Monday, 9th April - Goodbye Grenada!

Jon & Carol Dutton
Mon 9 Apr 2012 16:55

9th April – Prickly Bay, Grenada

On 28th March we said farewell to Bob Raley who had been with us for a month and had been a great shipmate.  Many a long hour did he toil with Jon whilst servicing kit and re-installing the Hydrovane.  The climate was a complete contrast from his last voyage on Arnamentia which was across the Bay of Biscay.  At least if it’s cold you can put on more clothes, but heat and humidity pose different problems.  But, the sailing has been good fun and a lot more relaxing – probably no more than Force 4 this time.

There was something of a panic once Bob had departed by taxi from St George’s for the airport by taxi.  Jon dinghied the half mile around to the Carenage (presumably where they used to careen ships) in St George’s, to raid a cash machine and get some timber, only to remember, just as he tied up, that he still had Bob’s passport.  The first thing that was obvious was that, if it was going to be necessary to get a taxi out to the airport, cash was going to be necessary.  The timber could go hang pro tem.  Mobile phones aboard Arnamentia are a complicated business and we’ve rather given up using anything but local chips.  Mr Vodafone’s bills are just too expensive.  So, nobody could get hold of anyone until Jon returned to the boat, cash in hand, to ring Bob from there.  By that time Bob had caught a bus back to St George’s, having checked his (enormous!) baggage in (honestly, guys, a few polo shirts, 2 pairs of shorts and your swimming gear is pretty well all you’ll need) and he and Carol had taken a taxi round to the Carenage to try to find Jon.  By this time Jon was dinghying madly back to the boat.  Minutes to the closure of the boarding gate were ticking by relentlessly.  But, all was accomplished – if with rather more excitement than had been planned – or is advisable.  

We had arranged for Arnamentia to come out of the water in Spice Island Marine boat yard in Prickly Bay, south Grenada.  We knew that the hull was by now pretty fouled and needed to check and replace the various sacrificial anodes which prevent the different metals (stainless steel prop shaft, bronze propeller etc) interacting with one another to the serious disadvantage of the propeller – which is a pretty important item one way or another.  A couple of days should see us through – a good hose off, bit of a rub down with wet and dry sand paper and slap on another coat of antifoul – job done, we thought.  How wrong can you be!  Never before had we seen barnacles on Arnamentia’s bottom and it would take more than a hosing and a once over with fine sandpaper to get them off.  There were hundreds of them.  Every bit of each one of them has to come off.  Anti-fouling on top of bits of barnacle is just not an option.  It will just fall off pretty shortly.  Hydrochloric acid made some inroads but still there were still far too many bits of barnacle embedded in the antifoul.  And, hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid in US terms) is pretty horrible stuff to work with – particularly if you are painting it onto the bottom of a hull above your head.  Moreover, in these temperatures you are not wearing a rubber acid-proof suit – a pair of rubber gloves at best.  So, it does run down your arms and it stings.  Not nice to breathe either.  Eventually, Jon decided that the professionals needed to be called in.  No wimpy fine grade sandpaper for them – but 80 grade rough as you like stuff applied with a lot of muscle and no care for preserving as much anti-foul as possible.  No H&SAW nonsense either.  It was almost too much to bear to watch the three coats of anti-foul we’d applied last year in Lymington disappearing.   Why three coats?  Because that way we’d get 2 years out of it.  So the man at International Paints claimed about his Micron Extra having been told what we intended to do.  So, that’d get us easily to NZ or Oz.  Well; we launched in June last year – 10 months ago.

There was nothing for it but to dig out all four tins of antifoul from the bilges and apply two coats.  We had thought that having such a thick coat when we started would form a good base and we’d need only one coat top up each year we were away.  We will have to do more research before we reach Australia where Arnamentia is next likely to come out of the water.  By the bye, in UK each tin cost around £80.  Had we had to buy it here it would have cost more than double the price.  We now hear great things about tin additives in antifoul.  These are legal here but not in the US or – we gather - in Europe.  Doing this again we’d know to research this a bit more.  Sorry, barnacles and all you other things that wish to attach yourselves to our boat’s bottom but we do not feel inclined to give you any quarter at all. 

