Archive for June, 2015

Catching Up

June 6, 2015

posted from Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada

The last post was about our return to Grenada and covered our travels up to July 2014.  This post will cover us up to almost June 2015.  To say that much has happened since then would be a gross understatement.

We returned to the US in late July.  We visited relatives and friends and ended up in Detroit.  From there we flew to Africa and toured in Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.  It was an amazing trip.

Elephant checking us out. Close? The yellow thing at the top of the picture is the roof of our LandCruiser

Elephant checking us out. Close? The yellow thing at the top of the picture is the roof of our LandCruiser

Elephants playing in the river

Elephants playing in the Chobe River, Botswana



Rhinoceroses, Karongwe Park, South Africa



Zebras. Hwange Game Preserve, Zimbabwe


Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller. Chobe River, Botswana

Cheetah eating a warthog in the Okvango Delta, Botswana

Cheetah eating a warthog in the Okvango Delta, Botswana

Warthogs – not yet eaten. Kambi Ya Tembo, Tanzania

Hippos. Chobe River, Botswana

Lion. Serengeti, Tanzania

We always get stuck. (L) A wheel falls into an anteater’s den, Kambi Ya Tembo, Tanzania. (R) Buried in the sand, Okvango Delta, Botswana

Just over five weeks and 8000+ pictures later we flew back to Detroit, collected our car, went to a niece’s wedding, visited more family and friends, and drove to North Carolina.  Finally we moved into our new house just outside of Wilmington.  Then Thanksgiving in Virginia, a holiday party in DC, Christmas in Detroit and Cleveland, and New Years Eve in Oriental, NC. On New Year’s Day Jackie flew to Missouri to help our niece who was about to deliver her third child and I (Eric) sailed in the New Year’s Day Regatta in Oriental and then returned to our house.


I started my trip to Grenada on Jan 6, but it was a night in Miami, a detour through St. Lucia, and a lost bag later that I finally arrived on Compass Rose.  The batteries were low, but otherwise all was well.

We strip most of the gear off the deck and stow it below when we leave for extended periods of time and it took the next couple weeks putting everything back together and doing some maintenance and repair on items before they went back in service.


Boat maintenance and repair was interrupted at the end of January by the start of Grenada Sailing Week.  I was signed on again as crew on Jaguar.  In the past I was on the main sheet, but I moved to the pit for this regatta.  That meant taking care of the halyards for the main, both genoas (we were rated for a second headsail rather than a spinnaker),  topping lifts and downhauls for two spinnaker poles and pulling the second headsail below when we lowered it.  I shared these duties with Sam, another crew member and between us we kept that part of the boat running smoothly.

The racing was a lot of fun and the crew performed well, but we had a couple bad starts, a close encounter that caused us to do a penalty turn, and a short grounding off Grande Anse Beach (no big deal for a Chesapeake Bay sailor).  We were rated as the slowest boat in our fleet so all the other boats had to give us time at the finish, but there were a couple times when we regretted not having the spinnaker after all.  When all was said and done we finished fifth out of seven boats and one point out of fourth place.  Although disappointed with our results we still had a lot of fun.

Jaguar crashes to weather

Jaguar crashes to weather

As usual, the Grenada Workboat Races were held on the weekend in the middle of the regatta.  It’s always fun to take the day off and watch the races from Grand Anse beach.

Grand Anse Beach workboats

Beating to the finish

Our niece, Autumn, had been born a couple weeks later than expected, so Jackie spent a little more time in Missouri and then flew back to close up the house.  Jackie finally arrived in Grenada on the last day of the regatta.  By that time the boat was back together and the systems were all up and running.  Unfortunately, I had discovered some rot in the starboard cockpit coaming.  Further inspection found a lot of rot in that board, rot in the winch base, and rot in the deck.  And so I commenced on a fairly major repair project.


The problem with boat projects is that once you get started you usually identify other repairs, maintenance, and improvements that you should do while you are working on that part of the boat, and this was no exception.  The deck rot was caused by the way some hoses were routed, so those needed to be redone, The propane locker was always a little substandard and the tank needed proper mounts, and it was time to replace the cockpit coaming limber holes that allowed water in as well as out with proper drains, and …… you get the picture.

