Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cat Tales on Hard, Crew in Canada

Well, it was a whirlwind after St. Georges, mostly involving the work of decommissioning the boat and putting it away.

We managed a few meals with friends, a second HASH (walk/run), and a cooking demonstration, though.  Interestingly, the cooking demonstration at True Blue resort turned out to be about cooking conch, so we have finely tuned our cooking conch protocol, and are ready for next year.  We'll save you from the rest, however.

Haulout on May 4th went well at Spice Island Marine in Grenada. The work on the water and in the boatyard was difficult for us; and we put in very long days.  It was not too bad with evenings in air conditioned comfort at our little room at Cool Running Apts. 

Laurie's birthday was celebrated at Timbers with friends for a lovely meal out after a hot and sweaty workday on the boat!  Timbers is the restaurant in the boatyard, only a 5 minute walk from our rented apartment.

The flight home on May 9th was also comfortable and without significant event, although customs and security lineups in Toronto were outrageous, and we had to stay over one night in Toronto unexpectedly  due to a flight change. 

All was found to be well at the cottage, with no failures or problems with any systems or the structure.  As well, as a result of a rather mild winter, we found all our friends to be in good spirits.  A special thanks to Hugh and Liz who checked on our place and picked up our mail for 6 months!  Laurie has been thrown into the chores at the cottage and within the neighbourhood, and Dawn is setting up to assist Jean, her mother, in a major move from condo to retirement home.

Poor Laurie in over 40 degree temperatures on his birthday!
 The big story with the boat was the changing out of the old diaphragms in the saildrives.  The diaphragms keep the sea out of the boat while allowing the engine and drive leg to vibrate and move.  The primary one is a very heavy piece of reinforced rubber in a disc with a hole for the leg, held in place against the hull by the bolts of a retaining ring, and against the saildrive by being sandwiched between the upper and lower assembly of the leg and related transmission.  The secondary one is a thinner rubber membrane held onto the upper portion of the retaining ring and the upper portion of the transmission by special steel rings not unlike giant hose clamps.  Between these is a screwed in sensor that tells if one or the other has allowed water into the interstitial space.

Removing these suckers was hard work, involving the unbolting of the engine from the saildrive and moving it forward (onto bits of lumber scrounged in the boatyard), the complete removal of the saildrive, and the dismantling of the saildrive on a scrounged table under the boat.  It was heavy, hot, dirty, hard work; and I am proud that we were able to do it.

Now here is the bad part.  There is no difference in the new and old diaphragms.  I could wipe off the old ones and sell them as new, even though they are 20 years old.  The manufacturer said they should have been replaced 15 years ago, but in fact there seems to be little known history of failure from fatigue.  So there we are, a job done well that maybe shouldn't have been done at all.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sitting Outside St. Georges, Grenada

Internet, the Caribbean way!

We have been sitting here near St. Georges since Tuesday, six days ago.  We've been rather consumed with chores since:  laundry, cleaning and waxing, cleaning and boraxing (inhibits mould), and working through any chores that need not be done on the hard.
Hey kids, put your devices away and talk to each other!!  The gentleman on the right, Chris Doyle, is the author of the guide books we all use here in the Caribbean. He updates his guides on a regular basis and is always working!  He's a bit of a celebrity here as he sails his catamaran, Ti Knot! (Petit Canoe) up and down the island chain.
Shortly after writing a weblog from Tyrell Bay, we began a friendship with Al and Brenda of s/v Haven, who we got used to hearing on the FOD weather net and felt we ought to say hello.  They had sailed into Tyrell specifically to be hauled out for a repair - their welding, inside of the rudder, had parted; and their rudder was slipping around on their rudder-post pretty badly.  Well, they had been chumming around with our new friends Gil and Diana of s/v Sarenata, with whom we had explored parts of Dominica.  Days later, Saronata arrived with another boat, s/v Harmonium Cays with Phil and Krista.  Suddenly, we're part of a bigger group again, with eating, drinking, and long hikes.  Oh, we also maintained a previously-made relationship with two interesting Brits aboard s/v Inga.  Our quiet time in Tyrell went by much too quickly, and not at all quietly. 

