MARTINIQUE AND BEYOUND November 28, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Uncategorized.
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When there is no reason to know what day it is, you do not know what day it is. Well, we left Rodney Bay in St Lucia on Friday, I’m pretty sure, and arrived in Ste Anne, Martinique FWI. It is crowded. This whole year has been crowded. The town is like a picture and is surrounded by resorts. The most expensive is a Club Med.
Saturday we checked in and found the two bakeries. Well…, not so good. Sunday I did projects. Today the weather forecast has a weather window on Wednesday and Thursday and we hope to make Les Saints just south of Guadeloupe FWI. We will stay there a few days and move up the island of Guadeloupe to Deshaies. That’s “DAY HAY” We want to see a zoo that we missed the last time here. All right, how many people do you know that have been in the islands and went to a zoo. After that, and they have a good bakery, we will check out and go on to Antigua for Christmas.
There are several cruising friends that are going there for Christmas. That sounds like a good time.
After Christmas we pray for a weather window so we can get to St Barts for the biggest fireworks display in the islands for New Years Eve. That is my goal of the trip home. If you never hear from me again, I jumped ship. This is my island. There are 3 more beaches I have not been to on the island. Two of them, the seas have to be dead calm. They are open roadsteads with perfect white sand beach, a row of palms and surrounded by a hill that goes almost straight up. Go by boat or don’t go. So they say. The third one you have to take a cab to. Then the question is can you get to the beach. It is surrounded by a few resorts. One costs $28,000 per night. Might not want this old cruising riffraff hanging on their beach. Oh well.
Then it is off to Ste Maartin to stock up with supplies and spare parts to make the trip to Florida. Need a spare pump head for the water maker. A intake pump for the head. The current one is sounding very sick. Just hope it can last a couple months. Today the depth sounder seems to have had a stroke. It has power, but it does not do anything. It’s little brain is fried. That is one of those got to have items. Then of course I must have my Bristol to finish my brightwork. This will be our late Christmas. Let see the Mate/Water Czar get her spare pump head. She also gets the depth gage. She was not happy when this stopped working and the Captain could not fix it. I hate electronics that are sealed up with 3 wires coming out. Then there is the pump for the head. That one is for both of us. That is already TMI. The Bristol is for me. I like my shinny brightwork. Today the bilge pump seams to need a new impeller. Now we are starting to talk boat units. ($500).
Ah, it is a busy time of the year.
Just got to wifi. Saturday. Did Thurs but forgot.
RODNEY BAY, ST LUCIA W I November 16, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
By the time you get out of the anchorage and into the next one, this is an 80 mile trip. We were up at 3 and underway by 4 am. No moon, but lots of stars. In fact this was the first night I could see all the Big Dipper and the North star. We spent the summer at 11 degrees north, the North star is in the haze of the horizon. It is that time of year the Big Dipper could only be partially seen.
The sail started out with very light wind. The channel between Bequia and St Vincent has a good funnel effect between the islands. Gives you wind about 5 knots stronger then forecast and seas a foot or so larger. The stronger the wind and seas the larger the increase. The north end of St Vincent is the worst. This was our 4th time passing this area and we were dreading it. The forecast was for 10 knots of wind and 3 foot seas. It was really nice, we had 18 kts and 3-4 foot seas with the occasional 5 footer. The St Lucia Channel is probably 20 miles across. We had been motor sailing past St Vincent and even though we had plenty of wind for a good sail we kept the engine running and ran over 7-8 kts. plus made water and charged batteries. Rodney Bay is at the north end of St Lucia. We left about 4 am and arrived about 4 pm. That was a long watch. That was Thursday.
Checked in Friday, did some shopping, went to dinner Saturday, now that was an expensive one. It was neat. First there is a 1 hour ride, one way. There was 6 of us so we get free transportation in a large new air conditioned van. I know, some of you are facing winter, but it is still in the 80’s with that much humidity. A/C is a luxury you usually do not get taking hired transportation. The van drops us off at a ferry dock and we get a ferry ride across the bay to the restaurant snuggled in the mangroves. A delightful setting.
