and it wasn't easy to put the solenoid back on. Sliding it into the lever-housing compresses a powerful spring, and the back end of the solenoid is plastic or Bakelite or something so you can't press or pound hard on it.

Grey and still afternoon; getting some solar power and no wind power.

Very light wind starting to get squirrelly. Started coming from S; then flipped to N. Made for interesting boat-movements when everyone anchored expecting E wind. Light rain around 3:30; more rain from 3:45 to 4. Later, the wind stalled completely, making boats point a lot of different ways. Saw two big sailboats coming almost stern-to-stern; dinghies aboard seemed to indicate that people were aboard, but no one came on deck to examine the situation.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Light wind from E after dinner, so the boats sorted themselves out. Very little wind all night, again.
Sun for a new day  2/20/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Spent all morning Wi-Fi-ing.

In early afternoon, launched the dinghy and went out to Devil's Table to do some snorkeling. The snorkeling was very poor (rock, little coral, few fish), but it was nice to get into the water. Back into the dinghy, then had to get back in the water to free my anchor from a snag on the bottom.

Salad and cheese-sandwiches for dinner.

Very little wind all night, again.
Sun for a new day  2/21/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Thought the WX forecast said today was supposed to be the calmest day of the week, but it's blowing pretty hard by 10:30 or so. Glad I snorkeled yesterday.

Dinghied ashore around 11. Disposed of some garbage. Exchanged half a dozen books at the Porthole cafe, for a fee of EC$3. Bought some fruit and veg at a sidewalk vendor. Bought food, including a fifth of almond essence for EC$4, at the grocery store. Lots of people in town today because that big sailing-cruise ship is in the harbor. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Meant to work on the starter motor, but did Wi-Fi instead.

Kielbasa-onion-carrot-rice for dinner. Also a rum-and-dietcoke with a healthy shot of almond essence added; worked pretty well. I tried a little sip of the essence by itself, and it's very bitter.

Pretty gusty wind in the evening. And all night.

Did a little midnight Wi-Fi.
Sun for a new day  2/22/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Wind blowing pretty hard this morning.

Put jumper-cables on the starter-and-solenoid, but got little life out of it. Some sparks, but the solenoid didn't click and move the pinion gear.

Oh, no, just heard about four cruisers on sailboat "Quest" killed by pirates off Somalia, and I think I know the boat. Met Judy on "Quest" in Dominican Republic and then Puerto Rico; she and I crossed the Mona Passage at about the same time. She was a singlehander, so with the "four on board" and the boat halfway around the world from here, I'm not positive it's the same boat.

Nope, nope, it's not the same boat. Whew ! Lots of boats with identical names. (USCG Search By Name shows 27 boats named "Magnolia", and another 59 named "something Magnolia" or "Magnolia something". And that doesn't count state-titled boats and non-USA boats.)

Bolted the starter back onto the engine and started putting the wiring on, cleaning each connection as much as possible.

Grey starting around 3, and then grey and raining at 4.

Started to get surprisingly rolly around 5, and stayed rolly most of the evening. I guess a N swell outside is bouncing into here.

Salad and cheese-sandwiches and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Did a little midnight Wi-Fi.
Sun for a new day  2/23/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Windy and a bit rolly this morning.

Dinghied ashore through rough conditions to Princess Margaret Beach, to a very rough situation at a nice dinghy-dock. Started walking over the hill to Friendship Bay. Saw the latest in island security for your outboard: (pics). Those outboards are about 40 HP, a pretty big weight to haul around.

The first 1/8 of a mile was a very steep uphill, a real cardio workout. But the rest was quite pleasant, with a strategically placed bus-stop at the top to sit and rest in. Half a dozen cruising boats at anchor, although two of them were leaving as I arrived. A bit rolly here, even with some N in the wind. Scenic (pics) but very quiet, at least at 10 AM; not much happening here, and mostly just houses ashore.

Back over the hill, and a pleasant walk on the beach. Always nice to get bare feet into the surf. Into the dinghy, and took some work to get my lock-cable and painter and stern-anchor line untangled from the lines of the neighboring dinghy, while not drifting into the surf, and keeping an eye on two kids swimming nearby while the outboard was running. Rough ride back to the boat.

Very grey by 2:30, a little rain, then just grey.

Found info on five boatyards in Trinidad; I want estimates for hull-sides-painting and for a new pilothouse roof. Of the five yards, two had non-working web sites, so that left me with three. One at a time, sent email to three different addresses for one yard, two addresses for another yard, one address for third yard. Four out of the six addresses turned out to be bad; we'll see if I get responses from the other two. Not a good portent for doing business in Trinidad.

A kielbasa-onion-noodle-biscuit concoction and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2/24/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Still windy and a bit rolly this morning. Medium-sized cruise ship is anchored off the harbor entrance; pretty big ship for such a small island.

Loafed all day.

Cleaned and connected the positive cable to the starter motor. Removed, cleaned and reconnected the ground cable on the engine block.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Got email response from Peake in Trinidad, saying they got my email and forwarded it to the boatyard.

Some rain during the night.

Sun for a new day  2/25/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Windy and grey.

Dinghied ashore, getting spritzed with a little rain. Saw some interesting-looking sailboats: pics (sorry that the light was a bit bad). Some jerk has tied his skiff up sideways to the dock, taking up the space of four dinghies. Disposed of a bag of garbage.

Started walking over the hill to Spring Bay. Some heavy rain set in, so I sheltered under some trees for five minutes. Then more uphill, then downhill. As expected, boring but good exercise. Lots of greenery. Got down to where the road started paralleling the ocean, a hundred yards in. Finally caught a view of the ocean, across a pasture with some cattle, and decided to turn around. Maybe there was something more interesting over the next small hill, but I doubt it.

Back over the spine of the island, and down into Port Elizabeth, passing a school track meet with an enthusiastic crowd cheering. They must have had teams come in by ferry from other islands. The kids looked like junior-high level, although maybe they had all ages.

Looked at some boat-models for sale at a roadside stand; making boat-models is a specialty here. Exchanged 4 books at the bookshelf in Tommy's. Bought some veg at one roadside stand, some grapefruit at another. Into Knight's to buy soy sauce. Into the central market to buy bananas. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Light rain a couple of times during the afternoon.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Light rain starting around 6:45. Rained off and on all night.

Out onto deck at 9:15 to check the nav lights. Stern light works, so the helm binnacle switch works. Somehow the connector at the bow has 6 volts across it, not 12. I think it may be floating; voltage may drop near zero with a load on it. Will have to trace the wiring and look for a bad connection.
Sun for a new day  2/26/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Windy and grey. Tons of rain and wind from 9:50 to 10:30. Much lighter rain from 11:15 to 11:35 or so. More rain coming.

At 12:30, turned the key, and the engine started right up after maybe 2 seconds of cranking ! Not bad for an engine that hasn't been started in three weeks. Ran the engine for 5 minutes to exercise it a little, then shut it off. I'm pretty happy that I managed to take the starter motor and solenoid halfway apart, clean them up, and get them back together successfully.

And maybe there are 3 possibilities:
  1. I got lucky on this starting attempt, and starting is still going to fail half the time.
  2. I got lucky on this starting attempt, and the starter and solenoid will never work again.
  3. I'm a genius, and managed to fix the starting problem forever.
(I'm kind of hoping it's number 3, myself.)

Sunny and wind blowing hard all the rest of the afternoon.

Interesting sailboat came in and out a few times in later afternoon, but didn't stay. I'm no expert on rigs, but that looks like a combination of square-rigged and gaff-rigged ? [A reader says it's a "bark" rig. See Wikipedia's "Barque".] Pics (sorry that the light was a bit bad).

Salad and clam chowder for dinner. Made the chowder mainly to get rid of a 5-year-old can: pic. Ah, that looks appetizing: pic. Came out a little thin; should have added half as much milk as the directions specified.

Fairly large trawler came in before dark and anchored ahead of me. Expensive boat, but they took a while to anchor, and ended up swinging almost over a couple of mooring balls, which doesn't inspire confidence.
Sun for a new day  2/27/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Wind blowing pretty hard all morning, and howling at noon.

Started doing my income taxes.

Backed up my laptop to external hard disk. Went amazingly fast; I think the disk supports USB 2.0, and so does new laptop, but old laptop didn't.

Interesting: started reading a "local scoop from cruisers" writeup about Trinidad, and there are several surprises: boat parts and supplies have 15% duty and are not particularly cheap, alcohol is expensive, diesel is expensive, propane refill from Chaguaramas is inconvenient. I had guessed the opposites were true, at least compared to the smaller islands further north. Some of the prices are higher in Chaguaramas and lower in Port Of Spain, the big city.

Leftover chili over noodles, and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Wind still blowing hard.

Not much wind overnight.
Sun for a new day  2/28/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny, and wind starting to blow very hard again at 9.

In early afternoon, dinghied ashore to the dock very close to my boat, on the N shore. Walked up to the hilltop fort ruins. Saw a couple of sailboats heading out: pics (I'm told the first one is "Tropical Dance", a Gulfstar 50 SailMaster).

Then down the hill, and along the shore towards town. Stopped in a marine store to look at switches; they didn't have anything appropriate. Out of curiosity, asked the price of Trojan T-105 batteries, of which they had 10 or so. The price was EC$820, which is about US$304, a little less than twice what I paid for them in Rodney Bay St Lucia a few months ago.

Into town, and for the first time the library was open. They don't do book-exchange, and their newspapers and magazines are 2-4 years old. But they had a paperback book I hadn't read, by one of my favorite authors, "Early Autumn" by Robert B. Parker. So they encouraged me to borrow a chair and sit outside, and I sat for 1.5 to 2 hours and read the whole thing. Very pleasant.

To the supermarket for a few things, then to a veg stand for carrots. Back to the dinghy, passing something I didn't recognize at first: it's a RIB dinghy without the tubes: pics. Back to the boat. Got some good exercise.

Salad and a cheese-sandwich for dinner.

Someone setting off some nice fireworks ashore around 8. Not getting much altitude, but they're colorful and very pretty.
Sun for a new day  3/1/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

The check I wrote to the hospital in Martinique finally cleared ! I had been worried it was lost in the mail or they couldn't handle it, and I'd have to deal with the situation the next time I went there.

German sailboat came in and anchored alongside me, a little too close for comfort.

Usually my lunchtime PB-and-banana sandwich is on sliced bread; today I have rolls, and it struck me as funny that it looks like a hotdog: pic. Or maybe I've just been on the boat too long.

Trawler "Hanco" came in at 5. I met them in Culebra a few years ago; I'll have to go say hello tomorrow. Unfortunately, some local guys in skiffs have latched onto them here, and are trying to help them anchor, with the result that it's turning into a circus. They anchored ahead of me, didn't like it, maybe because it's too shallow towards shore, raised anchor and backed out past a couple of boats, then headed back toward the harbor entrance. Finally took a mooring, with an anchor out as insurance.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-egg-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Little wind and occasional rain during the night.
Sun for a new day  3/2/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey and rainy. German sailboat next to me left around 7. Medium-sized cruise-ship is anchored outside the harbor.

There's something wacky in my electrical system; I've been trying to track it down for a while. Even with all loads off, something is draining 2A to 3A out of my batteries, according to the battery monitor. May happen only when system voltage is well above 12.7 V. Happens with refrigerator off (switch at panel turned off). Happened when starter motor was out. Might be a fault in solar controller or wind-generator control box. I still have some mystery-transformers in my electrical system; they've been there since Day 1, to power DC lights when plugged into AC shore power. Probably time to rip them out and throw them away.

"Hanco" gone by 10, so I guess I won't get a chance to say hi to them.

Started working on getting those transformers out of the electrical system. Got the first AC wire out neatly. The second one headed into a really congested area of the panel, so I ended up just snipping it and leaving an end dangling. Same thing for first DC wire. That's enough to get the transformers out of the system, so now I can see if the mystery load has disappeared.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock. Disposed of a couple of bags of garbage. Walked down to the Frangipani Hotel and exchanged half a dozen books at their bookshelf. Chatted for a while with a guy selling shirts as a donation to finance the Easter Regatta here. Nice conversation, but I couldn't bring myself to spring for US$19 for a T-shirt.

To the library, where I started reading another book by Robert B. Parker. Spent an hour or two reading half of it. Halfway through, the librarian left for a while and left me to keep an eye on the place !

Back to the dinghy, and back to the boat, getting rained on a bit. In the course of loading the dinghy and unlocking it and starting the motor and casting off from the busy dock, I usually forget to look to see if a squall has popped up over the hills.

Grapefruit and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

That mystery-load hasn't disappeared from the elecrical system; everything off around 9 PM, and 1.6A draining out of the batteries.
Sun for a new day  3/3/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny morning with light breeze.

Did a bucket of laundry.

Somewhat grey by 8, then some sun, then raining at 9:20, then sunny.

Got an estimate from one boatyard in Trinidad, for painting the "hull sides" (above waterline, below toerail): "Labour and materials to prep topsides of hull, repair any minor dings and scratches, and then apply two coats of 545 epoxy primer and three coats of Awlgrip 2000 white topcoat paint - US$9,900". O-kay, not going to be doing that !

Got the two transformers out of the electrical system: pic.

Dinghied ashore in early afternoon. Disposed of a bag of garbage, and left the two transformers next to the dumpster. Walked down to the Gingerbread Hotel to use their book-exchange, but the office was closed. Sat for a while, then went to Tommy's and used the book-exchange there. Into Wallace's marine store, where they had 3/8" double-braid, but the only guy who could figure out the price was out of the store for a while. To the grocery store to get some stuff. To a couple of fruit stands, but no one has bananas. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Hot afternoon with only a light breeze.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Thought it was going to be a hot night, but there was a fair breeze, which made it quite pleasant.
Sun for a new day  3/4/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore around 8:15 and caught the 8:30 ferry to Kingstown, St Vincent. EC$35 (US$13) for a round-trip ticket. About 25 passengers aboard. Guys unloading pieces of slate or some similar rock from a skiff onto the dock: pic; probably brought it across from St Vincent. Ferry departed 5 minutes late by my watch. Deckhand was putting out a trolling fishing line before we were halfway through the harbor: pic. Slightly smaller ferry coming in as we left: pic.

Trip over took almost exactly 1 hour. Saw half a dozen sailboats sailing N or S. Caught no fish.

Off the ferry at about 9:35. A couple of guys right at the base of the stairs inside the ferry, looking for white faces and calling out "taxi ?".

Ambled through town, stopping in hardware and auto-parts stores, mostly. Bought some 3-in-1 oil to use on the starter motor gear next time I take it off the engine. No luck finding a momentary switch to fix my remote-starter switch, useful for debugging engine-starting problems.

Town is busy today; I think Friday and Saturday are "market days". Lots of vendors on the sidewalks, selling trinkets and clothes and fruit and vegetables and most other things. Central market building had more vendors.

Got near the west end of town, and couldn't find the botanical gardens. [Back home and looking at a different part of the map, it turns out they're a bit far out of town and up in the hills; I wasn't very close to them.] Back along some different roads, and looked into various stores looking for a new fabric mattress pad for my bed. The only one I could find cost EC$75 (US$28), which is way too much.

Found the library, but downstairs is a sparse museum, and I couldn't see how to get upstairs. Nowhere to sit and lounge in the shade in this town.

Sat in a Church's fast-food place for a while, drinking a soda, reading my book, enjoying the air-conditioning and a place to sit down. Feet tired.

Back out, and into a supermarket. Prices not really much different from those in Bequia. A few items cheaper, so I bought some stuff, mostly cookies. Out into the vegetable market, but no one has ripe yellow bananas; everyone has green bananas and plantains. Into a supermarket next to the ferry dock, bought a few more items. Then onto the ferry for the 1:00 departure. Left about 10 minutes late, I think. Had to dodge a sailboat crossing our path as we left harbor: pic. Another sailboat coming N into harbor: pic.

Had a nasty surprise when I looked at my official documents: I thought I had to renew for another month on Monday or so, but I was supposed to renew two days ago ! Oops.

Occurred to me later that I didn't see people on the ferry coming back with huge shopping bags full of stuff they'd bought in Kingstown. I expected to see some of that, assuming Kingstown had lower prices than Bequia. But I seemed to be the only one bringing much stuff back.

Chatted with a visitor as we entered harbor and docked. Then straight into the government building. Had to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the Immigration officer to appear. Filled out forms, then had to wait another 5 or 10 minutes while he finished dealing with an old lady who had come in after I did. Then a few minutes waiting in the line to buy revenue stamps. Cost EC$25 (US$9.25) for an additional 2-month stay; a bargain. No penalty for forgetting to come in earlier. Had to leave my passport overnight; will go back to pick it up tomorrow.

Checked one fruit stand for bananas, then to the dinghy and back to the boat. Hot afternoon.

Grapefruit and salad and PBJ sandwiches for dinner.

Did some midnight Wi-Fi. Package containing solenoid, SSB receiver and Wi-Fi adapter was mailed from NJ today; should take about 2 weeks to get here. Cost $50 to send.

Laptop trackpad froze while I was using it. Disabled itself again when I restarted.
Sun for a new day  3/5/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore around 11. Disposed of a bag of garbage. To the government building, and got my passport back. A little confusion: I thought I had left all of my paperwork with them, but it had only been the new paperwork. Want to make sure I don't have a problem when I go to check out.

To a couple of fruit stands for bananas and grapefruit. Into a grocery store I hadn't tried before, and got a couple of items. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Disconnected the two wires from the alternator; will see if that removes the mystery load. But then I confirmed that the starting buzzer/relay in the helm binnacle is live even when the cockpit AUX switch is off. So a fault in the ignition switch or buzzer/relay could be creating a drain there.

Tug pushing a gravel barge with a bulldozer on it came in at 5:15. The barge has a ramp at front so they can land it on any dock or shore and start pushing or carrying gravel off, to build roads, I guess.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Mystery load still exists in the electrical system, so it's not the alternator.
Sun for a new day  3/6/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Did a bucket of laundry. Used the pumped-water outlet on deck for the first time in a year or two, and the first cup or so that came out was pretty evil-looking.

Found a cobweb between steering wheel and a bucket in the cockpit. Maybe I've been here too long. Probably going to stay another month; why leave a nice place ?

Medium-sized cruise-ship is anchored outside the harbor.

Re-connected the two wires to the alternator.

Salad and cheese-sandwiches for dinner.

Mystery load still exists in the electrical system.
Sun for a new day  3/7/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore in midafternoon. Disposed of a bag of garbage, and left 4 or 5 pieces of lumber next to the dumpsters. I've had a bit of a floating lumberyard aboard after jacking up the engine a couple of years ago, and it's time to clear out the place a bit. Local guys grabbed the lumber as quickly as I could put it down.

To GYE marine store, where they still have no rope of just about any size. Exchanged two books at their bookshelf. Through town and out to the Gingerbread Hotel, where I exchanged another 4 books. To Walker's marine store, where I was quoted EC$2.10/foot (about US$0.81/foot) duty-free for 3/8" double-braid; seems like a very good price to me, especially compared to the EC$4/foot I was quoted at Piper's a week or two ago.

Bought grapefruit and tomatoes at a stand. Got EC$600 out of an ATM. Into the supermarket and got onions, garlic, cheese. Back to the dinghy, and back to the boat. Squeeze-bulb on the fuel line is collapsing again; something is jamming and a vacuum is developing.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Thought you might want to see what my dinners look like: pic. I've heard that for good presentation a meal should have four colors in it, so my meal has red, black, green and silver.
Sun for a new day  3/8/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Rain at 7:30.

Tried to take a couple of badly rusting AC switch-boxes out of the engine compartment, but the screws holding the covers closed are rusted so firmly that I damaged the tip of a screwdriver.

Dinghied ashore in early afternoon. Hot. To Wallace's marine store, and bought 76 feet of 3/8" double-braid rope for EC$160: pic. To the fruit market, and bought bananas. Into the grocery store, and bought some stuff. Chatted for a few minutes with three taxi-driver guys. Into the dinghy and back to the boat. Hot.

Wallace's has 5/8" double-braid for EC$5.45/foot (about US$2.10/foot), which seems like a good price. I'm tempted to replace my jib-sheets, which are overdue for it.

Salad and cheese-sandwich and PB-sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/9/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Rain at 6:30. Sprinkle at 10 or so.

Installed new line onto jib furler. And I think I see how to change the mounting of the drum to make it furl properly again; the base needs to be pulled forward more.

Cut back the bad end of the old jib furler line, and used the good part to replace the mainsail's furling line. Sealed the ends with flames from matches.

Calm morning with light NE wind until 11 or so, then wind started blowing hard from E.

Used the Dremel to deepen the slots on the screws, then got the AC switchboxes out of the engine compartment: pics. They look okay inside, but I haven't used the AC wiring in 8 years or so, don't plan to use it ever again, and am pretty sure something would start smoking if I ever connected to shorepower. A lot of old wiring and fixtures in the AC system, including some lamp-cord. And every bit of old AC wiring I take out makes it easier to deal with the DC wiring and other things I do use.

Crap ! My month of paid Wi-Fi expired a couple of days ago. Now I'm trying to pay for another month, and PayPal is balking. It wants to re-verify my security info, including verifying my location, which means they want to call my brother's phone in NJ and talk to me. And since I don't have Wi-Fi access, I can't contact him to explain, or check my email to answer verifying emails from PayPal. And the Wi-Fi provider takes payment only via PayPal account, or credit-card verified by PayPal, and PayPal won't verify my credit card I think because it's the same one installed in my PayPal account, which is in "limitation" mode until that phone call occurs. Argh ! The sign-up screens gave me enough Wi-Fi access to send a message to PayPal about it.

Someone ashore flying a huge kite: pics.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Here's what my typical chili dinner looks like: pic. This one has bacon in it; usually I use kielbasa or hot Italian sausage. Some noodles, a can of beans, onions, garlic, chili powder, chunks of cheese on top. Yum !
Sun for a new day  3/10/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Fixed louvred cedar-closet door that the thief damaged a couple of months ago. A bit of a jigsaw puzzle to get all of the slats socketed on both ends simultaneously, while pressing the edges of the door together.

Still couldn't renew service with the old Wi-Fi provider (PayPal still screwed up), so bought service with the other provider here (US$45 for a month). They accepted my credit card with no problems.

A little before noon, heard an odd sound in the rigging. Went on deck, and saw a kite floating in the water a hundred feet behind the boat. Soon a guy in a skiff picked it up. I think someone flying it from shore crashed it onto my mast. Kite is fairly small, not big like the one I saw yesterday.

Found that PayPal will accept a scan of a bank statement or such instead of a phone call as "proof of location". So tried to get my scanner working under Windows 7, but failed. Then realized my camera is a scanner of sorts. Took a picture of a page of a bank statement and sent it to to PayPal.

Read this on a Trinidad cruiser's forum (but I think it happened in Grenada):
Please remind everybody to motor slowly at night. There was a nasty incident last Saturday night. We were involved in a search for a victim of a high-speed collision of a dinghy with one of the unlit concrete buoys in the fairway to Spice Island Marine. We had just left de Big Fish after a most enjoyable evening and were taking the dinghy slowly back to Quadrille when a man towing an empty dinghy flashed his torch at us. He had heard the collision and we spent about an hour looking for the victim. I phoned de Big Fish and they alerted the Coast Guard, who arrived with big searchlights. A diver pulled the corpse from the water and although he gave CPR it was pretty hopeless. We saw his helper vomit over the side of their dinghy so I guess it wasn't a very nice sight. I hope he suffered no pain.
I've often marveled at skiffs or dinghies travelling at high speed at night in places such as the Lagoon at St Martin. You just never know when there's going to be a piece of lumber or an old mooring buoy in the water, and they're hard enough to see in daylight. And some of the dinghy-drivers are standing up in their dinghies ! But I guess if you have a long way to travel, high speed is irresistible.

Guys ashore flying four kites, two of them small, but another is the big rectangular one I saw yesterday, and the fourth is a oval-headed one with a very long tail. Soon the oval-headed one crashed into the water: pics.

Re-arranged the cables to the battery monitor shunt so now I can see each bank's activity separately. Should have done this when I got the new batteries and stopped using the old starting bank.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Mystery load still exists in the electrical system. Pulling from both battery banks about equally.
Sun for a new day  3/11/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey and still morning. Then rain and wind at 8:10, followed by more wind. Still very grey. Sunnier by noon. More rain at 8:35.

PayPal account is back to normal.

Got a response from a contractor through another boatyard in Trinidad. Estimate for painting the hull-sides with Awlgrip: about $7500. For re-gelcoating them: about $8000.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock. Saw some local guys hauling out a sailboat as I went in. Turns out there was a boat-trailer with some jack-stands welded on top, underwater below the boat. Pic.

Disposed of a bunch of garbage, and left the AC switches next to the dumpster. Stopped at the post office, but package from NJ hasn't arrived yet. Down to Tommy's, and exchanged four books. To a couple of fruit stands, and bought bananas, carrots (expensive), grapefruit. Saw a big green spiny thing for sale; guy said they call it a "sweet-sap" here, others call it a "sour-sap". Didn't buy any of those. Into the grocery store and bought some stuff. The only butter was EC$11.40/250g, which is about US$8/pound; seems like a lot, but it's the only game in town, and I want to make some cornbread. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Seem to be a lot of boats coming into the harbor this evening.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Here's what it looks like: pic.
Sun for a new day  3/12/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny morning.

Forgot that this morning they're having an annual benefit rummage-sale ashore. Missed it.

Around 1:45, grey clouds in all directions, and very light wind slowly spinning the boat CCW. Boats pointing all different directions. Did a 360, twisting the anchor chains. A sprinkle of rain.

Pretty good E wind coming up by 4 or so.

Salad and salami-and-cheese and hot cornbread for dinner. The cornbread came out pretty well: pic. Made it with brown sugar in it.

In the middle of the night, tried turning the main battery switch to various positions to see what happened to the "mystery load", but I have the positive sense wires for the battery monitor wired to the wrong sides of the switch, so I didn't get any useful information.
Sun for a new day  3/13/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Wind blowing hard by 9, harder by noon.

Did Wi-Fi all day. Addictive.

Still wrangling with ETrade customer support to get all of the stock-trade info I need to do my income taxes. They keep trade info online only about 6 years back, because that's the legal requirement, but I sold a couple of stocks I bought 10 years ago. And there were various splits and mergers that make things more complicated. So I have to keep pulling info out of them, one piece at a time. And they keep saying "here's our phone number, call us", and I keep explaining I have no phone, and anyway text is a better way of communicating all of the details I need.

Grapefruit and PBJ-sandwich and carrot and cheese sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/14/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Walking through town, noticed shops closed that shouldn't be. Found out it is "Hero's Day". Asked a taxi driver later, and he said it's something about a Carib Indian who fought to save St Vincent from the French.

To Frangipani Hotel, and exchanged four books at their bookshelf. Back through town, and none of the stands or stores I want to ship in are open. Back to the dinghy (long line at the gas station, for some reason), and back to the boat.

Dinghied ashore in midafternoon. Rough conditions at the dinghy dock nearest me: wind coming from side, surge coming from stern. Put out a stern anchor and got onto the dock without falling in. Walked up the hill to the fort ruins, and enjoyed the view. Can hear the announcer from the stadium where there's a kid's track meet going on.

Worked on the wiring a little. Found that battery monitor is not miswired. The power line to it has to go to somewhere, either direct to one of the battery banks or to the "loads" side of the battery switch, and I chose to put it on the latter. Which means when I turn the battery switch to "off" and the solar and wind are not putting out anything, the battery monitor shuts off too, and I can't see if the mystery load has disappeared.

Started rigging a second ground cable to the starter motor; I think the connection where the main ground cable bolts to the engine block is a little vulnerable, and two paths are better than one. Might be the source of my starter problems. But I used jumper cables to get the same effect, when I was trying to get out of Vieux Fort, and they didn't fix the problem (at least not right away).

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

In the middle of the night, with no loads and no charging sources going, played with the battery switch some more, and got more confused. On "all", battery monitor shows about 1 A coming out of each battery bank; that's the "mystery load". On "1", shows 2 A coming out of each battery bank, but one bank shows voltage of 0.40 V, other shows normal voltage. On "2" or "off", battery monitor is off. (I think I remembered all of that correctly.) Maybe that "2 A at 0.40 V" is just a monitor artifact, since it's trying to deal with a disconnected battery bank.
Sun for a new day  3/15/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Running out of the granola I bought in St Lucia, and breakfast cereal down here is very expensive. So yesterday I had leftover cornbread for breakfast, and this morning a PBJ sandwich for breakfast. Will cook oatmeal for breakfast sometimes, but too much of a hassle to do it every morning. Maybe I should add a grapefruit for breakfast; they're cheap down here right now, and I eat one about every other afternoon. What else can I eat for breakfast that is simple and cheap ?

Dinghied ashore after lunch. Exchanged two books at Porthole's bookshelf and paid EC$1 fee. Bought cabbage and grapefruit from a vendor. Bought milk and cheese and bread and a bun in the grocery store. Back to the boat. Getting windy.

Finished adding the second ground cable to the engine; had to connect two cables to end up with the right-sized lugs on the ends.

Salad and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/16/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Finally got ETrade to send me the last few bits of stock-trade history I need to do my income taxes. Their web site is screwed up (searching often doesn't work, and history is limited to most recent few years), so I had to keep contacting customer support to get data. And they kept swearing it wasn't available, it wasn't their problem, everything is fine. Eventually they coughed up the data, piece by piece.

Weather totally grey and sprinkling a little rain, starting around 10:45.

Installed a switch in the positive DC cable between wind-gen control box and electrical panel. Hate to put a thinner wire and switch of unknown capacity in there, but I could always remove it later if I wish. Need to eliminate the control box as the source of the "mystery load". Good to have a switch there anyway, in case of a short.

Stayed grey all day. Wish it would settle down and give us a good downpour. I have plenty of water in the tanks, but the jugs on deck are empty.

Started getting light rain around 1; boat nearby has lots of laundry out, but I guess they're just letting it get wet. Stayed grey for another hour or two, but then a couple of hours of sun and breeze dried the clothes later.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Turned off the switch to the wind-generator control box, and the mystery load did not go away. A few more suspects left to try.

Brief but reasonably heavy rain several times during the night.
Sun for a new day  3/17/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Headache. Pills started kicking in around 10.

Got a response from a contractor through a boatyard in Trinidad. Estimate for replacing roof of pilothouse: "materials for the hard top US$4900, and the labour cost to remove, construct and replace, also to re-paint and apply antiskid US$5200". So I won't be doing that. Would like to find some kind of standard or pre-fab roof, cheap. Fiberglass, approximately 11' wide by 12.5' long. But it has to be down here in the islands; I'm sure shipping from USA would cost a fortune.

Disconnected the negative leg of a nice battery-charger that's been hanging unused on the engine compartment wall for about 6 years now.

Added water to the batteries.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock. Disposed of bag of garbage. Walked to GYE to look at electrical switches, and exchanged one book at their bookshelf. Through town to Tommy's, and exchanged three books there. My favorite fruit-stand isn't open today. To the post office, but no package for me. To the main market, sat and read my book for a few minutes, then bought bananas. Tried to bargain the guy down, but all he would do was throw in a mango. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Skype-called Mom and the connection was good. Chatted with her for 10 minutes.

Grapefruit and leftover cold chili and hot cornbread and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Mystery load still exists in the electrical system. About the only suspect left is the starting relay in the binnacle, or something else up in there.
Sun for a new day  3/18/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

At 8, grey and very light wind spinning the boats around very slowly. But wind came back from the E without spinning us all the way around.

Plenty of sunshine during the day, but also plenty of threatening grey clouds coming over.

Around 2, some guys brought over steel ferry-boat "Geronimo", and started heading towards me ! It's been anchored over on the other side of the harbor the whole time I've been here. Fortunately they pulled up a couple of boats behind me, and tied the stern to a mooring and the bow on an anchor. It's mostly sideways to the normal E wind here, so they're really going to test that mooring when next the wind blows hard. Maybe they got tired of rolling on the S side of the harbor; it's more sheltered over here. Hope they don't run that generator all night. And their bow anchor rode is running pretty far out; hope they don't snag any of the local skiffs that sometimes boom through at high speed, especially the occasional ones at night.

Grapefruit and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Opened up the helm binnacle and disconnected the ground wire to the starting relay.

Around 6, "Geronimo" raised anchor and started moving around. Some guys in a skiff brought over a line towards shore, and the guys on the boat cleated it off and started backing away, threading their way past a few anchored boats. After a while, I figured it out: they were installing a new mooring by dragging a mooring weight along the bottom, either moving an old mooring further out, or dragging a weight that had been pushed off from land. They got it done, and "Geronimo" went back to its mooring on the other side of the harbor.

Fuel tanker came in around 6:15 and anchored on S side in mouth of harbor entrance.

Brilliant full moon tonight. Heard somewhere that the moon is closest to Earth since 1955, making it appear (very slightly) bigger than normal.

Mystery load still exists in the electrical system. I think I've run out of things to try to isolate it.
Sun for a new day  3/19/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey morning. At dawn, that fuel tanker moved in and moored fore-and-aft close in, where there's an underwater hose/pipe to carry diesel to tanks ashore.

Sunny by 9. Dinghied ashore and had a nice, long walk uphill to the top of the notch that looks down on Friendship Bay. Along the way, took a picture of that tanker in the harbor: pic. Sat at the top for 10 minutes admiring the view, then back to town. Good exercise.

Into the grocery store for several items; a six-pack of 333 mL Diet Coke cans costs EC$20.80 (US$8) ! In the other store, a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke costs a little less than US$4. Out to a fruit stand and bought four grapefruit. Into the dinghy and back to the boat.

Put helm binnacle back together.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/20/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Loafed and did Wi-Fi and read all day.

Grapefruit and salad and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/21/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Feeling a bit headachey. Sailing cruise ship in the harbor.

Dinghied ashore around 9:30, to the Frangipani dock. Exchanged 3 books and 3 magazines at their bookshelf. Then walked down to the Gingerbread and headed inland from there. Up the hilly roads and switchbacks to near the top of Mt Pleasant. Nice view of the harbor (pic) and the sailing cruise ship (pic) along the way. Chatted with some taxi guys and a lady up at the "top"; lots of taxis running today with the people from the cruise ship.

On the way down, saw some nice flowers (pic). Then hooked up with a nice German couple, who spent several days on Martinique and now a day or two here. Had a nice chat with them as we walked down, although we had to dodge a lot of taxi and other traffic. Led them out to the waterfront at the Gingerbread Hotel. Then I looked for my dinghy on the dock, didn't see it, and then remembered I'd docked at the next one down, the Frangipani. Into the dinghy and back to the boat. Windy and sunny.

Dinghied ashore to market dock in midafternoon. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Bought EC$10 of gasoline at the gas station. To the Post Office, and they have my package from the USA ! But I didn't bring my boat-papers with me, and Customs requires them. And the guy says I'm going to have pay duty, even though I'm a "yacht in transit". So back to the boat, grab papers and extra cash, and back in again.

But a more senior officer joins the one I'd been talking to, and they look at my papers. The senior guy says I should have had it sent by a customs broker in the USA, who would have attached invoices showing purchase prices. Sure, that probably would have cost me an extra US$50 or more. I just stay polite and dumb (my natural state), the guy says normally they'd charge 4% duty (which is nothing, I was expecting 20%), but no problem this time, just don't do it again. Thank you, have a nice day officers, and I'm out of there ! Back to the boat with my stuff ! Cost US$110 to buy, paid US$50 to ship at US Post Office, and no charge on this end. Took 17 days from end-to-end.

Here's my stuff: pic. A Grundig G4000A radio, a Rosewill RNX-N2LX Wi-Fi adapter, and a starter solenoid.

Typical computer-manual nonsense: the Wi-Fi adapter comes with an odd cable with two USB connectors on it, but does the quick-install booklet say anything about the cable, and whether to plug in one or both connectors ? Nope.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Crap ! Can't get new Wi-Fi adapter working with my laptop. Starting to suspect something wrong with the laptop or Windows 7 64-bit; couldn't get my old Blueproton GSky adapter working with it either. Built-in Wi-Fi adapter works fine.

Starting at 2:15, powerful squall with a lot of rain and wind. Kept going strong until 2:30 or so, then the wind eased a bit but the rain kept going. Finally tapered off around 3, but then sprinkled rain most of the rest of the AM. Nice to get some decent rain.
Sun for a new day  3/22/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Totally grey, sprinkling rain, everything drenched.

Dumped 10-12 gallons of water from jugs to tank. I'm sure everyone on the island is happy to get the rain, too; it's been a while since the last good rain, and they get all of their drinking water from the rain.

Still can't get that new Wi-Fi adapter to work. Lots of web-searching, tried more drivers, put messages on a support forum, etc.

Grey and windy and breezey all day. Glad I did my walking and errands ashore yesterday. Rain at 1:45.

Grey and no wind; have to start conserving electric power.

Salad and PBJ sandwich and hot cornbread for dinner. Used some coconut milk in the cornbread, but couldn't taste it. Used new baking powder, which actually worked, and made the middle of the cornbread too fluffy for my taste. It should be thick and heavy and lay around in your stomach nourishing you for a long time.

Listening to BBC after midnight, reporter interviewed an old Japanese guy in the wreckage of the earthquake and tsunami. The guy was wearing a hat that said "Old fishermen never die ... they just smell that way". I laughed for quite a while.
Sun for a new day  3/23/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey after dawn, with very little wind. Boats on S side of harbor pointing W and SW, boats on N side pointing E and NE. A little less grey by 8:30 or so.

Wi-Fi'd most of the day. Still can't get new adapter to work. Call to the vendor's 800 number didn't work, either because I'm using Skype or because I'm not in USA. Through email, they offered to exchange adapter for a new one, but that would take a month and cost a fortune in shipping. I'm sure it's either a software problem or a laptop hardware problem.

Started filing my income taxes online. The usual situation: get it reasonably close and then let the IRS correct it in a year or two, if necessary.

Starting around 4:30, fairly big swells coming in from the SW. Very odd; must have been a storm far off to the W a while ago ? Hitting my boat on the stern quarter, so the motion isn't too bad. Kept going for a couple of hours.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Pretty good rain from 5:20 to about 6.
Sun for a new day  3/24/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey and windy morning. Fairly big cruise-ship anchored in the harbor mouth.

Windier by noon. A bit rolly. WindGuru says the seas are going to change very suddenly this evening, from due N to due E.

Did a small bucket of laundry.

Filed my income taxes online. Cost $16 for state return; fed return was free. Paid $0 tax to feds, $162 to staties.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/25/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Going to be windy again today. That cruise-ship is still anchored in the harbor mouth.

Downloading Windows 7 SP1, an 896 MB update ! Not fun through a mediocre Wi-Fi link. When it was done, installation failed, and it said it needed to download another 87-MB patch. Gave up for now.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock, into the teeth of a strong E wind. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Walked through town and then had a nice, long walk uphill to the top of the notch that looks down on Friendship Bay. Along the way, took a picture of that cruise-ship in the harbor: pic.

Sat at the top for 5 minutes admiring the view and enjoying the strong cool breeze, and chatting with a local couple. That concrete thing on the small island in the middle of the bay is a whale-slaughtering station; I think they're allowed to kill 3 whales a year here, and they have a long tradition of whaling. The guy said this is whaling season right now, and about 10 days ago a whale was spotted, a boat set out for it, hit it with a harpoon, and it got away. Apparently they don't usually have to look far for the whales, they often come right down along the "channel" S of the island.

Back to town. Good exercise.

Into the grocery store for several items. Out to a fruit stand and bought grapefruit, bananas, cabbage, carrots. Into the dinghy and back to the boat. Sweaty and tired from all of the walking.

Income-tax returns were "accepted" online by feds and state, so that's good.

Hot in the late afternoon, despite plenty of wind. Have a headache.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Did some midnight Wi-Fi, and got the Windows update finished; my computer survived. Even better: both USB Wi-Fi adapters work now ! Blueproton GSky and Rosewill RNX-N2LX.
Sun for a new day  3/26/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Wow, motor-yacht "Eclipse" is in the harbor, and it's about the biggest private boat I've ever seen: pic. As I suspected, it has a Wikipedia page. Okay, there's a reason it's about the biggest I've ever seen: it was the world's largest private yacht when delivered on 9 Dec 2010. Still is the largest according to this Wikipedia page. Might have cost somewhere around US$1.2 billion.
[They really ought to have a bumper-sticker on the back like this one.]
[Later read that this boat is rumored to have a missile-defense system. I doubt it; it would create difficulties when checking in and out of countries.]

Couple from boat ahead of me, Jon and Carol on "Aldebaran II", stopped by. Turns out we met in St Martin; I gave them the service manual from my old outboard after I got rid of it. We chatted briefly; they had to get back to put away groceries.

Dinghied ashore. Someone might have gotten a rude surprise when they stepped on the last board of this dock (must have happened recently): pic. Walked up the 300-foot hill that has the ruins of Fort Hamilton on top. Good exercise, and took another picture of "Eclipse": pic.

Had a nice chat with a French cruiser up there, but his accent was a bit thick; he pronounced "anchoring" as "ansuring" and so on. But of course his English was far better than my (non-existent) French. He and his wife sailed over from Cherbourg a year or two ago, and they're about to sail back across. He lived in Guadeloupe for about 5 years, and had interesting things to say about the "Frenchness" of St Martin and Guadeloupe and Martinique, and how sometimes even a French-speaker had to work hard to get the locals to be friendly to him. We talked a little about "Eclipse", which was built somewhere in Germany, and he said French big-boat-building was hurting because of recession and because their North Korean workers had gotten too expensive ! I'm pretty sure I heard that last part right. [He must have been saying that the South Korean boatyards were getting all of the business because they were cheaper than the French boatyards.]

Saw some goats on the way down (pic); they're all over the place here.

Salad and PB-banana sandwiches for dinner.

Half a dozen rain-squalls during the night.
Sun for a new day  3/27/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

"Eclipse" was here during the night, but gone at dawn.

Very grey and heavy rain at 6:15.

After I dumped some rainwater from buckets to tank, I left a throwable-PFD (cushion) out on deck and the wind blew it overboard. So I had a test of how quickly I could launch the dinghy. Not too bad, got going in maybe less than 2 minutes, and picked up the cushion about 150 feet behind the boat. Such an old PFD that I had wondered if it would float; it did.

Did Wi-Fi most of the day.

Was looking into putting software on my laptop so I can trace it if it's ever stolen, when it occurred to me that I never did an online report of the theft of my obsolete 5-year-old laptop back in December. So I looked on Dell's web site, and of course they want a bunch of police info, including a case number, that I don't have. It was just a thought.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/28/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore to the market dock. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Saw a lion painted on a house in town: pic. Walked up into the hills before town, making one slight wrong turn. Ingenious arrangement at an auto-repair place; instead of a lift, use ramps over a drainage ditch: pic.

Got to the intersection at the top, turned S, and found it more pleasant than I expected. Some nice houses (pic) and a nice harbor view (pic). And the road connected through down to town, so I didn't have to backtrack.

Walked down to the Frangipani Hotel and exchanged a couple of books at their bookshelf. Bought grapefruit at my favorite stand, and since I'm a repeat customer, the guy gave me 4 instead of the usual 2 for EC$3. Into a store to buy soda, then back to the boat. Hot.

Did a small bucket of laundry.

Salad and grapefruit and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/29/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Rain just before dawn.

In mid-morning, wind swinging around to S for some reason.

Loafed all day, doing Wi-Fi and reading.

Cornbread-bacon-onion concoction and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Sounds a little weird (just be thankful I didn't have any of this), tasted okay, but I don't think I'll make it again.
Sun for a new day  3/30/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Rain and wind at 7:30. Sunny and quite windy by 11 or so.

In midafternoon, dinghied ashore to dock near market. Watched a big work-ferry nosing up against shore, where they brought over a front-end-loader to pile up some dirt so the ramp met the shore and they could drive equipment on and off. Disposed of a bag of garbage.

Walked down to Gingerbread Hotel and exchanged 4 books and a few magazines. Chatted with a cruiser on the steps of Whaleboner's. Most of the fruit stands are closed today; don't know why. Bought a cabbage at one stand. Into the grocery store for several things. Bought bananas at a stand in the market. To the dinghy, where a guy tried several times to chisel EC$5 from me for "watching my dinghy". I just said "I didn't ask you to watch, man", and he left. He'd probably been there a grand total of 2 minutes, too. Back to the boat. Hot afternoon.

Installed Windows 7 SP1 a week ago, and already it's downloading another update that seems to be fairly big. The fun never stops !

Skype-called Mom and chatted with her for a while; very nice. 20 cents for 10 minutes; a land-line international call in a cafe ashore probably would cost $2/minute or something.

Grapefruit and salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  3/31/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

In late morning, dinghied ashore to the main dinghy dock. I've always thought my pilothouse spoiled my boat's lines a bit, but it fits more naturally than the one on this boat. Not that I should be criticizing anyone else's boat.

To Wallace's marine store, to look for PoliGlow, but they've never heard of it. Then had a nice, long walk uphill to the top of the notch that looks down on Friendship Bay. Back down into town, and chatted for a while with a couple of taxi guys. Then back out to the boat. Hot.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/1/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Wind howling by late morning.

Loafed all day, doing Wi-Fi and reading.

Salad and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/2/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Headachey; took pills.

Pumped up dinghy tubes.

Dinghied ashore to dock near market, stopping to chat for 10 minutes with Jon and Carol on "Aldebaran II". They had a small disaster a few weeks ago: a hatch leaked rainwater, which ran along some trim and dripped onto their 1-year-old laptop, killing it. Today they're varnishing, and wishing the wind was less. But it's forecast to be even windier for the next week or so.

Disposed of a bag of garbage. Walked uphill and did the loop behind town; good exercise. Back into town. Bought a couple of grapefruit, a few groceries, and back to the boat.

Fixed the hair-clipper and gave myself a haircut.

Suddenly noticed that the big aqua trimaran behind me is gone. Fairly sure it was there yesterday, so it left today.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Windy all night. Did some midnight Wi-Fi.
Sun for a new day  4/3/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Loafed all day, doing Wi-Fi and reading.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Pretty good wind and rain around 7, then wind starting to howl around 8. Then lots of rain. Wind up and down until midnight, then blew harder and steadier the rest of the night.
Sun for a new day  4/4/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny and windy.

Dinghied ashore to dock near market, against stiff wind. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Big line at the gas station; a taxi-guy told me the truck came to deliver gas, they have to stop pumping for an hour or two to let all the bad stuff settle, so now there's a line.

Walked end-to-end through town, stopping at three book-exchanges, but found only two books I liked. Bought a couple of grapefruit, a few groceries (including a bottle of 150-proof rum !), and back to the boat. Wind really blowing.

Sole of left sandal is cracked in a couple of places. Two new pairs waiting for me in NJ.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Fairly windy all night long.
Sun for a new day  4/5/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny and windy.

Three-masted square-rigged sailing cruise-ship in the harbor.

Gave myself a haircut, again. I find it usually takes two passes to get it right.

That big aqua trimaran came back some time during the day, onto a different mooring.

Salad and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/6/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Headache. Sunny and windy weather. Pills, breakfast, back to bed.

Medium-sized cruise-ship in the harbor. Wind is shifting and gusting, and the cruise-ship is (slowly) swinging about 120 degrees, back and forth. I've never seen a cruise-ship do that; I guess I've always seen them at dock, or anchored in steady wind. It's a little unnerving.

Did some Wi-Fi. Lunch, pills, back to bed.

Some time during the afternoon, a five-masted sailboat / cruise ship came in and anchored. But because of the other cruise ship, they're anchored pretty far out.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Powerful squalls at 6:35, 7:10, 9:05, 10:45.

Headache gone by 9 or so.

Okay, now I'm pretty sure the ammeter part of my battery monitor is lying to me. I no longer see lots of amps pouring into the batteries when a strong wind suddenly makes the wind-generator crank up and spin fast. The voltage goes up just fine, the control box gets warm, I'm sure it's charging the batteries, but no amps (actually, the same old 3A or so drain) on the battery monitor. Must need to be reset or recalibrated or something.
Sun for a new day  4/7/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Sunny and windy. Dinghied ashore and had a nice, long walk uphill to the top of the notch that looks down on Friendship Bay. Asked a guy, and he said they haven't caught any whales yet this season. Then halfway down into Lower Bay, then back up and down into town. My usual fruit-stand hasn't been there for the last week or so, and the new one across the street had no grapefruit, and the one near the ferry dock wasn't there either. Into the grocery store to get a few things, then back to the boat.

Took a couple of pictures of myself, and ran them through Anaface (facial beauty analysis). The results were not pretty: pics. Didn't have to bother taking off my glasses; you have to position all of the points yourself, and it only cares about the points. [Later, I tried cheating, repositioning the points to try to make myself into a "10", but the best I could get was 8. Most changes made the score worse.]

Pretty amazing letter to editor in March/April 2011 issue of Yacht Essentials magazine, about deer on a boat: pic.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/8/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Got my bank acct number wrong on my NJ tax return, so I have to fix that. Odd that I heard about it via snail-mail, and the preparer's web site has no info that the payment failed.

Crap ! Did online chat to TurboTax customer-service, and they said I'm SOL. They don't get notices of failed tax payments, and they can't set their site to let me submit a corrected payment. I'll have to paper-mail it from here, and it will be late. Lousy service.

Asked my brother in NJ to paper-mail my tax payment. He's been very good about helping me with packages and mail and such. While cruising, every now and then there's something that just can't be handled easily from this end. Still need a USA address and a person there.

Defrosted my refrigerator/freezer.

Skype-called Mom and chatted for a few minutes, but the connection wasn't so great.

Added water to the batteries. They all needed a lot.

Dinghied ashore to dock near market. Disposed of a lot of garbage. To the ATM, and it's out of service. To Gingerbread Hotel, and exchanged 3 books at their bookshelf. Ran into Jon and Carol, and sat and chatted with them for 15 minutes. Favorite fruit stand still not around; checked at a couple others, and they either had no grapefruit or were unwilling to bargain down on it. Bought bananas. To ATM, and it's working this time; got cash. Into grocery store, to buy a few things and restock the freezer with meat. Into the central market, and bought 6 grapefruit for EC$10. Back to the boat.

Grapefruit and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/9/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Went over to fuel boat, but they had boats rafted on both sides.

Wi-Fi subscription expired at 11:40.

Started the engine and ran it for 5 minutes. First attempt at starting was weak; waited 15 minutes and second attempt fired it up right away.

Went over to fuel boat and bought EC$128 of diesel at EC$11/gallon. So that's 11.6 gallons, which must be US gallons since they fit into two "5-gallon" jugs. So that price is US$4.23/USgallon. [And now I'm confused about what I bought there two months ago; 9 "gallons" at EC$9.50/gallon, for EC$85.50. I filled the jugs a fair amount fuller this time. How did I pay 50% more this time ? Price per gallon is 16% higher, number of gallons is 29% higher. Okay, the math works. But that means they've been measuring in US gallons all along; there's no way I just fit 11.6 Imperial gallons (almost 14 US gallons) into two 5-USgallon jugs. So their price isn't better than the price ashore, which supposedly is measured in Imperial gallons.]

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

I'm trying to find a calm period so I can use the dinghy to push the boat around a couple of times and untwist the anchor chains, so I can raise one anchor, but the wind isn't cooperating.

No BBC radio tonight, just dead air from the station on St Vincent.