One thing we got done in Carriacou was the acquisition of some conch (called lambi in these regions) and an attempt at cooking it.  What we finally decided to do was:  1.  Rinse and clean conch in lime juice;  2.  Beat the conch to make it less chewy;  3.  Cook it in a pressure cooker with garlic and a little lime and water for 20 minutes;  4.  Dice and apportion it to use it in different recipes.   We have stewed it with coconut milk and curry, and have had it on a pizza.  It has been great, but next time we will beat it less and cook it for a shorter time - it was actually not chewy enough.  We now will not pass Carriacou without purchasing 3 pounds of conch!
Not too pretty at this stage.  We had to ask a marine park ranger if there was anything we should cut off these nasty looking critters!  The guy told us that all parts were to be left on, so we did!
After beating it with the end of a wine bottle for a bit, we pressure cooked it with lots of garlic.
Once cooked, the conch was cut into tidbits to use in any recipe we desire.

Last night, we stopped work and went on a Hash with Phil and Krista.  Great fun as usual:  strenuous hiking, good socializing, and excellent Grenada scenery.
Last week on another hike along the coast of Carriacou, part of the Grenada Grenadines
 Tomorrow, we hope to find light winds to allow us to get around the corner and into Prickly Bay.  We will then tidy up our last chores and await our haulout, scheduled for May 4th.  However, tonight, it is conch pizza with guests, Phil and Krista, who are anchored just behind us.
After Brenda blew out a sandal, MacGyver (aka Laurie) was on the job with a bit of line, carried in our knapsacks for just this purpose!
Ta da!!


Just before we left Tyrell Bay, the windlass came apart (which was the idea.  I have been trying to get it apart for a decade).  Although the solvent was expected to deal with the ceasing in a week, I worked at it for six weeks:  banging and spraying at least once per day.  Finally the spool came off, and I began working on the gypsy.  I actually took the gypsy off one half at a time; the second half even required a couple hours of digging between the parts with a drywall knife.  Ultimately it all came off, to reveal how it is supposed to work.  The shaft holds a flange, and a rough disk fits between the flange and the gypsy.  When the spool is tightened onto the shaft, it drives the gypsy and the rough disk hard against the flange, allowing the motor to spin the gypsy.  When loosened, the gypsy spins free to allow a manual working of the assembly.  All the time we have owned it, the gypsy has been frozen to the rough disk and the disk frozen to the flange.  Finally it is free, and we can take the gypsy off when we want and see if it needs to be replaced.  There is a suspicion that it has worn, and that we have to replace the chain prematurely to allow it to work without problems.
The windlass (device used to bring up the chain and anchor) was causing us troubles.  We think the gypsie is worn making the chain slip.  Consequently, the chain bounces all over the place while hauling up the anchor making it a dangerous situation!  We have been buying new chain every 3 years at 1,000.00 US a pop!

The windlass half-way taken apart.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Grenadines of St. Vincent

Cat Tales landed in Tyrell Bay again yesterday, and is sitting over clear water on a beautiful patch of sand.  The boat motion is diminished once more, and sleep is deeper.  The trip over from Frigate Island was lovely, with little water on deck, and the boat flying under jib alone at 6 knots.  No fish!

Laurie and I have given the small islands in the Grenadines limited time over the past few years, but because we have a little time on our hands, we decided to leave Bequia and visit the islands of Mayreau, Union, and Petit Martinique.

After a lovely stay in sweet Bequia, we picked a weather window and headed south for Mayreau.  We covered our visit to Mayreau in our last blog.  After leaving Mayreau, we headed over to Union Island to the west side and spent 3 nights in Chatham Bay.  Chatham Bay cannot see the phone towers, so we enjoyed the days and nights of total isolation.  We did share our time with Eric and Jackie of s/v Compass Rose, with whom we hiked and had a couple of meals.
A view of Chatham Bay from our hike
Eric and Jackie from s/v Compass Rose

One meal in particular actually haunts us after the fact.  Chatham Bay isn't just isolated by phone and internet; it is difficult to drive into and is a long motorboat ride as well.  Still, there are now five different restaurants offering barbecuing services as well as a few fishing families that have thrown up rather squalid shelters.  We have mentioned in past years eating at these barbecue spots, but as the prices became rather affected by what a group of charterers might pay, we stopped patronizing them.  Well, Jackie, being rather challenged to find a good deal, went ashore and arranged a barbecue lunch from one of the fishing shacks, not the regular barbecue shacks, for a significantly lower price than the going rate.  The four of us showed up, paid for nice cold beers, and sat at a dirty plywood table under a tree as our meal arrived.  Nice rice and potato salad, and rather skimpy ribs and chicken, but not bad.  Only afterward did we start thinking that we had broken some rules - not with the community - just our own.  If they don't have a bathroom, we don't go; if they don't have running water in which to wash vegetables, pots and pans, and their own hands before preparing a meal, we don't go.  If they do not have constant refrigeration, we shouldn't go, and certainly shouldn't eat potato salad.  Well, we did get what we paid for, and we are not ill; but we did get nervous after that meal.  It was fun, too.  We sat among goats, chickens, cats, and a dog; all very interested in our food.  One goat had to be shooed off regularly - they said he was a problem in that he often jumps onto the table during the meals.  So, yes, we kept our eye on him.  Old men sat and watched us, and one brought out a drum and insisted on entertaining us (for tips). 