You got a choice of a 2 or 3 course meal. Because of the transportation, we had mandatory 3 course meals. The meal was a little fu-fuey, but at least the size of the meal was ok. Those that had Lion Fish thought there could have been more fish. If you have not tried Lion Fish, you must. Remember, I DO NOT EAT FISH. I have gotten to like fresh Mai Mai. No fish taste. Lion Fish have no fish taste. The two are very similar in texture. All is good.
There is some weather out in the Atlantic northeast of the islands and giving us 6+ foot seas. The mate is getting where she does not want anything over 3 foot. There is also a 4-5 foot swell coming out of the northeast from the low in the Atlantic. That all adds up to sitting here till Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Then it is on to Martinique.
HEADING NORTH November 9, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Uncategorized.
Got underway at 7 am for Carriacou. We motor sailed almost all the way. The wind lasted on the west side of Grenada for about 15 minutes. On the north side the wind picked up and the 3 foot seas were on the nose. That slows us down to a crawl. Therefore, we motor sailed all the way. That got us in early enough to check out with customs and immigration.
The reason for stopping in Carriacou was to go to a restaurant. We had not been there because the best restaurant of the whole trip was on the island. The last time we were there in the spring, they were closing down and moving back to England. Therefore we got to go to the second best restaurant on the island. One big step backwards. It was OK, but would not even make the list of favorites.
The next day our weather window was to hold till the afternoon and we could make another 40 miles to Bequia. Terril Bay in Carriacou is just a bay with a town around it. Some people like it and some of us do not understand why. The weather window was to close up for about 3 days, so we beat feet for Bequia. We both like the island. If we have to be stuck, be stuck someplace you like. Even in the rain.
We again motor sailed and got here just in time. About 2 miles out, the first squall hit with 30 knots wind and very heavy rain. There was a charter boat running along side us for half the trip. I slowed down and took in the mainsail before the squall hit. I noticed the charter boat did not have radar and I assumed no AIS. He wisely slowed down to be able to see us as we approached the island and it’s rocky coast. Radar does come in handy at times. The squall lasted about 15 minutes and then let up. We were now heading straight into the wind and seas and were lucky to maintain 4 kts. The boat beside us was a production boat and are made very light. He pulled in his sails and cranked up the engine and walked away from us.
After the first squall the weather turned nice again and I went in and checked in with customs. The afternoon and evening was nice until sometime in the middle of the night when the next squall hit. I never looked at the clock, but got up very fast to close my port. The wind shifted as the rain hit and it blew straight in on me. While up I went into the cockpit and check to make sure we were where I had left her when I went to bed. All was well except for the wind and rain. We had two more squall in the morning. I would estimate that the wind was about 30 kts. for all of them. This afternoon it was overcast, but dry. It is about 8:30 pm and a shower just passed. We are to have 2 more days of this and then another weather window to run up to St Lucia. Rodney Bay in St Lucia has world’s greatest hardware store, a good marine store, a real grocery store and a mall. Other then the thugery, what’s not to like. We will probably spend a day there and then move on to Martinique. That also has a real grocery store also and a discount place like Wall Mart. We will stock up there with what we missed in St Lucia.
Martinique is our first French island and I always look forward to them. They know how to make good food. And every place has a bakery. We should be there in a week, of course depending on the weather.
HERE WE ARE IN BEAUTIFUL, FRIENDLY GRENADA November 3, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Uncategorized.
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We hit 50% last week. The mechanic came a day late, had to go back to the shop and return, then removed the ram, and the bearing and left again for the shop. It is lunch time. 3 P.M., he is back. Not only does he have the ram, but the bearing assembly. Oh, it is also local Cruiser Halloween. That will become more important as time moves on.
5 minutes and the bearing assembly is in place. Start the generator and it runs smooth as a baby’s butt. Shut down the genset put on the belt guards and on to the ram.
The ram goes together as easy as the bearing assembly. 2 Pins, 2 cotter keys, 2 hoses and it is ready to be filled. The return trip in the morning was for the mechanic to get plugs to stop up the assembly where the hoses attach to the rest of the system. With out plugging the system can drain a few quarts of hydraulic oil. The system raises about 6 feet from the ram to the wheel and if drained would be a bear to refill and bleed out the air. Besides loosing a paper thin “O” ring all went together and adding a quart and a half of fluid with a turkey baster was pretty easy.
