New Blog Site
06 September 2012
Please check out flyingbuzzard.com/wordpress/ I've just put up a new blog which I'm hoping will work ok. If you have any problems with it or comments you'd like to make please let me know.
The sailblogs site will be up for a another week or so but after that ... probably not.
30 August 2012 | Woburn, Grenada
So we've been back in Grenada for over a month ... and already wondering now whether or not we actually left.
Things have been pretty hectic and we don't seem to have time to catch our breath since we got back. Luckily the hurricane that was scheduled for the first weekend we got back veered to the north which meant we didn't have to vacate the mooring buoy. There seems to be at least tropical depression springing up each week but so far they've all got north by quite a way.
That being said, we have been getting the tail end of some of them and it's making for quite unsettled weather patterns. Mike was up in Carriacou last week, he arrived in a massive squall and couldn't get anchored, and then the next day was another one which saw the fuel barge let go and head out to sea, a ferry break its chain and end up pirouetting along the beach, and another tug with barge attached dragging slowly out of the bay.
The Buzzard went five miles out to bring back the fuel barge and then had to reattach it to it's broken mooring chain. The next morning he brought the other barge from the dead in the water tug, closer into shore and put it on it's mooring... probably just as well we were there, we may even have made a bit of money on it.
While Mike was up in Carriacou I was staying with friends and getting my mouth surgery done. It all went relatively well, the most pain being the injections which I honestly thought were going to come out through my nose. The dentist was really good and gentle, although I wasn't feeling too happy when she asked her assistant for the retractors, I already had my eyes shut but in hindsight it might have been better to have earplugs in as well. Unfortunately the stitches didn't dissolve like they were supposed to and I had to go back a couple of days ago to get them taken out, and I won't actually know if it's solved the problem for three months or so, but hopefully that's it on the mouth front for a while.
Mike took some of the Hog Island boys out fishing and they managed to catch a fair number of tuna, mahi-mahi and crevalle, and apparently a 120lb nurse shark was almost brought on board too but they didn't have a big enough gaff to get it over the side. The four legged critters sure had a good feed, as did most of Hog Island when they got back.
We went with some friends to witness the Grenada Carnival Mas which was really something else, and of which I've got some great photos that will hopefully be uploaded at some point in the not too distant future. We didn't go to the all night drinking/paint throwing part of the Carnival 'cos we're getting a bit old for that kind of thing, but saw the big parade on the Tuesday afternoon from the comfort of the German bar on the Carenage.
The way the locals, men and women, shake their boodies and hump the traffic is quite spectacular. Every troupe of masqueraders (that's why it's called mas) has a "Queen" at the front, with a huge outfit, that has some relevance to the theme of the troupe, eg: Olympics. For us non-locals it can be quite difficult to comprehend, but luckily we were near a judging place and had a great view and the commentary from the HUGE sound systems that explains it all as they do their routines for the judges..........A GREAT DAY OUT!!!
During one of the squalls our laptop up in the wheelhouse managed to get a little damp so we've been struggling without one (one of the reasons there hasn't been a blog for a while, that and too much going on.) There's obviously corrosion in the keyboard as we can only get about a third of the characters so we went and got a USB keyboard to plug in which seems to be working, but I think it's time we splashed (no pun intended, honest) out on a good water-proof one.
As usual we've been working away. We moved the pontoon on to the back deck and have prepped and now finally painted the rest of the top deck. Mike and James spent several days taking the crane apart and fixing the slew which had been playing up for quite some time. They also fitted the turbo and the new oil lines for the main engine that we got made up while we were in Canada. Unfortunately though another smaller oil line went when they were towing the barge back into Hillsborough. And as they were coming back to Woburn the water line on the main engine went; they stopped and epoxied it up but we've had to spend the last three days getting fittings and parts machined to replace it.
Spanny the welder is here today to patch some of the holes James uncovered when he was banging the top deck and the wingbridges. And to weld up the boiler room door that we never use, and several other odd welding jobs that seem to be forever cropping up, the sliding plate in the chain locker that had rusted out so the chain was getting looped round and wouldn't go in properly.
James is still here and happy. We even had to get yet another extension for him when they went to Carriacou. He was hoping to get over to Union but by the time the squalls and tow-jobs had abated it was time to get moving again. Unfortunately though, his passport runs out in just over six months so he really, really does have to go back fairly soon.
Our friend Al has just arrived back from Trinidad, bringing lots of nice bright shiny things, like parts and fittings and fire-engine red two-part top coat paint so that we can paint the gunwales, yet again, and then give the funnel, which is looking a bit sorry and faded, a bit of a spruce up. Of course this is all in the in-between times when we're not doing the serious mechanical/maintenance stuff.
Why is it that no matter how hard we work our list of things that need doing just never seems to get any shorter !! BUT the "old girl", who's just turned 61, is definitely getting better, bit by, time, effort, money, bit............SO THERE !!!!!! (Just wish I could say the same for the two of us - Mike's back is playing up and I've developed painter's shoulder.)
On Sunday I'm going to stay at our friend Lucy's house for a week to dog/house sit while she's out on charter. I'm hoping, if I can get a computer, I'll be able to get some work done on the new blog site ... how long have been saying that for?? Obviously I'm back on Caribbean time.
Love to all ...
PS Just so you know, all capital letters and exclamation marks belong to Mike !! (Apart from those two.)
Back to Grenada
06 August 2012 | Woburn, Grenada
Quite a few weeks since the last blog ... and quite a bit of water under the bridge.
We finally left Gabriola after almost three weeks on the island. Spent two nights with Martin and Maxine in Nanaimo eating sushi, fresh raspberries and home hot smoked salmon which was wonderful. Then back to Vancouver to pick up Mike's passport and a replacement credit card which had eventually turned up from the UK.
