Archive for July, 2007

Entry for July 30, 2007

July 30, 2007

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of our journey so far. We were up early getting the boat ready for sailing (securing everything above and below decks) and doing some cleaning in preparation for company all day.
Around 11 am I brought our dinghy over to Southern Cross and tied her off on their port side. Don brought me back to Second Wind along with their gear and Dee. He then went to Meggie and brought over Mike and Kyle before heading back to his boat. We waited out a few thunderstorms in the area, following them on our radar, then pulled up the anchor and motored over to pick up Don. We moved in slowly to the anchored Southern Cross, bow to bow, and Don gracefully stepped onto the bow pulpit of Second Wind as we backed away. HA! That makes it sound so easy, doesn’t it? Actually there were 3 people on the bow of Second Wind fending off Southern Cross so we wouldn’t damage either boat because I didn’t quite back up soon enough when we got close. Don just about fell into the boat because he was trying to fend off and almost forgot he was supposed to come with us as we were backing away. Everyone laughed afterwards as we quietly motored out of St. David’s harbor into the ocean for a day of sailing and fishing.
We raised the jib and turned off the engine as soon as we were out of the harbor. Mike and Don starting putting lines in the water and it wasn’t 2 minutes later when Mike said, “I’ve got one!” I don’t think I even had my line in yet. Mike pulled in a 2 foot Barracuda which we threw back because they are usually not good eating. The locals love them and, in hindsight, we probably should have kept it to give away. Anyway, with such a great start to our fishing, we all looked forward to a huge fish-fry for dinner.
We settled back and enjoyed the day as we sailed on a beam reach across southern Grenada. The ladies served lunch a short while later – salmon sandwiches from Mike and Kyle, PB & Js with lots of munchies from Don and Dee and a pasta primavera that Laura had made that morning. The winds were light and we were just bobbing along at 2-3 knots, talking and waiting for the lines to peel-out behind the boat. A little while later I had a small hit on my lure but the fish didn’t stick around and the lure wasn’t even mangled. Guess he wasn’t too hungry.
After a couple hours, we tacked back toward the harbor and with a little better sea direction the boat was very quiet and it was almost like we were sitting on the anchor in the harbor. By this point we had raised the mainsail because the winds were down below 10 knots and the seas were only in the 2-3 foot range.
We were only about ½ mile from the harbor when Don’s line sang the fish song (line was peeling out) and everyone on the boat seemed to forget that we were actually trying to catch fish. Laura and I pulled in the sails and started the engine to turn the boat into the small swells while Dee scrambled for gloves and the gaff. Mike climbed down on the swim-deck as Don fought the fish and brought it near the boat. We gradually made out a 3-4 foot Mackerel in the clear ocean water and we all had thoughts of the great fish-fry when we got back. Just as Mike was grabbing for the fish off the swim-deck, it spit out the hook and slowly swam down back into the ocean. We were pretty bummed out but decided to keep fishing in the shallower water for awhile. We tacked back out to sea and eventually turned back to the harbor without another bite.
We dropped Don back at his boat then re-anchored Second Wind in the middle of the harbor. A few minutes later Don came over towing our dinghy and he brought Mike and Kyle back to their boat. During the day Dee had mentioned dominos and we made plans for getting back together around 7:30 for a game if everyone wasn’t too tired. Mike and Klye decided to stay at home but Dee and Don came over and we played “Mexican Train” for a couple hours while sharing a bottle of white wine. It was great fun and a fitting ending to a very fun day.
The picture is a Grenada farmer tilling his field with the Egrets following scarfing up the worms and tid-bits.


Entry for July 28, 2007

July 28, 2007

Sorry we haven’t updated the blog in over a week but the Internet access here has been poor for the past couple days.  I’ve posted 4 blog entries tonight so make sure you see them all.


