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Foggy Mountain
Tragedy in Paradise
Jeff
11/27/2011, Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada

A couple of weekends ago we went on an island excursion with a group of cruisers. The plan for the day was to first go to the Seven Sisters waterfalls, then go to a place where we would be tubing down a river and then go out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. To get to the Seven Sisters waterfalls you have to hike into the bottom of the falls. At the beginning of the hike the guide gives each person a walking stick based on their height. A stick that comes to just above your waist being described as the best. The hike to the base of the falls is over a path that is muddy, sometimes steep and rock strewn. At times you are climbing over rocks with your muddy (read slippery) shoes. And other times you are descending a steep muddy path with rocks, tree branches and roots on either side of you. The rocks, roots and branches become your friends as they act as hand holds. Needless to say the hike is physically demanding for folks not use walking in this kind of terrain. And don't wear shoes that you can't do without because the mud is thick and sticky. So sticky that sometimes a had to pull significantly to withdraw my walking stick from it. To make the mud worse we got hit by a rain squall just before making it to the base of the falls. Once at the base of the falls the view of them is very nice. We were chilled after the rain and the overcast conditions of the day. So going in the cooling water of the falls was not an attrachtion to Pam and I so we just watched the other cruisers. The base fall is the biggest one of the group at a height of thiry five feet. It is quite a site. But viewing the falls is not the only draw for this excursion. If you chose you can hike to the top of the falls and jump down each of six falls finishing by jumping off the thirty five footer. Prior to doing this we had heard of several people that had been injured doing the jumps. So, Pam and I had decided that we would do the hike but not the jump. Pam primarily due to her fear of heights and me because I had heard of people getting back injuries and my back gives me problems from time to time so I decided to forego the jumping. Also, we hope to make a passage from Grenada to the US Virgin Islands early in December and neither one of us want to do an offshore passage with an injured anything. Irregardless of the stories some of the cruisers decided to do the jumps. As they hiked up to the top with the guide we waited at the bottom getting rained on by another squall in the process. Then they appeared at the top of the thirty five footer to the cheers of all of us. So cameras at the ready we prepared to try to catch them in the act of jumping. Sure glad Pam had the waterproof box on her camera as it was still raining on and off. As each person jumped a cheer was heard from waiting crowd was they came to the surface of the pool below the falls. Martha, a very nice lady off of the vessel "Lightheart", was one of the last two left at the top. I can only describe Martha and Peter from "Lightheart" as aquaintences of ours but each time we have encountered them they have always seemed to be people that we would like to know better. Anyway, Peter had already successfully jumped and was waiting at the bottom for Martha. I was standing with Ronnie, off of "Compechano", and as we watched Martha's body language we both said, "she shouldn't jump." She had a couple false starts while we could see the guide talking to her. Not sure whether they were words of encouragement or otherwise. Irregardless after several false starts, where we could see her lean forward only to back off, she stepped aside to let the guy behind her go. After he jumped successfully, Martha stepped up to the challenge again. Once again, in my opinion, her body language was all wrong. Then cheers of encouragement came up from the crowd below. At which time I didn't join in the cheer because I didn't think the peer pressure was a good thing to apply at this moment. I thought that the decision to jump or not should have been hers alone with no outside influence. In any case Martha decided to jump. At first is appeared to us that she had made it and a cheer went up from the crowd. However when she came to the surface of the water we were told that she said, "I'm not alright." I say we heard this because were were not within earshot from our viewing position. Making a long story short Martha had to be carried out on a stretcher brought by medical personnel from a hospital's ambulance. Martha was taken to a hospital. As for us we hiked out and waited for them to bring Martha out from the base of the falls. After she was taken away in the ambulance we went left deciding to forego the tubing trip. We did go to dinner though. The day after the incident we heard that x-rays were negative and that she was resting. Then the next day we heard that she was being flown to the States. In subsequent email updates we read that as a result of the jump Martha got a compressed vertibrae. She has had to surgeries on her back since then and is looking at significant rehab time. Our prayers are with Martha and we hope that she and Peter can return to their cruising lifestyle if they chose to do so. God bless you Martha.

