Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Empty Caribbean

I have been in the Caribbean since before Christmas. We have visited over 10 islands. I am struck by how empty the Caribbean has been. Every marina has many empty slips. Every restaurant has many empty tables. Tour guides and marine repair people are desperate for work. It is clear that the glory days before the financial crash are long gone. In a way it is sad. Most people I talk to have no expectation things will get any better without major changes in Washington.

Fair winds and following seas.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

And the rains came

The transition to rainy season has been abrupt. We left St. Lucia in a light drizzle and saw no more precipitation all the way to Dominica. The first day here it was sunny. Ever since it has rained. And I mean rain. 12" in a 24 hour period seems to be normal. Everything that can leak is leaking. At least the deck of the boat is clean.

Fair winds and following seas

Friday, April 19, 2013

The end of spider hunt 2013

We made the transit from St. Lucia to Dominica in a little over 15 hours. We left Rodney Bay in light rain and made very good time until we were off the coast of Martinique. Then the winds died and we were bobbing along at 1 knot for several hours. The wind finally returned and we made it to Roseau in the early morning. We have taken a mooring ball off the Anchor Hotel. Ian, Trevor, and Jenn have made contact with the local spider hunters and moved off the boat. They will head back south to St. Vincent and the Grenadines while Andy and I continue our trip north eventually to the US.

Fair winds and following seas

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The S^&( Storm!

In my post frustration I mentioned that both maceration pumps had jammed. I managed to free up the back pump without difficulty. The forward pump was another story. I disassembled the pump only to find it jammed with a large quantity of female hygiene product. I do not understand why women can not take simple direction and not flush their product down the toilet. After cleaning the pump it was still not pumping so I assumed that the pump was shot. In fact a couple of the bolts had sheared and could not be replaced. Off to Island Waterworld to spend $250 on a new pump. Installed it, still a problem. I concluded that the hose from the tank to the pump might be clogged. As I loosened the hose clamps to check the line - you guessed it - the hose popped off, the clog cleared itself and the contents of the tank, accelerated by the large quantity of gas in the tank sprayed over everything. The next four hours were spent cleaning the boat. (The vent line had become clogged when the tank filled to overflowing)

Fair winds and following seas

Sunday, April 14, 2013


In the past two days the refrigerator has failed, both of the macerator pumps have jammed, and the forward toilet has stopped working. Great!

Fair winds and following seass

Friday, April 12, 2013

St. Lucia, Rodney Bay

We departed from Grenada and headed for St. Vincent to pick up Trevor Bloom, our new spider hunter. The passage was pretty bumpy but we eventually arrived. However, trying to get around the south side of the island into Blue Lagoon turned into a real problem. The wind tends to wrap around the islands and with the normal trades we keep experiencing 25 to 30 knot winds and 4 to 6 foot seas. Reboot has an oil leak in the transmission so I am unwilling to crank the engine up to full power to combat the adverse conditions nor am I willing to motor at 1 knot for eight or ten hours to make port. As a consequence we abandoned our attempt and looked for an alternate site.

As we were motoring along the island we spotted a St. Vincent Coast Guard boat. We gave them a hail and they motored over (at high speed - I think they were happy to play!) We explained that we were trying to check in and pick up a new crew member. They told us we could go into the next bay and check in at the police station. So we did. We motored into the next bay and were greeted by a man in a rowboat who told us he could show us where to anchor. We followed his advice and eventually got set up. He rowed me to shore and I found the police station and checked us in. The town was a slum. Not only poor but garbage all over the place. I got back to the boat and Trevor Bloom, our new crew member also managed to get from the airport to the boat. The entire afternoon we were inundated with people swimming around the boat and asking for money. Around sunset we realized we were slowly dragging anchor. Since we were very uncomfortable about the security situation (it is very bad in St. Vincent) we decided to raise anchor and once again try to reach the Blue Lagoon. There was no wind so we motored for several hours. Of course when we got a couple of miles from the lagoon entrance the wind and waves picked up to the point where we once again could not make good headway. In addition, since it was the middle of the night I was concerned about navigation. Since the only reason we were trying to make landfall was to check out (I had previously told the spider hunters I was unwilling to spend any time in St. Vincent) I made the command decision to just leave and deal with the customs issues in St. Lucia.

After another transit with adverse winds and a long period of motoring east we made port in Rodney Bay Marina just after sunset. Of course after sunset - my luck has been terrible. Working our way in was a treat. There was a small channel left by the boats anchored out it Rodney Bay, then a very narrow entrance channel to the marina (I am sure it will not seem so narrow in daylight when we depart.) The next morning we checked in - no problem.

The marina is quite nice. We are in the "North American Corner." Actually, that is because this particular section of the dock has 110 Volt AC power. Most of the rest of the docks have 220 Volt European. So the US and Canadian boats are all clustered together. Prices here for dockage are much lower than in the US but one normally also pays extra for water and electricity. The big unexpected benefit is cable TV. Andy has been watching football (soccer) and we have watched some movies. I have cycled through the US news stations - same old same old.

Fair winds and following seas

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some Days things don't work out

We planned to leave Grenada today and head for St. Vincent overnight. We took some naps, prepared the boat, checked out and were ready to leave. Then Andy said "Did you pick up the laundry?" Of course we had not. And the laundry was closed. So here we are for another day.