Dance Hall Explosion
12 August 2007 | Grenada
We are still anchored just north of Ross Point outside of Saint Georges. It has been overcast all morning with a fair share of rain. Not squally, more the thin drizzle type. I am amazed at how flat the ocean has been and for how long. This anchorage would not be good with anything coming from the north but for standard easterly trades it is perfect, a little rolly perhaps, but fine for a catamaran or folks with sailor's stomachs.
The wave that the weather man was worried about just entered the Atlantic. So far it is just a wave but the conditions are good, er, I mean bad. Let's just say that it could get nasty. We'll be watching this one closely.
It got nasty in another way today. We've really liked the Ross Point anchorage. Holding is fair but we're well set. The water is clear and nice for swimming. You're right next to the Carnage and the Lagoon. But most of all, it is peaceful. The beach is brown sand but nice enough and Grand Anse, perhaps the nicest beach on the island, is just around the corner.
As I drank my coffee and looked over the weather I noticed a surprising amount of activity on the little beach. Day two of the official Carnival was beginning, and where there had been a plain beach moments earlier, a beach club had sprung to life. Folks were working all about the beach. A Caribe beer stand had been erected with big colorful signs and a barbeque was being rigged up just a bit farther down the strand.
At first I thought, hey cool, I'll swim over after lunch and drink a beer while getting to know the crew. Then I saw speakers being rolled onto the sand. Not some small Bose like numbers you'd see in an Internet Café. No, I'm talking monster AC/DC, Day on the Green type transducers that have Surgeon General's warnings on them. Shortly thereafter the hull began to quake below my feet. Calypso? No. Steel drum music? I wish. Reggae? Would have been nice. It was, of course, Dance Hall. Five hundred beats per minute created by someone who only knows how to use a drum machine in pattern mode with infinite repeat. Then add a guy shouting various lyrics, often obscene and/or hostile to various groups of individuals, and you have the wonder of Dance Hall music. Perhaps, I'm too harsh ..., but I don't think so.
Swingin' on a Star burst into action. Secure the hatches! Bring in the dinghy! It was time to leave our nice little beach front spot off of Ross Point. I brought the anchor up while Hideko covered the helm. Business as usual although Hideko almost always anchors and weighs anchor on our boat. When the anchor reached the bow the breaker blew. Hum? Strange.
I reset the breaker and it blew immediately. Not good. Anchors up but it won't be going down in our next anchorage unless I figure out what's going on.
Hideko drove us out of the anchorage slowly while I climbed in the anchor locker to take a quick look at things. I loosened up the chain by lifting a foot or two off the gypsy and then relaying it. I went into the cabin to reset the breaker and the windlass immediately wound the chain up and tripped the breaker. So, something evil was telling the windlass to run in forward whether the foot switches were being pressed or not. I immediately indicted the solenoid. I had been plagued by these beasts in automobiles and knew of their deviant behavior.
Nothing for it now, we were on our way around the southwestern point of Grenada. Fred and Cindy on Kelp Fiction were in Prickly Bay and liking things there so we decided to join them there. It was choppy around the point and there's a good 2 knots of west setting current. Some of the south harbor entrances in Grenada are a bit reefy but Prickly Bay is a fairly straight forward entrance.
We went into the bay and fortunately found some free moorings. I wasn't looking forward to anchoring by hand with all chain rode and an 88 pound anchor. Hideko was convinced that I wasn't qualified to mess with the anchor and suggested that I shouldn't even be on the fore deck while the engines were running. Needless to say she picked up the mooring.
Once tied up I checked into things with the windlass. It was indeed the solenoid for the windlass remote. Our foot switches are high current and pass current straight to the windlass. Nothing to break, a nice Saint Francis touch. Hideko and I wanted a remote so that we could stand on the bow while messing about with the windlass. We bought the genuine Lewmar parts, including a solenoid to handle the high current bit and a low current remote. I suspect the solenoid didn't like working in tandem with the foot switches. Regardless I'm glad I left them on their own rather than wiring them through the solenoid. As soon as I detached the solenoid our windlass was sound and hale. KISS.
I may not repair the remote. We used it a bit here and there but more frequently, rather than getting it out and plugging it in we'd just use the foot switches. You learn how to look through the tramps to see what's going on. It could be handy at the helm for single handed anchoring but you are better off weighing anchor up forward.
The anchorage is pretty open to the south/southwest and can get a little rolly. It was very quite however. You can also dinghy to several restaurants and Budget Marine. Spice Island marina is at one end and can haul most yachts. Prickly Bay Marina is on the other side and has customs and a good pizza place.
Fred and Cindy came over for a drink later in the evening. It was hard to believe we hadn't seen them for a week or so. We had been in touch every day by VHF but we were always in different anchorages. They blasted straight down to Prickly Bay from Cariacou while we took the lazy route. We enjoyed catching up and sharing info about the beautiful island of Grenada with a full moon gleaming over the bay.