From Chatham Bay, the two boats motor-sailed upwind an hour or so to get to the two little islands of Petite Martinique and Petite St. Vincent.  Although barely a half mile apart, one belongs to St. Vincent, and one belongs to Grenada.  In between is a beautiful sand bar that holds anchors like it is in love.  We are in love with the views and colours, and have been there often.  However, the spring "new moon" brought outrageous currents through the anchorage such that one would fear swimming, and choppy waves that had Cat Tales dancing day and night.  We hiked Petite Martinique the next day, and had a lovely lunch at a place called Melody's (fantastic conch roties); then we abandoned the anchorage for a downwind run back to Frigate Island at Union Island.  After two days of hiking and visiting Clifton, we checked out and sailed here to Tyrell Bay. 
Getting to the end of our hot and hilly hike on Petit Martinique...cold beers are almost in sight!
The water in the anchorage was so beautiful, it was difficult to leave!
Anchored at Frigate Rock in Union Island.  Laurie, Dawn & Eric checking out one of the last pieces of pavement we have hiked.  All uphill to get to the end of the road, of course!
Laurie and Eric walking the concrete road downhill back towards the anchorage.  This is a section that we didn't share with goats or cows!

We have time to kill, high winds coming, and a low wind opportunity to visit and snorkel at Sandy Island on the north side.  Laurie wants to buy some raw conch and try to learn how to cook it - I, of course, encourage that!  We probably will not leave here to go to St. Georges for a week. 
We see these spots from time to time on Union Island, where people set up a sunshade and make aggregate for concrete by hand!


(Laurie)  I am still attempting to free up the corroded windlass to allow the removal of the gypsie.  Every day, I spray with PB Blaster, tap it with a hammer, then install the manual handle and beat it with a rubber hammer.  What should have taken a week has stretched on to a month - but who would argue that my stubbornness might not prevail.  I may try a torch on it, but that will wait another month for the boatyard, when I can have a water hose by my side.

I have been attempting to equalize the new batteries.  My only tool is the solar panels and the Blue Sky regulator.  The 2005 solar panels used to give me 16 amperes, but now they provide only 12.  I was able to bring them to a boil by separating them, and now I can get them to bubble as a group - but it happens at 14.5 volts, which is rather low.   Oh well, they are never below 12.5 volts when in use, except for minutes.

All other systems are working dandy!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Day in Mayreau, St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Dawn and I enjoyed the regatta in Bequia.  We hoped for good pictures, but all we have is great crowds of white sails, far away, taken with a shitty camera, the replacement we bought in Dominica after ours took a salt water swim.  Yes, no enthusiasm.

We did enjoy going into the regatta meetings and celebrations with our signature Mount Gay Rum red hats (primary sponsor), and chatting up sailors and participants we know or just met.  It made us wish we were racing.

We did a little more hiking after Peace and Plenty and Silk Pajamas left, just enough to keep in shape.  One picture we did get was of a giant object in the water along the boardwalk.  The water conditions and sun angle allowed a good look at it, and we realized we were looking at a giant wooden rudder and rudderpost, probably from some ancient wooden vessel.  Funny how we probably had walked by that for years.
Giant Rudder and Post along walkway in shallows

Saturday, picking the first day of a weather window, we left Bequia and had a 5 hour sail to Saline Bay, Mayreau.  The waves were pretty bumpy, but the wind was only 12-18.  We kept our speed below 6 knots, and the passage was nice enough.  Lots of salt on deck but not really violent.  A rag cleanup followed by a shower overnight, left us pretty clean again.  We should have fished, but were both thinking of shore meals, I think.  Catching and cleaning a fish when you can't stay in one place with two feet and a hand is not a fun thought.

