Friday, November 28, 2008

The Haul Out

Finally, after 2 weeks of waiting, our day in the boatyard had arrived. We were scheduled to haul-out at 8:00 a.m. for what would hopefully be a quick installation of a new cutlass bearing. Here we are coming into the sling.
(photo courtesy of Sue Budde S/V Eene Marie)
I always find this a nerve-racking experience. Boats aren't supposed to float in the air!

You can see the cutlass bearing working it's way out along the shaft. Luckily, the zinc kept it from coming out all the way. Hard to believe I polished that prop in St. Martin 8 months ago.

The repair was done quickly, no problems. They took off the prop and zinc, grabbed the cutlass bearing with a pipe wrench and pulled it out. The new one went in easily. The whole process only took about 90 minutes from lift to repair to splash. One of the men told Jim "You got very lucky today." Can't argue with that! With our repair finished we'll be looking at leaving Grenada in the next week.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. and we decided to celebrate with a big cruiser pot-luck dinner. The Prickly Bay Marina let us use their facility. About 40 people showed up and the assortment of food was incredible! It's amazing what people can make in small galleys. We even had a turkey!

Sharing some fun with Jane (Cheetah II).

When you can't be home with family, it's nice to have our extended cruising family to celebrate with. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

We thought it would never stop raining! It was starting to feel like there might be biblical implications! Good thing we live on a boat. What was happening here? It started on a Friday night with a torrential downpour and continued off and on (mostly on) for the next 4 days.

The good thing about a heavy rain is that we can catch a lot of rainwater to fill our water tank and jerry cans. It comes streaming off the bimini where we catch it in buckets and then transfer it to our jerry cans. We could hardly keep up as they were filling up fast! It also runs down our foredeck to the intake for the water tank. Leave the cap off and create a barricade with a clean towel and the tanks fill quite nicely. It sure beats having to lug the jerry cans from the marina. And it's free!

On Wednesday we got a break from the rain and it was fun watching the dinghies racing across the harbor. The dinghy docks were jammed full! I think there was more than just a little cabin fever going on! The break was short lived. The rain returned again on Thursday.
The weekend brought great weather again. Our friends Scott and Sue invited us out for a day sail aboard their 40 ft. Endeavor "Eene Marie." Joe and Becky (Half Moon) came along. It was a beautiful day with about 10 knots of wind and calm seas.

Jim and Joe do a little supervising while Scott pulls up the anchor. Without a windless, it's a tough job.

Scott raises the main.

Wendy trims a sheet.

Becky, Sue and Wendy.

Sailor Sue's telling a story.

Scott watches while Jim takes a turn at the wheel.

Back at anchor in Prickly Bay. Grab a drink and your noodle, it's time for a swim. Lynn and Randy (High States) joined us for a dip. It was a great day doing what we like best, sailing and hanging out with friends.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Jimmy's Birthday, Blue Water Sailing Magazine, etc...

An apology to our regular readers for not getting any updates out to you recently. We know it has been awhile so here's what we've been up to for the last 10 days or so.
November 5th was Jim's birthday. What do you get a man who lives on a small boat? Well for Jim it's Rum. Jim really enjoys aged rum that is sipped like you would a fine cognac. Here he is with his present, a bottle of 15 year old El Dorado Rum and a box of rum chocolates. Both turned out to be excellent!
For Jim's birthday, we decided to do one of his favorite things, spend the day on the beach. We headed to Grand Anse Beach where we rented beach chairs, drank cold beer and swam in the ocean. When we first arrived the beach was fairly busy as there were two cruise ships in port. But shortly after we arrived the water taxis appeared to whisk the tourists away to the ship and the beach became quiet and peaceful again.

Here's the birthday-boy. St. George's and the cruise ships are in the background.

See how lovely and quiet it is when the tourists go home.

That evening we headed over to the Tiki Bar to meet some friends and have pizza. Then it was over to Half Moon where Becky surprised Jim with a birthday cake.

