September 2013 ~ Grenada

Chronological Order

Day 1112 ~ Sandy BeachSeptember 30th, 2013

Usual lesson plans in the morning.  Lisa has the sewing machine out from under our bunk so finding bits of thread between your toes is the norm.  In this case, it's red and black, the colors of the Trinidadian flag.  We, the graphic critics, agree that, as flags go, it's pretty nice.  Much stronger than, say, the BVIs, or any of those ancient "crest" style flags with pictograms of swans and laurel wreaths.  Oh, wait, I have an idea, how about we put the laurel wreath ON the swan.  Cool.

Usual kid play in the afternoon while I sanded more cockpit teak down in preparation for some long overdue varnish.

No Rehearsal invited the whole gang over for Mexican Train dominoes which got underway promptly after the sun cleared the ridgeline to the west.   I stayed behind for a bit to finish up my first coat of the smelly stuff.

 

Day 1111 ~ Corporate DecisionsSeptember 29th, 2013

Girls sewed some flags for the new sailing kayak then went over to What If to work more on rigging.  If we had told them to convert Derek's kayak into a sailboat they would have moaned and groaned and dragged their feet for hours.  But, since it's their idea, they wake up and can barely get breakfast down before insisting that they really have to get to work.  I guess that bodes well.  Someday useful work might actually be that motivating.

I stripped, sanded, bleached and varnished teak while Lisa started sewing a Trinidad courtesy flag.  Over to What If with Moana Roa in the evening for some parent catch up and to determine when we're heading to Trinidad.  Corporately, of course.

 

Day 1110 ~ Smoking SkinSeptember 28th, 2013

The kids decided today that they want to make a sail for Derek's kayak.  Ahem, well, okay.  I guess that beats begging to download a new app that allows shared gaming with who knows who.  It could be worse.

I started tackling the teak strip above the cockpit.  I had some of that gel stripper stuff.  I hate it.  It dries in the can, or this heat, or something, and comes out in amorphous blobs of caustic goo that eat through latex gloves like acid. You only know you have a problem when you feel a burning sensation on the back of your hand and look down to see the smoke starting to rise off your skin.  The label is replete with warnings and skull and cross bones.

I love boat chemicals, just love 'em.

 

Day 1109 ~ A Piece of Misery in ParadiseSeptember 27th, 2013

Usual morning, warm this time of year.  Some days have higher humidity than others and you feel the sun in the sky right through the salon roof by 9am.  You can't see it, but you feel it.  

Got wrapped around the axle on a fairly simple client project today, or what should have been.  The slow internet isn't a big deal most of the time, but there are days when the definition of civilization includes high speed internet as well.

I don't really get puzzles.  The part about finding little slots of tiny pieces just sounds exactly like coding work to me. No thanks.  But Nika loves puzzles and No Rehearsal loaned us a couple of really nice custom made ones.  They had used them as promotions for their commercial art business.  The pieces are completely random shapes, which adds to the challenge.  Nika prevailed, nonetheless, and before long Lisa was in there helping as well.

These are the same people that like 80-foot drop water slides.   There's some twisted connection, I am sure.

 

Day 1108 ~ Sailing to Tyrrel, AgainSeptember 26th, 2013

Motor-sailed out of St. Georges about 8:30am.  The wind shadow behind Grenada requires about two hours of motoring to clear.   The winds filled in nicely towards the northern end of the island and we had a nice sail past Ronde Island and into Carriacou's Tyrrel bay.  It was a nice, pleasant sail while the girls did artwork and watched a movie on the iPad.  They love passages as they soften dad's no-movie hardline.

 

Day 1107 ~ Grace for CastroSeptember 25th, 2013

Hot morning, little wind.  Nina & Lisa are both feeling sick now, not serious but not normal either.  Took care of a few odds and ends in the morning getting the boat ready to be a sailboat again, as opposed to a floating condo.  