Did I mention Cruiser Halloween. It is a holiday that is not celebrated in all countries including Grenada. One of the Cruiser moms has taken it upon herself to coordinate getting 50 kids into dinghies and hauled around the anchorages to get candy. All without drowning anybody’s kids. Ages range from those that almost can sit up by themselves to mid teens. You know how it is getting your candy into those grasping hands standing on your stable porch. Here you have 6+ kids in a bouncing dinghy reaching up the 4 foot side of our boat to the lady of the boat looking at the invasion of kids and thinking, “I don’t have enough candy”! The Captain is taking pictures that may be seen on our Facebook.
Oh, do not forget the mechanic and his baster filling the reservoir for the steering. You have to see the invasion to believe it. So every once in a while he sticks his head up with his smart phone and snaps a couple pictures. The invasion lasts about 5 crazy minutes. Only miss step, one of the dinghy’s got the mechanic’s painter (the line you tie your dinghy up with. Like the rains of a horse and the hitching post) in his prop. No damage.
The Trick or Treaters are off to another boat. We sit down and realize we have 2 candy bars left. It was a great success. The mechanic is done charging the system and I turn the steering wheel from lock to lock while he bleeds the system of air and checks for leaks. This takes a little longer then the invasion, but is equally successful. Of course we will not really know until we are at sea in good size seas that can put real pressure on the system. One of the things about cruising, you do not really know until you know.
Ready, get set, wait…. What about the weather, Customs and all that stuff. It would be Saturday when we would be ready to check out and leave. On weekends you pay Customs overtime. Another word for tax. So one waits till Monday. Oh yea, it is suppose to be squally and stormy starting Sunday. We also would be anchored at an open roadstead. That means your anchored off the beach or in a bay that only has 3 sides. Not the best of situations. So here it is Monday and we have been sitting through beautiful weather punctuated by squalls and building seas. It has been a while, but remember, the Mate does not like, not only building seas, but any seas over 3 feet. Let see, Tuesday and Wednesday seas to 6 feet, Thursday dropping to 5 feet, Friday and into next week 4 feet. Those are doable by the Mate. The goal is Christmas in Antigua. Ho, Ho, Ho.
NOW THAT WAS A DEPRESSING BLOG October 26, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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Someone read that and they would never go cruising and enjoy one of the most wonderful things you can do in your life. This is a trip through paradise and you get to push along the way. Makes you slow down and smell the ros…, tropical flowers. This is a hoot. Those of you that dream about it, make it happen. Those that think your dream is beyond, reach for it.
Any way, what have I done this week. What I told you last week, but it got worse, and better. I did put a ring of stuffing into the rudder shaft stuffing box. Then ran the rudder back and forth and discover the hydraulic ram seal was gone and I was pumping hydraulic fluid into the bilge. Ok, that one is beyond me, call the mechanic. Yes I could do that, but I do not have the tools to do it.
Well I was going to call the mechanic anyway. We have been chasing a active oil warning light for over a year on the outboard. Well we got it down to a glitch in the computer. What the hell is a 10 H.P. outboard doing with a computer. Ask the EPA. This is a 4 cycle engine that runs clean. It does burn less fuel then its 2 cycle brother, and is quieter. It also has a $400 computer with glitches. It cost about twice as much to buy, and God help you if you need to have anything major done. There are certain states in the US that require you to buy only a 4 cycle engine. You could not give one away in the rest of the world. In fact you would have to pay someone to take it. They won’t even steal them. They weigh a lot more then a 2 cycle. You could use it for an anchor. Look up what these things cost and then compute the percentage cost for a sick computer and labor to replace it. A big percentage of the total cost.
That’s right, I was calling the mechanic for stuff I could not do. My generator…, if you remember the one the bearing went out on a year ago and destroyed the generator side of the genset. Well it starting making a ringing sound when running. I could not figure out where it was coming from. I always thing the worst, so I am using my laser thermometer to look for hot spots in the engine. All is well temp wise. The mechanic comes and, WAHOO, it is not a journal bearing or other expensive part. It is the tensioner pulley bearing. So the score board is one for Ralph, the genset. One for the mechanic. I do have a seal kit for the hydraulic ram. Still labor intensive. And one for the future. The outboard computer.
