18 June 2016 | Barbados Yacht CLub Mooring Field, Barbados
17 June 2016 | Barbados Yacht CLub Mooring Field, Barbados
16 June 2016 | Barbados Yacht CLub Mooring Field, Barbados
14 June 2016 | Bridgetown, Barbados
13 June 2016 | Bridgetown, Barbados
12 June 2016 | Barbados Yacht CLub Mooring Field, Barbados
11 June 2016 | Bridgetown, Barbados
Year 9 Day 170 What Is It?
18 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Wherever we go we love to find and sample the local fruits and vegetables. There is so much diversity going from island to island and country to country. The picture that is posted with this blog is something that is a bit larger than a softball and looks to me to be some sort of overgrown root crop. Mary Margaret had bought it Saturday at one of the little fruit and vegetable stalls that were setup here in the Marina. She told me it was call an apricot. Now, I am not the smartest kernel on the cob but even I know what an apricot is. However, she insisted that is what the locals called it.
She cut into it to discover an orange firm flesh and as I popped the piece into my mouth a big smile appeared. While tasting nothing like the little apricots I am used to in the US, it was quite tasty and sweet. Its flavor was halfway between a mango and a papaya. It was a bit firmer in texture than either one of those fruits. Mary Margaret did not really enjoy it so I ended up slurping it down all by myself. Yum!
We have just about finished all of the work we plan to do on getting Leu Cat ready for our friends’ arrival. They come in three days so we have time to rest and explore a bit. I did just that by taking the dingy to the southernmost part of the lagoon. There are a number of restaurants there along with two malls. I walked around and waltzed through the two supermarkets, noting what goodies they had. I also scoped out the Ace Hardware store and ended up buying a new 2 gallon gas can for the dinghy.
One Wednesday I will return with Mary Margaret. She will be getting her hair cut at one of the salons. We will also try one of the restaurants for lunch and then do some grocery shopping.
Year 9 Day 169 The Birthday Girl
17 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Today is my life mate’s special day. It is her birthday. Today is all of hers and she gets to do anything she wishes. Being the special girl, she is, she chose to spend the day with me! We lounged around, played cards, read and listen to music. Not real exciting but we have learned that being together, enjoying each other’s company, is such a treat. I am so lucky to have Mary Margaret as my best friend, lover, wife, and mother of our children. It just does not get any better than that!
She also called and talked to each of our kids. That too, is a very special treat. Here we are in the Caribbean and talking to each of our kids and our grandkids while on our boat. Technology is great when it works!
As my treat to the birthday girl, I washed the dishes all day and made Mary Margaret the dinner she requested. I had offered to take her out to dinner but she enjoys our cooking more than eating out. Thus, we had a couple of cuts of the tenderloin beef we bought in Barbados, these huge potatoes and a colorful salad I threw together with her homemade blue cheese dressing. It was topped off with a chocolate frosted yellow cake with chocolate bits. Mary Margaret made the birthday cake herself as she wanted it to be perfect. Can’t say that I blame her… as it was delicious!
Year 9 Day 168 Pluggin’ Along
16 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Today we kept plugging along to get the boat ready for our guests who come next week. We just do a little bit at a time. That way we don’t exhaust ourselves and we get to enjoy the little side plays that are always going on onshore. Mary Margaret cleaned the two guest bathrooms while I put the guest suite back together after taking it apart to run the new starter batteries charging wiring yesterday. Once the suite was put back, I then made the bed.
I then ran to the electrician’s shop to pay my bill. When the receptionist gave it to me I noticed that it was in error. She had only charged me 0.5 hours of the electrician’s time when it should have been 5 hours. I spotted the error and had her correct it. It always hurts a bit to ask to be charged more for something but he did a good job and should receive his correct compensation for his job.
I then went over to the sail loft and paid for and picked up our head sail. When I returned to Leu Cat with the sail it was too windy to try to install and raise it so Mary Margaret and I waited until the end of the day to do that. By then the winds had dropped and hauling it up the head shroud and the furling foil was easy. Soon it was up and furled.