I went to Clarke's Court Bay Marina twice to see if my propane had returned.  "Usually around noon", with a casual shrug was the response.  The second time I arrived about 11am and told myself I would sit and wait until Noon and then the bottles would have to wait a week or more for our return.  This kind of waiting would have killed me a few years ago; now it's just part of life.  The Henry's Safaris van crunched into the driveway with an accompanying cloud of dust at 11:59.  I paid promptly and was off.

Dropped the mooring line and sailed around to St. Georges.  The winds were light so it was a nice easy trip.   No matter how great the anchorage, and Hog Island is one of the best, it's always invigorating to get out on the water again.

After a dip in the 'pool' out our back door, we headed in for the America's Cup, which proved, finally, to be the last match with Oracle to retain the title in what has to be one of the greatest comebacks in sport's history.  It's amazing the luck that Class A jerks can accumulate.  Castro lives on, and Larry wins again.  I guess it's a measure of grace.

Met up with several kid boats in a restaurant in the marina so the kids all took to the pool while the adults visited until the bugs descended.  Funny that, you can be surrounded by superyachts in an exclusive IGY resort and still get eaten alive the moment the sun goes down.

 

Day 1106 ~ Scraping AwaySeptember 24th, 2013

Lessons in the morning as usual.  I grabbed a shopping bus for a final run at provisioning.  Carriacou is okay, but there isn't a tortilla to be found there, nor any ounce of real milk.

Lisa has challenging hair and has a hard time finding someone who cuts it properly (other than her sister in Seattle).  The sailing grapevine informed her that so-and-so on such-and-such boat used to be a stylist instructor in some big flashy city.  Lisa got an informal "appointment".   Mum's the word it seems, as the lady really doesn't want too much work.

Since we are preparing to get underway again, it was high time to scrape the bottom of the boat.   No bottom paint is capable of keeping all the growth off when you are just sitting around in warm, well-fertilized waters.   It takes about an hour per hull to knock off all the slime and occasional barnacle.  Today I decided to tackle the props as well.  Everyone says not to bottom paint props as it will just blow off when the prop spins.  I have tried Barnacle Buster the last couple of times around and it has helped, for a while.  The idea is that the barnacles cannot get a good grip on the paint and so "fly off" when it spins hard enough.  Better than nothing, though as, after a few months, the sea growth takes over again.  It does scrape off, but requires a lot of elbow grease and the willingness to sacrifice a plastic scraper or two. 

America's cup, yet again.  I guess I am getting addicted, just a little.  Still think it's a shallow way to sailboat race.  Real ocean anyone?  Waves?  Do they matter?  Apparently not.

 

Day 1105 ~ More America's CupSeptember 23rd, 2013

Other than some homeschooling, it feels like a nearly meaningless day.   Went to witness another day of America's Cup at smoky Clarke's Court Bay Marina where lung cancer is being nurtured by the hour.  It's funny how smokers attract their kind.  I guess it makes sense, since they are now effectively a non-protected class of second class citizens, regulated, forbidden and snubbed at many a turn.  I guess persecution usually leads to comradeship among the abused.

 

Day 1104 ~ Pancakes No PanaceaSeptember 22nd, 2013

Nana woke up this morning not feeling well.  This girl puts her hands in and on every nasty thing you can think of and would prefer to eat with her toes if it were socially acceptable.  Her catching a bug is sort of like your slice of bread landing butter side down, it's just going to happen.

But you know she is really sick when she doesn't want a single Swedish pancake.  This might be serious.

The two normal kidlets are off to play as usual.  I went over to Secret Harbor with What If to watch the America's Cup.  With all the delays and cancellations due to too much or not enough wind, Lisa has given up.  In the evening we went to share dinner with Evenstar aboard their boat as they, too, are soon off to Prickly Bay and then will head toward Panama.  We shared our samples of simple boat dishes (ones that cook fast in as few pieces of cookware as possible).