Entry for July 28, 2007

July 28, 2007

Here is  a picture of Second Wind anchored in St. Davids harbor, Grenada.  We are just to the left of center in the picture and the marina is way over to the right.

Entry for July 28, 2007

July 28, 2007

Friday started our second week in St. David’s Harbor and we really like it here.  There are only 4 cruisers in the anchorage and we’ve been having a great time with Meggie and Southern Cross.  A couple night ago we all walked the mile to the main road for the “Liming” that Laura explained.  The owner of the place, Stokley, had invited us back for some breadfruit on Thursday so we walked down there again last night.  When we arrived, Stokley and his wife Mary set out huge plates of a stew-like dish.  It had breadfruit, dumplings, land crab, turkey and squash all cooked together.  They told us it was called “Oil Down” (pronounced “Ol’ Dun”) and was the national dish of Grenada.  It was excellent and we all ate just about everything.  We had our normal Liming drinks (rum and soda) which Stokley shared with us.  The building is like a small country store set on an intersection of the road from the marina and the main road to St. Georges.  There is a small picnic table outside that is painted the colors of the Grenada flag.  Several other people were eating the Oil Down as this was a somewhat popular place in St. Davids and was right on the bus stop.  As we were eating, I asked Stokley how often he made the Oil Down.  He said about once a week but usually not on the same day – whenever they felt like making it.  I then asked how his customers knew when to come for the dinner?  He looked a little puzzled than said, “It doesn’t matter.  Whoever is here, eats the food.  It’s free anyway.”  The cruisers at the table just looked at each other because we had expected to pay for the food but Stokley wouldn’t take any money.  It was just something he did for the locals and we were included.

Another interesting thing that happened was Laura had baked one of her Margarita cakes and brought it to the dinner.  There was plenty to go around so we passed out pieces to everyone there including people just waiting for the bus.  They were so surprised that we would just give away this good cake.  One of them bought our table a whole round of drinks because he liked the cake so much.  I knew Laura’s baking was good but didn’t think it rated a round of drinks for 1 piece (hehe).

We were planning on leaving tomorrow for some of the smaller island north of here which would give us a better sail to Tobago which is east of Trinidad.  Instead, we’ve decided to stay for awhile longer – maybe another week – while we work on the estimate for the boat and see a little more of the island. 

On Friday morning we took the bus (HA!) into town to visit the dentist and run a few errands.  Laura had taken one to the market last Saturday but I hadn’t tried it yet.  We walked the mile to the main road and about 10 minutes later one of the busses came by.  At one point we had 20 people stuffed into a 12 passenger mini-van zooming down the back roads, passing the slower cars whenever possible.  We transferred busses in St. Georges because the dentist was in Grand Anse.  The ride was pretty quick and the total cost was only 5 EC each.  Including the bus ride back, total cost was about $4 US each – not bad.

Later in the afternoon Don (from Southern Cross), Laura and I took a walk to where there was supposed to be a nice beach in the next harbor east.  We walked up the hill here and scouted for a trail back down into the next harbor.  We eventually found the trail and found one of the nicest beaches we’ve seen yet.  There was a resort on the other end but it wasn’t too busy.  We ended up in the beach-side bar and ordered fruit smoothies which were excellent.  We decided to walk back on the road because the trail was very steep.  It was a long walk back (2-3 miles?) and we really enjoyed our refreshing ocean swim off the boat when we got back.

Today (Saturday), Laura went again with Dee to the market while I lounged around on the boat.  We went to Dee and Don’s for dinner along with Mike and Kyle from Meggie.  We had BBQ chicken along with broccoli, plantains and some dish with beets and apples.  Can you tell I don’t like beets?   It was a great time but it started raining around 10 pm which broke up the part because we had all left our hatches open in the boats.

Tomorrow we are going to take Second Wind out for a sail and fishing.  Mike, Kyle, Don and Dee are going to join us.  Mike is already planning the fish-fry for dinner….

The picture is Mike with his “Oil Down” at Stokleys.


