September 17, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"Well dear..." says Dave, sipping his morning coffee, "today looks like a perfect day"
"A perfect day..." queried I, "how's that?"
From where I sit, every day looks like a pretty perfect day, especially when the morning starts off with me holding a hot cup of espresso java (even minus the cream).
"Well, there's not too much wind at the moment".
"And doesn't look like rain..."
"And the water in the marina is pretty calm..."
"So, how do you feel about heading up the mast?"
"Gee, love that coffee... I thought we were going for a walk?" I asked, trying to change the subject.
And so, coffee drank and a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and Canadian Back Bacon later (after all, you have to have one last meal, just in case, right?), Dave begins what turned out to be a very long process of getting me all rigged up so I can go up the mast.
Out comes the dark green Boatswain's chair. First he hooked me up with two separate lines, double checking the clamps and knots,
"Just in case one of them let's go".
"IN CASE one of them lets go?" I repeated?
Dave dances around me for a while, mumbling and hemming and hawing, until all was perfectly to his satisfaction, and then he double checks them again.
Then he took out the tools. Yippe... He knows how much I love to play with tools.
A few moments later I was armed with a couple of screwdrivers,
"Just in case you get up there and need to tighten something..."
He then tied them to each other, and to the chair, just in case they were to fall out of the pocket, or out of my hands, and end up being gravity propelled, pointy end down, towards Dave's head? Seems like two of us could get very hurt doing this type of thing. Should this post come with a warning of "do not try this at home?"
In the other pocket went a few black tie wraps (black are best for UV protection) and pair of pliers/cutters.
"Oh, honey, go get my camera please... " and when he came back, I snapped a shot, and placed the strap over my shoulder.
All rigged up, and dripping sweat in the hazy morning sunshine, I smiled and waved to the passer-by's who smile back at me as they figure "better her than me". Dave heads aft and steps into the cockpit, starting the laborious task of winching me up, higher and higher, and I have to admit, I'm kind of pretty darn excited about being elevated to dizzying new heights. He has that effect on me...
He winches me up. One turn, grunt, second turn, grunt... Stop. Turn, turn, grunt. Stop.
"What..." he peeks out from under the dodger...
"You forgot to kiss me good-luck...!"
I could just HEAR him sigh. But I did see him squint all lovingly like at me, glare of the morning sun in his eyes, and get back to the challenge of hoisting me higher and higher. Grunt, winch, turn, stop.
Maybe I shouldn't have had those amazingly greasy gravy filled scruinchy cheese poutines back in Quebec City??
Turn, grunt, lift, semi-turn, grunt. Dave is starting to sweat. Maybe HE shouldn't have had that second helping of Donair's at Tony's Donair back in Halifax??
I crane my head backwards and my eyes scan the sky around me, wispy white clouds floating aimlessly by, and the very tall, silver mast looms overhead as a point of reference. It somehow looks like a never-eneding way and Up and Up I go, one winch turn at a time, totally enjoying the view.
Dave pokes his head out of the shaded cockpit, and yells,
"How YOU doing??"
"GOOD, keep going"...
Pretty Port Louis Marina. In St George's, Grenada.
Maybe it was the height that made me lose my mind and before I could think it through quite properly, I allowed myself to unclamp my knees from their tight hold of the mast, I let my arms let go of their hold and fall to the side, and then up in the air, and I let myself swing swing to and fro, gently and all that... squeeeal... you really couldn't wipe the grin off my face at this point in time.
"Woo-hoo !!" I yell,
"What... ?" Says Dave, "WHAT ?"
However, I had a job to do and focus I must. My first task was to reposition the radar reflector off the first set of spreaders, hook another tie-wrap on each end oh, and let's take some pictures. Perhaps I'll have a drink too, but damn, I forgot the water bottle on deck !
Break over, it was time to take me up higher, and so I yell at the Capt'N to keep going... what was he doing in the cockpit, having a break ??
Up we go, one winch turn at a time, up, up (grunt) and up... we reached the second set of spreaders.
"Looks good, Capt'N..."
Should've brought the stainless cleaner and wire brush to scrape off some rust...
At the very top of the mast, the windex tried to point in the direction of the non-existant wind. All the wiring looked good. And the camera blinked red as the batteries ran out of power.
And so I sat, for a split second in time, just inches away from the top of the mast, changing the batteries. Smiling. Breathing in the zen of the moment and capturing that memory forever.
Batteries changed and rigging check complete, I signalled to Dave to bring me down. One bumpy inch at a time. Bump, bump, down, bump, down.
And so it was, as Dave had predicted, a fantastically great day, even though we never did go for that walk.
September 15, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"Welcome to Grenada" smiled the very toothless Grenadian man, as we trudged out of the airport, "you need a cab, mon?" We had already made arrangements and quickly smiled back "Thanks, but no thanks, we have a ride" and sure enough, there was Joe George and his trusty white van, waiting for us.
