10/15/2007, Lance Aux E'pines
I had to pick up a few things at Budget Marine today. Martin's Marina is a little off of the beaten track. It is a little walk over the hill to the Prickly Bay area where you can grab a taxi or catch a bus. Instead I decided to bike over to Budget Marine. It is a decent bike ride but great exercise. Getting over the hill from Martins is steep peddling but after that it is a nice flatish run.
The bikes we have aboard are folding bikes from West Marine. Practical Sailor liked them and they have held up well. We haven't used them as much as we should have but they have been very handy in the more urban spots.
We stow them folded in their carry bags in the lazarette. One of the bikes was sitting under the horse for the dinghy outboard. When we go offshore I stow the outboard in the lazarette for safety. Unfortunately it leaked salt water onto the bike. Doing an A/B comparison between the bike that got hit with salt water and the one that didn't really opened my eyes to just how nasty a fluid salt water is. The briny sea had put some serious rust on a lot of unpainted bike parts and had completely eaten through about a third of the spokes on both wheels.
Fortunately there's a bike shop in Grenada. I dropped the damaged bike off and three days later it was respoked and ready to go for a very reasonable price.
As general advice for folks cruising the eastern Caribbean I would have to say skip the bikes. It is a lot of fun to walk and hike and often islands are mountainous without good paths for bikes. When they're not they are often sandy, not good for bikes either. If you love bikes then they great to have and with some looking you can often find some place to go for a ride. I hope we find more fun places to ride ours in the miles ahead.
Hideko and I were very happy with our little drip coffee maker (see blog from a year ago). Then, about a month back, Fred made us lattes with his La Pavoni infusion espresso machine. Our world crumbled and a vicious espresso machine envy set in.
We stood strong though. No snap decisions, right Hideko?, Right! We'll just go on enjoying our lives. Heck, we hardly ever even make coffee anymore unless guest are aboard or we're on passage... darn it, here comes Fred with another Latte.
It wouldn't have been so bad but the La Pavoni, which incidentally Fred selected after 3 months of online research, is like having an Italian Cafe in your galley. Every cup Fred made for us was fantastic. You pull the shots yourself so you never have to worry about a failed pump (I hate pumps) and you can create infinite variations. No two shots are ever the same. The machine circulates the water constantly keeping the boiler at 2 atmospheres (as a dive instructor I love anything with a pressure gague). It is also easy to clean and take care of.
Fred's experience and ours have this to recommend: Get the La Pavoni Romantica Professional. It is hard to come by but if you look around you can find it online. (try: http://www.1st-line.net) It has the large boiler which heats up as fast as the small one but lets you make five or six good sized lattes without a refill. It also has the pressure gauge which is cool, but also helpful. The finish is a beautiful golden bronze with rose wood handles (I've heard complaints about the plastic ones breaking). It is also worth considering the La Pavoni bur grinder. We love ours and it allows you to make espresso grind coffee anywhere (blade grinders don't work for espresso). You may have a tough time getting espresso grind in out of the way places but you can get coffee just about anywhere.
In the end, efficiency and minimal material possessions gave way to awesome coffee. I rationalize this as a critical preparation for our South Pacific journey where good coffee will ensure alert watch keeping on our various passages. Yeah right...
10/13/2007, Martin's Marina
Hideko and I started working on our sail repair skills in earnest today. There's a great book, widely respected amongst the salty, called the Sailmaker's Apprentice. The book teaches you everything you could possibly want to know about sails, from rig and sail types, to sail shapes and sail construction. The first chapter is titled, "A Ditty Bag Apprenticeship", and takes you through the construction of a fairly complex ditty bag. We purchased the book as part of our library and planned to go through it together to develop some key cruising skills (neither of us have done much sowing historically...).
Before we left Fort Lauderdale Hideko and I bought ditty bag kits. Sailrite (located right around the block from Lauderdale Marine Center) puts kits together specifically for the Sailmaker's Apprentice text with all of the thread, cloth, grommets, wax, needles and other bits that you need.
We are using a large floor board to protect our table from pins, markers and whatnot. It became surplus when we installed the washer dryer and I almost threw it out, it is a rather heavy chunk of wood. Hideko talked me into keeping it and we have had it stashed under one of the quarter berths (wait that's mono hull lingo, well you know what I mean).
It is far too early to predict the results of this endeavor but the process has been very educational so far. We are learning the flat stitch, round stitch, sticking stitch and cross stitch, as well as how to finish eyes, grommets and cringles, among other more exotic rope and needle work. If you fancy upgrading your salt rating I highly recommend taking a look at Emiliano Marino's Sailmaker's Apprentice.
10/10/2007, Saint David's Bay
Saint David's Bay is a nice little Bay. It is pretty quiet, especially considering that there is a boat yard there. The boat yard has a bar and restaurant, though the restaurant is survival only in my book. There's a nice boutique resort with a great restaurant and their own dinghy dock on the east side of the bay. The anchorage is not crowded and everyone is friendly. It is a pretty place.
The bad bit is that the wind comes from the east with the swell bending around from the south. To top it off the weather report was predicting intense squalls in the area this evening. We were paid up for a month at Martins Marina and decided that we would have more fun on the dock during the squalls than in the rolly Saint David's anchorage.
So off we sailed...
10/09/2007, Grenada Marine
Blue Star went back in the water and all was well.
10/08/2007, Grenada Marine
This is a nice shot of the fishing line we found spooled around the drive shaft of one of the sail drives when we changed the anode.
10/07/2007, Grenada Marine
Grenada Marine did a great job hauling Blue Star on time and getting the bottom painted quickly. We also got some critical sage advice from Craig, the gentleman who runs the mechanical area.
When we unbolted the motor we discovered that the starboard motor mount bolt on the engine side was sheered off. The following is speculation but our best guess at the issue.
This likely happened a year and a half ago when the engine was originally damaged by a mismatched folding prop installed at the factory. The dealers replaced the motor and then had to pull it and reinstall it due to another problem. We are guessing that this is the window within which the mount was broken. Regardless you can tell that the motor mount was broken a while ago due to the high gloss polish on the bolt.
Enter tropical storm Felix. So Blue Star is docked beam to the wind and swell and with one motor mount missing. This allows the motor to rock port to starboard, which doesn't happen much... unless you're beam to a tropical storm. The gasket around the sail drive was probably weakened by the loose motor over the prior months but the violence of Felix caused the crack to sheer through the gasket. Voila, hole in boat.