Pretty good rain around 1 AM.
Sun for a new day  4/10/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Rain at 6:30 AM.

A little sun, then a very grey morning.

Total grey and plenty of rain at 10. Stayed grey and more rain at 10:45. Again at 11:30.

Stayed grey all day.

Rain starting at 4 and going more or less steadily until after 6.

Salad and cold leftover chili and hot cornbread for dinner. The cornbread didn't really bake all the way, but was tasty anyway.

Damp, very slightly drizzly all night long.
Sun for a new day  4/11/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dark, totally grey morning. Everything drenched. Rain starting at 7:15 and mostly continuous until 9 or so.

Dumped water into tanks. Have dumped in 25-30 gallons in the last day or so.

Rain starting again at 10:25. More rain starting 11:40. Grey, grey, grey.

On my laptop, working my way through dozens of podcasts and hundreds of web pages I saved to hard disk over the last month or two.

Some actual sunshine starting around 1:30, but gone by 3:30 or so.

Rain starting at 4:40.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Some rain at about 2 AM. Then started raining around 3:30 AM, and kept raining until dawn and beyond.
Sun for a new day  4/12/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dark, totally grey morning. Raining continuously.

Stopped raining by noon, but stayed grey and fairly dark. One of my buckets has sprung a leak and lost all of its water.

Grapefruit and salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Big, powerful squall/front starting at midnight-thirty.

Rain starting again around 3 AM or so, and kept going.
Sun for a new day  4/13/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Dark, grey, cool, windy morning. Raining continuously. Cruise ship with five masts "Club Med 2" anchored in the harbor. Rain mostly stopped by 8:30 or so, started again at 9:15.

Stayed grey all day.

No free Wi-Fi.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/14/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Grey morning, but no rain. Less wind. Launched the dinghy and spun the boat around twice to untwist the anchor chains. Bailed out the hard dinghy.

Headache. Took a pill and went to bed.

At 12:15, started the engine (started first shot), and raised the second anchor, coming very close to the stern of "Aldebaran 2" in the process. But no problem, and good to be on one anchor again.

Around 1:45, dinghied ashore to the market dock. Disposed of some garbage. Walked through town, stopping to chat with Jon and Carol for a minute. They're hoping to leave tomorrow, as I am, and go S, as I am. Would be nice if they left ahead of me; my first anchor too is close to their stern.

To Frangipani Hotel, and exchanged several books for some magazines. To Tommy's, and exchanged a couple more books for others. To a fruit stand for grapefruit, bananas, cabbage. To the grocery store for various things. To another grocery store for soda. Dumped everything in the dinghy, then took the gas jug to the gas station. Had to wait 10 minutes in the sun before I could get my lousy EC$10 worth of gasoline. Back to the boat, through the sun and humidity.

Still feeling headachey.

Salad and PBJ sandwiches for dinner.

Long, uncomfortable night. Headache, not much wind.
Sun for a new day  4/15/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Grenadines.

Still headachey.

Engine start at 8:20. Anchor chain was snagged on a couple of things on the bottom, but anchor up by 8:30 or so. Motor-sailed WSW, with wind light and almost directly astern. Dark-blue-hulled sailboat motoring out right behind me, but I don't think "Aldeberan 2" was ready to go when I left.

Took pictures of Moonhole as I went past, but couldn't see the famous arch through the cliff. And the light was wrong for taking pictures, anyway. Pic.

Engine running too hot, up to about 210 instead of the normal 180.

Turned the SW corner of the island at 9:25 and soon shut off the engine. Wind still fairly light, and more SE than I hoped. I need to head just about dead S, and I thought the wind was supposed to be maybe E 12 today. Instead, it's maybe SE 10-12. Making 2.5 to 3 knots. That blue boat behind me turned the corner and motored ESE toward Mustique, then raised sail over there.

After a while, making 2 knots, and heading SSW and then closer to SW. Probably some current pushing me W. Later, read in my guidebook that there can be NW 2-3 knots of current here.

By noon, making 1 to 1.5 knots, SSW. Wind has faded to maybe 10 knots, mostly SE. A nice day to be out here, sunny and not much swell, but my headache still is hurting.

At 12:30, started the engine and started motor-sailing. Making a better heading, but I'm surprised to see that speed is still down around 2.8 knots, instead of the 4 or so I hoped for. Must be some good current against me.

A long, slow trip to Canouan. As I got into the lee of the island, speed slowly increased to 3.8 knots or so. About right for the very low throttle setting I'm using, and maybe a dirty bottom and prop. Should have scraped before I left, but the cool and wet weather discouraged me from snorkeling.

Strange: engine temperature is almost normal, about 185.

As I near the green entrance marker, a fast ferry comes out and throttles up right in front of me, giving me a nice 5-foot wake to bash through.

Finally up into harbor. Of course they have a mooring field laid out in the best (shallowest and most sheltered) anchoring area. And there are half a dozen cruising boats here ahead of me. So I anchor a little farther out than I hoped, in 20-foot water, but it's okay. Anchor down by 4:20 at Charles Bay, Canouan, Grenadines. There's a blue-hulled sailboat here, but it's not "Aldebaran 2".

That was a slow trip; 20-22 NM in almost 8 hours. Probably should have motored toward Mustique at the start, and not tried to sail so much.

Little breeze, I'm hot and headachey, boats pointing all different directions. I do the minimum to tidy up the boat after the trip, cool off a bit, tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner, take a pill, and lie down.

Headache still there through the night. Very little breeze, and slightly rolly all night. At 3 AM some dark clouds go over and there's enough breeze to turn the wind-generator for a couple of minutes. Can't get the radio station from St Vincent that plays BBC after midnight; of course, last night, they had dead air instead of BBC.
Sun for a new day  4/16/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Charles Bay, Canouan, Grenadines.

Sunny, little breeze, boats spinning. Rain at 7. Still headachey. Water clear enough so I can see most details on the bottom, 20 feet down.

Listened for the cruiser's net on VHF 68 at 0900 from Union Island, but couldn't hear it. Only 10 miles away, but maybe they're on low power, or on the other side of hills, or the net is defunct.

At 10:15, saw a blue-hulled sailboat towing a yellow dinghy going by, heading for the Tobago Cays. That must be "Aldebaran 2".

Got a tiny bit of free Wi-Fi. Weather forecast shows a bunch of 1-knot wind today and tomorrow; don't know if I've ever seen that in a forecast. Wind from all points of the compass, too. None more than 7 knots, until Tuesday or so. Boat started spinning, lost Wi-Fi, never could get it back.

A couple of day-catamarans coming in, to stop at the beach and hotel here.

After a bite of lunch and more pills, tried the Wi-Fi again and got a good connection for quite a while; nice.

Headache seems to be going away, finally.

Around 2, dinghied ashore to the hotel dock. A couple of people in the water. Chatted for a while with an older guy who arrived today to start a charter, only to find that the sailboat was having engine problems, so they lose a day on the boat. He's ex-Navy, from Boston I think, has a lot of racing and chartering experience. We had a nice chat, but then he was off to do a short check-out cruise on the boat.

Walked up to the road and then down it through town. Smaller than Bequia, but there's more here than I expected. A lot of people sitting around idle in the hot Saturday afternoon. Into a grocery store, which proved to be pretty well-stocked, and prices a bit higher than Bequia. Except their price for Diet Coke was lower, so I bought a couple of big bottles. Back to the hotel, wandered through it a little but didn't see much. Back to the boat.

Then into swimsuit, grabbed snorkeling gear, and over to White Rock at the N end of the anchorage. Tied my dinghy to an unused mooring (most of them are empty), and into the water. Delicious water; cool at first, then comfortable. A very pleasant snorkel, and more fish than I expected. A couple of nice big schools of a hundred or more fish, one school of blue grunts about 10-12 inches long, another of yellow stripers about 4-6 inches long. Circled the rocks, had a nice swim, and back to the boat feeling refreshed.

Half a dozen boats coming in before dusk; looks like this place gets a lot of turnover, mostly because it's a charter base for Moorings. Tonight, maybe 3-4 boats on moorings and another 8-9 anchored.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Ate out on the cool of the foredeck.

A bit rolly all night; I don't think I slept more than a few winks. But at least my headache is gone. Heard a little BBC radio, but only through a lot of static and with my hand on the radio and holding the antenna a certain way; too tiring to do that for long.
Sun for a new day  4/17/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Charles Bay, Canouan, Grenadines.

Sunny, little breeze, going to be a hot day.

Did a small bucket of laundry.

Did Wi-Fi.

Grey cloud hovering overhead in the middle of the day. Raindrops at 12:50.

Tried resetting my Link 2000 battery monitor to see if that would make the ammeter part work, but I still don't believe the numbers I'm seeing.

Colorful big wood or ferrocement sailboat "Jambalaya" came in, stayed an hour or so to drop off passengers, and left. Pic.

Salad and cold leftover chili and hot cornbread for dinner. Still haven't figured out how to make cornbread in a frying pan without either burning one side of it or leaving parts of it goopy. But it's tasty.
Sun for a new day  4/18/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Charles Bay, Canouan, Grenadines.

Sunny morning, but then a line of grey clouds appeared overhead, and a little wind started to stir. Saw a schooner passing far to the W of here: pic.

Cleaned engine intake strainer.

Engine start at 10, anchor up by 10:05. Motor-sailed W, to the SW corner of the island, with wind very light and fluky. Around the corner, hugged the S side of the island tightly, and picked up a 1-knot current in my favor. Engine temperature normal, just a shade above 180. Can see a lot of masts a few miles SE of here, in the Tobago Cays. Worked my way along, through areas not traveled by most cruisers. A little nervous going between Dove Cay and the main island, with a 1-knot current pushing me and some kind of tidal rip across the gap in front of me. But it never got less than 9 feet deep or so.

Up around the SE corner of the island, and started feeling my way across shallow water, down to 7 feet at one point. Felt bold, but then looked behind, and a big day-snorkel catamaran had come in and was eager to pass me. And the water ahead looked dicey; lots of dark areas which might include a few coral heads. So I pulled over and anchored by 11:20 at S end of Windward Bay, Canouan, Grenadines. About a mile from where I started, but on the other side of the island. A little bit of roll here, and it won't be tenable in a few days when the wind is back up to normal. But the snorkeling here is supposed to be good.

After lunch, the rolling is getting worse.

In midafternoon, launch the dinghy to go for a snorkel. But the small waves are really rolling in now, and there's nowhere sheltered to anchor the dinghy and have a nice snorkel. All of the reef looks pretty exposed and worn down to fairly flat stuff on the bottom. Not good snorkeling territory at all. I give up, head back to the boat, and decide I don't want to stay here overnight.

Engine start at 2:50, anchor up by 2:55, and I motor out and around the SE corner of the island. Into anchorage, and try twice before I get the anchor where I want it. Anchor down by 3:20 at Friendship Bay, Canouan, Grenadines. Less rolly here, but still some roll. A couple of hotel-resort boats nearby taking kids on tow-rides on a big floating thing.

I like the colorful houses they have in the islands: pic.

Rain at 4:05.

Irritating generator at nearby fisheries complex stopped running at 5.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Periods of bad rolling alternating with relative calm during the night. Not too uncomfortable, but it would be nice to get to a sheltered anchorage; I'm tired of rolling.
Sun for a new day  4/19/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Friendship Bay, Canouan, Grenadines.

Can see lots of boats anchored in the distance at Tobago Cays; I'll be there in a few hours: pic.

Guys next to the fisheries dock here working on an immense dune of conch-shells, I think; pic.

Engine start at 8:25, anchor up by 8:35 in wind and current. Motor-sailed out, and SW. Not much wind in the open channel. Guidebooks make the navigation sound tricky, but it's not. A bunch of unmarked reefs and rocks, but plenty of open water between them, and no problem if you keep your eyes open and consult the charts and GPS. I guess they write to the level of the charter boats; this is a very popular destination for them.

In behind the cays, furled the mainsail, and then motored through the channel between the two main cays. Big heaps of bleached conch shells on both shores. Guys in skiffs hanging around, wanting to help people anchor or moor, or selling things. Through and anchored by 10:10 NE of Baradal Cay in Tobago Cays, Grenadines.

Water beautiful, holding is good, but maybe I didn't pick the most sheltered spot. A bit of a roll every now and then. Can always move tomorrow. Most boats are SW of the cay, many on moorings. A couple of catamarans nearby with good bikini-quotients among the people aboard.

Park rangers stopped by at 11:10 and relieved me of EC$10 (US$4) for a day's stay here.

Color of the water here is lovely: pics.

Getting pretty rolly after lunch; might not want to stay here tonight. I haven't been having much luck finding sheltered anchorages lately; guess I was spoiled by the nice harbor at Bequia.

Launched the dinghy and went out to Horseshoe Reef. Tied off to dinghy-moorings in several different spots and had some nice snorkeling. Lots of field of low coral, and a few actual heads. Plenty of fish, including a few big schools and a few 16-18-inch fish, parrotfish and groupers. Pleasant, and the reef is huge, but there's a lot of current coming through, which makes it a little tiring and tricky in a few spots. And I'm not seeing anything better than what I saw around White Rocks on Canouan. The reefs down here just aren't protected enough. And the coral is grassy and white/grey/green/brown as it is in most places these days; it's dying.

Took a swing through the main anchorage, which is pretty crowded, and a little rolly at times. Found "Aldebaran 2", dinghy is home, but no sign of Jon or Carol on deck, so I didn't bother them just to say "hi". Swung around the W side of Baradel, looking for more places to snorkel, but didn't see anywhere likely. Saw flashes of several sea-turtles on the surface at various places.

Back aboard the boat, which is rolling heavily now. Time to find somewhere better. Engine start at 3:35, anchor up by 3:40, and motored SW. Past the main anchorage, around the W side of Jamesby Cay, and had to go pretty far S of it to find shallow water. Anchor down by 4 PM at Tobago Cays, Grenadines. Better here, but not perfect; still some occasional roll.

Hoisted and stowed the dinghy, washed off the snorkeling gear, showered, put everything out to dry. A lot of chores to do before and after, which is why I don't snorkel every day. I really should install a boarding ladder on the side, but the curve of the hull is pretty radical, and has defeated my attempts to design something. A ladder would have to extend about 3 feet under the surface to let me get out after swimming, and there's no hull there to brace it against.

Grapefruit and salad and cheese-sandwiches for dinner.

Quiet night, with some rolling. Heard quite a bit of BBC radio on FM station from St Vincent; guess the hills were blocking me before.

Wind-generator finally started turning a bit starting around 4 AM; first it's turned in about a week. Wind is supposed to start building up to normal again this week, I think.
Sun for a new day  4/20/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Tobago Cays, Grenadines.

Brief light rain at 7:30.

Anchor up around 9:15, and motored out. Through the slightly tricky SW exit, but the light is good and the shoals/reefs are easy to see. W and then N into the anchorage on the SE side of Mayreau. Up and suddenly into shallow water, and made a fairly awkward job of the anchoring, getting sideways to the wind, directly behind a catamaran. Could see a guy in a catamaran further back eyeing me to see what the heck I was doing, and worried that I'd end up too near him, or on top of his anchor. But I got the anchor down where I wanted it, dragged the chain around to lie better, and the wind eventually straightened me out and slid me back to lie between the two catamarans, fore and aft, reef on my starboard side, unknown water on my port side, and I'm good. Done at 10 at Upper Bay in Windward Anchorage, Mayreau, Grenadines.

Ten minutes later, the guy from catamaran "Nano III" behind me came snorkeling over to see where his anchor was relative to me. 25-30 feet back and a little to one side, so he shouldn't have any problem when he wants to leave. I would have stayed further away if there was more room.

Very nice here, hardly any roll, very quiet, lovely view of the Tobago Cays and lots more, but doesn't look like any good snorkeling. Took a while to figure out the islands I'm seeing to the S; they're so close together here. Union Island, Carriacou, a few more, and the tall one in the distance must be Grenada (23 miles away) [later: I think it's another piece of Carriacou].

Some current through here, occasionally turning the boat sideways to the wind.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate on the cool foredeck.

Very little breeze during the night; the wind-generator never turned. Maybe the wind isn't going to build up this week. Very little roll; got some good sleep.
Sun for a new day  4/21/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Upper Bay in Windward Anchorage, Mayreau, Grenadines.

Catamaran behind me left at 9:45, and they had to come a lot closer to me than I expected to get their anchor up. Fortunately conditions were calm and my boat didn't swing as they came up next to my stern.

Five minutes later, the other four sailboats anchored nearby all raised anchor and left, too. But then new boats started coming in.

Anchor up at 10:40 and motor-sailed S out of the anchorage. Around the S end of Mayreau; saw a sailboat flying a lot of sails: pic. Up into harbor. Looked a little crowded at first, but there's room, over near the fisheries/ferry dock. Anchor down by 11:10 at Saline Bay, Mayreau, Grenadines.

Several interesting boats here: pics.

At 11:20, the fast ferry came in, and proved they have plenty of room to get in and out; I'm not too close to the dock. They stayed at the dock for 5 minutes, tops. They came in from the N, but I was surprised when they left right through the middle of the anchorage, going SE, and then turned E around the S end of the island; where are they going ? Oh, right, Clifton is on the SE corner of Union Island, so the straightest shot is to go down the E side of that island. Pics.

Brief, sharp rain at 12:30.

Sailboat leaving: pic.

Dinghied ashore after 1, in the heat of the day. A lot of surge trying to send dinghies under the dock; I put out a stern anchor. Not much on the beach, just a couple of women tending a big display of T-shirts and such. View of "Magnolia" at anchor: pic.

Walked up into "town", which is just a bunch of houses along a very steep hill. Stopped to take a few pictures down into the anchorage (pics; "Magnolia" is at bottom in last two pics; looking S; Union Island in the background), then more hill. Legs trembling by the time I got to the two-room school at the top of the island. Views of islands in the distance, in various directions.

On the way down, stopped at the one tiny grocery store I'd seen that was open. Bought a loaf of bread, paying with about 2 pounds of coins that have been making my wallet bulge for a while. Mount Gay rum mismarked at EC$15/bigbottle; was supposed to be EC$50. The lady quickly re-marked it.

Second grocery store, which had sign saying closed from 12:30 to 3:30, was open. Bought tomatoes and apples. No bananas or grapefruit at either store. Lady at the second store said the hill used to be steeper, until the government had a project with guys with picks and shovels to make a better road.

Back down to the waterfront, and watched fisherman rolling a skiff up into the shed, using fenders as rollers (pics). Chatted with a guy loafing, but couldn't understand a lot of what he said. Chatted with a lady selling T-shirts, and she said there will be a regatta here "next weekend".

Another view of that square-rigger next to me: pic.

Back to the boat. Hot afternoon. Guys on that big square-rigger next door swinging from the rigging and jumping into the water.

Wicked-fast-looking sailboat sailing S, off to the W, but I don't think they're going fast today, in the 8-10 knots of wind we have: pic.

Ferry came in again at 3:40, out at 3:45. Some powerful trim-tabs on the back of it, and big exhaust pipes. But it sounds like diesel engines, not turbines. I remember hearing the seriously-fast ferries between St Thomas and St Croix, I think, and they had turbines.

Apple and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Interesting styling on a fishing boat at the dock: pic.

Black car-ferry came in around 5:25, nosed in to the dock instead of docking fully, off-loaded some cargo and maybe a few people, and out by 5:40. Couldn't figure out why they didn't dock properly.

Well after dark, maybe at 8 PM, a catamaran came in and anchored between me, the square-rigger, and the dinghy dock. They seemed to know what they were doing, and ended up in a safe place.

Looked out at 11:30 or so, and the square-rigger is gone ! An odd time to leave. Didn't hear them go.
Sun for a new day  4/22/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Saline Bay, Mayreau, Grenadines.

Anchor up at about 10:05, sails up and engine off by 10:10. Sailed S toward Union Island, but the wind was light, fluky, and directly astern. Making 3 knots at first, then 4 knots as some current helped me, I think. But that meant less water over the rudder, and steering was finicky, resulting in a couple of accidental jibes.

Got to the NW corner of the island, and then the land started cutting off the wind a bit. Engine start at 11:25, furled sails, motored in. Anchor down by 11:45 at Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines.

Lovely big bay with plenty of water shallow enough for anchoring. Seems calm and quiet. About 8 other cruising boats here, including that big fast sloop I saw heading S yesterday afternoon (pic; look at guy in dinghy alongside to get a sense of the scale). Getting some gusts of wind, which is nice. Not much ashore here.

Grey and tiny bit of rain at 2:30.

Around 4, I started thinking my anchor was dragging. Since there aren't any good landmarks here, I sighted to the boats on either side of me. But after a while, I realized that the boats here are moving weirdly, and the boats on either side had been riding forward on their anchors. My anchor is holding fine, and my chain is heavy enough to keep me from moving around much.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Nice breeze died completely around sunset, and no wind during the night. Wish I could get something out of the wind-generator at night.
Sun for a new day  4/23/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines.

I've started reading another Clive Cussler book, and it's irritating. A lot of cruising guys seem to love his books, I guess because they're page-turners about a bunch of secret-agent types who go around in a gunship disguised as a freighter and kill lots of pirates and terrorists and other bad guys. The first book of his that I read, something about pirates near Indonesia, wasn't too bad. But the next one, about the Caribbean, was just loaded with errors. Kept getting east and west wrong. Had a hurricane pop up out of nowhere and surprise everyone. Made it sound like the National Hurricane Center was one woman and when she went to lunch, no one could get info about the hurricane. Said three 100-foot-diameter tunnels would be big enough to siphon off the entire Gulf Stream. Stupid. And this latest book, "Plague Ship", is full of small mistakes. I'm sure Clive is laughing all the way to the bank, but his books are pretty shoddy, although quick reads. I'm glad I pick them up for free.

After lunch, launched the dinghy and headed over to Rapid Point, at the NW corner of the bay, to do some snorkeling. But I couldn't find anywhere safe to anchor the dinghy; it's all steep drop-offs or bottom covered with big rocks. Bit of a surge coming in, too. Tried outside, went along inside, finally gave up and went back to the boat.

Anchor up a little before 1, and motored out. Around the SW end of the bay (Miss Irene Point), and motored E into light conditions.

Up and into harbor (fairly scenic: pic), and it quickly got very shallow, 5 feet or so. Went slow and pushed it as far as I could, trying to get up onto a nice patch of sand bottom that a catamaran has parked in. But I guess he pushed it to the limit, too, and his limit is farther than mine. Wedged the bow aground with my 3.5-foot draft as soon as the sand started, but a minute of gentle reverse and a couple of strolls onto the stern deck got me free. Put the anchor down by 1:50 or so at Ashton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines. Not quite far enough in to get as much protection as I wanted, but it's pretty calm here.

One other boat here, a USA-flagged sportfisher anchored further out along Frigate Island. But he left 20 minutes later.

Got a tiny bit of free Wi-Fi, but it's really tenuous. Interrupted by rain at 3 before I got all of the pics and log file uploaded. And I had been planning to snorkel here this afternoon, too.

Tried the Wi-Fi again and couldn't get connected.

Grapefruit and salad and leftover cold chili and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Enough light wind in the evening to spin the wind-generator.

Tried the Wi-Fi again at 10 and couldn't get connected. Switched from Rosewill adapter to GSky adapter and got connected. Maybe because GSky has bigger antenna (more dB gain) ? But Rosewill has two antennae. Signal still flaky. More bars on all signals, but don't know how accurate that is. Finally got the pictures and log file uploaded. Weather supposed to be very consistent, E 15 or so for the next week and a half.

Wind-generator running at a low level all night long; nice. Rained a couple of times; would be nice to get more water into the jugs on deck, which I use for showering and laundry.
Sun for a new day  4/24/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Ashton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

At 7, solid low dark grey clouds as a front/storm came through. Plenty of wind, good rain at 7:15, then more wind and still grey for quite a while afterward.

Did some Wi-Fi, but it's painfully flaky.

Starting to get rolly around midday.

Around 1, launched the dinghy and went snorkeling along the W side of Frigate Island. Big boulder-like aggregates of rocks and coral, and some fish, but pretty mediocre. Still, it's good to get into the water. Back to the boat and snorkeled on anchor and hull and prop. Anchor just barely holding in very grassy bottom here, and I was unable to stick it in any better by hand. Prop fairly clean.

Catamaran left around 3 or so; have the place to myself now.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Loud music playing ashore all evening and all night until 5 AM. Played last night, too. Doesn't bother me because I'm so far away that I can barely hear it, mostly just some bass. But I'd hate to live near it.

Lots of high-speed skiff traffic tonight, until 3 AM or so; that wasn't true last night.

Steady wind keeping the wind-generator going; no rain. Did a little midnight Wi-Fi, but the signal still is painfully flaky, mostly unusable.
Sun for a new day  4/25/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Ashton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore before 9. Chatted with some guys near the dock. Walked W and then E through town. Magnolia looking pretty lonely, at anchor far out in the shallow harbor: pic. House with rooster statues along one railing and hen statues along the other: pic. Not much here except 4 or 5 tiny grocery stores, none of which have any decent fruit or vegs. Lady in one store said some stores are closed for the holiday (Easter Monday, I guess). Bought onions, back to the dinghy, and back to the boat.

Added water to the batteries.

Engine start at 10, then a bit of trouble raising anchor, with wind strong and shifting, and I don't want to drift back too far or get pointed inward, for fear of running aground. Finally get the anchor up a little after 10:10 and motor out.

Turn E around Frigate Island, and hit a wall of current. Should be making close to 4 knots at this throttle setting, but I'm making 1.5 knots, then 1 knot. Straight into wind and mild swell, too. Nothing to do but slog through it. Reef on my port side, and I need to get past it and then turn more to port. A long, slow slog. Finally up and past the reef, and can turn across the current a little. Getting some shelter from Palm Island, and speed increases.

Into harbor, and it's small and crowded and deep in the middle. Pass by one possible place, circle inwards, too crowded there, head out, and a catamaran behind me grabbed the first spot I'd seen. Circled and anchored behind him, in deeper water than I like. Anchor down by 11:30 at Clifton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines. Anchor seems to be holding. Charter boats pouring in and anchoring. Sucks.

Charter boat anchored next to me (no threat to me), and zing, everyone into the dinghy and headed ashore. Maybe should have waited 10 minutes to see if the anchor is holding ? Anchor does seem to be holding. But there's a reef about 150 feet downwind of us. [Half an hour later, they were back and raising anchor.]

Well, maybe it doesn't suck here. Free Wi-Fi I was getting from Ashton is stronger here. And there's less roll here than at Ashton.

Weather forecast has changed a bit; now supposed to blow E 20 Tues through Thurs.

Dinghied ashore around 1:15, to the Yacht Club dock. Disposed of 3 bags of garbage and two empty bottles at an overflowing dumpster. Map of the Caribbean on the building: pic. Exchanged a book and two magazines at their bookshelf. They have a pool with 3- to 4-foot sharks (pics), with water flow to the harbor, but a grate so the sharks can't get out. Later, a guy told me they are sand sharks, and harmless.

Walked along the waterfront and into town. It's a holiday, with loud music playing in a lot of places, and people sitting out and drinking and strolling around, even in the heat of the day. Smelled a little ganja being smoked, too. Went into several grocery stores, but a couple of key places are closed: the supermarket, and the marine store that is supposed to have a nice book-swap in it. Food prices in the grocery stores quite a bit higher than in Bequia.

Chatted with a couple of guys in a bar/store. Bought fruit and vegs from a vendor; prices about the same as in Bequia. Wandered back to the dinghy and back out to the boat by 2:45 or so. No one has left, and more boats have come in, so I guess this is my anchoring spot for tonight. Anchor seems to be holding fine.

Grapefruit and salad and hot cornbread for dinner. A bit odd.

Several late-arriving charter boats have anchored well back toward the shoal/reef in the middle of the harbor; it's off their stern. Hope they don't drag anchor.
Sun for a new day  4/26/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Clifton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

Wind blowing harder today; E 18-20 or so.

Boat next to me left at 7:45, opening up a better anchoring spot. I should move into it. I've been trying to decide if I'm going to stay here all the rest of this week, and now I decide the answer is yes; no point in bashing upwind in these conditions to Palm Island or Petite St Vincent for a day or two, then back here to check out. Plan to leave on Friday for Carriacou.

Dark clouds to SE of us, maybe the edge of a squall will hit us. Maybe the catamaran ahead-port of me will leave and I can grab his spot.

See boats coming toward the harbor; don't want one of them to grab the spot ahead of me. Engine start at 8:20. As I'm raising anchor, the catamaran starts making noises about leaving. But I think I won't bother waiting for his spot; I'll just move straight ahead until I run aground, then drop anchor.

Anchor up in windy conditions; had to motor strongly a couple of times to keep the bow from blowing off badly and putting me sideways to the wind. Motor forward about 100 feet, until I near a transition from sand bottom to grass or coral. Anchor down by 8:30 in 10 feet of water, and wind quickly blows boat back to rest position. Much happier with this spot; anchor in 10 feet instead of 17 feet of water, boat over 15 feet instead of 25 feet (that doesn't matter much). And much more protection from the reef to the S of me; now I'm more inside the "horseshoe". Catamaran leaves across in front of me as I wash off the decks. Grey and windier and light rain at 8:35.

At 8:50, a charter catamaran that had been swinging almost onto that shoal/reef in the middle of the harbor has raised anchor and is coming forward towards me, looking to re-anchor. If I hadn't moved, they'd have grabbed this nice spot. They anchor off my starboard side.

More light rain starting at 9. Very grey. more rain at 9:30.

Catamaran came in at 10:10 and anchored on my starboard side. Not many good anchoring spots here, so they go fast. Windy now. Soon a couple of guys working on a critical repair on that boat: pic.

Gaff-rigged boat leaving: pics.

Lots of rain starting at 10:35. Really pouring by 10:55; visibility down to 1/4 mile or so.

Rain paused around noon, then started pouring again at 1. Kept pouring until about 1:50, then eased. Catamaran on my port side left around 1:45.

Another gaff-rigged boat leaving: pic.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Not as many boats in harbor tonight; most of the charter boats are elsewhere.

Wind howling by 7; thermal breakers in wind-gen have tripped.

Wind blew hard all night. Had trouble controlling wind-gen: sometimes the breakers were tripped and batteries weren't getting charged, other times it was putting out 15+ volts, sometimes batteries were full and I turned it off.
Sun for a new day  4/27/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Clifton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

Mostly grey, with wind blowing hard and steady.

Free Wi-Fi is working great this morning ! A treat. Then sudden rain chased me in at 9:30.

Dinghied ashore around 10:30. Big puddles everywhere. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Checked out an outboard-repair place; pretty bare-bones, but busy. Two hardware stores, both locked up tight in the middle of a Wed morning ? To Erika's marine/cruiser place, and exchanged half a dozen books at their book-exchange. Internet access at Erika's: EC$23/hour (about US$9/hour).

To a tiny bakery for a loaf of bread. Into the "supermarket", which turns out to be mostly dry-goods and pretty expensive. Bought butter. Then waited 10-15 minutes as it poured rain outside. Up the street to a small grocery store, even more expensive. To a fruit stand for bananas and a grapefruit. Boat-shack in center of main market area: pic.

Back to the dinghy, bailed it out, and a wet, rough ride out to the boat. Got there a bit wet, and found I'd left a couple of hand-towels out, so they were soaked. Plenty of wind, but it's spitting enough rain every now and then to keep me from hanging them out on the lifelines to dry.

Did some more Wi-Fi. Updating my password for my key online accounts, and hit one where I don't remember the answers to the security questions at all. Didn't write them down.

Lots of rain starting at 1:45.

More Wi-Fi. Skype-called my credit-card company and got the security-questions reset. Skype-called Mom and had a nice chat with her.

More rain-sprinkles. Wind steady and strong all day. Grey. Fair number of charter boats in and out all day. Half a dozen kite-sailers going wild in the shallow water over and behind the reef.

Salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  4/28/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Clifton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

At dawn, totally grey, very windy, and light rain. A little sunnier and drier later.

Did some Wi-Fi. A reader asked about my plans for hurricane season. I'm deciding between Trinidad or Martinique area. About 80% inclined to Martinique, because half of the cruisers who come from Trinidad tell me not to go there. I stay on the boat during the season; I don't store it on the hard. Martinique has one good hurricane hole (Baie de France), another semi-good place (Marin), and I really didn't see the island when I was there. Trying to find out if Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia requires insurance to stay there; if they don't, then I could use Rodney Bay as a hurricane hole too, and move into the marina for a few days if a storm threatens.

Around 10, decided to live dangerously, and did a bucket of laundry. Weather looks like it's breaking; plenty of cloud, but thinning out and getting sunnier.

45-foot power-cat "Avalon" came in and anchored on my starboard side, a little behind: pic (then they left about an hour later). 70-foot schooner came in and anchored on my port side, well behind: pics.

A couple of kite-sailers having fun inside the reef.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Used bacon in the spaghetti, because I haven't found any decent sausage in the stores for quite a while. Tasted okay, but not as good as hot Italian sausage.
Sun for a new day  4/29/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Clifton Harbour, Union Island, Grenadines.

Dinghied ashore around 9. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Noticed appropriate decorations in the Anchor Yacht Club: pic. Went to Erika's and exchanged several books; the lady got picky and rejected one of the books I was leaving, because it had a broken spine. Despite nice signs, Customs office is padlocked and Immigration office is empty; have to go to the airport. It's only a 1/4 mile walk. But there, the news is bad: I owe money. When I got a 2-month extension in Bequia, Customs had just directed me to the Immigration desk to do it. The officials here say Customs there should have charged me EC$35 for each additional month. So I have to pay EC$70 (about US$27) now. No big deal, but the place is not as cheap as I had thought. And I have to fill out the forms all over again. Done and back to the boat by 10.

Engine start at 10:20, anchor up by 10:25, engine off and sailing by 10:35. But there's not much wind today, at least out here; there seemed to be more at anchor. Making 2 knots or less.

I stick it out for a while, but finally give in and start the engine at 12:10. Motor-sail in, put anchor down, and don't like where I end up. Raise it, move, finally anchor down by 1:35 at Hillsborough, Carriacou.

Rolly here; despite E wind and ENE seas outside, somehow we're getting a W or WNW swell here. Bummer. And it's grey and humid and still and I'm sweaty and hot from anchoring.

Dinghy ashore around 2, and the situation at the dinghy down is nasty and dangerous. Big swell coming in, bashing the dinghies back and forth against a concrete dock, and there's one big rusty cleat-like thing set well back from the edge, that everyone has to tie to. Manage to get painter and locking cable to the cleat, stern anchor out (but not far enough), and myself and bag onto dock without disaster.

To Immigration, a slight wait, and the usual forms. To Customs, a longer wait, and relieved of EC$75 (US$29) for a month's stay.

Walk through town a bit, and it's bigger and denser than anywhere I've been since Kingstown. Low grey clouds building up and threatening heavy rain. Hot and humid. Into a medium-sized supermarket and buy a few groceries. Into another, buy a few more things, and when I check out, it's pouring rain. Stand waiting inside with 6 or 8 other people, including 3 or 4 cruisers, and we chat a bit; very nice. The rain is heavy and keeps going for 15 minutes or more. Finally it eases a bit, and I head back to the dock. Still raining too hard, so I duck into the Customs warehouse/office and wait with another 6 or 8 people, most waiting to catch the ferry, which is having trouble docking because some other boat is in the way.

Finally the rain mostly stops, and I head out to the dinghy dock. It's still nasty and dangerous, swell making dinghies surge in and out. My dinghy has about 2 inches of water in it and the contents (fuel tank, throwable PFD, anchor and line, paddle, emergency toolkit, etc) are sloshing all around the place. I bail it out, unlock the locking cable and extract it from the dock, start the motor, extract the painter from the dock, get free of someone else's painter that's across my motor, get my stern anchor up, and head out. Around the ferry before it's ready to start moving, through water that's showing the a lot of garbage washed out of drains ashore by the rain, and out to the boat by 3:45 or so. Wet and tired. Open up the boat, stow everything, hoist and lash the dinghy. More grey building up.

Very grey by 4:15, and boats pointing all different directions. Heavy rain starting at 5:15.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Very rolly evening, and it's a lumpy kind of rolling, unpredictable. Uncomfortable.

Heavy rain starting at 8.

Stayed fairly rolly all night, but I got some sleep anyway. At least there was a fair amount of wind, so the wind-generator kept the batteries up.
Sun for a new day  4/30/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Hillsborough, Carriacou.

Grey and still rolly. No reason to stay here.

Engine start at 7:05, anchor up by 7:15, and motor-sailed WSW. Wind from the stern, and very gusty and fluky, constantly threatening an accidental jibe. It would blow hard from one side of stern, pushing boat speed up to 5.5 knots, then pause, then suddenly shift to other side of stern, and soon be blowing hard from there. Tricky steering.

Past the anchored freighters here: pic.

Went past Sandy Island, which is supposed to have nice snorkeling. But it's too grey for snorkeling today.

Approaching the W end of Carriacou, and the two rock-islands offshore here are named "The Sisters" (pic). Probably seen half a dozen in the NE and E Caribbean with that same name.

Around the W end and started up into the bay, and now the wind is howling against me. But I get in a bit, furl the mainsail, and motor in up between some anchored tugboats and a barge. Then up through the cruising boats, and there must be 50 or 60 of them here. [Later, I realize that about half of them are unoccupied.]

Kept threading my way through, all the way to the shore on the E end, and put anchor down by 8:35 at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou. Nice and calm here.

By 9:15, I'm a little too close to a French catamaran with a family aboard.

At 9:25, start engine. Raise anchor, move it forward-right about 50 feet, put it down. Done by 9:35. And now the wind has shifted a bit. And that French catamaran is making motions to leave, so I could have stayed put. They're gone 15 minutes later. Oh, well. Maybe a boat full of babes in bikinis will come in and anchor there.

Got a tiny bit of free Wi-Fi.

Weather turned sunny, so did a bucket of laundry.

JB-Welded a crack in a water bucket.

Rain starting at 4:20.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Lovely calm night; slept well. Heavy rain starting at 3.
Sun for a new day  5/1/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.

Grey morning. Heavy rain at 6 or so. Sunny by 8.

Backed up my laptop to external hard disk.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Around 2, was starting to think about launching the dinghy and heading ashore, to go to the "Maroon" festival, when who came by but John from "Ventoso" ! Last saw them in St Martin over a year ago.

So around 2:30, I went over to "Ventoso" and had a lovely visit, for almost 3 hours. They fed me some cookies and chips and a rum-and-coke, and we talked and talked. They arrived here midday yesterday, and may leave tomorrow. They came up from S end of Grenada, solely to get a better angle for sailing down to Tobago. Seems like a long way to go (30-35 miles ?) to change the trip from ESE to SE.

They had responded to few of my emails, being busy with various concerns. Mainly, John had a fall off some scaffolding while painting their boat in a boatyard in Grenada, and got a nasty deep gash in his leg. They carted him off to the hospital right away, but made the mistake of going to the "private hospital" instead of the "university hospital". They sewed him up and said come back in 2 weeks to have the stitches out. In less than a week, he had a major infection, and ended up visiting the university hospital every day for a week and then 3 times a week for several more weeks until antibiotics could cure him. I think the wound had to stay open for much of that time, too. He has an L-shaped scar on his shin that's about 6 inches long. He had to have interior stitches as well as surface stitches.

We chatted about where I'd been and where they'd been, and I asked about Trinidad. Half the cruisers coming from there say "go see it", and the other half say "skip it unless you need a lot of labor-intensive boat-work done". I'd about 2/3 decided to skip Trinidad, but John and Janet talked me into changing my mind. They say it's a reasonably good place, and I should see it. (But they're very clear about Venezuela: don't go there.) So I will go to Trinidad. And now I have to start arranging plane flights back to USA in late June; a few days ago I gathered this info for flights in early July:
Trinidad - Philly $814 1-stop
Trinidad - Newark $590 0-stop
Grenada - Philly $861 1-stop
Grenada - Newark $793 2-stop
St Vincent - Philly $1521 2-stop
St Vincent - Newark $1418 2-stop
St Lucia - Philly $754 1-stop
St Lucia - Newark $604 1-stop
And there's no point in adding a short-hop from one island to another; those flights are ridiculously expensive, as in $300 round-trip.
Philly is more convenient for me, but I'll have to look at flight times, because I need to bum dinghy-rides in and out at reasonable times. And figure out where I'll be leaving the boat and how safe it will be (from weather and from thieves). So you can see that arranging these trips is a tricky decision.

A future concern; if I get to Trinidad in early June, I'll probably be itching to leave by September, but that's the start of the heart of hurricane season. Maybe I could spend a month or so in Tobago, and then chance Grenada (which used to be considered hurricane-safe, but not since Ivan hit it).

We chatted about politics and books and boats and harbors and various stuff. A lovely visit. A boat they know arrived from Grenada as we were chatting; I think they're both going to Tobago. They pointed out another boat which they say is a ferrocement boat, the hull seems to be dicey and the engine doesn't work, and the guy aboard is planning to sail it across to the Azores. He's a very experienced sailor, but they fear for his life if he tries that.

They told me a story that I think took place in this harbor a few months ago. At 4 AM, a 53-foot boat dragged down onto "Ventoso" and tangled anchor chains with it. Soon the two of them were dragging down onto a third boat, and tangling with the two anchors that boat had out. At dawn, the guy from the third boat dove and started untangling everything. As soon as the boat that had caused the problem was free, it started fleeing the scene, and claiming on the radio that "Ventoso" had been the one that had dragged. There were witnesses, not a lot of damage, John and Janet sent a writeup to their insurance company, and they wrote a letter to "Caribbean Compass" magazine. Stand by for further info.

John fired up his computer and asked me to explain Facebook to him; someone created an account for him but he doesn't understand it. After a few minutes of showing him how it worked, he said "too complicated" and wanted me to delete his account. But Janet and I got him to wait until they got home to the kids in Scotland and gave it more of a try.

It probably was 5:30 when I left "Ventoso". I had planned to go to the festival at 3 and be back on my boat before dark, but now that plan is shot. I decide to head ashore anyway. I'll just check out the festival quickly, grab a bite to eat and listen to some music for 15 minutes or so, then back to the boat.

I dock the dinghy with half a dozen others at the main ferry dock, but it's not a good docking situation. The dock is high and concrete, and the small dinghy-dock access platform is tightly surrounded by other dinghies. I tie and lock my dinghy to a railing, put out a stern anchor, and scramble up onto the dock without skinning my knees. Start walking N up the road; I have to cross an isthmus of the island to get to Paradise Beach on the other side. A little nervous that I'm walking a new (to me) route on a new island near sunset, after docking at a new dock. I don't usually stay ashore after dark, anywhere.

It's an easy walk, in grey and warm and humid weather. But it's longer than I thought; almost 2 miles. And at about the 1.75 mark, there's a ticket table; you have to pay to enter. I'm expecting maybe EC$5 to enter, but they want EC$25 (US$10) ! I think about it for a few seconds, then turn around and leave. The music sounds nice, but it's not worth it. If I was in the mood to stay for 3 hours, or with a bunch of people, I would have gone in. Okay, so I'm cheap, too.

So I walk back; at least it's pleasant exercise, and I'm seeing an interesting part of the island. Back to the dock as it's getting dark, and I'm glad there's some light: somehow my stern line has gotten wrapped around my prop 3 or 4 times, and it takes some work to get it free. And it occurs to me that I have no nav-light on my dinghy. Out to my boat, and in the low light it's tough to open the combination lock on my main hatch. I could grab a solar-light from my stern rail to get some light, but I get the lock open without doing that. I had meant to take an umbrella and a flashlight with me to the festival, but forgot them in the excitement of going to "Ventoso". I'm glad I got back to the boat before full dark.

Shower in the dark. Grapefruit and apple and PBJ sandwich for dinner. A quiet evening with some breeze and lots of grey but no rain.

At 11:30, I turn on the BBC radio, and hear that they've killed Osama bin Laden. Wow !
Sun for a new day  5/2/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.

Totally grey morning. A little sunshine trying to peek through around 8:45, but not for long. And then rain at 9:30, and again at 10:15. Very dark and heavy rain starting at 10:45, and lighter rain continuing until after 11:30.

"Ventoso" is still here. I guess they decided not to go to Hillsborough and check out because it's a holiday here today and the officials would be closed.

More rain at 2:05. Grey and rainy all day.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/3/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.

Totally grey morning, dark and rainy and everything drenched and no wind. Blech ! Rain at about 4, 5, 7:45, 8:15. No sun and no wind means not much electric power.

Heard the cruiser's net from Grenada at 0730 on VHF 68. Nice to hear, but kind of worthless. The weather forecast they gave is the NOAA Tropical N Atlantic forecast, which treats the entire eastern Caribbean as one bloc. Useless.

Did a tiny bit of Wi-Fi, with a very flaky connection. Wind is going away today and will be very light for a week or more. I think "Ventoso" may be here for a while.

Weather cleared a little around 10:45, so I launched the dinghy and went ashore. Walked up and down the waterfront road, scoping out the shops. Into a laundry and found they had a nice big book-swap; exchanged 4 books. Grocery stores are small and have no produce and little bread, and the small fruit-stands are closed for some reason. Got pretty hot and sweaty walking around; it's very humid and not much breeze. More uphill to the road than I expected as I got to the S end, but a decent view of the harbor: pics. Also a nice-looking house: pic. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Fair amount of rain from 12:05 to 12:30.

Noticed at 1 that "Ventoso" is gone.

Ashore at 3 to boatyard. Not much here, and of course the place is muddy and drenched today. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Eventually found the Yacht Club building. The mini-mart in it is small; not much here. Found a jumbled book-exchange, and exchanged several books and got some magazines. Chatted with a cruiser guy on the dinghy-dock. Back to the boat.

Now it occurs to me that there's not much in this harbor, and I should leave, but soon there will be no wind. I could just motor the 30 miles or so to the S end of Grenada, but that would be graceless. And there are supposed to be strong currents in the gap between here and Grenada; if current is against me, it could turn into a long slog at 2.5 to 3 knots or so.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

In evening, some reasonably strong NE wind at times. If "Ventoso" checked out this afternoon and immediately left for Tobago, they should be having a decent sail.

I do a little Wi-Fi, and the weather forecast hasn't changed, and is exactly the same for Grenada as for Bequia (that's a little suspicious). Wind E 8-11 or so through about noon tomorrow, then more like 5-7 from all directions for the rest of the week, until Sunday or so. So if I want to use the wind at all to get to Grenada, I'd better leave at first light tomorrow. I decide to do that.
Sun for a new day  5/4/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.

Today is my 10-year anniversary of living aboard "Magnolia" ! Took possession of her 5/4/2001 in Key Largo.

Up at the first hint of light, and made the boat ready to go. Turned the key at 5:30, and the engine cranked weakly but didn't start. Left the batteries at 12.40 V or so. Waited 5 minutes, tried again, and it cranked just enough to start !

Anchor up by 5:45, and motored out through the anchorage. Turned upwind and unfurled sails. Motor-sailed out, with light wind from the stern. As I passed the SW corner of the island and into open water, I'm making a little more than 4 knots, which is fine.

Soon, speed is increasing ! I must have at least half a knot of current in my favor. Later, speed increases even more, then goes up and down, from about 4.2 to 5 knots. Wind is maybe 10 knots from ENE or so as I'm traveling SW, enough so the sails give a slight boost. But there must be a fair amount of current. I knew there could be a lot of current out here, but the guidebook shows it have a side-to-side effect, not really straight for me or against me.

A lovely ride down toward Grenada. A couple of times, especially as I approach Ile de Ronde, the wind strengthens enough so that I probably could sail at 3.5 knots or so. But I keep motor-sailing at 4.5 or so.

Past the Sisters (yet another set of rocks with that name), and over an underwater volcano (at Volcano). It's not active, but there's an "exclusion zone" around it. "Ventoso" came through it on the way up, another boat half a mile to W of me is going through it too, so I'm going through it, no big deal. I probably passed 1/4 mile E of the peak of the volcano, which is 500+ feet underwater. Nothing to see.

As I'm about 4 miles out from the N end of Grenada, around 9:15, low grey clouds close in and completely cover the island; can't see it any more, and it's a big island (pic). Probably a lot of rain falling. Soon I'm under the grey, and there's some increase in wind, and then less wind and steady rain for quite a while. Still can't see the island, for quite a while.

By 9:45 or so, I'm even with the N end of the island or slightly past it, heading SW, and speed has dropped to about 4.1 knots; I'm losing my nice current. Still lots of grey and rain over the island and over me (pic).

By 10:10, there's absolutely no wind, flag hanging straight down, and I'm motoring at about 3.9 knots. Later, speed down to 3.5 knots. Occasionally a burst of wind fills the sails, and once or twice I actually get enough wind to increase speed to 3.8 knots or so. Water is calm in the lee of the island. Some big fingers of muddy fresh water coming out from river outlets, carrying a lot of tree-debris and litter with them. Rain light but frequent. Have to dodge a few fishing-skiffs, and at various times I'm passed by a couple of cruising boats motoring S, and one going N.

Finally make it down to St George's. Had a bit of a scare when I looked to the side and realized I had just passed a local guy snorkeling far out in the bay, at least 200 yards from shore. I could have run him over ! I was watching out for boats and skiffs, not swimmers. He was trailing a small orange float. Can't imagine why he's out there; I think it's too deep to free-dive and get to the bottom. [A reader says he probably was spearfishing.]

To the harbor entrance, with cruising boats anchored outside. I figure there will be no room inside, in the Lagoon, but I head in anyway at 1:25 to scope it out. Sure enough, it's full of marinas and a few moored or anchored boats. If I was really aggressive, I probably could anchor. But the wind is going to stall out, so it will be warm and buggy in here. And I don't feel like pushing the limits.

I head back out, passing a shallow area directly across from the freighter dock. I could try anchoring there, but might get chased out by harbor control (if there is any). I wimp out and head outside to join the 8 or 10 cruising boats anchored out there. Safe but exposed to a swell from the N, so it's rolly. Anchor down by 1:50 at St George's, Grenada.

Rain has stopped, for a while, so I can open hatches and let the boat cool off after running the engine for so long.

Got some pretty good free Wi-Fi from the boat. Nice.

Chicken-onion-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Slept well, and listened to BBC from a station here after midnight. Slightly rolly at times, but not bad at all.
Sun for a new day  5/5/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Mostly cloudy morning, but some sun peeking through.

Cruise-ship came in to the dock outside town, and the net says it's the last big cruise ship of the season. Pic.

Listened to the cruiser's net at 0730, and afterward heard "Ventoso" nearby ! So I called them and chatted. They left Carriacou yesterday for Tobago, had a nice sail for a while, but in midday they found themselves E of Grenada surrounded by squalls and unable to sail SE toward Tobago; Janet said they had a choice of sailing NE (to nowhere, I think) or SW (to here); guess they could have gone NW back to Carriacou. So they're around the corner from me, in one of the bays on the S side of Grenada, and they'll probably go to Trinidad next. So I'll see them again either here or Trinidad.

Dinghied ashore to the W side of the Carenage. Walked up steep streets to Fort George. Paid EC$5.34 (US$2) entrance fee, and then waited out some rain under a gazebo, chatting with a local guy who turned out to be a tour guide, and a couple who were some sort of British.

Into the fort, and there's a basketball court in the middle ! Pics. Also several small businesses running in the fort: a gym or weight room, some kind of shoemaker or boot-repair place, some kind of sewing business.

