January 2012 - Grenada to Antigua

1 January 2012   Chatham Bay to Sandy Island, Carriacou
We all had major hangovers, but had to get up and start our journey back to Grenada.  We motored around the island to Clifton Harbour where I cleared out.  I was charged $115 EC (£30), so it’s cost us £150 for the privilege of visiting St Vincent for a week – very expensive.

We had a fabulous broad reach down to Carriacou – doing seven knots at times.  After anchoring off Hillsborough, I went to clear in.  I managed to find the Immigration Officer, but the customs were closed so they told me to finish the customs process in Grenada.

Back on the boat, we motored over to Sandy Island where I chilled out, trying to recover from yesterday's diving and partying, while the others went to the beach and snorkelled.

2 January 2012   Sandy Island to Port Louis Marina, Grenada
It was a very rough night, with rain squalls and big gusts of wind.  I didn’t sleep well, having to keep closing the hatch and worrying about being on a mooring.  I feel much more secure when we’re anchored. I hate the thought of being attached to a mooring of indeterminate quality by a single rope - if the rope breaks then there’s not much indication that the yacht is adrift.

Nice Dorado

We left early, sailed off the mooring and had a very bouncy ride down to Ile de Ronde.  We had too much main sail up for the 20-25 knot  winds but, as we were going downwind, I didn’t bother to reef thinking that, although it made it harder to steer, it would be good fun for a couple of hours.  That was okay until we started to hook fish.  Brett caught a small tuna and then we hooked a big fish which screamed the line from the reel. Unfortunately, the line snapped because we couldn’t slow down enough.  

As we approached Diamond Rock, we hooked two fish at the same time and tried to heave-to, but made a mess of it and ended up lying more beam on than we should have been – the wind was howling, the waves were crashing and we were heading for a cliff. Meanwhile, Brett, Craig and I were dancing about on the aft deck trying to haul in the two fish.  Glenys had a sense of humour failure.  

After fifteen minutes of chaos, Brett managed to haul in a nice 7lb Dorado on the heavy “birds” line, but Craig lost his fish on the fishing rod when the fish went under the keel.  

We called in at the anchorage at Ile de Ronde to regroup and recover for an hour.  Brett gutted his tuna and Glenys made tuna mayonnaise sandwiches for lunch.  We left at eleven o’clock and (with a deeper reef in the main) had a pleasant sail down to the north east coast of Grenada.  I pulled in a small Spanish Mackerel after 10 minutes and Brett caught a very nice 5lb tuna half way down the leeward side of Grenada.

We motored into the marina in St Georges, arriving in time to spend an hour in the pool before happy hour.   Glenys prepared Dorado Satay for dinner.

Final Rum Punches in Port Louis

3 January 2012   Port Louis Marina, Grenada
Our visitors went into St Georges to have a look around, while Glenys and I tidied up and relaxed.  I spent a couple of hours finishing a short video of the two week holiday complete with Christmas reggae background music.

We met them in the Nutmeg restaurant for a roti lunch and then we all retired to the pool for the remainder of the afternoon drinking rum punches and avoiding the odd rain showers.

Glenys and I were treated to a meal at the marina restaurant which was very nice.

4 January 2012   Port Louis Marina, Grenada
It rained heavily last night, so all the hatches were shut and it was a hot and sweaty night for everyone.  Our visitors packed their bags ready for the return flight to the UK.  They were finished by ten o'clock, so everyone went to the pool for a couple of hours to chill out.

We had lunch of Dorado sandwiches and last night’s left over pizza, and then sadly walked to the car park and hailed a taxi.  It’s been a fantastic two weeks and we’ve packed in a lot of things especially sailing, snorkelling, diving and fishing.  We probably won’t see our sons again for nearly a year, so it was a very emotional few minutes while we all hugged each other, before they climbed into the taxi and left us alone.  Glenys had a little cry and we stood for a couple of minutes hugging each other in the car park.

Back on the boat, I wrote out a to-do list and started off by replacing the water sensor that had arrived in the Geest-line crate before Christmas.  Glenys tidied up and made our bed in the back cabin.  We've had the battery charger running on shore power for two days, so they were fully charged and in a fit state for testing with my new battery test meter.  It indicated that the batteries are all okay and have a capacity of 85-90% of the official rating, which is nice to know.

We filled the water tanks and collapsed, then had a quiet evening and went to bed early.

5 January 2012   Port Louis Marina to Prickly Bay, Grenada
Glenys cleaned cockpit and bathrooms while we had access to a hose pipe with copious amounts of fresh water.  There was very little wind when we left St Georges, so we motored around to Prickly Bay without raising a single sail.

I received an email from Graeme Henderson an ex-skydiving friend who is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  He’s using a satellite phone to get email – I must sort ours out when we get to the USA.  Graeme’s expecting to make his land fall in Prickly Bay – it will be great to see him and his wife.

Reluctantly, I spent a few hours completing my 2010/11 Tax Return – even in paradise there’s no escape from death and taxes.  It was fairly easy to sort it all out because I was able to submit the Return on-line.  Unfortunately, I found that I owed them over £1,000, but the HMRC are now able to accept instant bank transfers, so I bit the bullet and transferred the money directly to them.

We chilled out for the rest of the afternoon, reading and having a quick nap to recover after two weeks of running about like a charter skipper.

We had a quiet night in.

Checking the generator water pump

6 January 2012   Prickly Bay, Grenada
I need to service the engine and generator, so I spent most of the morning reading the various manuals, making a couple of check lists, so that I don’t miss anything, and making sure that I have all of the various parts that I’ll need. 

After lunch, we walked down to Ace Hardware and bought a couple of filters and 2 gallons of oil.  I also bought a couple of cans of refrigerant.  Back on Alba, I dug out my new charging gauge and recharged the freezer with refrigerant – it’s been gurgling for the past week and the pressure was down to 2 psi instead of around 10 psi.

Glenys spent the day chilling out.  For a change, we had pork for dinner instead of fish.

7 January 2012   Prickly Bay, Grenada
Back into the routine of living on-board – up at seven o'clock, stretching exercises, breakfast and then jobs.  It was the first time I've exercised for two weeks, so it was hard work motivating myself.  I spent all day servicing the engine and generator.  It went quite well until I came to do the oil change. 

I’d let some seawater escape when I checked the sea water pump and there were a few litres of seawater in the bilge under the engine.  When I changed the oil filter, a load of oil dumped into the bilge and mixed with the seawater giving me about a gallon of oily sludge to clean up using a sponge – very tedious and very messy.

Glenys worked hard at cleaning the stainless steel arch and fittings on deck and then spent two hours in the water, scrubbing the water line. There’s a persistent green slime growing at a prodigious rate.  She tells me that I need to go down and scrub the bottom of the boat to get rid of barnacles and other growth.  We’ll need to get hauled out and antifoul the bottom in the next six months.