While we waited for the winds to ease before picking up the sail, Mary Margaret and I went ashore and wandered around the various little stalls that get set up every Wednesday and Saturday. These are veggie and fruit stalls where the vendors sell their local produce. It is always fun to go to each stall and meet with and talk to the ladies that are selling their produce. Mary Margaret always goes to each stall and buys a little from each. She likes to make sure she buys a little something from each one instead of just loading up from one stall.
We ended our day by enjoying the local pizza that I got as take out. It was delicious.
The photo for this blog is of the veggie and fruit skiff that came up to us each day while we were at anchor in Rodney Bay. As you can see, his skiff is covered with tons of flags representing different counties. What a hoot!
Year 9 Day 167 A Birthday Comes Early
15 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Dave/ Periods of Rain And Sun
Today was Mary Margaret’s day for the spa. Her birthday is just a couple of days away and this is my birthday present to her. She loves messages and what better of a present could I give her? We will celebrate her actual birthday with a nice dinner so she is getting a 2-fer. She is very special to me so she certainly deserves it.
While she was oohing and aaaaahing at the spa, Vision and his wife were polishing Leu Cat. Also, I had the electrician come today. Before he arrived, I figured out why the starter batteries were not being kept charged when the generator was running or when we are plugged into shore power.
I had pulled out the various schematics for the wiring of the boat, the old Xantrex battery charger we used to have and the new Mastervolt battery charger we now have. I then inspected the various electrical lines to see if they matched the schematics. What I discovered is that the two battery chargers address charging the starter batteries differently. Basically, the “certified” electrician that I had hired to install the new charger never ran a separate low amp line to the starter batteries. Thus, they would only charge when I was running the engines and would never charge when either we are plugged into shore power or when the generator is running. Grrrrrr!
When the electrician came he concurred with my analysis and installed a new, low amp line to the coupling switch that connects the two starter batteries was an easy fix. He also inspected the electrical connections on the solar panels and confirmed what I had suspected. The one panel, that had failed, had a connection to the main line that was totally corroded. That also was an easy fix. While he was at it, I had him inspect and change the connections for each of the panels. They are 9 years old so, if one connection had failed, I thought that the others were not far behind. Soon, the new connectors were in and all three panels were putting out the amps as they should. Yea!
By now it was mid-afternoon and Mary Margaret returned to Leu Cat with her skin glowing and a big, happy smile on her face. It was a good day today!
Year 9 Day 166 Working On The Boat
14 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
Today started early because I wanted to drop the head sail before the winds came up for the day. As it was, the winds were about 10 knots but that was light enough to drop and remove the sail without the winds blowing it all over the place. Being tied to the dock we are not facing the direction of the winds. Instead we are facing downwind so the sail wanted to fly out over the front of the boat. Thus, it is best to drop and remove sails while the winds are light.
Once down and rolled up, I used a cart and hauled it over to the sail loft. I hope to have the rotten threading on the sun protection replaced and re-sewn in a couple of days.
I then spent the next few hours cleaning up stuff and getting it out of the way so that Vision and his wife could start washing and waxing Leu Cat. They will be spending the next couple of days doing that.
Mary Margaret started cleaning the inside of Leu Cat. Since my work is being handled by Vision and his wife, I offered to help Mary Margaret and she readily accepted. While she cleaned the bathroom and shower room one our side of the boat, I scrubbed the ceilings and walls to make sure no mold was present. By the time we were done, we were beat but things were shiny and clean.
Tomorrow I have the electrician coming. I have figured out why our starter batteries are not being charged by the battery charger. This is a new charger and it is different than our old Xantrex charger. The wiring to the starter batteries was never completed. Thus, the time the starter batteries were being charged were when the engines(s) were on and the alternators were charging them. I want to be able to keep them charged up when the generator is running and when the boat is plugged into shore power. Thus, I will have the electrician do this wiring.
The electrician will also be inspecting our solar panels. One of them has stopped putting out amps and I suspect a corroded connection. I will have him inspect each of the connections for each panel since if one has failed, the other two are most likely soon to follow.