This fort was the scene of a big fight in 1983. The island got independence in 1974, a left-wing coup brought Maurice Bishop to power in 1979, then a partly-Army coup took him prisoner in 1983. A massive crowd freed him, and he and the crowd took over Fort George for a while. Then part of the Army attacked the fort, captured it, and executed Bishop and half his cabinet. Then the USA invaded.

Terrific views from up top, although rain interfered a bit. Pictures of cruise ship, W side of W peninsula of town, the Carenage part of the harbor, the Lagoon part of the harbor, and the outer harbor (Magnolia is leftmost boat at anchor).

Back down into town, and into the FoodFair supermarket. Prices better than most places I've been in a while. But like most of the stores S of St Lucia, they carry very little produce; I guess you're supposed to buy it at street-markets. But I don't see any of those in this part of town, and the only one on the map is over the hill and down the other side. So I come away with plenty of groceries but no fruit. Back to the boat.

Did some Wi-Fi.

More wind this afternoon than I expected from the forecast of two days ago. But then I checked today's forecast, and it's changed quite a bit. E 10-11 wind for the next several days, instead of the very light wind that had been forecast.

In late afternoon, dinghied ashore into the Lagoon. Saw dock-attendant at big Port St Louis marina zipping around on a Segway. First to Grenada Yacht Club, where I exchanged 5 books at a nice book-swap. Checked price of diesel at the fuel dock, then walked out and checked at the Shell station; same price: EC$15.40/ImperialGallon, which is about US$4.95/USgallon. Thought prices would be cheaper here than in Bequia, but they're more expensive.

Saw a Hobie-cat that someone turned into a liveaboard, I think: pic.

Looked into a big variety/food store, then back to the dinghy, and across to FoodLand at the S end of the Lagoon. Prices not as good as I'd hoped; some prices higher than at FoodFair. And no sausage, no grapefruit. But they did have bananas. Blood sausage in the meat section. At deli counter, bought a "doubles", some kind of local specialty similar to a burrito. I asked what was in it before I bought it, got an answer I couldn't understand, something like "chirikri", and bought it anyway. [Internet search later: probably "chick peas".] Bought a load of stuff and back to the dinghy and out to the boat.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Comfortable night, not rolly, and listened to BBC after midnight. But would have been nice to have some wind to turn the wind-generator.
Sun for a new day  5/6/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Did a bucket of laundry. Sunny day.

Cruise ship came in around 7:30. This one a bit smaller than the one yesterday. And the cruiser's net said "probably the last one of the season".

Loafed and did Wi-Fi. A reader told me about an underwater sculpture garden at a point I passed just N of here; I'll have to go there and check it out. Tried to arrange plane flights back to USA in late June, and as usual the schedules are inconvenient, departing either too early in morning or too late in afternoon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Rolly and uncomfortable from 11 to 12:30 or so; light wind pointing boat NE, and small swell coming from NW.
Sun for a new day  5/7/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Did a little Wi-Fi, but still no resolution on the plane tickets.

Dinghied ashore around 10, to the W side of the Carenage. Walked uphill, looking for a can to dispose of a couple of bags of garbage, but they don't seem to believe in public garbage cans on this island. Went to several banks to try to get cash, but none of the ATMs would take my card. But the little wastebaskets in the ATM vestibules took my garbage bags.

Down the other side of the hill, and it's market day, so lots of activity and one street blocked off. Tried another bank, no luck with ATM card, but then tried my credit card and got cash that way.

Into the street-market. Bought 6 grapefruit for EC$5, a very good price, but I'll find out their quality later. Bought eggs. Into FoodLand supermarket, and bought several items. Back up over the hill and down to the dinghy, and back out to the boat.

Did more Wi-Fi.

Grapefruit and salad and a "doubles" and a rum-and-dietcoke and an apple for dinner. Burnt the "doubles" on one side while heating. It's mostly dough wrapping, with filling of chick peas and some spices. Not bad.
Sun for a new day  5/8/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.


Fuel level 5.8 inches at engine hour 4799. Cleaned engine intake strainer.

Skype-called Mom and wished her a happy Mother's Day, but the connection was terrible.

Engine start at 10:30, anchor up by 10:40. Unfurled the mainsail and motor-sailed N. Up a couple of miles and into anchorage. Fishing boats, and lots of unoccupied mooring balls in the way. Anchor down by 11:20 at Grand Mal Bay, Grenada.

Some free Wi-Fi here, but swirling wind and current keep the boat moving so much that I keep losing the signal.

A little before 2, launched the dinghy and went snorkeling out on Moliniere Point. Supposed to be an underwater sculpture garden out there. Decided not to take my nice waterproof camera; I'm not 100% sure it's waterproof any more.

Longish dinghy-ride out to the point, and then I found moorings; I could have come straight out here in the big boat instead of anchoring this morning. But I plan to stay overnight anyway.

Tied the dinghy to a mooring ball, then a longish swim to shore, around the SW tip of the point, and into the garden area. Through a school of about 100,000 silver striped 3-to-4-inch fish on the S side; very nice.

The sculpture garden turned out to be kind of underwhelming. The sculptures are small and being overrun by algae. Probably the idea was that they'd grow coral and become part of the seabed. Much better pictures on the internet than I could have taken myself: pics (but they make the sculptures look a lot bigger than they are). (Turns out I saw only about 1/3 of them; I didn't know many of them are outside the set of red mooring balls.)

A pleasant swim, good exercise. Back to the dinghy, and back to the boat. Scraped hull and prop for a while, with current making all of the gunk swirl around me. Bailed out the hard dinghy, into the boat, and washed everything off and showered.

Grapefruit and sausage-onion-cheese-cornbread concoction and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner.

Very quiet night. BBC reception cut off by the hills.
Sun for a new day  5/9/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Grand Mal Bay, Grenada.

Headachey. Took pills and slept late.

Did Wi-Fi. Tried to make plane flight reservations, had to reset password and set up online acct, and by the time I had finished doing that, price had gone up $70 (more than 10%) ! Gave up and will try again later, to see if the price has gone back down.

Grapefruit and salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Wind light but in odd directions during the night. Worried that it might push me ashore, but it's much too light for that. BBC reception cut off by the hills.
Sun for a new day  5/10/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Grand Mal Bay, Grenada.

Wind getting stronger, still in odd directions such as N and S and SW. I guess I'm close enough to tall hills that it's swirling around them.

My back is sore, probably from hunching over the laptop while doing Wi-Fi.

Engine start at 10:50, anchor up by 11, being careful not to hurt my back. Motored E and picked up a mooring by 11:15 at Moliniere Point, Grenada.

Had intended to snorkel the sculpture park again and also the nearby bay, but now that I'm here I've changed my mind. It's windy and rolly, half the time I'm on a lee shore so any failure of the mooring or mooring line would be disastrous, my back hurts, and launching the dinghy from davits would be tricky.

After lunch, getting windier but slightly less rolly. And I discovered a strong free Wi-Fi signal here, so I sat and did Wi-Fi for a while. I think I really am a bit addicted to the internet, but I guess that's one of the least harmful addicitions to have.

Park patrol boat came by around 2:45, just to give me a friendly reminder that I'm in a protected area.

Engine start at 2:55 and slipped the mooring. Motored SE straight into stiff wind. Down to the anchorage outside St George's, and anchor down by 3:40 at St George's, Grenada.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate on the cool of the foredeck; pretty hot in the pilothouse.

Lovely quiet night, enough wind to spin the wind-generator half of the time, and good reception of BBC on local FM station.
Sun for a new day  5/11/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Catamaran behind me is serious about electricity: four big solar panels and two wind-generators (pic).

Did some Wi-Fi, and purchased my plane tickets to fly from Trinidad to Philly in late June; $642 round-trip, which seems like a pretty reasonable price. A reader told me a trick: delete the airline web site's cookies to get the price to drop down to what I was originally seeing. If they remember that you had been looking, they try to nudge up the price. Actually the price I got is a bit lower than the first price I saw. Either the cookie trick worked, or just waiting more than 24 hours worked.

Freighter came in (pic).

Launched the dinghy and headed S to Grand Anse. I guess if your house is for sale, you could just paint the sign right onto the house: pic. Docked at a nice big dock, the only one in the whole bay. Disposed of a couple of bags of garbage; free public garbage cans are all over the place down here, and none in town or in the Lagoon. Big fishing net spread out on the beach: pic.

Walked up to the road, then S down it. Hot afternoon, lots of fast traffic on the road. Supposed to be several large shopping malls in this area, but I found only one of them, and it wasn't too impressive. But it did have a fish pond in the middle of it: pic. Bought groceries in the FoodFair supermarket, fruit at a roadside stand, and back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Hot.

Grapefruit and salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/12/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Listened to cruiser's net, and there's a tall ship in the Carenage today; I'm hoping to glom onto a tour of it around 2 PM. I can see it from my boat, and it doesn't look as impressive as most "tall ships" I've seen; just looks like an old three-masted schooner. Maybe it looks better up close.

Did a little Wi-Fi, and started looking at rental-car rates from Philly airport. They start around $65/day (not sure if that includes insurance and all taxes), but the interesting thing is that "Toyota Prius or similar hybrid" is listed at $396/day ! I don't think it's a typo; some of the normal luxury sedans are listed at $189/day.

Dinghied ashore, into the Lagoon. To GYC, and exchanged 10 or 11 books at their bookshelf. Across to Port Louis marina, and it's all new and sterile and expensive and megayachty; nothing for me here. Back to the boat.

Headed ashore to the Carenage around 1. I take it back, the tall ship "Picton Castle" looks plenty tall from close up. Picton Castle's web site. Picton Castle's Wikipedia page.

Wandered the waterfront a bit; always bemused to see old-fashioned phone booths in the islands: pic. Some colorful fishing boats, too: pic.

Sat and waited for 10 minutes, and then a dozen white people showed up from a van (cruisers who came over from the anchorages on the S end of the island). I joined them, we got down into a skiff, and they handed it out to the ship. Up a 3-step ladder, and we're aboard !

Local guy nearby is snorkeling off a junk-raft; maybe he makes money by scraping hulls or something: pics.

We split into two groups, each with a guide, and got a tour of the ship. The voyage started in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, went to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, islands in the Pacific, to South Africa (where our guide joined), up to the Caribbean, and soon home to Lunenburg. Crew of about 50.

We went through the waist of the ship (topsail repairs in progress), up to the bow to see the anchor windlass (rust-chipping in progress), down to the crew quarters (a bunk bed and a locker apiece), past the helm cabin and then the door to the engine room, and to the "aloha deck" at the stern where the wheel and compass are located. A nice tour. I took lots of pictures: pics.

Down the side, into the skiff, and handed it back to the wharf. As everyone else headed for the van, I went the other way. Into FoodFair for a few groceries, then to the dinghy and back to the boat by 2:45.

In late afternoon, some of the crew from "Picton Castle" rowed by and went swimming near the beach: pic.

Cornmeal-sausage-onion-egg-cheese concoction and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate in the cool of the foredeck.

Not much wind this evening and night, until wind suddenly started up around 2 AM.
Sun for a new day  5/13/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Slightly windy morning; nice after the too-light winds of the last few days.

Nice-looking trawler "Oceanwolf" (maybe 70-foot) has been anchored nearby for last couple of days: pic.

Did Wi-Fi.

Weather turned grey and stayed grey all day long.

Grapefruit and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/14/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

A bit rolly this mormning, and wind a bit gusty.

Found a dead squid on deck, about 4 feet above the waterline: pic. Can they jump that high out of the water ? Or maybe he was carried by a bird (but he was intact). Squid was pretty small, about 5 inches long, so even a European swallow could have carried him (it's a simple question of weight-ratios). Gave him a burial at sea.

Dinghied ashore to the W side of the Carenage. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Instead of walking over the hill to the W side of the peninsula, found the tunnel that goes through the hill: pic. The 7-foot max height limit is enforced by an I-beam installed across the tunnel entrance. No sidewalk inside, and it's a bit narrow, so I got a little nervous each time a van came through while I was walking in there.

Walked along the waterfront a little, through a mall that was just opening for the day, then to the bus station and fish market area, where things are really hopping, lots of traffic and sidewalk vendors. Into "Marine World" (really should be called "Marine Room"), and bought a new strap for my snorkel mask for EC$5 (US$2); was pretty amazed they had the right thing, and in their bargain-box.

To a supermarket for a few things. Then to one sidewalk vendor for grapefruit, another for bananas. Checked out the central market a little, then back through the tunnel to the dinghy, and back to the boat.

Weather changed from sunny to grey around noon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate in the cool of the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  5/15/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Very grey and humid morning, with occasional rainsprinkles. Then rain starting at 9:35. Stayed grey and hot and humid all day.

Around 1, heard a lot of music from shore, and figured I was missing a parade or something. But then a couple of party boats came out of the harbor. One was a ferry boat with tents set up on deck; the other was the "Rhum Runner II", which passed in front of me (pic). BBQ set up on the stern, and it was starting to smell good. Nice music.

Cornbread-salami-cheese concoction and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/16/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Dinghied ashore to the Carenage. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Chatted with a local guy for a little while. Watched a couple of guys slide a heavy generator down a long, thin gangplank to shore (pic), but they made it with no disaster.

Walked around to E side of Carenage, but not much of interest over there, except a decent view of the W side (pic). Now that there are no more cruise ships, the taxi guys are desperately calling out to any white face they see, asking if they need a ride. Got some groceries. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat.

Smallish cruising catamaran (probably a Gemini) came in around 1:45 to anchor. Guy at the helm was an idiot, going way too fast in both forward and reverse while anchoring. Couldn't get anchor to stick near mine (would have been swinging pretty close to me), tried anchoring in a different spot, eventually saw them heading around the SW corner of the island to the bays on the S side, which is a couple of hours away. A dozen boats are anchored here, tens of thousands have anchored here over the years, and that boat couldn't get their anchor to stick. Crazy.

Salad and grapefruit and salami-and-cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/17/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Nice strong Wi-Fi signal in the morning.

A couple of interesting sailboats here: pics.

Quite a few boats, maybe 6-8, coming into the anchorage this afternoon. I wonder if this is part of the annual migration to get south out of the "hurricane zone" before the start of hurricane season (June 1), mainly for insurance reasons.

Really odd little excursion-boat came past: pic.

Grapefruit and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches and an apple for dinner.

Started developing a sinus headache during the evening, and then it got worse and I had a miserable night.

Weather is changing, and we got some rain at 1:30, then rain a couple more times before dawn.
Sun for a new day  5/18/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Still have headache. Spent much of the morning in bed.

Headache gone by midday. Did some Wi-Fi, but signal lousy.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/19/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Headache again; stayed in bed. Grey and humid morning, trying to rain. Had planned to go ashore, but headache and weather changed that.

Dinghied ashore in midafternoon, to Yacht Club. Exchanged 4 or 5 books. Then dinghied across the Lagoon, holding up an umbrella against the rain, to FoodLand. Got groceries. Made an impulse buy: peanut rum punch: pic. Back to the boat five minutes ahead of the next rain.

Grapefruit and salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Still have headache; took pills.
Sun for a new day  5/20/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Still have headache. Loafed and napped and read and did some computing and some Wi-Fi.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/21/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at St George's, Grenada.

Still have headache.

Dinghied ashore to the W side of the Carenage. Walked down to the fishing-boat area and disposed of two bags of garbage. Love the paint job on this fishing boat: pics. Back past the dinghy and through the tunnel to the W side of the peninsula. Stopped in a bakery and walked through the central market, looking for baked goods, but didn't find any to my liking. Into one supermarket, didn't find anything on my list, into a second supermarket, got some stuff, then bought grapefruit from a street vendor. Back through the tunnel to the dinghy. Nasty oil in the water, getting on my dinghy-painter and locking cable and my hands. Back to the boat.

Tried to decide whether to head to S side of the island today or tomorrow. Wind supposed to be a couple of knots less tomorrow, and I'm going to gave to bash into it once I turn the SW corner of the island. But I feel like moving.

Added water to the batteries.

Engine start at 11:25, anchor up by 11:30, unfurled the mainsail. Motor-sailed WSW, making 4.5 knots at very low throttle setting. Wind stronger than I expected. Pleasant jaunt down to the SW corner of the island, where I rounded up and furled the mainsail before passing the point and heading E.

As I expected, rough and windy down here, and I'm heading straight into it. But there must not be any current against me; speed has dropped to 3.5 knots or so, which isn't bad. A lot of up-and-down, and some rolling, but it's only about 2 NM to the harbor, so I can take it.

Up into harbor, and it's a bit crowded, as I expected. But found a decent spot without too much trouble, and anchor down by 1:35 at Prickly Bay, Grenada. About 2.5 NM SSE of where I was anchored this morning, but I had to go the long way around to get here.

A bit rolly here, as the guidebooks warn. But not too bad. Still have a headache.

Did a little Wi-Fi.

Rolling got worse, starting at 4 or so.

Grapefruit and salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Investigated state of the nav lights; stern light works but no power to bow lights.

Miserable night, very rolly and headachey. And couldn't get the local FM station that plays BBC at night.
Sun for a new day  5/22/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Prickly Bay, Grenada.

Still have headache, worse than before. Harbor still very rolly. Was going to explore boatyard end of the harbor today, and then maybe move to a better harbor. But with this headache I'm just going to do the necessary.

Engine start at 10:40, anchor up by 10:50. Motor out, and conditions outside are rough and there's a current against me. Slow, painful slog half a mile E to the entrance to the next harbor. Entrance doesn't match the guidebooks I have, but the reefs and two markers are clear enough. Inside, and anchor down by 11:45 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

What a change ! Very quiet and calm in here; can hear cruisers chatting a couple of hundred feet away. Nice. But I still have the stupid headache.

Napped a little, did a little Wi-Fi. Struggling with the weather forecast to go S to Trinidad. My month here ends next Monday, I think. Have to be in Trini before June 23, to fly out of there. Forecast for wind is E but a bit light until Thurs, then stronger but a bit more ESE or SE on Thurs/Fri. Have to leave in late morning or before noon, to get there in good light. Should take 20-24 hours to get there. All of this assuming the headache goes away.

Thought I had a Doyle guide to Trinidad, but have searched several times over the last few days, and I guess I never bought one (sure enough, looked back to 9/2006 log, and I didn't buy it). Only have Pavlidis guide, which isn't enough.

Grapefruit and salad and PB-sandwiches for dinner.

Very quiet night.
Sun for a new day  5/23/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still have headache, but maybe a little better than yesterday.

Did some Wi-Fi. Still don't know when I should go to Trinidad.

Dinghied ashore to the marina. Chatted with a guy from "Honah Lee", about the lay of the land here and in Trinidad. The dinghy-dock fee mentioned in my guidebook is not in effect. Bought EC$20 worth of gasoline. Gasoline here is EC$16.21/ImperialGallon, diesel is EC$16.81/ImperialGallon. They don't sell duty-free after you check out, unless you buy an enormous amount of fuel. Exchanged a couple of books in the office book-exchange. Not much else of interest here.

Out to the road, and a long, hot, occasionally steep hike across the peninsula to Prickly Bay. Saw a nice-looking house: pic. Got to the marina, and it's a bit disappointing. One tiny grocery story, which had the Doyle Trinidad guide but for EC$81, which seemed a bit pricey. A tiny book-exchange. Gasoline here is EC$15.89/ImperialGallon, diesel is EC$15.93/ImperialGallon. They don't sell duty-free after you check out. Customs/Immigration is open MTWRF 8-4 and SS 9-2. Chatted with a cruiser from Trinidad/Venezuela; he says Chavez has ruined Venezuela economically and will start a war with Colombia soon.

Decided the shops and boatyard further down this bay are too far away to walk to, at least today. Not sure if the bay is as rolly today as it was when I was here; a couple of boats seem to be rolling quite a bit, but others aren't. Still not sure when I'm going to leave, and how: buy fuel here or in Hartman Bay, come here by boat to check out or walk across from Hartman.

Back across the peninsula, taking a couple of wrong turns up and down hills. A street my map shows as going through doesn't seem to go through any more. Got back to the marina hot and sweaty and dehydrated. Out to the boat. Have decided I'm going to Prickly Bay by boat to buy fuel and check out, probably Thursday morning.

Headache has eased ! Maybe the exercise burned it off, although I thought exercise was not a good idea while you are sick.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Felt good all night; headache is gone.

Found BBC on an AM radio station from 10 PM onward; nice.
Sun for a new day  5/24/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Feeling good. Did some Wi-Fi; weather still looks okay for going to Trinidad Thurs/Fri.

Loafed and did Wi-Fi.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Quiet night.
Sun for a new day  5/25/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Weather still okay for going to Trinidad tomorrow/Friday.

Noticed a house or hotel across the bay that looks very odd, sort of Hobbit-y: pic.

Email from "Ventoso" in Trinidad says diesel there is TT$7.60 per litre. Let's see, TT$6.4/US$1, 3.8liters/USgallon, that's US$4.51/USgallon. And in Prickly Bay here, diesel is EC$15.93/ImperialGallon. Let's see, EC$2.6/US$1, 1.2USgallon/ImperialGallon. So price here is US$5.11/USgallon. I probably could make it to Trinidad with the fuel I have in the tank, even if I had to motor all the way, but I think I want to get an extra 10 gallons or so.

Who knew cruising involved so much math ? And it's just as bad in the supermarket, converting from EC$ for grams of something, to US$ for pounds of it.

I'm getting a bit anxious about this hop to Trinidad. The normal nerves in advance of a longish hop and a new country, plus reading up on official regulations and old reports of piracy to the W of my planned track, and looking ahead to getting the boat settled in advance of flying back to the USA.

Wind picking up in the afternoon, as forecast. Can't tell the direction from in here; the hills are making it come from all directions. Calmed down a little by 3 or so, but still gusting.

Skype-called Mom and chatted with her for a few minutes.

Booked a rental car for first days of my trip to Philly. Usual strangeness: rental for two days cheaper than rental for one, maybe about the same once I add liability insurance.

Wind gusting and swirling, some rain around 4:30. Wind blowing me over a mooring ball; hope it doesn't get caught in my prop.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/26/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a little Wi-Fi at 7:30. Weather still okay to go S to Trinidad. In fact, forecast today is better than yesterday: wind more ESE rather than SE. So I'll be hopping over to Prickly Bay this morning to get fuel and check out, then off to Trinidad.

Latest report from Trinidad includes:
Not as bad as often reported. The Chaguaramas area (marinas and boatyards) is mostly secure. A couple of outboards stolen while we were there, but certainly not a war zone. Authorities seem to have changed their mind towards yachting, and are more supportive. The level of violence (body count) in the city is very bad, but mostly concerns the locals. Stay away from the city at night time, and DO NOT walk alone any time. We had no problems in the time we were there, but did take the usual precautions.

VHF cruiser's net this morning reported that a cruiser accidentally drowned here last night. Might have been drunk ? Not sure.

Tried to start the engine at 8:05; not cranking hard enough to start. Got it started at 8:10. Anchor up by 8:20 and motored out.

A rough and rolly trip around the peninsula to Prickly Bay; should have unfurled the mainsail. Noticed a house or hotel that looks like a castle: pic. Had to circle for a while before the fuel dock became free; the fuel dock here is barely big enough for one boat at a time. Docked by 9:15.

The office here told me the wrong price for diesel the other day: it's EC$16.93/ImperialGallon, not EC$15.93/ImperialGallon. Slightly cheaper in the other bay, but not by much. Bought 10 gallons; my cash supply is a little limited.

To Customs/Immigration and checked out. Left the dock at 9:45.

Motored halfway out, unfurled sails, motor-sailed out. Conditions a bit less favorable than I expected: waves and wind straight on the nose from my course to Trinidad, 175 true. Bummer.

I press on for a while, but there's no chance of sailing; it'll be motor-sailing all the way.

I give it a couple of hours, thinking about all of the downsides of Trinidad as I'm traveling. Fairly rough and rolly trip, and I'm being forced off my desired course.

Around noon, I realize this just is not working. I'm averaging about 3.6 knots on course 205-210 true; if I turn up to the desired 175 true, I start making 2.2 knots. 205-210 will put me uncomfortably close to pirate and Venezuela territory, and will swing me far to the W, resulting in a slog straight E at some point. Either course is looking like a 30- or 40-hour trip instead of the 20-24 hours I hoped for.

At 12:15, I say to heck with Trinidad, and turn around. Wow, what a difference ! All of a sudden I'm motor-sailing at 5.8 knots, on a course just about straight back to Prickly Bay. I must have been bucking a 1 to 1.5 knot current to the W or WNW, plus the wave and wind.

So, I think I'll stay in Grenada and fly out of here to the USA. Which means cancelling or changing my flight reservations. Which could be a $600 hit. Ouch.

Back to Prickly Bay around 2, and a real fiasco getting in and getting the sails furled. Enough wind and plenty of current and waves to make the jib refuse to furl. Two boats sailing in from the E, and another boat motoring in from the W. I get in, try to get out of their ways, almost drift aground, lose an end of a jib sheet overboard (thought I had a stopper knot in it, but I guess I didn't), and manage to get it into the prop. Starting to drift aground again. Get out a knife to cut away the jib sheet, but then try a very brief shot of reverse gear, and the sheet end comes right back out of the prop ! Eventually get both sails furled and running rigging tidied up.

Do a few circles, find a shoal, and anchor down on it by 2:20 at Prickly Bay, Grenada. Hot, sweaty, frustrated, skipped lunch, but I think I made the right decision.

Dinghy ashore to the officials, where there's no problem. They say hold onto my paperwork, and they'll deal with it when I eventually really do check out. Hope that works out okay. The Immigration guy wrote a note on my papers, so maybe it will be okay.

Dinghy across and down to Spice Island marine. Disposed of two bags of garbage. Bought fruit at a truck-vendor. Used the book-exchange in the restaurant. Chatted with a taxi-driver for a while. Walked out to the road and quite a ways down some other hot roads, but never did find a store where I could buy a loaf of bread. Back to the dinghy and back to the boat. Hot.

Bummer: can't get free Wi-Fi. Last time I was here, I found a free connection right away.

Mostly fruit for dinner.

After 11, got a tiny bit of Wi-Fi, just enough to upload the log file. Then got enough dribs and drabs of connectivity to figure out the new flights I need to fly to USA from here. Will have to get a better Wi-Fi connection before I can Skype-call the airline and make the changes and find out the penalties.

Rolly all night; didn't get much sleep.
Sun for a new day  5/27/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Prickly Bay, Grenada.

Rolly here, as usual. And no Wi-Fi. Engine start at 8:40. Anchor up by 8:55, taking a lot of effort. Yesterday, I tried to put my anchor down on the only shoal in here, but I guess it slid off the side; had to haul everything up from 30-foot-deep water. Unfurled the mainsail and motor-sailed out.

Around the corner, into teeth of wind and rough seas. But with mainsail up, it wasn't bad. Around and into the bay, and anchor down by 9:45 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Strong free Wi-Fi here.

Skype-called American Airlines, eventually got through to an agent, and she said I have to either lose the entire value of my ticket from Trinidad ($642), or let it sit around until some day I change it for $150 and use it to fly out of Trinidad. They can't change originating country on a ticket. But she said maybe Customer Relations would do something. So I sent an email to Customer Relations asking them to help.

Big rainsquall/storm starting at 1:55.

A little more rolly here than I expected. Last time here I was anchored in the E lobe of the bay; this time I'm in the W lobe. Less shelter here, but better Wi-Fi and more room.

Did more Wi-Fi. Fastest, strongest connection I've ever had from the boat, a couple of hundred KB/sec.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/28/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bad planning: there's dominoes at noon at a marina a little too far from me to the E, and the big soccer game Manchester United / Barcelona at 1 on the screen at a bar definitely too far from me to the W. So I guess I'll miss both. Bummer.

Grey and plenty of rain at 10:55.

Did Wi-Fi. No resolution on the plane tickets; I guess the airline office is closed on weekends. Sent them some more info, explaining about the sailboat.

Grapefruit and salad and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/29/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain at 5:30. Lots of grey and wind at 8 AM. Stayed grey, then rain at 9. Stayed grey. Rain at 11:20.

Did some Wi-Fi. A reader suggested seeing if my credit card's trip cancellation insurance will cover the $642 airline ticket from Trinidad; great idea ! Sent a message to the credit card company.

A couple of readers suggested a puddle-jumper flight between Grenada and Trinidad. I had found one that was $217 and bad schedule (15-hour layover on one end, 5-hour on other end), but someone just pointed me to Caribbean Air, which is $140 and better schedule. Another option.

Weather stayed grey all day.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  5/30/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain at 8.

Supposed to be strong wind (sustained 23 knots, gusts to 26) tomorrow morning, I think as a tropical wave comes through.

Haven't heard back from AA Customer Relations, and when I called AA Reservations again, I realized that they're probably off work, since today is Memorial Day. So I'll call them tomorrow.

Grapefruit and salad and salami-and-cheese for dinner. Out here in the middle of nowhere, I've run out of bread and cabbage and almost out of fruit; need to make a grocery run soon.

Rain at 5:15.

Some strong wind starting at 12:30, then stayed somewhat windy the rest of the night.
Sun for a new day  5/31/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Grey and a little windy. Stronger wind and lots of rain from 6:15 to 6:30. This morning's wind forecast for today is a little more moderate than yesterday's forecast for today.

Big storm/front coming through, starting at 1.

Skype-called the Trip Cancellation dept of my credit card, and it sounds like it doesn't apply to my case. It's for sickness, injury or death preventing a trip, not for "can't get to place where trip is supposed to start". Still no contact back from the airline's Cust Relations dept, which can be reached only by email or paper mail. Even the Reservations people don't have a phone number for them.

Called a different desk at the airline, no help, asked for a supervisor, got the same story. Country of origin can not be changed, can't lose just two segments of the ticket and keep the Miami-Philly segments, I have to lose the entire value of the ticket.

Bought a puddle-jumper ticket on Liat from Grenada to Trinidad, $239. Times aren't bad; very little layover. But more money, and more chances to miss a connection. Caribbean Air would have been $25 cheaper, but with much longer layovers.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/1/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Weather still grey. And today is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Engine start at 6:05, anchor up by 6:15. Motored out, getting more views of that "Hobbit house": pic. Snaked through the reefs, and out into open water for a while. Rough and windy and rolly out here.

Around a corner in the reefs and heading into harbor. Up the long bay, nearly having a close encounter with a ferry (pic). Past a tugboat that, I found later, a couple lives aboard (pic). Hmmm, there's a bridge to Hog Island that appears in neither of my guidebooks (pic).

Then anchor down by 7:25 at Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada. Found a nice spot here, nice and shallow and close to town and marina.

Listened to the cruiser's net at 7:30. They're using a couple of names for bays that aren't in my guidebooks, but eventually I figured them out. And I got crossed-up a little: one reason I moved this morning was to hook up with a group-taxi to shopping this morning, but it turns out there's one at 9:30 from the bay I just left. But I think there's another from reasonably close to where I am now. And that's not the only reason I came here; I need to scope out the area to decide where to leave my boat when I fly out. And it was a bit rolly where I was.

No free Wi-Fi here, as I guessed. That's why I stayed a while in Mt Hartman Bay, using the Wi-Fi until I got the plane flights straightened out. Can get paid Wi-Fi here for $35/month, not bad. But I'm leaving in 3 weeks.

Called a couple of marinas on the VHF and got straightened out on the buses and harbor names. Should have stayed where I was this morning, and caught a bus from there. But a specially-arranged taxi-bus is going from the marina this morning, and I'm welcome to join in.

So, ashore around 9:45, and found a bigger group assembling than I had expected. 4 or 5 cruisers plus a group of 4 from Canada down to visit some cruisers. So all 10 or so of us piled into the van, and eventually we were off. A friendly bunch, and we chatted quite a bit as we went.

Bad roads near the marina, then better roads, and soon up toward St Georges. More inland and up in the hills than I'd been by foot, so it was a scenic and interesting drive. First stop was a hospital/clinic where we dropped off two of the women. Then down into town to the market area, so we all could pile into Scotiabank to get money. I quickly got EC$600 out of an ATM, but most of the visitors were cashing traveller's checks, which took forever. Chatted with the taxi driver and another guy while we waited.

Then off to Island Water World, where one guy bought some stuff. Their monthly book-swap was in progress, but it didn't look too exciting, and I hadn't brought any books because I didn't know we'd be stopping here.

Off to a very nice IGA supermarket at Spice Island mall; probably the best supermarket on the island. I bought EC$189 (US$73) worth of stuff. Then the others piled into a food-court for lunch. I wasn't interested in that, but they were showing a replay of the Barcelona-ManUnited soccer game on TV, so I watched that for 10 minutes.

Back into the bus, and Miss Kitty sitting behind me gave me a back/neck massage as we trundled along; very nice. Off to a brewery (pic), where there was a 10-minute wait until their lunch hour was over. Dropped off 36 empties and the crew bought about 10 cases of beer.

Back to the marina, and I returned the favor by giving Miss Kitty a back/neck massage as we went. Unloaded everything, and paid EC$10 as my share of the fare. Hauled everything to the dinghy, and got out to the boat by 1:30. A long trip, but everything is slow when you have a big group of people.

At 5, headed up the bay to check out a "dinghy concert", something new to me. Someone had anchored a small tugboat rafted to a barge, with a couple of canopies and a bar and a live band on the barge. People came over in their dinghies, tied up to the barge or tugboat, and drank and chatted and listened to the music. Pics. It was quite pleasant, mild out on the water with a nice breeze and the sun going down over the hills. The music was nice, I got to pet a dog a bit, and there must have been a hundred or more people there. I stayed about an hour, then headed home.

Salad and salami-and-cheese sandwiches and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/2/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

My 53rd birthday ! Celebrated by doing a bucket of laundry. Decided to throw away a sheet instead of trying to wash it one more time. Time for a new pillow, too. I'm just a wild and crazy guy !

Still no free Wi-Fi here.

Dinghied ashore to a big floating dock that led into the bushes; several dinghies docked there. Hauled my garbage in, expecting to find a dumpster. But one path dead-ended in swamp, and the other led up and came out into the parking lot of some kind of car business. Out to the road, no sign of garbage cans, and not much here. Some locals said there's garbage collection early on Tues and Fri mornings. Back to the dock and dumped my garbage back into the dinghy.

Out to the boat, grabbed books, and in to Clarkes Court Marina. Exchanged 9 books at their book-exchange. BBC World Service on the big TV screen. Said hi to Miss Kitty. She pointed out the garbage can to me, so I was able to dispose of about 5 bags of garbage. Back to the boat.

Suddenly occurred to me: I could have avoided the flight back from Trinidad to Grenada by changing my return flight to go to Grenada instead of Trinidad. Probably would have cost me a little extra to do that, but saved me a flight and an extra few hours. Oh, well.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate out on the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  6/3/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

Dinghied ashore to catch a 10 AM taxi-bus to shopping. Bigger bus than the previous trip; plenty of room. Chatted a bit with various cruisers. But then I got very confused: I thought we would stop en masse at one store and then a second one, but people started jumping out at various places. At the roundabout near the Spice Island Mall, I got out with 4 or 5 others, but they immediately scattered, some catching other buses. I knew where I was, and could see the mall, but had no idea where or when we'd be picked up. Into a computer store for a few minutes, floundered around for a few more minutes, then saw a couple I recognized from the bus. Got the bus info from them, and it sounded like a long morning: a solid 2 hours until the bus picked us up.

Down to the mall, and into a big hardware store, which didn't have most of the items I wanted. Then into the big IGA supermarket, same place I was in two days ago. Still no decent grapefruit, no packs of carrots smaller than 5 pounds. Saw a couple of very pretty women, which was pleasant. Bought EC$108 worth of stuff. Waited and chatted in the store's entranceway for a while, then we started gathering in the bus. Not quite as long as I'd been told; we left around 12:10 instead of 12:30. Got some interesting info from the other cruisers, about tours and hurricanes and various other things. One guy worked at Gulfstar and Irwin and other St Pete boat-building companies around the time my boat was built; forgot to ask him if he might have worked on my exact boat, and what part of the building he did. And I've been trying to get a read on what happened here when hurricane Ivan hit in 2004; I thought only St George's was hit, leaving massive piles of boats, but now I'm told the S side was hit badly too, and boats were blown over in the boatyards on the S side too, because they weren't strapped down.

Back to the marina; lots of local kids having some kind of field-day in the field nearby. Paid EC$10 for the bus-ride. Back to the boat by 12:35.

Reading lots of web pages I saved to hard disk when I had Wi-Fi.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

It's been a bit warm and buggy at night here; usually a mosquito buzzing me every now and then until I kill it. Probably should move to a spot further out.
Sun for a new day  6/4/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

Engine start at 10:45. Anchor up by 10:55, complicated by a lot of fishing line snagged on the anchor chain, by coming close to the stern quarter of catamaran "Sanctuary", and by the guy on "Sanctuary" coming out and wanting to chat a bit. Got going, motored 1/4 mile, and anchor down by 11:05 at N end of Hog Island, Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

No free Wi-Fi here; I had hoped. Guess I'll go back to Mt Hartman Bay in a day or two.

Several boats snugged right up against the shore here, most looking unoccupied. But in midafternoon a 30-to-35-foot sailboat came in close past my stern and joined them. Must need good bug-screens to stay there.

A little before 6, headed ashore to Clarkes Court Bay Marina, for a potluck. My contribution was a cheesecake I bought at the supermarket yesterday. Took along some silverware, as instructed, and some sausage to grill, as I guessed I was supposed to do. Got there, disposed of a bag of garbage, and into the bar. Had a beer (EC$5 at Happy Hour, not particularly cheap), chatted with a local guy for a while, chatted with various cruisers. Someone fired up the grill and we started cooking and eating. I guess I was supposed to bring a plate, too. Someone rustled up a plastic paper plate for me, but my sausages right off the grill melted holes in it, so I had to be careful with it.

I'm told that sometime today, probably after I left, there was a small disaster over at the Woburn town dock. A barge tied up to take a crane on board. Usually they tie up tightly, then run the barge engine to push against the dock while the crane drives aboard. Apparently, this time, the barge operator was still snugging lines when the crane operator got impatient and tried to drive on. A line broke, the crane ended up in the water, and the barge spun away with no one on board. The barge ended up against another dock, so the barge operator ran along the shore and got back aboard. Not sure if they got the crane out of the water.

Most people (couples) brought cold salads: pasta salad, bean salad, some kind of couscous salad, etc. Only one platter of blueberry pastry for dessert, so my cheesecake went over very well. Very warm evening, too hot inside, so half of us stayed outside on the steps. Probably 15-18 people total at the event. When the guy from "Poco Loco" brought out a microphone and started singing (not badly), I started edging out. Soon I left, and the dinghy-ride back in total dark was a little worrisome (but I had a flashlight, and someone else came out right behind me, and the route was pretty simple). Back to the boat by 8.

No shore lights out here, and I'm in a fairly high-traffic area, so I really need to burn more than my usual two garden lights on the stern as anchor lights. So I fired up an LED anchor light inside the pilothouse, which lights up the whole pilothouse and deck brilliantly. Should have done that before I left for the potluck.

More wind later into the evening tonight, but after midnight it was totally still and warm and a bit buggy, even out here.
Sun for a new day  6/5/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at N end of Hog Island, Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

Hot morning; not much breeze. I think a weak tropical wave came through last night, and now the wind is stalled out behind it.

Noticed that one of the boats up against the island is one of the smallest sailboats I've seen, maybe 15-18 feet long: pic.

Got a tiny bit of tenuous free Wi-Fi, having to hold the antenna up in a certain way in the pilothouse.

Around 1, dinghied ashore to the marina for dominoes. But no one there; I had hoped for a lively game with 7 or 8 people, like we used to have in Puerto Rico. Exchanged a couple of books at the book-exchange, read a magazine, had a coke from the bar. Eventually Miss Kitty showed up, and we ended up in a game with two 10-year-old boys. A long, slow game with not much good conversation. It was fun, but a bit tedious after a while. And it was a warm afternoon. The marina bar on a hot, lazy afternoon: pics.

Back to the boat, planning to go to the beach-bar party that started at 3, but was surprised to see it was 4:40 already. And I'm hot and tired. Punted on the beach-bar, and made dinner. Hot afternoon and evening.

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Not a bad night, no mosquitoes, but no breeze. AM station that usually plays BBC at night was dead tonight. Wind suddenly started up a little around 5 AM.
Sun for a new day  6/6/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at N end of Hog Island, Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada.

Feeling headachey.

Engine start at 11:10, anchor up by 11:15. Motored out into fairly calm waters outside. Along the reefs, in through the dogleg, and into harbor. Did a turn through the extreme NW end to see how shallow it gets. Out of there and anchor down by 12:10 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Ahh ! Back in the land of high-speed free Wi-Fi.

Around 3 PM, finally got a response from American Airlines Customer Relations. They agree to (effectively) let me change my reservation for a $150 change fee, which is what I had asked for. But since it took them a week and a half to respond to my request, I had to make other plans (adding puddle-jumper flights) instead. Irritating.

Just found out that the day I'm flying out, 6/23, is a public holiday here, "Corpus Christi". Hope that doesn't screw up getting a taxi to the airport.

Salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/7/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Grey morning. Rain at 5:15, 6:45, 7:30.

A boat this morning on the VHF cruiser's net said they just arrived after a "very long 33-day" crossing of the Atlantic. Friends of mine on "Angel Louise" are crossing from Bermuda to Azores right now, expecting to take 20 days or so for that trip. I'm not interested in ocean-crossing; 24 hours on a moving boat (solo) is long enough to exhaust me. I like comfortable harbors and nice islands, with stores and Wi-Fi and books and radio. And my boat isn't an ocean-crossing boat anyway.

Did Wi-Fi most of the day.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner. After dinner, opened the bottle of peanut rum punch (pic) and had a few snorts. Not unpleasant, but the rum had a sharp edge to it, and the peanut flavor could have been a little stronger.
Sun for a new day  6/8/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain at 5:15 and 7:15 and 7:30, then sunny.

Finally got through to my Mom on Skype and chatted with her for a little while.

Tried to log in to one of my banks and it said my account was locked. Skype-called them, and it turns out that logging in from Bequia a couple of months ago looked suspicious to them, so they locked my account. Got it unlocked.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/9/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Interesting: the last cruise-ship of the season here in Grenada was in mid-May, I assumed to avoid hurricane season. But I see from a St Thomas newspaper that they still have 1-3 cruise ships a day, every day, in St Thomas, now in early June. I wonder why ?

Bacon-onion-noodle-mushroom-cheese concoction and some peanut rum punch for dinner. After dinner, my slight headache grew into a bigger headache; I blame the peanut rum punch. Later in the evening, took pills.

During the night, wind pretty gusty. And boat got pretty rolly at times.
Sun for a new day  6/10/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

My friends on "Angel Louise" are almost halfway across from Bermuda to the Azores, and it sounds like a slow, rolly slog to get across. I hate that kind of trip even for less than 24 hours; would be miserable to do it for a couple of weeks. And Sue has been a little seasick for a couple of days; that's the worst. And it's a pretty big hop from the Azores to Europe, too.

Found a dead squid in the middle of the stern deck (pic). He must have jumped pretty darn far to get there.

Dinghied ashore before 9:30 to join a group-van to shopping. Only four of us plus driver. Met Diane and husband from "Joana", and Ken from another boat. Tried to nail down where we were going to shop, to avoid having this take all day; at first it looked like just Island Water World and IGA, but then the list started growing. Off we went. To Budget Marine (where I ducked into the rigging shop next door), then Island Water World, then IGA, then to a stand to get "doubles" for lunch, then to a fruit/veg store, then to a fish/meat place, then to CK's warehouse store. As usual, each big stop seemed to take longer than it should, so we didn't get back to the boats until 12:30. That's the drawback of shopping with a group. Nice conversation, nice to see different places, but a lot of wasted time. Paid EC$10 for my bus fare.

I need to replace the standing rigging on my boat, after I get back from USA. Right now, the wire is non-metric (3/16", 1/4", etc) and has Sta-Loks on the ends. The rigging shop next to Budget Marine uses metric wire (5 MM, 6 MM, etc) and usually swages the ends, but they will do Sta-Loks. If I up-size some of the wires, I'll have to buy complete new Sta-Loks for those wires (expensive). Or I could change to swaging on them (have to be careful that they'll fit on the existing tangs on the mast). I could buy the wire from the shop or elsewhere, and do the cutting and Sta-Loking myself. Lots of different angles to consider.

Boat rolly at times all through the afternoon; maybe I should move to a calmer anchorage.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/11/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain at 1, and a little at 3.

Wind gusting strongly starting at 5 or so.

Sausage-bacon-rice-cabbage concoction and some peanut rum punch for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/12/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Launched dinghy around 3:15 in windy, rolly conditions. As I left, watched a charter boat coming in through an area that looks like all reefs to me, but might be part of the old channel in. I guess they had a local captain, because they came right in with no problem.

Around the point, in stiff wind, inside the reefs, to Hog Island, to Rogers beach bar. Not a bad place. Had a beer, but it wasn't especially cheap, and their food didn't look like a very good deal. More people arriving; a pretty good crowd developed. Some kids and dogs running around. But no music. One very beautiful young blond woman, very pleasant to see. Later a very young and pretty black woman showed up too.

Spent the whole time chatting with Fred, who lives on that boat I saw with the mast folded in half (found out later: broke the mast in hurricane Tomas, november 1, 2010 in Bequia). He was a photographer and then owned an advertising company in NJ. Sold out 9 years ago, but then the company folded and he got only 1/3 of the money he was supposed to. He started cruising, mainly from Massachusetts down to here. Interesting guy; we had a nice chat. He told me about the crane that fell into the water off the Woburn dock last week: it was a big thing, with six tires about seven feet in diameter, probably weighed 30K pounds or more. It wasn't a line that snapped; a bollard pulled clean out of the dock, taking a chunk of concrete about 2 x 2 x 4 with it. They brought in two more cranes to lift that one out of the water, then let it sit ashore for a couple of days before anyone worked on it. But they got the engine started, so I guess there was little damage.

Back to the boat by 5:45. Still windy and rolly. Salad and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Rolly night. And there's supposed to be strong SE wind coming on Wednesday, which will make things worse. I think I'll move tomorrow.
Sun for a new day  6/13/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Checked the weather forecast; SE 20-25 wind coming Wednesday, which will make my position very rolly, and I'm close to the marina docks as a lee shore. Then supposed to blow E 20+ for a couple of days after that. My back's a bit sore this morning for some reason, but it's time to move.

Added water to the batteries.

Engine start at 8:30. Anchor up from 20+ feet of water by 8:40, without hurting my back. Motored over to the NE lobe of the bay. A little tighter here than it looked from afar; a couple of mooring balls in inconvenient places. But anchor down by 8:45 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada. I'll be swinging very close to one float and probably right over another ball, if the wind stays NE as it is now in here (as shaped by the hills). If someone says they need to put a boat on one of the moorings, I'll have to move.

Nice and calm here; no rolling.

Ten minutes later, a guy rowed over from that small brown sloop nearby. I feared bad news, but he was friendly. David told me the float off my stern is one of his anchor floats, and he runs the other mooring for a friend, who won't be back for a month or more. So I'm okay here for this week. He says it does get very buggy close to the bushes here when the wind stalls out; I assumed that, and it's supposed to stay windy this week.

David has been here a couple of years. Bought his boat in Hawaii and brought it here through the Canal; his fifth Panama Canal transit. He's ex-Navy, was some kind of engineer in the Navy and knows all kinds of boat stuff. He's had several other cruising boats; this is just the latest. He goes hiking through the bushes here, but there aren't any real trails, so it's a hot and scratchy trek.

Still have the free Wi-Fi here; nice.

Picture of David's boat, and another sailboat here: pics.

Grey and pretty good rain at 1:30. Followed by light wind from SW which put me close to the bushes. Then finished a slow 360 clockwise.

Aha ! My interview for "The INTERVIEW WITH A CRUISER Project" finally appeared online: interview. Would you believe I submitted that back in mid-February, I think, and they told me "okay, it will appear June 13th" ! I guess they queue them up so people will come back to the site every week.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Out of spaghetti noodles, so I used curly noodles, but I had to throw away a whole package that had gotten moldy and buggy. Finished the last shot of the peanut rum punch; not going to buy that again.

After dark, wind moved me over the mooring ball and tangled in my hard dinghy painter for a while. Finally one of the three painters broke, freeing the boat to swing normally again.
Sun for a new day  6/14/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain and S wind at 5:15 or so, putting me close to the bushes again. But I've judged my anchor placement pretty well, and there's deepish water close to the bushes.

Wi-Fi pretty iffy this morning.

Rain at 9:50.

Salad and apple and cheese sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/15/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Heavy rain from 3:45 to 5 AM; first solid rain we've had in several weeks.

Very grey morning. Starting at 8:15, strong S wind putting me close to the bushes again. A little rain at 8:50. Wind from SW and rain at 9:35. Very grey.

Getting very dark at 10:15, and wind switching back to normal NE or so (shaped by hills). Then raining again.

Did some research on the web, and consensus seems to be to use Sta-Loks instead of swages in the standing rigging. I already have Sta-Loks, so no additional expense involved. But now I need to get a read on replacing Imperial-size wire (e.g. 3/16") with metric-size (e.g. 10 MM); does that affect the Sta-Loks ? {Later, someone said the cones (which have to be replaced anyway) are different, but the bodies don't have to change. Of course the wires go down to a thinner size if there is no exact metric equivalent.]

A tiny bit of sunshine around 1:45 or so.

Brief very strong squall at 2:30.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/16/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Grey and breezy but no rain. Then a sunny morning. Then sun and rain at 8:40. Heavier rain starting at 9:30. Sunny later.

Since I moved over here, I've been swinging over top of someone's mooring ball. I didn't worry about it, since I'm planning to move before I fly out to the USA, and David said the guy who owns the ball wouldn't be back here for another month or so.

Well, around 1:45 I'm sitting reading my book in the cockpit, when David calls across to me, saying "here comes Steve, the guy who owns that mooring ball !". Sure enough, a sailboat is motoring in and heading straight for me. Crap ! Have to raise anchor NOW and move.

So, I start the engine and start raising anchor, while the other boat circles around half a dozen times. My anchor is well-buried; it takes a few tries to get it loose. But I get it free and motor forward enough to let the other boat onto the mooring ball. David rows offer to offer to help with the anchors, and to say he thought the other guy wouldn't be back for a month. But I don't need any help.

I ask David about anchoring closer to the bushes, whether it will interfere with "Celtic Dream", another boat nearby. He says no, so I nose right up to the bushes and put down my primary anchor in about 4 feet of water, let out 115 feet or so of chain, and back down hard on it. Holding well.

Now I need to drop back between "Celtic Dream" and the moored boat, and put down my secondary anchor, to keep myself out of the bushes when the wind turns S or SW. I try calling "Celtic Dream" on the VHF radio to ask where their anchors are, but no answer. So I drop back, put down secondary anchor, move forward, and I'm in place. Engine off at 2:25. Looks like I should have put my secondary anchor about 15 feet further back; S wind might put me in the bushes, unless I shorten up the chain a bit. But I'm hot and tired and sweaty now. Maybe I'll move that anchor using the dinghy tomorrow. Or maybe I'll just shorten chain. Will see how it goes over the next few days. Hope it's not too buggy, this close to the bushes. Looks like I'm very close to the bushes, but I did put out all of that chain. A bit of an optical illusion, I think.

