Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bye for now...

When we were planning our trip back home we looked for flights from Grenada to Vancouver… and surrounding airports.  So we got this interesting combo… Grenada to Miami to Las Vegas to Bellingham.  Now Bellingham is only 30 miles south of our home in Abbotsford, closer than Vancouver so it makes for an easy trip home… AND, we spend the night in Vegas.  Shows, casinos, hookers, booze, all-nighters, tattoos… probably not… but makes for an interesting return.

Amazing snow covered volcanos in the Pacific Northwest
Our old cruising grounds
Don and Pat scooped us up from BLI and delivered us home.  We were in the house by mid afternoon and... daughter Jen and kids were there to meet us so we had a very happy reunion and a busy evening!

What a season!!!  We got to show the Burnsies, the Keys, the Macdonalds, the Inmans and son, Brad around the areas we have been cruising.  We think they got a nice taste of the Eastern Caribbean.  We didn’t see much new territory but we met up with cruising buddies from previous years and enjoyed meeting new ones.  That is the charm of this lifestyle… meeting amazing people with similar interests and hearing their stories.

Hanna, Glen, Pam, Dana and Kai from Eventyr
Now we get to spend the next 7 or 8 months with loved ones and enjoy our terrific backyard (figuratively and literally).  And… in the backs of our minds… we will be developing plans for our sailing adventures next year.

Until then, Faithful Reader…

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On the hard

Well, Dear Reader…

We said good bye to Eric and Pat from Cutter Loose, a beautiful Island Packet 460 as they helped us cast off for our 45 minute roller coaster ride from Le Phare Bleu Marina to Grenada Marine in St. Davids.  We really enjoyed getting to know them a little bit and we are looking forward to stalking them next year.

The fearless crews of Cutter Loose and Blue Pearl - connoisseurs of fine boats!
Without any canvas to protect us we were drenched in minutes as Blue Pearl plunged into the huge waves that smacked us in the face every 2 or 3 seconds.  Note to selves... maybe next year we will take the dodger down AFTER we get to Grenada Marine!!!

It was ONLY 45 minutes so not too bad and we hooked up to a mooring ball to await our haulout.  Got a few more odd jobs done and then quick as a wink we were out.  It wasn't pretty backing Blue Pearl into the haulout slip but like the pilots say, "Any landing you can walk away from was a good one".

Got the boat out and into slings and then, what do you know... time for a meeting of all the boatyard crew and then lunch.  So after 3 hours sitting in the slings we finally put Blue Pearl down into her new spot.

In the slip, waiting for the big guy

OK - we're ready!

Careful... don't drop us

OK, that's going to need some work

Nothing else to do while we are waiting for the meeting to end
Yesterday we moved off Blue Pearl and into the Gems Beach Resort in Morne Rouge Bay.  Not your top of the line 5 star resort but it will do us just fine.  We have a little living room, kitchen, boudoir and bathroom.  We will be here until some nasty hour of the morning on Monday when we leave to catch our 7:30 AM flight to Miami.

Is it still rocking?
Got an email from Chris on Troubadour that they would be in Secret Harbour Marina for fish and chips so we roared off in our rental car, careering around traffic circles, past stopped buses, up hills, around crazy corners and potholes and with Navigator Pam barking out orders, we arrived in minutes at the Marina.  We had a nice evening with Chris and Linda from Troubadour and Patrick and Lucy from Illusions but we were so tired that we made it an early evening.  Good news... the beds at Gems Beach Resort are very comfortable.

We got up this morning and drove to Grenada Marine… about 5 miles from here but the roads are crazy and it turns into a rally in the country… and about half an hour.

Pam did some final fridge cleanup, moved crap around so the marine surveyor can find his way around the engine, transmission and prop shaft.  She puttered around with cable ties so everything is neat and tidy and bundled.  Glen cleaned the propeller, put on a new zinc, stowed lines, fenders and fiddled around with the dingy davits.

We had lunch at the marina to give us a little time to ponder whether we were done.  Went back and emptied the water from our water tank… did a final walk-through and a final-walk about… and then we left.

Ahh, that looks better

So naked!

Bye... see you soon!
Next year Glen might get some of his disreputable friends to help put the boat in the water in late November.  Not sure how well that will work without Pam to supervise and second guess Glen’s bad decisions.  Pam will come down a little later.

When we retired we had ambitions of spending 6 months down here avoiding Vancouver’s crappy winter weather but we are finding that we need to spend more time at home with our little grandchildren.  Didn’t factor that into the dream retirement, did we?  Did not see that coming.

