Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumnal Equinox

Happy (but a little belated) Autumnal Equinox. This of course is the moment when the sun is half way in its southerly journey in our skies. On this day a man can stand in the shade of his own sombrero by standing on the equator. Also the sun rises exactly in the east and set exactly in the west on this day. Finally, everyone on the planet (except for Indiana) has 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

It is NOT true that you can stand an egg on its narrow end on this day (nor on the Vernal Equinox). Actually sometimes you can but you can on any day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cubs Dynasty Begins

There it is! The Cubs WIN flag flying proudly over the deck of Enee Marie. Why? Because yesterday the Cubs clinched the Central Division of the NL for the second year in a row. For those of you not from Chicago, they fly a W flag like this one above the scoreboard when the Cubs win. I used to get off the EL at Addison Street on my way home from work (I drove the submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry) and anxiously peek around the corner of Addison and Sheffield to see if the W was flying (back then, rarely!). Now it’s on to the playoffs and our first World Series since 1945 and our first World Series WIN since, get ready. . .


Here's a short list of some stuff that hadn't happened yet when the Cubs last won the World Series...

  • The Titanic hadn’t sunk (or sailed yet)
  • No world wars yet
  • IN 1908 Henry Ford started (literally) cranking out cars
  • Income tax wasn’t invented yet
  • Women couldn’t vote yet (who changed THAT?)
  • Nucleus of the atom not discovered for another year
  • No TV
  • No Wrigley Field. . . the WS was played at West Side Park bounded by Congress, Harrison, Loomis, and Throop streets in Chicago.Yes, this is the 100th anniversary for our last championship and this is the longest record in any professional sport. No matter. This is the year. Bet the farm!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Snorking, Repairing and Book Selling

On our last day in Clarkes' Court Bay we went for a little snorkling. We went all along the eastern shore of the bay near our anchorage. It is very shallow and then drops off to about 20 feet. Along that dropoff is a nice mix of little fish and bigger fish. After a bit the wind picked up so we went up wind and then I just got in the water and let the dinghy take me for a snorking ride as I held onto the bow line. Fun way to snork!

Picture shows Enee up on the tiny beach were we tried to snork from . Too shallow as I tried "swimming" out in about 4 inches of water!

The water pump continues to puzzle me. This is the new one from just a few months ago but again it has started to cycle on and off every couple of seconds drawing 1 - 2 amps briefly. Leave that on all night and see what you got in the morning! The plumbing in this boat is crazy. The tanks are deep set in to the keel of the boat. Pipes lead up from them to a y valve under the galley sink. Then a pipe goes from there down under the deck and pops up on the starboard side of the engine room, goes up over the ceiling of the engine room and then partway down the starboard side to the pump. So the pump has to suck water all that way from the tanks and then pressurize the three water lines to galley, and two heads. I decided that the pump should be under the galley sink, down low and close to the tanks themselves.

Of course any boat job requires disasembly of the entire boat and the extraction of every tool I own. Oh, yeah and sticking my head in impossible places! But, so far it seems like this may have fixed it! Ammeter stays on zero and pump is not as loud telling me (perhaps) that it's not working so hard now. I have to say trying to find the right connectors to make it all go together I felt like Curly in the bathtub hooking pipe after pipe together trying to stop the leak! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk. . .

Wednesday night we went to the 'Burger Night' at Clarkes Court Bay Marina where I also managed to sell a few copies of my book. Enough to pay our bar tab so that's a good thing!

Mismo has quit jumping in the dinghy and seems afraid of it. We think maybe playing in and out of the dinghy is how she fell in a few weeks ago. But the other day she went in because she must have smelled that which she is eating! Argggg....a squid! A bird must have dropped it in there or we have jumping squid down here. MISMO....DROP THAT SQUID! YUK!

Rainwater is the BEST!

Uh Oh. . . weather coming. Better head back to the mother ship. Snorking is done for today.