The next morning as we were sitting in the cockpit, enveloped by the humid, hazy sunshine, happily sipping our freshly made espresso coffee, we were greeted with more smiles as a few locals passed by our boat, "Welcome back to Grenada, Capt'N, welcome"... and we greeted them back with smiles and a "Good Morning".
Without missing a soca beat, they continued "you need your boat washed, Capt'N? Hull scrubbed? Boat waxed? I can do that, mon, I come back tomorrow?". And we smiled, as we thanked them, and said "Thank you, no, we got it, man !"
Putting our boat back together was going to require a list or two, but I think the biggest challenge was just to remember how to manoeuvre around each other, without bumping into each other, in our presently very cluttered 40 feet of space.
We started with the very obvious task of unpacking the luggage, and like opening a can of worms, the "stuff" we brought back, just spilled out as the zippers came unzipped. Ziplock baggies were unlocked, bubble wrap off, and our things were quickly placed into piles.
I am happy to report that the vacuum bags we'd purchased sure did a great job. What was once a very bulky comforter, blanket and some extra towels,
quickly got the air sucked out of them as they magically shrunk into a rock-hard piece of plastic to be stowed under our mattress.
A quick cursory inspection proved there were thankfully no issues with anything we'd left behind in the boat. No evidence of bugs. A few small rust spots on the stainless faucets and knobs found in the heads, that, quickly came off with the stainless cleaner. No mold. We wiped things down again, and Dave sighed happily as the engine purred to life.
First order of business was to re-install the bimini and dodger that Michael had re-stitched during our absence and had thoughtfully brought back right away so as to provide shade for our work in progress.
A lunchtime reunion with friends Doug and Wendy over wings and chicken roti at the Yacht Club was great fun. They offered up the use of their dinghy (as ours was still on the bow of Banyan), so we could hop across the way to Foodland to get some provisions for the next few days.
Before we could even disembark from the borrowed dinghy, we needed to remember how to drive it with confidence, how to come alongside the rickety wharf, and as we were trying to do all that, a young local was already by our side, "Welcome, welcome. I have some fruit, you buy some fruit, mon"? and we looked at each other, Dave still in the dinghy, and I've got one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock. Let me clamber out gracefully I thought to myself, before I figure out what he's selling and for how much. "Here try some, try some, mon, it's freshly picked..."
If only I could remember what it was called, but it was similar to a lychee fruit... a little fuzzier on the tongue though.
Moments later, dinghy was locked, and we were ready to cross the busy street, when the dishevelled lady who had been standing there, started to jabber at us. "You goin' to the stor', I need coking ol. I need me some cokin' ol, you buy me som'?"
We got inside the store and giggled as we walked through the aisles, ya, we're back in Grenada. Dave went one way, and I t'other, and as we arrived at the cash, I noticed he had picked up the cooking oil for the lady. And as our provisions are being rung through, the jabberin lady mysteriously appears behind us at the cash register, with a purchase of some bananas, a packet of something or other and a can of tuna.
We paid for our stuff, and started walking away, and she rushes up behind us. "You have my cokin' ol'?" and we continued across the busy street, in the heat, with cars honking as they rounded the corner. Nothing like being chased for some cokin' ol'...
"Scuse me, you have cokin' ol', you buy for me?". I placed my bags on the ground and as I went through the bags, I found the cooking oil, along with, surprise surprise, a can of tuna, that I know neither one of us had purchased, as tuna has been banned from our boat due to excessive indulgence on our voyages south last year.
I handed the bottle of "cokin ol" to Dave, who handed it to her. Then she continues on "You have my tuna". This was not a question, but a statement. "No, I don't think so" I remarked, trying my darndest to play innocent.
"You don't understand, you have my can of tuna, the cash lady took my tuna, it's in yo' bag".
I'm thinking t'weren't the cash lady that threw in the can of tuna halfway through our order, t'were this lady herself trying to pull a fast one on us. Wasn't the cokin' ol enough?
"Yes, there's a can of tuna in this bag", I said.
"You don't understand, that's my can of tuna, the cashy lady put it in there".
"Yes you're right, it's your can of tuna, we didn't buy one".
She's starting to get agitated, "that's my can of tuna".
"Yes, it is. But we paid for it"
"You don't understand, it's my can".
This was going to go on forever, and it was hot. I looked at Dave, who looked at back at me.
"How much was the tuna?" and before she could think, she said "it was four dollars".
"Alright then, give me four dollars and I'll give you your can of tuna". She continued a little quieter this time "you don't understand, the cash lady put it in there".
And this time I had had enough, "No, you don't understand. We bought you your cokin' ol'. We paid for the tuna. You give me four dollars, and I'll give you the can of tuna".
She walked away, knowing her scheme was over. We dinghied back, put the provisions in the cold fridge, just before the skies opened up and the showers hit with full force.
We are happy to be back onboard, allowing the very gentle lull of the water sway us to sleep at night. There's still lots to be done however a few items got crossed of our lists. We have lots to be thankful for, including break-time that included two of our very favourite things...
Welcome to Grenada !