Yesterday, we hiked Mayreau, primarily to see what had changed in the 3-4 years since we had been here.  We walked the new roads, saw a few new buildings, and just enjoyed the quiet walking.  The views of blue and azure water, the close islands of the Tobago Keys, Canouan, Palm, and Union were all breathtaking.  The old Catholic church is still in excellent shape, but it has been joined by two rival religious groups to divide up the tiny population of this little island.  However, there was a jump-up on the beach last night to celebrate the Caribbean Cricket team's domination of the World Cup (both the mens' team and the womens' team), and the extra divisions and worshipping didn't seem to be affecting anyone negatively.   Adults were dancing while the children practiced their cartwheels.
Dawn, overlooking the Tobago Cays at the lookout behind the little old Catholic Church

We noted that the continuing construction of a christian youth mission had destroyed the remains of the old and only plantation house, and the best lookout on the island.  Somebody's idea of progress, I guess.
Kite surfing east of Saltwhistle Bay
A major investment in an unused road
We found the concrete benches we used to sit on at the lookout on top of Mayreau, by the plantation house ruin.  They are now outside the Catholic church.
 We had lunch at Dennis' Hideaway, a place we had always meant to try.  Dennis cooked filleted and butterflied red snapper, and Dawn said it was the best fish she has ever had; and for once was not missing the chicken.  Sadly, the beer was $9 EC, and not even very cold.  Still good, and we had another round.  The beer is usually between 5 and 7 EC, so it was the highest priced yet!  Bear in mind, these are tiny beers, maybe 2/3 the size of a bottle of beer at home.
Wattle and Daub house - really just a stick and mud hut.  Many locals were still living in these within our lifetime.
The interpretive plaque for the "mud hut".
After this message is posted, we intend to put the jib up, and make the one-hour sail to Chatham Bay, Union Island.  We believe we may have some friends there who might want to do a hike today.  The towers don't reach Chatham Bay, so our phone and data plan will be useless.  We'll be back in touch in 3-5 days.
Nothing like a couple of containers off a passing ship to be the basis of a good 3 car garage!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bequia, Waiting for the Easter Regatta

A view of Admiralty Bay, Bequia from one of our hikes up the hill

We're sitting well out from town in our usual spot off a bit of a bluff between the two beautiful beaches: Tony Gibbons Beach and Lower Bay Beach.  It is a great place to watch the races that will start in two days, and allows us to go snorkeling on the reef.  Those who are Facebook friends know that I have an article published about the snorkeling published in the Caribbean Compass for March.  You can download the Compass each month, if you wish.  We find it a great read.

While looking for a last thing to do in St. Lucia last week, and needing some exercise, Brian suggested the four of us take a bus into Castries and explore the little mountain called Vigie.  Vigie is a French word that means lookout, and in this case the mount stands just at the entrance to Castries Harbour, providing a great place to control the entrance both for military and traffic management reasons.  The mount has included a historic lighthouse, a major military presence, cannon and batteries, and these days, as the entrance goes right by the end of the airport runway, a radio station that tells ships and sailboats when they can enter port without interfering with landing planes.
The lighthouse at Vigie in Castries, St. Lucia
Brian at Meadow's Battery, which has bolt patterns suggesting it served a number ages of warfare.
Our bus stopped near the far end of the runway, and we hiked the length of the airport and on up the hill, stopping to admire old buildings that presently house coffee shops, government offices, and foreign embassies.  At the very top, we found the lighthouse and got to talk to the radio operator, James, who's distinctive voice we have heard for years controlling the traffic on VHF radio, channel 16.  On our way down, we took a side street just to extend the hike, and found a fantastic large old ruin that had to be a major barracks, a cookhouse, and a latrine.  Further on, we found a major battery facing the harbour entrance.  After a great exploration of all this, we retraced our steps and noticed that there was an archives building along the street.  We also noticed (embarrassingly late) that the other buildings and even the archives were of the exact same architecture as the amazing ruined barracks.  We marched in, and started asking questions of the attendant.  We scored a complete 1945 map of the Vigie Mount, two well arranged history books, and a file on a well known WWII submarine attack that sank two ships in harbour.  Brian and I poured over our findings, realizing that most of the buildings were from the mid to late 19th century, and that the sub attack was well documented, including efforts by the Battery and lookouts to locate the sub before, during and after the attack and to bring revenge with no joy.  On our way back to the bus stop, we inadvertently found the war graves in the domestic grave yard, which included four sailors from each ship sunk by the Germans in the harbour. 
The former local troops barracks, in ruins
Laurie and Brian engrossed in maps and documents

Our camera was not up to the chore; so next year we'll retrace our steps and document the hike properly another article for the Caribbean Compass.

