Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sunday in the Islands,

On Sunday, Sue and I decided to go for a long walk on the island. Bequia is not very big so you can walk nearly the whole island over the course of a few days. Well, it’s not very big but it is damn high! We don't know if it's the time of year or this island but there were TONS of pretty flowers. Here's some yellow ones.

But first, Sunday in the islands is my favorite day. Just like when I was a kid, EVERYTHING is closed on Sunday. Streets are quiet. People are not around or they’re just lounging on the beach. Maybe taking a kid for a walk. What a concept - a day off for everyone! I don’t think it’s possible to have a real day off in America any longer. Maybe Christmas day but even then the 7-11, etc are open. Can’t miss a day with no buying nor selling I guess. Here, nobody has much anyway so when everyone takes a day off not much changes.

We happened by a Cricket Match. A real one. Uniforms, nice equipment, stands and a scoreboard (it was 123 - 104 when we arrived). Now baseball is a slow paced game but this game looks like it is stuck in Jell-O! The bowler (pitcher) gets a pretty good workout like in baseball as he runs about 20 yards before unleashing the googlie (ball). Everyone else is standing around like right fielders in little league! When they hit the ball (googlie) it often goes by all the fielders and over the scrum for a wicket. . . Or something like that. I guess depending on the rules they start out with a game can go on for days. One GUY can bat for days as you are only out of you hit the ball, accidently let go of the bat (loggerdrop), trip over the wicket, and say something unkind about the umpire’s heritage. Yeah, an out is tough to come by. Oh, catching a fly ball works too.

After being told by a local that we were walking uphill to a dead end (we only realized the uphill part) we went another way and found ourselves on the road UP to Mount Pleasant. This is not a walk but rather a CLIMB. (about 700 feet which is over 100 fathoms!) Switch back road all the way to the top. What a great view though and well worth the climb. Going down, of course, much easier.

On Monday I had a canvas guy (well, he’s not made of canvas but rather, does canvas work.) come out to the boat to give an estimate for making a new sun/rain cover for the boat. As many of you know we like to sail with an open cockpit and so have no permanent bimini. Instead we have a small bimini that zips onto the dodger and is then brought back over the cockpit and fastened to the backstay. This is nearly 4 years old and was never properly designed. It doesn’t really cover all of the cockpit as it is too narrow allowing rain in. Now that it is old it is more of a rain catcher than a tent so we have to scurry below when it rains. Well, I scurry. If it rains when we are underway, well that’s why I sail in my bathing suit!

We’re looking for an over the boom shade that would be held up by a halyard and then lashed to mast, stays, and rail. We’ll see about the prices later today. I have another canvas guy coming out today so we’ll have to estimates/designs to compare.

While taking yesterday’s canvas guy back ashore I was describing our climb up to Mount Pleasant. He asked me who I thought designed the road. The English? No. French? No. He tells me that donkeys designed it! According to him a donkey will only walk uphill at a certain rate of climb and will keep that rate constant. He asked if I noticed that even though the road switched back and forth it is a constant incline to the top. Once the donkey’s had worn a path the road builders just followed this to build the permanent road. Nice
story but then later I started wondering what keeps the donkeys from just walking all the way around the hill in a spiral shape? What made them turn and do a switch-back? Well, there I go ruining a perfectly nice little fable. I do that a lot! Here's a donkey checking out the new road.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Tobago Cays and Beyond

Sometimes we’re slogging along making 2-3 knots. Engine is rumbling. Wind and spray in our face. Both tacks are uncomfortable. We’re not going to get there. And I wonder, “What the hell am I doing out here”? Other times we get somewhere, like today when we arrived in the Tobago Cays and I think, “This is why I came here”!

The top photo is from the top of our mast. Thanks Sue!

The Tobago Cays are part of the Grenadines and by the way if you’re looking for a place to charter and/or you’re tired of BVI, the Grenadines have that BVI property of allowing for short hops, gorgeous anchorages, and crazy blue water. We see lots of charter boats. Moorings is here of course out of Canouan, Horizon out of Grenada, and many others.

