June 1995 - St Lucia to Bequia

1 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
The batteries were way down this morning (again!) After a little investigation I found out that the battery charger is drawing 1.5A out of the batteries! I knew it didn’t work, but it must have a short of some kind. I plugged in on Tuesday morning, so it’s drawn out 72Ah which accounts for us having to run the engine a lot – Glenys was blaming it on the computer and I was blaming the fridge!

I went to the chandlers to buy some fibreglass and resin. They were expensive and didn’t have any matting, so I went to the boat yard. They didn’t have a lot, so I ended up going into town to a place called Sunbild Ltd, which was great. I got everything I needed for £25. Glenys went into town, (to buy me some wonderful birthday presents, I hope!) She went to Ogapadu Music Shop and bought a piano jazz book. I experimented with the amount of hardener to put in the polyester resin.

2 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
Very windy night with lots of squalls. Funnily, I would rather have been at anchor because I was worried that the fenders might pop out. None of my resin had gone off, so I had to experiment with more hardener. I managed to find the correct amount of hardener and started to fibreglass when Dave arrived to say farewell. He had a look and thought that maybe I was using a little too much hardener, but otherwise I had the right idea. I spent the rest of the day fibreglassing. Glenys did school work, but got herself into “I hate Brett” mode and went off into town to do some shopping.

3 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
I decided to wait a couple of days before cleaning up the fibreglass to give it a chance to really go off. I put some new lifting/strong points on the dinghy floor. I made a cricket bat for the boys – it’s great to have mains electricity. Glenys painted the anchor chain with some etching primer paint on the bits that have gone rusty.

I played cricket with the boys for a while and then did a few more odd jobs. Glenys did roast beef for dinner – what a treat! (Unfortunately, no horseradish sauce in the shops!)

4 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
My official birthday - 39 today – only one year to the big 40! We opened my presents, a new diving watch (to replace the one I lost in the Saintes!), a new torch (all our other torches don’t work properly), some water bomb balloons (for the boys) and a teach yourself harmonica book with a diatonic ‘C’ harmonica (for those long passages).

After breakfast we played cricket, and then went to the bar for a wet lunch. After lunch, I played with “Band-in-a-Box” for the rest of the day. I’m aiming to get all my favourite tunes on there so that I can play along. I read “A Clarinettist’s Bedtime Book”, which I copied from Dave. It explains a great deal about technique in a very down to earth way. It depressed me a bit because I've got the following things wrong with my technique:

  • I don’t put enough mouthpiece in my mouth
  • My breathing isn’t from the diaphragm
  • My tonguing is incorrect because I push air as I tongue
  • My embouchure and tonal quality is poor
  • I lift my fingers too high
  • My fingering technique is incorrect on A and Bb
  • I use the wrong middle B and C# fingering on scales with C#
  • Oh miser! I’m going to start a regime of one hour’s practice on technique. I really enjoyed my birthday!

5 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
I’ve decided to stop drinking alcohol (again!) My delusion of grandeur this time is not to drink until my 40th birthday. I’m also going to start doing exercises in the morning and go for a swim. The concept of being 40 obviously bothers me!

I called into the Marina Office on my way to town and found out that today is another bloody holiday. With corrupt politicians and officials and holidays every other week, it’s no wonder that these Caribbean countries are in such a state.

Glenys cleaned the bilges and washed out the water tanks (which were disgusting!) I got our 240V generator going by fitting the choke cable and cleaning out the carburettor. I then sanded the cockpit locker seat – I re-caulked it in Trinidad last September! The fibreglass has finally decided to go off – one part of it has taken 3 days to go hard. I obviously didn’t put enough hardener in that cup of resin. I still need to do some more fibreglassing around the bottom of the area.

6 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
I left Glenys cleaning out the bilge sump and then went into town to buy more fibreglass and miscellaneous bits. In the afternoon I re-tapped the roller reefing screws to ¼” and hopefully that will be the end of that little problem. Glenys tried to paint the chain with some primer, but it kept raining. It’s incredibly depressing when it keeps raining. It gets very muggy down below and tempers get a little bit frayed.

“Moby Dick” turned up today. Marion was really pleased to see us. She’s sort of adopted us as a surrogate family and wants to cruise down the rest of the Windwards with us. It’s nice to meet up with them every so often, but I’m not too keen on cruising in company.

I had a practice on the clarinet and discovered that I’m off key on many notes – it’s suddenly dawned on me that my embouchure affects the pitch of the note I’m playing – back to square one again. I really wish that I could have lessons instead of all this trial and error.

7 June 1995 Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia
We were going to go out and anchor this morning, but the sun was shining so we decided to have another attempt at painting the anchor chain. Surprisingly, it didn’t rain all day. In the afternoon, Glenys went to the shopping mall and did a big shop.

I went to a doctor about my elbow. About 2 months ago, I fell backwards in the dinghy and banged my elbow – it hurt like mad for a few days and then was OK. About 2 weeks ago, I noticed a swelling on my elbow – like fluid around the joint. The doctor said that it is a “bursa” and is just fluid under the skin. She wants me to go to a surgeon in Castries who will draw the fluid out and then inject hydrocortisone in. Yuk! She said that my red eyes are because they are dry – I’m not producing enough tears to combat the sun, wind and salt water. She sold me some £10 eye drops!

I fixed the GPS by fitting a new battery, which I bought from Cay Electronics for £10! What a rip off. We went to “Moby Dick” to watch a video.

8 June 1996 Rodney Bay Lagoon, St Lucia
We filled up with water, put the chain back into the chain locker and went out to anchor. It was a bit of a miserable day.

I started to prepare the area around the chain plates and found that the area that had taken 3 days to go off actually hadn’t gone off properly. So I spent the afternoon chiselling the stuff off. It was the last bit I did and I reckon that I carried on working with resin that had started to gel. Apparently this is the wrong thing to do, since it affects the hardening process.

Derek and Alison from “Kaliba” came for a beer; we met them in St Martin in February.

9 June 1995 Rodney Bay Lagoon, St Lucia
Miserable rainy day. Glenys did school work while I did some fibreglassing. I redid the bad section. I’m going to leave the rest until tomorrow to check that it goes off properly.

The outboard hasn’t been pumping water out of the telltale (again) so I stripped the water pump down and went to find some spares. Nada! The mariner “agent” doesn’t even have an impellor, never mind a pump body. I put it all back together as best I could, I made a new key for the impellor from a nail – (must get a proper one before it rusts away). The thing still didn’t put any water out of the telltale. As an afterthought I flushed out the water system and guess what – it worked! The water flow through the block was OK, but the telltale tube must have been blocked – you live and learn.

Brett was happy this afternoon because “Mistral” turned up and he’s now got Ben to play with – poor old Craig gets left out of things!

10 June 1995 Rodney Bay Lagoon, St Lucia
The fibreglass went hard within a few hours, so I spent the morning finishing off the rest. After lunch I mooched about reading and playing the clarinet. Glenys did school work and made a new wind scoop for the front hatch.

Our mail still hasn’t arrived from Carol. She sent it about 6 weeks ago, but the postal workers and customs keep going on strike so I imagine that our mail is amongst a huge pile of parcels at the airport. We’re not having much luck with mail at the moment – I still haven’t received the filters for the compressor that I ordered at the beginning of March!