Applying anti-foul is not the most pleasant of tasks, particularly in this climate, but over the past few years we have got into a good routine and each coat now takes us about 90 minutes to 2 hours to apply.  The key objective is to end up with more antifoul on the boat than in your hair/eyes or elsewhere generally on your body.  And, absolutely none anywhere else on the boat – particularly the teak deck (so pay particular attention as you nip up and down the ladder to get something you’ve forgotten or once you’ve finished the job).  Jon is armed with the big paint roller on the end of a stick, whilst Carol does the fiddly bits along the water line, on the rudder and around all the skin fittings and the prop.   This job did necessitate adding another item to Arnamentia’s stores list - namely a step ladder!  We did think about junking it, but as it had cost twice as much as it would have done in the UK, it now has it now resides on its own bunk in the forepeak.  It won’t be long before the new crew member is given a name – Larry the Ladder, maybe!



Jon not at his most glamorous!  Carol didn’t look any better – fortunately there are no photos to prove it!

Whilst Arnamentia was in the boatyard, we de-camped to an apartment about 5 minutes walk away.  Whilst not, the height of luxury, it was spacious compared with Arnamentia, very comfortable and had everything we needed.  Probably the most important item was the fridge/freezer;  Arnamentia’s works by exchanging heat through cooling plates on the bottom of the boat – which clearly won’t work when she isn’t in the water.  There was also a laundry room with free washing machines and driers – which got used every night after a hard day’s work in the boatyard.  We tried not to use the air conditioning that often as it would be too easy to get used to!

Carol spent quite a bit of time planning the provisioning for the next few months or so.  Although, the shops in Bonaire (one of the Dutch islands off the coast of Venezuela) and in Panama City are reputed to be very good, it seemed prudent to stock up in the very well supplied supermarkets in Grenada – bizarrely, they stock quite a few items produced by Waitrose, so a few packets of muesli and tins of Ratatouille were snapped up!   We haven’t dipped too much into the deeply stowed stores – there are quite a few tins left that were bought in Lymington last summer as well as some acquired in Las Palmas and these have been added to from the mega Carrefour in Martinique.  We know that getting hold of provisions will be a lot harder and far more expensive once we get into the Pacific so we’re cramming in as much as we can now.

Whilst we’d been in Prickly Bay we met up with Chuck and Deb, from Iowa and Minnesota, in their catamaran Neytiri.  We’d first met in Dominica at the PAYS barbecue and then again in St Lucia.  There’s a Chinese restaurant close to Prickly bay with a pretty good reputation and having not had an oriental meal for several months, we tucked in!   Chuck and Deb have been sailing and living aboard for a number of years on and off and have a wealth of experience to share.  It was a great evening and if all goes to plan our last dinner ashore for a few days.

Our final meal ashore in Grenada was also a lovely treat –  ARC friends Geoff Taylor and Graham Tracey brought Nyda into Prickly Bay and we all dinghied ashore had a very pleasant lunch in the marina restaurant.  Being Easter Sunday, the chef decided he had to put lamb on the menu, but slightly lost his way when he paired it up with Yorkshire Pudding!  According to Geoff & Jon it was not bad at all but Graham and Carol felt their tuna had a melt-in-the-mouth quality that scored more points.   To mark the occasion, Carol had a last West Indian rum punch – it seems a world away from the first ones we were greeted with by the ARC team on the dock in Rodney Bay after those 16 days at sea.  We’ve not seen as many islands as we’d like to, so we’ll have some catching up to do when we return here in a couple of year’s time on our way north from Brazil.

 Now it’s time to down load the GRIB files (wind prediction) and synoptic (surface pressure) charts as we prepare to sail westwards again.  Bonaire, here we come.