We had just spent a couple of days in Mayreau in Saline Bay. Pretty busy little anchorage. Not much here but a small town with a few bars and restaurants. We did find a few provisions - cheese, noodles, flour. Sue went farther up the hill than I did and got some great pictures looking north and south as well as a cute little church.


We also took the main down here to make some repairs to the upper sail slides. Look! Sue sews! Actually I think these upper slides/connectors broke due to operator error. This is what happens when you sit too long and don't sail. I have been frustrated at how the luff of the main would slacken after being up a short while. I'd go out and tighten the halyard but it would seem to go slack again. Finally I figured out that we were not loosening the main sheet when we hoisted the main. This causes the leach of the sail to tighten before the luff so when I crank on the halyard I begin to pull the slides away from the mast. This failure to understand how to raise my own mainsail has since been fixed! Yes, appropriate punishments were meted out.

From Saline Bay to the Tobago Cays is about four miles. See? You come in between a couple of small islands (nothing on them) and anchor or take a mooring ball between there and the reef. You can then dinghy out to the reef proper and there are orange mooring balls to tie your dinghy to. What great snorking! The huge area is littered with coral heads and all kinds of fish. The whole area is about 5 feet deep but maybe 1 foot over the coral heads. It’s a special place and there is no picture that shows the panorama of where we are now. I want to bring my daughter here because she damn well would find a way to capture this photographically!

Oh look, this is Sue’s bread! Sue has been baking a loaf of bread ever other day or so. So yummy and makes the boat smell nice (for a change!). Look, if we’re taking pictures of bread just imagine us with a grandchild! Wheeeeee.

Friday morning the sky is full of small squalls. Weather says the some could bring some gusts in the 25 knot range. Also, they may be with us for 4 or 5 days. Great. We wait while some of these little buggers move through and then take off sensing an OK window. We’d like to make Bequia today but if it turns to crap we can always turn back and tuck into Canouan which is only about 5 miles north of here. In fact I plan to hug the Canouan coast to get some north and some east in before falling off and trying to lay Bequia. This sort of works. Of course after leaving the coast of Canouan we find just about no wind so back on the motor and main. By the way the off shore report was for 20 knots north east to north today. Right. But it could be that all these squalls are disturbing the gradient wind. Whatever, looks like we’ll make Bequia unscathed.

We arrive in Bequia around 1500. Tried to anchor on the north side where it is supposed to be less rolly but the anchor wouldn't stick. Uh oh. . .Now it's a little crowded so Sue cannot leave the helm. I had to do the crank some chain - run below to drag chain aft - crank some chain - . . . repeat. Took about 3 -4 trips to get it done. From there we moved to the south side of the bay where I know it is a more sandy bottom. No problem here. No wifi either though! Our internet service, HOTHOTHOTSPOT is supposed to work in this harbor but I think we're too far out. Well that's a project for another day.

Bequia is one of the more yachty anchorages in the Caribbean without being so busy like Grenada is. You can provision here pretty well. There is a service that will bring water and fuel right to your boat and also pick up laundry and garbage if you want. There's a bookstore here and there is just about nothing rarer than a good bookstore!

Finally, while walking on the beach in Chatham bay this giant monolith appeared. It seemed to be calling me. I carefully approached and lightly touched it's surface. Was it vibrating? Did I hear something? Hmmm.....

I walked on but the next day I got the idea to use a chicken bone to perform minor surgery. Coincidence?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Union Island Death March

The day before the March...Great sailing day just knocking off the 5+ miles from Carriacou to Union Island. We had a good plan for this. Instead of coming out of Tyrell Bay on the west end of Carriacou and just trying to lay Union Island (ain’t going to happen. Bearing is about 40 degrees and even in an east wind there is the 2 knot current flowing west. ) So we ducked east along the coast of Carriacou, motor and main, and got our easting in down there where you are somewhat protected from the current. Once we got to the northern tip of Carriacou we full sailed and tried to make our way to Clifton, the main town on the eastern end of Union Island. I’ll have a separate post on what happens when you are trying to tack into a current but for now let it be said that we sailed nicely but still couldn’t lay Clifton. So, we motor the last half mile.

