May 12, 2011
Last Sunday, which was mother's day we left early-early from Grenada and took the milk run up to St. Kitts. We changed planes in Barbados, and spent several hours then stopped in St. Lucia, and changed planes again in Antigua finally arriving in St. Kitts just after 8pm, tired from a long day of doing nothing...but glad to be with dear friends again.
Monday dawned grey and with clouds obscuring the peaks of St. Kitts so we couldn't see very much from the boat. We took a walk thru town and the newly reclaimed land where the cruise ship dock. They have done a great job here and the buildings are lovely. The people here are also very friendly, warm and helpful.
Tuesday we took a tour of the island and loved it even more. We stopped at a wonderful facility, the former Italian consulate (and boy can you tell it used to be Italian by the beautiful gardens) where the owner opens the property for people to use during the day, and has a shop where they make gorgeous things out of polished seashells, and also do framing in local woods and shells. Truly some of the most beautiful crafts we have seen to date. We saw a batik factory and monkeys in he rainforest and a 300 year old tree that I cannot imagine has survived thru so many hurricanes. We stopped for an amazing lunch at the Rawlins Plantation, a former sugar cane plantation which is now reclaimed as a boutique hotel that has villas set into the old mill tower and the other out building from the plantation. They also have an artist in residence and we were able to see the studio and the lovely works they create - all with a spectacular view down the sloping hillside to the sea. You can see St. Eustatia and St. Barts and even St. Martin in the far distance. We got back to the boat at around 3:30, a bit hot as the breeze is down and ready to relax.
Wednesday, we decided to take the ferry over to Nevis and tour that island.
The ferry trip is about 45 minutes and the sea was as flat as we have EVER seen it. Even thru the cut between the islands where the Atlantic flows thru was like a mill pond - unbelievable. Nevis is another lovely island with many restored Plantations converted into guest houses. While we were at the dock waiting to board the ferry, John met a man who called over and arranged for a driver to meet us and give us a full island tour. So when we got off the boat, Mr. Douglas was waiting. Nevis has hot springs, and what is reported to be the oldest hotel in the West Indies, the Hotel Bath which was built for people coming to take the waters. It is also home to over 12,000 monkeys (more than the human inhabitants) and feral donkeys, sheep, goats as well as many domesticated cows and horses. It is a very rural island, and a lovely one.
Today, Sandi needs to jump on a plane and go home to take care of some family business, and then John, Jim and I plan to head to St. Martin with the boat on forecasted flat seas tomorrow.
Friday, May 13th
Hanco heads to St. Martin
After a short nights sleep, which we all kept waking up to see if it was time to wake up yet, we finally got up between 3:30 and 4 am. We got moving around 4:45am, in the dark, cast off the lines and headed out of Port Zante. After loosing the tender and setting her up for towing behind the boat we set course and headed North to St. Martin. The sky began lightening about 5:15, and dawn was very grey with a few storms to the west of us. The rain eventually caught up with us, and followed us for an hour or so, then the day cleared and we spend the rest of the day with partly cloudy skies and beautiful blue sea. Cruising at 8 knts, across a mostly flat sea with only two other boats in our range was a wonderful crossing and we made St.Martin and were tied up at a dock just after 12noon (after the marina closed for lunch).
We had a light lunch, then after 2pm, when they opened up again we moved to our permanent slip. Actually, this is the same marina where we started our voyage on Regenero so it's a bit of a homecoming for us. The weather went grey again, and rained quite a bit later in the evening. After a meatloaf dinner, we all turned in early and had a good long sleep!
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Saturday dawned bright and clear and Jim and I walked over to Serafina's to get some breakfast breads. The pastry and bread is just as gorgeous as we remember and we very much enjoyed our first breakfast here of baguettes and croissants. We headed out in the tender to explore the lagoon and stopped at Budget Marine and Island Water world to see what was to be had. On the way, we ran into some friends of John and Sandy, and ended up rafted together in our dingys drifting in the lagoon chatting. We stopped at Lagoonies for Lunch and discovered a jazz singer with her saxophone entertaining the lunch crowd. A little hard to talk, but the music was very good, and a fun experience.
This evening we visited with the boat neighbors behind us, Sea Crest, who are based out of St.Martin for this visit to their boat. They have a sweet little 1 year old on board who charms everyone.
