Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snowy Home!

When we are down south on the boat, friends and family report that the weather at home is spectacular... tee-shirt warm and sunny.  But when we come home for a visit we end up shoveling the driveway.


Fun in the back yard!

Looks like spring!!!
Got to watch the Gold Medal Men's hockey game!  Woooooohoooooooo!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Carriacou Concert

Last year when we were in Carriacou, Kimani Marley was performing but we were too lazy to make arrangements to see him.  This year we were determined not to miss the concert when the Carriacou Music Academy announced that they would perform under the mango tree.

Under the Mango Tree
It was awesome.  Kids played African Drums and then showed their skills on the drum set.  Then we had “Turkey in the Straw” and “Oh Susannah” on the violin.  The highlight of the afternoon was the guitar class as they put together some group songs and individual efforts.

African drums

And more...
and more!
Guitar class

Mrs. Raymond plays the church organ but she is expanding her repetoire
Any time there is a celebration in Grenada the national dish, Oildown is a requirement.

Regular (with pig tail, fish, etc) or vegetarian

Yummmmmmm - Gary is envious

It was a nice way to finish up our stay in Carriacou.  Next morning we headed back down to the south of Grenada to tidy the boat up prior to our visit home.  The sail down was exhilarating and we coasted into the anchorage in St. Georges in less than 5 hours.  It seemed pretty rolly so we opted for another hour and a half motor around to Mount Hartman. 

Glen continues to diagnose the problems with the refrigeration… think we might have it now.  We have a dead compressor speed controller and a failing compressor motor controller.  We’ll get that checked out when we get home and bring back the goodies to fix it.

The Blue Pearl is tucked away under the watchful eye of George of Survival Anchorage.  We are on our way home for time with grandkids, kids and friends.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Idle Time

We enjoyed all the Independence Day celebrations!

After independence in 1974 Eric Gairy was the elected Prime Minister but he was overthrown in a (largely) bloodless coop in 1979 led by socialist leaning Maurice Bishop.  Lots of people liked Bishop and he led the country for 4 or 5 years while Gairy was in exile in the US.  Bishop accepted help from Cuba and Russia but tried not to align himself with them completely - probably not wanting to piss off others in the region.

Bishop's vice president was much more leftish and eventually overthrew Bishop's government in a very bloody coop in 1983.  Then Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood (Heartbreak Ridge) stormed in to rescue American medical students who were "being held hostage."  There were 3-way hostilities between the Grenadian troops, the Cuban troops and the US troops.

We all know how that ended and now Clint Eastwood is the Prime Minister of Grenada.  We might have a couple of things wrong in there but most of it is almost right.

Wave Knight of London - British presence at the ceremonies

the Navy

the Army

the Girl Guides

the Queens guard - all celebrating the 40th anniversary of Independence

Celebrating 2-for-1 Happy Hour

Cow Heel Soup - again!!!
Don and Pat spent their last evening in a room at the marina to avoid waking us up at 4 AM to catch their early flight out.  Very nice.  Pam and Glen had every intention of getting up and waving them off but that just didn't happen.

We've been on idle... sleeping, reading, chatting with folks and doing boat chores.

Fixed the pull cord on the generator!  Cleaned the guck out of the strainer that chokes off water for the main engine and more importantly, the air conditioning.  Changed the oil, even though it has only been 63 hours since the last change.  Thinking about doing some varnishing... that was really tiring.

When it was time to leave for a little holiday to Carriacou the engine was definitely unhappy and so after a 5 minute motor we anchored outside St. Georges so Glen could enjoy pretending to be a diesel mechanic.  We think we didn't get the strainer back together properly and changed the impeller for good measure.  Our impeller fins don't all point the same way.  Not sure what's going on there.  Need expert advice.  Glen did enjoy pulling off all the hoses from the strainer to the engine and blowing through them to make sure they were clear.