 

Day 1103 ~ Calabash CarvingSeptember 21st, 2013

They have this plant here called a calabash.  You cut them in half, carve out the insides and let them dry completely before painting them.  Then you can use them as bowls.

Lisa and the girls headed to the beach to carve out their chosen calabash for later decorating.  Secret Harbor Marina, in the next bay over, offered a kids cartoon movie at 2:30p so Lisa took ours and a few extras over to watch.  

I dinghy-pooled with What If to watch the America's Cup, but it was eventually cancelled due to winds from the wrong direction.  I mean, really, you can't sail if the wind isn't just perfect?   Are these things even boats, or are they toys?  I guess that's not really a question.

Zingay and Elin are going to Prickly Bay tomorrow so we had them both for dinner to say goodbye.  Zingay leaves soon for Venezuela from where they will fly home to Spain for 3 months and Elin hopes to get to Trinidad on the next weather opportunity.   What If and we are headed north soon for a change of pace.

 

Day 1102 ~ Wrapping Up A RepairSeptember 20th, 2013

While the girls tackled thorny story problems and percentages, I mixed the last two batches of epoxy and laminated glass over the Garolite plate.  It came out pretty well, though there were a few pesky bubbles to work out.  I'd like to know how many batches of epoxy I have actually mixed now but, then again, maybe not.

Managed to get things in place before catching the 10am shopping bus (quick trip this time) for a few necessary provisions.   It might just be me, or it might be reality, the kids seem to be eating more and more by the day.  

Kids took off with their compadres after lunch.  It was one of those warm days, so I went for a dip while Lisa did her water aerobics that were cancelled this morning.  We then puttered over to to Secret Harbor to Skype some calls and watch America's Cup, again.  Will it never end?  You keep thinking it's going to end, and you keep going to see the end, but the end never comes and so you go again anyway.  It's really not that interesting watching millionaires fool around in tightly controlled conditions.

You wouldn't really go out to sea or anything serious.  You might lose control.

Rounded out the evening with some hearty beef stew and reading on the tramp.

 

Day 1101 ~ Boat ResearchSeptember 19th, 2013

I guess I am always a sucker for boats, old, new, dirty or otherwise.  Kalle and family, on Elin, have come to a stopping point.  They bought the best boat they thought they could find, at least the best that was available in Sweden, and headed south.  To their credit, they made it, and in one piece, in part thanks to two large carrots which just happened to perfectly fit their flooding cockpit drains.  No one wants to admit that carrots saved their boat, but it's safe to say the orange sticks made life a lot easier.

So, following up on a rumor we had heard circulating, Kalle, Javi (Zingay) and I bussed it to St. David's and walked the two-thirds of a mile south to Grenada Marine boatyard, where our family's adventures had all begun in 2010.

We kicked around the yard for an hour or so, in the pounding mid-day sun, and then finally asked around.  We were directed to first one office, then another, then yet another.  Finally we were face to face with the owner, who informed us that, yes, he did have a couple of abandoned boats he would part with.

We headed back to the turf and soon found Alpha Plus, a Jeanneau SunFizz from about 15 years ago.  We cracked open the companionway and a musty fog of smell greeted us.  Like unlocking an Egyptian tomb.  The place was crawling with insects and rotten wood dangled from the ceiling and walls.   It was a sight, to say the least.

However, the hull and deck were solid, the rig looked okay and the engine held promise.

Kalle summed it up when he said, "Iv you have no vife and childrens, it would be pervect!" 

My thoughts ran along a similar vein.  With some sweat equity, a guy could have a good boat here for pennies on the dollar, if that.  While there I was pleased to stumble onto Bagalut, my favorite catamaran, at least that of the "after the kids leave the house retirement plan" sort.  It's a custom one-off aluminum Kurt Hughes design built by a professional metal guy who turned to building boats.  It's his ninth creation and features a rotating mast, dagger boards, kick-up rudders and tiller steering, just to name a few of her selling points.

