September 21, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
We've been waking up each and every single morning to the sounds of roosters loudly cock-a-doodling their wake-up songs, reminding us to "get up, get up, get up" you've got a list or two or three, of things to do ! Do, do, do !!
And then I grunt and groan and move delicately with muscle soreness and fatigue, around in bed, and that's when the sounds of the many schools of fish that live under Banyan's hull noisily pucker up their fish lips to suction suck away any sludge, slime and otherwise green globs of plankton off the hull, sounding very much like loud popcorn kernels popping. So much for going back to sleep...
"Babe, it's way too hot..." says Dave as I pucker up my fish lips towards his, and I smile and nod in total agreement. And it's not even 6 a.m. yet ! And it's HOT! The heat has been the hardest thing to acclimatize to since our return.
Once we're up and moving, thanks to a nice hot cup of espresso java, we emerge into the Grenadian morning sunshine, wondering what kinds of things we'll get done today.
The last few days have had us busy, sweating, and yes, sometimes even swearing but the end result being many jobs have been started and completed, all in an attempt to get the boat, "Ready Aye Ready" to sail away. Our time in the marina is precious (and by choice, limited) and should the need arise (aka a hurricane threat) we wanted to be able to get ourselves out of here in a hurry. And so the boat needs to be ready...
A sample task might include walking to the office, pick up a wheelbarrow and pushing it back. Haul the heavy laundry bags out of the boat, hoist them into said wheelbarrow and walk them back to the laundry Office where they get dropped off, and I take a sweaty break in front of the old rickety fan blowing hot air around the laundry room.
"G'morning" they say, with a smile, and I smile as I notice the washers are spinning their loads, dryers tumbling their heat, irons steam creasing the marina uniform sleeves to rimrod perfection, and the clothes lie folded in clean perfection on the small table set in the corner, "Good Morning, how are you today?" I reply.
Dave does the same routine with the propane tank, that gets dropped off one day, and picked up two days later. And another identical trip to pick up the two gargantuan bags of washed and inspected sails.
One morning Dave attacks the dinghy engine. Two months of sitting on the rails had things a little seized up !! Lower End Gear Oil and new Spark Plugs, back onto dinghy she goes, and a test drive later and she's happily purring like a kitten.
We called upon Joe George, who cabby-ied us into town to restock our very bare Banyan cupboards. When we left two months ago there was not one item of food left on board. The result of that trip required two wheelbarrows, but only because we also picked up the inflatable AIRIS kayak's we'd purchased as Banyan's new toys. Call them a combined Christmas Present, Birthday Present and any other present, for the past few years, all-in-one !
We're pretty excited to try them out, but first, it's time to work...
"Hey, your list is longer than mine" I laugh, as Dave busies himself looking for a pen in our chaotic mess that is our current cluttered home.
Before we left, we hired Michael's canvas services. We needed to have our bimini and dodger canvas restitched along the existing seams, much of the piping had come undone and although I've spent much time last year, along the way, sewing the simple seams by hand, my fingers were not strong enough to stick the needle through the four layers plus of piping.
We also asked him to create up some sunscreens for Banyan, along with a tarp to cover her bow in an attempt to keep the hot, hot sun off her decks and boiling up the insides to sauna like temperatures, as well as allowing us to keep the hatches open, and the rain out, should sudden squalls hit.
He's been back and forth a few times delivering said products and what a great job he's done !! He took our ideas and offered up a tangible result that was exactly what we had envisioned, and looks better than what we'd hoped for.
The fine white/cream coloured mesh is attached to the dodger by zippers, they roll up when not in use, and are attached to the rails by a simple ties. The wind easily blows through underneath and airs out our cockpit and bonus, we can simply duck and walk under and out, easily getting on and off Banyan, without having to alter/lift the sunscreen.
The fine mesh also doubles as a privacy screen and gives the illusion that our cockpit has almost become another personal room of sorts.
The jib got installed the other day, but the biggest (and almost last) job on the list was to get the mainsail up. Since we're presently not pointed the right way (into the wind) this job had to be timed perfectly, and the last few days with increasing winds, had us nixing this job each and every time.
"It happens today, babes..." proclaimed Dave and sure enough the weather Gods cooperated. Dave prepped the stack pack and lines, the winds came up over lunch and so we declared it siesta time, but the afternoon lull and 180 degree wind shift provided a perfect opportunity for the second attempt.
I winched, and sweated and winched, Dave guided and lubed and guided,
"Holy Shit, bring her down... " and I released and allowed the sail to descend a few inches, "there's a piece that's broken", said Dave.
A very stressed bent pin on one of the sail slides... I guess the office didn't inspect as perfectly as we had hoped, thank goodness it was noticed now.
We had a spare on board (question was to find it in the mess that is the aft cabin, but I emerged, victorious, after a few moments in the sauna of a room) and it quickly got replaced. The winds were still non-existent so back we went to winching and sweating and lubing and guiding.
Later we sat in our shaded cockpit, with our gazillionth Tervis Tumbler of ice cold water, red faced in overheated exhaustion, as the wind once again shifted and piped up. We got 'er done, ya !!
We've chosen to try and save some dollars by washing our settee cushion covers ourselves, they were looking pretty grey and dirty, and not bright blue and pretty. And so the laborious task of removing the foam from the cover, washing it by hand, hanging out to dry, one at a time, begins... Although I love the empowering feeling of doing something yourself, I highly salute the genius that invented washing machines, and have to admit that THAT is what I miss most about life on land.