If you look close at the picture you can see Mismo peeking out from under my shirt. That's where she likes to ride sometimes when we are underway!

Clifton is where the customs house is and this is Friday we want to get anchored there and check in before the weekend. The bay by Clifton is unusual. It is sort of horseshoe shape due to a reef right in the middle of the bay. We came in on the western leg and stopped at a marina to take on water. The popular anchorage here is just to the west of a large reef - so between two reefs. Nice and flat water. We tried to anchor twice and couldn’t get the thing to stick. Once that happens I am out of there because even if it does stick now I’m only gong to think about the two times it wouldn’t. All night.

By the way this trying and then re-trying is a bit of an adventure with some real wind and shoals and other boats. When we weighed anchor that morning it was great. With plenty of sea room and light air, Sue can stay down in the v-berth and organize chain into the chain locker as I crank it in with my new manual windlass. When the anchor is up she comes back to the helm and drives the boat. Here in Clifton though that wasn’t completely possible. After some cranking I’d either be blown too far off the anchor to be able to haul it or we’d be getting too close to other boats. In either case Sue would have to leave the v-berth and run to the helm. This was repeated about 6 times until we finally left. Sue was so happy with all of this!

On to Chatham Bay on the west coast of Union Island! Some of you may remember that I had the pleasure of stopping here when I crewed on Fleetwing a few weeks ago. Great place. Of course we dined at ‘Shark Attack’ the nice man that grills fish and lobster and a bunch of other great food. We probably had enough food for 4 or 6 people! Understand that in Chatham bay there are no roads and no electricity. Lanterns are set out and all the food is prepared on the charcoal grill. Only 3 or 4 boats in the whole bay and just us and a table of French people at ‘Shark Attack’. A perfect end to a great day. . .not counting the anchoring!

So we didn’t check in and are technically in St. Vincent (Union Island is the most southerly island of the Grenadines which are all part of St. Vincent.) waters illegally. This is no big deal and we’ve done this before. You go in the next day and say you arrived after they were closed. It’s all cool. But, the customs house is in Clifton and we’re in Chatham bay. Now a number of people have told me that you can walk from Chatham Bay to Clifton. Seems like a long walk but I’m game. Sue’s ankle is still not 100% so she stays back while I venture off.

Now a sane man would at least glance at a map before he took off. An intelligent man would take one with. But the man that once put a spinning top on his head only to lose a hunk of flesh and hair just marches off thinking …”How hard can it be”?

Actually I had asked one of the workers the night before where the path started and he told me behind the bar at the end of the beach. Right. Well there was a path there. A rock and cactus strewn path that went straight up a hill. Good thing I had a half a grape fruit for breakfast! Holy hell! If this is the path to Clifton I’m done now! But at the top it leveled off and there was a wide dirt road. Cool. Even better! The dirt road turned into a concrete road. Wheeee…..

I came to a fork in the road. Well, it seemed to me that I’m walking toward Clifton roughly and have Chatham bay on my right and want to keep it that way so I take the right fork. I’m hoping I don’t have to double back. After a few minutes I hear a bell and a bicycle rider is coming behind me. I ask him if I’m on the way to Clifton. He nods and just points his hand straight ahead. OK, got it.

I came to a fork in the road. On the left the road doubled back on itself and headed north and maybe even west. I want to go east. The other fork, well, was not a road. It was a trail. But it seemed well marked. I decided to trust my innate sense of direction and March off into the woods. (Remember that sentence.) That is the steep-and-rock strewn-with-sharp-things-grabbing-my shirt-and-hat woods.

Actually it was a pretty hike. I could tell I was still climbing, climbing. Finally I came to an open area. I guessed I was on top of one of the large hills around here. I searched for the continuation of the trail but it was hard to find. OK, there it is. I continue on. Hey I’m going down for a change. That’s cool. Hey, there’s some boats anchored down there. What anchorage is over on this side of the island? Hmmmm…..Hey there’s a fishing boat just like in Chatham Bay. And. . . Oh no. . There’s Enee Marie! I’d been hiking for an hour and a half and I’d gotten myself back to Chatham Bay. OH man…..I’m still no where NEAR Clifton!