We had a great sail the length of Grenada but when we turned northeast to Carriacou we were pointing so close to the wind that it was motor sail or risk Pam calling our boat broker.  Diesel mechanic Glen appears to have fixed our problem because Yan Diesel performed wonderfully for 3 hours as we plowed up to Carriacou.

We are here for a few days and then will head back down to Grenada.  We are headed home for a couple of weeks.  Very excited about seeing our kids and grandkids.

Rum bottles come in handy when sewing

new cover

for new gas can

important conversations with Gary walking about Carriacou
pastoral scene on Carriacou

more important conversations

looking south from the ruins of an old French resort

see the Lion Fish by the chain from Gary's mooring?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

In Grenada

We are enjoying a lovely holiday dockside at the posh Port Louis Marina in Grenada!

After clearing out of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, we made our way to the lovely Sandy Island for lunch and a swim... but cut the swim to make sure we could clear in to Grenada before the 4 PM Customs closing time.

Enjoying a fruit melange in Clifton before leaving

Fruits and vegetables everywhere

Back to the beautiful Blue Pearl, anchored off Frigate Island

We arrived in Carriacou in time to clear in, have a great swim and enjoy several malt beverages with looooonnnnng time friends, Gary and Donna.  Back to the boat and after a spirited game of crib we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and then a blissful rest in calm Tyrrel Bay.

The next morning, Glen and Don took our boarding ladder over to Dominic the welder to re-fasten a weld that broke when Glen was boarding the boat.  Glen insists it was a faulty weld and poor rust management by Pam.  Pam thinks Glen needs to lose a few pounds.
Dominic's workshop

Dominic said he could have it done after lunch so we returned to the boat for a swim to work up our appetite for lunch at the Slipway.  Great lunch, tuna salads for Glen, Pam and Pat and a burger with no mayonnaise for Don.  After lunch, Dominic was not around so with directions from Gary and Donna we headed off for a bus adventure through Hillsborough to Windward.

The metropolis of Windward was fascinating but after 5 minutes we had completed our tour and found a bus to head back for a short walk-about Hillsborough and back to the Blue Pearl.
Windward fishing boat under construction

Gary had kindly picked up the ladder for us so all we needed to do was re-install it back on the boat.  He made some very unkind remarks about Glen's forgetfulness (forgot a pair of glasses... ) and passed on Dominic's comments on Pam's stainless steel management.

We left at 8 the next morning for St. Georges and had a terrific sail down, getting within 5 miles before the wind died down to nothing and we motored into port.  Delicious curry conch a al Glen for dinner.
Captain Pat

Haulin' the freight!
Pat beating the living daylights out of our lambi (conch)

On the obligatory Cutty tour today we met some very interesting couples.  British folks David and Elaine; Jeff and Jo have sailed their boats across the pond and make our wild adventures look like child's play.  Jeremy and Jamie have been living on their boat for 5 years and are leaving the boat here to start work on renovations on their newly purchased place in Tuscany.  YOLO couples... all of them.

Independence Day parade

Independence Day tomorrow!

Rum punch at the Monkey Bar

More to follow... this is a great adventure!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Good to be Canadian

Sailing down here in the Caribbean we are proud to be Canadians... and we check our flag all the time for wear.  Replace it when it gets worn.  We check in on other Canadian boats in case they know someone we know.

We want folks to know we are Canadian for all the good reasons....

We are polite
We are solid
We say "eh" way to much, eh?
We avoid conflict
Our banks rocked during the recent financial meltdown
Our beer is awesome
We like cheese
We are politically boring
We love the fact that we have universal health care... and that an emergency heart operation happens and doesn't cost a house - although sometimes we wish our knee and hip replacements didn't take so long
For the most part, we aren't alarmists... we get vaccinated, generally like our school system and don't build bomb shelters - except the exceptional Diefenbunker

We are awesome at hockey

It's good to be Canadian.