Entry for July 25, 2007

July 28, 2007

Well, the weekend was kind of a quiet one. Saturday morning I went with D to an open market in St. Georges, the main bay with a large town where we all go to do major shopping. What a trip. We started out by having to walk a mile to the end of the road the marina is on to catch the bus. We almost missed it, so we ran the last 30 yards or so. Once on the bus(which is really a 15 passenger van) they kept on picking up people only occasionally dropping one off here and there. I was amazed as they started cramming four people in a row and adding little cushions to the sides to fit one more in wherever they could. There ended up being 20 passengers plus the driver!! By the time we got to St. George, D and I were soaked in sweat.. I didn’t want to think about the ride back. We enjoyed meandering the side streets and headed to the area of the market, which actually went up and down numerous little roads. There were some good veggies and fruit, and at the end I even picked up a really nice little watermelon, perfectly ripe and just wonderful! Of course the venders try to get you to buy their goods and they all compete, so you either bargain, or find a booth that sells it cheaper. It was pretty cool. We headed back to the bus station, I was really glad I went with D, she had done this before and was well versed in showing me the ropes. And the trip back… was just as bad, except we had a backpack full of foods and even an extra bag or two, which got a little squashed as we were once again packed in like sardines. When we were dropped off at the end of the road, we weren’t really looking forward to the walk back, and fortunately, we ran into one of the locals, Andre, that works at the marina and got a ride with him. We couldn’t thank him enough!!

Sunday late morning, Bill and I did do some exploring with the dinghy and found a few spots to snorkel. The last one we hit was really nice, not many fish but a lot of brain and fan coral. These fan corals were so healthy and big, I couldn’t believe it. I did see an unusual tiny fish, which when I looked it up after we got back, seems to be a spotted drum fish, but it must have been very young, as there were no spots yet, just the stripes and long tail fins. It’s funny to watch the fish float in the swells and currents, with not much control as to where they’re going. Sometimes the currents are strong enough to even make us feel that way.

Tuesday afternoon one of the gents from the Marina came out to the boat to check out the decks. There was a lot of hmmmming and hawing, and after a rough calculation of 7000-9000 dollars just for the deck, then add the boat haul-out, taking the mast off, and all the refinishing and repainting with an all-grip, I’m thinking it’ll be much more than we want to spend. But we will wait for an official written up estimate to make our decision. Bill popped over the D and Don’s boat a bit later and they invited us to a “liming” later that afternoon. A Liming is when you go to a local mini-mart/rum shop, meet , chat and have a “rum” drink with any of the locals that would be hanging out there. It was quite interesting, learning some of the culture and trying to understand their “English”. We actually got invited back for a crab, dumpling and breadfruit meal for tomorrow night. We’ll let you know how that is. They serve “land” craps and it just so happened that as we were walking back to the marina, Mike (from Meggie) saw a crab in the ditch. It was about the size of a dessert plate, legs included. He chased her along until finally a local came along and cornered her. Mike only had flips on and this guy had boots, so it was much easier on his part. He showed us that it was a female, as she was actually carrying eggs, millions of them, he said. He released her in the woods. As we were all getting into our respective dinghies, I invited all of them, D, Don and Mike, over for some homemade pizza. D stopped by their boat and made a quick “Barnacle Bill salad” lots of small chopped up veggies in a red wine vinegar marinade, which was excellent. I whipped up two pizza’s and we all enjoyed a wonderful evening.

We also made plans that Bill, D and I were going to head into town in the morning and do some major grocery shopping. This time we hitched a ride with the delivery van for the Island Water World shop that is part of the marina. It was nice, just the three of us, no sardines this time. After walking the mall for a bit and finally getting the shopping done, we called a taxi. Maybe the locals are used to the buses, but I guess I’m a bit spoiled, also, there wouldn’t have been room for all the bags of groceries on the bus. Again, we loaded all the groceries into the dinghy, out to the boat, haul them into the cockpit and finally inside, to spend the next ½ hour finding room for the stuff, which really wasn’t that difficult, as our stock has been dwindling and there was room in the cupboards.