I hike all the way back where I chose dirt instead of concrete. Brilliant. I follow the concrete into the town of Ashton which is good as that is on the way to Clifton. Unfortunately I march right past the road to Clifton. As I pass a couple of young boys the one is quick to tell me that his island is very beautiful and there are nice walks to be had. I tell him I know and that I’d just been on one. Hmmm...just to make sure I ask him if I am indeed on my way to Clifton. NO he says and points back the way I’d come. Yeah, I missed the road by a good mile. Back I go.

Now I’m on it. The road to Clifton! This is one of those walks now where you come to a turn hoping to see city around the corner and all you see is more road. And goats. Road. Goats. More road. I’m dying.

I finally make it into town and accomplish all my missions. Checked in with customs at the air field. Got money out of the money machine. Bought some groceries (but not much cause I might be carrying it all the way back too!)

Well, there’s no way I’m hiking back. I’m pretty sure I can’t retrace my steps and not sure I’d even want to! So, I talk to a taxi driver and ask him how much to get me as close as possible to Chatham Bay. 20 Ec. . . About 8 buck. OK!

At the top where I took the dirt instead of the concrete he even shows me and easier way down rather than the rock and cactus strewn path I took up. My knee is screaming and I’m cut from nettles. My shirt is sticking to me and I’ve torn my hat. It’s noon. I’m done.

Sue spots me walking along the shore and picks me up in dinghy (which is leaking air by the way). Oh man what a GREAT swim I had once I got back on Enee. I’m still not sure how I got so screwed up but I know I’m NOT walking back to Clifton any time soon.

It's a few days later now and we are in Mayreau about 5 miles north of Union. More adventures to come! Thanks for all the comments. Keep 'em coming!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Two seemingly unrelated topics. . .

When cruising the Caribbean island chain you simply must have your charts (paper for us of course) and a cruising guide. Down here every one uses Chris Doyle’s guides. There good. Cruising guides tell you check in procedures, where to get repairs, restaurants, shopping, navigation tips, and more. It’s filled with ads as well for many of the fun establishments that you might want to visit. This is all good.

But, sometimes you just want to find something that isn’t in the guide. This is nearly impossible as these islands are now well travelled. Today we went for a walk out of town. We walked north and around the corner until we could see Sandy Island that we had sailed to the other day. From the road we could see an establishment down by the beach. I said to Sue, “That looks like the place we were looking at through our binoculars. Wanna go see”? Of course. We walked down a little dirt track to the beach and there sat Off the Hook Bar and Grill. A tidy little place with a great beach and view of the ocean.

It’s NOT in the guide!

The place is owned and operated by a damn friendly guy named Curtis. His family is originally from Carriacou and in fact his bar is on his mom’s land. He said he lived for twenty years in Brooklyn NY and feels like he has escaped. He misses nothing from the big city and is one happy guy. He will also run people out to Sandy Island for snorkeling or picnic in his boat and then pick them up later. We had a few beers and lunch which was one darn delicious pizza!

While we were there I started talking to a little boy as he was constructing a traditional Caribbean kite. Kites are very popular down here. They fly them at Easter to represent the resurrection but kids just fly them any old time as well. As I watched he stripped some sticks from a palm frond and made a star shape with them. Then he wrapped string from end to end of the sticks. Simple enough but then comes a bow shape that must give the kite its aerodynamics. Quite involved actually but he seemed to have the process down. I asked him who taught him how to make the kite. He smiled and said, “I did”! Turns out this is Curtis’ son. While we talked with Curtis later he pointed to his son and the several friends who had showed up and said, “Look at them. I couldn’t let them go out and play in Brooklyn. No way”. True.

The kids at this point were playing Cricket. They had set up two milk crates for wickets. They scrounged a variety of boards for their bats and they had a tennis ball. I’m starting to understand the game a little as that’s all there is down here and watching this pick up game was pretty choice.