Managed to nick the top of a finger, and dripped a fair amount of blood on the cabin-top near the foredeck.

Glanced at my standing rigging, and noticed that only some of it looks like it needs replacement; looks like some is newer than the rest. The mainmast shrouds have rust in some strands, and the forestay has a broken strand. The rest looks okay. Of course, the forestay looks okay yet broke a strand; maybe that's a sign that looks can't be relied upon.

Grapefruit and apple and salad and tuna-salad sandwiches and a light rum-and-coke for dinner.

Not buggy during the night; some breeze, and I had screens on fore and aft hatches, but not on main hatch.
Sun for a new day  6/17/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. Got tired seeing Steve on his moored boat doing morning exercises.

Did a small bucket of laundry.

Managed to open up that nick on my finger again, and it bled freely. Put a band-aid on it.

Dinghied ashore for the 9:30 bus; I was there at 9:29 and got the last seat in the van, about 10 cruisers plus driver. Said hi to the couple I met from "Joana". Also said hi to Don Casey (well-known boating author) and his wife from "Richard Cory", last met in La Parguera Puerto Rico about 5 years ago. And Steve and his lady from the moored boat next to mine. And a few other people I didn't get the names of.

Off to a big hardware store, where I bought a 3-gallon rubberized "construction bucket" (EC$19 or about US$7), which should be much more durable than the plastic 5-gallon buckets I use for catching water. To an ATM, where my card didn't work. To Ace Hardware, full of lots of good stuff, but I couldn't find anything I needed to buy. To Budget Marine, where I registered my boat so I can avoid duty and VAT when buying. Tried to check the rigging shop next door, but they were busy so I gave up. Checked the book-swap at De Big Fish, but no books I wanted.

Dropped off most of us near Spice Island Mall. I tried an ATM, where my card didn't work. To the mall, tried another ATM, no go. Into the IGA supermarket and got a bunch of groceries. Was thinking of buying some nice Grenada-made chocolate bars for the family back in the USA, but it was EC$12.60 for an 85-gram bar, which works out to US$26/pound. Decided it was too expensive. Maybe I should have gone for it, but those 85-gram bars looked pretty skimpy.

Stopped at the Market Board store on the way back, but they had no grapefruit. Back to the marina, paid EC$10 for the bus fare, and back to the boat by 11:45.

Got a little local info as we all were piling back into dinghies: Raymond the boat-service guy may get back into business, which means garbage collection. I have about 4 bags piled up on my boat, and the marina here charges EC$5/bag for disposal. Raymond supposedly charges EC$5 for all that you give him, and provides other services to boats. So a lot of other boats need garbage servicing too, and someone's trying to get Raymond back into business.

Fairly windy today. Rain at 1:15. More at 2:15.

Around 3, dinghied over to sloop "Joana" (their blog). I've run out of cinnamon for my oatmeal, and Diane offered a couple of times to refill my little jar from their big jar, so finally I took her up on the offer. She gave me a tour, then her husband Wade arrived and we chatted for a while. Their boat is a 53-foot steel sloop that Wade built entirely by himself. Seven-foot draft, and mast too tall for the ICW. It was mostly finished in 2002, but they weren't ready to start cruising until 2009. Has 11-year-old Treadmaster on deck that still looks new. Lots of wood below, and it's stuffed with lots of goodies. 560 W of solar panels (I have 240 W on my boat). Two wind-generators (they just added a "SilverSpeed", I think, because the Rutland wasn't giving them enough output on night-sails). A generator. A fridge and a separate Waeco freezer. Expensive Miele washer and dryer that cost $2000 (each or for the pair, I'm not sure), but they had to replace the washer with a $500 Maytag because the Miele required 3-phase AC, and they just use lifelines instead of the dryer. They're Canadian from Ottawa, and I think built the boat there and then had it transported to Kingston ? Several light rain-squalls came through while I was aboard. Had a nice chat, but had to cut it short because they were expecting company for dinner.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Out of spaghetti noodles, so I used curly noodles.

Looked at my standing rigging a bit more carefully than I did yesterday. Found rust in all wires except the mainmast lower shrouds. In some wires, such as the forestay and the two backstays, the rust is very faint, but it's there.

Just before dark, Cindy and Steve from the nearby moored boat came by. They're running a "Caribbean dinner delivered to your boat" service from their boat; Cindy cooks it. We didn't get into details, because I'm flying out in a few days. But maybe we'll hook up in August when I'm back from USA and they're back from England.
Sun for a new day  6/18/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a little Wi-Fi, but it's pretty flaky in this corner of the bay. Another reason I didn't want to move over here quite so soon.

Around 2, launched the dinghy and worked at moving the secondary anchor further out. Wish the wind would cooperate a little more, blowing more N. But I moved the anchor, then got on the bow and start hauling in the rope portion, hoping to get the chain end up to the bow and to the cleat. Came up about 10 feet short of what I need, but maybe the boat-motion over the next day or two will take any slack out of the chains, and I'll be able to haul in another 10 feet. Not bad. Bailed out the hard dinghy, hoisted the RIB dinghy, showered, and then the next little squall came through.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Was able to haul the end of the secondary anchor chain up to just below the bow roller.

Started thinking that I should assume a hurricane will hit here while I'm in USA, so maybe I should run an anchor line from bow to a sturdy tree in the mangroves. But I won't be here to manage it, if the boat spins around and gets caught sideways against it or something. Maybe I should put out a third anchor instead. More work, sigh.

Huge front or tropical wave came through, starting at 6:10. Strong winds and lots of rain, mostly from E. This will really pull my anchor chains straight ! Wind started tapering off around 7, but moderate rain didn't ease until 8:15 or so.
Sun for a new day  6/19/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Frequent squalls from about 4 AM to 8 AM.

Grey morning, very humid, everything drenched.

Hauled end of secondary anchor's chain up and cleated it.

A couple of local guys in a skiff came around and took my 4 smallish bags of garbage for EC$10.

The free Wi-Fi signal suddenly disappeared in mid-morning. And it didn't come back all day.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Stowed the secondary anchor's rope rode, and tried to open the shackle on the primary's rode, but the head twisted off the rusty shackle (pic). So I'll have to Dremel it tomorrow.
Sun for a new day  6/20/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Free Wi-Fi signal still gone; bummer.

Pretty big rainsquall around 11:30.

Good to have some spare shackles aboard: pic.

Wi-Fi signal reappeared around noon. But it's pretty weak.

Dremeled through a link of the anchor chain (pic). Harder than cutting through the shackle, but last time it was a pain to force that shackle through the eye of the splice; didn't want to do that again. Rained about 2 minutes after I was finished cutting.

Salad and apple and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.
Sun for a new day  6/21/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Wi-Fi pretty flaky today.

Took down mainsail and jib and stowed them in the main cabin. Hooked the third anchor to the primary anchor's rope rode.

Dinghied over to "Celtic Dream" nearby to introduce myself to John and his girlfriend and make sure I wasn't going to foul their anchors. But they're swinging tightly on a sand-screwed mooring. Gave them my boat-card so they can email me if something bad happens while I'm gone.

Put out the third anchor, to the NE. Rope is floating on top of the water, but may sink as it gets wet. May have to put a weight or two on it, to keep people from running over it. Although no one comes through here.

Noodle-bacon-onion concoction and a rum-and-cranberryjuice for dinner.

Trying to think of some way to put a line across the wind-generator, to keep it from spinning in a hurricane, but there's no way to do it without climbing the mast. I guess I'll leave it with the electrical brake on, and take my chances.

Felt headachey all night; dinner didn't agree with me.
Sun for a new day  6/22/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Powerful squall with high winds at 6:30. Another powerful squall at 9:45.

Felt headachey all morning.

Called local taxi-guy to arrange ride to airport tomorrow. He'll pick me up in his dinghy !

On the cruiser's net this morning, someone nearby offered two bikes for free to anyone who wanted them. There was a scramble for them, and later I saw two bikes appear on the bow of the boat moored next to me, so I guess Steve won the scramble. Still haven't gotten the name of that boat straight; I think it's something like "Chelsea Bird", but there's no name on it anywhere.

Rain at 11:05. At 11:10, glanced out a port and was startled to see a sailboat close by. Jumped up onto deck, and the wind has flipped to S and gotten strong, and that moored boat is close by. But not too close, and now I can see how close I come to the bushes when riding on my secondary anchor (close but not too close). Good to know. Steve came on deck and called across that they're going out at 12, could I keep an eye on how our boats are swinging ? No problem.

From 11:15 to 12:30 and more, wind from SW and then W, and lots of rain after noon. Strange. I guess a tropical wave has passed; they're coming through about twice a week now. Wind back to NE by 12:45, still lots of rain. Glad I did all of the sail and anchor stuff yesterday instead of today.

Day getting very dark around 1 or so. Stayed that way all afternoon.

"Salad" and kielbasa sandwiches for dinner.

Saw "Richard Cory" raising anchor around 5:15, and wondered where they could be going at such a time. But they just repositioned their anchor, and stayed.

Headache went away overnight, due to pills.

Heavy rain starting at midnight.

One flash of lightning and a clap of thunder at 1 AM.

Heavy rain starting at 1:15.
Sun for a new day  6/23/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. Today, I'm leaving the boat and flying to USA.

Shut off the refrigerator, ate a few last perishable things, and started defrosting/de-icing it.

Added water to the batteries. Shut off the wind-generator.

Lowered the dinghy, bailed out the hard dinghy, attached locking cable through it. Hoisted outboard up onto the stern deck; this is one of those times when I'm glad I got the 1-cylinder 6 HP version (55 pounds), not the 2-cylinder 8 HP version (80+ pounds). Eventually stowed the motor inside, on the sole in the V-berth.

Hoisted the RIB dinghy, and ran the locking cable through davits and propane tank to gasoline tank.

Closed through-hulls.

My ride to shore showed up 25 minutes early, at 10:50 instead of 11:15. Had him come back at 11, to pick up me, suitcase, carry-on, and two bags of garbage. Very glad we're doing this in today's sunny weather instead of yesterday's monsoon. As we passed by, Steve said he'd keep an eye on my boat, and tell David to keep an eye also. Nice. Mainly, all I'd like people to do is chase away any thieves. But I think it's pretty safe here, and it's locked up pretty tight. But someone could cut the cable and steal my nice propane tank, or steal out of my cockpit lockers and deck-boxes.

To shore, disposed of garbage, and off to the airport. All the way there, the guy was complaining about other taxi-drivers horning in on his territory, and how one of the long-term cruisers here was cooperating with them. I kept trying to yank the conversation around to other topics, but he was fixated on this. Little traffic today; it's a holiday (Corpus Christi).

Into the airport by 11:35 or so. Paid EC$50 (about US$19) for the ride. Got his card so I can call him when I come back, and some of my confusion started to get explained. There are TWO taxi-drivers named "George" in this bay; the one I had a few weeks ago and was expecting today was Joe George, and this one is George Cumberbatch.

Through Immigration and Security to the gate area by 11:45. Grenada Chocolate bars in the duty-free shop are EC$16 versus EC$12.60 or so in the IGA supermarket. Found a power-tower and sat down to do some computing. No Wi-Fi here.

Flight to Trinidad left 20 minutes early, closing the door at 12:55 for a listed 1:15 departure. It's a 44-seat twin-prop plane. Took off and immediately turned right, and by the time we leveled off we were just past seeing my boat. Saw a glimpse of the Hog Island anchorage, and Clarkes Court Bay.

Uneventful flight, but couldn't get oriented as we passed over Trinidad. Landed okay, then an enormous slow line through Immigration. Started to realize I was going to miss my connection. Immigration wanted to see a printed ticket for the outbound flight, but I don't have one; everything's electronic. Got through, long walk down to baggage claim, my bag was waiting, but another enormous huge line for Customs. Tried going back to departing gates, but they require a boarding pass, which requires going out through Customs and to the American desk outside. Pleaded with a Customs officer and got sent to the shortest line, which took only 5 minutes. Out to the American desk by 2:30, where they informed me there was no chance of getting my 2:50 flight. They booked me standby on the 6:55 AM flight tomorrow.

My fault; I allowed 1 hour for the connection, and should have allowed 3 hours. I'm going to have to change my return connection too, probably.

Trying to decide whether to stay overnight in the airport, but consulted a taxi driver, and he called a hotel for me. Decided to go for the hotel; I'm too old to spend 15 hours overnight in the airport just to save some money. US$20 taxi-ride to the hotel, US$79 for the room. A brief panic in the hotel office when I couldn't find my passport, but eventually I dug it out of my bag. Glad I went for the hotel; nice room with TV and AC, but there's no Wi-Fi here. Thought the taxi-driver mentioned free Wi-Fi.

[Typical car-person thing during the taxi-ride: we passed a huge mall, and I said "where's the hotel ? can I walk to that mall ?" and the driver said yes, it's not too far. Well, it's not far by car, but it's more than 1.5 miles by foot, with no sidewalks on very busy streets most of the way. So it's not really walkable.]

Took a shower, and that was worth the price of the hotel room. Refreshing.

Out to the office to ask about internet, and they said "we have free Wi-Fi, here's the key". Fired up my laptop, and realized I had the internal Wi-Fi adapter turned off, since I used an external adapter while on the boat ! Works fine now. Now to re-arrange my rental car reservation.

Did a "live chat" over the internet to have an agent modify my car-rental reservation; pretty easy.

Out to the street to look for food, but all of the roti places are closed, as is most of everything else, for the holiday. A Chinese place was open, so got a big pork platter and soda for TT$44. Paid with a US$20 bill, got TT$76 in change. Let's see, that's an exchange rate of US$1 = TT$6, a little worse than the official rate of 6.4 or so. The food was okay, very filling but not great.

Had to go to the office to find out how to control the air-conditioner in my room. In addition to the two remote controls for the cable TV (I figured out those), there was a third remote, for the AC, mounted on the wall and hidden by curtains.

Watched a lot of Futurama on the TV; really like that show.
Sun for a new day  6/24/2011 (Friday)
Boat's at anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada; I'm in Trinidad, in transit to USA.

Up at 4, out to the front desk by 4:15, and taxi showed up 10 minutes early, at 4:20, as I'd hoped. To the airport, and paid US$20 to the driver.

I had expected a big line for the flight to Miami, but there was no line. I sweated as the agents typed away on the computer for 10 minutes, trying to figure out the status of my ticket and changing it to get me on this morning's flight. Some notations from when I asked about changing origin from Trini to Grenada confused them a little, then I'm not sure the lady yesterday afternoon actually put me on standby for this morning's flight. Anyway, they put a "standby" sticker on my bag and accepted it, and then gave me a boarding pass with a seat assignment ! So I think I'm on the flight !

No lines anywhere, because I'm here so early. Through to the gate area by 4:50 or so, for a 6:55 flight. I had feared a hassle with Immigration, since yesterday I told them I was just doing a same-day transit, but then I ended up staying overnight. But no Immigration check this morning, just a form to fill out and hand in at the ticket counter. Said hey to a guy I'd seen yesterday, who had missed yesterday's flight just ahead of me.

Free Wi-Fi in the airport ! I haven't read a sentence of either of the books I've brought with me; spending all of my waiting time on the computer.

Got onto the plane with no problems. We seemed to have the whole airport to ourselves as we taxiied out: no other planes taxiing or landing or taking off.

Lovely clouds for the first hour or so of the flight. Then sparser clouds for the rest of the flight. We went right over the Dominican Republic, slightly W of Santo Domingo. I've been there by land but not by boat. I think we passed over the N coast a little E of Puerto Plata. Later in the flight, I got a bit confused as we passed through the SW Bahamas, territory I didn't really cruise. Identified Great Inagua just fine; could see the reef entrance I used and the road I walked into the interior. But the next few islands threw me. Got my bearings later as we passed up the W side of Long Island. I think I saw Little Farmers Island Cut in the Exumas, but couldn't figure out where Rudder Cut was. Saw Staniel Cay, didn't see Warderick Wells. Saw the N end of the Exumas, then the S side of Nassau. Then over Andros, I think; I haven't cruised there. Lovely view of Miami as we crossed the S side going W, then turned and landed from the W.

Had very nice conversation with my seatmates (I had the window seat). Guy on the aisle was a Navy guy working at the embassy in Trinidad, maybe doing IT or communications stuff. Woman in the middle was a chaperone for a church group of 25 or so high-school juniors and seniors from Winston-Salem NC. They'd been down in Trinidad for a couple of weeks, working with youth in orphanages and juvenile detention facilities, meeting some other church groups, and finding time for a little recreation such as snorkeling. The logistics were daunting, and she had a whole printed booklet of their exact schedule and facilities and other info. An advance team of a couple of people had come down in January or so to scout out facilities.

They both were envious that I lived on a boat, and I gave them my boat-card with my web site address on it. The woman was very impressed by the lovely colors of the waters around the Bahamian islands.

No problems with Immigration and Customs at Miami, and my bag arrived just fine. Several agents with sniffer-dogs (beagles) circulating around and sniffing bags everywhere. Had my palms swiped with pads which they ran through a drug-checking machine as I left Customs, and then again as I went through Security for boarding my next flight. Had to stand and raise my arms in a sniffing-chamber too. All of the TSA and other officials were pleasant enough. Checked my bag back in, but I have to wait until 2 to get a seat-assignment at the gate desk. Bought some lunch. Wi-Fi here, but it's not free.

At 2, a hard-bitten woman ticket agent who looked a bit Russian delayed opening the gate desk, and pushed off questions for a while. I'm trying to get an assurance that I have a guaranteed seat, not standby. Finally the desk opens, and they're displaying lists of people waiting for standby and for upgrades, but the names are abbreviated and one of them could be a misspelling of my last name. Finally the woman summons me, takes my ticket/receipt, says "you're on standby", rips it up, and hands me a boarding pass with seat assignment ! So I guess I was on standby, and now I'm on the flight.

We board, and I'm in the very last row, and all 5 other seats in the row are empty ! The rest of the rows are almost completely full.

Lots of planes taxiing and landing and taking off at Miami, and a big thunderstorm is approaching. So we get ground-held to try to let it pass. After 15 minutes, at about 3:15, we take off and try to skirt it. But as we're climbing through 5000 feet or so, we get a pretty rough ride. And since I'm Tail-End Charlie, I'm getting bounced around pretty badly, and feel queasy for a minute or two. Then we're up out of it, mostly. A few more rough patches during the flight up to Philly.

A very rough landing at Philly; we bounced pretty badly once or twice, and lots of passengers gasped. But we're down, and into the terminal by 6:15. Into a rental car by 7, and to my brother's place a bit after 8.
Sun for a new day  6/25/2011 - 7/13/2011
Boat's at anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada; I'm in USA.

Nice afternoon at my sister's house, with most of the family present, except for the Indianapolis contingent.

Made my famous chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-mushroom-rice dinner for me and my brother. All the fun of living on a boat, without the boat !

Started looking at my return flights to the islands. My connecting time in Trini is impossibly short; I'd miss my connection (my fault; I screwed up when making the reservations). Changing now to fly direct to Grenada would cost an additional $550 or so, so I'm not going to do that. Changed my flight from Trini to Grenada to a later flight, for $25. It means arriving late (probably 9 PM) at the marina, which I try to avoid because I need to get a dinghy-ride out to the boat. But I should be able to get the same taxi-driver (I have his email address), so he can take me out to the boat.

Made a lasagna for my brother and me. I miss having an oven; I used to make lasagna and pizza and bake a ham or a turkey when I lived in an apartment and had an oven.

Stayed a couple of days at my Mom's place, then back to my brother's. Had a nice dinner at an Indian restaurant, and a pretty good lunch at a Greek restaurant. Saw fireworks on July 2 from front sidewalk at my brother's place; probably from Ryder University about 2 miles away. Rented a car for a day and did some shopping and took my Mom around a bit.

Received email 7/7, from a neighboring boat, saying that my boat is okay.

Started receiving small goodies I ordered over the internet: a couple of Robert B. Parker books, a USB extender cable, headphones.

My friend Stacy from Maryland (he has a Krogen trawler in Norfolk) stopped by, gave me a USB-LED light and a T-shirt, and treated me to a nice Trenton pizza. Showed me a used Engel refrigerator he just bought.

Due to various choices, travel back to the boat is going to take a little more than 24 hours. To the Trenton train station to catch the 9:39 to Philadephia ($9). Could have plugged into AC power on the train and fired up the laptop, but I didn't. Transfer at 30th Street Station ($7), and to the airport by 10:50 PM. For a 6:05 AM flight. But it's warm and quiet and comfortable in the ticketing area I'm in. No Wi-Fi. Saving $100 worth of taxi-van fees by spending about 5 hours waiting.

A couple other passengers hanging around overnight, and various airport employees. Then things started waking up around 3:30 AM. Got my boarding passes from a kiosk by 3:40, but ticket counter didn't open until after 4. Through there and then security, and to the gate by 4:40. Free Wi-Fi in the gate area.
Sun for a new day  7/14/2011 (Thursday)
Boat's at anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada; I'm traveling back to Grenada from USA.

Uneventful flight from Philly to Miami. No free Wi-Fi in Miami.

Uneventful flight from Miami to Trinidad, except that the temp was a little cool and I got a bit chilled and headachey. Long wait to get through Immigration line. No free Wi-Fi; thought I got it here last time. Maybe that was with external adapter; I'm using internal adapter now.

Ate late-lunch at Church's chicken outlet: TT$38 (about US$6). Used up some of the TT$ bills I have left over from passing through here 3 weeks ago. Had to wait until ticketing opened, then a longish wait through a short line to get my boarding pass. Starting to fall asleep on my feet. To the gate area by 5:10 for a 7:45 flight. A bit chilly here, too. Found one spot in the terminal where I got a little free Wi-Fi.

Plane arrived, open seating so I grabbed a seat near the front, uneventful flight to Grenada. One of the first out, through Immigration (gave me a 3-month visa), through Baggage and Customs, and out. Found George almost immediately, to the van, and to the marina. Paid him EC$50 for the trip, and he took me out to "Magnolia" in his skiff. Got to the boat around 9; almost exactly 24 hours since I left my brother's place in NJ. Boat looks fine.

Used the solar light from the stern to give enough light to see the combination and open the main hatch lock. Opened hatches, checked bilge, stowed luggage in cabin, drank some water and juice and read for a few minutes, then into bed. Tired. Slept solidly.

Warm and very still night.
Sun for a new day  7/15/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Where to start ? Moved the outboard motor from sole in V-berth to sole in main cabin, so I could open the through-hull and use the toilet in the forward head.

Loaded the refrigerator with boxes of juice and jars of stuff, and turned it on.

Replaced the water filter in the galley. Used water to make tea, and added jars of water and tea to the refrigerator.

Hauled outboard motor up onto deck.

Unlocked the cable holding propane tank to davits to hard dinghy. Got the RIB dinghy ready to lower.

Listened to the VHF cruiser's net at 7:30. Nothing new.

Got smart: instead of launching the RIB dinghy and then lowering the outboard into it (tricky), I put the outboard inside the dinghy and lowered them together from the davits. Much easier. Down into the dinghy and put the outboard back onto the stern transom. Didn't start it right away; want to let fluids settle back into the proper places after having the motor sit on its side for a while.

Bummer: can't get the usual free Wi-Fi signal here.

Outboard started and ran fine.

Dinghied ashore before 9:30 to catch the shopping-van. Not too full today, which is nice, and no one needs to make stops at lots of places, which is even nicer. Straight to the Spice Island Mall.

Tried my credit card in the ATM; I already know my debit card doesn't work here. No luck, so went inside the bank and got EC$600 cash advance on my credit card. Very pretty young woman teller.

Into the supermarket, got the dicount card I applied for a month ago, and started loading up. Checked out, and got about EC$10 on EC$213 worth of food. To the taxi-van, and waited and chatted for 20 minutes or so. Eventually collected the other people, and back to the marina. Paid EC$10 for the van-ride, and back to the boat by 11:30. Feeling tired and headachey and hungry.

A lady on the bus (I've met her before, her boat is "Higheeled") told me about engine problems their boat is having. I think she said they're getting water in the oil, or maybe it was water into the cylinders. Her husband thought it was bad injectors (doesn't make sense to me), bought new, didn't fix the problem. Thought it was a cracked head, bought new, that didn't fix it. Now thinks it's a cracked block, so they're buying a new engine and trying to figure out best way to ship it in from Florida. And they're going to end up with a brand-new head they can't use. She says everything in their boat runs off the engine: refrigeration, watermaker, etc. [Found out much later: it's not their main engine that's dead, it's a 2-cylinder diesel they use solely to drive all of that auxiliary equipment.]

I'm amazed any serious cruiser or liveaboard is still running engine or generator much at anchor these days, given the price of fuel. "Celtic Dream" next to me is running engine or genset a couple of hours each day; other boats do the same. Much better to use solar panels and wind than to have power take-off from engine, or charging from engine or generator. Unless you want air-conditioning, or have nowhere to put solar panels (it's tough to find a place on some of the smaller sailboats).

Chili and rum-and-DietCoke for dinner.

Warm and very still night.
Sun for a new day  7/16/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Tired and headachey. Brief heavy rain a little after 7:30, then sunny.

Added water to the batteries. Forward bank needed a fair amount, aft bank needed none. That's not good; system might be running on one bank ?

Still no free Wi-Fi here. On the bus yesterday, someone said it's been gone for a couple of weeks, but someone else had told them they got it yesterday morning.

"Salad" and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner. Forgot to buy cabbage at the supermarket.

Glanced at battery monitor around 6 and was shocked to see voltage down to 12.3 V with refrigerator running. Should be at 12.65 V or so after a day of charging. Something is wrong, and I don't have enough power to run the refrigerator all night.

Headache gone in the evening.

Turned refrigerator on and off multiple times during the night. Occasional tiny little bursts of wind, but not enough to make the wind-generator turn for more than 10 seconds or so. Useless.
Sun for a new day  7/17/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Despite running the refrigerator far less than needed all night long, before dawn batteries are lower than I've ever seen them, 11.95 V under load. Empty. And it looks like a grey morning; won't get much solar power.

Sure enough, spitting rain by 7:30, raining and very dark by 8, heavy rain starting at 8:15. Rain eased, but stayed raining and dark through 11 and beyond. Batteries low. But at least some wind started around 10, so the wind-generator is producing a bit.

Still no Wi-Fi. Tried the (non-active) USB extender cable I bought, and the camera won't work through it. I've tried an active cable in the past; that didn't work. So I guess USB extending is a no-go. I want to put my Wi-Fi adapter further away from my laptop.

Investigated the battery situation a bit, with voltmeter and battery monitor and jumper cables. Battery monitor reading crazy-low voltage on one bank; must be a loose monitor wire, since the voltmeter says the bank is okay. So I guess I can't trust the monitor's current reading for that bank, either; not sure. Ended up leaving jumper cables from positive to positive of the two banks; I suspect a battery cut-off switch might be bad. Hard to tell.

Sun came out around 2. Batteries seem to be charging okay.

Gave myself a drastic haircut, then shave and shower. Feel like a new man.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-dietcoke for dinner. Ate on the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  7/18/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Awake at 6:30, realized it was sunny and very still, so time to untwist the anchor rodes. Launched the dinghy, pumped up the tubes, and used it to spin the boat three times counter-clockwise, untwisting the three anchor rodes. Then followed the rope rode out to the third anchor and tried to raise it. In only 3 feet of water, but it's hooked on a mangrove root (probably), and no matter what direction I pulled from, I couldn't get it free. Will have to snorkel on it.

Batteries seem to be okay again; jumping pos-pos seems to have fixed it.

Cruiser's net says there's a regatta coming up, around 1st of the month. I'll have to find out more about that.

Still no Wi-Fi here.

Sunny early, then rain at 10:20, then again at 1:20, and stayed grey the rest of the day.

Launnched the RIB dinghy. Bailed out the hard dinghy. Followed the third anchor's rope rode out, tied off the dinghy, and snorkeled on the anchor. It hadn't caught a mangrove root, it was just well buried in very tough grass roots. Had to stand on the bottom and crouch underwater to pull and work it out. Back into the dinghy, pulled up the anchor, and brought it and rode back to the bow of the boat. On board, and hoisted rode and anchor onto deck. Then snorkeled under the boat and scraped hull and prop a bit. Water very grey and silty. Raised clouds of tiny, itchy, biting shrimp that fastened onto me. Prop had some pretty good barnacles on it.

"Salad" and PBJ sandwiches for dinner.

Rain at 6:20.

BBC on 540 AM pretty mangled tonight, but most other stations seem okay, so I think it's that station, not my radio.
Sun for a new day  7/19/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Batteries still behaving okay.

On the VHF cruiser's net, they again mentioned a regatta coming up soon. I'm planning to move, but maybe I should head over to St George's to see the regatta. So I asked for dates and locations. Turns out it's in Carriacou ! Same country, but different island and 40 miles away; hardly worth talking about.

Unshackled rope rode from third anchor, and attached it back to chain for primary anchor.

Still no Wi-Fi here.

Asked on VHF about a semi-marked channel outside Hog Island but inside the reefs; would be convenient to use it. I saw a catamaran go through there. Marked as "dinghy channel" on one of my charts, 7 feet deep on another chart. Guy responding on radio said it's 5 feet deep with a rock in the middle; not too encouraging. But it's sheltered, I draw 3.5 feet, and I'd be heading upwind in it. Would be good to do it on a rising tide with good light.

Lots of itchy red welts on my back, from those biting shrimp under the boat yesterday.

Got the engine started at 10:30, on second try. Fell back from primary anchor, raised chain on secondary anchor, being careful to motor away from the two boats behind me. Since I moved that secondary anchor out further by dinghy after I put it down, I had to go back quite a way to pick it up. And it came up with plenty of grass on it: pic. Motored forward and took in rope rode on the primary, and back onto chain and done by 10:45. Shut the engine off and took a break.

At 11:20, started engine again and started raising the primary anchor. Got close to the bushes, ran firmly aground, and anchor still didn't budge. And motoring in forward and reverse didn't make the boat move; stuck aground at high tide.

As I started lowering the dinghy, Chris from "Quicksilver" came over to help, saying he'd hoped to save me the trouble of launching the dinghy. But I expected it to be a messy job; can't ask someone else to do it. And as I expected, as we started messing with the anchor chain, the boat started floating free, since being freed of the weight of the dinghy and myself.

Let out more slack on the chain, pushed the boat forward with the dinghies, got over top of the anchor, and both of us lifting could not get the anchor to budge. It's hooked into tough grass-roots, just as the third anchor had been. So I took off glasses and shorts, and hopped over the side in 3-foot water. Bottom very soft and mucky and grassy; as I stand on it and heave on the anchor, my feet squish in 6 inches or so. It's a CQR, so there's no crossbar high enough to grab so I can slide out the anchor backwards. So I go underwater and start scooping out mud and grass above the hook of the anchor, trying to dig it out. Finally I manage to tear it out, and carry it about 20-30 feet out into deeper water.

Can barely get back up into the dinghy without swim-fins to help me. But I get in, and Chris and I chat a little as we drift. Then back aboard the boat, start the engine, and start raising anchor again. Have to get right over top of it, and even then it's tough; somehow the stupid thing has dug in again already ! As Chris says, it never holds like this when you want it to. He helps me pull it up.

I motor through the anchorage, and around to the marina "wing" of the bay. Anchor down by 12:10, and I'm swinging into pretty shallow water. Shave, wash my soaked clothing, shower, lunch.

A couple of very faint, fleeting free Wi-Fi signals here, but I can't quite connect to either of them. Tried for an hour, and finally got just enough to upload the log file, but not enough to do email or Facebook.

Went ashore a bit before 3, to a volleyball game. Was surprised to see a lot of people there, maybe 14 or so playing and half a dozen more watching. I didn't really want to play, since I got enough sun this morning, and haven't played volleyball in 12 years or more and might injure my out-of-shape old body. Got coaxed into playing one short game, didn't do too badly for no warm-up and rusty, but that was enough for me. Much more fun to sit and chat with some observers. Spent a couple of hours there; very pleasant except for some bugs nibbling our ankles.

Everyone finished and adjourned to the bar. Somewhat-obscured views of the harbor from there, but I can see Magnolia at anchor in the emptier wing of the bay: pic. Some kind of strange old boat-fitting sitting outside the bar; about 3 feet tall, hollow to hold the end of a spar or base of a mast: pic. Maybe it's a bowsprit base ?

I went into the marina office and exchanged 7 books at their bookshelf. Then out to the boat. Hot and rolly, no shade because sun was coming from the side, rain threatening so I really couldn't air out the hot boat.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Pretty good rain from 5:55 to about 6:15, forcing me to eat inside for a while.

In the evening, rain went away, breeze came up, rolling mostly stopped. A pleasant night.
Sun for a new day  7/20/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Was able to get a little Wi-Fi, enough to upload log file and answer a few emails and FB postings, but connection still very flaky.

Dinghied ashore around 9:15. Bought 1.1 gallons of gasoline for EC$20. Exchanged 4 books at the book-exchange. Then we loaded up onto the 9:30 taxi-van to go shopping.

Over to Budget Marine, where Laurel on "Here Today" spent a lot of time trying to buy a lot of solvents and caulk for rebedding all of the portlights on her boat. Checked out the book-exchange in De Big Fish restaurant/bar. It poured rain for a couple of minutes. Saw a cruising trawler tied to the Coast Guard cutter, and our driver says the boat was seized while smuggling drugs. Chatted with another taxi-driver, and the other cruisers from our van. I'd heard something amazing the other day, and these people said it's true: the cruiser killed here a couple of months ago was the same guy who'd been robbed and badly beaten by a couple of guys who swam out to his anchored boat in St Martin six or nine months ago. Talk about horrible luck ! Here, he'd been drinking in De Big Fish, borrowed a fast skiff to get back out to his boat (after dark), and ran into an unlit marker-pole, killing himself.

Finally got back into the van, and off to the IGA supermarket, getting there at 10:30. Most people stayed on the van, to go to Island Water World marine store. Did my grocery shopping, but it's frustrating: they have no cabbage or lettuce, the grapefruit are lousy and overpriced, olives very expensive. Checked out, short wait for the van, and he's making a special trip back to drop Laurel off early, so I went too. Stopped at the Market Board produce place on the way back, but no luck there. Back to the boat by 11:30.

Sort of planned to move over to Clarkes Court Bay this afternoon, but it's very windy, and the tide's falling. I think I'll do it tomorrow.

Got a few bursts of pretty good Wi-Fi; was able to upload some files, clear out my email, do a little Facebook. But had to hold adapter/antenna in a certain position, and my arm got tired and started "going to sleep".

"Salad" and cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  7/21/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Couldn't get Wi-Fi.

Tried to start engine at 8:35 or so; no go, starter very slow. Started at 8:45. Anchor snagged on mooring line from a nearby mooring ball, so it took a while to raise it. Moving by 9, started heading out past the marina, and the engine started surging. Maybe fuel filter is clogged or full of separated water. Could keep going, but if the engine quits while I'm in one of those narrow channels between the reefs, I'm screwed. Not worth the chance; I'm in no hurry. So I turn back, and anchor up by the mouth of the bay by 9:10 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Good free Wi-Fi out here. Did Wi-Fi for a few hours. Skype-called Mom and chatted with her for a while.

Calm here, and good Wi-Fi; I guess I'll stay here for a while. Which means I won't be going to the potluck over at CCB marina on Sat, which means I can eat the chocolate bundt cake I bought to take there !

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner. No shade on the foredeck and hot in the pilothouse, so I ate below. Slice of cake for dessert.
Sun for a new day  7/22/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

I think it's going to be a still and hot day here today. But nothing like the 100+ heat over much of the USA.

On email, learned that my friends Ed and Sue on "Angel Louise" have made it to England ! 11.5 rough days from the Azores. The tale of their slog across the Atlantic reinforces my thinking: I have no desire to cross an ocean. Nice islands and comfortable anchorages for me.

Fuel level 5.6+ inches at engine hour 4816. Dipstick-hole made a funny noise as I opened it; wonder if the tank vent is clogged ?

Drained several inches of fluid out of the first primary fuel filter. Hard to tell what it is; looks like diesel, no layers, doesn't smell much like diesel. Guess it's water. But I thought the second primary was the water-separator.

Leftover cold chili and an apple and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

No BBC radio tonight.
Sun for a new day  7/23/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did Wi-Fi.

Drained six inches of fluid out of the second primary fuel filter. Again, hard to tell what it is; probably mostly water. Want to run the engine, but I need to get some diesel to refill the filters first.

Dinghied ashore around 2:30, noticing that no exhaust water is coming out of my outboard. Bought 1.3 gallons of diesel for EC$20. Then loaded onto the 2:40 bus going to a "hash". Stopped by a tourist hotel south of Grand Anse beach, then a 20-minute or so ride to the hash location.

A hash is a walk/hike/run/scramble across country. This one turns out to be the 694th one on Grenada; they've been doing them every week since Oct 1985. First time I've tried one. Grenada Hash House Harriers

As with most group events, lots of waiting and milling about. More today because apparently this is a bigger than usual crowd. Sun pretty hot and not much breeze; trying to find some shade. Signed up on a check-in list, so they will know if anyone gets lost and left behind on the course; last week someone got lost, fell in the dark, had to be rescued and got 14 stitches in his scalp. Chatted with a girl from Liverpool for a while. Finally someone gave us a little talk about the rules: someone has laid out clumps of confetti (maybe that's the "hash") as markers along the trail. It splits into runner's and walker's portions at a tiny "river"; look for the "R" and "W". There may be false trails laid out, ending in a cross-shaped marker.

Finally we set off up the road, a gentle uphill. A couple hundred people, and I tag along toward the rear (pic). Off the road and onto dirt, and the uphill gets steeper and then steeper. Hot and sweaty, and a few people drop out to rest. More and more uphill, and then through some jungly greenery, a bit slippery underfoot, grasping at saplings. A little muddy, but not too bad. A bit of a traffic jam at the trickiest spots. Eventually up onto the top of the hill. 50 yards down a road, then off into greenery again, a beaten track no more than a foot wide, slippery with mashed-down vegetation and some mud. Soon a traffic jam again.

Down and down, some people having a lot of trouble with the footing. And some guy brought his 9-year-old son, which was a big mistake; he's having to coax him and carry him and help him through lots of places, and we're all jammed up behind them. And the route keeps getting worse and worse, down into the bed of a rocky creek, which I guess is the "river". Lots of scrambling up and down and back and forth across the creek, slippery in places, easy to sprain an ankle. And everyone still jammed up together. This is no fun.

More and more slipping down the creek, until finally we get to a place where the course leaves the "river". I guess this is where we're supposed to see an "R" and a "W", but no sign of them. Follow everyone to the right, out into more open territory, and then the heavens open up and it starts pouring rain. Pours and pours, as we walk across and then uphill, finally up to a paved road. Everyone completely drenched.

Long walk down paved road, right turn onto main road, still seeing hash-markers every now and then. People ahead of me have disappeared; wonder if I'm on the right road ? But I see more markers, and then people coming up from behind. A couple more turns, rain starts easing, and then over the bridge and back to the starting place of the hash. Done ! My first and last hash; the whole thing is overrated, if you ask me. Got some good exercise climbing hills, but I'd much rather have a longer, flatter hike with better footing and a chance to chat with people as we walked.

Find the lady with the clipboard and have her check my name off. To the van, grab my towel, and dry off my head. Doesn't seem to be much point in changing into the dry clothes I've brought. Everyone standing around and chatting, drinking beer and some eating box dinners from somewhere (pic). I don't feel very sociable, and wander around a bit. Soon it starts raining again, and several of us congregate under the open tailgate of the van Then I go sit inside with a few other people, dry off some more, and read my book a little. Starts pouring rain outside.

Apparently they're handing out some kind of certificates to hash "virgins" (that includes me), but I can't be bothered to go out into the rain to get mine. Eventually we load up and leave.

A long ride home through fairly heavy rain. Get to the marina, pay the driver EC$15. Dinghy has about 2 inches of rainwater in it; bail it out, start the outboard, and out to the boat, using a flashlight to see where I'm going. Strip off wet clothing, unlock boat, inside by 7:30. Hoist the dinghy and empty the water out of it. PBJ sandwiches for dinner. Into bed.

Sun for a new day  7/24/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Raymond came by at 8 to pick up garbage; paid him EC$5 to take 3 small bags.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Shoot ! Over here close to the peninsula, the wind has been swirling in all directions. And sometimes I swing close to an empty mooring ball; no problem. But this morning, a sailboat came in onto that mooring. So now it's a problem.

Filled the engine primary fuel filters with clean fuel. A messy, awkward job. Started the engine a little before 2, and it ran okay, and kept running. Getting air into the fuel system can be a pain to fix, sometimes.

Raised anchor and moved 100 feet or more further away from that other boat. But now I'm more exposed to the swell; there's a slight roll here, while the old spot was flat. Bummer. Engine surging a little as I finished up anchoring, so that problem is still there. Checked my records: it's been about 350 hours since changing the fuel filters. Last time I went about 750 hours between changes, but before that I went more like 300 hours between changes.

And now my nice free Wi-Fi signal is almost gone. Terrific.

Argh ! Around 5, that sloop left the mooring and moved further into the anchorage. So I could have stayed right where I was.

Chicken-onion-carrot-mushroom-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  7/25/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

The sloop that moored near me yesterday left at 8:30 or so. One guy on board, a black guy who looked like a charter-company employee, not a cruiser. Maybe he's doing a delivery.

Launched the dinghy. Pried crud out of the outboard's exhaust port and got the exhaust-water working properly. Went to engine fuel tank vent on the side of the boat but didn't find any clog there.

Dinghied ashore around 10:15, and we loaded up into a van by 10:30. Off to do some white-water rafting !

A long drive on two-lane roads, often twisty and hilly, as we headed E, and then N along the E coast of the island. They don't have any major highways on this island, apparently, even though it's a fairly big island. Took about an hour to work our way up to Grenville, the second-largest town on the island. Lots of shops, but not really that big a town.

We all trooped into a Chinese restaurant pre-selected by John on "Celtic Dream", who arranged this trip. 15 or so of us, eating in two groups. Most of the conversation at our table was dominated by John, who turns out to be a conspiracy-theory nut. He knows the "real truth" about the JFK assassination, international banking, Obama giving 30,000 guns to a Mexican cartel to punish the other cartels who don't launder their money through the right US banks, Obama's birth certificate, Al Qaeda and the death of Osama bin Laden (in 2002 not 2011), and especially 9/11. He told us how no plane hit the Pentagon, WTC 7 was destroyed totally mysteriously, he has evidence of two planes closely overflying the White House on 9/11, Dick Cheney changed the air-defense policies of the Air Force three months before 9/11 to cover up something, the WTC towers were blown up to get rid of an expensive asbestos problem, and on and on. He knows it all ! What a lunatic. Any time we tried to talk about something else, he talked louder and kept going on about 9/11.

The food was fine. EC$25 (about US$10) apiece, and out of there to the van. Another 15 minutes or so, to somewhere W of Grenville, I think, and we unloaded at a shack next to a big creek. Turns out we're going to do tubing, not rafting, which suits me better anyway. We get helmets and lifejackets, and tubes that have floors in them (I'm used to tubes without floors, on the Delaware River). Into the creek, the water is nice, and we start to relax and have a good time.

Three or four guides come along with us, and help us through the tricky spots, pushing us away from rocks we might get stuck on, getting us pointed the right away. At four or five places, they've strung a rope across the creek, so we can grab on, stop, and wait for the guides to leapfrog us to the next tricky spot. We're splashing water, taking pictures of each other taking pictures of us, and enjoying it. A few places where there's a 3-foot drop with strong water flow, and some places where we drift along. One big pool where we stop and 4 or 5 people get out and jump in from a bank about 10 feet up. And a couple of the guides do a tricky jump to amuse us. A few absolutely enormous stands of bamboo on the banks. Pics.

The whole thing lasts about 45 minutes; probably came 3/4 of a mile down the creek ? A little short, but fun. Eventually we're out and up to the van. One of the women loses an earring on the ground, and it takes about 8 people 10 minutes to find it. We each pay EC$50 (about US$20) to the tubing guys, load up, and we're off.

We take a different route home, heading SW through Grand Etang park. We stop at the entrance area, where there are two bars and some gift-shops, to get some drinks and loaf for 10 minutes. Load up, and head down the hills. Stop once to buy some fruit from a couple of roadside kids; someone gave me a bunch of "skin-ups" to try (pic). Okay taste, but the edible part is a thin, stringy layer between the thick skin and the enormous pit in the middle. We go down into St George's to drop off two people at Port St Louis marina, then back to our bay. Pay EC$20 each to the van-driver, and back to the boat by 4:30.

Cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  7/26/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a bit of Wi-Fi, but it's still pretty iffy here.

Before 3, dinghied ashore to play volleyball. Sunny and hot, but a bit of a breeze at the court. Played for 2 hours and got some decent exercise. Skinned a knee, but otherwise didn't injure myself. A couple of young kids playing slowed down the game and made it more random, but we still had fun. A pretty woman said she and her husband Brandon read my blog before they started cruising, and she was thrilled to meet me; her name and boat name have slipped my mind. Back to the boat very sandy and fairly hot and sweaty, and showered while it rained lightly.

It's been a long time since I've played that much volleyball. So long that apparently the standard scoring system has been changed to "rally scoring", where someone wins a point on every serve; you don't have to be serving to get the point.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner.

Conditions warm and still annd fairly rolly much of the night; uncomfortable. A little lightning from 2:30 to 3 or so, then rain from 3:30 to 5 or so.
Sun for a new day  7/27/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Very dark morning, solidly clouded over with low clouds. Rain from 7 to 8:30, then light rain from 8:30 to 9:30, then some breeze at 9:30 and more rain from 9:30 to 10:30 or so. Finally some solar power getting through starting around 11, but still almost solidly clouded over.

Engine start at 1:40. Raised anchor, moved back to previous spot, anchor down by 2 at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada. Let engine run until 2:10 to charge batteries a little more.

Weather stayed windless and solidly clouded-over all day.

"Salad" and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Pleasant but warm night; no rolling.
Sun for a new day  7/28/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly sunny morning at first, then clouds hovering again.

Some Wi-Fi here, but it still cuts in and out.

Grey and raining at 11.

Powerful squall blasted through at 11:55. And it moved the boat back around to the SW limit of the anchor chain, 150 feet or so back toward the bay entrance, exposing me to more of a roll and making my Wi-Fi signal worse. Bummer.

Chili and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Ate out on the foredeck; very pleasant.

Warm, still night with frequent rain after midnight.
Sun for a new day  7/29/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

On the VHF net, taxi-drivers are starting to advertise trips to see Carnival, but apparently one of the main parades starts around 6 AM. Do I really want to catch a van out of here at 5 AM to see it ?

Dinghied ashore and caught the 9:30 taxi-van to the shopping. A long, slow trip, since everyone wanted to stop everywhere. So we did the bank (got EC$600 out of the ATM), ACE Hardware, Budget Marine (exchanged 2 books at the book-exchange in De Big Fish), CK's warehouse store (prices didn't seem good, so I bought nothing), Island Water World, IGA supermarket, the "doubles" stand, the Market Board store. And still found no cabbage or grapefruit anywhere. Back to the boat by 12:45.

During the trip, chatted with the guy from the boat with the busted engine, "Higheeled". Gently asked why he wasn't taking the opportunity to change from engine-driven refrig and watermaker and all to solar, but he said he likes having everything engine-driven. Twice a day, he runs the engine, and simultaneously charges batteries, cools fridge/freezer, and runs watermaker. Takes a liter of fuel (don't know if that's per run or per day). So a couple of dollars a day. I said that solar is "free", but he shrugged it off. And his boat is a smallish sloop with lots of stuff on deck, so maybe they don't have room for solar panels. [Found out later: it's not their main engine that's dead, it's a 2-cylinder diesel they use solely to drive all of that auxiliary equipment.]

They're in Secret Harbour marina right now, and he says when we have a windless night, the bugs come out and bite ferociously.

Mentioned my water-in-fuel problem to a guy, and he said it's condensation, and I should always keep the fuel tank full. Good advice, but since I have a 230-gallon tank, it's about 1/4 full, and fuel here costs over US$6/gallon, it would cost over US$1000 to top off the tank. And take me a year or two to use up that fuel.

Salad and cornbread-sausage-onion and a rum-and-DietCoke for dinner. Hadn't planned such a big dinner, but just got the itch to make cornbread. Ate out on the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  7/30/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

On the VHF net, mention of a tropical wave approaching that is predicted to develop into a tropical storm. Seems likely to go well N of us. But first threat of the season.

Couple from "Higheeled" stopped by, saying they're going into town and will try to get a cabbage for me. I've been trying to get a cabbage for a couple of weeks now; that's the green base for my salads.

Wi-Fi pretty flaky, but saw a message that Invest 91L is about 1200 miles away. One model has it coming right here, the rest have it going N.

Grey and raining at 10:40.

Argh ! My usual hurricane-tracking site, wunderground, is being difficult. I want to see the tracks predicted by the various models. Not sure if it's the site or the Wi-Fi connection that's the problem.

Big squall at 11:30. Again at 11:55.

Finally got a tracking map for Invest 91L, and all models have it going well N of here.

Grey and squall at 1:50.

Couple came by with a cabbage for me; EC$20 (US$7.70) which is a bit high, but it's a huge cabbage that will last me 3 weeks or more.

Heavy rain at 3:15.

Salad and cheese sandwich and leftover cornbread for dinner.
Sun for a new day  7/31/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Wunderground working okay, but with Sat 2 PM data on Invest 91L. All models have it going well N of here; most have it hitting Martinique. Elsewhere, found a Sun 8 AM tracking map that said the same.

Raymond came by and took two bags of garbage and a broken water-bucket for EC$6.

Skype-called Mom and chatted with her.

In late afternoon, a sailboat heading in to the Hog Island anchorage (pic), and another motoring past me into our anchorage (pic).

In early evening, just as I wanted to start cooking dinner, Wade and Diane from "Joana" stopped by, a bit tipsy from an afternoon at Roger's Beach Bar. But I had a nice chat with them. They just arrived back at the boat after a trip home, and they're glad to be back; land-life was too hectic for them. Told them about the tubing and volleyball and other stuff, and we talked about Carnival.

Around 6, as I was cooking dinner, there was a long area of low dark clouds overhead, as there had been for quite a while, and I started feeling static electricity. Hair on my arms felt funny, and I worried that a lightning strike might occur. Went below for a few minutes, and then the feeling went away without any fireworks.

Also, as I was cooking in the cockpit, something out on deck caught my eye; a crab: pic. Shooed him up to the bow and off into the water.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-coke for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/1/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Today's the day I consider the real start of hurricane season, even though the official start is June 1.

Grey, muggy, hot morning with very light rain and not much breeze. Planned to try playing cricket this afternoon, but not a good day for it.

VHF cruiser's net says Invest 91L is still going well N of here. Lots of boats arriving from the N after the Carriacou regatta this past weekend, and one arrived all the way from St Martin. Guess they're glad to make it down before the storm went across their path. Got a little Wi-Fi, and although wunderground hasn't updated their main map since yesterday morning, their other maps have been updated and show the storm area staying well N of here.

Rain at 10:15.

Today's a holiday here. Kids on a small beach near my boat, and local boats chattering on the VHF.

More rain at 12:20. Very grey. Darker skies and heavy rain starting at 1 and continuing on. Lightning and thunder at 1:25. Rain kept going until 1:30 or so.

Decided to skip the cricket at 3.