So maybe a shortened year next year?  Even 3 or 4 months cruising in the Caribbean is sublime.  And who knows, maybe Glen and his fearless crew of miscreants might get as far north as Antigua before Pam joins the ride.

It’s a mystery!!! Fun to think about.

Excuse me... will you be using that parking spot much longer?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Folding up the sails

We are slowly stripping down Blue Pearl, getting her ready for a hot summer on the hard.

We've taken off the sails, changed the engine oil, changed the fuel filters and a myriad of other little jobs.  We've run vinegar through the heads to clean out scale and lubricated with vegetable oil.  Smells like the salad bar at the Olive Garden in there.

Pam has taken an old sail cover and some scraps from other projects and stitched together covers for our drop boards, handrails and cockpit coamings.  We are hopeful that the covers will protect the beautiful teak work we just had done.

New varnish

Oooooooo shiny

Cleaning hinges

Pam's Sail Loft - repairing some stitching

Cockpit coaming cover under construction

Old sail cover protects the hatch and drop boards

Handrail covered

Coaming covered... winch gets covered too
Sails down and folded, inspecting the halyard
We are saving our canvas (bimini and dodger) for last so we've got a place to keep out of the sun... but even that comes down before our last 5 miles to St.  Davids and our haulout at Grenada Marine.

Not looking forward to that.  It is a miserable 5 miles when the seas are up... and they are... so we will bounce around like a cork for an hour before we get there.  Then they will ask us to back into the haulout slip... and we don't back so that will be a fun show for everyone.  All in all, a task we are looking to put behind us.

Once in the yard we will put UV protectant wax on the hull, plug all the through hulls with screen so pests can't get inside, flush the engine with fresh water, clean the prop, knock the barnacles off the hull and so on.

When we came back down after Christmas, John and Jan gave us a card to open when we got back down... which we promptly forgot.  Just opened it to find that they want to take us out to dinner... and a pretty good dinner based on the amount enclosed.  Well, Dear Reader, it just so happens that tonight the Le Phare Bleu Restaurant put on one of their Friendship Dinners.  They served tomato and avocado salad, green salad, stewed okra, curried lambi, blackened chicken, and a host of other things.  We washed it down with a nice Argentinian red.  So THANKS JOHN AND JAN!!!

Mmmmmmm, okra!

Next post will be out of the water at Grenada Marine.  Talk to ya' then!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bequia Regatta

Bequia is in a festive way.  There is a buzz in the town.  The harbour has become crowded with boats who have come to participate in the Easter Regatta.  Many boats are here to watch but many more are here to participate. 

Our new BFFs on Eventyr, an Island Packet 31 have made arrangements to get involved… Hanna as crew on Jaguar.  Kai and Dana are trying to get onto some of the committee boats so they will be right in the middle of the whole thing.

It’s fun to watch the local boats with their huge sails whizzing around Admiralty Bay, practicing for the big races.  It’s all very exciting!!!

Lawrence and Winfield arriving for their last day of the varnish job
Four cats rafted to maximize party time at Regatta
Lottsa Bequia boats at Regatta
Don't fall off!
But alas, Blue Pearl raced across Admiralty Bay, only like Forrest Gump in that great scene after his glorious run in the football game, we didn't stop at the end-zone… but continued on south to Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou 40 miles away.  Had a great dolphin show along the way.

Thank you!

Our teak gleams like it is preserved under glass and our starboard locker looked great, painted a brilliant white… until we threw in all the crap we store there.  Now it looks the same as it did before.

Met up with Troubador (Chris and Linda), Serenity (Bruce without Colleen) and Page1 (Gary without Donna.)  Had some beers with Gary and Bruce and got caught up.  Pam pulled out all the stops and made spaghetti with chicken.

This morning we got up and headed out to Le Phare Bleu Marina on the south coast of Grenada.

For those who know the geography around here... we tried to come from Tyrrel Bay to Grenada on the east side so that we wouldn't have to do the miserable 5 miles from Point Salines to the marina.  We got close to Diamond Island but with a huge, 3 knot westerly current our nice beam reach turned into a close haul and, although we were making 7 knots through the water we were only doing 4 knots over the ground.  Too much current so we came down the west side.  Had a great sail until Point Salines.

At Point Salines we headed into the BIG wind and waves and spent a miserable 90 minutes crashing up and down.  It really doesn't get worse that that stretch.  Don't want to talk about it anymore.

So here we are at Le Phare Bleu.  Sherry and Bernie helped us dock (Sunday so no one around) and we notice that Cutter Loose, another Island Packet we met in the USVI is tied up here as well.

At the dock... phew!