Haulout Reflections
Jeff
11/27/2011, Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada

Our haulout days had different objectives each day, but had similar flow. We got up at our usual 6:00 am, ate our breakfast and donned our work clothes. Donning them off the boat to keep their dirt off the boat is paramount and endless task. You see, when we are living on the hard we get on to the boat by climbing a ladder to the side deck. Once on the side deck we removed our sandels or flip flops and left them there on a towel. The towel also served as a welcome mat to wipe our feet on. Wearing sandels is not the best thing to wear while working with all the sanding dust and paint droppings that you get doing bottom work but more protective shoes are such a pain to deal with taking off and putting on. Let alone the dealing with them while standing on the side deck of the boat eight feet above the ground. It is a bit precarious standing on one foot while removing or putting on your sandels knowing that if you lose your balance you will fall eight feet to the ground below. The sandels were always wet the next morning as they got rinsed in the overnight rain. Of course this necessitated having to clean the side deck every other day to remove the dirt washed off of the sandels. Once off the boat in the morning the first order of business was to put our tools under the boat, or a power catamaran next door, in an attempt to keep them dry during the everyday rain squall visits. After the first couple of squalls we had scouted out the high spots under the boats so we were able to keep our stuff dry. Also, with the tools Pam had brought down our supply of Gatorade and water so that we could stay hydrated without having to climb aboard. When we broke for lunch we generally ate in in the cockpit, outside, avoiding the risk of contaminating the inside of the boat. While wearing our coveralls was hot in the 90 degree temps and 90% humidity they really helped us keep the dirt out of the boat. Generally at lunch we removed our coveralls and left them down below under the boat. After lunch we brought another hydration supply down with us. We tended to confine our afternoon jobs to those that could be done underneath the boat so that they could still be accomplished even during the more common afternoon rain squalls. At the end of the day we removed our coveralls and put them and many of our tools into plastic garbage bags, once again to keep the dirt from getting onto the boat. After getting our shower bags, from onboard the boat, we went to the boat yard's shower facility to take our, cold, showers. After the initial shock, the cold shower water gave us a relief from the heat of the day. Then it was off to eat dinner. Three times during our ten day stay at the boat yard we ate dinner at "de Big Fish" a bar/restaurant just outside the boat yard. The rest of the times we ate aboard but ate down below to avoid mosquito attacks. In the evenings we generally listened to radio broadcasts from the States on our iPad using a WiFi connection. Most of the time we listened to afternoon drive time radio shows that I listened to when I worked in the Boston area. It was amazing to hear how many things had not changed in the roughly 12 years that it has been since we lived in that area. Then it was off to bed resting up for the physical demands of the next day. Sleeping was made tolerable by the fact that the boat yard had positioned us so that our bow was pointing east. Since our hatches open towards the bow this allowed us to get a bit of a breeze from the prevailing easterlies. I don't know if the boat yard positioned us this way on purpose, but we are thankful that they did so. So, that it a thumbnail sketch of our work day which generally ran from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm with about 45 minutes for lunch. All ten days were filled with strenuous manual labor that left us exhausted. At times, I admit, I wondered how we were going to complete our tasks. But some how we persevered taking each task and each day one at a time trying to make some progress each day. The satisfaction of looking our finished product before she was launched made it all worth effort. Or at least made us forget the ache in our muscles for a moment. Hopefully this effort has given us another twelve months before we will likely begin this ordeal a new.

