Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stepping the Mast on Silandra

Friday was a big day at Spice Island Marine: Stepping the 100 foot mast on Silandra, the 70 foot sloop I've been working on. Check out the Picasa album below for some pics of this process.

Mast Stepping - Silandra
Meanwhile, I've been trying to piece together the cabinets starting in the galley. It's like when you first toss the pieces on the table for that 1000 piece jig saw puzzle. It's turned out to be faster and easier to build new panels for sides, backs or tops of the cabinets as things have changed and even if I could identify any pieces they may not fit any longer. But really, could I just buy a RIGHT ANGLE? The picture shows the galley and some of the various panels lying about. I've finished the lower two cabinets and nearly the third. Some other holes are still mysteries!

Monday, November 24, 2008


So what do you do when you're anchored too close to shore AND you want to clean off some of those barnacles? Go Sailing, of course!

Merengue (Wendy and Jim) and Half Moon (Joe and Becky) joined us for a day sail on Sunday. What a great way to spend the captain's day off. And what a treat to sail with sailors.

We sailed out a few miles as close to the wind as we could. There was just enough wind (about 10 knots maybe) to fill the sails and bring smiles to our faces.

A few hours later we re-anchored further away from shore then quickly jumped into the bay to cool off and float with our 'noodles.' Who knew these foam pipe covers would become so popular. The question is: how can we create a cup holder for our drinks!

There are many, many, many more photos. However- I can't get them to load in a picasa album.

Thanks Jim and Wendy for sharing photos of the day. Check out Merengue's blog for another perspective and more pictures.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Mismo the Wonder Cat

Yet another November birthday to report - Mismo is one year old!

Enjoy the photo album of a year's worth of Mismo. Hey, it's only 70 pictures. Ok.....ok...I know that's too many. I deleted one so only 69.

Click on the photo below to view the album.
Then click on the green arrow to see the slide show.

Mismo the Wonder Cat

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Where's the Gold?

Our friend, Steve, on Certitude took this picture of Enee Marie from the deck of his catamaran. There's no gold on this boat though. Trust me!

After gluing in several square feet of teak veneer in Solandra (the 72 foot multi-million dollar yacht I'm working on at Spice Island) we find that we cannot varnish it up to match what is already there. I feel bad about not asking about that before we started sawing and gluing. But, the big boss was there at the time and saw which teak veneer we were using. The plan now is to paint the entire companionway (port side) white with Awl Grip. Ah well. . . a day's pay is a day's pay.

Some adventurous weather for us the next few days. Lots of rain (FREE WATER!) and wind. Wind is good too as that charges our batteries. High winds are a little disoncerting for us though as we are on a lee shore and only about 50 yards off.

Speaking of batteries. I bought two used Vetus batteries from a fellow cruiser who just wanted to go to larger capacity. These are no-mainenance batteries and anything that is no-maintenance is a good thing for this sailor. I think I cooked the water out of the old standard wet cells we had. If these new batteries start to gas the vapor causes a chemical reaction in the top of the batteries which drips liquid water back into the cells. Good for us as I tend to charge the hell out of the batteries with the wind generator and also that the batteries are in the engine room which gets very hot when we are under way.

Going to work a few hours today and then take it easy (my specialty) the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tragedy in Venezuela

This just in from one of the cruising forums...

Doug of
Doug & Diane
s/v Salacia

About 5:30 PM they were approached by 3 men in a piƱero who asked for water. When one of the crew came back up from below with water, they shot Ken with pistols, and attempted to kill Steve. Details are not precise, but Steve apparently then shot at the pirates with a shotgun and killed one and injured another of the bandits. Ken was killed in the exchange and Steve injured but not badly.


We are also here in Bahia Redonda and it is difficult to describe the awful loss that we all feel today.We all gathered on the dock to wish both boats farewell ...and just a few hours later we are all hearing the terrible news of Ken's death on the VHF probably the most surreal thing that I have ever encountered...after what seemed like an eternity both boats returned to the marina Chill to the dock and I lean to the Venezuelan Coastguard.

The fact is that the 3 attackers had no intention of doing anything but killing and stealing..these scumbags shot Ken as he was giving them the water that they requested...Steve from I lean probably saved the 3 remaining cruisers and he is the real hero and as I sit and write this post he has a bullet in his thigh.

This is of course very big news down here. Many people this year chose NOT to go into Venezuelan waters. I think many more are now going to get the hell out. This is just the latest in a long string of robberies , beatings, and shootings. I suspect the Venezuelan government could care less if an American or two get shot. Well, they have oil and don't really need our meager cruising dollars. It's a big world and boats can go ANYWHERE and they can chose where to not go.

A couple of days ago we were approached by the local coast guard and politely told that we were anchored in the channel. We've been in the same spot for about 2 months. I guess there's a channel around here somewhere. So we hauled anchor, cleaning it as we went. Remember I'm hauling nasty chain by hand. Ugh. We moved out to about where we anchored when we first arrived where it is quite rolly with a weak wifi signal. Damn. Long night last night with the boat rocking on her beam ends! This morning we saw a space over by the wifi antenna. A little tight and I'm close to a lee shore but it's quite calm with strong signal. I think we'll be good here for a long time.