"Dave, honey, it's time for a break..." said I (remember, taking breaks and calling it a day is just as important as getting all this work done, as several readers have lovingly reminded us). We've opted to stay clear of the Saturday hashes (for now), and the departure time for Volleyball games always seemed to be in the midst of one or two of our jobs, we have taken time to cool off with some dips in the very hot hot-tub of a pool at the Marina, go for a walk towards the beach,
or just sit in our newly defined cockpit watching the full moon rising, in the almost cool evening breeze,
enjoying a Pina Colada in celebration of a hard day's work done and, as of today, high five each other with the satisfied proclamation that we are now officially, a fully functioning Sailboat, ready to go "Somewhere South of Somewhere", for Season 2, at any time. Ready, Ah, Aye, Ready...
September 18, 2013 , Port Louis Marina, Grenada
"My rings feel very tight" complained Dave a few days ago. Not to go on and on about this overly hot heat, or harp about the sweltering humidity here in the throes of Grenadian Summer, but really, all these elements were combining to do a number on our bodies, including swelling up our fingers.
"Here you go..." I passed the oil up to Dave so he could grease up his fingers, slide the rings off, pass them down to me so I could tuck 'em away, along with mine, for safe storage.
"What was that?" said Mike
"What?" said Rebecca
"Oh Shit" said Dave.
"WTF?" said I?
The complex series of movements that ensued which had Dave simultaneously getting up to chat with Mike and Rebecca who were standing on the dock, while greasing his fingers to try to slide his ring along and off his finger, and along with a bad back which made him step a little crooked and a little sideways which resulted in the very gut-wrenching and quite umistakeable sound of said wedding ring plop-plopping into fifteen feet of dark murky marina water, right below the transom of our boat, with a decidedly sinking feeling. Oh Shit !
We had already booked UnderWater Solutions to come dive/clean Banyan's bottom in a few days, and so a simple message later had us adding another request,
"Uh, Brett, do you have a metal detector you could bring?" was Dave's simple query?
Brett indicated he did and he would, but chances were very slim, he said, as there were feet, "and I mean many, many feet of murky sludge here in the bay, and things sink, things disappear". Oh Shit !
There was nothing that could be done, and Life after an Oh Shit moment needs to move forward, so the next item on The List, since the winds were pretty non-existant at the moment, was to get the jib on and installed.
"Nice lines" said Dave,
"Why thank you, m'luv" said I with a smile and a wink, wink as Dave continued to admire the new, black-flecked jib sheets we'd bought from Jamie at North Sails Yacht Shop back in Halifax, and who had whipped the ends quite nicely.
The freshly washed Jib, duly inspected and restitched in areas, came out of its bag, and before long, we had it laid out on deck,
and once all things stainless were lubed, black tie-wraps on the shackles,
and wind zero... up it went as Dave winched and I guided ...
"Oh Shit" yelled Dave, just as an impressive out of the blue gust of wind hit and almost knocked me into the water, and I tried haplessly to grab the flapping sail, without much success.
"You almost lost your Other Precious..." I laughed at him.
Moments later, all was calm again, and the jib was rolled up, with mere moments to spare before the next gust, along with the rain squall, drenched us both.
All these Oh Shit moments as of late had us craving some serious sweets and being in Port Louis Marina had us only a wee walk away from The Merry Baker. Before long I had us some freshly baked olive ciabatta bread, still warm to the touch, smelling quite like heaven, along with some Chelsea Buns which is their version of decadent and delicious cinnamon buns. Oh. My. Goodness, a mouthful of these sweets and you really don't care about any Oh Shit Moments.
Munching on said treats, Brett messaged to say that he would be arriving at 14:30, which immediately nixed our planned afternoon excursion with the volleyball team. That's quite alright, as our backs were giving us some grief and not cooperating as of late, and playing volleyball might not have been a wise move.
Brett Fairhead and Devon Joseph, from the local Underwater Solutions company showed up right on time, chatted with Dave for a moment,
and then Brett said, "We shall dive for the ring first, but don't get your hopes up..."
Twenty minutes later the bubbles of the surfacing divers appeared and,
"Oh Shit!!!", proclaimed Dave, "you found it"!!
Brett and Devon spent a good portion of the next hour underwater, scraping Banyan's hull clean of sludge and ooze and barnacles that had affixed themselves during her stay here. However, we were pleased to hear that "it wasn't too bad, ya". A few barnacles and and an oyster farm on the propeller shaft. The prop hub zinc, that Dave had pre-treated with nail polish around the thin parts, was installed, the old one looking pretty dead...
A two-thumbs up from Brett, regarding Banyan's Underwater status. No hauling out needed, the anti-fouling paint we had so laboriously applied last year, was doing its thing, the rudder post and cutlass bearing were showing no signs of wear, so no haul out required this year!
The result ? Banyan gives Brett and Devon from Underwater Solutions a serious Two Thumbs Up for their work, professional attitude, knowledge, and of course, for finding Dave's Precious. We chit-chatted on the docks for a while, exchanging cruising stories. Quite interesting (and a little disgusting) to learn about the sewage and dead things that flow into the Bay here...
Brett also happens to be The Merry Baker's son? Awesomeness all the way 'round.
A nice get together with Mike and Rebecca and friends on One Love chit-chatting into the darkness of evening. They did a fantastic show of prepping and preparing, and we did a fantastic job of taste-testing (I'm sure they will agree?) their signature home-made vanilla ice cream. We won't give away the secret ingredient, but let's just say it's on the healthy side !
Dave and I unanimously declared it "The. Best. Ever."
Oh, and just as an FYI... the DIY project of soaking rings in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, to remove a week's worth of black growth that had started to brew in the ridges of the band, really works ! No Shit.