Haulout Day 10
Jeff
11/04/2011, Spice Island Marine Services, Grenada

We were scheduled for a 1:00 pm launch and we needed every minute of that time to complete our work. In final preparation I went around checking everything that I had installed. Checking the tightness of all the zincs, for instance. Much to my dismay I found that the aft most screw on the hull zinc was loose. It moved when I checked it tightness. This cause a bit of a panic because I don't like removing and re-installing things that go thru the hull this close to going back in the water. I prefer to give the sealant at least 24 hours to cure. We've done things like this right before launch, but we don't like it. In any case we removed and re-installed the bolt and everything appeared to be fine. So after re-installing the hull zinc I began working on my original goal for the morning, waxing the red waterline. I wanted to get three coats on but only managed to get two. While I was doing this stuff Pam was cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer doing laundry. Getting the melted ice out of the refrigerator and freezer boxes is a pain because they have to be bailed. Once she got that done she bought some more ice to try to keep the box temperatures as low as possible so when we turn the refrigeration system when we get back in the water the compressor won't have to work as hard to bring the box temperatures down. The yard personnel were right on time for the launch, Pam settled up on our bill and I watched the yard guys prep the boat for launch. When they were putting Foggy on the boat mover they almost screwed up by putting one of the hydraulic pads right on our hull zinc. But they caught it before any damage was done and the rest of the launch from the Travelift went without a problem. Once back in the water we powered back to Mt. Hartman Bay where we anchored. That night at about 11:30 I woke up when the refrigeration started. While monitoring its operation the bilge pump turned on. For the next two hours I frantically looked for the source of a leak. Thankfully finding that it was not the hull zinc I found that it was fresh water coming from a leak in the shower. At which point I went to sleep at 1:00 am.

Haulout Day 9
Jeff
11/03/2011, Spice Island Marine Services, Grenada

Pam climbed back up on her scaffolding today to continue working on the three coats of wax. My first job was to install the hull zinc anode. This is a zinc plate that is attached to the bottom of the boat with two bolts the go thru the hull and connect to a ground wire inside the hull. Because thes bolts go thru hull if they are at all loose they could leak. Any leak could potentially sink the boat. So not having these bolt leak is extremely important. So everytime I install this zinc I am wary of any movement in the bolt when I tighten the nut that holds the zinc plate inplace. Well, I got bad news this morning. The forward most bolt moved. So, it had to be removed, cleaned, the hole cleaned and resealed when it was re-instaled in the hull. Once the bolt and hole are prepped it becomes a two person job because one person has to be on the insidemof the boat to hold the bolt while the other person tightens it from the outside. I recruited Pam to accomplish this task. Once that was completed, Pam went back to her waxing and I went to work on the MaxProp. The propeller on our boat is called a MaxProp it is a feathering prop meaning its blades turn to be parallel with the flow of the water when we are sailing. This reduces drag and increases the performance of the boat under sail. The prop has grease fittings somthat you can fill its insides with grease to facilitate its proper operation. I greased the prop using our grease gun and then cleaned the outside of the prop with a solvent so that paint will adhere to it. Once that was completed I spayed the prop with three coat of an antifouling paint to keep the barnacles off it. Another good day, tomorrow we are sceduled to launch.

Haulout Day 8
Jeff
11/02/2011, Spice Island Marine Services, Grenada

You can always tell when you are getting close to completing a haulout, it's when you are putting things on to the boat rather than taking them off. Like putting paint on the bottom rather than taking it off. Or what I did this morning, putting zinc anodes on the prop shaft rather than taking them off. Once again while did this, you guessed it, Pam managed to coax her weary arms into doing more wax on wax off in the ninety degree heat. We stay hydrated by drinking Gatorade and water. During the morning a couple of yard guys came by to move the pods that support the boat. Basically when the boat is hauled out of the water she is set down on her keel. But to keep her from falling over pods are placed on both sides of the hull. Our first coats of bottom paint were applied around these pods. Once that paint dried the yard guys move the pods so we can paint the areas that they concealed. Of course once they moved the pods they revealed more bad paint spots. So Jeff got to put on his coveralls, balaclava, gloves and dust mask again to prep those areas and prime them. Today was a good day because I was able to do all the prep and prime in the morning, which allowed me to get two coats of bottom paint on those areas in the afternoon. Also, along with the pod areas I applied bottom paint to the waterline area that had been taped off to do the red paint. It was a very successful day and we feel good because we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Haulout Day 7
Jeff
11/01/2011, Spice Island Marine Services, Grenada

Today we stopped working on the bottom for a change. In the morning I hand sanded the red waterline paint in preparation for the second coat. I hate doing this job because it kills my arms sanding over my head for the roughly seventy feet of waterline. While I was doing that Pam continued her arm workout by pushing through the pain to continue applying three coats of wax to the hull. Once the waterline was wiped down after the sanding, I applied the second coat of red paint to the waterline. When the painting was completed I polished the prop in preparation for it painting later on. Another obseration on differences between this boat yard and ones back in the States. No music here, back in the States there is always music playing.

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