As of this writing the deck has been repaired and the hose routings have been upgraded.  The cockpit coaming and winch base have been rebuilt and painted and everything is assembled.  We could actually go sailing if we weren’t preparing to fly back to the US.  The plan was to paint the deck this year, but we will have just enough time to finish this repair.

Rotted cockpit coaming and winch base

Coaming and winch base core made with honeycomb panel

Ready for fairing

Back together and ready to sail


It hasn’t been all nose to the grindstone.  There has been Mexican Train Dominoes, Latin dance lessons, jam sessions, jazz and poetry night at the museum, Trivia Night at the Tiki bar, Sunday afternoons at Roger’s Beach Bar, and rotis at Nimrods as well and African drumming.

Roger’s Beach Bar on Hog Island hosted a pig roast

Jam session at Secret Harbour

Jackie even got invited by Monty, her drumming instructor, to play with him at a gig at Savvy’s beach bar at Mount Cinnamon resort.

Jackie played as a guest drummer at Savvy beach bar


There has been a little excitement in and around the anchorage.  There was a boat that hurricane Ivan tossed up on the rocks in 2004 and has been sitting there ever since.  One day a large tug boat came in and dragged if off.  The word is that it will be used as a floating workshop by someone in the next bay.

The last wreck from Hurricane Ivan is pulled from the rocks and refloated

The last wreck from Hurricane Ivan is pulled from the rocks and refloated

Just after this wreck was removed, Bob from the old Clarkes Court Marina brought the Oasis bar around from Clarkes Court Bay where it was anchored after being placed on floating docks last year (see previous post)

This Oasis is a dry place surrounded by water

One day we had a boat break its mooring while the owner was away, but a bunch of us got to it just before it hit another boat and moved it to a new mooring with our dinghies.  That night the boat that almost got hit broke its mooring. Luckily the owners woke up and got the boat under control and anchored before they hit any one.


The really big event was the rescue of Ratan, a boat that went up on the reef between Mt. Hartman Bay and Hog Island.  A bunch of cruisers in dinghies responded as well as Dieter with his big yellow RIB (rigid inflatable boat) from Le Phare Bleu.  The boat was upright and had and anchor out to keep the surf from washing them further onto the reef.  A strong surf was pushing the boat around and made it quite challenging to get close with a dinghy.

Dieter tried to pull him off, but with no success.  Another cruiser, Stephan,  and his son took a halyard from the stranded boat and tried to pull it over sideways to get the keel up, but the boat had a winged keel so it was difficult to get it free.  Then his outboard quit and wouldn’t restart so his son took the halyard and transferred to Stewart’s (Iguana) dinghy so they could continue to tip the boat.  I took the first dinghy in tow and took him out of the surf zone to a channel marker where he could work on his engine.

Dieter decided he couldn’t get the boat free with his RIB, so he went to get Le Phare Bleu’s tug.  When he returned George from Survival Anchorage used a long line he had in his dinghy as a messenger line and took it from the tug to the stranded boat so they could use it to pull in the heavy tow line.  He got it there and one of the people on the boat started to talk to him.  Just then a wave broke on the reef and flipped George’s dinghy.  I went to help George, Axle and Mary Clare (Azaya) followed in case they were needed.  George and I gathered his gear, got him in my dinghy, and towed his dinghy in to a beach.  He has a hard dinghy, so it was easy to right.

We got George’s dinghy bailed out and headed towards George’s boat to get oil for the fuel and some tools.  We got the rest of the stuff he needed and went to a dock where George could work on his engine.  He drained the carb, flushed the water out of the engine, put in new plugs, and it started on the first pull.

Dieter got Ratan off the rocks with his tug and towed her to Le Phare Bleu.  No word on what damage she might have sustained.

The great thing about this event was that a lot of people dropped what they were doing and responded immediately to Rattan, a boat in distress.  Enough people so that when unexpected problems arose there were people available to help.  Some cruisers like Peter and Anne (Spice of Life) never got the opportunity to help, but they bobbed around cold and wet farther from shore and in rougher conditions than they would normally venture out in, to stand by just in case they were needed.

Thanks to everyone who participated.  There are a few cruisers who showed up whose names I don’t know – sorry I can’t mention you, but you know who you are.

NEXT: Return to the US