February 1994 - Southern Grenada

1 February 1994 Hog Island, Grenada

I went into St Georges on the bus from Lower Woburn. They packed 20 people into a Toyota Hiace. I forgot my shoes and I had to buy some cheap flip flops in town. I must be starting to go ‘tropo’. I did a lot of wandering around looking at shops and hardware stores. We need to renew our First Aid, so I went to the hospital and the Red Cross, but couldn’t find anyone who ran first aid courses.

I rang a diving centre and then gave up when I found out that they charge $48US per dive! I rang John Day and apologised about the computer! I also talked to Carol who has got loads of mail, but she doesn’t know if any of it is important - I said I’d ring her in a few days.

2 February 1994 Hog Island
Another hard day at school. I did some good windsurfing. We went to the beach on the south side of the island and did some snorkelling which is OK on the outer reefs. There was a Mad Hatters Tea Party on the beach in the afternoon – quite a lot of people brought cakes and scones and fattening things. Glenys continues to wage war against the cockroaches with little apparent success.

3 February 1994 Hog Island
I went over to Secret Harbour to find out about the Mercury outboard – guess what! Yes, they’re working on it “could I ring back after lunch?” Glenys and the boys went on a one hour trek with Marilyn from “Ootek” and Joy from “Tapawingo” to a pig farm.

I did some windsurfing (again) and clarinet lessons and then went back to Secret Harbour. They were still working on the Mercury, but said that they would come and pick up the Mariner. I said I would wait. Two hours later they brought it back – good job that I had the foresight to take a good book. Glenys told me off for going to chat to “Meander” without her!

4 February 1994 Hog Island
We all went for a bus ride to Grenville. The boys were shocked into silence by the way we were all jammed into the mini bus on the way to St. Georges! The bus ride from St Georges to Grenville is a real white knuckle ride with wonderful scenery. At Grenville we had a quick stare at the harbour, a quick walk around town and a slower lunch.

We had the inevitable, but tasty, roti and chatted to a bloke who is building a house on ½ acre of land next to the beach. He was brought up in Grenada, but spent 25 years with London Transport. He’s selling his house in London (£130K) and retiring on a £100/week pension + UK pension. He’s probably been working as a bus conductor with people thinking that he’s stupid – but who’s stupid now! On the way back we stopped off at Grand Etang which is a national park centre around a lake in an old volcanic core – now covered with rain forest.

We arrived back in Hog Island to find “Great Spirit” (USA), Jimmy and Sherri, anchored there. We’d met them briefly in Madeira and Las Palmas and heard them on the net across the Atlantic, but never really talked to them. We had a nice talk and rum punch before the kids forced us to go!

5 February 1994 Hog Island
We went on a bus trip to Annandale Falls with Marilyn, Kim and Joel from “Ootek” and another little girl called Fiona. The falls are quite pretty and some of the locals earn an EC or so by jumping 50ft from the top of the falls. I was thinking of doing the jump until I discovered that the pool was only about 3 metres deep. Everyone had a good time even though we got drenched by rain. The children spent ages collecting red and black seeds called jungle beads to make jewellery.

6 February 1994 Hog Island
Windsurfing and clarinet lessons – I’m up to practising the upper register now, which is excruciating! The boys were on the beach for eight hours today. They spent the morning making jewellery from their jungle beads which they tried to sell at the barbeque. They sold a couple of things and Brett’s split was $1EC (25p) – his first earnings! The Sunday barbeque was well attended and we spent 5½ hours there.

We chatted to Horst and Karen on “Flow” (Austrian). I chatted to a bloke on “Ebb Stream” who caught a virus in Venezuela which has damaged his optic nerves and the centre of his vision is now blurred. He’s trying to find a crew who will help him carry on with his circumnavigation. Roger, one of the locals, showed Brett and the others how to snare a lizard with a piece of grass – brilliant!

7 February 1994 Hog Island
The boys went to the beach – what a surprise! Glenys and I went for a walk by ourselves – luxury. I renewed the seals in the fresh water pump – it only took me 10 days to get around to it. Glenys and I went to a music jam session on Horst’s boat. He has a multifunction Yamaha keyboard and we took our clarinet – I was very nervous of playing with someone else and couldn’t keep up with a fixed rhythm. Glenys, of course, was brilliant.

8 February 1994 Hog Island to Prickly Bay
We motored around to Secret Harbour to get water and fuel. We put 150 gallons of water in and it took ages because the water pressure was so low.

We motored around to Prickly Bay and anchored next to “Amatouana 2” and “Peace and Plenty”. They were just heading off to Trinidad on their way back to Australia. I spent two hours doing clarinet practice which is driving Glenys crazy. I thought that my rendition of “Stranger on the Shore” was pretty good until the boys recorded it and played it back to me.

9 February 1994 Prickly Bay
We started motor sailing around to St Georges. Just as we rounded Saline Point, the engine started to sound funny and a quick check of the gauges showed low oil pressure and very high temperature. I knocked the revs off and pulled the stop handle. Was it my imagination or did the engine stall before I turned it off?

Don’t panic – I left Glenys sailing the boat and I went down below to check the engine. I opened the engine room door and loads of smoke poured out. I slammed the door shut and looked at the fire extinguisher – a dry powder one, which will make a mess - must buy a CO2 one. I opened the door again and looked for flames, there were none, so I cautiously left the door open while telling the boys to go up into the cockpit. Smoke filled the saloon, I opened all the hatches and Glenys looked very worried. It was like a furnace in the engine compartment, but no apparent further danger – only loads of water and oil in the sump.

We had a worried beat back to Prickly Bay. I put up the main with two reefs and we sailed through all the boats. After three attempts and a couple of near misses, we managed to anchor quite nicely. If we have to do this again, we must get rid of the mizzen because it stops the boat bearing away and nearly caused us to hit another boat when we couldn’t tack in the flukey winds.

I let the engine cool down to normal operating temperature, checked the oil – OK, checked the water level – none. I refilled the water system, but couldn’t find a leak. I prayed and cranked the engine – it started first time and ran perfectly for an hour with no apparent leaks. Bob from “Meander” came over and we deduced that it must have been the thermostat jamming shut and caused the engine to overheat. Bob noticed rust stains next to a core plug on the engine block, but as it was dry suggested that I keep an eye on it. I changed the thermostat and cleaned the air intake filter. The engine runs fine - Thank God!

I got the Mercury outboard back. They’ve changed loads of bits and put new oil in the leg, but they still couldn’t get it started because the compression is only 50-80 psi. I need to take the head off and look at the piston rings.

10 February 1994 Prickly Bay
I checked the oil and water this morning to find that all the fresh water had drained out of the dodgy core plug. I roughly measured it and we all went into St Georges. After a bit of hassle I found one at Ace Hardware that may fit. Glenys went and did a major shop at Foodland. I removed the old core plug and found that it had two holes corroded in it – so that was probably the cause of water loss in the first place. The core plug that I bought was 2.218” instead of 2.187” and I couldn’t get it to fit. After an hour of phoning all of the car part stores, I decided that I would have to get “Outfitters Inc” to get me a couple for $40US! I’m going to try to fix the old one with “JB Weld” so that we can go round to Hog Island while we are waiting.