We’ll most likely be here only a few more days, then head back a little bit north to Carriacou to check out of the Grenadines, find a few small islands to snorkel and enjoy a quiet anchorage before heading to Tobago or Trinidad. We’ll be watching the weather as to when that will be, but these seem to be our plans at present, cause with us, they can change with the wind.

The picture is of Stokley and Mary’s corner store where we had the “Liming”

Entry for July 20, 2007

July 20, 2007

Friday morning and Bill’s itching to get moving. Once again we secure everything, did we get it all? We’re a little out of practice after more than two weeks at the dock. Well before we were out of Clarkes Court Bay, the wind whipped around the end of the island, leaning us over at a twenty degree angle and we could hear things crashing below, I guess we didn’t get it all. So down I went, a few items fell out of one of the cupboards. That particular cupboard has a tricky latch and I forgot about having to maneuver it into the lock position. Other than that and a few magazines that landed on the couch, things were just fine. Once out on the ocean, the wind was at about 18 knots and of course we were heading right into them, so we did the tacking thing again. I’m beginning not to mind it as much, but being close hauled sure is a snails pace for a sailboat. We tacked and as we were heading more into the wind, we had to wind up the jib sail, then we weren’t even making 1 knot of speed, (I think I could swim faster than that) so we tacked back out on a course that seems like you going away from your destination, (you actually are) but then later being able to tack back heads you right into the position of getting into the bay. Which is what we did, and three hours later we managed to go about 9 miles, getting into the bay that was actually only maybe 6 miles from our starting point. But that’s what some of sailing is, we’re actually looking forward to having the winds from behind us as we sail back west along the coasts of Trinidad and Venezuela, in the future.

Dee and Don from Southern Cross were also in the bay we pulled into, as well as Mike from Meggie, so we had them all over for munchies around 5:30. As we each discussed future plans and options, it came down to the same thing, none of us really know where we’re planning on going next. There are so many beautiful islands to visit and knowing you won’t see it all makes it hard to decide what you want to see. There are so many opinions and other’s preferences, I guess we’ll just have to make the plunge one of these days and do our own thing to find out what we’re really looking for.

We did go on shore, and checked out this working marina, Grenada Marine. Bill also set up an appointment to have the estimate done on replacing the decks that are rotted. It’s not the whole boat, just the forward walkway sections. We know it will still be a big job and probably take about 6 weeks of the boat being out of the water. I guess waiting until Tuesday is now our next step, decided what we’ll do seems to depend on the estimate and timeframe of when it can be done as to whether we’ll be hanging out here or moving on…

The picture is sunrise over Bequia a couple weeks ago.

Entry for July 19, 2007

July 20, 2007

Well…  we didn’t leave the docks yesterday (Wednesday).  We lounged around most of the day and worked on a few minor projects.  The weather was pretty stormy and it’s supposed to be the same tomorrow but clear up for Friday – Monday.

We had Guy and France over for dinner to thank them for their help on our floor and their friendship along the way.  They are staying at the marina until the beginning of August then flying home for a month to “see the kids”.  They will they come back and continue their cruise south and around to Panama (they think??).

We had storms most of the night and had to keep the windows closed which made things a little stuffy.  I didn’t sleep well and read a book in bed on and off through the night.  Laura was up before me and I was up around 9 am.  We worked on a few projects after breakfast, around the storms that were still coming through and drenching the boat.  Things started to clear up a little after lunch and we decided to leave the marina (FINALLY!) and anchor out in the bay just a short distance from the docks.  We paid our bill ($500+ for 2 weeks – YIKES!), filled up the water tank and disconnected power.  I asked a few guys on the dock to help us leave but the wind was perfect and blew us away from the dock and turned us to head out perfectly.  About 10 minutes later we were anchored in 17 feet of water about 100 yards from the nearest dock.  There were many boats around us and it felt good to be away from the dock again.

