10 May 2018 Chatham Bay, Union Island
Now that we’ve finished crossing oceans, there’s no great need for our Grab Bags, which contain lots of useful things if we ever have to abandon ship. Glenys sorted through the contents, removing any tins of food and items that will perish - there were a number of bags of drinking water taken from old life rafts, some of which was 15 years old, so we threw them out. We’re left with lots of handy things in two hard, floating containers.
Glenys continued with her Sisyphean task of cleaning the chrome work, while I “spring-cleaned” the aft cabin - this included removing the mattresses to reveal the bilge under the aft berths. After inspecting the steering gear and autopilot, I washed down all the bilge surfaces and cleaned everything that I could get my hands on. It took almost all day, but at least I know that everything is in good working order and clean.
11 May 2018 Chatham Bay, Union Island
Glenys is making progress with the chrome work and we now have shining handles on half of the cupboards and all five of the swivel light fittings are gleaming.
Alba has Whitlock cable steering. The stainless steel wire and the conduits have not been touched since the boat was built in 2001, so they are over-due for replacement. I systematically checked and measured all of the various components for the steering, which took hours because the conduits pass through several compartments and bulk heads. Everything looks to be in good condition, so I just want to replace the wire and the conduits.
In the late afternoon, I did a couple of electrical jobs and the day was over. We need to get off the boat…
12 May 2018 Chatham Bay, Union Island
We had another day of jobs. Glenys continued with the chrome work - she’s nearly there. I spent all day working on the engine. In January, I had the sea water pump repaired by the Volvo dealer in Cape Town. At the time, the shaft of the pump had a deep groove which damaged the seal, so they sent the shaft off to have it hard chromed and then ground back to size.
Unfortunately, the repair didn’t last very long. I noticed a water leak when we were in Brazil and it’s been getting worse, so I took the pump off and found that there was a new groove in the shaft where the lip seal comes in contact. It looks like the chrome wasn’t hard enough and there has been corrosion. The groove was very rough, so I used a grinding stone in a Dremel to grind the groove smooth.
This has reduced the diameter of the shaft, but I’m hoping that the seal will still make a good contact. After rebuilding and replacing the pump, I ran the engine for 15 minutes without any sign of a leak, so fingers crossed. I’m going to have to buy a new pump when I get to Trinidad, so the repair only has to last for a few hours of motoring.
I then had to sort out the mess caused by a couple of months of salt water running down the hot engine - a very corrosive combination. Some of the steel components (brackets and bolts) were starting to rust, so I spent a few hours scraping and wire-brushing the rust away and then painted the bare steel with some green Hammerite paint.
By the time that I’d finished tidying up, it was Miller Time. We need to get off the boat…
13 May 2018 Chatham Bay, Union Island
It was a Sunday, so we had a day off. After tying up our dinghy to a tree outside of the Sun Beach & Eat Restaurant, we walked along the beach to the north end and took a small path that goes steeply up the hill behind the Sunset Restaurant. The path petered out into a scrubby grass hillside, but carrying on brought us up to a dirt road - turning right takes you to the road to Ashton.
We turned left and after 25 metres took a path off to the right that took us up a grassy hillside to a gentle ridge where we had a nice view of the windward side of the island with the rest of the Grenadines in the distance. Carrying on up the hillside, we kept right and took a very faint path that follows a rocky ridge up to the top of the hill over-looking the anchorage.
After returning to the dirt road, we continued to the Ashton Road. There’s a junction with two roads and a steep dirt track that takes you down to the beach at Chatham Bay. The two roads take you into the small town of Ashton. We decided to take the left hand road, which gave us a pleasant 1.5 km walk to another junction, which overlooks Ashton.
We chatted to two guys building a boat, who said that there wouldn’t be anywhere open for food on a Sunday, so we headed right up the steep road to a col over-looking Chatham Bay. After that it was a pleasant stroll down the road back to the junction we’d started at.
We took the steep dirt track down to Sun Beach & Eat, where Vanessa cooked us a tasty lunch of grilled Mahi-mahi with provisions, which we washed down with a few cold beers.
Back on the boat, we had a bit of a kip and watched a movie - a nice Sunday.
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