Well, it was a great find and well worth the walk (maybe a mile). We hope Curtis does well and gets more business but at the same time would like to keep Off the Hook as our own secret place! We did promise Curtis that we would spread the word to cruisers. He shows outdoor movies on his own billboard screen and serves popcorn of course and on Thursday nights he plays jazz and has a bonfire. Cruisers will love this 'soon not to be a secret' place.

Now for the seeminly unrelated topic.

With the advent of GPS navigation more people are willing to do what we are doing than ever before. You can cry about the lost skills of coastal navigation but you’re going to have to sit in the corner with the people who bemoaned the advent of the pocket calculator. There’s no going back and I wouldn’t want to. So, since everyone has GPS on their boats the people who make the charts put in handy waypoints with the lat long in the corner so you can punch them into your GPS machine. What’s the result? Sometimes the open seas look like a highway with a string of boats strung from one way point to the next. Kind of funny actually. I try to take the waypoints as a general guide and know I usually have miles of room on either side of a line connecting them. I think once some sailors punch in the numbers and then set the auto helm the boats are automatically steered on the connecting line. AND if the wind doesn’t allow for that line exactly well then you take down your sails and motor to the detriment of honing your sailing skills. Once again, this is not really an annoyance. Trust me there’s PLENTY of room still in the freaking ocean. Just an observation.


Written by Captain Snappy -- posted by Sailor Sue

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back to Tyrell Bay

Well we are back in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. It's Tuesday - the day after all the Easter festivities so our favorite place, the Lazy Turtle bar is open. We've planted ourselves here to internet and enjoy the view as well as a few cold Caribs.

The picture on the left is our view. This bay is amazingly clean - the water is so clear you can see the anchor hit bottom. Scott has been busy scraping the hull. He has progressed from scraping just below the water line (I never go any deeper than that!) to diving down to the keel. He actually scrapped the bottom of the keel the other day. Inconceivable! So while he's accomplishing deep sea diving I'm still thrilled to be able to breath with a snorkle. It just isn't normal to breath with your face in the water.

On Easter Sunday we sailed over to Sandy Island - a 3 mile jaunt around the corner from Tyrell Bay. We actually did sail most of the way and felt a difference in our speed after all the barnacles and fuzz got removed from Enee's bottom. We can tell we're a little rusty with our sailing though. As we tacked out of the bay the port jib sheet got caught up on the forward hatch fitting.
'Come on...why aren't we tacking? Oh darn - I'll get it....luff up luff up it's too tight!' We finally tacked and as we got near Sandy Island it was time to tack again. 'Now the starboard sheet is caught. We've got to do something about that hatch!'

Once we anchored Capn Snappy pounded in the bolts so they no longer stuck out and tied a small line in between them. That should fix the problem.

Here is a picture of Sandy Island. Yes it's sandy and that's about all. The island is only about 200 yards long and about 25 yards wide. It's barely there and very beautiful. We anchored between the reefs on either end and after setting the hook snorkeled off the boat. After being in Prickly Bay, Grenada where the water isn't very clear, this was quite a treat.

We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening watching the birds (mostly gulls but some boobies and a pelican or two) fly over then dive for their dinner. Every so often there would be a fish boil in the water as the bigger fish chased the small fries.

Well you can imagine what happened when a gull landed on our bow. Mismo went wild! She started chattering like crazy. Of course the bird flew away but now she was on guard. There were so many birds flying around her boat we thought Mismo's jaw was going to fall off. What a crazy cat. She stayed on the bow until nightfall when the birds finally flew off and gave her some rest.

Usually Mismo sleeps all day but this day she was on duty.........

.....Don't even think about landing on my boat!

After the sun set she decided to perch on the dinghy (which is up in the davitts) where she had a full view of the boat and any possible predators. Of course there were none. But she was ready anyway.

The next morning we listened to the weather and learned that trade winds were on the increase with some squalls so we decided to leave Sandy Island (not a good anchorage in unsettled weather) and mosey on back to protected Tyrell Bay for a few days.