Saturday, May 7th, 2011
For those who are boaters I'll apologize in advance for this post as I know it will bring back fond reminiscences of aches and pains and bruises and cuts. For those of you who think this life is all umbrella drinks with friends...buckle up as I describe the past 5 days as we hauled the boat and tucked her up for the hurricane season.
Tuesday we left Port Louis amid sad farewells to the many friends we made there. An hour later we were anchored in Prickly Bay and began stripping the sails - first the Jib, the smaller sail in the front, came down and we did our very best to fold it neatly on deck. This requires exacting teamwork from Jim and I to try to fold this triangular sail evenly...without too much shouting. "pull the Top end, NO THE TOP...in your right hand...um...no, your left hand - my right ... sorry" all while the light breeze is lifting the rest of the sail and trying to flip it over the lifelines into the water. That one done, and secured with line, and we move on to the larger main sail. Which has battens, or stiffeners fitted into the sail to help it keep its shape. First we need to remove the battens, and disconnect the sail from the mast. Then attempt to fold it as neatly as the jib....well - close enough anyway. At least we have enough deck room to be able to do this onboard as there is nowhere to do it in the yard where the sails won't get dirty. This takes several hours - but we finally tame the beasts and have the sails stored in the saloon. Last thing here is to take the battens out of the sail bag and roll up and store the sail bag in the luggage as I need to replace it with a new one this summer.
Now it's on to the rigging. Jim decided we should remove all the running rigging (all the lines that do the work on the boat) in order to preserve their life from UV damage, as well as keep the boat deck cleaner. While in Theory I completely agree with this..Practically, I was pretty tired and so was slightly less than enthusiastic to do the job. But my good nature (heavy sarcasm here) won out and we reran all the lines, but one, since we ran out of the messenger line to do the last halyard. This requires taping the smaller, messenger line to the working line - then pulling it thru whatever blocks and pulleys it goes thru until it is out on both sides, they tying it off on both sides. Some lines go thru the boom, and some thru the mast. Once done, and the line is free, we need to label it so in the fall we will be able to put them all back in the right place. We finally finished this around 4:30 - and believe me when I tell you I was beat. However, the fun is just beginning...as we are scheduled to haul at 9am tomorrow and then the real work begins (wimper). We took advantage of our last night at anchor to have a swim in clear, warm waters and then watched the stars come out as we haven't had the chance for quite a while. Ahhhh.
We keep our eyes on the haulout well which we can see from our boat, and just after 9 head over to take our spot. We think we need to back into the well, which is 25 feet wide. As Regenero is 23 feet wide that gives us 1 foot on each side to play with...eeek! Going in forward is tricky enough! We had to stand in the basin and spin for about 20 minutes while they got the boat in front of us settled, but when our turn came they told us to spin around and drive her in bow first...Hallelujah! Except while we were standing one of the throttle handles slipped free and so Jim had to hold it on to use the port engine. Finally! We snuggled in the well and killed the engines...ahhh - now it's all up to the sling driver!
After taking care of the necessary paperwork, the slings returned from the boat hauled before us and Regenero was walked forward into the slings and hauled up and out of the water. They power-washed and scraped the bottom for the few barnacles on there and then moved her to her summer home in the yard. Here we go! Drop the anchor and chain all the way to the ground, clean and wash the anchor & chain, clean out anchor locker, let dry, reverse the markings on the chain, and haul the whole thing back up into the locker for storage. Jim was working out how to hang the dingy under the hull to keep it safe from UV damage...and thieves. Flush fresh water thru the dingy engine then take that off the dingy and haul it, all 85 lbs of it, up the ladder and on to the boat for storage. We had left the dingy in the water at Port Louis when we were there for more than two weeks...Big mistake. We had weeds and gunk and crustations growing all over the bottom and so spent 1 hour with BOTH of us scrubbing and scraping it off. I was amazed how ALL my fingers were nicked from this process. For the record...I was the one who wanted to leave it in the water....certainly won't do that again! Pack all the clothes we are taking - and it's a lot since we have about 4 weeks yet before we see home. Clean out the fridge and ice box, wipe all surfaces with vinegar water, and on and on and on.. by 4pm, we are beat and it's on to our apartment at the Cool Running's Apartments Complex conveniently located right behind the boatyard - Thank God, as I couldn't drag myself any further! The AC is on and we fall into it and a cool shower...only 3 more days!
