Friday, 27 August 2010

Trials and Tribulations

Our maintenance programme seems to be expanding. We began to prepare the coach roof for painting. Just a few tiny cracks and rust spots to grind and prime before putting on a couple of coats of paint. Then one of the hairline cracks suddenly opened up and the paint started coming off like wallpaper. That was last Friday and since then we've had to strip the whole area which involved taking off lots of deck equipment, which meant taking down some of the ceiling in the saloon so that it could be unbolted. And, and, and...

Fortunately we paid for an extra hand on the first day but our helper was not prepared to put in a second day! Unfortunately we had just finished the stripping and treated the whole area with rust converter when we had a torrential rain shower. As a consequence all the chemicals on the roof were being slowly washed off onto the windows so we were out trying to mop them off endlessly. The rain continued through the night and at 4am I went into the saloon to find water dripping from the ceiling, it was making its way through the bolt holes. the next day was the wettest we've had since arriving in Grenada and ensured the bare metal rusted nicely!
The big blow came yesterday. The messy wire-brushing, angle-grinding etc was over and I was putting a complete coat of paint over the whole coach roof. Finally we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Nic had a niggling concern about the paint we are using and telephoned the paint manufacturers in the USA. We've applied the wrong primer for the area and all of it has to come off again. (It wasn't a light it was a train!) Some of the earliest sections we've done have 3 coats of fresh (costly) paint and it's going to be incredibly difficult to get it back to metal again. It will be several gruelling Groundhog days before we reach the same point again.
On top of that hurricane season is starting to become more active. Hurricane Danielle is out in the Atlantic, thankfully predicted to miss us, and Tropical Storm Earl behind it is expected to become a hurricane this afternoon. Another more worrying tropical depression is still near the Cape Verdes with an 80% chance of developing into something. Generally our local weather has remained settled but hot and very humid. A boat in our cove was hit by lightning the other night, Nic actually saw it and we were deafened by the crack. It fried their electronics but thankfully no one was hurt. The forces of nature are a powerful thing.
To keep us on our toes we've also been fighting the local wildlife. Apart from flies and mosquitoes finding their way to the boat we've had a stream of hornets visiting and discovered they had built nests in the curtains. The last two nights we've had squid committing seppuku on the deck, not before spraying everything with black ink. How do they leap so high and why?!
Lack of wind and sun is challenging our power supply. With the main generator broken and no parts arriving until the beginning of next week, we're having to run the very noisy portable generator for hours every day, our poor neighbours! Oh yes and I forgot to mention the dinghy is leaking again so will need another long glue session very soon.
Oh joy!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Carnival fun

We're still recovering from carnival celebrations here in Grenada! After and excellent party on Sunday night we headed into the capital of St George's for J'Ouvert (pronounced "jouvay")which started to get going about 3am and peaked as dawn rose over the picturesque harbour. Everyone wears home-made costumes (or old clothes) and smears themselves and each other in paint, oil and chocolate. For such a Bacchanalian event, the atmosphere was very friendly and unthreatening. We were incredibly impressed with how well-behaved the crowds were throughout the carnival festivities despite reasonably cheap drinks available everywhere. The police were around but certainly not high profile as one would see in Europe.Amidst the socialising we've been working away on Irony trying to get through our long list of maintenance jobs. Additionally our generator has chosen to break down, yet again, so we're sourcing parts.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Gorgeous Grenadines

Light winds forced us to motor part of the way to Bequia. We anchored at Princess Margaret Beach to do our check in, stayed for a couple of nights and then headed down to Mayreau. Salt Whistle Bay sounded appealing but when we reached there it was full of boats and we carried on to Saline Bay. The next morning we had an interesting walk around the entire island. We didn't find the locals very friendly; not unfriendly, they simply didn't acknowledge our presence at all, an unusual experience in the islands here!
Tobago Cays beckoned and we anchored once again off Horseshoe Reef. We were there for 4 nights and joined by Morning Star. The captain, Juergen, gave Nic his first kite surf lesson. Conditions were very windy and rolly so although we had some great snorkels with the turtles and saw a shark (very close-up), visibility was less clear than our last visit and the currents stronger.
Next stop was Union Island where Nic had further kite surf instruction off the reef bordering Clifton harbour. He's really enjoying it and hoping to do some more down in Grenada with Juergen's excellent tuition.
Tropical storms developing out in the Atlantic forced us to check out earlier than intended and attempt to sail down to Trinidad. Our aim was to fill up with cheap fuel before heading up to Grenada. The promised winds didn't materialise and after struggling for the day we gave in to Aeolus and diverted to Grenada. We arrived into Clarkes Court Bay and anchored off Hog Island just before midnight. We were lucky to have our previous GPS track to follow in through the reefs. We are now here for at least a month doing some much needed maintenance on Irony. And it's Carnival next weekend...