So now, Dear Reader, we begin the process of setting up Blue Pearl for her 6 months of storage.  Ugly job... but then we will be home with all the kids, grandkids and friends.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Day after day in Bequia

Every day is the same…

Pam gets up and begins her survey of harbour activities.  Glen gets up an hour later and asks why the coffee isn’t ready.

Shortly, Winfield with his team... son Garfield and Garfield’s friend Lawrence arrive and begin their work for the day.  The teak is gleaming… it looks like wood under glass.  They arrive and destroy the beautiful teak.  They sand the whole thing… takes them 2 hours… and it looks like sh*t.  Ughh.  Really?  We’re paying for this?
What!?  The end of another day?

Look at that teak... like glass.
Built it up...

Handrail and eyebrow

Cockpit coaming and cap rail...
We try to stay out of the way.  Glen does sudukos and reads, Pam reads, knits or does crosswords - usually at Glen.  We are interested in what they are doing but we are not sure whether we are getting in the way or not.  So we try to hide.  There are some small jobs we have tackled.  Glen is mad at the head for leaking so he is investigating that.  The starboard lazarette has two coats of paint and looks fantastic.    Pam has been studying the portholes for leaks.  She has also been fashioning some protective covers for the new teak to keep it out of the summer sun. Odd jobs but mostly staying out of the way.

Where is that crappy leak?
After 5 or 6 hours, they leave and the teak is glimmering again… like a jewel.  Wow!  Are you sure they need to come back again tomorrow?

And so it goes…

As it turns out, our timing is working out perfectly (sarcasm.)  The winds are low and quiet right now while the work is being done.  We need to leave on Friday and, right on schedule, the winds will be back up, forcing us to reef to avoid a difficult day.


But we'd rather go Friday when it is nastier!

Had a nice afternoon on the beach with Chris and Linda from Troubadour and Patrick and Lucie from Illusions.  We are all heading to our respective homes and had a good chance to talk about preparations.  

Back to the boat for comfort food… grilled cheese sandwich with leftover mac and cheese.  Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!

Wondering about getting up for the lunar eclipse in the morning at 3 or 4.  Hmmmmm.  Sleep or science?

Thirty five miles to Tyrrel Bay… and then another 35 to Le Phare Bleu if we can go on the east side of Grenada.

Countin’ down!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shifting Gears

So... we're done.  No more horizons to reach.

Once you realize that you are close to the end of the season, your thinking changes completely.  We aren't planning further adventures... just thinking about the shutdown stuff that has to happen.  Also, thinking about all the cool things at home.  Grandkids, kids, friends and home.  Eager to get going.

That lamp bracket is dying to rip the snot out of Murphy the Dinghy

Chinaman at work

Precision welding... notice the Cetol on the cockpit coaming?  Kind of dull.

Past the Pitons with no wind
We had a good trip down from St. Lucia to Bequia.  A bit of "washing machine" effect in the St. Lucia passage but nothing that the intrepid crew couldn't handle.

Left at 6 am and got into Bequia around 5 pm and cleared in the next morning.  Sixty nine miles makes for a long day.

Bad news!!!  We have recently discovered that we have "teak envy." 

Last year Glen made our teak look "really good" during his solo time in Antigua putting 5 coats of Cetol wood finish on most of the boat.  Scraping, sanding, cleaning and finally applying.  Ughhh.  Tons of work.

Since then, we have run into folks who have magnificent teak... brilliant teak... beautiful teak.  We lust for the luster of the varnish on those boats and so succumbed here in Bequia.  We've been flirting with a local wood worker, Winfield of Friendshipside Yacht Services who tells us he can do wonders with our teak.  We have the time, the bank has tons of money, so we decided to strip all the "really good" work that Glen did and replace it with "excellent" work and Epifanes varnish.

Never got this far last year... needs work!

Winfield at work.  Damn, are you sure you need to redo that lovely teak in the cockpit?

Decided to clean out and paint the lazarette.

Bow pulpit sanded... looks better already

Larry sanding after Winfield scrapes off the old Cetol

A coat of sealer

... and a coat of varnish.  Can't really see the sheen in this photo

First coat of varnish

So this week we are at varnish school with Winfield.  He comes highly recommended by "Morpheus of London" and "Windswept Dreams".  We are pleased with his work so far.  Hope we are still friends at the end of the week.

We will spend 7 days hanging out here in Bequia in order to get 7 coats... one coat a day and then visit with Gary and hopefully Donna on "Page 1" in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.   Then down to Le Phare Bleu Marina in Grenada to strip the boat down for storage for the summer. 

Hard to believe that another season is almost done.