Laura and I were energized and worked on projects most of the afternoon then sat down with a cocktail to discuss our future plans.

Tomorrow we will head about 8 miles east to St. David’s Cove and Grenada Marine.  I want to get an estimate from them on fixing our decks that are somewhat rotted between the fiberglass layers.  It’s not dangerous but may make the boat a little harder to sell so we are looking for the best deal on our cruise for fixing it.

If the estimate is beyond our budget (which we expect), we’ll head north to Carricou and Petit Martinique which are a few nice islands in the Grenadines just north of Grenada.  They have some great anchorages and snorkeling.

After spending some time there (1-2 weeks?), we’ll pick a good weather window to head southeast to Tobago – another overnight run of about 90 miles.  Our friend Hank said Tobago was his favorite island of the whole Caribbean so we don’t want to miss it.  Although, his idea of a great island might just be good golf courses (hehe).

After spending time in Tobago, we’ll head to Trinidad and spend a week or more there while deciding if we are going to keep going to circle the Caribbean Sea (Venezuela, Columbia, Panama, Nicaragua, Cost Rica, Mexico, etc.) or head back up to the Windward and Leeward islands and spend some time in places we zoomed by.  Right now, my preference is to keep going around the loop as we’re heard so many good things about the cruising through Panama but we’ll see how it goes.  We’d really need to meet up with other cruisers on a similar schedule so we can travel more safely in a pack through the “Spanish Main”.

Of course, we’ll keep you informed of our progress and decisions along the way…

The picture is one we took of “The Pitons” – mountains on St. Lucia

Entry for July 17, 2007

July 17, 2007

We’ve spent the past 3 days working on our floors and watching the varnish dry (hehe).  The first coat took over 12 hours to dry and we figured we needed 5-6 coats.  Yikes!  However, the 2nd and 3rd coats dried in just a couple hours so we put both of those on yesterday (Sunday).  Today we applied the 4th coat this morning and it’s looking really nice.  We have just about enough varnish left in our gallon for a 5th coat that we’ll apply this afternoon and be done with the floor.

Between each coat we’ve been rubbing the floor lightly with a green scrubby pad and a damp cloth wipe-down.  By time we’re done, we will have been over the floor, inch-by-inch over 20 times.

Between coats yesterday we took our dinghy with the new, larger motor and went zooming about a mile away to a nice beach for relaxing and snorkeling with Guy and France from Moana.  It was nice to be back out in the sun again and working on our tans.  After applying another coat of varnish in the afternoon, we went to Hog Island (about a mile away by dinghy) for our second Sunday BBQ.  There was a larger crowd this time but the same Caribbean (read slooooooow) service by the 3-4 guys running the bar.  Oh well, our expectations have gone way down with respect to service in the Caribbean so I just kinda took it in stride when I ordered a rum and coke and the guy brought the rum (1/4 bottle for 16 EC), went to service some other customers, came back and I asked for the coke which he grudgingly supplied, he went to service some other customers, came back and I asked for a couple glasses of ice which he grudgingly supplied, then he remembered to take my money.  I doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult…..

We’re still trying to decide what we’re doing for the summer as we’ve spent our second week at the dock.  I’ve been emailing a couple on a boat in Chaguaramas, Trinidad and they have given us some good poop on the facilities and prices there.  The marinas are about the same costs as this marina but they have much better facilities (grocery store, restaurant, pool, etc.)  The main problem is it’s very hot in the harbor with the wind blocked by the land.  It’s probably the same temp as here (we’re only 75 miles from Trinidad) but there is always a nice breeze going through our marina and boat.  Our friends in Trinidad said you have to stay at a marina with your air-conditioning on all the time because of the heat.  We haven’t been running our AC here and the temp has been fine.  I should qualify that because we’ve definitely gotten used to the hotter temperatures.  The normal temps here are 82 at night and around 87 during the day.  We sleep fine with a fan blowing air from outside on us during the night.  Other than that, I’m used to sweating anytime I get out of bed or off the sofa (hehe).