We hitched a ride all the way back to Whisper Cove with some cruisers who were spending serious time on the hard.  Same old story, over budget and behind schedule.

Headed to Clarke's Court, again, for another round America's Cup racing.  I am not really into this, but now having invested some time, figure I may as well see it.  Sailing at 40 knots has got to be a rush.

Laurie, from Moana Roa, invited all the kids to the beach for a fireside reading of Lord of the Flies.   Nika stayed home.

 

Day 1100 ~ More Sticky StuffSeptember 18th, 2013

They say to always start first thing when the epoxy comes out.  Foam core tends to float, so you really need to do the entire lamination in one pass.  This means 4-5 mixes.  A first mix with no filler will just wet out all the areas that need to stick well.  The next epoxy batch gets microfibers and Colloidal Silica so it can span the inevitable minor gaps without cracking.  Then you wet out and fit the foam, followed by a batch to fill remaining gaps with the thickened stuff and, finally, wet out the G-10 and squish it down, like the top of a really sticky peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Clamps help to hold it all in place.  The heat makes even slow epoxy go off pretty fast; at one point I hardly touched the top plate it was so warm with all the chemistry going off inside.  

Kids did the usual sailing, water fights and ink making that they undertake most afternoons.  America's Cup, again, in the afternoon with Evenstar at Clarke's Court Bay marina.

 

Day 1099 ~ Journal GirlSeptember 17th, 2013

I find that projects really only work before breakfast. After that, the sun is high, the temperature rises, and motivation approaches zero.

The girls did lessons while I cut and fit a new foam core for the steering plate.  My plan is to epoxy the foam to the old Garolite under plate and then sandwich that with a new 3/16" Garolite top plate.  Finally, I'll glass the entire thing together, tabbing the glass on the top up and into the hull.  When all is said and done, it should be considerable stronger than the factory version.

Nina and I took the milk run (every stop) shopping bus so she could find a new journal.  This girl hand writes an entry every single day.  Most entries cover half a page or better.  I know many adults who would find this task unassailable.   So, she writes every day and chews through a lot of hard cover journals.  It's all good, and I am happy to buy her as many as she can fill.

Tackled some phone calls and computer work at Clarke's Court Bay in the afternoon.

 

Day 1098 ~ Rainy MondaySeptember 16th, 2013

Usual Monday.  Usual lessons.  Rained on and off all day.

When we bought the boat there was some water damage to one of the steering plates and I was quoted $2,000 USD to fix it.   The former owner had done a mostly cosmetic patch before we took over ownership.  It seemed reasonably solid, so was soon forgotten.  About a year ago, in Delaware, I noticed the plate was flexing back and forth in a dramatically bad way.  I applied a 3/16" Garolite G-10 plate to the underside of the affected area and secured it in place with West System epoxy.  West System bonds to G-10 to the tune of 7,800 PSI.  This certainly helped see us through the Night of the Howling Banshee when the loads on the steering gear must have been tremendous, but the top is still a ragged affair of some kind of a filler and metallic silver spray paint.

Time to dig in.

Acetone makes short work of the spray paint, and a 1" chisel demolishes the J-B weld style filler.  It's not a pretty sight.  Like a dentist drilling ever deeper, I find mushy plywood seemingly at every turn.   It comes out easily, with my fingers at times.  The hole gets larger and larger; from the size of a slice of Wonder Bread, it soon grows to a loaf size area, then half of a large pizza.  There's nothing to do but keep digging.  Now, there is no plywood left over much of the affected area; I am literally hammering on the top of my new Garolite bottom plate, scraping off the last bits of ply.