So... it sucks when the park ranger in some remote bit in the Tobago Cays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines wants to know what we think of the Mayor of Toronto.

We aren't used to apologizing for Canadian behaviour.

edit: I forgot about guns!!!  Most of us don't even own one... and most decidedly wouldn't shoot anyone if we did!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Union Island

We love Bequia and it was terrific to be there for the music festival.  Our trek over to Friendship Bay and the Bequia Beach Hotel gave us another view of the island.  The hotel looks totally posh.  When we get some good internet we need to check it out on Trip Advisor. 

The concert on Sunday was spectacular.  Don loves two kinds of music - Country and Western so he was thrilled with the C&W band.  They were actually very good and Pam and Glen were tapping toes in the sand.

The winds don’t seem to be abating so we decided that we needed to move on, even though the conditions weren’t optimal.  It turned out not to be too bad.  Since the winds had some north in them we had a good beam/broad reach all the way to the Togabo Cays although some of the waves shook things up down in the cabin.  We sailed with jib only and still averaged over 6 knots.

Windstar cruise ship at the Tobago Cays
 When we got to the Tobago Cays we found the boats anchored were rockin’ and rollin’ and decided to seek refuge behind Mayreau.  Good friends had an unpleasant, unfriendly stay at Mayreau, which saddens us a great deal, because we have really become attached to the place.  Lucky so far.

We decided to do a major hike which we had not done on our previous trips - across the island by the old Salt Pond.  After we had completed that… about 5 minutes… we decided that we would extend our hike by heading up the hill to the Church and the incredible view, about which we have blogged previously.

Don interacted with everyone he met which won’t surprise anyone who knows him… strangely none of them had ever lived in Hope, BC.  That is unusual and disappointing for Don… he almost always runs into someone he taught there or worked with over the years.  Considering that most of the folks we ran into only spoke French it is not surprising that they hadn’t been to Hope.

Our stay was pleasant… we bought an expensive but tasty tuna which Pam turned into a banquet, we interacted with the beach vendors and both Don and Pat bought souvenir t-shirts.

We learned of an interesting perception among some of the locals.  The Windjammer Cruise ships make a point of stopping at Mayreau along with their stops at the Tobago Cays.  Lots of times though, the boats cancel at Mayreau after the Tobago Cays.  SOME of the locals believe that it is because there are too many “yachties” in the anchorage and there isn’t room for the cruise ship.  We don’t buy that.  They anchor way deeper that most yachts.

OTHER of the locals have better intel and they are aware that the Windjammers don’t stop when the surf is running high, making it difficult for the tenders to land.

Still, it concerns us that some of the locals might resent us because they think we scare away the cruise ship traffic.
Short Tail up... goat
Long Tail down... sheep

Tuna dinner.  Hmmmm, thought it was bigger
 After a nice couple of days at Mayreau we sailed over to Chatham Bay.  We were met almost immediately by “Tim” who said he remembered the boat but not us.  We remember Tim, though.  He serves excellent fritters if you order enough beers - John and Jan enjoyed them when we were here in November.  We had them again last night. 

Don and Pat went on an epic snorkeling trip.  Glen dinghied them over to the point and they had an incredible swim back to the boat.

When Tim came by in the morning to ask if we wanted to order dinner we decided to indulge based on our experience with his fritters.  Dinner was spectacular and Tim helped us and a nearby table of French cruisers remember how to do the Macarena.  Great meal - lots of fun.  Bollhead’s gets a thumbs up from us - (Bollhead’s like Baldhead’s like Telly Savalos, he told us.)

Beers at Bollheads in Chatham Bay, Union Island

Don and Tim showing off supper... for someone else
We are tucked in at Ashton, Union Island picking up a stray wifi signal from somewhere.  We plan to take the bus in to Clifton tomorrow - to avoid the chaos in the harbour - and clear out.  Then over to Tyrell Bay to clear into Grenada.

More later... thanks for keeping up with us!