Other wonderful things. Bright work. You knew I was going to say something. Since there is no Bristol in this part of the world, I will make do. That’s what you do in these parts. The taft rail has 4 coats of varnish and 3 coats of Bristol. That’s all it will get till the Bristol shows up at the same place I am. I pulled the masking tape on the rail this afternoon. The boat cap rail has 4 or 5 coats of varnish. If we have a nice day before we leave, it will get another coat or so of varnish. 7 coats max. Then it to will wait for Bristol. I had ¾ of a quart of Bristol. I had 4 coats of varnish on the cockpit cap rail. Today I put on 3 coats of Bristol starting at 6:30 a.m. That took me till 9:a.m. The sun was then to hot on the wood and I could not help but get shrinkage. So the next time it is not raining at 6:30 a.m. and does not look like it will rain for 4 hours, I will put on the last coat of Bristol. Till then it will look like somebody did not know what they were doing, did the work.
The boat cap rail looks fantastic. I can still lay on a great coat of varnish.
The mate wants to leave. Thinks we will not make the Bahamas by April 1, the start of the grandkid’s spring break. The appointed time of meeting of grandkid and grandma. The earth will shake. That is a thousand miles away and there are things to do and places to see. A zoo, a fire works display, hopefully some great down wind sailing. Good restaurants and bakeries. Back through the French Islands.
We are ready. Hope the mechanic and the weather cooperates. Then we will be out of here either Friday of Saturday. Eager to go sailing, more than very sad to leave this part of the world.
BUILDING UP THE FINISH October 19, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Caribbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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The Cap Rail. The one that got wet. Many of the blisters were down to the bare wood. I tried sanding out the holes and building up with varnish one coat a day. That looked terrible. I then tried sanding a larger area and blending the varnish in. Well, now I went from pot marks to larger red areas. That also looked terrible. I have now wasted better then half a quart of $89 US Bristol and several hours of work on different days. All this time I am seeing more blisters with each sunny day. The heat gun I borrowed went back to its owner and they left for Trinidad. I found 2 other heat guns I could borrow and got one and took the cockpit cap rail back down to bare wood…, again.
I started putting Bristol on the taft rail yesterday and got the third coat of Bristol on this morning. I decided that part of the problem is that the wood gets to hot during the middle of the day. Therefore, yesterday first coat was on by 10 am. No blisters. Today the second and third coat were put on by 8 a.m. So far so good. I only have about ¾ quart of Bristol left. I will let the taft rail cure for a few days, do a final sand and put on a 4th coat. That will have to do till I can get some more. I will put the varnish on the cockpit cap rail and if I have enough Bristol put on 2 or 3 coats.
The boat cap rail will have to suffer through 7 coats of varnish and hope I can find some Bristol before it start to degenerate in the tropical sun. The local store that carries Bristol say it should be in on the boat the first of the month. That is the same thing they said in September. That order still is not in. I got mine sent up from Trinidad. Now they do not have any either.
So what did I do this week. Nothing but scrape and sand. Sand some more. And then varnish a little. The score: Boat cap rail, 2 coats of varnish. The taft rail, 4 coats of varnish, 3 coats of Bristol. The cockpit cap rail. 3 coats of varnish, 3 coats of Bristol, scraped and sanded back to bare wood.
The mate wants to sell the boat and buy a condo in the mountains by the grandkid. If it was not so damn cold there 9 months a year, maybe. 2 problems. I get cold at 79 degrees. We ran the generator all day for the heat gun and sanders. The mate runs the air conditioning. We just turned the systems off after making it through dinner. It is 79 degrees and I am looking to put on a tee shirt. It was 78 this morning when I went out to start working. Had a tee shirt on for 2 reasons. First to keep the sun from frying off my skin, and secondly, it was chilly out.
The mate says I can just stay inside when its cold out. My winter clothes consist of 3 long sleeve tee shirts, 3 pair of blue jeans, 2 jackets and a heavy foul weather jacket. A few months ago we were talking about staying in the islands forever and told our son to through away the last of the things we had from our house days. Not much, but it did include a box of winter clothes. Now remember, we lived in Florida for 38 years, and so our winter clothes are Florida winter clothes. They do not handle 40 above let alone 40 below.