Sure enough on Monday morning some small rain squalls. Hey now we can test our new rain catchers. Hurry - get the buckets!

Ready for Rain - - - well only a few drops this time but at least we know it will work. This is trial 2 of installing through-hulls in the bimini. The first version didn't have rubber gaskets and Mismo managed to power her way through them. We'll see how long these last. The fabric of the bimini is already getting thin. It has been almost 4 years in the Caribbean sun and a 9 pound cat lounging on top doesn't help.

Well - what can I say. Sometimes things break and we have to fix them. Sometimes we fix (or clean) things before they break. For example today Scott cleaned the outboard before we launched it. It had barnacles growing in the cooling water intake! There's always something to take care of on the boat. No matter where you live - that's true.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tyrell Bay - Carriacou

We're staying a few days in Tyrell Bay. With Easter coming nothing will be open this weekend and to go on up to Union Island we need to check out of this one and for sure customs houses will not be open. The bigger holiday in the islands is the monday after Easter which as you probably know is the first sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Got that?

So, we thought we'd show you where this note comes from. Lazy Turtle! Places like this seem typical to us now but sometimes I have to remind myself how truly quaint and 'island like' places like this are.

Oh, here's a follow up on our fish dinner. We could only eat about half of this. Yummy!

On our way into shore today we went by this place. Yeah, it's a floating metal shop and sail loft. What the hell? Looks like boats can just pull up along side and get some metal repairs. Or sail repair. Neat idea. Maybe the worker dude even lives aboard this thing. Who knows?

I'm researching wind vane steering. There are only a few models out there and they all have great reputations and large price tags. When we return to Enee next January we want to prepare to sail west to Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao and on to Cartegena and maybe Panama. For that we need wind vane steering. Seems like the center cockpit presents a special problem but I've yet to understand why. Anybody out there with information please jump in. You can comment or email us directly. Email is in the sidebar.

I find the whole thing mechanically interesting. The wind vane moves in response to a change in heading. That force is too small to steer the boat directly so the vane's motion is transferred to a 'servo-pendulum' in the water. The force of the water on this pendulum is a huge force and can be used to steer the boat via ropes and pulleys. No electricity and we all know how much I like that idea!

Finally our April Birthday wishes to Gretchen Teyema who is somewhere between 6 and 18 this year. I lose track.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Grenada to Cariacou (Tyrell Bay)

First of all, someone call the fashion police! My new dive outfit to protect me from the dreaded barnacles!

Finally. Underway again! I’m too excited. We’ve been in Grenada for 7 months. Admittedly most of that was for me to work which then petered out but still that’s a LONG time for Capt. Me to not move. AND, winds are supposed to be east not north east for a change and our course to Cariacou is about 40 degrees true. We can do that!

Of course there’s not much wind in the lee of Grenada and what there is is heading us pretty badly. Motor and main. What else is new. But when we get north of the island surely we’ll find the easterly trades.

Right. If you call wind out of 45 degrees easterly. I hate all weather guys. Every source had winds from the east today and they missed it by 45 freaking degrees. That coupled with the west set to the current made for a long slow motor boat ride. . . Again!

BUT, the big news is that while hugging the coast of Grenada we caught a fish. A BIG fish. Now remember, I’m from Indiana where a 2 lb bass is a giant. We were just dragging a cedar plug on a hand line. I had about 50 feet out. I tied off the line and then pulled down a piece and clipped it to the lifeline with a clothespin. When a fish hits, the line straightens out and jumps off the clothespin and you know you have FISH ON and boy did we ever get FISH ON!

(click on pic to see the fish be even BIGGER!)

I put on my gloves and pulled up the line hand over hand while Sue throttled down and helped with the line on deck. When I pulled him out of the water I was shocked! He’s a beast! I estimate about 12 pounds of Jack. Horse Eye Jack to be exact. I tried killing him with rum (works for me!) but had to finish him off with the ball peen hammer. Not pretty. But man did I cut some huge slabs of filet off of this guy! That’s dinner tonight. . . And FREE!

