Friday, 12 February 2016

Back in Grenada Marine

We're desperately trying to catch up with our blog having now been back in the Caribbean for a month and not yet managed to post anything.
So here goes with the first week.
Our flight out here was uneventful but long. The 90 minutes sitting on the tarmac in St Lucia whilst the crews change is a bit of a pain, but, our attempts to hire a car online before we arrived were successful and the car was ready at the airport. We were even "upgraded" (that means they didn't have enough small cars) to a large 4 door 4x4 which was a bit of a gas guzzler but at least no bits fell off and we could cram loads of shopping in it.
True to form, despite being notified of our time of arrival in the early evening, Grenada Marine had not provided a ladder so we could access the boat, nor provided shore power or a water supply. Fortunately the boatyard security men helped out with a ladder and shore power and the water could wait until morning. All we had to do now was put mattresses and cushions back in place, close doors and find room to lay our weary heads ready to start the big push the following day to prepare Stream for launching 4 days later.
The following day dawned hot and sunny, yes, we were back in the Caribbean and ready to start on all the jobs that required our attention. We had stopped at a supermarket on our way from the airport for some provisions but today it was a trip to the Chandlers to look at batteries, as we had decided to replace our worn out domestic batteries and increase their number to four. Unfortunately on testing our starter battery it was on its last legs and so a new one of those was required too. Budget (their word not mine) Marine, in true Caribbean style had very few available. Their comment was a surprised "They've been flying off the shelves recently". This was after all the start of the sailing season and the time when people generally have to replace batteries so not really surprising that they were selling well. The other chandlers, Island Waterworld, was a similar story with bare shelves where batteries should have been, but outside was a large container on a trailer which had their new stock in. Apparently it had been sitting outside for 5 days waiting for customs clearance but they were hoping to get into it later that day and they "thought" it should have batteries in it. We did however manage to leave with one item purchased by Sarah who was very pleased with the small plastic bucket with lid  to be used as our onboard "organic waste bin".
Our return to Island Waterworld the following day confirmed they had the batteries which were duly paid for and delivery arranged for the Friday, just before we were due to launch, after they had been charged and also meant we could order the replacement speakers for the cockpit, as Sarah in her cleaning frenzy had managed to break the grill. To be fair the UV may have had something to do with its weakness under scrubbing, to judge by the discolouration. The trip also meant we could pop into the Merry Bakers for a Chelsea bun!
Meanwhile Sarah was going through the boat armed with brushes, cloths and several gallons of white vinegar so that the inside not only gleamed but reminded us of home and the local chippy. By Thursday evening below the waterline had been antifouled by Darrell and the boatyard had removed the protective polish and buffed the hull and things were looking good for the launch the following day, when the inevitable happened. 
Darrell was checking the seacocks and lubing them only to discover that the two largest which are on the holding tanks (where the contents of the toilets go, ready for release a long way off shore!) were totally seized. Rather than try to force them and risk breaking them he asked the yard to have a look at them. Plumber (that was his name!) came the following morning and managed to squeeze his large frame down behind one of the toilets and promptly broke the seacock which I didn't really need his help to do as I could have done that myself. There was much sucking in of breath and shaking of head and comments like "not a normal size", "don't have them in stock" , "need a reducer sprocket with a spiral curmudgeon", so, not only did we feel we wouldn't be launching that day, we'd be surprised to be launching in the next month. Plumber went off to try and source the required items never to be seen again that day, a Friday! But he did leave his tools in the heads, so we had high hopes he would return at some point.

Plenty of other jobs were done during our enforced weekend ashore like fitting new cockpit speakers and such like, but Plumber returned on Monday with the promise that he would have things sorted that day, and he did! But he also added that we wouldn't be able to 'Splash' until the next day as the bill would have to be sorted before we went in the hoist. We were happy though, as a week "on the hard" can test anyone's endurance levels and we were fed up of being feasted on by the mosquitoes.
Tuesday dawned bright and fair and Darrell was down at the office as it opened. He returned within ten minutes downhearted. It would take at least an hour and half to get the bill made up.(why?) So we watched, as all around us, boats were picked up and taken down to the sea. Then, just after 11.00am, the crew started to get our boat into the hoist and Darrell took the hint that the bill must be ready for payment. With Plumber on board we were gently lowered into the water and held in the hoist as he made the final checks to his handy work - there were no leaks and we were free to go!

We motored (it works!) out into the bay to check the engine, picked up a buoy to make some final checks and the set sail (well, motored) the hour or so to Le Phare Bleu marina, which is also the Swiss Consul. All was well with the world, the only downside was that we were accompanied by some ants that had snuck on board overnight. Sarah spent a happy hour going along the toe rail around the deck when we arrived trying to get rid of them. (Note on 12.02.2016) This has been an ongoing battle for her and is bordering on obsession. If only she could find where they hide!

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