We’re also working on getting an estimate for our deck work from a local marina to see if we can get that done here at a reasonable cost.  If that works out, we’ll probably move the boat over there (about 2 miles) for 6-8 weeks for that work.

I’ve been feeling a little down lately and when I look at my motives, I think it’s because we’re at a dock and not sailing to distant, exciting places.  We’d planned to be at a marina for the summer but I guess I didn’t think it would mean not moving and seeing new things.  We don’t really have any reason to stay here and could be sailing back to the beautiful Grenadines with their quiet, isolated anchorages. The 15 (or so) islands of the Grenadines are within 6-7 hours sailing of here so there is no reason we can’t spend a couple weeks at the beautiful, different islands.  I’m hoping once we make a decision on the deck work and Trinidad we’ll get moving again.

Today (Tuesday) we worked on putting our boat back together after all the work on the floor.  Laura worked on putting the fittings back on the floor hatches (that we can pull up  to store and get things from under the floor) while I worked on a few other projects including securing our new dinghy motor from theft.  In the afternoon one of our neighbors came over and told Laura, “Dominos at 2 pm.”  I asked her if she’d rather go for a dinghy ride and swimming.  She said, “Sure!”  We packed the dinghy (seats, anchor and line, spare parts and emergency equipment which we keep in our knapsack, etc…) and motored out to the next harbor east of us.  It’s so cool to be zooming along at 25 knots in our FAST dinghy with the new 15 hp motor.  It has power to spare – gets on plane easily and I have to throttle back to keep us from bouncing out of the boat in some of the waves.  We explored the next two harbors over from us and motored slowly along the coast with the motor tilted up in the really shallow waters near reefs.  It was a great ride and we probably covered 7-8 miles altogether.  The only problem we had was we barely made it back with the gasoline in our tank.  This motor really sucks the gas but we cover a lot of ground.

After getting back we secured the dinghy up on the davits for the possibility of us leaving tomorrow.  We then finished up a few cleaning chores, had a cocktail before dinner then BBQ’d some small sirloin steaks with mashed potatoes, mac salad and green beans (local and very good).  We opened one of our few bottles of Story (CA) wine we had left and talked for about 3 hours after dinner about our future plans.  We’re still unsure but stay tuned.  It’s going to be a lot of fun!!

The picture is our finished floor.  Looks pretty good, huh?

Entry for July 13, 2007

July 13, 2007

Another day in Paradise!! Yesterday we lounged and read, and visited with the “neighbors”. A storm was brewing and by afternoon the skies opened up. This is the rainy season here, I think until December, but so far, most of the rain has been at night. We’ve also been told that it rains every day at 11:32 am in Trinidad.. hehe, we were told the time, not sure how much the stories are elaborated upon. Boaters remind me of fishermen… you know.. the stories are always about the big one that got away, hehe.

This morning I got my haircut, after six months it was way overdue… longer hair on a boat and me don’t mix.. I guess if it was long enough to pull up into a ponytail it would be ok, but mine was just bushy, out of control and not long enough for the ponytail. We met some other boaters while at the cookout on Sunday, found out Norma, from Mi-Lady was a hair stylist. Since there were 4 of us to get our hair cut, they dinghy;d over here to the marina. Now I think my hair is shorter than Bill’s but will be great in the wind.