Our sail from Rodney Bay to Bequia was beautiful, and actually was done over 3 days with stops in anchorages in Marigot Bay and Canaries along St. Lucia's west shore.  We were joined by Lorna and Brian, and left Canaries at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, March 15th.  No fish, but a lovely sail.
On a hike in Marigot, St. Lucia, Dawn pointing out the long windy road that she and Judy Roy walked a few years ago to pick up beer!
Catching up with Silk Pajamas, who was in harbour was great, and with them and Lorna and Brian, we did some hiking and a couple of great meals ashore.  One great meal was at The Fig Tree for their "Fish Friday", which is how we celebrated Lorna's birthday.
Beautiful shot of Lorna and Brian out for dinner for Lorna's birthday!  Happy Birthday, Sis!
Lorna and Brian displaying our FOD flag.  We listen to Denis every morning by Ham radio to hear how the weather will treat us.  This is our 'Friends of Denis' flag.  Denis and Arlene fly a simple "D"!
Have we kept you up to date on our banking problems?  We've always been wary of being down here and losing our credit cards or having them compromised.  Well a month ago in Dominica, we were using an ATM to get some funds when the transaction timed out.  Shortly thereafter we discovered that, although we did not get the funds, our account was debited for the transaction.  It took two visits to the bank to convince them of the facts, and many nagging emails to get action from our Canadian bank and the agency responsible for the international transfer (in this case Visa, we think).  Finally, they told us last Friday that the investigation would take another month, then we'd get our money refunded.  I wrote a letter insisting that either we were also under investigation or that they had an awkward business plan to withhold the incorrectly removed funds from our account for two months.  I had some other rather difficult questions regarding their accounting system and how important confidence in their systems was.  Well, it turned out that my questions were way harder to answer than it was to give us the money and shut us up; and within an hour the bank had responded and said the money would be in the account shortly.  The agent actually apologized for the lag, saying that yesterday's snow storm had resulted in a power outage.

We said goodbye to Lorna and Brian by having them over for lunch yesterday, as they were leaving before breakfast this morning, sailing south for Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.  We had a great hot casserole and a few brews.  We also stopped off at sundown to Kristin and Terry of Silk Pajamas, as they also were leaving - going north back to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.  So, it was quite a day yesterday, and today we are rather alone, in a crowd of boats.  We'll almost assuredly fall in with someone before the races are over, and then we also will head south towards Grenada and eventually haulout in early May.
Rock wall that incorporates a wheel from old sugarmill machinery.  Notice the green iguana sunning himself on the top.


In Rodney Bay, we continued our upgrading by buying $1000 Canadian of galvanized chain and replacing our older chain which was tending to fall off the windlass.  The Admiral works the fore-deck during anchoring and weighing anchor and insisted it was time for shiny new chain.  We suspect that the gypsy, which is the molded part of the Italian Goiott windlass which grabs the chain, may be worn, and therefore part of the problem; but it is presently seized onto the windlass and will not be removed.  I have acquired a can of "PB Blaster" which Ian of Island Water World says is the best product to solve the problem, and am spraying, tapping, torquing, and pounding on the assembly daily.  And so I dream of freewheeling gypsies...

The toilet has received more attention.  The Admiral said it was pumping hard, and adding more grease and keeping vinegar in the line night after night was not improving things.  The hose was partially removed and found to be glisteningly clean.  Also clean was the piston - meaning that every time vinegar is used, it may clean out the pipe but also removes all the grease.  So, more grease, less vinegar, and the Admiral has to build up her arms.  It just is what it is.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Back in Rodney Bay St. Lucia

One more repair job on Laurie's footwear.  Next year, we'll pay closer attention to the quality and age of the footwear we pack for the winter!

We arrived in St. Pierre as planned from Dominica, on Saturday, February 27th, after a good, fast crossing; but just enjoyed a good evening at anchor and a great night's sleep before sailing down the coast the next day to Anse (cove in French) Chaudiere.  Anse Chaudiere is actually the south side of the bigger Anse D'Arlet.  It was another good sail, but for a bit of space where the larger mountains blanked out the wind;  and except for the open space near the great bay of Fort de France, where we got totally blasted by wind and waves, but then had a wonderful rain squall and rinse just as we got to the far side of the opening.

Anse Chaudiere was recommended as a reasonable snorkelling spot by Arlene of Tiger Lily II, and our arrival allowed Dawn and I to poke around for well over an hour, finishing with a hard swim against a current to get back to Cat Tales.  Although not loaded with diversity, at least that was apparent in one dive, we did see a large collection of red squirrelfish, a few glassy sweepers, and a large black blenny, probably a red-lipped blenny.  With Dawn's underwater camera broken, we have nothing to show.