Jim and Joe enjoying cake, brandy and conversation.

Joe and Becky and Randy and Lynn on High States arrived in Grenada on November 1st. They, along with lots of other friends chose Trinidad for the hurricane season. Boats are starting to move around again as the threat of hurricanes in the southern Caribbean comes to an end.

We had planned on leaving Grenada about now but discovered a problem that will keep us here a few more weeks. While Jim was scrubbing the marine growth off of our prop he noticed that the cutlass bearing is working it's way out. Unfortunately, this means hauling Merengue out of the water to replace the bearing. Hopefully it will be accomplished quickly. The plan is to lift Merengue, do the repair while she is hanging in the sling and have her back in the water in about an hour. But the boatyard is booked solid for the next two weeks and can't get to us until the 26th. So we get to enjoy Grenada for a little longer.

I had some good news recently. I submitted an article to Blue Water Sailing Magazine several months ago and they are interested in publishing it. I just learned that it has been scheduled for the January 2009 issue. So get that subscription now or rush out to the newsstand. Hope you enjoy it!

We've received some interesting feedback on our blog. We were surprised and pleased to receive a comment last week from France. Apparently there are lots of readers out there. It got us thinking about beginning our 3rd year of cruising and the updates to this site. What would you like to read about? What pictures would you like to see? We'd like to hear from you.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Yesterday was Halloween but the tricks had been going on for weeks! Our 18 year old outboard engine has been dying a slow death. It started with bad fuel. We purchased gas at the Prickly Bay Marina and immediately started to have problems. We found out later that the marina ran out of fuel shortly after we purchased ours. Apparently we got the dregs, the sludge at the bottom of the barrel. Jim filtered the fuel several times, cleaned the hoses, filters, fuel pump and carburetor, changed spark plugs, etc. We can't keep the engine running. Now it seems as though it might be electrical. Given the age of the engine, it just isn't worth putting money in to it. Plus you can't buy parts for an 18 yr old engine anywhere in the Caribbean. So here's where the treat part comes in! We have a new outboard! We're sure there have been bets placed by our friends on how long it would take us to break down and buy a new one. (Jacumba, Whisper - any winners?) We don't spend large amounts of money easily! We are now the owners of a new Mercury 5 HP. Contain your excitement! We debated for days, wanting to buy more horse-power but not liking the extra weight that comes with it. We finally decided to give up speed and go with a lighter motor. When we're on a passage we put the outboard up on the stern rail. One of us stands in the dinghy, which is more than 5 ft below the rail and usually rocking, and lifts the 45 lb. engine up to the other person who is standing in the cockpit waiting to heft it the last few feet to the rail. Larger engines weigh 60 lbs and more. We are firm believers in keeping things simple and easy. So we won't be fast but then why do we need to be? The one thing we have is time. Now we are shopping for a dinghy. We are keeping our old one afloat but who knows for how much longer. It's interesting shopping in the Caribbean. Your choices are very limited. Only 2 brands of engines were available and not in the horsepower we wanted. The same seems to be true with dinghies. The chandleries stock very few sizes so you either have to compromise or wait until you visit another island. So my guess is that we'll hem and haw for awhile longer.
Last night was an example of a typical evening with cruisers. It started with us meeting Peter on "Appleseeds" for happy hour at the Tiki Bar. We first met Peter and Eileen in March of 2007 in Bimini, Bahamas and haven't seen them since we were in Nassau. Peter just arrived back in Grenada from Vancouver and is getting Appleseeds ready to launch this week. Happy Hour evolved into dinner at Martin's Marina where we hooked up with some friends of Peter's and then their friends, some of our friends, and so on and so on..... There ended up being 10 of us at dinner and we had a really great time. Cruiser get-togethers are impromptu and relaxed. One of the women we met was raised in Oshkosh, WI, just 60 miles from our hometown. Small world!
We hear that lots of boats left Trinidad this morning bound for Grenada, many of our friends among them. We're looking forward to seeing them all!