Wood has no business on a boat, in my opinion, except for decoration.  As I learned how much plywood was used by Jeanneau, I was disgusted.  However, when I pulled up the floorboards on a 4 million dollar Finnish built Swan, I saw exactly the same thing: 3/4" marine plywood glassed over and tabbed in.  It's the norm on all production boats.  The difference between a "good" production boat like mine, and a cheap one like a Hunter, is that at least on mine they tabbed (attached) the plywood bulkhead all the way around.  On the cheap boats, they don't even bother to tab the plywood to the hull above the water line.  I mean c'mon, that saves them maybe four dollars.  I guess if the boat sits in a marina all its life, it really doesn't matter.

Nina felt the urge to make a cake.  Baking doesn't sound too great when it's already warm aboard, but on the other hand some fresh cake sounded nice.  So, I helped out by handing her the baking powder.  When the cake didn't rise, we were all scratching our heads?   Turns out I gave her Corn Starch instead.  Oops.  Thankfully all the butter and eggs made it more than palatable.  In fact, it disappeared like a doomed species.

Laurie, the dad from Moana Roa, a former trauma counselor from Australia, started his night time reading of Lord of the Flies, complete with beach campfire.  Nothing like a deserted tropical setting to really set things on edge.  We decided Nika, age 10, should stay home with mom and dad.

 

Day 1097 ~ Cheesecake ExperimentSeptember 15th, 2013

Started the day off right, with Swedish pancakes.  At home we would usually draw this ritual out for some hours, but here, in the heat of a steamy September, it's best to get the cooking over with early, if possible.

Actually, it's not been that hot, really.  Sure, it's warm, but nothing like North Carolina in July.  The humidity starts out most mornings at about 80% and drops to 50-60% as the day warms up.

In Alaska, I lived right next to large mountain.  I lived there for 8 years before I finally took the time to climb the mountain one day.  Hog island is surrounded by a network of old roads and trails.  They just need to be explored.   So, I dinghied over and trekked around for a couple of hours.  It's amazing, really, the diversity of flora you'll see in just a half mile stretch as you move through boggy areas, sloped meadows and rocky crags.   There's a lot of beautiful space here.

While the girls and Lisa duked it out with Spirit of Argo and Elin at the domino table I took a crack at the nutmeg cheesecake recipe I learned a week or so ago.  It came out okay, but didn't quite have the texture of the one the pros whipped out.  I must have missed something.  The one thing I didn't forget was the Mixed Essence, a locally made product that combines vanilla, pear and almond flavoring into one.  It's very nice in cheesecake and, I suspect, would do well in other desserts.  More testing is in order.

Despite my lack, there is no choice but to eat all the cheesecake anyway.  We'll just have to try again.

 

Day 1096 ~ Kris and Kalle to the RescueSeptember 14th, 2013

It rained hard again in the morning.  We weren't able to top off the tanks yesterday since we were off the boat at the time.  Not so today and we topped them right up during a few minutes of torrential downpour.  I then snagged a shopping bus into town for a provisioning top up.  It's a never ending battle.

Kris (What If) and Kalle (Elin), electrical heavyweights compared to yours truly, headed over to help Field Trip try and zero in on their shore power problems.  The breaker is a fancy smart one that is just picking up a trickle of current through the ground, or some other minor anomaly.   After crawling around for an hour, they found just a tiny exposed part of wire on an electrical hot water heater element.  It was a simple fix, which proved to be the magic touch.

 

Day 1095 ~ Electrical GremlinsSeptember 13th, 2013

Did lessons in the  morning followed by a quick lunch.  Field Trip is tied up the dock at Le Phare Bleu for some air conditioning troubleshooting.  Mark plugged into shore power the first night with no problems, but then on day two tripped the 30amp shore power breaker.  Then tripped it again, and again.  Now he is really worried.

