Thursday, March 21, 2019

Home for the Summer!

Well this is it, Faithful Reader.

Without Pam or guests, there are no photos. I will have to run around tomorrow and take obligatory snaps of this and that.

I've installed the new windlass and readied Blue Pearl for the summer hurricane season. At each step you wonder if what you've done is good enough. But at the end, you cross your fingers and hope for the best. I remember one of our coaches saying before a big game, "You prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

So that's it for this season. We loved showing Brad and Kim around Antigua, Deshaies, Les Saintes and Dominica. Brad treated us to the best birthday cake in Deshaies. Kim had the almost best snorkeling experience ever.

And then, when Brad and Kim left we were blessed with a visit from hearty sailors, Mike and Char. Same trip in reverse. Great hikes in the ruins. Many, many sundowners. And I was able to convince Mike how wrong he is in most of his politics! I forget who won the crib tournament. And we survived a lumpy trip from Deshaise to Antigua.

And then the Terrorist Invasion... Lucy and Jackson and their mother Jen kept us busy exploring, tubing, swimming, beachcombing, hiking, fishing and story-telling. Jen tells us that when they left her little army was conspiring to see how much it cost to get back to the boat and how old you need to be to fly on their own. Heartwarming to know how much they love their time on Blue Pearl.

After a few days bobbing around in Antigua my wife left me. It was sad but I soon forgot the pain of separation with a visit from old friend (but not so old) Bruce. Caught no fish but scared many. And we've certainly cleared up many of the issues dogging our old shared occupation. The world according to Glen and Bruce!!

I've had a few days to fiddle around with chores... and now it's time to get home to enjoy spring with friends and family in the Fraser Valley.

What a great life. What a great boat!!! Love this Blue Pearl.

Early morning haulout, courtesy Odie

Looking north out of the haulout well

My early-to-rise line handlers Barry and Steve

Lots of cats getting repairs

Murphy off - ready for storage

Packed up inside

Looks like a disaster... but it's all strategic

Zipped up, ready to leave
My overnight layover spot in Calgary - Thanks YYC

Look what's going on at home - grandkids at golf lessons

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Puttering and Dithering

Well hello Faithful Reader!

On the way to the airport I told Bruce to watch out for wandering goats and wild donkeys. The area is full of them. We saw none. I'm not sure he believed me. On the way back by myself I saw goats, wild donkeys and mongooses (mongeese?)

So with a full afternoon ahead of me I started on some of the chores. Putting Blue Pearl to bed for 7 months is a hard job and without Pam here I'm going to actually have to do some work.

Bruce had helped me get the sails down, folded and temporarily stowed on the cabin top. I started in on the new Lofrans Tigres windlass. Curious that it was cheapest in Canada from Binnacle in Nova Scotia, even factoring in the $450 shipping.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how it was to be done, changing course several times. It was helpful to have bounced some ideas off Bruce, so when I got back from the airport I started in on the process.

The unit comes with a template so I layed out the position. I will have to patch up some previous holes and make one new one. I decided to use the existing wiring since it was way over specification and should be good, right?

In position

New and existing holes

Very impressed that this little machine was able to cut through 5" of solid wood.
Wired up... but try to get the cover on... not happening
Well, the wire was so over specced (sp?) that I could not get the lid on. I read in someone's post that you need to flatten the wire between two pieces of wood to make it fit.

I checked the manual and with my battery setup I only needed 2 AWG wire, not 2/0 AWG wire. A huge difference in diameter. They didn't have all the material I needed at the Budget Marine at North Sound I had to drive to Jolly Harbour. They didn't have all the materials I needed at Jolly so I also had to drive to Falmouth. Fun, fun, fun... and lots of swearing at traffic and herds of stray goats!

Antigua Tour

Imagine my pleasure when I got to the turn-off near the marina and found a roadside stand selling goat water.  (Look it up! It's delicious.)

So installation is complete (except for some small details) and I have an operational windlass! Need to replace some bolts next season that I couldn't get here but I'm really impressed so far.

I had errands to do in the morning: drop off laundry and pick up top-off fuel. Imagine my delight when I spotted a roadside food stand on the way back. They had conch water, goat water, tripe and rice pudding. Obviously I stopped to purchase some conch water (conch chowder) which was delicious by the way. But I was intrigued by the rice pudding. Was it as good as my mom and granny used to make? Did it have raisins - 'cause rice pudding worth its salt has tons of raisins. But it was not that kind of rice pudding... and they gave me a taste. It's made from rice, blood, oil, tons of pepper and stuffed in an intestine casing like a sausage. It tasted good but not wonderful... until I got back to the boat and started thinking about it. I'm considering going back for more! 

Lots left to do. It's really hard work. I wish Pam was here to do it.

Only a few more Antigua days left. Looking forward to some Abbotsford sunny spring weather!

Ciao for now!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Bruce Returns to Antigua

So, I sat on a bench at Jolly Harbour for 2 hours waiting for Bruce to arrive - while he sat on a bench at the airport waiting for me to pick him up. Serious communications problems.