One lovely convenience at Cool Running's is FREE LAUNDRY..yes free..no coins, no tokens, nothing but two new washers and dryers waiting for me. The only downside is I have to walk downstairs and outside to get there..at the end of these days that is a huge chore, but well worth it to be able to wash and dry EVERYTHING. So at the end of each day we do a few loads of laundry...hopefully by the end of the week it'll all be done!
Today we get to the yard around 7 and begin hoisting the dingy. After a few rearrangements of the plan, we finally hit on the solution and once some new line is used it is up and secure and ready to be locked up. The mechanic came over to change the oil on the sail drives and discovered we still have a leaking seal on the port engine, so we get those parts ordered and schedule that for later. I run over to the sailmakers to arrange for the canvas work we want done. Once the mechanic is done, we get the boat engines flushed with fresh water and shut down. More packing, more cleaning, more stowing, 100 little jobs that each take forever. All I can say now is that after yesterday - I am slightly less sore today...must be the Tylenol!
6:45 at the yard - take everything (9 fenders, 8 lines, 8 jerry jugs, 2 dingy fuel tanks, etc) out of the port forward locker scrub fenders, wash off the rest, rinse, climb into the locker and clean it as well, let dry a few hours then put everything back in. More inside cleaning, storing the battens from the sail and lazy bag, Tinfoil the windows to reflect the sun and hang a towel curtain... final inside cleaning and stowing of all tools and gear meant to stay aboard...we are almost there. I intended to stow the Kayak inside the boat, but after lugging it off the side desk and into the saloon I discovered it was 1 foot too long to go thru the doors...so out it comes and up to the fordeck where we lash it to the catwalk, over the trampoline. We are so tired today we take off early...3:00! After checking in with the yard boss and dropping our key at the office we lug the last items off the boat and to our home away from home.
6:45 finds us....walking to the yard. By 7am we have the hose running and Jim is scrubbing the boat while I grab the last minute stuff from inside, shut off the power to everything but the fans, which I turn on, then take off the anchor bridle which I woke up in the middle of last night remembering that I forgot to take off.! Then I join Jim on deck and we scrub Regenero bow to stern, then climb underneath and rinse her completely from salt water. We stuff rags in the thru hulls to keep the critters out, and grease them all just to be doubly sure we stay bug free. After stowing the hoses and brushes, and walking around one last time admiring how pretty she is all cleaned up. This will be it for a number of months and we are reluctant to leave now that the work is all done.
It has been an incredible season and learning experience. We've had a great time, met wonderful people (and some pretty strange ones) and saw some amazingly beautiful spots. What a wonderful life!
Tonight we will spend our last night on the island at de big fish, where Doc Adams Blues band is playing. Then it's off to the airport EARLY tomorrow to catch our flight to ST. Kitts where we meet Hanco. I'll drop a line and let you all know about our adventures ....Off Regenero, especially as we head out to the East coast...via BLUE WATER!
Love to all!
Well, we are getting ready to head out from Port Louis today to head over to Prickly Bay, then spend one more night at anchor, and ready for haulout 9am tomorrow. It is amazing how fast the time goes, and we find ourselves with very mixed emotions. We have met wonderful people, and had great fun this past few (ok...7!) months...and while our season is not quite over, Regenero will be tucked up for the summer and we will wave her goodbye. But before that happens, we will be working like dogs, in the heat and rain (probably...as it is still raining here this morning) to get everything ready.
That's all for now, will post again when we see what internet we have later this week.
After having so much fun (and spending soo much time) replacing the three hatches we determined that we would need to do a few more! The far forward starboard locker was leaking and the rear starboard head hatch was looking iffy...so yesterday we bit the bullet and spent 4 hours replacing those two. So now we know it is a 2 hour (rather than 2 DAY) job, per hatch! Frankly...we haven't tested them yet...a very scientific process where Jim stands on the deck with an open hose and I stand under the hatch and pray...but we have great confidence, provided by the amount of BLACK sealant oozing from everywhere along the hatch edges. By George....I think we've got it. (Dear Backseaters...No more fighting - we have saved the last 6 for you to do next year, guess you'll have to spend a month!)
We had some fun events this past week, last Monday we joined Richard and Joost for dinner at the marina restaurant in preparation for Joost's departure on Wednesday. On Tuesday, it was Fajita night aboard Regenero so we started with some wine on Marie Galante, then moved over here to nosh on steak fajitas with Richard & Joost - a fond farewell gathering.