Yesterday we decided that it was finally time, well, way PAST time, to clean the bottom of the dinghy. Oh lord...Ocean World! I could have bottom painted this thing when it was new in St. Maarten but Nooooooooo....I decided to wait. Brilliant! It's pretty clean now and we may haul it up on deck and paint the bottom. . . or just haul it up every night on the davits. That will only slow the growth though. I hope barnacles serve some really good purpose in the environment. If not then they are just a gift from SATAN!

Saturday, November 08, 2008


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the November Birthday Girls:

Madison on the 1st (sorry- I'm too slow to be on time for that one)


Cindy on the 8th (just made it!)

Hope you enjoy(ed) your days and why not the whole month!?!?!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Back in Grenada

Long day of travel on Tuesday - election day! We left Chicago around 9 am and arrived in Grenada about 10 pm local time. Ah, the joys of air travel. Once we got back aboard Enee (our friends Wendy and Jim on Merengue had left our dingy for us at the dock) we fired up the computer and connected to the internet in time to watch the festivities from Grant Park. My daughter and her husband got tickets to the event but we just couldn't seem to spot them! A great night for Chicago and for our country I think.

I read about some McCain supporters from Texas (State Motto: Here, hold mah beer and stand back!). They were very dissapointed in the election results and vowed to oppose Obama for the next four years no matter what he tries to do. That's nice. The whole world is trying to bring us down and these cretins think that pouting and refusing to play nice is the way to solve our problems. Maybe it would be a better idea to wait until you hear what is being suggested and THEN begin to negotiate if you don't like it. I think that many of the world's problems come from people not knowing how to negotiate. The Palestinians want Israel to go away. That's not going to happen so negotiate. NO. All or nothing. The Al Queda terrorists want death to America. Not going to happen and you can't negotiate with them. We got a LOT done in this country under LBJ because the guy could deal. US politics works when everybody gets (or thinks they are getting ) something out of the deal. We need to get back to that kind of negotiating form of government. Like OLD mayor Daley said, "Good politics IS good government"!

OK, enough politics!

The weather here is always about the same but the one thing that can make it seem really much hotter is when there is no wind. There is basically NO wind these past few days. Luckily it has still be cooling off at night so sleep is possible. I think I'll stick with jobs that put me in the water like scrubbing the moss off of the water line. Fun!

More of our friends are in the anchorage now having returned from Trinidad. Good to see Randy and Lynn on High States and Jay and Jen on Rum Runner. We haven't seen Jay and Jen since parting company in Georgetown back in '06! We had a fun rum filled reunion with them last night.

I go back to work on Monday so looks like I'm on vacation until then. . . Woot!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Reflections on Chicago

Tomorrow we will fly back to the islands. Grenada to be exact. It’s been a wonderful visit in the most exciting city in the galaxy (sorry NYC). Especially so as the election nears. Grant park is getting ready for a celebration that this city hasn’t seen since, well, since forever! Last Illinois president was honest Abe. If I could stay for the party I would walk around and pretend that it was for the world champion Chicago Cubs but just wait until next century! So, as we do our laundry and prepare for the pleasures of air travel I have some thoughts from Chicago.

In Grenada as with most other Caribbean islands we’ve become accustomed to making eye contact and saying hi to people we pass on the street as they are quick to do the same. Rude to not do so. In Chicago this isn’t really done. It’s not because Chicagoans aren’t friendly. They really are. If you were to talk to someone at random or ask for directions they would help you immediately. It’s just that it is nearly impossible to make eye contact when most people are on the phone, or deep into their iPod, or pushing buttons to text someone. Chicagoans (and I suspect many Americans in big cities) walk around in their own little bubbles of entertainment. It’s ok I guess but it was a noticeable difference. Check out this video from youtube. They've actually padded the lamp posts on a London street because people are walking into them so much while texting!

Winter makes Chicagoans crazy. This town has two faces. The summer face is just one long downtown festival. There is some ‘fest’ about every weekend. The lakefront is loaded with runners, walkers, bikers, sunbathers, tennis players, and boaters. Then winter comes and Chicagoans hunker down for the long wait. Their only solace through part of the long winter are their beloved Chicago Bears. While some people are baseball fans in there some are Cubs and some are White Sox fans, it seems ALL Chicagoans go nuts for their Bears. They are 5-3 by the way but lost their QB yesterday and have yet to play the dreaded Packers. We’ll see. The parade of boats down the Chicago River brought this home to me. Every spring about 10,000 boats are put back in the water and every fall those same 10,000 boats are taken back out. I sure don’t miss winterizing my boat but at least when they haul out here there are no barnacles on the hull. Not yet anyway!

Non-green leaves are a treat. We happened to be up here for the prettiest time of the year - Fall in the midwest. I had some drives in Indiana and the trees are just spectacular. The islands are always pretty but they are always the same pretty. Fall jacket weather is the best but I will enjoy having warm toes when we return to the island.

If things go as planned (right) we will hang in Grenada for at least 6 months while we work. That means there is no question where we’ll be (probably) so come on down. Get out of that Chicago winter and enjoy a week or so in Grenada. We can help find hotel or resort and make your visit extra enjoyable. Keep reading and stay in touch.