We’re in Tyrell bay on the west side of Cariacou. Nice bay. We could see bottom to find a sand patch to drop anchor. Huge bay and only about 4 meters (400 centi-meters or 2.2 fathoms) deep for a large part of it. We’re not even launching dinghy tonight. Tomorrow we will and go explore shore a little. Fish dinner was to die for. Sue just baked Jack with some onion and spices on top. We could barely eat half of it.

Great to be moving! Even if it was with Mr. Perkins!

Finally, here comes another Cubs baseball season. Mismo already can't face it. Me either!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Little Things Can Mean A Lot

The cruising life means your boat always needs something. Sometimes it is something its needed since you bought it and sometimes it’s repairs. Sometimes you just finally understand what it is she needs. I tend to suffer (on occasion) from the misconception that if I can’t get the most expensive thing she needs then I wont get her anything she needs. Bad.

Enee needs a new head sail. That’s not going to happen this year nor probably next. But in the mean time there are little things that can be done to make our life a little more comfortable.

Two examples:

Our electrical panel is in the companionway across from the nav station. It has a smoked plastic door in front of it. At night if you want to turn something on or check battery voltage we had to feel around above the nav station to turn on that light to see what we were doing. A small thing but annoying. So, I put in a push button, normally closed, switch (like your refrigerator) in series with a 12 volt LED light inside the panel so that when you open the door, THE LIGHT GOES ON! Simple and installed with minimal swearing (one screw into the bilge. Not bad.).

I like the chart table but of course it is slanted meaning the charts, if unattended will slide off the table and onto the deck. Annoying. So, I took a hack saw blade and cut about a 5 inch hunk from each end. The ends have handy holes in them. I bent the piece into a C shape and put some electrical tape on the non-hole end. Screw this into the table and I have two clips to hold the charts! Nice.

Other things like this have happened in the past. Lighting: We now have lights inside the fridge and inside our pantry which is the large area behind the starboard settee. Boats should come with lights inside all the compartments. You can’t see what’s in those compartments in daylight not to mention trying to find a can of corn at night.

In other news. . . .

The crews from Enee Marie, Bellagio, High States, and Puddle Jumper made a trip to Mi Hacienda high in the hills above Grand Anse beach. What a wonderful restaurant. Merle the lady who owns the place says she was tired of being alone so opened her huge house as a restuarante/hotel. It’s gorgeous with a spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea and Grand Anse Beach. We had cocktails and snacks as the sun set and then tasty dinner. We were the only patrons and had the run of the place. Merle encourages guests to wander about the house which she still lives in. A fun evening and a must see place if you’re staying in Grenada.

There's Val (above) exploring the elegant living room.

Nice view. What a sunset!

Sue and are are fairly busy preparing to set sail on this coming Tuesday. Winds may finally shift out of the north-east and come from the east. Monday, Mismo will get her yearly rabies (do cats ever get rabies?) shot making her legal for air travel. Only big job remaining is to finish the motor mount for the outboard. We plan to explore maybe as far north as St. Lucia which we missed altogether on the way down. Troubling news from two little islands called Petite St. Vincent and Petite Martinique. Sue had stopped there when she was cheffing on the charter. She said it was very nice and a restaurant on Petite Martinique will pick up guests in either anchorage and bring them ashore. Well, we’ve heard two reports of glass bottles being thrown into the cockpit of anchored vessels there. On one of these occasions the glass bottle was filled with gasoline. Luckily no fire ensued even though 2 crew members were smoking cigars. Well, I guess I may strike that anchorage off my list. Too bad. Similarly the news out of Trinidad continues to decline. More crime. More bad attitude and the low prices of the past years are now on par with other places in the Caribbean. Why can’t we all just get along?

Finally, really kids, don't play with barnacles. Play with dad's power tools. Play with electricity. Play with fire but do NOT play with barnacles.

Doc says this looks good. Doctors are weird. Actually it is much better. I can go swimming tomorrow for which I have brand new protective gloves.