Wednesday we were up early to cast off Outer Limits as Joost began his trip north. By 7:30 he was free in the harbor and on his way. Thursday afternoon our Friends from Wurplayin' came back from their cruise to the Grenadines and so we joined them for dinner over at Whisper Cove. The kids had a great time catching Geckos before dinner then we took the bus ride back!
After much discussion it looks like we will be crewing for Joost on Outer Limits from the BVI's to Beaufort, NC when he brings his boat to the states late May early June. This will be 1300 miles of open, Atlantic water, and since he averages about 5 kts the trip will take about 12 days or so. This is still subject to weather and various other factors, but it looks like we will be heading home via a much different route. As always, we'll keep you informed!
Today is Saturday and we have a standing Skype call with the grandkids to have breakfast together, which is just a pure joy for us and really helps us stay connected. Then it was on to change the oil in both the engines and try to get another locker cleared out and organized. Chores, chores, chores.
We have booked our haulout for May 4th, and May 8th are on a plane to ST. Kitts to join our friends on Hanco for a few weeks. This past week we got a very important task finally completed. We needed to replace some hatches one in each head (for those who have been aboard you remember the ones that wouldn't close) and one far forward over the port Bow locker (or toy storage). After finally getting the right tool, (a one inch scraper courtesy of Joost and his trip to the Ace) and about an hour of effort - each, Jim managed to pound the hatches out of the deck. I then proceeded to remove all the residual silicone and gunk leftover. We replaced one - and thought so highly of our efforts we promptly did the other two. We should have waited. The first one leaked...as did number 2 and 3 when we did our test, I can only say we were more than slightly disappointed at our efforts. However after a little consultation and some reviewing of our process we determined that the problem was one of lack of sealant. The process was complicated by the fact that we were only able to buy BLACK sealant...the white was gone. So my concerns about making a mess on the desk were legion and we used much too little sealant to get the job done. We ripped the hatches out, again, removed all the residual sealant from the frames (a 1.5 hour job, per hatch for me) then rebedded them. This process is quite tedious because it requires taping around the hatch placement...top and bottom, so that any residual sealant leaks out onto the tape and you can easily remove it from the deck. As it turns out, once the sealant has hardened it comes right off with very little effort, yet stays put under the hatches and makes a beautiful watertight seal...it's a miracle. So after almost a week or on and off work we finally have three newly replaced, and watertight, hatches installed and functioning properly. Good thing we are not being paid by the hour though!
April, 1st - Back in Paradise
After a wonderful visit (for me) and a lot of work for Jim we sadly left our friends in Romania and flew home on Monday Mar 28th. A loooooong day flying west brought us to Ohare about 6pm where we learned the real hazard of travelling during spring break. One Thousand people were in the immigration queues waiting to clear into the US...holy cow! NEVER have we seen it like this! Fortunately, the line Jim chose moved quickly and we were though in 25 minutes. Luggage collected, customs cleared and we on our way home with Louise who had dinner in the oven for us.
After running around like mad on Tuesday, to the accountant, the bank, to wifi, and a visit with Mom we finally got the suitcases packed (all 4 huge ones) and we were ready to leave on Wednesday....Note to self - 1 day turnaround between international destinations...NOT ENOUGH!
However - travel all went well - and by Wednesday evening, 7pm we were landing in Grenada in the balmy bliss of 75 degrees.
The past few weeks have found Jim up every morning checking email and reviewing papers. He finalized and sent the last batch of grades off on Monday. It has been warm, but mostly dry these past few weeks (except for a day or two) and we have definitely enjoyed the pool in the afternoons when it is too hot to want to do anything else. We have met some lovely new friends from Canada and Slovenia, as well as finally met Vicky while she was here with Joost.
Last Friday night we went to the museum downtown where they have free entertainment every Friday. This evening it was a drum group who also had a mocoJumby, which is a guy on stilts pretending to be a spirit. Personally I found him to be rather disturbing, but the drumming was very entertaining, and the costumes as well. A few of us (Richard, Vicky, Joost, Serge & Lucy) stayed for dinner at the bistro afterward and the food was wonderful - the company even better! We came back to the Marina Bar and pretended to dance while we enjoyed an after dinner drink. But it was a good, good night!
So now we are beginning to plan the last stages of our season. It is amazing how quickly time flies and the preparations and haulouts begin.