Sunday, 6 December 2015

Grenada again November 2015

Grenada again  November 2015

Having spent part of September and the whole of October back in Europe having a lovely time visiting friends and family it is time to head for sunnier climes.

Waiting to leave Gatwick and being delayed by fog for about 3 hours was something of a shock. So was arriving in Grenada to be faced with a week of torrential rain and strong winds and not much chance of getting our outside jobs done. Too wet outside and too hot below as the driving rain meant every hatch and porthole was shut!

Everything soaking wet!

It really felt like we were ‘going afloat’ even though we had only been ‘laid up’ in the water for 6 weeks. Systems needed re commissioning, we had a light coating of mould on some surfaces, mainly due to the extremely high humidity while we were away. We wanted to get our jobs done and be away from the marina, but not before we managed to arrange an island tour and book our engine in for a rebuild in Carriacou.

We had a fun reunion with Paw Paw, Exit Strategy, Star Charger and Somewhere. At the marina restaurant on the second night, which serves really delicious food, I had Callaloo stuffed chicken breast with a divine creamy sauce. Most boats are off soon, north or west, so we will not see some for a long time. We met Puddlejumper in the marina and Stuart from Sea Gypsy popped in for a visit so it was quite sociable in spite of the rain and all the jobs

An unusually calm day in the marina

Our jobs list just seemed to get longer no matter how hard we worked! We declined invitations to lunch, jazz evenings, hikes and other social gatherings preferring to work on our list. Eventually we fitted our new solar panels, repaired the cockpit grating, climbed the mast to silence the wind turbine nose cone, fitted our new CD radio, fitted a new seawater tap in the galley, serviced the outboard, inflated the dinghy and cleaned the boat inside and out. The only advantage of the rain was we found the leak into the cockpit locker via the gas locker! Unfortunately it was too wet to fix it for several days!

Bailing the dinghy again - Note the floating petrol tank!

While cleaning we ended up replacing some headlining that fell down and discovered a piece of canvass that was lurking in a locker that made an ideal shade cloth. We also found a tin of Ravioli from Lidl in Gosport, we haven’t quite worked up the courage to eat it yet! But it’s got to go!

Finally we had to replace our old BBQ purchased from a camping shop in England, after 3 years it was completely rusted away. We now have a shiny stainless steel unit clamped on the aft rail fuelled by a propane cylinder, minimum mess and fuss, maximum braai experience! Hang the expense!

Enjoying our new Braai!

The marina has a lovely pool so some evenings we managed to quit work early enough for a swim before dark and enjoy their beautiful gardens.

The Carenage St Georges -  from the Nutmeg restaurant

We did a lot of provisioning as there is a good variety of supermarkets in Grenada and we had tried to empty the boat as much as possible before we left. We also plan to cruise the Grenadines for a while and many of the anchorages will have no shops. We are really looking forward to the peace and quiet – Grenada always feels hectic.

Having been marina bound for a week longer than expected we eventually managed to get away. It is always a heart stopping moment wondering if our engine will start. Thank goodness we now have the spares for the Illustrious Uwe to finally fix it. Start it did, eventually, thank goodness! (TF! for our Irish readers).

We had another week at anchor in Martins Bay, just outside St Georges. We had planned to go round to Prickly Bay just to experience “Camp Grenada” to the full, but southerly swells made us decide against it. It is apparently a swelly anchorage anyway and as it is open to the south it would not be pleasant. 

We sorted out all our odd jobs like posting the Navtex back to England for repair, getting watch batteries fitted in town, a last nice haircut by Michelle at the Spa in the marina, organised our Island tour and final shopping. At least out here we can swim off the boat, watch the boobies and terns, enjoy the sunsets and have a braai (BBQ).

The Grenada Island Tour will be a separate blog to follow, as it was so interesting.

With a forecast of Easterly 15kt winds and 3-5ft seas we are on our way back to Carriacou where Uwe has his workshop. Armed with new injector tips and sleeves, a full gasket kit and Uwe’s workshop and engineering skills we are confident we can fix just about anything.

Why does the forecast never play ball? We end up motor sailing most of the way. Carriacou is NE from Grenada and the current sets you east, so why is the wind now NE 20-25Kts and the 5ft waves are the small ones? Our tired old engine struggles to push this heavy boat at more than 4.5 Kts against wind, waves and current. Arriving just before dark we anchor in Tyrrel bay near the back of the fleet. Time for some serious engine work and a bit of R&R! 

Choppy seas off Diamond rock

What seemed like an age to get here in fact was only seven and a half hours, the log read 39 miles, exactly the same as on the way down to Grenada. An average speed of 5.2 Kts. About what we always seem to make. (We passage plan at 125 miles a day)

Uwe our mechanic wastes no time in removing the cylinder head for some time in the workshop. The injectors are pulled and are seriously worn, the valves are removed and reveal some badly pitted seats. Nothing unrepairable and it seems the diagnosis regarding the engine was correct. The bottom end is fine so we can put it all back together. Not so fast! We have a problem with one of the new injector nozzles. It appears to have been incorrectly manufactured so won’t work. It will have to be sent back to the UK for a replacement. 

Headless in Carriacou!

The decision is made to rebuild the engine using one old injector so at least the engine will work while we wait for the replacement.

Moment of truth time, start it up is the command! I turn the key and verrumm! A perfect start, a few adjustments and we are almost ready to go apart from the raw water pump which has mysteriously developed a leak. This pump was replaced 18 months age when we had the engine work done in Antigua. The skipper is not happy. Removing and disassembling the pump reveals the tension spring on the water seal has rusted away. Rust, surely not? This component is immersed in seawater so it should be made of a material that is resistant to this environment? Fortunately we have spares for rebuilding this pump on board.
Another morning doing a job that was not originally on the list! Rebuilding the pump also revealed a water hose that had been abraded by the alternator belt. The hose is one of the few spares we don’t have so we have to order it from the chandlers in Grenada. Yet another delay, oh the joys of cruising, fixing your boat in paradise! Still we have discovered another excellent 10 year old locally made rum. It just has to be sipped slowly over ice while watching another perfect sunset!

Now we wait, at anchor, for the new injector to arrive, fettling the boat and seeing a bit of Carriacou.