We are checking out a different Marina, a haul-out Marine, about 2 miles east of here. We heard there is someone that will fix the decks, so we are checking that out too.. If we can have it done here, we may do that, as the more people we speak to, we’re being told that prices of work and other things aren’t as cheap as they used to be in Trinidad. And some people say that things aren’t so great in Venezuela, rationing of fresh fruits and veggies, and fuel (its supposed to be really cheap there) to the yachting community, a change in government, that may or may not be affecting he yachters. We just aren’t sure where all these things are coming from, so we may still go there and find out for ourselves, many of the things we’re told are third and fourth, maybe even 5th hand and everyone has their own judgments, opinions and point of view.

We bought the 5 horse power dinghy motor, so alteast now we can use the dinghy with out wearing ourselves out rowing! 🙂 It won’t be fast, but that’s ok too.

We are planning on refinishing the floors in the boat, Guy from Moana said he’d give us a hand at it, and he has a large belt sander that would be better than the sanders we have. He’s done a lot of work on their boat and knows about the finishes and everything to put on it. We plan on a trip into town tomorrow to pick up the sand paper and varnish, and hope to begin working on Thursday or Friday. It’s going to be a big, dusty job, but I’m looking forward to it brightening up the floors and inside of the boat. I would love to be able to refinish most of the woodwork on the inside, but that may be way in the future.

Well, 1 pm .. I think it’s time for a siesta! Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, we took our trip into town to do some running around. We ate lunch at a place called Ocean Grill Restaurant. The ambiance was just the best, but the food was about the worst, anyway, we enjoyed the company of some others from the marina in a beautiful setting. After lunch we walked around the harbor, and had the taxi pick us up at the Marine store, then on to do a quick shopping trip, fresh veggies and staples again. When we got back to the Marina, Bill went and talked to Bob, the owner. They had spoken previously about a 15 hp outboard that Bob had, and he decided to go ahead and sell it to us. He took our 5 hp (that we just bought) and some cash in exchange and I think now Bill is really happy with being able to get some speed and even planing on that poor little old dinghy we have.. we hope to replace the dinghy some day, but I’m sure it won’t be in the near future. So after about an hour of changing around outboards and discarding the old one that broke, it was time for munchies and a cool cocktail along with an evening of relaxing.

Thursday and Friday were working days. After chores on Thursday morning, I went over to Moana and told Guy we were ready to start the floors and asked to borrow his belt sander (we had talked about it already) and maybe some of his expertise. Yesterday, at the hardware store, we had purchased the sanding belts and paper, floor stripper and a gallon of clear, poly varnish. We pulled up everything off the floor and started sanding.

Guy jumped right in and ran his belt sander while I followed up with the hand sander and sanding block for corners and edges. Laura stripped the old varnish and sanded edges while trying to keep things organized and a little clean. (Keeping things even a little clean didn’t work by the way.)

We worked all day except for a lunch break and a couple short beer breaks later in the afternoon. We almost finished the first sanding buy were too exhausted to keep going later than about 5:30. Laura made some refreshments while Guy and I tried to exercise our sore knees up in the cockpit. It was looking pretty good though. I ended up using my Dremel with a small sanding disk for removing varnish from the edges of the floor where the belt sander couldn’t reach. Working with 1 square inch at a time was slow but it ended up working pretty good.

This morning (Friday), I started to work right away with the Dremel as Laura used the sanding block to try and catch up to Guy with the edge work. He came by about 20 minutes later and got back on the belt sander to finish up under our navigation table. Around 11 am we had finished the rough sanding and I started on the fine sanding with the belt sander and 120 grit paper. Guy worked with the hand orbital sander and Laura with the sanding block. This course only took us about 2 hours and it was looking good. There were only a few places that needed touch ups but when we stopped for lunch we were done sanding. The floor looked great but the boat was in shambles. We had a layer of dust on everything.

We stopped for lunch while Guy left to clean up and head back to his boat. After lunch, Laura and I worked for several hours to wipe down everything and try to get our boat back together a little. Laura was more diligent than me as I quit around 3 pm to take a break, pound down some water (I think I was dehydrated from sweating so much) and relax a little. Laura finished the major stuff around 4 pm and she finally took a shower too. The boat looked pretty good and I can’t wait to see how the floor looks when we start applying the varnish. It’s very light now but will darken a lot by time we are done.