On "Joana", Wade is winching Diane up the mast to check something (pic). Seems to be hard work, the winch-them-up method. I use ascenders to climb up.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/2/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey morning; breeze from S.

VHF cruiser's net says that storm is now TS Emily, and is going well N of us as predicted. Did some Wi-Fi later, and TS Emily is already W of the Windward islands. And headed toward Haiti, as usual; that country just never gets a break. Weather here is supposed to start clearing up a bit tomorrow; forecast for today says 100% cloud cover.

Around noon, Inga from "Homeward Bound" called on VHF. I'd signed up through her for an island tour on Thursday, but she was calling to say I was the only person to sign up, so the tour was off. No problem, I'll wait until they can gather a van-load. Then Ken on "Silverheels III" joined in, and ended up asking me to ferry Inga out from the marina to check on a sailboat she's watching. I've been sitting and vegging on the boat for too long, so I'm happy to do it.

Launched the dinghy, went ashore to the marina, and picked up Inga. Nice older lady who has a house ashore here. She's watching sailboat "Aloisius" for friends while they're out of town. Took her out to the boat and waited while she aired it out and checked everything. Nearby hurricane-beached sailboat looks like it's been stripped very thoroughly: pic.

Didn't mind sitting in the dinghy, looking at the bay from a different angle. But I noticed how junky my boat looks compared to the others: the hull and topsides are dingy and faded gelcoat, and the rusting anchor chain has left big rust-streaks down the sides of the hull. I need to paint, but doing it right (sprayed Awlgrip) is too expensive ($8K to $10K). So maybe I should do it "wrong": brush-paint it myself. [Looked later: one-part polyurethane such as Pettit Easypoxy or Interlux Brightside is $100/gallon or less. Maybe I could paint the topsides while at anchor, and paint the hull-sides the next time I haul out. Need to clean the fiberglass really thoroughly beforehand.]

Had a nice chat with Inga on the way out and back. Asked her about the "hobbit house" here, and it indeed is a private house, not a hotel. Mentioned that I need to paint my boat, and she said she and her husband priced out painting and other work all over the place, and decided to take the boat back up to Alabama to have the work done there ! So he and the boat are up there now, and eventually they're going to have to do the trip back down here. No, I don't think I'll be doing that with my boat.

Back to the dock, and I went for a walk up to the ridge road and then S out along the peninsula, to get some exercise. A grey and muggy day with not much breeze, but not too hot. A pleasant walk. Nice view down onto the bay: pic ("Magnolia" is rightmost boat). Some pretty flowers and nice houses, such as pic. Back to the marina (pic), exchanged 4 books at the book-exchange, and out to the boat.

Getting a bit of sunshine by 2 or so.

Around 3, was thinking of scrubbing the hull-sides with some acid, but then someone came on the VHF and announced volleyball ! So I dinghied ashore and played volleyball for a couple of hours. Hot and sandy and good exercise.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Boat pretty rolly for an hour or two, but then it settled down.

Still no BBC on the AM radio overnight. The last 4 nights or so, they've had something set wrong in the radio station, and when they switch over to BBC, it comes through at about 1/20th of the volume it should. Have to set the radio volume to maximum to hear it at all, and then every spike of static or other wandering signal comes through at painful volume. Useless.
Sun for a new day  8/3/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly sunny and breezey morning; nice.

After the VHF net, Lynn on "Silverheels III" gave us some info about Carnival, and I'm still undecided about how much of it I want to go see. The dawn parade sounds interesting, other than being at dawn. Most events are late at night, supposed to start around 8 PM but actually probably starting at 9 or 10. I don't want to be trying to get back home at 2 AM. The best events are in the national stadium, which is on the far side of St George's from here, and thus harder to get to. And apparently Carnival on every island is a major event for pickpockets, and they even slash pockets open to get at your money (it happened to Lynn's husband last year). I guess I'll wait and see what rides the taxi-van drivers offer to us cruisers.

Report on VHF saying Coast Guard boat is checking documents on boats in Clarkes Court Bay.

Anchor-chain quote from Budget Marine in Grenada: US$8.87/foot for 3/8 BBB chain. About double what I paid in Puerto Rico 5 years ago. And I think that's the Carnival-week sale price, discounted 10 percent from normal price of US$9.85/foot. Later, looked at prices in Florida: US$6.51/foot when bought by 63-foot "pail" (I want about 120 feet, so I'd need 2 plus a shackle to connect them) or US$4.60/foot when bought by 200-foot "half-drum" (more than I want). But I'd have to figure out freight from Florida to here, and then delivery to a marina. Budget here will deliver to my local marina for free.

In midafternoon, Wade on "Joana" called me on the VHF. He'd read my log and seen that I was thinking about painting the hull-sides and cabintop, and wanted to give me some info. Had a long talk with him, and it got a bit confusing at times, trying to keep everything straight. Lots of options: 1-part versus 2-part paint, hull-sides versus cabintop, do it yourself versus have a yard do it. Right after that, John on "Elephant's Child" called me; he'd listened to Wade and me talking, and had more info to share. He got a much cheaper quote than I did for having the work done in Trinidad, on same boat size. I have to do some more reading and thinking, but I'm tending to go for sanding and painting the cabintop first myself with 1-part, then going into a yard and sanding and painting the hull-sides myself with 1-part while the yard sands and paints the bottom. Not as durable as 2-part, but far less expensive because I can do 1-part myself. Really sounds like 2-part is not something I can do myself.

Salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.

On their way past, Wade and Diane stopped to give me some more advice about painting my boat. I think Wade's a little more enthusiastic about it than I am.

BBC on the AM radio tonight has very loud hum over it; still not usable.
Sun for a new day  8/4/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. Did some Wi-Fi. Then at 9:50, very dark with low clouds, then strong wind and heavy rain. Big flash of lightning and clap of thunder, about half a mile away. Heard later that it took out a couple of nodes for the paid Wi-Fi service. Sunny again 20 minutes later.

A little after 11, started the engine (took 3 tries), moved over, and put out a second anchor to hold me about 150 feet further into the bay. Should have less roll and better Wi-Fi here. And I hope for better shade, too: the boat was spinning quite a bit and making the late afternoons hot and irritating in the previous spot.

Unfastened the lower ends of both upper main shrouds. Now I have to get up my nerve to climb the mast. Which will include swinging out to the ends of the spreaders to see how the shrouds are attached there.

Started working on climbing a little after 4, but the spare halyard winch fought me; the brake has never released properly, and this time it was forzen solid. Finally had to take the winch off the mast to roll the wire off it, then put it back on.

Climbed up to the spreaders, and as I feared, I can't really get out to the ends of them to see how the shrouds are attached. The best I can do it fumble blindly at the ends with my fingers; there seems to be some kind of bracket or seizing holding the shrouds on. Gave up and climbed more. Up to the top of the mast, and worked at taking out cotter-pins to free up the top ends of the upper shrouds. Did the port one, which was tricky, then realized I'd done it the hard way: there are two cotter-pins on each, and one is easier to do than the other. So the starboard shroud was easier to get off, although having to do it left-handed added to the difficulty. Took a while, and had to stop and hold on a few times as the boat rolled. Eventually back down to deck, and my legs were trembling from the exertion. So now I have the shroud-ends free and on deck, but the middle of each is still attached to the spreader-end. I'll have to climb again to try to work on those.

Tired and bruised and sweaty; a shower and dinner and a drink will fix me.

Cornbread-bacon-onion-cheese and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.

A bit of trouble sleeping; I got a little sunburnt today.

Some BBC radio tonight; maybe the radio station fixed the problem.
Sun for a new day  8/5/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey morning. Heavy rain from 6 to 8. Sun coming out by 9, but still very cloudy.

Dinghied ashore to catch the 9:30 bus to shopping. Chatted with the other cruisers, asking for any tips about how to climb out to the ends of the spreaders, and how to buy anchor chain.

Off to ACE Hardware, then a stop at a car dealership for one guy, then to Budget Marine. They're having their annual Carnival-week sale, everything 10% off and some things 20% off. Lots of people in the store; you can see about 1/3 of them here (pic), and it's a small store. Plenty of dinghies at the restaurant dock, too (pic). I looked at topside paint, anchor chain, anchor chain connectors, inverters, a scale to weigh my propane tank before and after. And didn't buy anything. They didn't have the 1-gallon size of Easypoxy, and the salesman said it can take a month to get stuff shipped in. Exchanged 3 books at the bookshelf in De Big Fish, chatted with the other cruisers for a while. Hot and humid and no breeze here.

Off to Spice Island mall. Had a chocolate-banana smoothie (EC$10) and chatted with Wade and Diane. Into IGA supermarket and got a lot of stuff, but they had no bananas, no cranberry juice. On the way back, stopped in CK's, and I got cranberry juice there. Back to the marina, paid EC$10 for the bus, back to the boat by 12:45.

Email from Island Water World store in St George's says they have 3/8 BBB anchor chain for US$7.25/foot, which seems like a reasonable price.

Lovely sunny, breezey afternoon.

Salad and leftover cold spaghetti for dinner.

Bailed out the hard dinghy. Looked at the spreader-ends through binoculars from deck; I think the shrouds are held on by wire seizings, which is good news.
Sun for a new day  8/6/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. Did a bucket of laundry.

"Gypsy Blues" on the VHF net has been advertising a used MaxProp for sale. I'm tempted. But it's for a 30 MM shaft (1.18") and my shaft is 1.25" (31.75 MM). So I guess it wouldn't work.

Around 2, weather suddenly turned solidly grey. Brief rain, then grey, grey, grey. Then more rain. No solar, no wind.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/7/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning.

Paid Raymond EC$5 to take two bags of garbage.

Did lots of Wi-Fi. Skype-called Mom and chatted briefly.

In later afternoon, climbed the mast up to the spreaders, and cut off the seizings holding the shrouds into the spreader-ends. Back down to deck, started to put away the climbing gear, then realized the chafe-guard disks won't slide down the wires as I'd hoped they would. So I have to do more work. Unfastened the deck-ends of the mid-upper-shrouds, climbed the mast again, and slid the disks down several feet at a time as I descended. Back to deck, put the gear away, disassembled the disks. Coiled up the upper shrouds I've removed, and they're in shockingly bad shape. Maybe coiling them caused more damage, but they have serious rust and more snapped strands than I had thought.

Took a while to put the mid-upper-shrouds back into place; I had to flip them back into the notches on the ends of the spreaders while standing on deck, which was tricky. Finally got them in place, fastened them at deck-level again, and tightened the turnbuckles. Done.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/8/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Added a little water to the batteries.

Dinghied ashore and caught 2 PM bus to Carnival. There are many events of Canival. At dawn today, there was a "dirty parade", where people smeared paint and engine oil and such on themselves and each other. This afternoon is a "pretty parade". Tonight is a big band-parade, starting around 10 and going until the small hours. Tomorrow is more.

Through eerily deserted streets and into town, dropped off at a Texaco station. Down to the waterfront, and the parade-groups are lining up. Hot sun, but at least there's some breeze. Some pretty good body-thumping music going from these huge trucks loaded with audio equipment, and paraders dancing up a storm. Eventually the parade got started, and went very slowly. But the paraders seemed to have a lot of energy, at least here at the beginning.

Took a bunch of pictures: pics. Bought a Coke and a chicken-lunch-box, sat in some shade and ate it, and then walked 1/4 mile toward town and caught up with the tail end of the parade. Some of the smaller kids are falling out.

Finally got tired of it, and headed back toward the bus pick-up place. Bought a Jamaican pastie from a truck, then had a Sprite in bat with Wade and Diane (but music from across the street made it impossible to talk).

Back to the boat by 6:15. Had a cheese sandwich to finish off dinner.

Hot, still, buggy night. But some decent BBC on the AM radio.
Sun for a new day  8/9/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning with very little wind; hot.

Called "Gypsy Blues" on VHF to ask about that Max-Prop he advertised a couple of days ago, but it's gone already.

Dinghied ashore and caught the 2 PM bus to Carnival. We got most of the way into town before realizing we'd forgotten to swing by Prickly Bay Marina to pick up a couple of people. We got out and walked the rest of the way, while the bus went back for them.

Today's parade a bit disappointing; I had been told there would be a lot more bands today, but it's mostly the same as yesterday. And today they're doing the judging, which turns out to mean each group stops in front of the Tropicana and performs for 20 minutes. So the parade didn't move hardly at all; it just stayed all jammed up on the waterfront road. Still fun to watch, and lots of good people-watching. Pics. Had a cup of conch soup that was mediocre, a bottle of Guinness that was very good (didn't realize they brew it locally), and fried chicken and "bakes" (donuts) and a Coke for dinner.

Then on the way home, fortunately on a flat stretch of road, the van had a blowout of the left-front tire, the one right under where I was sitting. And the driver had trouble getting the jack right. Every van that passed us saw white people standing around (dollars on the hoof), and stopped to see if we wanted a ride. Pic. But eventually the driver got the spare on. Back to the marina, with me being a bit nervous that the spare would come off as we negotiated a couple of tight hill turns, but no problem. Paid EC$15 for the ride, and back to the boat by 6:30. Boat is hot.
Sun for a new day  8/10/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Loafed and read and did Wi-Fi all day. Hot afternoon.

Looks like only metric-sized rigging wire is available here, which is a bit awkward since I'm going to be reusing Sta-Lok fittings. So the existing 1/4" (6.35 MM) wires will have to be replaced with 6 MM wires (not too bad). The existing 3/16" (4.7625 MM) wires may have to be replaced with 4 MM wires (a pretty big decrease). Fortunately all of the important wires I'm replacing are 1/4" ones.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.
Sun for a new day  8/11/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

In email, got an anchor chain quote from a wholesaler here, and the price is great ! US$4/foot plus US$100 handling/Customs/delivery charge for 120 feet of Acco 3/8" BBB anchor chain, so total of US$580. Placed the order. Will take 2-3 weeks to arrive.

A little before 3, dinghied ashore to marina. Exchanged 4 books at bookshelf in office. Then to the volleyball court. Stretching, my back or ribcage didn't feel good, but I played anyway. Definitely not feeling right, but I did okay. Done at 5, and back to the boat, all sandy and sweaty, skinned knee and ribs/back aching. Showered and drank a lot of water and juice. Back/ribs very sore.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Felt tired and achey and headachey all night. At least there was some nice breeze, and BBC on the radio. Pretty heavy rain at 1 AM.
Sun for a new day  8/12/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still tired and achey. Dinghied ashore, seeing a loaded dinghy heading in (pic; I count 4 adults and 4 kids), and a nice-looking boat at the fuel dock (pic).

Caught the 9:30 van to shopping. I just wanted to go to IGA, but we went everywhere. Exchanged 2 books at De Big Fish. Into IGA, and they were out of bananas, eggs, most of the sliced bread, cheap oatmeal, cheap beans, etc. Very disappointing. Then everyone wanted to stay and snack, so I had a banana-peanut smoothie (EC$10) that was terrific, and watched some cricket on the TV. Stopped at Market Board on the way back and got some bananas. Back to the marina, paid EC$10 for the bus, back to the boat by 12:25.

Did Wi-Fi. Still trying to get a rigging-wire quote from the wholesaler here; want to get that order placed ASAP. I think I'm going to do all of the rigging replacement myself instead of taking the wires to the rigging shop. Just a matter of cutting wire and assembling STA-LOK fittings.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Low dark clouds and strong wind starting at midnight, but little rain. Watched as a charter sloop dragged anchor, past "Lady Domina". Rain later.
Sun for a new day  8/13/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Mention on the VHF about storm Invest 93, but it's predicted to stay N of here. Looked on the internet, and there are 3-4 storms active in Atlantic right now, none threatening here.

There will be petanque (bocce) played at CCB marina at 3. So around 2, I started getting ready to go, and it rained. Got going at 2:15, and did the long ride around the peninsula, across the Hog Island anchorage, under the bridge, and across CCB to Whisper Cove marina. Never been here, and I just want to use the book-exchange. Exchanged 9 books, back into the dinghy, and the outboard wouldn't start. Sat there for 10 minutes futzing with it, sweating in the hot sun and still air, pulling the cord with my sore back/ribcage aching. Checked all the wires, pulled out the spark plug and checked it, couldn't find anything wrong. Used some starter fluid, no help. Just seems to be flooded. Finally got it started, untied, put it in gear, motor quit again. Got it started after another minute or two, kept RPMs higher, and this time got moving.

Across CCB to CCB marina. Disposed of a bag of garbage. Into the bar, and had a Diet Coke while I cooled off. Exchanged another 9 or 10 books at their book-exchange. Put my name in for the petanque tournament; I hadn't realized it was so organized, and a lot of people are showing up. Chatted with various cruisers; a very English crowd here today.

Played a game of Petanque against Jeanne, and won 13-2. Then a long wait until my second game; they have a lot of people in the tournament. Ohe game interrupted by a taxi-van who pulled in and parked right on top of the pitch, not realizing people were playing. No harm done.

Finally played a second game, and tried hard but wasn't unhappy to lose to Jenny, 13-10. Into the dinghy, outboard started right up, and began the long dinghy-ride back to the boat. Caught by rain as I left the Hog Island anchorage, and was pretty wet by the time I got home at 6 or so.

Then a really annoying situation, not the first time this has happened: boat is very hot inside because it was closed up for much of the afternoon, but the rain is keeping me from opening it up and airing it out. And the wind and rain are swirling and gusting sideways, so often I can't sit in the cockpit. Sweating and making dinner in the dark, opening hatches when the rain stops and closing up again when the rain starts. Wet clothes draped around the cockpit. Hoisted the dinghy between rainstorms, before it could fill up with water. Dumped some rainwater from buckets to jugs between storms.

Had some fairly bad pain in my right kidney for a couple of minutes. Back/ribcage still hurting too.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-mushroom-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Halfway through dinner, the weather cleared up, mostly, and I was able to eat in the cockpit and open the hatches. Then sat in the cockpit and read for a while, as the boat aired out and cooled off.
Sun for a new day  8/14/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Storm Invest 93 has vanished; 4 storms active in Atlantic right now, all very far N of here.

Lovely sunny, breezey morning.

Did Wi-Fi and loafed all day. Took down the mast-climbing rope, sewed up rips in a cushion, WD-40'd the dinghy tools. Hot afternoon; with the boat pointing N, there's little shade.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice and a glass of wine for dinner.

Went out on deck at midnight for 10 minutes or so, hoping to see meteorite showers. Lovely night out, cool and a light breeze, but a brilliant full moon is washing out the stars and meteorites. Thought I saw a flicker of one meteorite, but not sure.
Sun for a new day  8/15/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Very still, hot, sunny morning. Did a bucket of laundry.

And on this fine, hot morning, what is Wade on "Joana" doing ? He's up on the bow of his steel boat doing some welding, wearing a full protective suit. Makes me sweat just writing about it.

Weather grey and some breeze by 10 or so.

VHF net said Invest 93 has dissipated, but wunderground 8 AM forecast says it's alive and will pass N of here, between St Lucia and Martinique, heading W. And will intensify after passing those islands.

Cornbread-bacon-cheese-onion and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/16/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Dinghied ashore at 8:30, to go on an all-day island tour. Onto the taxi-van with Diane and Wade from "Joana". Over to Port Louis Marina in St George's, to pick up 5 more cruisers: Rich, Kathy and Maria, and two other ladies.

First stop was Fort George, which I've been to. Pics. Nice views, but we loitered longer than it was worth; there's a whole island to see ! Out of there by 10.

Up the W coast road, and turned inland N of Halifax Harbour, to Concord Falls. Into a swimsuit, down steps to the falls (EC$2.50 admission), and swam in the slightly-cold water. Very refreshing, and fun to swim under the falls and have the water pound you down and the current spin you away. Very nice. Pics.

Into the bus, back to the coast, and up to Gouyave, stopping a couple of times to look at various fruit trees, and to watch some fisherman pulling in an huge net. In Gouyave, Joe offered to drop us off to tour a nutmeg sorting-and-packing place, but it didn't look very interesting, so we passed on it.

More up the coast, picked up a lady waiting for a bus, and eventually arrived at N tip of the island. Went to "Carib's Leap", a cliff about 50-60 feet high with shallow coral below. There, Carib indians leaped to their deaths rather than surrender to the French. Scenic, but not very exciting. Pics.

SE, down to Belmont Estate, where they make chocolate. Decent buffet lunch (EC$66) in a very lovely restaurant, open-air and up high enough to be cool, lovely woodwork everywhere. Pics.

Over to the E coast, to the River Antoine Rum Distillery, the only working distillery on the island. Had a tour from a woman who was singing along to her iPod half the time, and sometimes trying to be heard over a couple of guys pounding a big boiler with a sledgehammer. But at least she forgot to collect her fees (EC$2/person) when we left. Pics.

Chatting with our driver, Joe George, I found out he was the first certified Guinness brewmaster on the island. They brew it here, but it's available only in bottle, not on tap.

Up the E coast to see Lake Antoine, a volcano caldera. Pic. Then further up to see a nice beach, Bathway Beach.

Headed S along the E coast, and the road doglegs right down the runway of the old airport, Pearls Airport. Saw a couple of planes that the Cubans had donated to the island, and the USA shot up when they invaded. The driver said the USA promised to replace the planes, but never did.

S to Grenville, then W. Stopped somewhere to look at some sulphur-springs, vaguely reminiscent of the pools in Yellowstone. Lots of goats grazing, and one of them begged all of us for food, but we had nothing to give. Lots of nice fruit trees on the lane through the woods; the variety of stuff that grows on this island is impressive. And the variety of terrain is impressive, too: volanoes, beaches, waterfalls, rainforest, etc.

Then to Grand Etang lake. Lovely spot, nice trails and gazebos up the hillside. Pics.

Up over the top of Grand Etang, and down the other side. Turned off and went to Annandale Falls for a quick look (pic). Some local hustler tried to corral us into paying money to watch him dive off the top of the falls, but we ignored him.

SW down into St George's, to drop off five of our party. Then home to the marina, paid EC$60 to the driver for fare and small tip, and out to the boat in the dark. Got to the boat a little after 7.

Cheese sandwich for dinner.

Out onto deck at 4:30 AM for 15 minutes, but didn't see any meteorites.
Sun for a new day  8/17/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Another hot morning, sunny and very little breeze. Can't remember the last time we had enough wind to run my wind-generator for more than a minute or so.

Argh ! Stupid web-site host. It's showing the index page of my site, no matter what page you try to go to. Never seen that behavior before. Not sure if it's my browser or the site host.

Sailboat "Joana" came in and anchored nearby (pic). This has two women aboard, Kathy and Maria, plus a visiting Mom of one of them. They all were on the bus for the island tour. Their boat actually is "Joana 1", although they've painted out the "1" on the stern. They're right next to another "Joana" also from Canada, with Wade and Diane aboard.

As I was showering on the stern deck at 4:30, a pretty good squall came through and pelted me with big, cold raindrops.

Salad and leftover cold cornbread and an apple for dinner.

Headache all night.
Sun for a new day  8/18/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sinus headache.

Loafed and napped and took pills and felt bad most of the day.

PBJ sandwich for dinner.

A bit of strong wind for a while after dusk; wind-generator spun for a while.

Bad headache all night; felt lousy.
Sun for a new day  8/19/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bad sinus headache.

Boat spinning quite a bit, and Wi-Fi is flaky, but saw enough of my email to see that there's still no quote for rigging wire. Rain at 10:05.

No internet the rest of the day. Can connect to the Wi-Fi hub, but no DNS or internet behind it.

Diane and Wade came by around 3, with a couple of groceries I had asked them to pick up for me. Paid them EC$5 for a loaf of bread plus a bunch of bananas.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/20/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, still, hot morning. Supposed to go up to 100F today.

Headache a bit better, but still there. Got worse around noon.

Wi-Fi still not working.

Grey and raining around 12:45, then sunny again.

Very grey and heavy rain from 2:30 to 4:30 or so. Occasional thunder and lightning.

Chili and rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/21/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still headachey, but not too bad.

Hot, still morning, until 10, when a big squall with heavy rain came in from the S. Rained for 20 minutes or so.

Wi-Fi still not working.

A little rain at 12:45 or so. A little more at 2:40.

Apple and salad and leftover cold chili and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Hot and still and buggy evening. Then some wind started around 11, and blew pretty well the rest of the night. Got a bit of power out of my wind-generator.
Sun for a new day  8/22/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Headache almost completely gone, and my back/rib pain is gone. About time.

Wind supposed to be in 12-to-15-knot range for next 3 days, which is nice. It's been too calm and hot here.

Wade and Diane swung by to tell me Sherri will be ashore at 9, to have us sign Customs forms for our orders. So I launched the dinghy, added oil to the outboard, and headed ashore at 9. We chatted with Dave from "Persephone"; he's been here quite often over the years, and told us a bit about hurricane protection here. They all seem to think staying right here in Mt Hartman Bay would be fine; it looks too open to the S to me, and it's deeper than I like, and there are 6-8 unattended boats. But we'll see; if a storm threatens, maybe inertia will take over and I'll stay right where I am, with additional lines into the mangroves and a third anchor out.

Signed the forms for Sherri, found out that the anchor chain should arrive this week, and found out the status of my rigging wire order. Gave her some new quantities for that order. She's trying to find better prices, but I think she's already found pretty good prices. So the order should be placed soon. It's going to be about US$2300, to replace just about all of the standing rigging on my boat. That's with me doing all of the labor, and reusing the STA-LOK fittings. If I had a local rigging shop supply the wire and do the cutting and assembling, the price would be almost double that. And if I had a rigger climbing the masts to take wires down and put them up, probably add another thousand or more.

Exchanged 4 books at the book-exchange. Looked around for AC outlets to plug in my laptop later, but they have only British-type plugs, and I think my adapter kit was stolen last year. Should buy a new one.

Chatting with various people, it sounds like some cabin-fever is developing in the cruiser community here. People carping about radio etiquette, a few cliques developing, conflicts among some of the local taxi-drivers and local businesses. And it's only going to get worse as we get further into hurricane season.

Someone told me this sailboat in the marina is flying courtesy flags from every country it's been to: pic. Impressive, but what's even more impressive is that those flags cost about US$20 apiece ! I count 35+ flags, so that's about US$700. [Someone suggested that's the flag-alphabet, not country flags. I had wondered, but I don't know my flags.] I stopped buying and flying courtesy flags a while ago; the officials don't seem to care, and the flags got ripped to shreds by the wind after a couple of months. I do fly a "Q" flag when in Quarantine.

Back to the boat. Wi-Fi still not working.

Dinghied ashore after lunch. Sat in marina bar for 2 hours, nursing a Coke Zero (EC$6; US$2.30) and doing Wi-Fi. Hurricane "Irene" is over San Juan, projected to go to category 3 in Bahamas Thursday morning. Nothing threatening us here. Downloaded lots of audio files, caught up on my email and such.

Hot on the boat in the late afternoon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate on the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  8/23/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Headache gone; feeling okay.

Low grey clouds, rain, plenty of wind around 6 AM. More around 6:40. Then a sunny, breezey morning. Did a small bucket of laundry.

Spent most of the morning recharging the laptop battery; have to do it in stages, or the charger will get the wires very hot. Then got some Wi-Fi from the boat. Wow, "Irene" is forecast to strengthen from category 3 to 4 as it passes N up the middle of the Bahamas and comes out the N end of the Bahamas.

Grey with lots of wind and rain after 11.

Salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/24/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain at 5:30. Then a grey, mostly still, humid, hot morning, until it started clearing around 9:30. Paid EC$3 to Raymond to take a bag of garbage.

Did a little Wi-Fi. Hurricane Irene is cat 3 in extreme SE tip of Bahamas, and forecast to rip right up the E side of the Bahamas, S to N. Ugly.

Did more Wi-Fi.

A little before 3, dinghied ashore and walked into the bird sanctuary. Nicer than I expected, a wide dirt road through the mangroves and brush. Didn't see any clear side-paths; probably have to force your way through bush to get to the waterfront or out onto the peninsula. A bit hot and muggy, but clouds kept it from getting too bad. One small hill. Walked to the base of the Hog Island bridge and back, probably about 3 miles. Saw some brown furry animal scoot across the road; looked too slow and bulky to be a mongoose.

Barge with excavator appeared and put out a couple more sets of channel-markers, marking the channel through the reefs.

Around 5, as I was cooking dinner, Wade and Diane swung by to give me a couple of books, and tell me that the orders from Sherri (including my anchor chain) will be arriving Friday afternoon.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.
Sun for a new day  8/25/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Grey and humid morning, with some breeze.

More info about Trinidad on the VHF net this morning. A few days ago, they had a surge of 11 or so murders on the island, leading to curfews in various areas. Lots of debate on the cruiser's forums, some saying the problems were just in the drug areas, but someone saying one of the curfew areas was the main cruiser's area in Trinidad (Chagaraumas). News this morning: curfew 9 PM to 5 AM for entire island of Trinidad, plus Tobago also.

Email from Sherri; she's going to get my rigging wire from Defender, which has great prices. With freight and handling of US$175 to here, the total will be about US$1740. Told her to place the order. Still getting the STA-LOK wedge pricing straightened out.

Hurricane "Irene" still heading up through Bahamas, to hit or come close to NC. Will be category 4 briefly N of Bahamas, but mostly category 3. Scary.

Ouch ! I'm told the STA-LOK wedges cost US$7 each; thought that was the price for a pack of 5. I need 26 wedges. I wonder if I can re-use the old wedges; I know you're not supposed to. [Looks like that price is right; ordered the ten 1/4" wedges, and will see if I can re-use the sixteen 3/16" wedges. No big deal if the mizzen-mast comes down, right ?]

At 11, lots of grey and wind, and a little rain.

Skype-called Mom and chatted for a while, but then the internet connection broke.

Rigging parts ordered confirmed; total of US$1816.30 for all of the wire plus the 1/4" wedges.

Dinghied ashore at 3 to play dominoes. Shortly afterward, the wind died completely and it became a very still and muggy afternoon, even up in the open marina restaurant, where they always get a breeze. Seven us played a practice round and then 13 hands (a full game) of Mexican-train dominoes. Pics. Lots of fun, but it took a long time and a breeze would have been welcome. I had a Sprite, and someone bought several dishes of popcorn. A volleyball game was going on, too, but I said I probably wouldn't be playing Vball ever again because of my ribs, and Jamie and someone else said they'd taken a while to recover from the last game too.

Back to the boat a little after 6. Grey and still but not too hot, and a faint breeze. So not as horrible as I thought it would be.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/26/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, hot morning with light breeze.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. Quite a crowd today, and it turns out we have two vans. Piled in and went to bank, then ACE Hardware. I bought an AC plug converter (EC$9), but then realized it doesn't have a hole for the ground pin, which is awkward. To Budget Marine, and I exchanged 2 books at the book-exchange in De Big Fish.

Wade told me a fisherman came by our boats yesterday, with a 10-foot nurse shark he'd caught and hoisted into his not-much-bigger-than-10-feet skiff; I guess he was trying to sell shark meat to the cruisers.

To Spice Island Mall. Got EC$500 out of the ATM using my credit card. Got lots of stuff in the supermarket. Then down to the food court to get a banana-chocolate smoothie (EC$10) and watch a little English soccer on the TV. On the way home, we stopped at some vegetable stands and I bought a nice avocado (EC$3). Back to the boat by noon.

Looked around for ways to make the new AC adapter work, and found I already had an equivalent adapter on the boat. Wasted EC$9.

Dinghied ashore at 4 to meet Sherri with the goodies we've ordered. The van had anchor chain for Dave and for me in a barrel, and the guys wanted to lift it out, but we stopped them. That barrel has to have 300 pounds of chain in it. Instead, we handed the chain 20 feet across the dock to the water's edge, then brought our dinghies around. 170 feet of 5/16 chain for Dave, 120 feet of 3/8 BBB for me, lots of canvas-related goodies for Dave and Diane, and something for "Quicksilver", too. Signed a paper showing Sherri had paid about $34 to Customs for me, so rest of $100 was her profit and delivery charge, well worth it. Gave a couple of books to Diane; checked out the book-exchange but found nothing I wanted. Took my chain out to the boat, hoisted it up onto deck, laid it out, measured it. Right length, looks fine. Pic.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.

Annoying music from the marina bar from about 10 to 2. Really carries on such a still night.
Sun for a new day  8/27/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still, sunny in the early morning. Launched the dinghy, pumped up the bow tube, then used it to spin the boat counter-clockwise 3 times, to get some of the twists out of the anchor chains. Still has plenty more twists.

Loafed and did some Wi-Fi.

Around 2:30, tried to start the engine, but the starte motor barely cranked, and drew the batteries well down. Tried several more times over the next half-hour, but no go. Bad.

Dinghied out around the peninsula, across the Hog Island anchorage, and over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Disposed of two bags of garbage. The usual situation, dog sleeping in the warm, lazy afternoon: pic. Exchanged 9 books at the book-exchange, got a Diet Coke, then walked up the hill to a field where they're going to play cricket. I wouldn't mind playing for a little while, but they look like they're settling in for the afternoon, so I didn't join a team, and just watched. Half of the crowd is very English, and many of them have played and watched quite a bit of cricket. So I chatted with some of the guys about rules that had always mystified me. Out on the field, the English were instructing the Americans and Canadians on the proper ways to bowl and bat. Pics.

Fun to watch the playing. They were using a practice ball, not the normal very hard and heavy ball, but still the batters had no pads or mask, and it looked a bit dangerous at times. And at one point they broke one of the beer-bottles they were using as wickets, so they had to be careful to pick up all of the pieces; I saw someone getting treated for a cut foot later.

A few very good bowlers, and only a couple of good batters, and the field was pretty lumpy so there was no telling which way the ball would bounce when bowled. Then a cruiser watching from a distance stripped and streaked across the pitch, to great merriment. Apparently this happens so often at cricket matches that it's practically traditional now.

Got tired of watching, so back to the marina and into the dinghy, and the long ride back to my boat. Got back around 5:30.

Salad (nice avocado) and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.
Sun for a new day  8/28/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Pretty heavy rain just before 7, then sunny.

Did Wi-Fi and loafed.

Tried to start the engine, and failed. Found that cables to forward bank of batteries are hot, those to aft bank are cool. So I've probably been running off only one bank of batteries again. Added jumper cables.

Salad and cornbread-sausage-onion and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on the foredeck.

Heavy rain and lots of wind from the S, from 1:15 to 1:45 or so. More at 2:15 or so.
Sun for a new day  8/29/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Tried to start the engine a couple of times; no go. Starter motor barely budges. And I'm seeing only about 7 A going into batteries afterward; wonder if one of my solar panels has died again ?

Around 3, dinghied ashore and went for a walk in the bird sanctuary. Tried some new paths, and wound up at a cattle ranch, then a horse-riding/boarding operation. Pics. Saw a local guy and three cruisers on the way back; I didn't see anyone else in here last time I was here. Saw an ambulance taking someone out of the marina, with lights flashing. Chatted with Alan and his wife in the marina bar, then another lady at the dinghy dock.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Brief rain half a dozen times during the night.

Worrying about the electrical problems in the middle of the night, decided to take the starter motor to a repair shop, and investigate the battery monitor wiring. Once I get the monitor straightened out, then look at the solar panels.
Sun for a new day  8/30/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Found some corrosion on battery cable connections, and a slightly loose connection, and fixed them. Waited a while, tried to start the engine, starter cranked a little better, but still no go.

Investigated the battery monitor wiring, found no problems.

Should have taken the starter motor off the engine, but got lazy and left it to tomorrow.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Rained a little just as I was getting ready to go eat out on the foredeck.

Rained a couple of times during the night.
Sun for a new day  8/31/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Took the starter motor off the engine.

Now I have to figure out how to get the motor to a repair shop. Best shop is in Gouyave, halfway up the W side of the island. Called "Shademan" on the VHF; he runs a trip up to the fish-festival there on Fridays. But he told me the trip hasn't gone recently; not enough people signed up. So I'll have to check with him on Friday morning.

Charge for rigging-wire order has appeared on my credit card, so that order is progressing.

Around 3, dinghied ashore to tiny beach on the side of the peninsula near my boat, and explored the trail in there. About as grim as I expected: overgrown and hot and close and doesn't really go anywhere interesting. Would be nice to get up on top of the peninsula and look down on the anchorages, but there's no trail to there. Got out to the "salt pond", but couldn't find a way from there out to the main trail in the bird sanctuary. Some big insect nests: pic (a reader says they're called "comegen" or "comejen", white ants or termites). Some abandoned stuff: pic. Back to the boat.

Salad and PB-sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/1/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hurricane Katia still forecast to go well N of the E Caribbean.

Did some Wi-Fi. Tried to call the motor repair shop, but no answer, and the Skype connection was bad anyway. Called Mom and chatted with her, but the connection was very bad.

Dinghied ashore at 3 and played dominoes until 5:15 or so. Very competitive game; four of us ended up within 15 points or so of each other. Fun.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck until it got too dark to see.
Sun for a new day  9/2/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bit of a sinus headache; took pills.

Decided to try to fix the starter motor myself before taking it to a shop.

Dinghied ashore and caught one of the 9:30 shopping vans. To ACE Hardware. Starting batteries about EC$500 (US$192) for Group 31 910 CA 760 CCA battery, about EC$520 (US$200) for Group 27 820 CA 675 CCA battery, about EC$410 (US$158) for 750 CA 550 CCA battery. The Group 31 battery looks a little too big and heavy to handle easily. No luck on other stuff I wanted in ACE or the hardware store next to the supermarket. Got groceries, chatted with cruisers while having a banana-chocolate smoothie. Stopped at CK's, back to the marina, paid EC$10 to the driver, Harold. Back to the boat by noon.

So, let's see, Defender in USA sells batteries: US$115 for 1000 MCA 800 CCA, which is more power than the 910 CA 760 CCA battery sold here for US$192. But the one here is bigger and probably heavier, which usually means "better". Why does it have lower ratings ? Guess I should go back and find out the exact weight.

Did a little Wi-Fi.

Went to put my head down for a little while, and ended up crashing from 2 to 5.

Took the old solenoid off the starter motor and put the new one on. Easy.

Salad and cheese sandwich for dinner.

Slept very solidly all night; unusual.
Sun for a new day  9/3/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Boat-kids rowing past me to go play on a tiny mangrove beach area nearby: pic.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Very hot, still afternoon.

Lubricated the gear on the starter motor. Took the end-cap off and checked the springs and brushes; no problems.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/4/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Heard someone on the VHF, explaining that some gunshots heard by alarmed boaters in the Hog Island anchorage were just from a hunter. But John on "Celtic Dream" said there was nothing to shoot around here.

Used jumper-cables to test the starter motor. Spun just fine when power applied directly to the motor, and also when power applied through the solenoid. Bolted the motor onto the engine but didn't have time to do the wiring.

Around 2, made the long dinghy-ride over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Disposed of two bags of garbage. Played dominoes for almost 3 hours, two tables of 4 players each. A guy named "Earl" told me he'd heard shotgun-pellets landing on the canvas on their boat this morning, so if that "hunter" really was a hunter, he was a very irresponsible guy. Weird. Hot, still afternoon, not very comfortable inside the marina bar. I ended up in the bottom 1/3 of the domino scores; a poor showing. Exchanged 11 books at the book-exchange. On the way back, had close encounters with a couple of local skiffs roaring through the anchorages at way-too-high speeds. Back to the boat by 5:30. Hot and still on the boat, tiny breeze out on the foredeck.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate on the foredeck.
Sun for a new day  9/5/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Alarming report on the VHF cruiser's net: someone was attacked on that trail I've walked on through the bird sanctuary. Guy from "Ocean Star" was walking about 1/2 mile from the Hog Island end of the trail, when a masked and gloved guy with a machete attacked him ! He escaped with cuts and bruises, but the attacker cut the straps of his backpack and stole it. Reported it to police, but couldn't even tell the color of the attacker's skin. Scary.

Did some Wi-Fi. Someone here is trying to sell a Max-Prop for a very nice price, but it's for a 1.5"-diameter shaft; mine is 1.25"-diameter. Wonder if anyone makes a sleeve/adapter to make this work ?

Occasionally getting enough wind to get some juice out of the wind-generator. With all of the hurricanes messing up the trade-winds, and me parked behind a hill, the wind-generator hasn't done much in quite a while.

Wired up the starter motor. Turned the key, and the same labored chug-chug and slow cranking as before. So the new solenoid makes no difference. Kept cranking for 15 or 20 seconds, enough to drag the batteries down quite a bit. Cables are warm/hot from starter motor to forward bank of batteries, but not in cables or jumper cables from forward to aft bank of batteries. What does that mean ? Open circuit in the aft battery bank, either in one of the batteries or in the cable between the two golf-cart batteries in that bank ? Or just no power at all in that bank ?

Dinghied ashore to the marina. Walked up over the ridge of the peninsula, over to the entrance to Prickly Bay marina, then S out to the end of the peninsula. Pictures: house, two pics of house with odd tower, Prickly Bay, Prickly Bay on left, Magnolia in Mt Hartman Bay. Much more road-traffic than I expected, much of it tearing past at high speed, some construction-related. A long walk, and I started developing some blisters. 4/5 of the way back, my left sandal came apart, and I had to limp the rest of the way home. One bad blister on my left foot, chewed open and messy. Saw a guy on a dirt-bike turn into the bird sanctuary and motor into it; I assume that's illegal.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Glued the broken sandal (pic).
Sun for a new day  9/6/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey and raining. Rain most of the time from about 3:45 AM to 11 AM at least. Caught 25+ gallons of water and put it in tanks and jugs.

Some grousing on the VHF cruiser's net: yesterday someone mentioned rumors about a thief breaking into 9 boats, someone confirmed that the thefts occurred a couple of months ago. This morning, one of the marina managers was very upset that some people had gotten the impression that boats in his marina or on his moorings had been broken into. Sort of a name-confusion, between name of a bay and name of a marina. And the thief was arrested.

Stayed grey all day until about 3. Then weak sun.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.

Humid night with batteries getting low.
Sun for a new day  9/7/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Storm TD 14 may threaten us here by the weekend. Forecast to become a hurricane and go N of here, but will have to watch it.

Hmmm, I have been toying with the idea of buying a used folding prop from a boat here. It's a Max-Prop VP3, about $4500 new, and they're asking about $600. Turns out it was on the boat when they bought it, and had known problems, so they put on a different prop and sent this one back for a rebuild, then a new hub. So it's straight from manufacturer-rebuild, but could be up to 10 years old, and not tested on an actual boat. I'd have to buy a reducer bushing ($30 for nylon, $130 for bronze) to make it fit on my prop shaft. My current fixed prop is fairly beat-up, and it would be cool to see if a folding prop let my boat sail faster. But I'd have to wait until next haul-out to put it on the boat, and see what happened.

Added water to the batteries; only a few cells needed any. Removed jumper-cables between battery banks, removed one end of cable between the two batts in the aft bank, and the battery monitor readings were unchanged. Makes no sense. Guess I'll have to uncable everything and put it back together one at a time. Cleaned and tightened connections on forward battery bank again.

Changed main switch to run everything off forward battery bank only. Shut down charging source (solar) and all loads, turned them on and off individually, and found a suspicious load under the "Radio" switch, which has mostly cigarette-plug outlets running off it. Losing about half an amp through there, with nothing plugged in. Maybe the old spare VHF radio at the nav table or the inverter or RADAR is imposing a load, even when turned off ? Disconnected outlet in main cabin; no change.

Losing 1.5 A from forward bank, with all loads off; makes no sense. Disconnected batteries in aft bank read 6.35 V each; reasonable.

Solar charging is working more correctly, with Radio switch off and only forward battery bank in use. Charging voltage up to 13.8 V, when recently it's been around 13.35 V.

Feeling a bit depressed, because of the boat electrical problems, lack of physical activity, staying in same place for last 3 months or so, slight headache. Need to be more social.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice and an apple for dinner.

Not quite enough juice in forward bank to run refrigerator all night, plus listen to BBC.
Sun for a new day  9/8/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a bucket of laundry. On VHF net, sounds like storm TD14 is going well N of us, to Virgin Islands.

Cleaned cables to aft battery bank, then removed a suspect switch from the cabling and replaced it with a bolted connection. Battery monitor readings for aft bank still make no sense. Set main switch back to "both". Hot, somewhat still morning; got very sweaty.

Did some Wi-Fi. TD14 is now TS Maria, forecast to be no threat to us here.

Hmmm, 11 AM forecast for TS Maria has it coming closer to us than earlier forecast did. Center to go over Martinique, but still as TS ?

Dinghied ashore to play dominoes at 3. Said hi to a guy in the marina bar, thinking he might be the Norwegian guy anchored near me. He says no, he's another Norwegian cruiser. And then immediately told me the world is run by Jews and "Hilary Clinton" is a Jewish name ! I seem to be running into more and more of these conspiracy-theory nuts these days, in person and on Facebook.

Van arrived with some players, and more for the volleyball game I used to play in. Played dominoes for 3 hours, with 7 players total. Fun, but I didn't do too well. That loud Norwegian guy interrupted us a couple of times, as he's done before; someone said he's in the bar here all day every day. Once he did show us something interesting: some old Romanian money, bills denominated in half-million and one million quantities. Another time he wanted to make sure us Americans (USA) knew we were hated by much of the rest of the world. We (a mix of several nationalities) just ignored him.

Leftover cold chili and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Batteries seemed to do okay overnight. Still not as strong as they should be.
Sun for a new day  9/9/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Local guy on the VHF net this morning giving us a big warning about selling moorings, how we have to have paperwork to show to the government (someone mentioned selling a mooring a couple of days ago). I think this guy is just irritated because he considers this "his" bay, he took over some old moorings that the Moorings charter operation abandoned, and he wants to rent them out. A cruiser told me he has no legal basis to charge rent for them. The usual friction; I've seen this elsewhere.

TS Maria still forecast to be no threat to us here. Forecast has shifted it slightly more N, to go right over Guadeloupe.

Dinghied ashore before 9:30 to catch the shopping-van. Asked about that Norwegian guy in the bar yesterday, and he's well-known to the other cruisers. And Dave on the brown boat apparently is even more of a conspiracy-theory nut than that guy or John on "Celtic Dream"; Dave supposedly has many big jugs full of rice and other food to keep him alive after the coming Apocalypse. So we have 3 of these nuts in the anchorage.

To the bank, then ACE Hardware (bought sandpaper), then Budget Marine (bought a drain-plug for the dinghy). Exchanged 2 magazines for a book at the book-exchange. To Spiceland Mall. Bought plenty of groceries, then a passionfruit juice drink, and chatted with the other cruisers for a while. Back onto the bus at 11:30, stopped at an area of vegetable stands (bought avocado and tomatoes), then back to the marina. Paid EC$10 for the ride, and back to the boat by noon. Grey and fairly still weather now; had been sunny and breezey earlier.

Dark grey clouds hovering overhead most of the afternoon; little wind. Wish it would either rain heavily and blow hard, or get sunny.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate on the foredeck even though it was trying to spit rain occasionally.

Sinus headache all night; didn't sleep well.
Sun for a new day  9/10/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sinus headache. Nice breeze this morning.

Weather stayed grey. Got some juice out of the wind-gen, so charging voltage stayed up near 13.8 V.

Jumpered aft battery bank to starter, with normal cabling too, but starter still didn't crank very well, and cables to forward bank still got warm.

Pills controlled headache during the day.

Up onto pilothouse roof to start getting ready to remove solar panels, and found much of the epoxy holding them down has come loose.

Salad and cheese sandwich and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.

Bad sinus headache all night; pills couldn't stop it. Wind blowing S 15-18 or so, gusty. Getting some good output from the wind-generator.
Sun for a new day  9/11/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bad sinus headache. Wind blowing S 15-22 or more, very gusty. Took a big dose of acetaminophen, and my headache eased quite a bit by noon or so.

Dinghied ashore at 2 to play dominoes. Wind started easing shortly after then. Dominoes was fun, but that Norwegian guy was in the bar/restaurant as usual, and being a jerk as usual. A couple of people had brought their dogs to the dominoes game, and the Norwegian guy thought it was great fun to growl and bark at the dogs to make the bark as much as possible, creating a deafening din. And later, he kept feeding popcorn to the dogs even after the owners had told him to stop. The dominoes was fun, but again I didn't score too well. Had 4 or 5 very good rounds, and 4 real clunkers that doomed me. Saw Sherri there, and she said my rigging wire should get to me around the 21st or so. Back to the boat by 6 or so, and we had cut our dominoes game short ! We had been teaching a couple of new players, so it went slowly.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/12/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still have sinus headache, but pills damping it down. Weather fairly grey; supposed to be a rainy week.

A little sun at 9. Did a small bucket of laundry. Good to use the water now, since I should be catching a lot more this week.

Headache got worse after noon.

Put a big towel over each of the solar panels in turn, and same thing happened to charging amps each time. So I think both panels are okay.

Weather stayed surprisingly sunny, after such a downbeat forecast this morning. But the nice wind we had yesterday is gone.

Started getting solid cloud hovering overhead around 3, and it just kept getting thicker and thicker.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-coke for dinner. Headache mostly under control.

Finally started raining around 6:15, and it's a deluge. Pretty good wind at first, then wind died and the rain just poured down. Rained and rained.

Then, at 7, ka-blam ! Lightning strike right behind my boat, I saw it through a stern port as I was lying in bed, and this one has my number on it. Boat sunk in storm I think the strike hit the hill about 150 feet behind me, then went into the water about 100 feet behind me. Suddenly the boat is darker than usual, and I get up to investigate. The battery monitor is dead; surprising how much darker the boat seems with just those two little green LEDs not glowing any more. No digits displayed on the monitor, no backlight, no LEDs. It's dead.

I use the analog meter on the electrical panel to check battery voltage, and it's reasonable. Refrig is still running. Flashlight into the engine compartment and bilge, and no smoke or rising water. A direct strike can blow out a through-hull or put pinholes in the hull, but I didn't have a direct strike.

Up into the cockpit, and the depth-sounder still works, but the main VHF radio is dead. Not a disaster, it's probably 15 years old, but still a pain. [Found later: manufactured March 1996, so I guessed right !]

Down below, I check a few lights and such, look in the engine compartment and bilge, can't find any more damage. Rain still pouring down. Camera powers on okay. Power on the laptop, and get to the BIOS password prompt, so that seems okay. Back to bed. A few deck-leaks slowly getting things damp. Checked the bilge a couple more times during the night. Listened to a little BBC, so the (old) SSB receiver survived.

Rain kept going and going until about 1 AM, with several more lightning strikes, none of them close to me. Afterward everything is damp, humid, drenched.
Sun for a new day  9/13/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Up at dawn to look for more damage. Battery monitor and cockpit VHF still dead. No visible damage on deck; rigging looks okay. Main VHF antenna looks like a fiber or two is split off it, but it might have been that way before. Hard dinghy is more full of rainwater than I've ever seen it before.

Poured lots of rainwater from buckets into tank and jug.

Leafed through a couple of marine catalogs, looking at new VHF radios. Time to get DSC and maybe AIS. But these catalogs are more than a year old, an eternity in the fast-changing market.

Solar seems to be working; would have been a disaster if my panels got taken out.

Turned on the backup VHF at nav station and listened to cruiser's net. Why couldn't this radio have died instead ? It's probably 25 years old.

Tested more stuff. Main GPS still works. Ancient backup GPS works, but display has gotten so bad that I'm going to throw it away. Inverter seems to work. No wind, so I can't tell about the wind-generator, but I doubt anything short of a direct strike would hurt it. Turn on the RADAR, and the display is fine but it gives an error code that probably means the dome up on the mizzenmast is toast. Well, I hardly ever used the RADAR anyway.