Stay inside. It seams I am an active sort of guy. After all where are we and how did we get here. I am blessed to be able to do what it takes to do this life style. Sanding and scraping, maintaining 2 diesels and an outboard. Scrub the bottom, scrape the prop. Clean the bottom of the dinghy. Cleaning the boat hull and decks. Current list that keeps being added to and never goes away, finish bright work. That is the scraping, sanding and varnishing I have been belaboring. Re-stuff rudder stuffing box. Check out bounding system, exercise the forward head. It is rarely used. Shorten the 2 mizzen back stays. Resin over the balancing tape on one of the blades on the wind generator. Yes that is up the mast, mix resin, apply over the torn up tap very thinly so the balance is better then it is. I do not even remember the last time I was up the masts to do a good inspection. I need to clean the bottom and take photos of the prop for an experimental coating we are using. Have to send them to the company that makes the product.
All this makes me tired. Night.
GOLLY IT CAN RAIN HERE October 13, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Uncategorized.
Still working on the teak. The last area for the heat gun and scraper is the cap rail around the boat. I thought it should take 3 days. I started Sunday. Skipped church because it was a beautiful day. Should not have done that. The rains came. I ended up finishing on the next Sunday afternoon. The rains stopped after a night of ridicules steady downpour. It rained also on a Sunday about a year ago, but not as hard or as long. People on the radio net were making comment about it being day one of forty. Well I got the last 40 feet of cap rail done starting about 3 PM. I then did the first sand on about 80 feet of cap rail. Remember the boat is 46 feet long and about 13.5 feet wide. That makes for a little more then 100 feet of cap rail. Most of which you have to hang over the rail to get the underside.
Today is Monday and the sanding is finished and it has been washed. I finally got the Bristol today, 2 weeks late. No problem, I could not have used it anyway. I will try to get started on the Bristol tomorrow. The mate is going grocery shopping in the morning and I will try to see what has to be done to the cockpit cap rail that got rained on before it was dry. Since then water blisters have migrated to the surface. I have been popping them as they show up. I will sand the rail and see if I can remove all sign of the blisters without having to start over. It that goes well, I will then start on the Taft rail. That is the one with the spindles.
When the mate gets back we will mask the hull so the cap rail can be varnished and Bristoled. That should shoot the day. Wednesday is supposed to be a varnishing day according to the weather man. But what does he know. One is to put 7 coats of Bristol on the wood. I may only do 4 and wait till we get to St Martins. Things are duty free there. You do not have to even pay the VAT tax. All duty free for things going on a boat that is leaving. I paid $125 US per quart here. I will only pay $86 US in St Martin. We will see how it goes. The stuff does not keep once it is opened.
Friday a squall came through and a boat in front of us drug anchor and tripped our anchor. So it is blowing 35 kts an driving rain while we are trying to re-anchor. Just finished re-anchored and the next squall hits. Sure enough, I had anchored in silt and clay and start dragging again. This time we went across the bay and pretty much outside the bay. This was to hide behind the reef to get away from the seas that enter the bay. That worked for the seas, but we are exposed to a fetch that starts in Africa. Big wind. But with 250 feet of chain out we held.
Good thing. Friday night the real squalls start. Between 3 am and 4 am I am standing in the cockpit with a swimsuit and fowl weather jacket on as it is blowing and raining so hard you can not look into the wind. We held. I must admit that when I set the anchor, it stuck like I have not felt in a long time. There were a couple more squalls before it cleared off some Saturday morning. I set a second anchor. It is not as solid as the main anchor, but every little bit counts. Really good thing.
Saturday night the squalls got serious. This was the beginning of day one of forty. The wind did not seam as bad, but the rain was unbelievable. It rained as hard as I have seen it for 4 hours straight. We found a leek in the boat. It is where one of the scuppers goes through the gunnel. Got to fix it one of the days. Right now there is masking tape over it and it held through the heavy rain.
