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!

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