Did a radio-check; transmitting on backup VHF works. Chatted with Wade on "Joana" and told him about the damage I had. "Joana" was maybe 150 feet further from the strike, and is a steel-hulled boat, so they may have had no damage; Wade will check. They did find that they'd forgotten to take the drain plug out of the dinghy after they hoisted it, and it was completely full of rainwater and making the boat list.

Later found out that "Joana", about 200 feet from me and a steel sloop, has a 73-foot mast. And "Lady Domina", about 200 feet from me in a different direction and also a steel sloop, has a 110-foot mast. But the lightning glanced off the 100-foot high hill behind me and caused damage to me, with my puny 49-foot (above waterline) mast. Not a direct hit, of course.

So now I have to think about replacing equipment:
Did some Wi-Fi; laptop is okay. Error code I'm getting from the RADAR could mean cable to dome is bad/loose, or some mechanical failure (motor or belt) inside the dome. And I'm not sure when I last tested the RADAR; several months ago at least. But I'm 99% sure the lightning has toasted it. Lots of similar stories on the web. Display and dome out of production more than 5 years ago. Used dome sold on eBay recently for $233.

The Xantrex Heart Link 2000 battery monitor new would be $400, but it's sold out / discontinued everywhere. One sold recently on eBay for $220.

Wow, just read that there was severe rolling in the W-facing anchorages yesterday, in St Georges and up in Tyrell Bay. Even a couple of boats sunk up at Tyrell. Maybe swells from TS Maria, which is hovering N of Puerto Rico ?

Okay, to replace the battery monitor with a simple gauge to show amps, using the existing shunt, I need a meter that reads tenths of a millivolt. Multiply by 10 to get amps flowing through the shunt. Lots of them on eBay, but all take separate 5V supply.

Will have to research VHF radios and AIS tomorrow.

Some puffs of wind in early afternoon, and I think the wind-generator survived the close lightning strike. The electrical brake works, and I think the generator is pushing the system voltage up. So that's good.

Around 2, launched the dinghy. Started the outboard, so that survived the lightning. Bailed a ton of water out of the hard dinghy.

Took off some ports in the cockpit coaming, to see if there's any visible damage to the wiring to the VHF radio. Didn't see anything wrong.

Dinghied ashore at 3. Noticed that a couple of cleats on the dinghy-dock were held on by one remaining rusting bolt each; told the security guard about it. Exchanged 3 books in the book-exchange, then went to sit and watch the volleyball. Had a good time chatting with several cruisers, and telling everyone the story about the lightning. And a couple of boats told us how rolly it was on Sunday outside St George's, inside the Lagoon, and down at Prickly Bay. A really nasty W swell and some cross-swells created extremely rough conditions, even at the marina inside the Lagoon.

Talking about VHF radios, several cruisers said they have the Standard Horizon Matrix (with integral AIS receiver) and love it. I've heard about that radio before; will look at it. [A reader sent email recommending it, too.]

Salad and cheese sandwich and celery-and-PB for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/14/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Standard Horizon GX2100 radio with AIS receiver costs $284 at Defender, about $96 more than same radio without AIS (GX2000). Newer model GX2150 with a few more features costs $400 at Defender, $360 at Milltech Marine. I don't see any other brand that has a VHF radio with built-in AIS receiver, which is surprising. So I think I'll buy the GX2100 for $284.
[Later, a reader pointed me to the Navicom RT-650 MOB. But it looks like mostly sold in EU, price is higher ($326), and users report some bugs and bad features.]

Still can't decide what starting battery to buy. At Defender, 57-pound battery for $114 gives 1000 CA, while 102-pound bank for $200 gives 1280 CA. I hope the smaller battery is enough to crank my 6-cylinder Perkins 6.354 diesel, but I'm not sure.

Worked at getting the VHF radio out of the cockpit, unscrewed the basin next to it, but it looks like the basin was caulked to the coaming, so it's going to take some effort to get it off. Finally got it free, only breaking a few little chunks off in the process. Reached in and was able to wiggle the VHF radio out; it was held in by caulk only. Pic. Unplugged the antenna, and the radio still doesn't power on. Unplugged the power leads, and there's good voltage to them. No fuse on the radio, or anything else to fiddle with. So the fault is inside the radio; time for a new one.

Chicken-onion-carrot-celery-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.

My headache just won't quite go away; still have to take a pill or two a day to tamp it down.

15 minutes of pretty heavy rain starting at 8:55. Another burst of rain at 1:40.
Sun for a new day  9/15/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny for an hour or two after dawn, then solidly grey and still. Still have slight sinus headache.

Took apart the STA-LOKs on the ends of one of the shrouds. Both ends had caulk in them; I thought it was needed only in the lower end, to keep water from pooling in it.

Dinghied ashore at 3. Gave a book to the security guard; he'd mentioned an author he liked. Played dominoes, and this time I was the big winner. A fun game, with 7 people at our table and 4 more at another table. And the loud Norwegian guy was absent today. Chatting, I found out Kate and Allen who I'm playing dominoes with were the couple on the boat that got boarded and attacked in the Tobago Cays a few months ago. Later, I asked if there was any news about the machete-attack in the bird sanctuary here a couple of weeks ago, and the guy who was attacked had just wandered up to our table. But no arrest in that case.

Dinghied back out to the boat under threatening skies, got everything stowed by 5:30, and then the skies opened up. Started blowing hard, a very swirly and gusty wind, with torrents of small raindrops coming from every direction. Closed everything up and huddled inside. Rained and blew hard from 5:30 to 6:30 or so, and rain kept going until 7 or so.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/16/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Very grey morning; batteries low. And still have a slight sinus headache; still have to take a pill every now and then.

Lots of news on the VHF cruisers net this morning. Apparently, that rainstorm yesterday evening was stronger than I thought. Everyone who went to the marina bars for Happy Hour got trapped there for a while, as it was too rough to go out in a dinghy. Wind blew so strong in the marina here that it broke a couple of flimsy lights inside the marina bar/restaurant, and someone said there were 2-foot whitecaps hitting the marina docks. A small sloop "Misty" came off a mooring and drifted through the harbor; someone tied it to the mangroves. And my friends on "Joana" near me had their mooring fail, but drifted only 50 feet or so before grounding in mud. I had looked out last night and thought they were slightly closer than usual. Good thing they didn't bang into me: they're a much bigger steel sloop. Some people said we had up to 50-knot winds in that storm; I doubt it was more than 30 [later, Lynn told me "Magus" at the marina dock measured gusts up to 60, so maybe I was sheltered from it]. There was chaos in other nearby bays, as a couple of boats came loose, with plenty of complaints about no lights on boats at anchor and on boats underway trying to re-anchor.

That obnoxious Norwegian was on the cruiser's net, announcing an AK-47 and 30 rounds of ammo for sale. Can't tell if he's serious, or just an idiot.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. A good crowd, two vans, and I ended up on the van with the obnoxious Norwegian and his wife and another semi-obnoxious Norwegian. Both of the Norwegian guys were drinking beer. And the louder one was miffed when we got to Budget Marine and the bar next door was not open yet.

To the bank, then Budget Marine. Standard Horizon GX2150 radio is US$520 here, and not in stock. And the guy says the cheaper GX2100 is discontinued, although I think I can still get it in the USA. But I'm starting to doubt I need AIS just yet. Asked several cruisers about it, and they all said the same thing "oh, AIS is wonderful ... [pause] ... but you don't need it for cruising down here". It's great for areas with lots of big commercial traffic, but there's not much of that here, and the smaller traffic doesn't have AIS transponders. So I'm wondering if I should go for a simple VHF radio with DSC, and in a few years make that my backup and buy a newer VHF with AIS then. And maybe by then they'll be building AIS transponders, not just receivers, into the VHF radios.

To Spiceland Mall. Got EC$500 via credit-card at the ATM, bought groceries, then got a chocolate smoothie and chatted mainly with Wade and Jim. Into the van, stopped to get some avocados, stopped to drop someone off at a sailmaker's shop, and back to the marina. Paid EC$10 for the trip, and out to the boat by noon. Weather a bit sunnier now.

Before 2, some thunder inland.

Dinghied ashore a bit after 2 and went for a walk in the bird sanctuary. Kept an eye out for any masked guys carrying machetes, but no obstacle other than a couple of horses tethered on the road to graze in the bushes. Nice to get a little exercise; probably walked close to 2 miles.

Billowing, gusty rain from 3:45 to 4:20 or so.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.
Sun for a new day  9/17/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly grey morning. Sinus headache just about gone.

Cruiser's net said there's been an arrest in that yacht-boarding-assault in Tobago a couple of weeks ago.

Suddenly realized "Joana" with Wade and Diane isn't there any more; looked around and saw them at the fuel dock. They were soon back, this time anchored instead of on a mooring.

At 2:30, started the long dinghy-ride over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Saw the big steel boat "Seahorse" that had been dragging in Thursday's storm, and heard more about it later from cruisers on boats who had to move to get out of its way. To the marina. Disposed of garbage, exchanged 9 books at the bookshelf, got a Diet Coke, and sat down to watch the second half of a rugby game on TV (Ireland vs Australia, Rugby Union). Asked a couple of British cruisers to explain the game to me. A good game, and lots of fun to watch. Then outside to watch the petanque tournament and chat with people. Got a chance to chat with the only single women cruisers in the whole area, Cathy and Maria from "Joana", which was pleasant. Finally back into the dinghy and back to the boat by 5:15 or so. Wade called across to invite me to dominoes tomorrow.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/18/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, calm morning.

Dinghied ashore at 2 for dominoes. Signed some Customs forms for Sherri. Nice, long dominoes game with lots of fun. I came in 2nd by 4 points. That Norwegian guy was there, but he was fairly subdued, and seemed to be getting a lot of grief from a lot of people about his bad behavior, current and past.

Wade told me something I didn't know, about going to Cuba. When you come back to USA, Customs will interrogate you, and fine you massively if you spent any money in Cuba. I knew they did that to USA boats, but I didn't realize they did that to non-USA boats, too. But he says no one has ever really been fined anyway; I'll have to research that. [Looks like a fair number of people have indeed been fined.] Just curious; I have no intention of going to Cuba.

Back to the boat by 5:30 or so. Salad and sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/19/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. Did a bucket of laundry.

Emailed another order to Sherri: VHF radio, starting battery, rope for lifelines, electrical meters, and switches.

Skype-called Mom and chatted with her. She's doing fine, except she managed to lose one of her (expensive) hearing aids.

Hot, fairly still afternoon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.
Sun for a new day  9/20/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

The other day, Wade asked if I equalize my batteries; I don't. I thought running the engine, which drives charging voltage up to 14.5 V, would be enough. But now I realize equalizing requires voltage up to 16.5 V. So maybe I've been killing my batteries by failing to equalize. I'd have to get a generator or connect to shore power to do that, or get a controllable regulator for my alternator.

Later, wondering about any other way to get 16.5 V DC out of my systems, it occurred to me that throwing the bypass switch I installed will put direct solar panel output to my batteries, and that is uyp to 17.1 V. So I set the bypass switch.

Dinghied ashore around 3, to watch the volleyball game and chat with people. Saw Lynn on the dinghy-dock, and she said Chris Parker says we might get tropical-storm-force winds here Friday. I doubt it. To the volleyball game, but everyone's playing and there's no one left to chat with. Hung around and petted the dogs for 5 minutes, and then back to the boat.

Heading out, now that my RADAR is dead, I notice that about 80% of the cruising boats here have RADAR. I never found it to be very useful. But then many of the boats here have crossed oceans, or come from high-traffic or foggy places.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  9/21/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

On VHF cruiser's net, sounds like TS "Ophelia" should go well N of us.

"Joana" called over to tell me Sherri has delivered my rigging wire and parts to the marina office.

Did some Wi-Fi; TS "Ophelia" going well N of here.

At 9, dinghied ashore to the marina and picked up my rigging wire and parts (pic). Not as heavy as I feared when I first saw them.

Tried to take the old STA-LOK fittings off the old wires, and ran into a problem. I had gotten the two parts of each fitting apart a week ago, but getting the collar/nut part off the wire is tough; the wire and caulk are really wedged in there, and it's hard to grip the wire with anything so I can turn against it. Pics; second one shows the directions the pieces have to move. Pounded on it from a few angles, and only succeeded in damaging the threads a little. Could just cut the wire right at the nut and pound/drill the remaining bit out, but first I need to measure to cut the new wire, and I want to lay old next to new to do that. [Later, thought of finding a spare nut that will fit the threads, to give me something to get a purchase on.]

Another very hot afternoon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.
Sun for a new day  9/22/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning. TS "Ophelia" still forecast to go well N of here.

Dinghied ashore around 9, taking the old shroud and the reel of 1/4" wire and some tools. Laid the old and new wire out next to each other on the dock and marked the point to cut. Back to the boat.

Can't get any Wi-Fi this morning.

Got out the Dremel. It ran a bit roughly last time I used it, so I took out the brushes and looked at them; nothing wrong. Don't feel like taking the whole thing apart right now; not sure I'll be able to get it back together. Fired it up and cut the STA-LOK free from the end of the shroud. Found a couple of nuts that are the right diameter but wrong thread; will have to look in the hardware store tomorrow. Plan to put the nuts on, hold the fitting in a vise, and drill out the wire/wedge remnant left inside the fitting. Pic. Hope I don't have to do this for every single fitting, but I probably will.

Got a little Wi-Fi in the afternoon, by taking the laptop up into the cockpit.

Opened up the old VHF radio, to see if there was any visible damage from the close lightning strike. Nothing visible, but then I noticed that what I had thought was an RFI-filter actually is an inline fuse. Applied more force than I had before, got it open, and sure enough the fuse is blown. Put in a new fuse, wired the radio to power, tried it, no go. Checked some more with the multimeter, eventually opened the fuse-holder again, and the new fuse has blown. So the radio is shorted internally.

Had trouble getting the outboard started. Dinghied ashore at 3 and played dominoes until 5:30 or so. Lots of fun, but Anne whipped us all. Showed the STA-LOK stub to several guys and asked for suggestions to get the wire/wedge out of it. Someone suggested pressing it out; hadn't thought of that. Wade offered any tools I need, and he has plenty aboard, since he built his boat himself.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.

Getting a bit of breeze during the night, enough to spin the wind-generator a bit.
Sun for a new day  9/23/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sinus headache.

Started looking into getting an MMSI number so I can do DSC on the new VHF radio. Suddenly realized that an internationally-valid MMSI number requires a Ship's Radio Station License, which costs $200. Won't be doing that. Wonder if a USA-only MMSI will work for most purposes. [Talked with Dave later, and we guess that everything will work except that if I issue a distress call, they will look up the MMSI in the ITU database, not find it, and thus not know my identity and boat details. But I assume they'd still respond to the distress call.]

Dinghied ashore and caught the 9:30 taxi-van to the shopping. A long, slow trip. Stopped at the bank, then I looked in ACE Hardware, another hardware store, Budget Marine and the rigging shop for a nut that would fit that STA-LOK stub. No luck, then realized I can use the main part of the fitting as a nut to hold the stub while I work on it. Exchanged 2 books at the book-exchange in De Big Fish. To IGA supermarket, and everyone took a half-hour longer than budgeted chatting as they drank smoothies. To the Market Board store, then CK's warehouse store, then the vegetable stand, as my headache got worse. Back to the boat by 1.

Ate lunch, napped and loafed all afternoon. Hot afternoon, but more breeze than usual.

Cornedbeef-onion-noodle and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Felt a bit better after dinner, then an ibuprofen later made my headache go away, and I slept pretty well. And the BBC was back; it's been gone the last few nights.
Sun for a new day  9/24/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, fairly still, hot morning.

Boat on the net selling a "Xantrex", which is not enough info; that company makes about a hundred products. Had a lot of trouble getting the boat on the VHF, even though they're right here in Mount Hartman Bay with me. It turned out to be an old single-channel battery monitor that might work to replace my two-channel monitor that blew out. But I decided to stick with buying a couple of digital meters instead.

Started drilling into the wide end of the STA-LOK fitting, but it's slow going. I think I need better drill bits to be drilling into stainless steel; the only thing making it work is that it's not solid, it's a bundle of wires around a wedge. Drilled for a while, then turned the fitting over and used a bolt as a punch, tapping on the wire-end, using a sledgehammer. To my delight, the wire and wedge slid out without too much resistance. Great ! Maybe the drilling isn't necessary.

Got out the Dremel and cut the wire off the fitting on the other end of the shroud. Took a bit more pounding than the other end, but soon the wire and wedge slid out. Now I'm in business ! Pic.

Around 2:45, dinghied out around the peninsula, across the Hog Island anchorage, and over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Disposed of two bags of garbage. Exchanged 4 books at the book-exchange, got a Diet Coke, watched rugby on the TV for a while, then walked up the hill to a field where they're playing cricket. Watched the game for a while. Chatted with several guys, who told me useful info about batteries and VHF antennas and such. There's a wealth of knowledge here; I should tap into it more often. Ken suggested if the lightning damaged my VHF cable or antenna, the damage could blow out my new radio as soon as I try to use it. Will have to look into that.

As I left, found a US$1 bill on the ground. About 10 seconds later, slipped on the very slick downhill surface of the dirt road and skinned my knee fairly badly. So I guess the good luck and bad luck balanced out.

Headed back to the boat around 5:30. As I approached it, I looked up at the main VHF antenna. I had looked at it from deck, and noticed some threads peeling off it. But from this angle, I can see that it's badly damaged, missing 6 inches or more off the top end. I need to buy a new antenna.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.

Warm, very still, and buggy night.
Sun for a new day  9/25/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, breezey morning.

Did a little Wi-Fi. Selected a VHF antenna to buy (Shakespeare 5215) and asked Sherri to order it.

Used the Dremel to cut the first new shroud off the reel of new 1/4" wire. Hard to get the wire end stowed back onto the reel: it wants to spring off in every direction.

Piled everything into the dinghy and went ashore. Laid out the two old shrouds, the new cut length, and another length from the reel onto the dock, bundled them together, and snugged them up. Pic. Everything matching right: the two old shrouds match each other, the new cut length is about 1" longer as I intended, and now I marked a second new length to cut. Bundled it all back up, back into the dinghy, back to the boat.

Cut off the two fittings on the second shroud, and the length of new wire. Down to my last cutting-wheel for the Dremel; hadn't realized I was running low. Tapped the wire and wedges out of the fittings. Tried to get the wire out of the wedges so I can re-use them, but didn't quite succeed.

Dinghied ashore at 2 for dominoes. Nice, long dominoes game with lots of fun. Afterward, I laid one of the old shrouds on the dock and measured it; exactly 43'0".

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.

Warm, very still, and buggy night.
Sun for a new day  9/26/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did Wi-Fi all morning.

Cleaned caulk out of the four STA-LOK fittings, which took a while. Put them onto the ends of the new wires, which went surprisingly smoothly. Pics. I had thought getting the new wedges onto the wires would be tricky, since you have to insert the core strands of wire inside the wedge, then arrange the outer strands outside the wedge. But it went smoothly, except for the last one. That wire-end is the one cut by the factory, and it was ragged. I should have cut it freshly with my Dremel. But some filing and fiddling eventually got the wedge in place. Added 3M101 caulk to the fittings before I assembled them.

Spent some time recovering two used wedges, so I can re-use them in the future, and that was a chore. Getting the core wire strands out of the inside of each wedge was hard.

Salad and cheese sandwich and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Warm, very still, and buggy night.
Sun for a new day  9/27/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Warm, sunny morning with light wind.

Used the computer and did a little Wi-Fi in the morning, just putting off climbing the mast. My least favorite chore.

Around 12:45, got ready to climb. Almost forgot to take one small part with me, but remembered it at the last second. Climbed up and attached the two new shrouds without dropping any of the little washers or cotter-pins. The main VHF antenna has disintegrated, probably just from old age. Started to unwrap the tape around the electrical connection, in preparation for removing the antenna, but ran out of energy. Back down to deck. Maneuvered the shrouds out to run through the notched in the ends of the spreaders, attached them to the turnbuckles at deck level, and tightened the turnbuckles. Done ! Backstays are next.

As I was getting ready to climb, Allen swung by, on a stand-up paddleboard. I mentioned that my 1/4" (and smaller) wires seem puny to some of the other cruisers here, and he said I should see the standing rigging on the big catamaran "Campechano"; the wires are as thick as my thumb. Looking over, it seems they have only about 4 wires holding up the mast (saw later, it's three wires, each 3/4" 1x19, I think). I have a short mainmast, held up by twelve wires (2 pairs of shrouds, 2 pairs of shroud/stays, 2 backstays, triatic, forestay). And there are three halyards on the mast (mainsail, jib, spare). Having all of these wires makes for more work when re-rigging, but nice redundancy, and means I can re-rig while in the water, without a crane or something to support the mast.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Warm, very still, and humid night.
Sun for a new day  9/28/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Wi-Fi still pretty flaky this morning; it's been bad for a few days.

Eased the forestay a little, then eased and detached the backstays. Now the main topping lift and triatic stay are keeping the mast from falling forward. Climbed the mainmast to detach the backstays, but no joy. Whatever idiot rigged this boat put the bracket for the triatic stay across the top of the cotter pins for the backstays. Will have to climb the mizzen, ease and detach the triatic there, climb the mainmast, detach the triatic stay, and then bang or swivel the bracket upwards, and then detach the backstays. Will have to use the main halyard to brace the mainmast before detaching the triatic. What a pain ! Should have looked at this area more carefully when I was up here yesterday. Back down to deck.

Odd to have the backstays missing; as I walk on deck, I keep turning my shoulder to get past the starboard backstay, or reaching for it to steady myself. Always a surprise to find it not there.

Added water to the batteries; only a few cells needed any. So I guess bypassing the solar controller is not resulting in the batteries getting charged very hard.

Salad and sandwiches for dinner.

Warm, still night.
Sun for a new day  9/29/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Got a quote from Sherri. As I'd suspected, shipping and hazmat charges to get a battery from USA make it ridiculously expensive; better to buy one here.

Started to get windy around 11.

Took the climbing rope off the mainmast and put it up the mizzenmast. Tied a rope to the main halyard and took it aft. Turned off the wind-generator, and climbed the mizzenmast. Got to the top, and it's the usual aggravation.

Pulled the main halyard up and tied it on as a replacement for the triatic stay, but it's not very tight right now, and who knows how much the mast is going to sway once I detach the triatic stay ? And it's a bit choppy today, much more than yesterday.

Only good way to detach the triatic stay is to spin the turnbuckle completely off; the big bolt attaching it to the mast is hold some other stuff on too. Got the cotter-pins out of the turnbuckle easily, but the far end of the turnbuckle has a lot of friction; can't turn the turnbuckle by hand. I have to stand up, reach left hand up and around the mast and stays with a screwdriver in it, stick that through the body of the turnbuckle, then reach up with my right hand and use a crescent wrench to turn the body of the STA-LOK fitting a couple of turns. Take the screwdriver out, and the body of the turnbuckle spins a couple of times as the wire rotates the STA-LOK fitting, and the friction rotates the turnbuckle. Lots and lots of turns to do, and I quickly got tired and sweaty and bruised. And the mast got a bit wobbly as the stay loosened. A long, slow process, but finally I tied a line to the wire, got the last few turns done and the wire-end dropped free. Forgot to spin the turnbuckle body back on a couple of turns; got back down to deck and later realized it probably only has a couple of threads keeping it up there. Tightened the main halyard a little with the winch to keep the masts steady, and grabbed the line to the triatic stay and tied it off. Will have to climb the mainmast, tomorrow or maybe Saturday, to get the triatic and backstays off there.

Dinghied ashore at 3 to play dominoes. Lots of fun, but I had hideous luck, and came in last. Told the guys about my mast-climbing adventures.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.

Breezey evening and a slight breeze during the night, but still quite warm and humid.
Sun for a new day  9/30/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Legs tired and body bruised from climbing the mast yesterday.

Hmmm, suddenly found a DC fluorescent light I never use was turned on. I wonder if it's been turned on (but not lit) for a while, and that explains the mysterious electrical drain ? The ballast probably has been sucking power and not being able to light the tube.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. So many people that the dinghy-dock is full, and several of us had to dock around on the inside of the marina. Oh, shoot, the whiny-voiced lady is back. Her voice is very irritating.

To the bank, where the ATM ate one couple's card, and then both ATMs were out of order. Asked people where to buy a battery, got several different confusing pieces of advice, and decided just to buy one at ACE. Could hare off to other places looking for one that is stored on the shelf without acid in it, or maybe a few dollars cheaper, but the taxi-van goes to ACE (which contains a NAPA store), so I'll just do that.

To ACE Hardware, where I bought a starting battery. 910 CA, and marked as "D1" which I think means manufactured in April 2011. Listed at EC$520 on the shelf, and the driver said there would be 15% VAT at the register, but there actually was a 5% discount at the register ! So I got it for EC$495 (US$190 by my calculations, but showed up on credit card as US$184.27).

Got to the next hardware store, and suddenly realized I need cutting discs for the Dremel. None at this store (they don't even know what a Dremel is); ACE probably had them. We skipped Budget, and off to Spiceland Mall. Arrived at 10:20, I said how about leaving at 11:30, and the whiny-lady had a fit. "We always used to stay until 12:30, I wanted to eat lunch here, etc".

Into the (not very good) hardware store here, and they don't have any Dremel stuff. Bought groceries in the supermarket. Then to the food court to get a banana-chocolate smoothie (EC$10) and watch soccer on the screen. Started loading the van around 11:40 or so, and then Steve is getting into it with some local guy who said something to or about his pretty, black wife. The drivers and some locals and a mall security guy broke it up, and we piled into the van and left.

To the produce store, to CK's which was closed, to a veg/fruit stand, and back to the marina. Paid EC$10 for the trip. Loaded into my dinghy, helped Marilyn get her dinghy untied from a rafted-out dinghy, and trailed her out into the anchorage because she's been having a lot of problems keeping her outboard running. But she had no problems this time; got out to my boat and unloaded by 12:30 or so. Got the battery aboard with a slight struggle: pic.

Quick lunch, then started putting the starting battery in. Soon I'm pouring with sweat. Got the battery in and about 2/3 of the wiring done, and made the final connection with a jumper-cable. Just wanted to get it charging. It measured close to 12.7 V at rest, so it's pretty well charged off the shelf. You never can tell how well those stores maintain their batteries for sale.

Kept the new battery connected and charging all afternoon, then disconnected it as the sun started setting.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Fairly rolly in the evening and all night. Small swell coming in from the S, boat spinning a bit, and when the boat faces E-W, it rolls.
Sun for a new day  10/1/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still fairly rolly at times.

Did Wi-Fi and computer in the morning.

Wired the battery-combiner back into the starting circuit, and it seems to be working okay. Still have a jumper-cable on the negative leg of the start battery; that's the last piece to put in place.

Later, no sure the combiner is working right. Thought it should stay on (connected) any time voltage on either side is 13.0 or above. But with charging voltage up around 14-15, sometimes I see it's off. Will have to read the manual.

Launched the dinghy and was getting ready to go at 2:45 when a huge squall/storm set in from the N. Tons of wind and fine rain. Maybe this hot calm weather is breaking.

After 3, made the long dinghy-ride over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Disposed of garbage, including the old shrouds. Exchanged 6 books at the bookshelf, getting one by one of my favorite authors, Robert B. Parker. Got a Diet Coke, chatted with a couple of cruisers, then outside to watch the petanque tournament and chat with people.

Heard a couple of cruisers are recovering from dengue fever, and another guy got a serious blood-infection after cutting up some pig-meat for a barbeque. Chatted briefly with a cruising couple that has been cruising only a couple of months; I think they bought the boat in the USVI's and raced right down here for hurricane season. They reacted to my 10.5 years aboard as if I was the old man of the sea. But I told them about Marilyn, who I chatted with on Friday; she's been cruising on her current boat since 1996, and cruising off and on since the 1970's.

Back to the boat by 4:45 or so. Found a small, very dead squid stuck to the deck. Probably jumped aboard last night.

Cornedbeef-onion-noodle and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Very strong squall from the N at 8:15. Fairly heavy rain at 9. Several more periods of light rain during the night.
Sun for a new day  10/2/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny early, then dark clouds hovering, and rain starting at 10:05. Then poured buckets from 10:35 to about 11, finally tailing off and stopping by 11:20 or so. More rain starting at 12:30. Then still and very grey for the rest of the day.

Wired up the negative leg of the starting battery, right to the side of the starter motor. Then decided to add a second set of cables from battery to motor, since I have some extra cables lying around. Will do that tomorrow.

Dinghied ashore at 3 to play dominoes. Two tables going, lots of fun, and a very competitive game.

Salad and cheese sandwiches for dinner. Everything very wet and humid.
Sun for a new day  10/3/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Rain around 4 and again around 5, then lots of rain starting at 7. Sunny by 9.

Starting to get grey around 11; I may have missed my chance to climb the mast. Dinghied ashore at 12 when the "veggie man" arrived, but his stuff seemed overpriced to me. Cabbage a little bigger than a baseball for EC$5 (US$2). Back to the boat, a quick lunch, and the rain seemed to be holding off, so I went up the mainmast.

Everything went smoothly, albeit with the usual bruises and scrapes and banging the scab on my knee. Had to get my head up above the top of the mast, wrenches in both hands, one hand holding a wrench and some stays to hold me in place, to unbolt the end of the triatic stay. Tied a line to the end of the stay, got the nut off, slid the bolt out, let the stay's head drop down 5 or 10 feet. Then it was easy to work a big nut and bolt to loosen the triatic stay's bracket. Eased it up, took a cotter pin out of one backstay's clevis pin. Had to hold up a bit of weight, the three stay-ends combined, as I eased out the clevis pins and let the stay-ends drop. Then down the mast, trying to keep the tangle of the three stays from snagging in the spreaders. Parts of the stays went overboard into the water as I got to the deck, but I have the ends and middles tied with lines, so just pulled them back aboard once I was out of the climbing gear. Done ! That went well.

9-inch fish feeding off smaller fish under my boat and under my dinghies.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.

Lots of wind and heavy rain starting at 11:45. Again starting at 12:45.
Sun for a new day  10/4/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bad sinus headache; took lots of pills.

Totally grey morning, very little wind, humid.

On the net, announced that the first cruise-ship of the season has docked at St George's. So the ship-movements must not be dictated by hurricane season; we're just a smidge past the mid-point of hurricane season, by my reckoning.

Dinghied over to "Joana" and borrowed an angle-grinder (pic) from Wade. I'm just about out of cutting disks for the Dremel.

Took a while to find my note saying how much to adjust the length of each backstay. I thought maybe I'd thrown it out by accident, but eventually found it far under the main table, blown there by the wind.

Dinghied ashore, laid out one of the (1/4") backstays, and measured it and marked a new wire to replace it. Chatted briefly with Ronnie, who guesses he has 1" thick wire for the shrouds and stays on his catamaran, with only about 3 wires holding up the mast. Back to the boat.

Fired up the angle-grinder, and in about 5 seconds it was halfway through the wire, and then the inverter's fuse blew. The grinder is rated at about 1200 watts, and I guess it draws all of that, so my 500-watt inverter isn't going to do the job. Took the grinder back to Wade, and chatted with him for a while. He told me about a little project he did the other day, going around with a clipboard to see how many boats here are what types and from what countries. He got some hostility from a couple of boats, which may be people fleeing alimony or warrants, drunk, or just suspicious of officialdom.

Started getting some sunshine around 12:30.

Totally grey and raining from 1:30 to 3:45. Had been about to go ashore to measure the other backstay, but instead cut wire and disassembled STA-LOKs on the first backstay. Cutting the wire with a hacksaw worked surprisingly well; thought it would be a struggle.

Around 4, dinghied ashore and did the second backstay. Odd: to adjust the turnbuckles a little, the shorter of the two backstays needs to get a little shorter, and the longer needs to get a little longer ! Starboard will end up at 48'2" and port will become 48'6". Watched the volleyball game for a minute, then back to the boat.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Arond 5:30, a dinghy had turned the corner from Hog and was coming into Hartman, about 200 yards from me. Suddenly I heard the propellor spin at high RPM, and looked out to see the occupant fall overboard. I went into the cabin and got binoculars. By then, the person had climbed back in, seemed to be unhurt, and soon got going again. I think she hit a wave and just bounced right over the side. Probably was wearing a safety lanyard that killed the motor; smart.

The solar garden lights I bought at Home Depot have died. Bought them 7/2010, so they lasted 15 months.
Sun for a new day  10/5/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny in the early morning. Did a bucket of laundry. As I got ready to put it up on the lifelines to dry, the low grey rainclouds rolled in. Got it on the line around 9, with just a little rain spritzing, mostly sunny.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Added a second set of cables from starting battery to starter motor/solenoid. So now I have two parallel 1/0 cables for each leg, about 2.5 feet for the positive cables and 3 to 3.5 feet for the negative cables. The negatives go to bolts on the side of the starter motor; the positives go to the big terminal on the starter solenoid.

Started the engine at 10:45 and ran it for 10 minutes. It took two tries to start, but the cranking was fine. Just the fuel system and compression needed to get going after a month or two of idleness. Engine ran fine after that. Good to have that going again.

From about 11:55 to 12:20, huge squall/storm from the S, blowing very hard, and a fair amount of rain. I hacksawed fittings off one olf backstay as the storm started, and then disassembled and cleaned the fittings after the worst of the storm had passed. Mostly grey weather afterward.

Rain at 2:20 and 3:30.

Sausage-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Rain at midnight.

Sinus headache again before dawn; took pills.
Sun for a new day  10/6/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Lots of grey, but some sun. Did a bucket of laundry, and hoped for a sunny patch later to dry it. Strong wind from S around 8:45; might get a big storm/squall.

Cruiser's net said there was a medical emergency in this bay this morning; don't know what/who it was.

Rain starting at 9.

Dinghied ashore through boisterous conditions, laid out the old triatic stay, measured it and marked a new wire to replace it. Back to the boat, sawed off the fittings on the triatic, and disassembled them. Had to be careful because I have to re-use the wedges; I didn't buy any new 3/16" wedges. Cut the new lengths of wire for triatic and second backstay, using the hacksaw. A bit of rain as I worked, then sun again. Laundry got dry.

After lunch, assembled all six fittings on the three new wires. Found the 3/16" wire harder to work with than the 1/4" wire.

Dinghied ashore at 3 to play dominoes. Enough players for two tables of about 7 each. But people started trying to move from the other table to ours, and it appeared that that Norwegian guy had joined the other table and was being obnoxious. Five minutes later, a woman at that table said he had called her the B-word, and the staff threw him out of the place. Everyone said he was drunk (more than usual). Then we had a nice long game of dominoes, but I was never in contention.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Bit of sinus headache during the night.
Sun for a new day  10/7/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still a bit of sinus headache.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. A new driver, and people hopping off to walk ahead and be picked up later, so a bit confusing. To the bank, to AC Hardware (got cutting disks for the Dremel), to Budget Marine (exchanged two books), to the mall. Got hacksaw blades at the hardware store, then cash at the ATM. Into the supermarket. I'm invited to a potluck on Monday, Canadian Thanksgiving, but the desserts are already arranged. So I bought a can of nuts as an appetizer. Asked to bring a veggie dish, and they said canned corn would be okay, so that's what I got. Hoped to get something fancier, maybe from the deli counter, but couldn't find anything.

To the food court for a smoothie and to watch some Premier-league soccer. Headache got a bit worse. Bus didn't leave until 12, then stopped at Market Board and CK's. Back to the boat by 12:35.

Had thought of climbing the mast this afternoon, but I'm a little too tired and headachey, and a small swell is rocking the boat.

Bacon-onion-egg-cheese concoction for dinner, on bread.

Didn't sleep well.
Sun for a new day  10/8/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still a bit of sinus headache. More pills.

Gordon from nearby boat "Leeandus" stopped to chat for a moment while he was kayaking by. He's Welsh. I mentioned the rigging work, and he said there's so much work to do to keep up a boat, he works 3 to 4 hours a day on his, sometimes he's done 10 hours a day. Well, I know I'm very lazy, but even in the heart of a project like the re-rigging I don't do more than about 2 hours a day, with lots of rests, and for a couple of months before that I was doing almost zero minutes a day. Of course, my boat could use more work, especially in the area of cleaning and polishing and painting.

After lunch, climbed the mainmast, carrying ends of three new stays with me. Having spun lazily while I was trying to keep my Wi-Fi connection earlier, now the boat decides to plant itself with the tiny swells on the beam. So I had to stop and hold on several times while at the top of the mast. But got the two backstays and the triatic stay on with no mishaps.

Back down to deck, went to attach the starboard backstay, and for a minute thought I'd cut it too short and it wouldn't reach the turnbuckle. But then I realized the two backstays were entwined near the top of the mast. Got them sorted out, and attached the backstays without too much problem. But it is a bit awkward to pull a heavy 50-foot length of wire out diagonally, taut enough to stretch out and reach where it's supposed to go, then hold it there long enough to put a cotter-pin through three holes to make it fast.

Feels good to have the backstays supporting the mainmast again.

Around 3, dinghied out around the peninsula, across the Hog Island anchorage, and over to Clarkes Court Bay Marina. Disposed of four bags of garbage and three old stays. Bought a soda, chatted with a couple of people, exchanged two books at the bookshelf, watched people play petanque for a little while. But quieter than usual here today. Back to the boat by 4:30.

Salad and leftover cold onion-rice and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Slept well. Brief rain 8 or 10 times during the night.
Sun for a new day  10/9/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still a bit of sinus headache. Lovely sunny morning. Did a bucket of laundry, some Wi-Fi, got stuff ready to climb the mizzenmast.

Dinghied ashore at 3 to play dominoes. Unfortunately, that idiot Norwegian, Willem or William from "Albacor Adelante", planted himself at our table. He was drunk up to the eyeballs, loud and obnoxious. And the only open seat for me was right next to him; I tried to ignore him. Wade tried to jolly him off, kept him from playing the game, and we all hoped he would go away. But he wanted to chat up the single women at our table, and soon started making lewd comments to them. Then he tried to find out which of us were Americans (USA), because he likes to pick fights with them about politics, saying that everyone else in the world hates them. Then he was back to the lewd comments. Finally Diane had had enough, and started putting away the game, and yelled at him.

I went to tell the bartender Willem should be kicked out, Diane went to the office, and as I walked to the bar, Willem crossed behind me and stumbled over the back of my heel and almost did a header into the bar counter. As I finished talking to the bartender, Willem came over and pushed me, I pushed him back, and then he put up his fists. There was nobody home inside his head, and we stood there for a moment until the security guard and then the owner appeared. I walked away, and they tried to deal with him. We started up our dominoes game again, but then Willem plopped right back down at our table ! The guard couldn't get him away, but finally Willem obeyed the owner and sat at the bar talking to her. The others at our table said the owner was reluctant to do anything about him because she's making a mint from his huge alcohol consumption.

It was a long time before they finally got him to leave, I think by fetching his wife from their boat. Somewhere in there he made another comment about shooting people with a gun; he's said that a couple of times before, and if he does it again and I can gather some witnesses, I'm going to see about contacting the police.

Despite all that, we had a good game, ending up with three players within 10 points of each other. I wasn't one of the three leaders.

Salad and PBJ sandwich for dinner.

At 11, brief rain caught me with hatches open. Heavy rain at 11:45. Big lightning approaching at 12:30, but I think that storm mostly went S of us.
Sun for a new day  10/10/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Dinghied ashore at 8:45 and started walking. Up over the ridge and over to Prickly Bay Marina. Into Customs, and brought my cruising permit up to date by paying EC$375 for 5 months. Then walked a couple of miles out to the bus stop by CK's, and caught a van into town (EC$2.50). Up into the government complex, to Immigration. Poured rain while I was in the building; good timing.

Got a 3-month visa extension for EC$75. Down to the Shell station, caught a van back to CK's (EC$2.50). Bought some tomatoes at a stand. Long walk back (pic), including up a very steep hill, along the ridge and down into the marina. Someone had locked their dinghy cable through my painter, so I had to untie the end and pull it through. Back to the boat around 11:45, tired and sweaty and hot. A fairly dollar-intensive experience, as expected, and plenty of good exercise. So official fees here work out to EC$100/month for me, which is about US$39/month. And now my visa is good until Jan 12.

Loafed all afternoon, feeling tired and hot and a bit headachey. Took a couple of pills.

Around 4:45, cooked up a big pot of canned corn, and added butter and olives. Also grabbed a can of nuts to take for appetizers. Then over to "Joana I" at 5 for a potluck party to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. Let's see if I can remember who was there: Cathy and Maria from "Joana I", Wade and Diane from "Joana", Ronnie and Babbi from "Campechano", Charles and Ruth, Jerry and Nola and Sharon, John and his daughter Katie. And me. Diane had cooked a turkey and a couple of pies, everyone had brought veggies and appetizers, and we had rum-and-coke and wine. Dog "Nico" wandering through, and another dog was aboard for a while.

Very nice boat; it's a big steel yawl, maybe 75 feet long, originally built as a training ship, I think. Steel masts with two crow's nests on the mainmast. Mainmast a bit short at 65 feet; I asked Maria and I think she said it had originally been intended as a square-rigger, but they don't have it rigged that way. Lots of great woodwork inside, and the engine room is very nice. After buying the boat, with a blown engine I think, Maria replaced just about all of the engine-room stuff: Cummins 6-cylinder 220 HP engine, Westerbeke genset, dive-tank compressor. Hydraulic pump on a belt from the main engine, to run the windlass, and the pump is hinged so they can take the belt off before motoring during a passage, to avoid wear on the pump. Nice workshop off the engine room, organized, workbench and vise and drill-press (pic). Most walls of the engine compartment are removable, as well as the ceiling (cockpit floor) above. And the engine itself is on some kind of slide/gantry system so the whole thing can be moved to work on various parts of it; I've never seen that before. Pic.

Lots of interesting stuff on deck, ratlines and belaying pins and seizings and whippings. The standing rigging is galvanized steel, not stainless. Cathy and Maria sailed on the tall ship "Picton Castle", and Cathy did two circumnavigations on it. And they've been painting on deck recently. So the boat is very clean, lots of toys (windsurfers, scooter), all kinds of great stuff (liferaft, EPIRB, solar panels, wind-gen, Wi-Fi hub up a halyard, etc). Puts mine to shame. Cathy does welding, so there's an acetylene tank on the stern deck.

Of course the boat does have some downsides, as all do. A ton of stuff to maintain, including the steel hull; really a huge amount of work for two people. Only one head. Some steps in the cabin sole; I like the fact that my boat has the whole cabin sole at one level, no steps up or down.

We sat on the spacious foredeck under an awning, and drank and ate and chatted. After a brief light rain at 4:45, the weather turned perfect, light breeze, light clouds, cool, nearly full moon rising, Jupiter up over the hill to the E. The food was terrific, especially Babbi's plaintain dish and Diane's apple pies. A real treat for singlehanding me, used to my chili-spaghetti-chicken routine.

Only 2.5 Canadians (Wade and Diane and half of Cathy) out of the 14 of us. Interesting people. Wade was a Canadian liaison to NATO on radio and other technical stuff, so he and Diane traveled all over Europe. Charles was a surfer-dude at one point, Ruth played professional women's rugby in San Diego for two years. Sharon is from Zimbabwe. Jerry was a river-rafting guide all over the West and up to Alaska, ran sled-dogs, lived in South Africa for a while. (And boring old me, a former computer programmer from NJ and CA.) Conversation about cruising in Guatemala, Cuba, etc.

Some talk about big catamarans. "Campechano" (Catana 471) was a bargain at €500K (US$700K) a couple of years ago. There is at least one cat over in CCB that is a US$1M+ boat. Very nice boats, I'm sure, but I'd rather have most of that money in the bank. "Campechano" was hit by a whale; replacing the daggerboards cost US$14K (maybe that includes work on damaged trunks).

Back to the boat by 9:30 or so.
Sun for a new day  10/11/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Lovely sunny morning.

Some contention on the cruiser's net, citing regulations about proper use of VHF channel 68. Some people have been keying over others, and some other nonsense going on. I think people are getting itchy from sitting in one place too long.

After lunch, climbed the mizzenmast, and struggled. Even with anti-seize, the turnbuckle on the triatic was sticky, and I had to tighten it turn by turn, holding a screwdriver through the body while turning the far fitting with a wrench. Holding myself in place with the hand on the screwdriver. Stopping every couple of turns to take the screwdriver out and let the wire and body spin relative to the mizzenmast. Boat often rocking from tiny swells and dinghy-wakes. And since I've unfastened the mizzen shrouds, the top of the mast is wobbling around quite a bit. Have to stop often and sit down, to ease my fingers and legs, and wipe sweat off my face and out of my eyes.

Finally got the triatic turnbuckle tightened. Put cotter-pins in it. Unfastened the top ends of the shrouds; the starboard one was bound to the radio antenna cable with tape, and I had to cut that, so now the radio antenna is wobbling a bit. Untied the main halyard from the mizzenmast; no longer needed now that the triatic is back in place. Down to the spreaders, and really struggled to cut the wire holding the starboard shroud to the end of the spreader. Worked and worked on it, and finally got it off. The port one came off much more easily. Finally down to deck, hot and sweaty and bruised and aching and tired.

Apple and salad and cheese for dinner.
Sun for a new day  10/12/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Lovely sunny morning. Still very bruised and legs tired from climbing the mast yesterday.

Took apart the fittings on the mizzen shrouds. After lunch, dinghied ashore, laid out the shrouds and new wire, measured the old and marked the new. Bought 1.2 gallons of gasoline for EC$20.

Back on the boat, worked on the shrouds. Used the Dremel to cut the fittings off the old wire, tapped the wire-and-wedges out of the nuts/collets, cleaned the fittings, extracted the old wedges (a lot of work) so I can re-use them. Cut the lengths of new wire.

Sausage-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner. Ate out on foredeck.

Lots of rainsqualls during the night, with plenty of wind and rain. Squalls at 6:50, 7:15, 11, 11:25, 1:30, 2:20, 6:10.
Sun for a new day  10/13/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Mostly cloudy, threatening more rain. Then sunnier.

Very grey and rain starting at 10:35. More rain at 11:30.

Cleaned the STA-LOK fittings some more, then assembled them onto the new wire ends.

Dinghied ashore at 3 through threatening weather to play dominoes. No drunk guy around today, which was a relief. Played for 5 minutes, a few more people showed up, and then a squall came through. Didn't seem like a very strong squall to me. But suddenly the security guard was there with a VHF radio saying a couple of boats were loose, one in our bay and one in Prickly Bay. In our bay, the mooring that "Sailacious" was on had failed (second mooring to fail here, I don't know why people use them any more), and they were drifting loose. And the people who had just arrived from Prickly were told that their boat was dragging. So people jumped into dinghies and raced off, and the rest of us suspended our game and tried to see what was happening. We couldn't see anything, but soon the problems were fixed. Back to the game. And today I was the big winner !

Salad and celery-and-PB for dinner.

Rain at 9.
Sun for a new day  10/14/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. To bank, then ACE Hardware (bought rechargeable AA batteries for the solar stern lights), then a dive shop. To Budget Marine (chatted with a lady about SCUBA and rigging). To Spiceland Mall, got cash, got groceries, got a smoothie, watched cricket on TV. Back home via CK's and vegetable stands. Back to the boat by 12:15. Weather pretty boisterous today; not sure if I'm going to climb the mizzenmast.

After 2 or so, breeze is strong but boat is pretty stationary, so climbed the mizzenmast. A bit wobbly up there, but quickly attached the two top-shrouds. Got them onto the spreader-ends, with chafe-guards in right places. Then took a while to fasten the turnbuckles at the bottom; one is more compressed than it should be.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Put the new batteries in the solar garden lights in early afternoon, but only one of the lights is working.
Sun for a new day  10/15/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Took apart the non-working solar garden light, but don't see any broken wires. Put a voltmeter on the new battery, and it reads 0.000 VDC. Either a defective battery, or the light has shorted out and completely drained it ? I think a shorted light would have led to fireworks when I put the battery in, so probably the battery is defective.

Around 10:30, as I was in the cockpit doing Wi-Fi, a couple of local guys (fishermen) in a skiff paddled over; their outboard had quit. Loaned them some spark-plug tools and such, and the outboard fired a few times but they couldn't quite get it going. So I ended up towing them back to the marina, through windy conditions. Over there, my outboard quit, and it took me a minute or so to get it going again.

Saw those guys going out again an hour later, in a different boat with a different outboard.

Switched batteries in the solar lights, and the formerly "bad" light started working. Just about positive that one battery is defective.

Around 3, dinghied over to CCBM to do the usual: garbage, book-exchange, a soda, watched the cruisers play cricket for a few minutes.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  10/16/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

At 8:30, Ronnie from "Campechano" came by and picked me up in his dinghy. We're going out for a day of sailing and fishing on his big Catana 471 catamaran. We picked up Wade and Diane from "Joana" and Cathy and Maria from "Joana I", and then over to "Campechano". Greeted by Babbi and their little poodle "Happy".

Got aboard, and what a boat ! Huge and clean and nice and huge. Several electric winches, so one of them was used to help hoist the dinghy. Then engines started, onto the foredeck, and Wade used a little remote-control to control the electric windlass. Anchor up, had to futz with it a little to get it to turn over to fit into the bracket, and then we're off.

Motored out through the anchorage, cutting a little closer across the bows of other boats than I would do. I tend to stay as far as possible from other boats, and a little closer to sterns than to bows. Never know when something will go wrong; engine quits or a line or mooring buoy snags your prop.

Out between the reefs, again going a little closer to a lee-side reef than I would go. But no problems, out into open water. Then used a power-winch to hoist the mainsail, which is big and nice and has lots of battens and three sets of reef-points with lines and blocks permanently attached. No mainsheet traveler, but two sheets, to blocks and winches on either side of the cockpit. Unfurled the jib, using manual winches. Engines off, and we're sailing. Soon doing 8+ knots. Later, wind picked up and we did 11 or so over ground, with a knot or two of current against us.

Diane's not feeling so hot; she gets seasick sometimes. And I'm feeling a little queasy, too. The motion is quick and we're heading straight into the swells, and we're sitting facing backward in the cockpit. Later, we go up onto the bows, where the motion is much better. "Happy" doesn't seem to like the motion either; he spent a lot of time snuggled up against me.

Quickly two fishing rods are going, and Wade also puts out a hand-line. Within 20 minutes or so, we're out to a place where the 100-foot deep shelf drops off to 1000 feet or more, and that edge is where the fish are. We get a "rainbow runner" on Wade's pole; nice fish, looks like a yellow striper to me, but it was green and other colors before it died. A bit of a fire-drill when the fish struck; everyone running around to round up the boat, furl the jib, get gaff and bucket.

We sail back and forth, up and down, along that edge and across it, for a couple of hours. Eventually we have two "rainbow runners" and two small tuna, and we lost at least one that got away. Nice fish, but only the first was a biggish one, maybe 2 to 2.5 feet long. Ronnie does all the fish-cleaning. "Happy" almost got trampled during one of the fish-strike fire-drills; Wade charged one direction, Ronnie past him in another direction, and "Happy" underfoot.

It was a gorgeous morning, sunny and clean and swells not too big. Around noon, we get the edges of a couple of squalls, just a tiny sprinkle of rain, and wind a little stronger. Still quite pleasant. And when sailing downwind, or slowly, the motion is greatly reduced. The auto-pilot was doing most of the steering all day.