I met Bruce in 1989 - almost 30 years ago and we've enjoyed a great and enduring friendship. After boarding Blue Pearl and a few beers that meet-up miscommunication was reduced to insignificant.

Coming into Antigua over Jolly Beach
Jolly Beach
Studly Jolly Men
I had plans to take Bruce to Panama or at least Guadeloupe but with my windlass out of commision that turned out to be a really bad idea. Bruce and Corinna visited Antigua 20 years ago on a cruise so this trip was about getting to know the place better.

Obligatory sunset photo in Carlisle Bay
So we've bounced around the island... from Jolly Harbour to the historic Falmouth and English Harbours. On to Carlisle Bay and Hermitage Bay and winding up in North Sound - near where we haul the boat and the airport.

It has been a bit of a bother with equipment... the aforementioned malfunctioning windlass has been the least of the issues. Turns out Bruce is a Beast and does a better job of hauling the anchor than Wally the Windlass.

Got to know Andy in Falmouth. He is a 26 year old who is managing a charter racing boat for an English dude. Andy was interested in my old windlass parts and I was interested in getting Andy to climb Blue Pearl's mast to install my wind indicator. So we developed a quick and meaningful relationship. So meaningful that we attended the Antigua Yacht Club Crab Races and had an excellent evening.

Andy up the mast

Crab races
Kitchen Window View

Looking down at Falmouth from the Keane's Gun Battery

Middle Ground view

English Harbour from Middle Ground

Down escalator

Up escalator - same as down

Buying stuff at Ms Gwendolyn's place in Carlisle Bay

Bounty from the Carlisle Fruit Lady
I really needed to put a charge on the batteries on Thursday but the wind was perfect so we put out the sails and turned off Yan Diesel. Very quickly found out that Otto the Autopilot was on strike so it was hand steering until I could settle that grievance. Had a blistering sail along the south and up the west coast until we got to Hermitage Bay when I found the engine wouldn't start because I hadn't charged the batteries.

We were maneuvering into our anchorage by sail when I gave Yan Diesel one more try and he started. Yay!!! Then I got the dinghy painter tied up in the prop when I reversed on the anchor. Accckkkk. Captain Chaos on top of the game!!!

So, after a number of recovery beverages we had a nice night at Hermitage

This morning we came up to North Sound. We intended to take a mooring ball at Great Bird Island but it is very crowded right now. Not really interested in maneuvering around a bunch of other boats so we have anchored off the mansions on Long Island (Jumby Bay) and will give Great Bird a try in the morning.

I'm guessing that the poor people ashore in the $12000 per night shacks are envying the folks on the  beautiful Blue Pearl anchored nearby?

Poor folks ashore

Bruce is having a nap... I've heard him hit the snooze button twice now. I expect him up any time now to tell me yet another story.

Thanks for following along!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Wally the Windlass

Just put Pam in a taxi for the airport. I'm a little nervous. Who's going to make sure I don't screw up!?

She has been increasingly critical of the windlass. "It doesn't feel right... I think something's wrong." And, of course my position is that there is nothing wrong with the windlass. "Maybe the operator?" I'll look at it later.

So...we were anchored in Jolly Harbour (Mosquito Creek to be exact) and it was time to pull up the anchor and she couldn't get the windlass to work. So I had to go up and show her how to do it.

But it was locked completely. And when I tried the foot switch the breaker blew.

So, obviously the chain had "castled" - piled onto itself and jammed the hawser hole, right? WRONG. Basically, there was no windlass left when I stuck my head in the anchor locker. The casing that connects the electric motor and gearbox to the capstan on deck was completely eaten away.

So, up comes the anchor... BY HAND... and we turn around and head into a mooring in Jolly Harbour.

There's a bunch of stuff missing above that grey thing

Taking it apart - blue rope to keep it crashing down and wrecking stuff. Pam's idea.

That doesn't look right

Hmmm. That's going to take a lot of glue to fix.

Clearing out the space

All out - now where does the new one go?

I would have been happy to continue cruising but Pam selfishly refused to pull the anchor up by hand each time we changed anchorages.

Chatting with other folks who had the same windlass and ended up with the same problem have told me that the company suggests that salt water is bad for the unit and you should wash down the windlass with fresh water each time you use it. Hmmmm. Who has that much fresh water on a cruising sailboat? And how many circumnavigations have taken place in fresh water?

Anyway, I might have been able to fix the old one with parts with a neighbour's also-broken unit... but I'm done with Lewmar. So a new Lofrans Tigres is on the way from Canada. Should be here Tuesday. It sits above the deck... not hidden away in the anchor grotto.

Bruce Campbell is coming down for an Antiguan vacation. I'm sure he would be more interested in learning about windlass maintenance than swimming, snorkeling, drinking rum, walking beaches, hiking and exploring. Right?

Bring your tools, Bruce!

Pam's been gone 3 hours and I've not hurt myself nor have I lost my glasses, wallet, passport, boat papers or the keys to the dinghy!! Dinghy hasn't come loose and there has been no rain in the open hatches. All of these things have happened without Pam to provide "guidance."

Should be fine this time?!