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!