These squalls were part of a tropical wave that passed over the Windward and Leeward islands. All this while I am trying to get the boat ready to head north. Ah the cruising life.
BRISTOL MAYBE October 6, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Uncategorized.
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The boat came in today and the store says we should have the Bristol from customs tomorrow afternoon. They will then deliver it to our marina. That is nice. Tomorrow we are having a small tropical wave come through with showers. That may help to cool it down. The wind has been strong as the sun comes up then dies down through out the day. We are anchored out by the headland and get some strong gusts along with the dying breeze. The temps have actually got to 90 degrees and the humidity has gone up with the temps. Hotter longer with more humidity then last year. By this time last year the evening had started to cool down. It is still 85 sticky degrees out and it is 8 pm.
Today I got the 4th seal coat of varnish on my taft rail. That is the part with the spindles. Now all I need is 7 coats of Bristol and that will finish phase 2. Yesterday I started at 6:30 with sanding and a coat of varnish. I have been doing the 6:30 am routine for the past week so I can get the tedious stuff done before it gets really hot. Yesterday I started on the main cap rail that goes around the boat. I do that in the afternoon when I have shade from the awning. That has worked the last two days. Now I start an area that is not in the shade. Not looking forward to that.
We have 2 tropical waves this week with the one starting on Friday having squalls with it. They will blow 30+ knots. Tomorrow will have lighter rains blowing in the mid 20’s. Therefore as the sun went down I took down the awning. In the morning I am taking the shopping bus to the hardware store and the boat store to get supplies to finish this miserable task.
All the scraping has been done with the aid of a heat gun. That means we run the generator. When the generator is on the air conditioning is on. The mate disappears below with a book and her A/C.
I am trying to get done in time to leave for the island north before our visa expires around the 20th. That cost EC$70 for 3 months. Even if you leave the next day, still 70 EC.
We will miss Halloween which is to bad. There must be twice as many kids around this year. Lots of boats with 3 kids, 2 dog and a cat. I do not understand.
My work list is getting bigger while the varnishing is taking over my life. Several of the items on the list must be taken care before we leave. We will be heading back to the states this coming year. Mary wants to be in the Bahamas by April 1st. Grandkid’s spring break. We do not plan to be back to the US until around July 1st. We plan to spend the Hurricane season in the Gulf and then when it gets cold head back to the Bahamas. Actually hope the government will take the final restrictions off going to Cuba. I really want to go early after all restrictions are taken off. I feel the US developers are poised on our shores ready to make Havana look like Miami Beach. I first want to see it the way it is.
SPINDLES September 28, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
I may have mentioned that there are 15 spindles surrounding our aft deck. That is where we have been for the last week. Using a heat gun to remove the old varnish then sand it with 80 and 120 grit sand paper. Then it is washed the day before the first coat of varnish and then wiped down with acetone the morning you start. Tomorrow I start the varnishing. I put on 3 coats of varnish then seven coats of Bristol. That is a two part acrylic type of clear coat. I swore I would never use it again, but here I go. I ran out after three coats of Bristol on the cockpit cap rail. I have been waiting for the boat to come in. It is suppose to be here next Monday. That will give me plenty of time to put down the varnish coats.
Once this is finished, I only have the cap rail that goes around the main deck to do. That is fairly easy, normally. I have always been able to do it from a pier. This time I will have to lay over the rail to reach the outside of the rail. I usually have to visit a chiropractor after this. We will see.
I am still giving it some thought as to whether I should do the cap rail at all. Sitting here I can think it really does not need it. Then in the bright sun, I know it looks terrible and needs to be done.
On the social side, we had 7 friends over for heavy hor’ederves and bring your own poison. I have no idea how you spell that and neither does spell check. You know what I mean. Little meat balls, dips, ham and cheese rolled up. That kind of stuff. We had a lot of fun. One of our guest has left for Trinidad and then they are going back to the USVI to pick up his meds and get checked over. He had open heart surgery about 8 years ago and still gets checked up. After he gets checked up they are off to the Sand Blast Islands near Panama. They have been there before and think it is the best. They have been out here 6-7 years. Real Cruisers.