They invited the gang over to use the marina's pool.  I brought a few tools and we isolated various circuits and snapped breakers over and over again.  We managed to rule out some things, like the inverter/charger and refrigeration.  We were halfway through when the sky opened up and buried us in water.  Hard, tropical rain.  I ducked for cover under Field Trip's hard top and was surprised to see the same drainage issues that we have.  Water from the uncovered cockpit areas doesn't drain overboard, but meanders through the cockpit seeking an undersized drain.  Dribbles and drips filter from inconvenient places.  I guess spending 3 times as much on a boat as we did isn't a cure all for boat living frustrations.

What If joined us for dinner where we plotted and planned a little northward sailing for a change of scenery.   Sometimes you just have to move.

 

Day 1094 ~ Slow StarterSeptember 12th, 2013

It's a bit overdue, but I decided it was time to give the engines a once over.  When they sit for a while you never know what you might find.  Fluids looked good, actually, and they both started fairly well.   The port side feels like the battery might be going, or something.  It kicks over eventually, but not with as much punch as it should.

We were blessed with a decent rain, enough to fill the tanks and wash the boat down.  Not sure what hit me, but come afternoon, a nap just seemed in order.  Kids took off in Sea Pearl and weren't heard from again until, you guessed it, dinner time.  We had Pollux and Field Trip over, so kid mania ensued well into the evening hours.

 

Day 1093 ~ Another BirthdaySeptember 11th, 2013

Usual lessons in the morning.  Kids are well motivated by the tempting thought of kid mania in the afternoon.  Nina's, the mom on Elin, birthday is today, so one more excuse to eat cake and other goodies.  The girls went over the top making a really nice three-dimensional birthday card.

They clearly inherited the origami genes from their dad.  Ahem.

 

Day 1092 ~ Smoked SardinesSeptember 10th, 2013

One of the reasons we love Grenada is that the cruisers here are active and organized.  They pool resources and hire taxis to serve as private busses which hit all the spots boaters like and need.

I enjoy bussing around with like-minded escapees and renegades.  For the most part, these are people who have long since stopped combing their hair.  I can't say we all smell the best, but if you want all that cleanliness you can go back to the cubicle from which you came.

But this trip was different.  Packed full and paying no attention to loading order, I ended up sandwiched between the driver, himself a hefty fella, and the single largest cruiser on whom I have ever laid eyes.   Scrambling in and out of dinghies in rocky anchorages, scrambling forward in a severe sea state, scaling masts and twisting yourself into tiny engine rooms has a subtle way of weeding out the oversized and overweight.  Nary a fat cruiser can be found.

Not that this gentleman was really overweight.  It was just the sheer width.  His neck was the size of a tire on a Korean import.  And it was hot.  And the passenger door on the van was non-functional.  So we would stop, the airflow would cease, the sun would beat down, and I was crammed into near full-body contact with a very large and damp compadre, a posture we were forced to maintain while the driver fumbled and mumbled with the passenger door, eventually getting it to pop open.

And then there were the newbies.  Now, we were all newbies once, but I think I had the general sense when 14 people were waiting for me not to dilly-dally overlong.  Others, apparently, don't possess this general "waiting on me" sense.  Perhaps it was the perfectly cleaned and pressed clothes, the spotless fedora hat and manicured hands that filtered out all non-verbal signals we could send.  Again and again we waited, steaming for the same party.  Then they wanted to stop at the mattress shop and place a custom order while we baked on the side of the road like a stack of sardines in a can.  Some of us slimier than others.  The chain smokers became highly agitated and finally had to light up.   Ahhh, smoked sardines.  Even better.

I should have followed my gut and bailed out after the first stop.  But just like charterers who won't abandon a $15 investment in a fake mooring, once I had spent my darn $10 bucks ($3.70) I wasn't about to bail out.   Just do the stiff upper lip thing.

Three hours later, I was finally back in the dinghy with another load of protein for the animals.  Managed to find a few stray mangos, much to my surprise.  They are larger than softballs and tipped the cash register to the tune of $1.50 each (.50 USD each)   So I guess every sardine can really does have a silver lining.