The picture is Guy and Laura working on the final floor sanding. We’ve already stripped the varnish off all the floor and are trying to bring out the grain in the wood by sanding with very fine sandpaper.

Entry for July 8, 2007

July 9, 2007

Wow, I can’t believe its been 4 days since we posted a blog!  Happy belated 4th of July to all, Although Grenada is an independent country, and the US helped in that aspect, there were no celebrations for those of us from the states, but we did not forget about our independence.. We kicked back and enjoyed a day of doing not much as we were winding down from the fast paced travels over the last week or so.

Guy and France, on Moana, friends we had met in Boqueron, Puerto Rico, made it in on Thursday evening. We had kept in contact with them along the way. As they had to have some work done on their auto-pilot and other electronics, they were a bit behind us, but made some headway in bypassing many islands and doing 2 long trips to get here. Another friend of theirs is here, came in the day before them, Nicole and Gary on Chateau. It’s been great getting to know each other and let me tell you, these French Canadians know how to have a good time!

On Friday, we had set up to have a taxi-van pick up a bunch of us and head into town to the Marine store and to do some grocery shopping. There was a small mall with an IGA supermarket at the end, and we took advantage of that. We had been getting low on our stock, as we’ve only been shopping for fresh veggies and fruits, as well as eggs and bread.  Some of the items were priced within reason, but overall, things were quite expensive. Bill also found a Napa store and was able to get some replacement oil and fuel filters, he always feels much better to have the extras. After getting everything back to the boat, unloaded, unpacked and all put away, Bill headed to the lounge to help out Bob- the owner of the marina, with some of his Wi-fi equipment. We also had a trip set up to go to a fish fry and that taxi was leaving at 5:15. The fish fry was really cool.. after about an hours ride up and down the narrow mountain roads, through the extremely narrow streets of a town or two, we ended up in the town of Gouyava (pronounced guava), just  a little hole in the wall town. Down a few of the “alleys” many vendors had booths set up with all kinds of fish dishes imaginable. Everything from a variety of fish cakes, to fish and potato pie,  grilled snapper, shrimp and tuna kabobs, shrimp stir fry, and even fish pizza!!.. we had a blast with the group from the marina, taste testing and sharing, and figuring out the really yummy stuff. There was a place that made their own ice cream for dessert to top us off! The van picked us up at 9 pm and after the hour ride back,  we were all exhausted from a full and busy day! I think we all slept well that night.

Saturday morning we had a short list of boat projects, but even those projects took longer than expected. And since we were working in the hot sun, we seemed to work at a much slower pace.  In the afternoon, Bill went once again to help Bob on the wi-fi situation; I still think they have some other stuff to do with it later today. Around 6 pm I was going to get some dinner going when I decided to sit and visit a few minutes with France and Nicole, and in the course of time, we ended up throwing all our dinners together for a nice steak  bar-b on Chateau. I found out that Nicole had once owned a restaurant, and is an excellent cook. Dinner was just wonderful, and after a few glasses of wine we all ended up going to the Lounge where Bob had Karaoke set up.. Ohhhhhh my,  a bunch of boaters with a  few too many wines under their belts and you get hilarity to the hilt!!  We laughed and sang until we couldn’t hardly talk anymore. It was a lot of fun.

Today there’s a cook out on one of the islands not far from here, so we, along with the others, are going to dinghy over there later on. The boat next to us has an outboard motor for sale, only a 5 horse power, but Bill’s going to try it out and see if it will suffice for now. We’ve checked on the prices of new motors, and they’re just too much, we may just settle for the less power and see what we can find in Trinidad or Venezuela.

The picture is one of the vendors at the Friday night fish-fry.