Babbi puts out a great lunch, fajitas with soft tortilla wraps. Absolutely delicious.


Some banter on the VHF with "Astral Wind", another cruising boat out here fishing today. We see them several miles off to the S of us.

Finally it's time to head back, sailing under mainsail only. To the reef, fishing lines in, engines on, and we motor in. Round up, loose the main halyard, and the sail clatters right down through the lazy-jacks or whatever into the sailcover. Easy !

Back over to the original spot in the anchorage, and the first time the anchor goes down we end up too close to a boat. Some hesitation, some consideration, and eventually we move to a better spot and we're done. As they were considering, I was looking around on deck a bit, and noticed the main shrouds are 3/4" 1x19" stranded wire, but the mast supports are rod. Maria guessed rod is used there to minimize/eliminate stretch. There is some rope standing rigging, too, a couple of near-vertical lines in front of the mast, and I'm not sure what they do. Maybe keep the jib from snagging the mast during a tack.

Then we open up the big table in the cockpit, open some snacks, and play dominoes ! A long, nice game, but I'm running out of energy. But this boat is great at anchor, too, with all of this deck space and no rolling or even rocking. It does swing around a bit. I think they said the draft is only about 2 feet; the mast is something like 65 feet above water.

As we motored in through the anchorage, "Happy" barked at some other boats and dogs. Then he laid down on the cushions and slept like a log. I think all of the motion while sailing took a lot out of him.

Finally we're done. The cheesecake I brought is left for Ronnie to enjoy over the next week or so. We get back into the dinghy, with Maria almost taking a header, since there's no good handhold. Ronnie takes us back to our boats; I get back at 5:45 or so. Tired and a bit headachey. But I had a great time today !

Corn salad and a PB-banana sandwich for dinner.

In retrospect, thinking about the big catamaran, its deck was a bit unsafe. Big expanses of deck and cockpit with no handholds or rails within reach. When we went out to the bows while under sail, nothing but the lifelines was available to stop a slide or fall on the wet deck, and it would be easy to get hurt. We scuttled around on all fours out there, mostly. The cockpit was lovely and spacious, but no railing anywhere except on the stern, and that rail was a bit low and didn't feel very solid. The cockpit ceiling was fairly high overhead, with no holds on the underside of it. A couple of steps down into the cabin, with no handholds within reach; several times people teetered and slipped as they negotiated those steps. And on the swim platforms on the aft ends of the amas, and the steps down to the swim platforms, no railings, just a couple of huge cleats halfway up. This boat was bought in Turkey and came across the ocean to the Caribbean; I don't know what crew was aboard. Maybe they rigged jacklines and lots of temporary hand-hold lines everywhere. But even in day-sail use, it needs a lot more handholds.
Sun for a new day  10/17/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Gorgeous sunny morning. Totally gray and raining by 11. Nicer by noon, but grey and raining strongly at 1.

Picked a spot between storms, and climbed the mainmast around 2:45. Moved the main halyard across the spreaders so I can use it as a substitute forestay when I take that wire off. Unhooked the upper-mid shrouds, but the upper shrouds had them wedged onto the spreader ends; couldn't get them free. So down to deck, loosened the uppers, the mids fell down to deck, tightened the uppers.

Chicken-onion-carrot-celery-mushroom-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Finished re-reading the whole Patrick O'Brian "Aubrey and Maturin" series; 20 books. I think it's the third time I've read through it. Great stuff.

Lots of wind and rain from 6 to about 6:30; people coming back from the dinghy-concert in Clarkes Court Bay got drenched.

Rain at 4:35 AM.
Sun for a new day  10/18/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Took off the fitting terminals on the upper-mid shrouds. Went ashore and measured new wire for them.

Skype-called Mom and chatted for a while; internet connection was excellent. She's doing well.

Used the Dremel to cut the fittings off the old wire, tapped the wire-and-wedges out of the nuts/collets, cleaned the fittings, extracted the old wedges (a lot of work) so I can re-use them. Cut the lengths of new wire. One of the old wedges gave me fits trying to get the wire out of it; mangled it slightly, but it's still usable.

Salad and sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  10/19/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did Wi-Fi. Assembled four fittings on the two new rigging wires. Put a slightly better bolt on one of the battery cables to the starter motor.

Cathy and Maria were painting the hull-sides of their big boat with Easypoxy all day; I'm told they started at 6:30 and finished at 4.

At 5, dinghied over to "Joana" to have drinks and dinner with Wade and Diane. Wade gave me a tour of the boat, a Roberts 53 design he built himself, taking about 7 years of effort spread over 10 years of time. They've installed just about every kind of appliance and instrument you can think of, laundry and watermaker and two refrigerators and a freezer and chartplotter and radios and inverter/charger and genset and turbo diesel. 3-inch-thick closed-cell insulation inside the steel hull. Nice boat (their web site).

We drank gin-and-7up's and chatted, then had a fish dinner. It was the "rainbow runner" we caught a few days ago, and the fish was just okay-tasting, not very exciting. But we had lots of good conversation. I was a bit shocked to find it was 9:45 when I got back to my boat.

Very still night, but just cool enough to make it okay for sleeping.
Sun for a new day  10/20/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hot, fairly still morning. Did a bucket of laundry. Did Wi-Fi.

Something I should have done long ago: tested resistance on the VHF radio cable. It's about 3 ohms, so something is shorted. Hope it's the damaged antenna at top, not the cable itself. The cable runs inside the mast, and would be a nightmare to replace. I'd probably just run a new cable up the outside of the mast.

Unfastened the forestay at deck level; now the mast is held forward by two halyards to the bow. Climbed the mainmast. Got the two new upper-mid shrouds attached. Then up to the top of the mast (a bit wobbly) to take down the forestay, but found I hadn't hoisted the climbing rope high enough, and can't get all the way to the top. Back down, attaching shrouds to spreader-ends, then tightening them at deck level. Backstays are fairly loose; the mast-top probably has rocked backward an inch or two.

At 2, dinghied over to "Astral Wind" to play dominoes with Ruth and Charles and John and Katie and Diane. Lots of fun, but there was little shade from the sun, which was hitting me from behind. Had a nice time. Back to the boat by 5 or so.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Ended up throwing away that small parcel of tuna meat from our fishing trip. My freezer isn't cold enough, and the fish was starting to smell. Should have cooked it the evening of our fishing trip.
Sun for a new day  10/21/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hot, fairly still morning. People starting to hoist sails to see what they look like, in preparation for end of hurricane season. Someone on the net offering a Laser sailboat for sale, and I'm tempted, but they're asking US$1000.

Caught the shopping bus at 9:30. So many people that they had to put on a third van. The usual stops. Exchanged the rechargeable AA batteries at ACE. Back to the boat by 12:30. Rained while we were gone. Hot and humid and fairly still in the anchorage.

Rain at 2:30.

Rain seemed to be holding off, so around 4 I climbed the mainmast. Got the forestay off with no problem. Wanted to unplug the VHF antenna from the cable, but forgot to bring a second pair of pliers up with me.

Around 5, Cathy and Maria came past in that Laser that was for sale; they bought it. Almost no wind, so Cathy was paddling to take them out into more open water. Later they sailed in, making maybe 1 knot in wind of maybe 3 knots.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Replacement rechargeable batteries seem to work okay, but they didn't get charged much in today's grey afternoon.
Sun for a new day  10/22/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hot, fairly still morning. Cathy and Maria hoisted their mainsail, just to see what shape it's in (pic). Three boats left here and a couple from next door (pic); heard something about a "pig-roast regatta". Or maybe they're just leaving. But they're making 1-2 knots out there; no wind. Pic.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the sinking of the "Bianca C", an Italian cruise-ship that caught fire at St Georges, and was towed out and sank W of the SW corner of the island. It's a popular dive-site now.

Dinghied ashore and measured new wire for the forestay. Back to the boat, cut and disassembled old fittings, cut new wire, had lunch, assembled fittings onto new wire. Last of the 1/4" wires; ended up with 10-12 feet of extra 1/4" wire, which is what I planned, to avoid ending up short. But that 12 feet cost $50 or so.

Found the little sewing kit I thought had been stolen a year ago; I had just stowed it somewhere unexpected.

Around 3, dinghied over to CCBM. Water glassy and clear; very little wind. Disposed of garbage, got a soda, exchanged 4 books, chatted with various cruisers and watched them play petanque.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-mushroom-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner. Too heavy a touch when pouring the 140-proof rum; made a pretty stiff drink.
Sun for a new day  10/23/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hot, fairly still morning. Started making a dominoes flag: pic.

Did a little Wi-Fi. Oh-oh, the low area to the E of us (Invest 97) is now forecast to strengthen. Yesterday morning, the forecast said it could move across here, or N of here, but stay at 30 knots or below. But yesterday evening's 8 PM forecast says it will strengthen to 50 knots in 48 hours and 66 knots in 72 hours. And the models are agreeing more, having it come here or closely N of here. Not good. But looks like it could be "here" in 36 hours or so, with most of the strengthening happening after it passes us.

Hmmm, called "Joana" and Diane isn't seeing the same weather info I'm seeing; every source tells her we won't get more than 20 knots.

Some light wind this morning, so Maria is able to get a little motion out of the Laser: pic.

Climbed the mainmast. A slight struggle attaching the forestay: have to lift the end of the heavy wire while manipulating the clevis pin and holding myself in place at the same time. And some skiff full of local guys roared close by and gave me a huge wake while I was up at the top, the biggest wake I've had in a while. Got it done. Got the antenna cable disconnected, and got the antenna off. Back down. Attached the other end of the forestay and tightened the rig a bit. Antenna just fell apart from old age, I think: pic.

A little rain just before 11. Did some Wi-Fi; still no update on Invest 97. Kept raining for half an hour or more. Very grey and raining heavier at 11:35.

Bad news: antenna cable in cockpit still reads 2.5 Ohms or so from center to shield; antenna itself reads about 500 KOhms from center to shield. So I think the cable is bad, and I don't know how I'm going to replace it. I don't think snaking a new cable down inside the mainmast will be possible without pulling the mast entirely (which would let me take the end-caps off and get decent access). Guess I'll have to run a new cable down the front of the mast. But then getting it into the boat and over to the cockpit will be a pain. There is one hope: the cable probably is not one continuous length from cockpit to mast; I might be able to open a connector inside the boat and find that the length inside the mast is not the bad part.

Cloudy and rainy all afternoon. Dinghied over to "Purrfect" at 2 to play dominoes. Everyone was suitably impressed by my domino flag (pic), which John hoisted up the mast. I scritched their dog "Honey" and found a couple of ticks on her, which they removed. A nice game with John, Katie, Allen and Kate, and I won by 1 point. Rained most of the afternoon, and we had to wait a while for rain to ease before we could leave after 5:30 or so. Nice boat, a Leopard 47 that John and Katie have owned only a few months; they're just starting cruising. Nice rainbow (pic; faint second rainbow on left ends on "Magnolia").

Mentioned my VHF cable problems. Allen said don't let a cable dangle free inside the mast; they did that and it rattles very annoyingly. But he doubts a cable down the outside of the mast will be very durable. If I wanted to take the mast down at anchor, he suggests rafting up with two other boats, one on each side, to make a lifting point with their halyards. I think I'll do an external cable, if necessary.

Salad and a cheese sandwich for dinner.

Rain starting at 12:30, and heavier rain starting at about 3 AM.
Sun for a new day  10/24/2011 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey, drenched morning with little wind. Rain at 6:45, then from 7:15 to 8:20, with a lightning strike a couple miles away at 7:30. Weather forecast on cruiser's net sounds like it will stay this way through Wednesday; that low "Invest 97" is just about on top of us. Rain starting again at 9:10, with distant thunder. Did a little Wi-Fi; wunderground shows Invest 97 on top of us with 30 MPH wind; we're seeing very little wind here right now.

A couple of readers have suggested taping/splicing a new VHF cable to the old cable and pulling the new through the mast that way. I don't think that would work, because I think the old cable is through a pretty tight conduit inside the mast, to keep it from rattling. And there's very little access at top and bottom of mast to work on the cable. Enough access to pull on it, I guess. But I'm pretty sure I'd have to take down the mast to get a new cable through.

Saw a woman rowing the dog back out to the boat through pouring rain, after doing its business ashore: pic. I think dogs on boats generally are a bad idea: dogs like open spaces, sometimes the official paperwork is difficult, and you have to take them ashore at odd times and through weather. But they're good security. And people love their dogs.

Rained most of the day, then stopped around 3:30 or so.

Ran engine for 15 minutes.

Gave myself a haircut.

Chicken-onion-carrot-mushroom-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  10/25/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning; thought it was supposed to be rainy. Invest 97 is well W of us now.

Today is Thanksgiving day here, thanks for the USA invasion/intervention in 1983 !

Climbed the mizzenmast and took down the forward mizzen shrouds. Very hard to unscrew the fitting halves, much harder than any of the other fittings I've unscrewed. Measured the old wires and new lengths on deck, instead of taking everything ashore to the dock, because these are very short wires. Cut the new lengths, cut the fittings off the old wire. Break for lunch. Disassembled the fittings, mangling a couple of the wedges, but I think they're still usable. Cleaned the fittings.

Later, assembled the STA-LOK fittings onto the new wires. They fought me quite a bit, but finally I got them done.

Hobie cat came sailing by (pic). There has been a lot of odd activity here lately; some local-looking cruisers on a sailboat in the NE corner of the bay, with a big inflatable and a big skiff zooming by several times a day, often while I'm up the mast.

Just before dinnertime, went to the base of the mainmast, and opened the access plate. Pulled out the wires as much as possible; it's pretty tight and jammed in there. The VHF antenna wire is a white RG58A cable. It goes up inside a white PVC pipe, and there's a little movement to it, so maybe I could pull a new wire through. Would be nice if the PVC pipe had been cut a little shorter; the open end is down lower than the bottom of the access-plate opening, and very close to the mast base; they didn't leave much room for access.

Sensibly, there's a connector-joint here in the radio cable. Got out the multimeter. Remember, there's no antenna connected at the top of the mainmast; I brought it down a few days ago. Checked resistance at cable-end in cockpit; still 2.5 Ohms from center to shield, which is bad (shorted). Opened the connection at the base of the mainmast, tested the cable going up the mast, and resistance is in the 1 to 1.5 mega-Ohm range, which is good ! So I shouldn't have to pull a new cable, and the problem must be inside the boat. But then I tested the cable-end going into the boat from the mast base, and it also is in the 1 mega-Ohm range. So where is the problem ? How could the end in the cockpit and the end at the mast base read differently ? Put the mast base stuff back together.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner, and a rum-and-cola later.

Trying to think of some radio-cable tests to do. There's a backup VHF radio at the nav station, and a backup VHF antenna for it on top of the mizzenmast. And there's a complicated antenna switch I've never been able to figure out under the nav station. Maybe the main VHF was using the antenna on the mizzen, and the short is there, not on the mainmast ? But that doesn't make sense: the backup VHF radio kept working after I took the antenna off the mainmast. Maybe the cockpit cable has shorted and gotten disconnected from the cable-end at the base of the mainmast ? Not likely. The cockpit VHF radio worked fine before the nearby lightning strike, so the cable hasn't been disconnected all along. [Later, read in my notes about that complicated antenna switch under the nav station: "none of the antenna wires go to it". Maybe it was for the long-gone SSB transceiver ?]
Sun for a new day  10/26/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

I've been noticing that "Joana I" has hoisted that Laser sailboat on a crane (pic). Never occurred to me that it might be too heavy to lift onto deck easily, if I had bought it. I wonder if they're going to keep it out there underway ? Maybe they'll swing it onto the stern deck. [Later heard that they've put chocks for it on the stern deck.] Their boat is a bit loaded with toys, but it's a big boat. And you can see how cruising boats sprout awnings when at anchor for a while. I have some tarps aboard intended for use as awnings, and I probably should put them up. But I worry they'd disintegrate in a strong squall, and the pilothouse serves well most of the time instead of awnings.

At 8:50, light rain out of a mostly-sunny sky caught me with all hatches and ports open and towels drying on the lifelines.

Climbed the mizzenmast. Attached the new forward shrouds; brought down the old aft shrouds.

Measured and cut wire, cut fittings off old shrouds, disassembled the fittings, cleaned them.

Rain at 4:15 while I was assembling the STA-LOK's onto the new wires. Cooled off a hot afternoon.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Tons of rain from 11:30 to 11:50, and more several times later in the night.
Sun for a new day  10/27/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Bit of a sinus headache. Heavy rain at 6:30, more rain at 7:40, then sunny. So I did a bucket of laundry.

Finished re-reading "Gipsy Moth Circles the World" by Francis Chichester. He single-handedly circumnavigated from England, around South Africa, to Australia, around South America, back to England. Great book, and a tough guy, but what a stupid thing he did ! Took a brand-new designed and built boat which had disappointed in its sea-trials, and set off around the world anyway. Crazy.

Rain at 9:15.

Around 10:45, climbed the mizzenmast, to put up the new aft shrouds. Boat rocking a bit. Tied a rope line to the mast to brace it when I take the backstay off, later. Put one of the clevis pins into a socket to rest it there while I brought the end of the shroud up. Surface tension or something made the head of the pretty heavy pin stick to the tip of my finger, and when I pulled my finger away the pin came right out and fell down to deck ! I've hardly ever dropped anything while up a mast. Fortunately, the pin landed on a coil of line and didn't damage anything or bounce overboard. I put the other shroud in place with no mishaps, and climbed down. Was able to reach the dropped pin without having to unbuckle all of my climbing gear, so quickly I was back up the mast and got the second shroud in place. Down to deck, attached the lower ends and tightened the turnbuckles.

Looked at the mizzen backstay. It's attached onto the davits, which never has been satisfactory. Years ago, I cracked the davit bases, and I half-suspect it was because the mizzen sheet also is attached to the top of the davits. The mizzen boom is very long, and adding davits to the boat screwed up the attachments back here. A while ago, I added a sturdier cross-bar to the top of the davits, but did a poor job. Probably time to try to fix it, before replacing the backstay's wire. So I unfastened the lower end of the backstay, and looked at the davits a little. Have to think about it. Anything I do probably will just make the backstay support the davits better; won't help with the mizzen-sheet-cracks-davit-bases issue.

Fifteen minutes later, Gordon came past in his kayak, and I chatted with him for a minute. I pointed out the problems with the mizzen backstay and sheet. He recommended moving the sheet attachment point in from the end of the boom, and attaching the other end to deck; I had thought of that, and I think I'll do it. He also advised changing the backstay into a Y-shaped backstay and attaching the ends to the stern, but I think the boom wouldn't clear the backstay ends. This boat must have been designed to have running (detachable) mizzen backstay. Another alternative: cut the mizzen boom shorter (and have the sail recut).

At 2, dinghied over to "Campechano" (picking up Kate from "Mendocino Queen" along the way) for dominoes. Wind blowing pretty well from the N or NE, but to keep the sun off the cockpit, Ronnie has put out a stern anchor and the boat is held sideways to the wind. The wind is pretty strong; there must be huge strain on that anchor line. Tricky getting out of my dinghy and up into the boat. And as we played, the wind blasted sideways through the cockpit and often knocked over our dominoes. Cruising is a tough life. I put up my dominoes flag, but it didn't drape well.

Had a nice game with Ronnie and Babbie, Diane and Wade, Kate, myself, and Steve from "Sailacious". Pic. I came in last. Drank a small beer afterward and soon got a headache from it; beer just does not agree with me any more.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  10/28/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Pretty good rain starting at 7:45.

Dinghied ashore to catch the 9:30 shopping van. Got bolts for the davit crossbar at ACE Hardware. Exchanged a couple of books at De Big Fish. Got groceries, then a chocolate-craving led me to a sinful chocolate milkshake that probably had a million calories. Maria and Cathy were satisfying a KFC-craving. Lots of rain around 11:30. Had to wait for a late shopper who got stuck in a bad checkout line. A couple of veggie stops on the way home. Didn't get back to the boat until 12:45. Weather fairly grey and damp.

Chatted with Wade and Diane on the bus. Didn't know: they originally had planned to circumnavigate, but after 2.5 years mostly in the Caribbean, I think they've changed their minds and will cruise here. Right now, they have a problem with the two wind-generators on their stern; some kind of resonance is setting in and Wade can't sleep when that happens. They're planning to leave here in a few weeks, but haven't decided where to go, north or south. Same with other boats here; many boats are coming out of hurricane-season storage in the boatyards, and people are getting ready to leave Grenada once they feel it's safe. I'm going to be here a while; I'm going to fly out of here for Christmas.

Epoxied a cut in a 2x4 I want to use for the davits crossbar. Nice piece of wood, even painted already, but someone (maybe me) started a cut through it, and stopped 1/4 of the way through. Every use for it wants it to be longer than where it's cut. I figure some epoxy and bolting it to another piece and using it in compression in a fairly low-load situation should work.

Rain at 2:30.

Fairly rolly all afternoon.

Chicken-onion-carrot-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner. Made the chicken a new way: breaded and fried it, and it came out pretty well.

Noticed that Gordon has a new red flashing light on the bow of his boat (Wade has been after people to display anchor lights, and had asked me to pass the message along to Gordon, which I did). A little later, Gordon kayaked by, and I mentioned it. He said at least one of the navigation buoys had come loose and washed up on a beach, so he went over and scavenged the flashing light from it !

Fairly rolly all night.
Sun for a new day  10/29/2011 (Saturday; Halloween weekend)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a bucket of laundry.

Interesting update on a story from yesterday's cruiser's net. Yesterday, they said a boat had left here Thursday, heading north. Off Martinique, they'd activated their EPIRB, maybe accidentally. The Coast Guard was asking if anyone had a phone number for them. I don't know if a search had been initiated. Then, during yesterday's net, Lynn reported that the Coast Guard had confirmed the boat was okay.

Today, Lynn reported (and I later read on the Facebook Group) that the boat had been 90 NM W of Martinique when they'd seen a powerboat (old, white, 50-60 foot) heading toward them. They altered course a couple of times, and the powerboat altered course to intercept. Powerboat didn't respond to radio calls, and got within 3/4 mile. They transmitted a Mayday, no response, triggered their EPIRB, then the wind came up and they were able to sail away from their "pursuer".

To me, that seems to be a misuse of an EPIRB. The situation might have been completely innocent, yet they triggered a possible search-and-rescue operation. If the pursuer was waving guns or knives, then I guess it's time to trigger the EPIRB.

Cut the piece of wood for the davits crossbar. Drilled holes in it, fit it onto the davits, drilled holes there. Took a while, and sweaty work in the hot sun, leaning out over the stern of the boat and trying to line up the heavy 2x4 underneath an existing board. Bolts I bought should be 1/2" shorter, but I'm not sure they're available in that size. Could make these work.

Ken swung by to say they'd had email from the Coast Guard saying that that use of the EPIRB was okay. From his posting on Facebook: "San Juan CG confirms that if a vessel believes that they are in danger, triggering an EPIRB is completely justifiable. The San Juan CG officer did not feel that the crew of [the sailboat] misused the Global Maritime Distress Safety System in any manner." Hours later, the Martinique CG had diverted a tanker to the EPIRB position, but the sailboat was long gone by then. Then they had an aircraft search for 7 hours. All for "approached by unknown boat in empty waters". Seems to me like a pretty low bar for initiating an expensive search.

I also pointed out my mizzen sheet and backstay issues to Ken, and his choice would be to cut the boom a couple of feet shorter, and alter the sail. Or maybe change to twin backstays (but that would limit how far the boom could swing).

Also mentioned my VHF-cable mystery to Ken, and he suggested salt in the connectors could be creating weird resistance readings. My connectors all do look very old, and two of them have the very tip of the center conductor broken off. Maybe I should replace them.

After 3, dinghied over to CCBM and did the usual: garbage, books, soda, watch the cricket, chat with a couple of people. I wore my simple little devil-table-out-of-pants "costume"; not sure if anyone really noticed it. Turnout a little sparse; I guess people are resting up for the big party/potluck here tonight. Back to the boat.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice for dinner.

Wade and Diane came past on their way to the Halloween party at CCBM. Wade was wearing an aluminum-foil hat that made him look like the Tin Man, but he said it was a conspiracy-theorist hat. I modeled my devil-tail for them and got a big laugh from Diane.

On second look, the flashing light on Gordon's boat looks very orange, not red, so I wonder if he was pulling my leg about getting it from a washed-up navigation buoy. Maybe he grabbed a light from a roadwork-sawhorse.
Sun for a new day  10/30/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Lovely sunny morning with a nice breeze. Saw Ronnie picking up John and then Wade at 8:30 to go out fishing again on "Campechano". I was invited, but I'm not really up for it.

Did a little more work on the davits crossbar. Drilled and carved and dry-fit some more. Drilled and cut a couple of small blocks of wood. Finally got the fit approximately right, and now I can tell that the length of the backstay will stay the same. So I climbed the mizzenmast and brought down the backstay. Took apart the fittings, and found one full of rust and the other with two cones/formers inside it. Looks like this stay is older than any other on the boat; it's very rusty.

Thinking about it later, I'm having doubts about the STA-LOK business. All along, I'd thought each fitting had a cone/former buried deep inside, held there by caulk and galling. No way to pry them out, even if I'd wanted to. I hadn't planned to replace the cones anyway. But with this last stay, I can see the cone/former is quite a different color than the fitting, and I'm starting to think that none of my other fittings have cones in them ! But they seem to work fine anyway; the wires crunch down solidly as I tighten the fitting, and I don't quite run out of thread-space while tightening. And none of the old wires pulled out of the old fittings, so if they did indeed lack cones, that didn't hurt anything. What gives ?

Dug a tarp out of a dock-box and put it up on the port side of the pilothouse to shield me from the late-afternoon sun. Worked very well; should have done this months ago.

Sanded and painted the wood for the davits.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

A flock of catamarans anchored out near the bay entrance. Three, then a fourth came in after dark, and "Campechano" is anchored pretty far out smack in the middle of the channel.
Sun for a new day  10/31/2011 (Monday; Halloween)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Some strange items on the cruiser's net this morning. Boat "The Hawk" thanks Coast Guard and cruisers for helping get them off the reef outside this bay yesterday; I missed that action completely. [Later heard that they had severe structural damage from the grounding, and they grounded twice, once on rocks.] Oyvind on "Lady Domina" wants to sell (or maybe give away) 8 tons of square steel blocks (ballast, I assume) ? The weather now broadcast by IWW, but they seemed to give about 15 seconds of it and then it was over. Strange.

Tried to rain a couple of times, then did rain from 11:25 to 11:50.

Cut new wire, and fittings off old wire. Disassembled the old fittings, and the wedge in the lower one was in two pieces, and soon broke into three pieces. Gave me fits trying to assemble it on the new wire, and eventually one piece slid out and I threw it away. Not sure the fitting will hold much tension, but it doesn't have to hold much, and I'll buy a new wedge later and re-do it.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

After dark, a couple of dinghy-loads of kids came around, trick-or-treating. Gave them packages of chocolate cookies. I think a short rainsquall caught them at one point.
Sun for a new day  11/1/2011 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly heavy rain at 7:45.

Considered the davit crossbar a little more. Decided the 5" bolts are too long, 4" might barely work but probably would be too short, and the hardware store probably didn't have 4.5" bolts. So I drilled and cut and painted several blocks of wood to make the 5" bolts work.

Low grey dark clouds just about all day. Light rain off and on from 1 to 3 or so.

Around 4, climbed the mizzenmast. Attached the upper end of the backstay. On the way back down, started slipping out of the bosun's chair. Found that the back-panel had ripped out of it; need to do some stitching. Made it to deck okay, and attached the lower end of the backstay to the davits.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

A bit rolly at times during the night. And around 2 AM, the squeaking cabinetry near my berth got to me. I've never been able to solve that problem. But this time, after taking off one piece of trim and then ripping out some other wood I've never removed because it was nailed in, wedging a big putty-knife in under the deck got rid of most of the squeaking ! So maybe if I buy some sheet metal and stick it in there, I'll be able to get rid of the noise. Left the putty-knife in there for now.
Sun for a new day  11/2/2011 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

No cruiser's net this morning. Wondered if maybe I just couldn't hear the controller, but I didn't hear anyone at all, and 15 minutes later I was hearing boats calling each other.

Put another coat of paint on the wood blocks for the davits.

Loafed most of the day.

Sewed the back-panel of the bosun's chair to fix it.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Very strong storm from the S starting at 9:30.
Sun for a new day  11/3/2011 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Assembled the new crossbar onto the davits. Took some pushing and widening a couple of holes, but got everything together and done.

Climbed halfway up the mizzenmast and removed the line I'd tied there to support the mast while the backstay was off.

Looks like "Medocino Queen" has left. I think a lot of people will be leaving in the next few weeks, considering hurricane season to be over. [Later heard that "Sailacious" left too.]

I need to get off the boat and get some exercise; feel like I'm turning into a slug.

Dinghied ashore around 2:30. Used the book-exchange, bought EC$20 of gasoline. Watched the volleyball for a minute, then went for a nice walk. Back to the volleyball, and chatted with some people for a while. Then the players took a break. Met Brandon from "Soulmate", who said he read my blog for years before starting cruising himself. Another lady said she was the person who fell out of her dinghy, and she had read about herself on my blog. I've noticed this phenomenon before: half of the boats here have blogs, the rest also use the internet, of course, and we have to be a little careful what we write about each other !

Brandon said he enjoyed the time when I had cockroaches aboard, and he used to refer to me as "cockroach guy" or something. A while ago, a cruiser told me he and his buddies used to call me "that guy who eats spaghetti a lot".

Lots of cruisers getting ready to leave, and for many of them arranging tests and certifications for their dogs is a big part of it. They have to haul the dog into St George's somehow, to get tested and certified, so they can get into the next country. A hassle I'm glad I don't have to deal with. And talking about pet-expenses in general, one lady told me they had a dog in USA who developed cancer. The dog was their "baby", so they maxxed-out a credit card and spent $20K on surgery and treatment. The dog had an extra 2 years of good life before dying.

Even finding dog-food that the dog likes can be a chore sometimes. Cruisers have to stock up with a couple hundred pounds of it if they find it somewhere. I met a boat in St Lucia that was heading to St Thomas partly because they knew they could get the right brand of dog-food there.

I've signed up for a bus-trip on Monday to go hiking in Grand Etang national park. Turns out a bus-load went for the same trip today, so I asked them how it was. Less of a hike than a stiff muddy climb up to top of a series of waterfalls, then jumping/swimming down. More climbing than I want to do, but I'll do it. I really want to do a fairly flat 2-hour hike somewhere.

Salad and cornbread-bacon-mushroom-cheese-onion concoction and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  11/4/2011 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a bucket of laundry.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. Chatted with various people as we headed off to ATM, then ACE Hardware, Budget, IGA. Looking for sheet metal to stop the squeaking in my cabinetry, but no luck. Got groceries, and had a guava-cherry smoothie. Chatted with Wade and Diane and Steve. Piled into the bus, and we were so full that John had to go in the next bus. To CK's, then the veggie stands, then home. Back to the boat by 12:45.

Heard that Cathy and Maria are looking for a new batten for the sail in that Laser they bought. They got some strong wind, had a blast sailing, then a bad gybe or something broke the batten in the sail.

Someone told us that last night at 2 AM, a boat in Prickly Bay got fed up with the rolling, raised anchor, and tried to leave (I wonder where they were going; it's not safe to enter any of the other south bays after dark). They ran into two anchored boats, damaging one significantly. And I think that damaged boat had been planning to leave soon; now they have to stay and deal with the damage. The boat at fault almost ran for it, but ended up staying.

Up the mainmast at 4. Used a rope to measure one of the lower shrouds. Had to do a bunch of tricky stuff at the ends of the spreaders: arrange the upper and mid shrouds so they rested nicely in the ends, put seizing wires through the holes in the spreader ends, and assemble round chafe-guard disks around the wires above the spreader ends. I hate working out at the ends, often using both hands, so I'm relying only on the climbing gear to keep me from falling. Should use a safety line, too, but I tried that a few times and it got in the way too much. But I should start using one again.

Anyway, got everything done. The seizing wire was hard to get through the holes; had to turn it around and do it backwards, sort of. Got the disks assembled without dropping any of the tiny nuts. Back down to deck.

Measured the rope from the lower shroud, and then the remaining 1/4" wire, and I have just enough wire to do the shroud ! My overestimate of the other wires was just big enough to cover this shroud, which I hadn't planned to replace. No help for the overestimate on the 3/16" wire, though; I did every single 3/16" wire on the boat and have extra left over.

Salad and leftover cornbread for dinner.

Very still evening, and a few bugs out.
Sun for a new day  11/5/2011 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny and breezey morning.

Climbed halfway up the mainmast and detached the starboard forward lower shroud. Down to deck. Measured old shroud and new wire. Used Dremel to cut new wire and cut fittings off old wire. Disassembled the fittings and cleaned them. Here's the leftover, wasted bit of 1/4" wire from the 250-foot reel I bought: pic.

Around 3, dinghied over to CCBM to do the usual: garbage, book-exchange, a soda, watched the cruisers play petanque for a while, chatted with some people. Pretty small crowd today. On the way over, saw a sailboat beached and listing near Rogers Beach Bar: pic. On the way back, the tide was lower and it was listing a lot more.

Back to the boat. Assembled new shroud.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Rolly much of the night; cabinetry squeaking.
Sun for a new day  11/6/2011 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

A bit rolly. After pointing E all night, thus sideways to the light S swell coming in, this morning the boat is pointing W, still sideways to the swell.

Managed to jam/slide some rubber/vinyl sheets into the squeaking cabinetry joints; cuts down the noise quite a bit.

Climbed the mainmast halfway to attach the new shroud. A bit rolly.

Dinghied ashore at 11 for a "jumble sale" (AKA flea market). A big crowd in the marina bar/restaurant; the only way they could have pulled more people off their boats was to announce free beer. Said hi to a few people, but it was bit crowded and noisy for me, so I went for a walk. Over to Prickly Bay and back, a bit hot but nice exercise.

Sat at the sale and chatted with Gordon for a while. He's a fun guy, Welsh and maybe about 60 years old [later found out: he's about to turn 70 years old], has been cruising about 15 years. Spent 8 years in Venezuela. Now he cycles up and down between here and Antigua. He knows locals in both places; works for money in Antigua and works on his boat here. He has a friend ashore here who lends him a bedroom and a workshop and a car and a cycle. A bit deaf, but he tells good stories, likes to dance, and is constitutionally unable to walk past a woman without chatting her up. Sherri stopped by to tell me my new VHF radio and other stuff should arrive about 10 days from now, and by the time we left the sale, Gordon had seen her again and arranged a date with her tonight.

Back to the boat a little before 1. Gordon's boat is anchored nearby: pic.

Had some lunch, and then started working on the VHF radio cable issues. Soon started suspecting that the cockpit VHF radio is cabled to the antenna on the mizzenmast, not the mainmast. Opened up the base of the mizzenmast and tried to pull out some wire; not easy. But there is a VHF cable with a connector-junction in there.

Then Gordon swung by, towing his kayak, and I bought kayak and paddle from him for EC$150 (about $58). Went over to his boat and picked up the paddle from him; nice (pic). The kayak is small and missing a proper seat (with seatback), but otherwise looks fine (pic). And I'm slowly adding to my fleet: now I have the big boat, two dinghies, and the kayak. [If some guy in a tight anchorage is taking up lots of space (more than his fair share) with several anchored junky boats he's acquired over the years, each a "deal" too good to pass up, people refer to him as a "fleet admiral".]

Also picked up an old Garmin GPS 38 he's trying to sell for US$30. Took it to my boat for a few minutes to look at it, but the display is faded, it takes a long time to start up and acquire data, and it has no connector-compatibility with my GPS 128 wiring. Took it back to Gordon. I need to get a new backup GPS, but a brand-new unit shouldn't be too expensive.

Suddenly pressed for time. Stopped the VHF investigation, took a quick shower, and off to dominoes at 3 on "Campechano". Played with Ronnie and Wade and Diane, and George from "Puma". A nice game, but a warmup round made it go long, and we didn't finish until dusk. Back to my boat as it got dark, and struggled to deal with the kayak. Wanted to hoist it onto deck, but didn't have time to figure out a good rope attachment for it. Ended up leaving it tethered behind the boat, where it or the hard dinghy thumped into the stern quite a bit during the night.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-07 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Started to investigate the VHF antenna cables some more, and they're fighting me. Measured 2.5 Ohms at cockpit end: shorted. Opened junction at base of mizzenmast; now end in cockpit reads 1 MOhm or so: good. Shorted end of that wire at base of mizzen; now end in cockpit reads 150 KOhm or so: plausible. Removed short and tested end at base of mizzen that should be feeding back to cockpit; reads 0 (open): makes no sense, why isn't it 1 MOhm like the other end ? Then rain started and I had to stop working.

Loafed much of the day, and it rained a few more times. Eventually got back to the radio cables. Found I had been testing the wrong end at the mizzenmast base. Good continuity on each conductor from cockpit to base, 1 MOhm resistance at cockpit end, resistance at base end varies from 100KOhm to up. A bit strange. Resistance on wire up the mast is low, a few Ohms. But then I tested the antenna I brought down from the mainmast, and it also has low resistance, a few Ohms. I think I'm going to wait until the new antenna comes in next week, test that, maybe get some help from Ken or Wade, and see where I am then. I'm starting to hope that the only problem might be that the old radio died; maybe all of the cables and antennae are fine.

Realized that what I had thought were broken-off tips of the antenna cable connectors are not a problem. These are soldered-on connectors, with the center conductor wire pulled through and then the tip finished with a ball of solder to fasten wire to connector and seal it.

After some more rain, launched the dinghy, and put the kayak in the water. Rigged lifting line on the kayak. Went for a paddle, leaving my eyeglasses behind in case I fell overboard. But the kayak is pretty stable, moves smoothly, very nice. Did a small circuit through the anchorage, stopped to chat with Wade and Diane as they swam, went out a little further, and back to the boat. Moving between kayak and dinghy is a little awkward, but I did it without mishap. Kayaking is good, but sitting still with my legs stretched out is a little uncomfortable after a while.

Then went snorkeling under the boat, to scrape the hull. Not as much growth as I feared, mostly some small barnacles. But there's big growth on the bottom of the hard dinghy, the painters to the hard dinghy, and on the anchor chains. Raising and cleaning those chains is going to be a major chore; plenty of barnacles growing on them.

Back aboard, hoisted dinghy and kayak, washed off gear, showered.

Salad and sausage-onion-egg-cheese concoction and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-08 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Headache. Loafed much of the day. Did Wi-Fi.

Received email from a reader saying you really can't test VHF cables and antenna with an ohmmeter; DC resistance is not the same as RF impedance, and the cable has induction and capacitance going on in it. I'll borrow an SWR meter from Ken or Wade next week when my new parts come in.

Put up rings on the mizzen shrouds to hold the boat-hooks.

Took the remaining 3/16" wire off the reel, laid it out on deck (not easy, it wanted to twist and kink), and measured it. Just about fainted: 90 feet ! How did I estimate the wire needed so badly ? Bought 320 feet, so I overbought by 40%; that extra wire cost almost $300. Maybe I can sell it, or use it for something else. Could replace the topping lifts, but those are 5/32" 1x19 and 1/8" 7x19 wire; replacing with 3/16" 1x19 would be a little weird. They do need replacing; maybe I'll do that. That will use up about 70 feet of the wire. Are topping lifts supposed to be 1x19 or 7x19 wire ?

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-09 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did Wi-Fi and computer and loafed all day. Tried to get up some energy to do some boat-work, but didn't succeed.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Storm from S from 1:15 AM to 2:45 or so. Not too powerful, but the wind and rain kept going and going.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-10 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Ashore at 9:15 to go on a trip. We're going to Seven Sisters falls, and tubing, and a Chinese restaurant. Two vanloads; about 22 cruisers.

Stopped at a bank, then wound our way up to the entrance to Grand Etang park, and past it a little. On the way, we heard on the VHF radio that the dog on "Joanna I", Nico, had gotten lonely, jumped off the boat, and swum over to "Astral Wind" for some company. So the dog was going to spend the day with them !

Parked at a hiking operation place, got hiking sticks, and set off down a road. Two dogs with us, romping back and forth. Guide explained some of the local trees.

Half a mile later, the road ended and the mud started. Up over a hill, then a long downhill with mud and stairs and rocks; slippery and slow going. Across a small bridge, up again, down again, poured rain on us for a minute, across a rocky stream, and to the base of a couple of waterfalls.

Most of us went swimming in the pool below the big (10-meter) waterfall. The water was cold at first, but not bad after a couple of minutes. Very refreshing after the hot, humid, muddy hike in.

The guide gathered the people who wanted to hike up to the top of the series of 7 waterfalls and jump down each waterfall. When they asked if I was going, I said no. I'd been hearing how tricky the hike up and slithers down were, and how Ken hurt his back badly jumping here 9 months ago, and other people who came away with severe bruising. So I decided not to do it.

The guide and jumpers disappeared, the rest of of swam and chatted, and then we waited for the jumpers to appear. About half an hour later, there they were, standing at the top of the big waterfall.

It looked pretty tricky. Each jumper had to stand in a specific spot on slippery rock, with ankle-deep water rushing over it. And the rock behind the falls was not vertical; the bottom was about 5 feet further out than the top, so they had to get some good horizontal motion going. The first one or two jumpers went okay. A woman stood there for a minute, then turned back. A guy came up, slipped badly and could have had a disastrous slide down the rock. But they all got down okay until the last, the woman who had balked before. She stood up there for 5 minutes, trying to get up the nerve to go. The problem was that there was no alternative; no way to hike out of that spot. We'd been told that in advance. Pics.

Finally she jumped, didn't land right, and hurt herself. She seemed to be swimming okay at first, but cried out that she was hurt, and several people swam over to help her. Soon they were holding her still in place on her back in the water, being careful to stabilize her spine and neck. The rest of us were watching from a distance, not knowing how badly she was hurt. Three of the cruisers holding her had a lot of medical training and experience.

Eventually we saw them carrying her out of the water and laying her down on the only somewhat-flat stretch of rock in the area. It didn't look good. Finally someone came up and said she had no feeling in her feet, and a lot of pain in one leg, enough to make her scream when it was touched. The guide had already hiked out to get help, but they wanted several of us to go confirm that an ambulance had been called. So I tagged along behind a couple of cruisers as we hiked out.

Back at the entrance, the local guys said they had indeed called an ambulance, and we sat down to wait. One of the cruisers hiked back in with some Tylenol with codeine pills. We weren't quite on the road, so I didn't even see the ambulance go by, either when it came or when it left. It was about 3 PM before all the rest of our group came out. Turned out that only one of the ambulance crew was really fit enough to hike, so mostly it had been the other cruisers who carried out the litter with the woman on it. Several of the medical types hoped that she wouldn't have any permanent damage, that the impact with the water had severely shocked the nerves in her legs and she'd gradually recover.

We had planned to go tubing, but that was cancelled. And I was headachey from little food or water; I hadn't come prepared for such a long day. Paid EC$5 entrance fee for the waterfalls, everyone into the vans, and off to a Chinese restaurant. Which we overloaded by suddenly appearing with 20+ people. So dinner was a long, slow affair. And I wasn't too happy that one lady brought her dog to our table with her and then opened a can of dog-food right on the table. At least it wasn't stinky dog-food. And it was a well-behaved dog, technically a service dog (the owner is deaf in one ear, and the dog has lots of training and skills, although they're not used).

A long bus-ride back, feeling tired and headachey. Paid EC$25 to the driver, and into the dinghy and out to the boat in the dark by 7:30. Popped headache pills, chugged water, hoisted the dinghy, put everything away, went to bed.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-11 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Tired and have headache.

Dinghied ashore to catch the 9:30 shopping van. Got car floor-mats at ACE Hardware, to use as kayak-cushion and battery vibration-pad and who knows what else. Exchanged a couple of books at De Big Fish. Got groceries, then cash at ATM, then peanut-banana smoothie. Stopped for veggies and then CK's, back to the boat by 12:45.

Nice time chatting with several people during the trip. Chatted with Jerry from "Moonsong", who built his own boat, in Alaska. He said he was a fool to build his own boat; for the same amount of time and effort, he could have built and sold 10 or 20 houses, and made enough money to buy the nicest boat he wanted. He imagines given the value of the boat and the amount of time he put into it, he was working for something like 4 cents per hour.

Only update on the woman injured yesterday was that she's had X-rays and no broken bones were found. Still in hospital.

In late afternoon, launched the dinghy and took rusty security-grates (steel grates padlocked inside the hatches, to keep thieves out) ashore to scrape them. Had hoped to avoid getting rust on the boat, but no such luck. Was going to spray the grates with acid to remove the last of the rust, but there's not enough time to paint today, so I'd just end up hauling acid-covered grates back onto the boat. And decided I need to sand rust and paint off, after wire-brushing and chipping the worst of the rust off. Got the bulk of the rust and paint off and took the grates back to the boat. Pic. I'm just going to do the work in the cockpit, followed by lots of buckets of seawater to wash the mess out.

Went for a kayak-paddle through the anchorage, followed by swimming a couple of laps around the boat. Pleasant.

Salad and PBJ-sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-12 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Started raining around 4:30 or 5 AM, and kept going. Totally grey morning. Rain heavier at 7:45, then back to more moderate. Rain finally stopped after 9, but still very grey.

Started to get a little sunshine around 1 PM.

Sanded the security-grates in the cockpit, using buckets of water to wash out everything afterward. Now I have to acid-wash them, then paint with primer and then paint. But it's supposed to rain just as much tomorrow, I think.

Wiped mildew out of the inside surfaces of the pilothouse.

Light rain from 5:30 to 6:30 or so.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-13 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly sunny morning.

Set up the grates in the cockpit and sprayed phosphoric acid on them, but it didn't dissolve the rust. I've had that jug of acid for several years; guess it's lost potency.

Local guys came around in a skiff to collect garbage for a fee, as they do on Sundays and Wednesdays. Half an hour later, a cruiser in another bay was on the VHF saying those guys were throwing the garbage into the mangroves over by him. [Later, I was told that's nonsense; the guys throw the garbage ashore off the skiff, then bring a truck around to pick it up from the road.]

Looked at the grates at noon, and I think the acid is working, just slowly. Sprayed more acid on them, got a whiff of it in my face, and it made me choke, so I guess it's still potent.

At 3, dinghied over to "Joana I" to pick up Josh, then to "Campechano" to play dominoes. Had a nice time, but came in almost last in the scoring.

Got an update on the woman injured in the waterfall-jump, and the news is very bad. Apparently she broke a vertebra and maybe other bones in the T-12 area. The local neurologist turned out to be "a freak" according to a cruiser who was a nurse and had experience with spinal-cord patients. So they looked into medevac to the USA. The injured woman has no medical insurance. A hospital in Miami wanted US$250K up front before they'd accept her. She ended up going to a top spinal-injury hospital in Philadelphia, which made no such demand. Initially, the medevac plane was going to cost US$75K, but apparently the cost was changed down to US$25K or so, somehow. She was flown out yesterday, I think. The last piece of news was that apparently the woman had a history of a prior spinal injury.

Back to the boat by 5:15 or so. Salad and leftover chicken-rice for dinner.

Pretty heavy rain a couple of times during the night.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-14 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Received an email update on that injured woman, as of yesterday morning. She had a "compression/burst fracture of the T-12 vertebra. The fragments of the fracture are pushing against the ligamentous structure surrounding the vertebral body and pushing it into the spinal canal and against the spinal cord itself." At the time of the email, she was halfway through an expected 5 hours of surgery to deal with it, install rods across the area, etc. The facility is an absolutely top-notch place; she couldn't be in a better place. Still, it's very scary. And I'm very glad I didn't jump off that waterfall.

Dinghied ashore at 10 to try to meet Sherri, but I guess she didn't get my email response in time.

Sanded the grates again and then painted them with Rustoleum primer.

Dinghied ashore at 12, met Sherri, signed Customs forms. New radio and antenna should arrive Wednesday.

In midafternoon, went for a walk with Wade, Diane and Ruth, over to Prickly Bay and Budget Marine. A new route for me, so it was interesting, and good exercise, and a chance to chat. No update on the injured woman flown out to Philadelphia. Except that here in the hospital in Grenada, they had put her in a normal hospital bed, with no back stabilization. And a local taxi-guy was on the VHF net this morning, complaining that the cruisers helping her had been disrespectful to the hospital staff. But we all agree that when someone is in jeopardy of paralysis or death, "respect" is low on the priority list.

Several boats will be leaving soon, including both "Joana" boats, with Wade and Diane and Cathy and Maria aboard. Sad, but I'll probably see them again somewhere. The funny thing is that the troublesome Norwegian guy probably is going to leave at the same time, going the same direction, so they may be stuck with him for a while !

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-15 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Got an update via email: that injured woman did fine through the first operation on her spine, but a second operation will be performed in another day or two.

Put a coat of white Rustoleum on the security grates. Halfway through, the fairly sunny morning turned grey and a little light rain fell. Not a problem; the paint was drying quickly, and the pilothouse sheltered the grates from much of the rain. Then Ken called on the VHF and wanted to chat about some stuff he'd read on my blog. Then Gordon paddled by and I chatted with him for a little while. He'd been painting, too, so both of us painting is probably what attracted the rain. Finally finished the painting. More grey weather threatening, but then it turned sunny.

Tried to Skype-call Mom, but the Wi-Fi connection just wasn't solid enough.

In early afternoon, climbed the mizzenmast. Tightened the triatic stay slightly. Then tried to get the VHF antenna down. Got the cable connection open after unwinding a lot of electrical tape. Started getting rained-on a little. Then couldn't figure out how to get the antenna off the mast. The base is fastened to the mast with big bolts, but then the antenna fastens to the base with a pin instead of a bolt, and I can't figure out how to drive out the pin. And I think it has to come out, because without removing the pin, the antenna covers up one of the big bolts. Guess I'll have to come up again with a big hammer, and if that doesn't work, a drill. But the antenna may be okay, and I don't want to destroy the mount while trying to get the antenna off. Connected the cable again. Climbed down, and for a minute the wind-generator was spinning pretty well. A little scary climbing down past it, but really no danger: it's in front of the mast, and I'm behind the mast.

At 3:15, fairly heavy rain straight down. Then grey afterwards.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

At 5:30, dinghied over to "Campechano" for a rum-tasting. More people and a lot more food than I expected; we filled the catamaran's big cockpit to overflowing. Let's see: me, Ronnie, Wade and Diane from "Joana", Charles and Ruth from "Astral Wind", Steve and Diana from "Dreams at Sea", Jeff and Pam from "Foggy Mountain", Ken and Lynn from "Silverheels III", Ernie and Kathy from "Stonecutter" (he is/was a sculptor). Eight or nine different rums, in disguised bottles. A couple of homemade pizzas, I brought a can of nuts, some other munchies. Some pictures taken by Ronnie: pics. Nice conversation, and then a lot of tasting. Opinions on the rum differed quite a bit.

