Getting Back In The Groove
13 January 2015 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
December was a busy month for us as we slipped back into the cruising lifestyle and were once again immersed in the ‘Island Time’ way of life. Our smiles couldn’t have been any bigger that first morning back as we pulled up to the fuel dock, seeing the familiar landscape and faces. As I excitedly hopped off the boat very happy to see the Dock Master once again, I started rattling off the long list of services we would need during our stay in Grenada, all while wildly interjecting random questions about this that or the other. Smiling serenely at my best impression of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character, the Dock Master calmly put his arm around me, gave me a gentle squeeze and said “Breathe, all will get done”. I have learned here in the Islands that ‘all will get done’ is synonymous with ‘manana’ in Puerto Rico – yes all will get done, just not today. I took a deep breath and smiling said “I can live with that!” I couldn’t help but hug him back when he said “Welcome home” because that is what it felt like, we were returning home.
We had many things to do upon arriving, first and foremost was to have our head sail repaired. We are very lucky to have really great friends like David and Donna on s/v Merlin. We had talked to them on the SSB radio the night before our arrival and they arranged to have a sailmaker meet us at the fuel dock the next morning. I never quite got the sailmaker’s name as he was really, really hard to understand. He had the most remarkable accent I have ever heard, it sounded like a hybrid mix of Indian (India) and the Caribbean Islands – our communications with him required a lot of pantomiming. It took the three of us to wrangle the sail from the port cabin onto the dock, where it was properly folded and carted off for repairs. Tick, the first item on my list was crossed off!
We were getting off to a good start! I went on to the next item on my list, diesel -- the Dock Master said, “Diesel done”. Well that was inconvenient, but OK. Moving down the list, gasoline for the dinghy and generator was next, the Dock Master’s response was “Gas done”. Oh?!? Having just arrived from the ‘Land of Plenty’ I was being forced to slow down in hyper-drive. Looking once again at my list, I said “Well, what about water? Do you have water?” The Dock Master broke out in a big smile and said “Of course, we always have water!” As I left to clear us in at the Customs and Immigration office Barry was valiantly trying to hose down Smart Move with a pathetic trickle of water. Over the next few weeks my mantra was ‘no worries’ as I desperately tried to decompress back into the languid lifestyle that is typified by ‘Island Time’. Given that I am writing this post a good month later, I think I have fully decompressed!
Boats, and your own boat in particular, can feel (at times) that they are a living breathing things with a mind of their own. You can hear her breath in the wind through her rigging and sails. She talks to you of her well-being (or lack there of) through a complex series of creaks, groans, squeaks and grumbles. Even the way she moves will tell you of her pleasure (or displeasure). Boats are needy mistresses, and like most mistresses, they definitely do not like being left alone for 5-6 months at a time and will show their displeasure in a number of ways.
Smart Move welcomed us back with a virtual smorgasbord of problems, correction, protests! Even though her batteries were charged she didn’t want to start. One of her solar panels was on strike. Only one of the stereo speakers was working – I bet I haven’t mentioned how much I like music! Both shower drains refused to drain, this was critical because one was in the cats bathroom where the litter box lives and it is part of the critical path in that system. The chart plotter, at the ripe old age of 8, was getting a bit crotchety and began freezing up on our trip down to Grenada. Sonny (short for SOB), the Wandering Autopilot, continued his wandering ways (although I think we have that worked out now). Bringing the watermaker back online resulted in the most horrendous wailing I have ever heard (well short of taking Chloe to the vet). Only one of Smart Move’s two heads (toilets) was working (thank you for your benevolence Smart Move!). I wish I understood why joker valves fail when they are just sitting around doing nothing. The genoa (head sail) obviously tested our mettle at sea and once we got to port, her halyard proved to be very stubborn to get down requiring three trips up the mast (65-feet is a long way up by the way). Oh, and yes, we were taking on water – but that wasn’t Smart Move’s doing. So as you can see, we have been quite busy getting Smart Move happy and purring again.
But wait! There is more! There have been all of our wonderful friends (already in Grenada) to reconnect with! Umm, umm, umm sundowners (cocktails for our landlubber friends), 2 for 1 pizza, movie night, trivia, dominos and shopping buses! As a person who spent her life working insane hours with few friends, I cannot describe my emotions at being among my cruising friends again! I never realized, while I was working, how much richer your life is with friends – it is good to be home!