This is what the anchor chain looks like after being anchored in Clarkes' Court Bay for about 10 days. I have to haul about a meter at a time (by hand remember) and then scrub and rinse that hunk. Takes about a half hour to raise anchor and get underway. Oh well. . . . what's the hurry?

The Cubs may clinch today and we are going to find a place to watch the game on FOX. Go CUBS!

Keeping my head in the game!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good bye Hog Island

Yesterday we went to a BBQ on Hog Island which is just across Clarke's Court Bay from where we are anchored. There is nothing on this little island except Rogers Bar which as you can see from the pics would not withstand a 10 knot wind let alone a hurricane. There was a reggae band playing and a nice mix of locals and cruisers. This is just the sort of little deal that one might imagine when one dreams about life in the islands.

Now for the bad news. Hog Island has been purchased by Four Seasons Residences. I'm sure if we come back in a year (or are still here in a year) things will look far different and Rogers will be long gone. Too bad. I see more and more of the wild places going away. More and more we find islands that are 'private'. That's right the entire island. So anyone thinking about buying an island maybe you better get with it!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September Birthdays

Before the month is gone let's wish 'Happy Birthday' to the September crew.

* Grandpa Les on the 2nd

* Natalie T on the 18th

* Leah on the 24th

Happy Birthday kids. Celebrate all month long.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm on 'Vacation'!

Sunday 7 Sept. 2008

In about two weeks I’ll be a working stiff again so Sue and I decided to get out exploring a little before we are pinned down to Prickly Bay for an extended time. We spent many minutes slowly hauling anchor while I scrubbed each meter of chain and hosed it off. Good exercise.

The south east coast of Grenada has a bay to explore about every half mile. Today we went exactly one bay to the east to Secret Harbor in Mt. Hartman Bay. I love the name but it doesn’t seem like much of a secret as there are a dozen or so other boats here. There is a marina here and we’ll go there tomorrow with dinghy to get gas. Prickly Bay Marina (Motto: What do YOU want?) has not had any gas all week. Some marina!

Mismo likes to hide under our 'comfy' chairs when it rains.

Pretty fun motor boat ride in here as the safe course is to sail past and come back to the north west between the reefs. We laid in a course with the GPS but kept a keen eye on the breakers and color of water. Oh, the buoys helped too! Buoys are nice but you’re never sure who is maintaining them or not maintaining them.

So, anchor down around noon making time for Sunday naps and reading followed by nice big spaghetti dinner. We decided to treat ourselves (we are on Vacation!) to ice while cruising this week so the cooler is full of fresh stuff including ground beef. Our spaghetti included meat, fresh mushroom, onions, green peppers and of course lots of garlic.

Still some squalls around but anchor is holding well.

Monday, 8 September

What we really need is gasoline! Dinghy is down around a quarter of a tank and part of this trip is for exploring and snorking via dinghy. Martin’s Marine is here though and we’re pretty sure they have gas. We go in around 1100 and they DO have gas and wifi and BEER! But no ice. Damn. The wifi works about as well as any other wifi we find in the islands meaning not at all. Slow, slow, slow and then can’t find server, spinny wheel, blah, blah, blah. I got off one e-mail but nothing else. Oh well, we didn’t expect to find any wifi on this little trip so no big deal.

Hard to see in this pick but this house is built into the hillside and has a lawn for a roof! Beautiful grounds all the way down to the water front.

We checked the marina rates in case we decide to leave Enee at a marina while we venture north for the Cubs world series. It’s about $40 a day. Not a bad rate for a day or two stop but we’ll be gone about 17 days. (So we’re still looking into options. Since we’ll be in Prickly Bay for quite awhile we may look into getting a mooring. Then there will be No Excuse for not cleaning the chain.)