Have I mentioned how warm it has been. The last couple weeks there has been a tropical storm Ida drifting around north of the Caribbean. It has shut off the trade winds. What normally plows 15-20 knots is now blowing 5-10 knots. Not enough to keep the boat cool. The water is probably in the mid 80’s. You jump in then get out and stand in the wind to cool down. Repeat as needed.
We have dinghy drifts on the night of the full moon. Well last night there was an eclipse, blood moon, harvest noon, and some other things that will not happen again till 2033. I doubt I need to worry about that one.
Time for bed. After finishing sanding this morning, I filled the aft fuel tank. I carry the fuel from the marina to the anchored boat in 5 gallon jerry cans. I have been doing this since I got bad fuel in the Bahamas. I use a filter to make sure there is no water or junk in the fuel. Tomorrow after varnishing I will fill the forward tank. I put 30 gallons in the aft tank and need about 20 gallons in the forward tank. I am getting old for throwing around those jerry cans. Knock on wood, I have not had fuel problems now for about a year and a half. Having your engine stop due to bad fuel when you need your engine is not fun. It took quite a bit of rough sailing before I had problems when going into an anchorage in Puerto Rico. Clogged up filters and burned up fuel pump. About 3 hours of hot messy work before I got it going again. I do change fuel filters a lot more often then I used to. I also drain the water separator at the same time.
A BUSY WEEK September 21, 2015Posted by sailingnightwatch in Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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I finished prepping the cockpit cap rail. That included 3 coats of varnish. Then I got 3 coats of Bristol laid on before I ran out of Bristol. Today I found out that not only did I run our, but the whole island is without. Their boat comes in around the first week in October. In the mean time I have started on the second and worst phase. That is the taft rail around the back of the boat. Back to the borrowed heat gun and running the generator.
Today I put the finishing coat of varnish on the wheel. I do that at least once a year. I took it down to bare wood when we first got the boat. Swore I would never do that again. It is an old fashion style wheel with 12 spokes ran through 2 rings and the hub. The kind of wheel that people use for coffee tables. It took me a week to take it to bare wood, working with it fastened to a work bench. Just to many little parts that you have to scrape and sand. So todays projects were a light sanding and varnishing of the wheel and changing oil in the generator so it is ready to run the heat gun and sanders.
On the social side of last week, we went to a birthday party for one of the ladies we had dinner with the previous week. We did that at the restaurant at the marina. It was hamburger night, so we all had hamburgers. That was a fun evening.
Thursday we did a tour. We started at the largest distillery on the island. It is called Clarks Court Distillery. They produce at least a dozen different brands of rum. During the 50’s it was a sugar refinery with rum as a by product. The sugar industry was died, therefore, rum became the main product using molasses for its sugar. The molasses is imported from South America.
The old sugar refining equipment is still there and it has been turned into a museum. I have been in several sugar refineries mostly dating from the slave period. It is a labor intensive crop and Grenada is a very rugged island and does not have a lot of flat land to raise a large crop like cane.
After touring the sugar end of the plant, you move into the distilling part. That is a transition from large steam driven roll crushers to large vats, lots of piping and separation towers. Just a little larger scale then they had back home in the woods. They import I believe 100,000 gallons of molasses a year and distill a good number of gallons of pure alcohol. This is then blended into the various products they sell. Some of them are very good. I did not realize they have a distiller like a brewery has a brew master. He is responsible for the consistency and quality of the alcohol. That gives him the base for blending the various products. It is a continuous process, but like making paint, there is slight variations from keg to keg. It is aged in used whisky kegs. After they uses the kegs a few times they are made into furniture.
After visiting the sampling room for a while, we headed up into the rain forest for lunch and the next adventure of the day. Lunch was very good.
After lunch we went tubing down this river. Rapids, rocks, boulders, deep pools, the hole bit. Both the mate and I capsized once. I banged a knee and elbow, but no blood, so I survived. It was fun. I do not like going into the rapids backwards, but that seems to be the way God intended. You have to hang out arms and legs to push off rocks to get headed the right way and keep your rear end up so it does not bounce of the rocks. I would do it again. The mate, not so sure. Kind of like “been there, done that”.
So much for that week, time to get back to the scraping and sanding.
Make sure to look at my Facebook page for the pictures of the day.