A Curtailed Season - June 2017
In February, Rowena’s dear sister-in-law Louise died suddenly and totally unexpectedly. We received the news in Bequia and sailed up to Antigua to leave Galene in Jolly Harbour Marina while we flew back to the UK. After a couple of months in England mainly with Rowena’s brother we returned to Galene at the end of May.
It felt like we were visiting a holiday town out of season. The marina was empty. Classics and Race week had been and gone, many of the boats we knew were safely tucked away in the boatyard. Several of the bars and restaurants were closed for the summer. There were just a few stragglers left. This all added to our sense of desolation and we found it hard to get back into normal cruising life.
Still the weather was pleasant, although we seem to have plenty of rain. We had some work to do, repairing the boat and recommissioning before we could head south for the ‘safe havens’ of Carriacou and Grenada.
|A dolphin visited us early one morning, never saw it again though|
The first and most important job was to repair the engine controls. The lever that controls the throttle and the gears was the first project. It took a lot of effort to get the old stub off as many years of corrosion was holding it in place. Eventually we had to cut it off the shaft. Fortunately the splines were unharmed and the new lever installed.
Next on the list was the engine control panel. The original panel had a ‘window’ with the warning lights behind it, the window no longer was waterproof and water had got into the alarm module causing it to malfunction. First we lost some of the lights then we lost the audible alarm. We were really running blind with the engine.
Replacing this panel was not as difficult as had been imagined as fortunately we have the engine wiring diagram so rewiring was a fairly straightforward task. This time we have sealed around the panel so no water should get in from the front to compromise the electrics behind. Still it is not plain sailing just yet as we are not sure that the high temperature alarm is working correctly (it doesn’t auto test). We have a new sensor but fitting it is a little tricky. We will wait until we are down island and have our tame engineer look at it for us.
The next big job was to get our wind speed indicator to work again.
|Skipper scratching his head while the crew decide what to do!|
It is at the top of the main mast! We decided Rowena would go up on the Masta Clima and Richard would be on the winch with the safety line.
|View towards the anchorage|
Great views from up there so of course, I had to take some pictures.
|Vuew from the top|
After spraying lots of WD 40 it seemed to be going round again – hooray. I also took pictures of the fittings in case it gives up again. The Richard will have to go up and remove it and fit the new bearings.
|Beautiful 'sausage tree' flowers on the way to the supermarket|
We spent a week unpacking and tidying things away. Putting things back where they should be and generally getting ready to go sailing. We deliberately left the boat empty of food and so every other day we were shopping for something. There is now also a good Farmers Market at the marina on Saturdays. I got nice little round squashes (a bit like Gem squashes ) and we tried Cashew nut fruit – bit sour – but meant to be really good for you. I think I will stick to the nuts.
|So this is what Cashews look like!|
The local supermarket (Epicurean) sells Waitrose products and we were recommended to try Waitrose own brand gin. Well we were very pleasantly surprised. At less than EC$14 a litre (£4.30!) one could become a connoisseur! They also sell Waitrose Portuguese rose wine at EC18 a bottle (£5.60) and local rum at EC$26 a bottle, hum; we couldn’t work it out either! Suffice to say we are stocked up on Gin and Rose wine!
|Threatening sky with an empty anchorage|
Finally we got back out to the anchorage. Much cooler than being in the marina, with a nice breeze at night and no mosquitoes! 18 boats in the anchorage but many seemed unoccupied. We had turtles to watch as well as the seabirds. Most interesting was a Laughing Gull that visited us most nights. The lights from the cockpit attract small fish which in turn are hunted by big Tarpon that come rushing up from the bottom to catch them.
|Laughing gull hunting at night|
The Gull was then swooping down and catching the little fish from above – nowhere was safe for them! I have never seen a gull fishing in the dark before.
In spite of our new ultrasonic antifoul there was quite a lot of growth on the hull but we think less than we would have had without it.
|The bottom after 8 weeks in the marina|
So we had an afternoon scraping and watching the little yellow tail snappers and yellow fin tuna eating the tiny shrimps and other creatures we were knocking off. When we got out we had hundreds of the little shrimps clinging to us as well! Fortunately the fresh water in the shower gets them off quickly.
|Providing linch for the yellow fin tuna|
We had two nice Wednesday afternoons at the Underdog Bar where the Jolly Harbour Ukulele Band have a practice and jam session. Richard had done a gig with them before he left.
|De Underdog bar!|
It has been quite windy so we are looking for the best day to cross to Guadeloupe. A good job we waited as heading back to the boat from what was to be our last shopping trip the dinghy just slowed down unexpectedly. We thought we had something around the prop, nothing seemed amiss there, started up again plenty of engine revs but the prop didn’t go any faster. We puttered slowly back to the boat. It looks like we won’t be leaving until the outboard is fixed now.
The outboard mechanic immediately diagnosed the problem; the splines had worn out on the prop. It is a common occurrence. Fortunately Budget marine are a Tohatsu agent and had a prop in stock. US$150 later we have a new prop, Ivan the mechanic fitted it immediately for a modest EC$50. (US150 for a prop you can see why we need the gin!)
|Worn splines on the prop|
Still at least we are fully mobile again.
At last we are ready to go. Guadeloupe here we come!