Then several emails from Grenada letting us know James had been taken off the Buzzard by the Coastguard and detained by Immigration. So much for all going well over there. We called James and he'd been let back onto the boat, and the next day we got in touch with Grenada Immigration to assure them he was on board with our consent, but it was obviously a sign that it was time to book the tickets back.
We spent four nights in Vancouver back with Sharon and Phil and managed to see as many people as we possibly could before we left for Toronto. We took Jess out several times, the best was to a Korean BBQ in downtown Vancouver where it's all you can eat and you have a small fire pit in the centre of the table to cook your own meat. We managed to surpass ourselves with the amount of meat, oysters, and sashimi we got through, especially right at the end when Mike put down he wanted two (which he wrote as II) pieces of fresh tuna and they returned with 11 !!! (A small wafer Mr Creosote ?)
On the Thursday we managed to meet up with Mike's good friend Pat and his wife Linda, unfortunately only briefly but it was great to see them, and even better to hear him promise to come out for a visit in January. On the last Saturday we happened to stumble on the Kitsalano Music Festival and spent a happy few hours wandering around the street fair, then on to the beach in search of ice-cream, and a very long walk back to the water-bus across the Burrard Street bridge and through downtown. Oh and we were dragging a suitcase we'd had to buy from a charity shop because we came with one but had so much more to take back ... mostly stuff for the boat.
The Sunday was really good too. First thing in the morning coffee with Doug, breakfast with Rene, a few hours with Jess, quite a few beers with Al and Tamara down at the waterfront in New Westminster, and then a lift back to North Van with Bob who we'd stayed with on Gabe.
Needless to say we weren't feeling our best for the flight to Toronto the following day. But it was really great to see Jeff's happy smiling face waiting to greet us at the airport, and June's when we got to their neat little house in the Beach. Jeff and June were perfect hosts, taking us to do the last of the parts shopping, and to their yacht club and a myriad other things. Mike and Jeff went sailing with Jack one evening and managed to get back in just before the biggest thunder-storm I've seen for years. The rain, thunder and lightning went on well into the night and the sky was alive for most of it. Luckily it freshened the air up a bit as they'd been having 35C+ temperatures for the last two weeks.
One night we went to the local jazz festival and and wandered the streets there, watching the bands and not quite dancing along. On the Friday Jeff took us out to Port Credit for yet more boat parts and then dropped us in downtown Toronto to do the touristy thing. We had planned to go up the CN Tower but decided the price wasn't worth it, especially as it's almost as if the whole of Toronto is under construction, and whilst I'm sure it'll look good when it's finished (if cities ever are), glass monstrosities and cranes aren't a patch on all the beautiful trees we'd left behind in BC.
Our last day in Canada we went for lunch at the yacht club at Scarboro Bluffs and then had a BBQ in the back garden in the evening. Eating the freshest sweetcorn you can imagine, and something completely different to the maize you get on the street corners in Grenada.
And then it was time to go back .... We were flying with Caribbean Airlines (because they fly direct AND because they are the only airline we know that lets each person bring two 50lb suitcases as standard luggage), and it showed. Just stepping into the airport terminal at the CA check-in we were suddenly engulfed in black faces; there were only two other white people on the totally packed plane. It felt really strange because for the last two months we'd hardly seen one black person. I know there's a large Caribbean contingent in Toronto, especially as they were advertising the upcoming Caribbean Carnival being held there, but I guess they have their own neighbourhoods and we didn't go into them.
If I hadn't been feeling a little ambivalent about going back then maybe I would have enjoyed the flight more as just about everyone was in holiday mode and going down for the Grenada Carnival which starts next week. I did relax somewhat towards the end of the flight when the guy sitting next to us finally got us to drink some of his duty-free vodka.
So, anyway, we're back. The first day we had to take James to Immigration and sort that out. Then the next day we were warned a hurricane was heading our way at the weekend and that we may have to leave the buoy. Mike started the main engine to check all was well and we had Nikola dive and clean the prop just in case we had to leave at short notice; the prop's fine but apparently the seal on the end of the shaft is turning on it's own and the anodes we put on not so long ago have already disappeared. All good stuff.
Luckily though the hurricane veered north and all we got was heavy rain on the Friday afternoon. We've caught up with friends here which has been good, had a couple of visits to Hog, one yesterday when we were in Clarkes Court watching the Olympics and Toby decided he'd go there on his own. Someone picked him up swimming and then contacted us go get him.
On Saturday we had friends round and Jeanne and Mike cooked Trinidad doubles. James has obviously been working hard while we've been away although not always on the jobs we'd hoped .. and there still seems to be a few things that I can't find, but Toby and Nellie are fine and the Buzzard's ok so I'm definitely not complaining. Nellie purred so much the first night we were back it was difficult to get to sleep.
Today is Grenada Emancipation Day and a public holiday. We are supposed to be going to a BBQ on Hog later this afternoon but at present it's raining so I'm not so sure it'll happen. Mike, as usual, is busy making phone calls and trying to get some work happening; James is banging the inside of the gunnels, we still haven't done our priority job list, and our trip to Canada is fading into the distance already ... until the next time.
I had another visit to the dentist and have now been referred to a gum specialist for surgery on the 21st August.
I am determined not to renew the Sailblogs when it comes up for renewal in the not too distant future. All being well I'll have the new blog up before then BUT if at any time you can no longer find our blog go to our website at www.flyingbuzzard.com and I will make sure that there is a link on that site to the new one
Thanks for all the comments (face to face) and via the web... it's good to know that there's interest out there. Any many, many thanks for all the wonderful hospitality, help and friendship we had from everyone in Canada ... we look forward to being able to reciprocate!
Love to everyone ....
PS Finally some new photos, hopefully, if I can remember how to do it.