Back to Enee with our gas! Much reading and napping happen now and a cool off swim. I finished a page turner that was about 100 pages too long. Some authors just don’t know when to quit. I am also reading King Leopold’s Ghost which is about the enslavement and murder of the people of the Congo from about 1890 to 1920 by Leopold - King of the Belgians. I’ll write a complete review for GoodReads when I finish. It is actually hard to read as it is so sad. Everyone knows about WWII and the Holocaust but not too many about this period time when for ivory and then even worse for raw rubber, Belgians working directly for the King terrorized and basically enslaved the indigenous people of the Congo. An example: The white people running things were given rifles and bullets but they were only to be used for shooting humans - no hunting or just messing around. So for every missing bullet you had to verify a kill. This was done by cutting off the right hand of the deceased and turning it in with your remaining bullets. If you shoot at something and miss you then still need a right hand to turn in so they would cut off the right hand of a living guy to keep the accounting accurate. Estimates are hard to do but many independent researchers come up with about the same number. That being that about 50% of the population was decimated in this short time and that that is around 10 million people. Joseph Conrad visited the Congo around 1900 and his observations and experiences were the inspiration for the book Heart of Darkness which I now want to read again. This is not a happy book. I am one-half Belgian and not so proud of that now!

We plan to move the boat over a little bit tomorrow to Clarke’s Court Bay. There is a marina there (with ice?) and they have a burger and movie night on Wednesdays. We’ll stay for that probably.

Tuesday 9 September

Jeez o peet! We only want to go about a half mile to the next bay and of course we’re dead into the pretty stiff breeze and heavy chop. A short but bumpy and slow ride into Clarke’s Court Bay. This is a fun bay as there are many places to anchor and explore. We go past the first possible anchorage and go up to the next little bay where lie only 2 other boats. It’s a little deep but the holding seems to be good and we’re well protected here. We left the previous anchorage after coffee and now Sue makes a nice big bacon and egg breakfast that will serve as lunch as well. Everything’s better with bacon!

We gas up the dingy and go into Clarke’s Court Marina in the afternoon to see what they’re about. Very nice little marina. There is a building that serves as the bar/restaurant/ meeting room. Our friends Mike and Renee from Jacumba are there having a beer and we join them. A nice couple of hours ensue as we trade stories and plans for the future.

We get some ice and head back to the dinghy. What the . . . . ????? We had left 4 little bags of garbage in the dinghy as we were not sure where to dump it when we first arrived. In our absence some wild dogs got into it and scattered the garbage all over the deck of the dinghy. EVERY bag was torn open and coffee grounds etc were everywhere. Now I have melting ice and have to clean up quick. I get some garbage bags from the bar; we do a quick clean and head back to Enee where I can do a better clean. Lesson learned!

It was a beautiful evening. A little cooler than usual. A cloudless sky filled with stars. Sue made olive pasta and pea salad for dinner and we sat out and looked at the stars afterward as we finished our wine. Scorpio is so clear and spectacular this time of evening. Our friend Orion doesn’t appear until around midnight - that’s the real midnight, 2400 hours not boaters’ midnight which is 2100. We rarely get to view him but we’ve been tracking how quickly the moon moves to the east past Jupiter from day to day. Of course you’re thinking, ‘but isn’t Jupiter moving too”? Yes but being so much further from the sun it is essentially stationary in the sky compared to the daily movement of the moon.

Wednesday 10 September

In the morning, before the heat of the day, we took dinghy over to the town dock (actually behind it I think) from which we could go for a walk to the little town of Woburn. A nice walk. Not much there but some houses and couple of little stores. After a couple of miles we just turned around and went back. Now a long dinghy ride over the shallows at the top of Calivigny Island and into the next bay where lives La Phare Bleu Resort.

What a beautiful resort. Opened for less than a year, they have about 8 cabins. Some one and some two bedroom. Each has fully stocked kitchen and cable tv. They have porches too with porch swings. A really sharp bar/restaurant area, pool and tidy little beach. It also serves as a marina with room for about 30 boats. The main office is an old light house boat that is moored at this pier. In there is their office, a lounge and their nice restaurant. Those of you looking for a place to go on vacation, I think we can recommend this place. The one bedrooms are about $275 a night. We had a couple of beers at the bar and plan to come back tomorrow for happy hour when beers are two for one! Wheeeee.