No update on the injured woman. Some talk about a boat that ran aground outside this bay a couple of weeks ago. Apparently they were coming up from Trinidad, got very tired or confused, arrived at night, and thought they were entering Prickly Bay instead of Mt Hartman Bay. Hit a reef, got off after a while, and some cruiser helped them to a safe anchoring spot outside. Then still in dark, they raised anchor and tried to come in again, and ended up hard aground on rocks, bashing the hull badly. Had to get the Coast Guard to pull them off in the morning, lots of water inside the boat, and they headed for an emergency haulout. There's severe structural damage to the boat. Someone said the hull was not molded as a single piece, but as two halves, and the grounding made the halves start to separate at the stern end, I think. And there's a big open crack along the keel/hull joint. A disaster.

Several boats planning to leave here in the next couple of days, heading north to start cruising the Grenadines, or further north.

Back to the boat by 8:15. Ran over a small mooring float in the darkness, but luckily no line got into my prop.

Plenty of rain starting at 5:30 AM.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-16 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did a bucket of laundry.

Put a second coat of white Rustoleum on the security grates. Nice sun baking them dry. Wade and Diane swung by to drop off the dominoes flag I made.

Dinghied ashore after noon to do Wi-Fi; connection just not solid enough on the boat.

Finally got my Christmas plane tickets done; I've been chewing over various options for a while. As usual, the price is higher and higher. Got US$912 roundtrip Grenada to Philly. Connecting through Toronto on the way up, and Ft Lauderdale and Trinidad on the way down, and overnight on the way down. Bizarre. Last night, someone told me about ultra-cheap flights through some Toronto charter operator, but I'd have to find a travel agent who knew about that stuff. Just glad to have the reservations done.

Ordered five or six books on Amazon.

Sherri said my parts might not be delivered today; there's a go-slow at the commercial port. The government missed a payroll check or two to the port workers a few weeks ago and doesn't know when they'll make it up to them, so there have been strikes and slowdowns since then.

Back out to the boat after 3. Some radio traffic about a boat in distress being towed in.

Tried something Ken suggested a while ago: opened up the old, dead VHF radio and snipped a couple of diodes where the power leads meet the circuit board. He said they're there just for reverse-polarity protection, sometimes they short after a lightning strike, and removing them might fix the radio. Pics. No luck; radio still blows the fuse when I power it on.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a rum-and-cola for dinner. Breaded and fried the chicken, but it didn't get cooked all the way through; had to eat around the edges. Will have to re-cook the leftovers.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-17 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.


Up at 7:15 to find "Joana" and "Joana I" leaving. They circled for a while as they secured anchors and raised mainsails, then out. Pics. Another boat (pic) came in and anchored while they were leaving. Surprised to see the Joana's turn W, to the leeward side of the island; heard some people were planning to go up the windward side. But the seas look a bit large outside; maybe that was factor. On the net, heard a couple of other boats leaving to go N also. [Heard later that "Joana" had to motor-sail the whole way, heading mostly NE into mostly NE wind and swells. Welcome to my world !]

"Lady Domina" left at 8:45, but maybe just went into Hog Island anchorage. They turned E but seemed to be staying inside. At the same time, another boat came out from the Hog Island direction, then turned and went back that direction, still inside. Maybe they'll go outside further down the coast.

Put the security grates back onto the hatches.

Worked on some of the VHF cables. Pulled all the junk away from under the nav station, and checked the wiring to the backup VHF radio. Opened the access plate at the base of the mainmast and opened the connectors on the two coax cables there. Got out the multimeter and started testing. By shorting connections and removing shorts, determined which cable-ends under nav table match which ends at mast base. Cables from backup VHF to mainmast and up mast look good: 1.5 MOhm or so when open. Second cable from nav table has a cable-TV antenna connector on it. That cable reads properly when shorted, but reads infinite resistance when open; strange.

Salad and sandwiches for dinner.

Onto deck around 2 AM to look for Leonid meteorites, but didn't see any. Bright moon.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-18 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Strange: looked up at 8:30, and there's "Lady Domina" leaving again; saw her leave yesterday. Either she snuck back in yesterday and anchored somewhere I couldn't see, or she just ducked in and out this morning.

Ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. Fewer people this week, so our bus ended up with only 5 in it. To ACE, a rental-car place, then Spiceland Mall. And there, one of the women wanted to spend a couple of hours shopping. I guess she thinks of it as "a day away from the boat", where most of us think of it as "get what you need and get out". Had a sinful espresso-chocolate milkshake at the food court and chatted with cruisers for a while; nice. Stopped for veggies and CK's on the way back. Back to the boat before 12:30, so not that much quicker than usual, although we skipped Budget Marine and had fewer people.

Thinking ahead to replacing the lifelines. I'm buying rope to use, instead of the current coated-wire. Asked people if there's any way someone could re-use the fittings from my old lifelines, but they're all swaged fittings, and there's no good way to un-swage them. So I guess they're all going into the garbage.

Someone got US$406 roundtrip to Toronto, using one of those charter operators. So maybe I could have done a lot better on the plane tickets. Typical. Would have to add a Toronto-Philly segment to it. Not going to mess with it now. [Later saw: flights from Toronto to Philly start at US$450 roundtrip on my dates. So maybe I did okay.]

Received an email update about the injured woman: she got through two surgeries, "has mobility in both legs", was able to sit in a chair for an hour. Still in ICU, still plenty of pain. Heading for rehab soon.

Added water to the batteries; they needed a lot. Turned off the solar-controller bypass switch; I've been charging the batteries pretty hard for a while.

Climbed the mizzenmast and tried to pound the pin out of the antenna mount. But it quickly became clear that it's not removable. Was able to tap the antenna up and get it to swivel on the mount, giving access to the bolts into the mast. But I forgot to bring a big screwdriver and wrench, so couldn't get the bolts out. Disconnected the antenna cable. Back down to deck.

Went for a long paddle in the kayak; nice. Went near that hurricane-beached small sailboat on the SW side of the bay; its name is something like "Bumsen I". It's thoroughly stripped: mast, stanchions, prop, shaft, rudder, etc are gone.

Chicken-onion-rice-leftoverchicken and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Onto deck around 1:30 AM to look for Leonid meteorites, but didn't see any. Bright moon.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-19 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Measured resistance between conductors on the VHF coax end in the cockpit, now that the antenna is disconnected, and got about 650 KOhm. Seems good to me. That includes the segment of cable up the mizzenmast. So I think I've established that none of my VHF cables are shorted. Once I get the new antenna and radio, will use an SWR meter to test the antennae.

In late afternoon, climbed the mizzenmast. Couldn't get the antenna off the mast; why do they make such big bolts with such shallow slots in the head ? Reconnected the cable and sealed it with electrical tape.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-20 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi; nice strong connection from the boat this morning.

Found some new 1/8" 1x19 (size I need for the topping lifts) rigging wire on the boat, so I measured it. About 36 feet. Enough to do the mizzen topping lift, but not the main topping lift. Probably left over from when I did the topping lifts in 2002. I should dig into my pile of rigging wire and see if there's any more I can use. I think I mostly have used wire, not new, but I'm not sure.

Hauled in about 5 feet of each of the anchor chains, to see if I can clean some of the growth off them. Tons of rust shedding off the primary chain.

Dinghied over to CCB marina before 1, getting rained on a bit. Disposed of garbage. Signed up for the Thanksgiving potluck. Got a soda. Then played dominoes with Graham, Jeanne, Helen, Charles, and Miss Kitty. A tough crowd, very competitive. I had a bad run at the start, then won the last 3 rounds. Came in third, I think. Exchanged six books at the book-exchange. Back to the boat by 4:30.

Chili and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-21 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.


Used the dinghy to spin the boat twice counter-clockwise, to untwist the anchor chains a bit. Hauled on the chains, but little give.

After lunch, spun the boat twice more. Let out on one anchor rode, try to pull in on the other, no luck. Tried it the other way around, no luck. Started the engine and tried various angles, but even with one rode slack and the other up-and-down, no give. Feels like they're both snagged on the bottom, or tightly knotted to each other down there, or something. Gave up for today. Well, at least the engine started instantly and ran fine.

Later, spun the boat CCW twice more, and pulled in a bit more chain on each anchor.

Salad and leftover cold chicken-rice and a cheese sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-22 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Ronnie on "Campechano" left at 8, heading for Puerto Rico. Looked like he had 3 crew with him. I forgot to see whether he headed for the leeward or windward side of Grenada.

Received email saying that woman injured at the waterfalls was able to walk 100 feet using a walker yesterday, and is about to be transferred to a rehab facility. Good news.

"Purrfect" left around 9:15; maybe just moving to another bay.

My VHF radio and some other parts have been retrieved out of the port; now have to coordinate with Sherri to get them into my hands. She's mostly a "phone" person and I have no phone and limited Wi-Fi, so it takes a while.

Anchor chains still stuck to the bottom somehow. Spun the boat CCW twice more with the dinghy.

Repaired the loose end of the port rubrail.

Bacon-onion-cornbread-cheese concoction and a rum-and-dietcola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-23 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

No email response from Sherri; I want to get my new VHF stuff.

Walked over near Prickly Bay to a 1 PM appointment at the dentist. Routine inspection and teeth-cleaning, EC$90 (US$35). The usual uncomfortable and painful experience.

Back to the marina. Exchanged several books. Marina fairly deserted, bar/restaurant empty and only a few boats at the dock. That Norwegian boat is gone; didn't see them leave. Back to the boat. Spun it once CCW with the dinghy to untwist the anchor chains some more.

Still no email response from Sherri; frustrating.

Plenty of rain starting at 4:20 and tailing off by 4:50. Grey.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a PBJ sandwich for dinner.

Plenty of rain and wind from 2:30 to 2:50.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-24 (Thursday; USA Thanksgiving)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey and drenched morning; low grey clouds hovering. Rain 7:30 to 8, and 8:20 to 8:30. More rain at 11:15 and noon. Very grey.

At 12:45, launched the dinghy, loaded up, and headed over to CCB marina. Used an umbrella to keep light rain off during the first half of the trip, but then the rain stopped. And it stayed grey but un-rainy the rest of the afternoon !

At the marina, disposed of garbage, then into the bar/restaurant for a Thanksgiving potluck. The place is full of people ! Deposited the large cheesecake I bought, onto the dessert table. The pool table is completely covered with food, and the turkey and turkey accessories will be on a separate table. Pics.

Chatted with various people; the meal was slow getting started. Nominally a 1 PM event, but we probably didn't start eating until 2:30 or so. And I was at table 8, one of the last tables to get at the food. But there was plenty, and it was good. Nice chatting with Kathy and Ernie from "Stonecutter" and Sam from another boat, at our table. The turkey ran out early, but there were plenty of side dishes and desserts. The cheesecake I brought from IGA was cleaned out completely. Ernie's an interesting guy: a sculptor, used to work making technical props for movies, used to teach basic technical film techniques. His wife Kathy has a characteristic I find surprising: she's never once been to Europe. [Later, found out same is true of Pam on "Foggy Mountain".]

Back to the boat a little before 5. Still very grey weather. Ran engine for 30 minutes to charge batteries and run laptop. Sherri sent me email yesterday evening saying let's meet at 10 AM this morning, but I didn't get Wi-Fi until now.

Batteries fairly low overnight.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-25 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Reasonable amount of sun this morning; batteries getting charged.

Dinghied ashore at 9:30 for the shopping van. Fewer people now; just one bus. But we still made lots of slow stops. I bought two 6-foot 2x4's at a lumber/hardware place (EC$26; US$10). Only wanted one 6-foot length, but the smallest they sold was 12 feet, and a guy hand-cut it into two for me. Exchanged a couple of books at De Big Fish. Passionfruit smoothie at the mall, and chatted with cruisers for a while. Back to the boat by 1.

Ken stopped by to tell me we're invited to dinner at Sherri's house tonight, and I can pick up my stuff then ! He also said the weather is going to be bad for the next week or so: lows have appeared E and W of us. Hmmm, wunderground isn't showing them. But I'm half-expecting a late-season wrong-way storm, forming off the ABC's; the water down there still is very warm.

Started working on the anchor chains. Untied the bitter end of the rope behind the primary anchor chain. Got into the dinghy and tried to pass the rope around the chain to untwist the chains, but the bundles of rope are too unwieldy. Into the water and snorkeled, but couldn't get down deep enough to see what's going on with the chains near the bottom. It's 20 feet deep and visibility is about 5 feet. But I can see there are many more twists in the chains than I thought there were. Into the dinghy, and spun the boat around one more time, but it's a little too windy to do much of this today. Back into the water, and there still are plenty of twists in the chains. But this time I got deep enough to see that the chains aren't snagged on the bottom or knotted on each other; it's just a matter of getting all of the twists out. That's good news.

Onto the boat, up to the bow, and unfastened the chain from the rope. Then passed the bitter end of the chain around half a dozen times, removing half a dozen twists. Hard, dirty work, hauling the chain up and down, getting a lot of cuts on my hands. Should have worn gloves, but the gloves I bought are a little too small, and I foolishly didn't put them on. Running out of time; stopped with a few twists still left in the chains. Washed the deck, washed off the snorkel gear, showered.

At 6:30, well after dark, dinghied ashore. Met Ken and Lynn at the marina, and started walking over the hill. We all have flashlights, and it's a nice night, but it's a little weird to be out in the dark. And the traffic on these small roads is surprisingly heavy and fast, in day or night.

We get to Sherri's house around 7. The cooking is just starting, and it's going to take a while. Ken and I chat, and chat with Sherri's 7-year-old son Tristan. We work to sand the battery terminals on his handheld video game, and get fresh batteries into it. After an hour or two, a couple with two young girls joins us; I think they may be the upstairs family.

We chat some more, and finally it's time for dinner. Delicious food, chicken pepper curry over rice, and also some gummy bread wrappers for eating the curry that way too. But it's well past my bedtime, and I'm starting to wilt a bit. A couple of the kids are falling asleep, but Tristan is full of energy and refusing to eat most of his dinner.

We chat some more, and the others show no sign of stopping, but I'm running out of steam. Finally I prompt Sherri to bring out my boat parts. And Ken and Lynn are opening up a box of solar panels that arrived, too. Turns out my whole order has arrived, in two shipments, and it looks good.

Eventually we get going, out into the dark carrying my stuff. Back over the hill to the marina. It's a nice night, very warm and humid but no rain. An extremely dark dinghy-ride out to the boat, arriving a little before midnight. Hoist the dinghy, stow everything, collapse into bed.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-26 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Tired and slightly headachey.

Miss Kitty did the cruiser's net this morning, and got in a few zingers. Someone said they're still looking to return a lost ring they found a week ago to its owner. Miss Kitty said "Maybe they threw away their wedding ring deliberately. Been there, done that. Twice."

Started opening up the parts that arrived. Pics. I'm tempted to connect up the new radio and try it out, but Ken calls me on the VHF to forestall exactly that; he wants to come over and check out the antenna cabling so I don't blow up the new radio. Fair enough, but I've already checked out the cables, and with an old antenna connected on top of the mizzen, we won't be able to make a full open-cable test of one section of the cable. But I'll call him when I'm ready to go.

Pretty heavy but brief rain.

Czechoslovakian couple from nearby boat swam by, and the guy stopped to say hello and tell me there's a town/city named "Magnolia" on the Black Sea. They've been cruising from Cuba to Venezuela since 2007, and say Grenada is the best.

Powered up the new radio to make sure it was alive. Soldered and taped the power leads. Filed the edges of the opening in the cockpit coaming, and drilled and screwed a couple of pieces of wood to support the radio. The old radio had been held in place only by caulk.

Ken came over around 2:30 to look at the VHF stuff. As I expected, he was a bit frustrated, because with an antenna connected at the top of the mizzenmast, he couldn't assure himself the cable wasn't shorted. The antenna presents a short. But I'd tested the cable myself, a few days ago, with no antenna attached. So he did a few tests with a meter and a dummy load on my new radio, then connected the radio to the antenna. No sparks or smoke; radio/cable/antenna works. But there's a hiss in the audio. Some testing found that it's due to my solar controller. The backup radio also hisses, but I thought that was just because it's old. I believe the old main radio (the one that's dead now) didn't have the hiss, but I'm not sure. Will have to contact the solar controller manufacturer and see if they have any suggestions.

Ken also found that when transmitting on high power, the DC power at the radio drops from 13.6 V to 11.9 V; the wiring is undersized. So I'll have to fix that. [Looks like the wiring is AWG 18.]

Showed the boat to Ken, and we chatted for a while. Rain. Then he left.

Headeache pretty severe later; took pills and napped.

Salad and cheese sandwich and apple for dinner. Headache.

Headache and pills all night.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-27 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still have this headache.

Looked out at 7:30 and Gordon was back, trying to anchor next to me. I thought he left for Antigua last week, but he says he's leaving tomorrow. He and a friend spent 20 minutes anchoring and getting the anchor snagged on an old mooring rope, and getting free of it. Then they gave up on anchoring next to me and went to a mooring on the other side of the harbor.

Did a bucket of laundry.

Did some Wi-Fi. Got an MMSI number from BoatUS online. Successfully did a DSC call to another boat here.

Looked for wire to upgrade the radio wiring, but couldn't find the little reel I thought I had. Maybe I used it up on some other project.

Connected a switch in the battery cabling so I can charge the house batteries without overcharging the starting battery. Then put the solar controller in bypass mode, to get more charge into the house batteries.

A little before 1:30, dinghied over to "Silverheels III" and picked up some "coax putty" and a couple of connectors from Ken. Then to the marina to play dominoes. Played with Ginny from "Wind Shepherd", Keith from "Shadowfax", Kathy and Ernie from "Stonecutter", and Pam from "Foggy Mountain". A fun game, but my headache slowly got worse as the afternoon progressed. Pam was the winner, so she got to take my dominoes flag to her boat. Back to the boat by 4:30.

Pretty good rain from 5:15 to 5:45.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.

Pills and to bed early with a headache.

Well after dark, at 6:55, there's Gordon and his friend anchoring next to me again. Maybe it was too rolly to spend the night on the other side of the harbor. A bit rolly over here, too.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-28 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still have this fairly bad headache.

Gordon and his friend left at 6:30, heading toward Antigua.

Well, this morning I joined that exalted pantheon of heroes, the "net controllers". Fired up the laptop at 7 to get weather info. Then ran the cruiser's VHF net on channel 68 from 7:30 to about 8, running through the standard sections (welcome, priority traffic, weather, arrivals, departures, parts and services, cruiser announcements, treasures of the bilge, local businesses, anything, close). Had a little trouble hearing a few boat-names, but generally it went well. A couple of people said my signal was very clear, and I was hearing some other signals better than they were. Had to write fast when people rattled out messages such as "this is boat X with a Franistan model 31347 backstay with a 2-foot whatsis for sale, my phone number is 444-9173", so I could repeat the messages.

Breakfast and pills and back to bed.

Headache mostly gone after lunch.

Loafed. Thought about how to build a swim ladder.

Chicken-onion-carrot-cabbage-rice and a very light rum-and-cola for dinner.

Headache came back in late evening, and stayed all night.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-29 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Still have this fairly bad headache. Sucks. Listened to net, breakfast, pills, back to bed.

Headache mostly gone after lunch. Maybe I should just eat lunch at every meal.

Cut and soldered wire and connected GPS to new VHF radio. Now the lat/long displays on the radio, and will go out with DSC distress calls. But I notice the lat/long stays there even after the GPS is turned off, with no warning from the radio. Could result in an old/stale position being sent out with a distress call.

Around 3:30, climbed the mizzenmast to take down the topping lift. Got up there, and found everything (including the halyard I'm climbing on) is attached on one bolt. And of course the topping lift is nearest the head of the bolt: everything else has to come off first before that will come off. Decided to give up for today and think about it.

Salad and leftover cold onion-rice for dinner.

Felt okay all night.
Sun for a new day  2011-11-30 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Hot, still morning. Wind going to be very light for the next couple of days.

Plugged headphones into external speaker jack of my new radio, but got no audio. Shoot, that would have been sweet for doing the net.

Plenty of rain from about 10:15 to 10:55.

Got invoices from the latest boat-parts order, and the total is a bit higher than I hoped. The agent screwed up a few things: her month-plus delay cost me, she ordered the radio from Defender instead of Amazon (would have been $17 cheaper), a few small parts came in higher than I had found them to be (turns out that was her markup/profit). Still not too far out of line. US$372, probably could have been more like US$340 if everything had gone better.

Around 12:15, lots of low dark ugly clouds and thunder SE of us.

By 1 or so, rain seemed to be holding off. So I re-attached the mizzen topping lift to the mizzen boom, and then climbed the mizzenmast. Just wanted to measure the diameter of the bolt up there. Back down.

Soon afterward climbed the mainmast, carrying the new VHF antenna for the backup VHF radio. At the top of the mainmast, SNAFU. There are two unused antenna mounts up there, one just like the new antenna's mount, except it turns out the diameter of the antenna-bolt is different, so it won't fit. Attaching the new mount to the mast will require drilling holes. The bolts holding the old mount on won't turn, at least with the screwdriver I've brought up, and they're not in the same pattern as that needed for the new mount. Absolutely typical. Sat up there looking things over and thinking. Fortunately, I have the butt-ends of the two antennae that used to be up here, so I should be able to cobble together a way to mount the new mount onto one of the butt-ends, and put it onto the old mount. Clear ?

Bad thing: the coax-end I need to use looks bad, and has no connector on it. So I'll have to buy a screw-on connector (expensive here, maybe I'll do it in USA). The coax itself looks pretty ratty; really should pull a new coax through the mast. Maybe someday. Back down to deck.

Tore apart the old blasted VHF antenna to get the "butt" off it. Here's what's inside a standard white fiberglass antenna: pic. Bolted and wired new antenna mount onto old antenna mount: pic. Would have been nice to drill holes and use more bolts, or use a U-bolt, but things didn't quite line up.

And realized I can switch to the other VHF antenna cable going up the mast, and not have to install a new PL259 connector at the top of the mast right away. Will have to re-test that section of the cable to make sure.

Salad and chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner. Very still evening and night.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-01 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Pretty good rain at 6:45, then heavy rain at 7.

Reached under the galley sink for something, felt water where there shouldn't be water, investigated. Turns out the "rusty spots" on the galley sink are in fact "rusted-through spots", and I need a new sink ASAP. Lovely way to start the day.

Did a little Wi-Fi.

Opened up the access plate at the base of the mainmast and checked the VHF antenna cable connections. Zero ohms across the conductors of the black cable; probably means it's bad/open. Switched the backup VHF radio to use it anyway.

Investigated the galley sink. Underneath is the toxic-waste dump where I store most of the cleaning chemicals. Took them all out, throwing away half a dozen items that were ancient or perished or both. Cleaned up the inside of the cabinet. Scraped and wire-brushed and sanded inside and outside of the port side of the galley sink, then used a knife-tip to widen the weakened material around the holes. Ended up looking pretty bad: pic (the picture makes the holes look bigger than they are, but they're big; biggest is maybe 1/4" x 1/8", most are maybe 3/16" x 1/16"). Was thinking of trying to patch it with some kind of glue or epoxy, but then did the easy thing: 6 or 8 strips of packing tape, on the inside. Should hold for a week or two. I never fill that sink with water anyway, I just dump water into it so it can go down the drain.

Saw a cruise ship going past, S of us and heading W to St George's, I'm sure: pic. First time I've seen one down here on the S side of the island.

Climbed up the mainmast. Couldn't get the new antenna with the combined mount onto the mount on the mast; it's a tight fit, and the added seizing-wire is getting in the way. Hot and sweaty and tired; gave up and came back down.

Grey clouds and rain moving in at noon, but we never did get any rain.

After lunch, traced the cockpit VHF power wires. As usual, FUBAR. 18-gauge wires (too thin) out of the radio, spliced to more 18-gauge wire, then to 16-gauge wire, to terminal strip inside cockpit coaming. More 16-gauge wire down into engine compartment. But there, instead of going right into the electrical panel, it goes across the ceiling and up into the helm binnacle, because all of that stuff is on the same breaker. Another wire comes back down and across and into electrical panel. So they manage to use a 40-foot (each way) run of mostly 16-gauge wire. I think I'll put in a 10-foot (each way) run of 12-gauge or 10-gauge from panel to radio. That radio draws up to 8A. Pulling the new wire through a nasty hidden corner in the cockpit will be tricky.

Dinghied ashore for a soda and some solid Wi-Fi in the marina bar.

Typical: online, found a couple of good SS 25"x15"x5" double sinks, right size, at RV stores for $70 to $170. Similar sink (3" deeper than I want) at marine store Defender, often the cheapest marine store: $700. Probably should order the cheapest sink right now and bring it back from USA in my luggage in January.

Back to the boat by 3:45 or so. Measured my suitcase, and each dimension is only a couple of inches bigger than that sink, so I'm not bringing it back that way.

Plastic tape on sink is maybe 95% effective; a little water leaking through.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.

Another very still and warm night.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-02 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Ashore, bought EC$20 of gasoline, and caught the shopping bus at 9:30. Looked at sinks in three hardware stores, and prices were more reasonable than I expected, but nothing the size and shape I need. Bought bolts/nuts/washers to make swim ladder in ACE. No 12/2 or 10/2 wire in Budget, and couldn't figure out what the prices would be, but electrical wire prices in general seemed reasonable. No tang for the topping lift. Priced SS rings for the lifelines. Exchanged a book at De Big Fish.

Got groceries at IGA, then a peanut-banana smoothie. Tourist-train engine parked next to the van in the mall: pic. Veggies on the way back. Back to the boat by 12:45.

Found a cheap RFI choke aboard, and added it to the solar controller output cables. Made no difference to the VHF radio hiss.

Reworked the seizing-wire on that antenna mount.

Salad and cornbread-sausage-cheese-onion concoction and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Starting around midnight, pretty good rain for an hour or more.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-03 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Fairly grey day. Couldn't get any Wi-Fi.

Cut, sanded and painted some wood to make a swim ladder. I have an aluminum ladder over the stern, but it's covered up by the dinghy on the davits, which discourages me from casually going swimming or kayaking. Need to make a ladder over the side, but the shallow draft and steep curve of the hull makes it tricky.

A little after 3, dinghied over to CCB marina. Most of the slips are empty; only about 5 cruising boats left in the marina. But still plenty of boats in all of the anchorages. Disposed of garbage. Only half a dozen people in the bar, not enough for the usual Saturday petanque tournament. Had a soda, exchanged 5 books at the bookshelf, chatted a little.

Into the dinghy, and across to Whisper Cove marina. Hardly any English-language books on the bookshelf here, but found one I liked. Chatted a bit with a pretty blond lady in the bar; forgot her boat name, but they just splashed out of storage a few days ago and are cruising around here for a while. Interesting to see the contrast in styles: they're going to all of the nicer restaurants, that's one thing she really enjoys about cruising. I almost never eat at the restaurants.

Back to the boat by 4:45 or so.

At 5, dinghied over to "Wind Shepherd" next to me for cocktails and conversation. John and Ginny aboard, and we were joined by Pam and Jeff from "Foggy Mountain". Drank a couple of vodka-tonics and had crackers and cheese and salami and other nibbles.

Nice conversation. We've all been cruising about the same amount of time, I think, 10 to 13 years or so. The others have done the Long Island to Bermuda passage at least once, and had a lot of stories about that, a famously rough trip at times. Jeff was in the US Navy as a sonar technician on destroyer escorts, and had lots of stories about Talos missile misfirings and sonar malfunctions. When he was a junior man he often had to climb down into the sonar generator compartment in the bow, where wiring carrying 3000A at 70V was present, and short out huge capacitor banks before various things could be reset or investigated. For a salary of about $12K per year (but I guess in the 1970's when $12K was worth more than it is today). I told a few of my cruising stories. "Wind Shepherd" was just E of here at St David's for hurricane Ivan, but escaped undamaged; sounds like the dividing line between little-damage and lots-of-damage was right about here in Mt Hartman Bay.

Both boats are planning to leave this week, heading N.

Mentioned the restaurant-touring lady, and Ginny and John said they hadn't found the local restaurants to be very good, mostly just variations on BBQ or jerked-meat. And they've been coming here for a while. But some of the small roadside food-vendors are excellent.

Back to my boat by 7:15 or so.

Salad and PBJ sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-04 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Totally grey morning, very little wind, low dark grey clouds hovering overhead.

Time to go ashore for the "jumble sale" at 10, and right on cue, it starts raining lightly. I wait 5 minutes and then go ashore anyway. Only half or 1/3 as many people as at last month's sale. Dropped off some fog-bombs I wanted to get rid of, chatted with a few people, found no interesting books on the marina bookshelf. Waited 5 minutes for the rain to ease, but as soon as I got back into the dinghy it started raining harder. Back to the boat without getting too badly wet.

Some sunshine starting around noon.

Still can't Wi-Fi from the boat. Dinghied ashore around 1. Did some Wi-Fi, then dominoes with Pam, Ernie, Julie, Kathy, Ginny. Came in 4th. Kathy left with the dominoes flag, because Pam, the winner, will be leaving this week.

A reader tells me I should replace the galley sink with a plastic one, not metal. But I can't find a plastic double sink, 25 x 15 x 5, just basins with no holes for faucet stuff. Will look some more.

Put another coat of paint on wood to make a swim ladder.

Spaghetti and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Warm, still, humid night. Developed a headache after midnight, but pills got rid of most of it by dawn.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-05 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

On Wi-Fi early to get weather info for the cruiser's net. Got email from a reader, who found a couple of plastic sinks online for me. Hoped that would happen !

Acted as net controller for the cruiser's net from 7:30 to 8. Could not decipher a couple of boat names, one German-sounding and another French-sounding, but otherwise everything went fine. Had been planning to make a little joke about "it's Monday, we all have to get up and go to work, hey, we don't, we're cruisers !", but I chickened out and didn't do it.

Loafed all day.

Put another coat of paint on wood to make a swim ladder.

Around 4:15, extremmely dark low clouds starting coming in from the S. Lots of wind, and pretty good rain from 4:30 to 4:50 or so.

Salad and tuna-salad sandwiches for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-06 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Boat a bit rocky: slight swell coming in from the S, and light wind holding the boat exactly sideways to the swell.

Opened the access panel at the base of the mainmast, and disconnected and shorted one of the VHF antenna cables. Then climbed the mast. SNAFU. Stuck the new antenna onto the mount, got the bolt halfway through. Other end of the bolt seemed lined up with the hole. Tapped, tapped harder, and the far half of the plastic antenna mount snapped off and fell down. Wonderful, now I'll have to try to get the screws out of the mast, which won't be easy. Added some line and left the new antenna up, half-mounted.

Used the multimeter to test conductivity on the cable, and got none. And I get zero resistance when testing that cable from the deck. So probably the cable is bad inside the mast. Connected it to the new antenna anyway, and climbed back down.

A number of people have said "just pull a new cable through the mast", but that seems very hard to me. Access is very limited at top and bottom. I can't see how the cable is fastened at the top; it just comes out of a hole in the mast, but a knot or fitting inside must be holding that end of it up. Tried pulling it up from the top end this morning, and it only moves a couple of inches before stopping. It's inside a pretty thin PVC pipe inside the mast. Actually, there are two cables, one black and one white. The lower end of the pipe is very hard to reach through the access plate at the base of the mast. I really think the mast would have to be taken down completely and the top end cap taken off to pull a new cable through. I could run a new cable down the outside of the mast, of course, and leave the two old cables in place. All of this is for the backup radio; the cockpit radio uses the antenna on the mizzenmast.

Still no free Wi-Fi from the boat. Signals fading in and out.

Put another coat of paint on wood to make a swim ladder.

Gave myself a haircut.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Developed a headache later in the evening; took pills.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-07 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny morning with little wind; going to be hot.

John and Ginny stopped by around 8 to borrow a fuel jug. They're returning a rental car, put more gas than they wanted in the gas tank, and want to siphon some back out. But soon John was back, saying he hadn't been able to get a hose down into the car's gas tank. Maybe it has some kind of anti-siphon protection.

Fairly heavy rain and wind from 10:15 to 11. Grey all day afterward.

Drilled and bolted together wood for swim ladder: pic.

Dinghied ashore to do Wi-Fi. After several tries, managed to connect with Mom through Skype.

Salad and leftover cold chili for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-08 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Lots of grey clouds and little wind, but I think it will turn sunny. Did a bucket of laundry.

Ken came over at 10:30. Tested the SWR on my backup VHF radio, now that the new antenna is at the top of the mainmast. Pronounced it good, but the backup radio has the same problem as the cockpit VHF: undersized DC power wiring.

Climbed the mainmast and wired the new VHF antenna more securely onto the mast-top. Used "coax putty" to seal the connections. Looks reasonably good.

Dinghied ashore at 4:20 to catch bus (EC$20) to a pan-band event. We got started a little late, picked up some people at Port Louis marina, got to the St Paul's Community Center a little late. But the band was even later, mainly because they had to get there from their daytime jobs. It was the Lime Comancheros band; I saw them in Carnival. Playing for us outdoors in a concrete-block and concrete-basketball-court community center, so acoustics were pretty good. Up on a hillside, so the location is nice. Very clear night, few clouds, little wind. Some kids shooting baskets at the other end of the playground. Pics.

Some nice music, but Christmas carols played by a pan-band are a little strange. I liked some of the island tunes, with a driving beat, a lot better. A glass of free rum punch, which was delicious and had quite a punch to it. They're using the same cheap 140-proof rum I buy at IGA.

Halfway through, they took a break and we had a little lecture and explanation of how the oil-drum instruments worked, and a chance to crowd around and play with the instruments ourselves. Steel-drum bands started in Trinidad in the 1960's, an offshoot of the development of the oil industry there. Trinidad is still the home of steel bands, but Grenada is big on them too. Most of the instruments are made in Trinidad, and often a drum-tuner will travel from Trini to Grenada to tune the drums here. The fancier drums are tenors and variations of tenors, some with areas for 15 or so different notes on them. A few non-drum instruments, too: a segment of I-beam being played with a couple of short pieces of rebar, and some pink plastic percussion thing that looks like it was salvaged from the head of a broom or power-washer or something. A couple of normal bongo-drums, too. And there seems to be no limit to the size of a pan-band: you can just keep adding more and more people and drums.

Grilled chicken (EC$10) for dinner; nice. Chatted with various cruisers, and also with one of the band members. Told people about the cartoon (I think The Far Side, maybe) which showed the musical scores being played by an orchestra, and the one for the drummer just was pages of "boom boom boom boom".

Some cruisers dancing to the music, and some singing along to the Christmas carols. Lovely full moon rising, and Jupiter is up, and Venus went down shortly after dark. Very pleasant event, but it lasted 4+ hours, and I'd had enough after about 2 hours. Finally back to the boat a little before 10.

Quiet, still night.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-09 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Sunny, and wind is starting to stir a bit after a few days with little wind.

On the cruiser's net, boat "Magic" asked for some advice on installing solar panels and controller. After the net, 3 or 4 of us gave him some advice. Turns out he's installing the same brand of panels and controller that I have, with a few minor differences. By the time all of us had given him advice, he was sounding confused, and saying "this sounds a little trickier than I thought". But I told him the basics are simple and easy to get running; the subtleties can be tweaked later (change from isolator to combiner, add switches here or there, change point where output is connected to battery system).

Dinghied ashore to catch the 9:30 shopping van. Smaller crowd, and lots of new faces. Bought paintbrushes and a measuring cup at ACE Hardware. Bought shackles at Budget Marine. Exchanged a couple of books at De Big Fish. Bought a couple of SS tangs for the topping lift at the hardware store at the mall. Groceries, then a PB-banana smoothie, and watched some soccer on the screen. Back to the boat by 12:30. "Wind Shepherd" has left. Hot afternoon.

Got a tiny bit of free Wi-Fi.

Drilled bigger holes in the end of the new swim ladder, then hung it over the side and went around in the dinghy to see how it's hanging. Needs two more steps, then some kind of block to rest against the hull. Sigh. Too hot to do any of that this afternoon.

Later, replaced rusty shackle at base of mainmast.

Scraped off some of the nasty growth on the painters to the hard dinghy. Weird sea-creatures squirting juice at me as I tore them off with pliers.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Saw a cruise ship S of here after dark, all lit up.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-10 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

At 10, Ken was on the VHF saying "if you want to get diesel at Secret Harbour marina today, better go now, because a megayacht is coming in to fuel up". Sure enough, there it is. Name is "Skat", registered in George Town C.I. Pics.

Did some Wi-Fi.

Another hot afternoon.

Cut off a rusty shackle under the jib furling-drum and replaced it with a new shackle. Doesn't seem to be doing much anyway.

Was going to replace some rusty shackles on the third anchor, but they seem solid under the rust. Got one open; other I'd have to cut apart. Sanded them and painted them with Rustoleum primer.

Cut, sanded and painted more wood for the new swim ladder.

Grapefruit and salad and yogurt and leftover cold chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-11 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder.

Took another 5 or 6 twists out of the anchor chains, but there seem to be more.

Dinghied over to CCB marina. Disposed of garbage, had a soda, exchanged half a dozen books at the bookshelf. Had hoped to find a dominoes game, but it's pretty empty here today. Watched last 20 minutes of a Schwarzenneger shoot-em-up movie on the TV. Kayak-tour group landing as I was leaving.

Hot afternoon.

Took another 2 or 3 twists out of the anchor chains, but there seem to be more.

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder.

Batter-pepperoni-cheese-onion-tomatosauce concoction and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-12 (Monday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Very grey morning, with some very light rain.

Controlled the net again this morning. Not much traffic.

Started raining at 9:15, with fair amount of rain and wind from S, and still lightly raining at 10:15. Then it picked up a little for a while, then stopped by 11.

Dinghied ashore after 2 to do Wi-Fi. Got things lined up for another order through Sherri. Ordered a foul-weather jacket and some power connectors to be delivered to me in USA.

Pretty good rain starting around 4:10.

That megayacht still is docked here at the marina: pic.

Started heading out to the boat before 5, but it started raining just as I got the dinghy moving. Got a bit wet on the way out.

Salad and cheese sandwich and a glass of wine for dinner.

Powerful storm from NE starting at 6:45; rain and high wind for 30 minutes or so.

Developed a headache during the night; shouldn't drink wine.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-13 (Tuesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Tired and slightly headachey. Loafed all morning.

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder.

Hot afternoon. Took a couple more twists out of the anchor chains. Rested, let the boat settle a little. Did a couple more twists, rested. Back to the bow again, and now I can see that there are only 3 or 4 twists left ! Had been worried that there was a snag or something down there. Got the last twists out, and started letting out on secondary rode and hauling in the primary rode. Rested every now and then, to cool off and let the boat settle. Got the primary chain vertical, anchor is stuck firmly into the bottom, let the boat-motion work on it for a while.

Hauled the primary anchor up ! Unscrewed the shackles at either end of the chain, and put a new shackle on the anchor-end. Fastened everything and put seizing-wire on the shackle pins.

Started the engine; amazing how it starts in about 2 seconds flat these days, with the new starting battery and doubled cables right to the starter motor. Eased the boat forward, being careful not to run over the secondary anchor rode, and put the primary anchor down. Hauled in some of the secondary rode, shut off the engine, washed down the deck, took a rest. Hauled some more secondary rode in, and eventually got back to all-chain on both rodes. More deck-washing, and done for today.

Good to get the new chain off the deck. It's been sitting there for months, first because of engine starting problems, then because the chains were twisted, and because of procrastination. Bow looks a little more normal now: pic. Have to dispose of the old chain, then maybe acid-wash some of the rust off the deck.

Chili and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-14 (Wednesday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.


Contacted "Survival Anchorage" on the VHF and arranged a Sunday 5 AM pickup from the boat to go to the airport. Ugg.

Very tenuous Wi-Fi the last couple of days.

Cut, chiseled, sanded, painted another piece of wood for the swim ladder.

Took the old anchor chain from the bow, went around to an out-of-the-way edge of the harbor, and deep-sixed it (well, shallow-sixed it). A few good sections left on it, but I have plenty of old chain in the bilge as a backup. A local guy would have taken it from me, but used it to make new moorings or reinforce old ones, and I'd like to see all of the moorings disappear out of here.

Salad and leftover cold chili and a PBJ sandwich for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-15 (Thursday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder.

Started stowing rope anchor rodes. Took down climbing rope from mainmast.

Ken stopped by to say he'd paid a guy to take the garbage on Sunday or Monday, and found it in the mangroves today.

Dinghied ashore after 1 to do Wi-Fi. Bought a couple of grapefruit from the veggie lady. Emailed Sherri to place another order: sink and piping, electrical wire, rigging wire, propane camp stove. Saw George and he said 5 AM is earlier than needed on Sunday, let's do 5:45.

Later, saw Sherri, and she'll get to my order tomorrow. She started going around a bit about signing the Customs forms, which is irritating: I emailed her about that 4 or 5 days ago and she blew it off. Now I'm leaving in a couple of days and suddenly it's an issue. And she said maybe she'll be here Saturday night and we could meet then, I said pick a specific time, and she said no. I told her I have limited communications (she knows that). And I'm not going to hang around here all evening waiting for her to show up.

Tried to sign up for international medical insurance, but they require a foreign address. Guess I'll grab a marina address and plug it in.

Batter-pepperoni-cheese-onion concoction and a rum-and-cola for dinner.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-16 (Friday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder.

Dinghied ashore to catch the 9:30 shopping van. Got bolts and screws for swim ladder and mizzen topping lift at ACE Hardware. Exchanged a couple of books at De Big Fish. Bought thimble and shackle at Budget Marine. ATM, got groceries, then a chocolate-banana smoothie. Chatted for a while with Ernie, Keith, and other cruisers. Back to the boat by 12:30.

Loafed most of the afternoon.

Replaced old thimble with new on the secondary anchor rode (pic).

Put another coat of paint on wood for swim ladder. Didn't check carefully enough when buying the new bolts this morning; three are 3.5" long, but the fourth is 4" long. Might still work.

Grapefruit and salad and yogurt and PBJ sandwich and a rum-and-cola for dinner. Eating dregs out of the refrigerator before leaving.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-17 (Saturday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Did some Wi-Fi. Weather turned grey and occasionally rainy.

Dinghied ashore at 11 to sign Customs forms left by Sherri, but the marina bar wasn't open yet.

Backed up the laptop to external hard disk.

That grey megayacht left around 11:30. They headed E, maybe to stay in a deep channel, then passed to the W offshore. An hour later, saw them go by to the E again.

Dinghied ashore and signed the Customs forms.

Added water to the batteries.

Dinghied over to CCB marina. On the way, the outboard gave a weird squawk from the lower unit or prop; did that once a couple of days ago when I put it into reverse. Will have to investigate when I get back from USA.

That grey megayacht is anchored in Clarkes Court Bay, off Calvigny Island resort.

Saw what looks like a sister-ship of my boat, "Sunshine II". Lots of fuel jugs lined up along the rail. My boat has a huge fuel tank; with that many additional fuel jugs, I wonder if they've crossed an ocean.

At CCBM, disposed of garbage, had a soda, used the book-exchange, watched a little of an animated movie on TV. Not much happening. Back to the boat.

Did some leaving-the boat chores: hoist RIB dinghy and lock a cable through hard dinghy, propane tank, outboard fuel tank, RIB dinghy. Empty water buckets. Turn off refrigerator and start eating last of perishable stuff.

Yogurt and PB sandwiches and a rum-and-cola for dinner.

Didn't sleep much; anxious about the coming plane trip. What if George doesn't show up at 5:45, what if I lose my passport, etc ?
Sun for a new day  2011-12-18 (Sunday)
At anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada.

George showed up about 25 minutes early, at 5:20 or so. No problem, I was mostly ready. Turned off through-hulls, checked electrical switches, last-minute luggage stuff, locked up. Into his skiff and ashore, and off to the airport. Fare of EC$50 and an EC$20 tip. Through ticketing and security and immigration and to the gate by 6:50 for a 7:40 flight to Toronto.

Wow, Caribbean Air still serves food on the flight; fish sandwich for breakfast wouldn't be my preference, but it was okay and accompanied by good chips and a Kit-Kat bar. Flight to Toronto was long and uneventful; plane was only about 1/3 full. Headachey by the end of the flight.

Quickly through immigration, baggage, customs, shuttle to other terminal. To ticketing, where I was informed my connection flight had already "closed"; guess Expedia gave me a too-short connecting interval. Got onto another flight 3 hours later, although the agent had to re-type all of my info for some reason. Through immigration and security. No AC power outlets in the gate area, but fired up the laptop on battery power, got Wi-Fi after some futzing, and made email and Skype contact with my brother to tell him of the changed flight. Nice.

Found an AC power outlet, recharged the laptop, did some Wi-Fi. Tried again to sign up for medical insurance online, but they want name, address and phone number for that hospital in Martinique where I was treated for a kidney stone. Left that paperwork on the boat.

Forgot to bring headache pills with me. Found a couple of ancient pills in my carry-on bag; one says "Aleve" on it, internet says number on the other means "acetaminophen". Swallowed them.

Have your loved ones ambushed with a Christmas carol in the airport: pic.

Headache bad on the flight from Toronto to Philly. But started feeling better as I walked through the terminal. Immediately knew I was in Philly/NJ area: saw several guys who looked a lot like my brothers; not the average kind of people seen in Toronto, or Grenada. About 32F outside; had to wait 15-20 minutes for pickup by my brother. To his place by 7:30 or so. Took some acetaminophen-PM pills and to bed by 9, and slept very solidly all night.
Sun for a new day  2011-12-19 to 2012-01-07
Boat's at anchor at Mount Hartman Bay, Grenada; I'm in New Jersey.

Back on high-speed (FIOS) Wi-Fi. Interesting: laptop's built-in adapter and external Rosewill adapter have same speed; thought the built-in (non-USB) one would be faster. Must be some other limiting factor.

Big pile of mail and packages waiting for me. Have to go through it before I start ordering more stuff online, and start shopping locally for stuff in Walmart, Home Depot, etc. And Christmas shopping.

Nothing important in the mail. Packages had the 5 books I ordered for myself, foul-weather jacket I ordered, and Christmas present for my sister.

2-prong power connectors I ordered have arrived.

Asked Sherri to order a cockpit cushion for me. Instead of a custom-made cushion from a marine place (probably $400), I'm getting a cooler-top cushion from Walmart ($50). Not quite as long as I'd like (39 inches instead of 48), but I'm going to give it a try.

Rented a car and went to see Mom. Bought some more stuff: a motion-alarm to put in my cockpit, water filters for the galley faucet, some pharmacy items.

Supposed to be a high temp of 61F here (near Trenton NJ) today (Dec 21). Pretty amazing.

Got some more stuff for the boat: solar showers, bungee cords, reflective tape.

Sherri confirmed that the order has been placed, except that Defender has been out of stock on 16/2 wire for a month and probably will be out until 1/10. Dropped that item out; I was buying it just to have it as a spare.

Returned the rental car. Ended up costing $130 for two days, including insurance, taxes, fees, gasoline. Not too bad.

Great hamburger with my Mom at a restaurant (Dawson's in Langhorne). Nice meal with my brother at an Indian restaurant (Palace of Asia in Hamilton). Club sandwich at Dawson's again. Pizza.

Online, ordered a couple of pair of cheap sandals (should have gotten these instead).

Missed the first of the family gatherings, in South Orange on Christmas Day, because a headache flattened me.

A reader is sending me a couple of smaller boat-cushions, for free. They have been gathering dust in his garage for a couple of years. Thanks !

Online, ordered solar-powered LED Christmas lights for my boat.

Had a nice family get-together; saw lots of cousins and an uncle I hadn't seen in 10 years or so. Some Nerf-gun fun with young nephew in the backyard; here's my youngest brother shooting me as I take pictures: pic.

Received the solar LED Christmas lights I ordered; they look good.

Walked a little in Washington's Crossing Park on the NJ side, then drove across to the part on the PA side. Saw the boats they use to re-enact the crossing: Durham boats which look about 45-50 feet long to me. Pics. Also drove up to Bowman's tower, on a warm day with no wind. Nice views, but we didn't climb the tower.

Received invoice from my latest order with Sherri. Had been expecting US$650 or so, and it's US$790. Shipping and markup a little higher than I hoped; maybe she only broke even on my previous order. Certainly it takes her a lot of effort to get things out of the port these days; they've had strikes and slowdowns.

Nice visit from my friend Stacy, who has a trawler in Norfolk. He gave me some T-shirts that I'm going to give to net controllers in Grenada.

Bought resistors and capacitor at Radio Shack for a couple of boat-projects.

Received cushions sent to me for free by reader Steve: pic. Thanks !

Received two pair of sandals I ordered. So I've done pretty well on this trip in terms of buying most of the items on my list (but fitting them all into my suitcase is going to be a challenge). Couldn't find cheap mono headphones with 1/8" jack; no one seems to make mono any more. Might try Radio Shack one more time.

Had to move my web site to a new host. Old hosting service said someone used my FTP login info to send keylogger info to the site. I think it's bogus, but have to move. And they won't put in a forwarding page, so probably a bunch of my readers won't be able to find my new site.

Moved my web site to a new host, but it has issues: Facebook bans links to it, maybe Google AdSense bans it, FTP seems unreliable. Bummer.

Flying back to Grenada starting tomorrow, and the boat-cushions won't fit into my suitcase. Had to strain to get all of the other stuff I bought into there. Will have to fetch one or both of the cushions when I visit NJ again in the summer.

Still have a cold and headache; I've been sick most of the time I've been here. Not looking forward to traveling while half-sick.

On Saturday morning 1/7, stopped by to say good-bye to Mom, then to the airport by 10. The usual confusion at check-in: kiosk said I had no seat on the flight to Ft Lauderdale, but printed a boarding pass with a seat-assignment on it. Charged me $25 for my bag, but then the agent voided that charge. Checked my bag all the way through to Grenada, even though I'm connecting to a different airline, and when questioned the agent wasn't sure if I'll have to pick up my bag in Trinidad and check it to Grenada myself. Agent's printer didn't work, then she tried to swivel the monitor toward me to show that she'd voided the charge, and her monitor died.

They're going to freak when they scan my suitcase. Motion-alarm, solar LED Christmas lights, grab-bag of resistors, a capacitor. Not to mention 3 pair of sandals, water filters, T-shirts from Stacy, some other stuff I bought.

Through the security line by 10:25. Free Wi-Fi in the terminal.

Routine flight to Ft Lauderdale. Wi-Fi available for a $10 fee. Two-big-bounce landing at FLL. Tram to another terminal, check-in and security went okay, free Wi-Fi in the gate area. Feeling tolerable, but took acetaminophen PM pills. Bought a hamburger.

Bit more of a headache on the flight to Trinidad. They fed us on the flight, which was nice. Slow line through Immigration, then a lady in baggage claim and later a gate agent confirmed that my bag is going right through to Grenada. The agents in USA thought I'd have to pick up my bag and take it through Customs here and re-check it, but looks like no. Security here puts everyone through the machine then pats them down too. 6-hour wait until my flight to Grenada at 5:30 AM or so. Lots of other people spending the night in the terminal too. Free Wi-Fi here. Warm, humid air starting to make my sinuses feel better.

Did a little Wi-Fi, read my book, laid down on a row of seats and tried to get a little sleep.

Full flight, with lots of students returning to university, and we all look hammered from travel and spending the night with little sleep. Finally got onto the flight, sat at the gate, eventually left. Grey and rainy across to Grenada.

I was in one of the last rows on the plane, so a long, slow line through Immigration. Pleased to get a visa until April 30. And my suitcase is there at baggage claim ! Through Customs, and George was waiting outside. To the marina, paid him EC$50 and EC$20 tip, wet skiff-ride out to the boat, arriving by 8 AM.

And everything looks fine on the boat; very good ! Anchor chains aren't even twisted.

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