 

Day 1091 ~ FrictionlessSeptember 9th, 2013

Girls did lessons in the morning.  We were surprised, actually, at how smooth the transition back to school work has been after two weeks of during the Green's visit.  Overall, not much friction or complaining.  Maybe there is light at the end of the sour attitude tunnel.

I spent the day hoofing it around town with Kalle from Elin.  We went just about everywhere there was to go that might have boat parts and pieces.  At one point we scaled an 8-foot security fence to complete our "short cut".  We avoided the parts with razor wire at the top.

Returned tired and hungry, which dinner at the Spanish boat, Zingay, took care of.   Enjoyed some different Spanish dishes and topped it all off with a banana crumble.  Nina loves the crumble but refuses to eat the banana part.  Whatever.

 

Day 1090 ~ Pancake Cook-off IISeptember 8th, 2013

We decided that the first Swedish pancake cook-off was such a big hit, why not do it again?

Elin and Caminante arrived about 9am with their own platters of steaming cakes.  Since they use only white flour, and probably a touch of sugar, their additions to the pancake pool are richly appreciated.  We all bemoaned the lack of lingonberries.  Ah, sacrifices.

Caminante is leaving soon for Trinidad so we'll be parting ways.  We'd like to go to Trinidad as well, but aren't ready quite yet.  The kids soon took to the water and the sands, then wrapped up the afternoon some Mexican Train dominoes.

 

Day 1089 ~ Smoothie DuesSeptember 7th, 2013

Nina and I took the shopping bus to town in the morning.  I know, they all think we do this for the smoothie action, but there is work involved.  The buses are hot with no A/C and usually crowded.  The little IGA market is often jammed and checking out a slow, patience-building exercise.  All the wasted time would have driven me nuts three years ago, but now is just another day in paradise.

The America's Cup continues in the afternoon.   The girls just weren't that interested in a sailing race compared to playing most of the day with their friends at the beach.

 

Day 1088 ~ Dafne for DinnerSeptember 6th, 2013

Usual lesson work in the morning, then the kids took off in Sea Pearl.  We have renter turnover back home and needed to make some calls but found wifi lacking at all the usual places.  Argh, island connectivity in 2013 remains spotty at times.  The cellular-based stuff is reliable, but not quite fast enough to Skype.  3G anyone?   Hardly.  We finally found a good enough connection at Clarke's Court Bay Marina.

We had Dafne over for taco night so the girls put a little extra effort into decorating of dishes.  Dafne is a lot of fun; three girls, catamaran, new adventure and all.

 

Day 1087 ~ Hitching a RideSeptember 5th, 2013

Day started out with lessons in overdrive.  Two new kid boats we know from other locations arrived last night so the pressure is on to get math, language, etc., over with as soon as possible.   Now we're talking.

Today is two-for-one pizza night at Prickly Bay Marina.  It's a bit of drive from here and not really walkable or dinghy-able.  After playing phone tag for a while, I got ahold of Darren, the owner, and he agree to provide complimentary bus service from Clark's Court Bay to his dining establishment if we could round up a minimum of 12 people.  Well, word spread through the anchorage network pretty quickly and, before long, we had 36 commitments.  Nina, ever the social networker, was getting sore thumbs from keying the radio mic but she was thrilled.  Just think, all those people you know all in one place.

I opted to go for the local cooking class at the Dodgy Dock in the next bay over.  It's a weekly event but I had just never taken the time, all of 2.5 hours, it requires.  Shade Man, took us over and the two local chefs of considerable girth explained a nutmeg cheesecake recipe among others.  I have never found skinny chefs to be really credible.   Kind of like "religious" people who cheat their way to the top.  If you love food, it's going to eventually show.

Turns out the cooking class is really an eating class.  They did some cooking, and explained a few recipes, but mostly it was about sampling and more sampling.  Unfortunately, I had just eaten lunch so had to watch a steaming pile of mahi-mahi drizzled with a passion fruit reduction just sit there and go cold, and lonely.