As an aside, we have discovered that the Internet in general sucks on this island. There are only 170,000 people that live on St. Lucia but Digicel must not have installed enough band width to handle the load. We are struggling to connect and use it whether we are using the marina’s connection or our SIM card on our phone. It is very frustrating…
Year 9 Day 165 Rodney Bay Marina
13 July 2016 | Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia
This morning around 1100 we weighed anchor and headed toward the lagoon in which the Rodney Bay Marina is situated in. I had been told that we could come in anytime and on any day. We were just to call the dock master on channel 16 when we were about to come in. Ha! We are told that via email or face to face each time we are about to come into a marina. However, about 75% of the time, or even more, when we call using the VHF radio no one answers our hail. For that reason I always try to get the telephone number for the marina’s office. If I have a local SIM card in our phone, I will use that to call, if not, then I will use our satellite Iridium Go paired with our cell phone to call. I then tell the receptionist that we are coming in and to have the dock master hail us on VHF channel 16. Usually, in a few minutes, we are being hailed by the dock master and then we make the necessary arraignments regarding what slip we will have and where it is.
This is exactly what we had to do once again. It boggles the brain as to how lax marinas are in monitoring the main communication channel (i.e., whatever VHF channel they use) that we on our boat are usually limited to.
Once we made contact with the dock master we were directed to slip D 12 and in a few minutes we were nicely tied up to the dock. We will be here at least 9 days, depending on what our friends, Dwight and Kati wish to do once they arrive. We will be getting information on what to do here in St Lucia and when they arrive, we will discuss what they would like to do while they are with us.
Once we had Leu Cat squared away, a couple of handymen approached us looking for work. I ended up getting a quote of just $350 US to have the entire outside of the boat washed, wax and polished. It is the slowest of the slow season here right now and they are anxious to find some work. This is a very good price as it included the materials and equipment need to do the topside and the hulls down to the waterline. The hours and hours of hot, back breaking, sweaty work I was envisioning doing had just gone poof! Now, I just need to get to work on make some frozen margaritas and then kicking back and slurping those down to get into practice for when Dwight and Kati are here!
I will help Mary Margaret a bit in doing the inside of the boat. She could also hire someone to do this work but she is more meticulous on cleaning than I am so she usually opts to just do it herself. It must be a girl thing…
Year 9 Day 164 Old Friends
12 July 2016 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
Dave/Rain In The Morning, Sunny In The Afternoon
One of the things that is on the down side of a cruising lifestyle, is that you are away from family and friends for most of the year. Add to that the fact that it is so easy to lose touch with people who you used to see on occasion. While we do make new cruiser friends and always enjoy it when we see them in an anchorage, it is not like being able to hop in the car or pick up the phone to see or talk to someone. It is a lifestyle where you main contact is your spouse. In our case that is just perfect since we get along so well and so enjoy being with each other.
I mention this because yesterday we received a Facebook “Friend” offer from one of our old friends that we had not seen or heard from in over 9 years. He is just starting to get into using Facebook and, like us, is in the process of learning how powerful it is. It is such a treat to be “friends” on Facebook with Harry and we immediately sent him a message in hopes that he would see it soon. We were rewarded with a nice long message back this from him this morning. It was Great!
Harry is now 92 and to get a long message was more than we could have hoped for. We had tried contacting him a few years ago when we were in Southern California visiting friends and family for the holidays. Unfortunately, he was not available and we never heard back from him so that contact got lost. Now it has been re-established and we are just thrilled!
We had decided to go into the marina tomorrow. We love being out in the anchorage here in the bay since the wind is nice and cooling and constantly blowing. However, there are a number of errands we want to run before our friends come in about a week and being in the marina will just make running those errands so much easier. Plus, it will making doing a few of the boat projects that have cropped up that much easier. We noticed that the top of our headsail has some stitching that has come loose around the sun guard strip that protects the sail from the sun when it is furled. I want to drop that sail and take it to the sail loft that is in the marina complex. We have also discovered that one of our three solar panels has stopped generating electricity. I believe it just a bad connection somewhere but I am anxious to get it fixed. I also want the electrician to check on the battery switch that isolates our starter batteries from the house batteries. This was a problem I wrote about as we were trying to leave Barbados.
Being in the marina will also make it a bit easier to clean and prep the boat for our friends who arrive on the 21st. Thus, while we really do not like staying in marinas, it will make life a bit easier, so we will grudgingly go in tomorrow.