We are delighted to be back in the water!! It took us 5 days to get Lost Loon ready “on the hard” for launch. We had polished wash and painter her hull, polished the fiberglass, stowed our belongings, erected the solar panels, tested the outboard motor, fixed the propeller shaft seal, polished the brass prop nice and shiny, worked all seacocks, erected the cockpit awning, soaked and washed all the lines and ropes, and replaced the great mainsail back on the boom. (there were many many other small jobs…I cant even recall right now!) By 1:36 pm on Wednesday, December 13 we were officially cruising for the Winter.
We made it about ¼ of a mile out into Clarkes Court Bay and we were anchored in 30 ft of water against a 20-knot wind. The gentle motion to and fro of the boat felt so familiar. We had a beautiful afternoon to get ourselves settled again. We were kindly visited by the fellow and his little dog on the closest boat, Poco Loco (a 27 ft monohull). He invited us to stop if we had questions as he was an authority, living here 8 yrs… on his boat! He is out every morning by 0700 to take his little friend for a walk on the beach..we can set our watches to his accurate schedule.
The first order of duty was to organize lines, put away fenders (we don’t anticipate needing these for a while!) and then we settled to look at our dwindling “TO DO” list (yay!!!). We had headsails to put up, winches to clean, dinghy to be launched from the foredeck, cabin organizing, needed to finalize a provisions list as well as other essential supplies, and the biggest decision when and where to head out sailing. We had dined at the marina restaurant several nights enjoying their wood fired pizza and pumpkin and callaloo soups. And we had made a trip to a grocery for some very basics one afternoon…lunch meat, cheese, bread and, of course, the RUM!! We had an abundance of staples from last season that were in good condition, but lacking some fresh fruits, vegetables and protein…Ramen soup for dinner that night convinced us we needed to get back to town. It was a challenge, however, and we knew this now especially out on the water. It was only 3 miles to the city center, but this wasn’t a safe route for walkers. It would require a dinghy ride to a marina then a taxi , or walking a mile to possibly hail a city bus, or we wait until a scheduled shopping bus comes to the marinas.
Despite the “ho-hum dinner” we were exhausted and had waited all week to be lulled to sleep. The evening was warm and we did have the usual shower and squall drills to get up for in the night and close hatches and ports, but it was restful ….yes we were home.
Our luck was with us the next morning as we listened to the 0730 “net”. This is the informational radio program just for cruisers on the VHF. There is usually a brief weather report, announcement of activities taking place, local restaurants come on and tell us their menu specials for the day, some of the local businesses also introduce their services, and then a segment where cruisers can buy sell or trade equipment they have or are looking for. It is a great way to know what is going on! We found out right away that we could take a bus to the city for groceries, fruit and vegetable market, the bank, and wholesale store. We made tracks quickly to be ready for the 0930 bus from Whisper Cove Marina, just a skip across the bay!
With our list in hand we hopped on the van with some new friends ( as they would soon be) and tackled the produce market and the IGA!. No, Dorothy, this is not Kansas anymore, but there is an IGA. We found most of what we were looking for…and some more. What seems very difficult is determining if the items we are busing are overpriced. The Grenada dollar is the Easter Caribbean. It is about $1 US to$ 2.7 EC, so we are constantly doing the math…phones in hand with calculator apps going. Many things are fairly comparable, like mayonnaise and rice, but items like fresh pork or frozen chicken $13 – $17 EC sound a lot and are just a little more than what we can get in the US on sale. We were thankful we had brought a bit of a supply on coffee, as a 10 oz bag of Starbucks was $54 EC!!! Now that’s expensive!!
The return to the marina was interesting. We had 8 people on the van and most of us had 4-5 large shopping bags filled with groceries… there were bags everywhere, stashed under seats and filling the back of the van..large bags of cat food and litter for one lady who has a cat on a boat, and of course the stacks of cases of El Presidente and Carib beer from the wholesale store! It was quite the experience, but we are used to a little more of a challenge with this lifestyle.
The last few days we have tackled our “to DO” list, and accomplished much. WINCHES! These are the mechanical drums to reel in the sails, they have gears galore that we should have done last season, but put off because we didn’t have spare parts should we find one missing or broken. There are 4 gears and small sprockets and springs that hold them in place on each winch and each gear has to be cleaned with solvent and a tooth brush and pick for the old grease, then wiped clean, and re-greased with new. There are 5 winches of different sizes on the boat. The first winch took Mike alone 4 hours! It was in need of all of that love! The next 4 we worked on together and hammered out over a day and a half. They were looking like new and we now had the confidence we shouldn’t have a problem. We didn’t need spare parts, but you know as things go, if we hadn’t had them we would have needed them.
Sails are up and looking in good shape! We made the effort on 2 days in the very early hours of the morning light when winds were light.
Our dinghy…(which lacks a name…so if you have any ideas we’d like to hear them! ) is launched and after a delicate patching job I had done appears to be holding air. He is our sturdy mode of transportation off the boat and after some cleaning is ready for action.
Will sign off for now…I have more to come before we take off from Grenada…Hash event, some radar excitement, and beach days. Thanks for stopping …again.
I know this finds us at Christmas…(secret..we made it to St Lucia!!!) We hope that you are had a wonderful and Merry Christmas!
Nancy and Mike