Monday morning, we got up truly at first light to attempt to find the easiest conditions possible for motoring around the corner, beside Diamond Rock, and along the south shore to Ste. Anne.  We certainly got there in time to join Lorna and Brian ashore for a bokit at Boubou's snack bar, where we used his restaurant's computer to clear customs.

Tuesday, we hitched Lorna and Brian's dinghy to the back of Cat Tales and went into the bustling anchorage of La Marin.  Lorna and Brian made numerous trips to a dock for jerry cans of diesel and drinking water, while Dawn and I ran to two chandleries for the boat parts we had ordered and others we had left for repair.  We also stopped at a really interesting restaurant inside the boatyard, where the special was stewed rabbit with a 1/2 bottle of red wine.  All four of us said we'd do that again!  A final stop at Leader Price for wine, beer, and French delicacies finished the trip, and we coasted back out to Ste. Anne for re-anchoring.

There were lunches ashore, meals aboard, and even a beach party (Denis and Arlene of Tiger Lily II organised this beach crowd of 20+) in the short week we were there.  We also had another hike; this one to a little mountain called "Creve Coeur" (Broken Heart?).   The views were spectacular.  The hike took about 3.5 hours, with 0.5 hours more spent at a bar with cold beer and lovely baguette sandwiches near the end of the hike.  Amazing how a couple of cold beer stop your friends from griping.
A steep but shady path up Creve Coeur
Many hundreds of steps up Creve Coeur, as important to control corrosion as for the climber.
A view of the bustling harbour at Le Marin, from half way up Creve Coeur
Brian, looking east, was one of four of the hikers who made it all the way to the top of Creve Coeur.
Creve Coeur Hiking Team

Our trip out of Martinique on Monday was a spectacular sail, with 12 knots of wind on the beam, and speeds of 6.5 to 7.5 with only splashes at the bows.  We dared it with only one reef in.  No fish, however.

Last night, the winds rose to 25+ knots, while a surge ensured that many yanked against their anchors repeatedly, and many boats went walkabout.  I (Laurie) was around to help two of the single-handers: StoppKnot (John Fallon) and Jackfish (Mike) re-anchor this morning after they dragged and had a rather rough night of it.  John dragged 250 feet but caught safely while poor Mike hit another boat before he settled in.  Neither slept well, being on anchor watch the rest of the night.  We have just spoken to the owner of the boat behind us and he tells us that his boat dragged in the night as well.

Dawn here:  Here in Rodney Bay, the women on boats in the bay are invited in for a lunch at a lovely posh restaurant with a pool.  Lorna and I along with 18 other women headed in and enjoyed the company of past friends and made many more.  After a wonderful lunch we bobbed around in the pool enjoying fresh water!  Many of the guys have made a habit to go to the Bread Basket for lunch, but their numbers don't come anywhere near ours.  I have enjoyed many of these Wednesday lunches with the ladies here as well as in St. Anne in Martinique.  We talk about many things, but we DON'T talk of volts or amps!
Public beach at Ste. Anne, enjoyed by tourists and locals.
Lorna with a couple of gals at a Sunday buffet in St. Anne, Martinique.


We've picked up new lower and upper diaphragms for our Yanmar SD20 saildrive to install in Grenada.  In total, these cost 2300 Euros.  As these are supposed to be checked every year after 6 years of service, the replacement is quite overdue.  Hope we make it to Grenada without a wet bilge!

We also had our 1996 Furuno radar serviced.  We were both hoping it was beyond being serviced so that we would either do without it (and rely on the AIS capability) or buy a new Raymarine dome antenna to complement our new a75 display.  As the insurance company would prefer we have radar, and as the Raymarine option would be ~$2000 US, we will adjust to having the Furuno working again for only 85 Euros.  (thanks Diginav from Le Marin)

Yesterday, I loaded 167 feet of new chain into our anchor locker to be connected to the anchor and the boat the next time we move.  This is by orders of the Admiral/Foredeck Manager, who says the old one is rusty and jumping off the gypsy too often.  I'm also trying a new product:  PB spray Penetrating Catalyst; in one more attempt to free up the parts on the windlass.  At present the gypsy, clutch, and rope spool are totally ceased onto the axle or shaft.  Works great, but I want the gypsy off so I can ensure it is not too worn, and so part of the problem.