Back to Enee for reading and napping. We are meeting our friends from Jacumba and Merengue at Clarke’s Court Bay marina for a birthday celebration for Mike on Jacumba. We motored over to the marina around 4:30. The group was already there. Much laughing and story telling ensued. I gave Mike one of my books as a present and then sold one to another couple that had joined us. It was the marina’s ‘burger night’ so we stayed for cheeseburgers and fries. Yum. It was also their movie night but we didn’t feel like sitting through a whole movie (National Treasure II). So, back to the mother ship.

It is DEAD calm. That ain’t good. The weather here is really wonderful. It is 86 everyday and 80 every night. That’s all ok as long as there is a cooling breeze. We sat very still out on deck and enjoyed every little breeze that came our way. Some steadier breeze did finally start up and we rigged our wind scoop and called it a day. This vacation is awesome!

Thursday, 11 September

Another hot too still day. We lay low on the the boat, drink water, and take little dips to stay cool. Later in the afternoon we made a trip to Clarke's Court Bay Marina for some internet and ice. Then, back to Enee to drop off the ice and then over to Phar Bleu Resort for happy hour with Mike and Rene on Jacumba. We had burgers and wished Rene well as she is returning to the states tomorrow for a couple of weeks. A pleasant evening on Enee ensued.

Mismo spends the morning making that weird cat chattering sound at the sea birds.

Friday, 12 September

This morning we decided to just stay in this anchorage through next Wednesday. I'm going to try to sell some books at the next burger night and we really like it here. So we won't make it to St. David's on this trip. Hell, it's up wind anyay!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Back to Work!

Well finally. After two degrees in physics, 25+ years teaching, numerous papers, awards, and grants I’ve been rehired. . . To do wood working!

Spice Island Marine in Grenada is a full service boat yard but they’d like that full service to include more quality woodworking. That’s where I come in. The first job and one that will last quite a while I think, is the re-outfitting of a 74 foot million dollar sloop. She’s got some water damage in the woodwork below (because she was briefly sunk during hurricane Ivan!). These pieces have to be cut out, rebuilt and re-veneered and put back. Other wood things have to be rebuilt using the old as patterns. They have a fairly complete shop with table saw, drill press, sander, band saw. I look forward to this challenge and to making Grenada our home for maybe up to a year. While earning and living here we will begin the process of rebuilding the foredeck on Enee for new windlass and also the installation of industrial strength self steering gear. Should be a busy and interesting year or so, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Safe and Sound (so far) in Grenada

Wow, is the Atlantic Ocean stirred up. Three named storms are tracking across the Atlantic. All are scheduled to head north and skip the Caribbean islands all together. The same can not be said for the Bahamas.

I mentioned to Sue that I'd guess that Ivan of 04 which hit Grenada pretty hard must have been an early season storm to track so far south.

This is Ivan's track showing it cutting right through Grenada there just north of South America on . . . Well, what do you know. . . Happy anniversary Ivan! Yeah it was around Sept 3-4 that Ivan did it's thing here. I don't think there was anywhere to run to from this monster. If we get something like this our way I guess it's just time to put out the fire, call in the dogs and get on back to Bow Legs!

No other big news. Sue and I are working on various means of employment and hope something will happen this week. Island Water World, the chadlery downtown is having a book and dvd swap today so that's a big event as most cruisers devour books at a high rate. Other BIG BIG news is that the VEGETABLE TRUCK IS COMING TO TOWN! Woo woo. We've been to three stores over the past two days and are yet to find a potatoe or a carrot. Maybe they're all on the truck.

It's happy hour and burger night at a marina near here tonight and if we can put a group together to split a cab we may go check it out.

It's a little rolly in the anchorage now but the swell bridle I've rigged seems to be keeping our nose into the waves so we're pretty comfortable. Of course now the wind is coming a-beam so not exactly screaming down the hatches for sleeping. BUT, we still have that wonderful four-sided wind scoop that we used in Ft. Myers Beach that takes the wind from any direction and guides it below. Sleeping has been great and in fact a little cool! Imagine. This is a great wind scoop for those living in marinas where your boat may not be pointing into the wind.