I needed a part at Budget marine, so hopped off the return bus early.  They didn't have half of what I was looking for, naturally.   I thought there was a pathway around the beach to Prickly Bay Marina.  No dice.  It turned out to be a 2-3 mile walk and the sun was getting low.  I put on the long stride and started making transport.  I didn't have a watch, but the irony of having arranged free transport to pizza night, only to have to walk all the way there myself wasn't lost on me.

Sure enough, about a 1/2 from the Marina, a bus packed with my friends zipped past, honking as it went.  Then another.   And, finally, the third, which actually had a free seat, stopped for me.

As always, the pizzas were crispy thin and tasty, and the boat conversations engaging.  Every boat shares our grief, and some stories are far worse, but not being your own, prove mostly entertaining and not just a little encouraging.

 

Day 1086 ~ Leak ChasingSeptember 4th, 2013

There is a really small leak somewhere in Lisa's and my bedroom ceiling.  It is so slight that it never drips, but is just enough to keep a little strip of trim wood damp.  So, for the fourth time, I broke out the caulk gun once again with only faint hopes of success.  That doesn't keep gooey stuff off your fingers though.  Funny about that.

Lessons in the morning.  They snap right along when Sea Pearl is sitting on the back of the boat waiting to go and the kid boats are in plain view.

The Aussie boat, Moana Roa, invited us all over for a taco dinner.  Most generous.  We enjoyed hearing their story and checking out another cool boat.  Their Bahia 46 is one of the nicest I have ever seen.  Turns out the first owner worked for Fountaine Pajot and had every conceivable option added at the factory: heavy rigging, custom interior layout, etc.  Laurie and Sonia were all smiles.

 

Day 1085 ~ Another day, another birthSeptember 3rd, 2013

Usual school in the morning.  The girls are making real progress, despite daily appearances to the contrary.  Both Nina and Nika have a decent math bent, even if it must be extracted from them with forceps.

Another day, another birthday.  This time Jade, on Dafne, is the special girl.  I don't really attend these things being blessed by the cultural expectation that guys don't do kid parties.  Turns out I was missing out.  

I eventually meandered ashore and found, to my surprise, that Kalle from Elin was there.  Then I realized why. Food.  Lots of food, not just snacks, but some real vittles.  Kalle was helping himself, so I joined in.  Comradeship at every turn.

 

Day 1084 ~ Happy Birthday LovisaSeptember 2nd, 2013

Another Monday.  Back to the grind of school.  The girls are pretty good about not complaining now since they know it is going to happen, no matter what.

Lovisa, from the Swedish boat, Caminante, was turning 9 years old today.  Isn't it great to be nine?  You're strong enough to do most of the good stuff in life and small enough to be responsible for nothing.  Does it get any better?   Well, with three cakes and lots of homemade presents, she was all smiles, indeed.

The girls have come to appreciate the fact that not everyone worth knowing speaks, or understands, English.  So, they made a bilingual card.  Now we're talking.

 

Day 1083 ~ Blowing the BagSeptember 1st, 2013

St. Georges is a mixed blessing.   It can be calm and clear with nice city views and an easy dinghy ride to downtown's excellent attractions, like the open air markets and, of course, real fruit smoothies.

Mid-day the kids swam with Field Trip for some exercise and cooling off.   In the afternoon it's common for a land breeze to build, blow inland and kick up a nice little chop.  By about 3pm the rock and roll just got to be too much.   Lisa and I looked at each other and already knew the answer, "Let's get out of here!"

We ended up motoring all the way to a much flatter, and much happier, Hog Island.

As we rounded Point Salines, we saw a cat ahead of us that was working to get their Spinnaker set.  It was a nice purple color; Lisa and the crew were jealous.  Then we realized, as we slowly motored up to them, that it was Dafne, with their Grandparents aboard.  We took a few photos for them.