13:51.395N 61:03.992W

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sat 13 Jan 2007 00:55

8 January 2007, Monday


I seem to be the only boat person with an aversion to the water.  I do not know what is so strange, we all drive a car, but how many have any urge to go and play in the road.  I have got my snorkel and mask out, I probably need to buy new ones, but I will make an effort to go out in the dinghy and look under the water – maybe later.


They are renovating the boardwalk in town and ripping up the old planks and putting down new ones.  Yachties seem to be scavengers in general and I had got a tiny 2x5” offcut from the rubbish pile which, with a bit of no more nails, fitted on the shelf in the cockpit and just keeps a box in place.  I had been persuaded while the boat was out in Tenerife to throw away the rest of my wood that I did not need now I had done all the modifications.  Later it emerged that one of the boards extending the bunks was a fraction too narrow and can become unsupported on the side with no batten, which is not clever as I tend to stand on it to look out the hatch.   I had also chopped the hinged lid into 3 and the middle part had nothing to stop it also falling into the locker beneath.  What I needed was some battening.  Dale and Conrad were after stainless bolts and screws which are several $s each.  If the builders had taken the time to unscrew rather than rip the planks off they would have saved many $100s.  Most of the fastenings were a bit bent, but not so much that could not be straightened.  The boards are very chunky, my ½” wedge was an end.  I managed to find one long batten, 2 short ones and a very thin piece.  This morning I have screwed the long batten onto the original end of the bunk and now I think it is supported.  The small portion of lid only needed a couple of wooden pegs in the relevant corners and I am done – tools away.


I made a loaf and some little cakes.  Washing up in seawater sends most things rusty and the non-stick bun tin was no exception, but with cake cases it is ok.  I washed the clothes I had worn into town yesterday, a couple of hours and the shorts are salt encrusted and the top is stained and the Ariel and stain remover I bought in the Canaries do not seem to get any stains out, even bleach is not a total solution.  I am trying to wear the same things as they are ruined so fast, there is a general tie dye or pale effect of the bleach to things that used to be blue or pink.  I was hanging out the washing and the turtle swam by, did not get a photo.


I thought I had cracked it being able to juice an apple, a pear and some grapes.  The blender went on and off a lot, but I got juice.  I went to charge up the phone and no power.  I tried other chargers, no power – it had to be the socket.  I had melted the 12v socket.  This is the second time, but last time it was by directly plugging in something a little too powerful.  This time it was the inverter and the fuse should have blown first.  This I did not like, I could not charge anything.  I took off what was left of the old socket and headed into town.  I could not get the outboard started.  A guy on a jetski stopped and told me to relax and after quite a few attempts it started, so now I have to be nice about jetskiers.


I got a new socket, but still forgot to get a killcord for the outboard.  I also bought a pair of sunglasses, I have a collection of rubbish ones, but thought I deserved a new pair; not designer, but new. 


Back to the boat and all I had to do was attach the wires.  The new socket did not have the same connections as the old one and so where to attach the wires was a question.  Where were the wires was another question.   While I was away the wires worked themselves back through the hole and were nowhere to be found.  I tried to trace the wires from the electrical panel, but they were firmly bundled with about 20 others and that was going to do more damage than it was worth.  The area where the socket is is one of those places that you just cannot get to, not even by undoing a few screws and reasonably dismantling the boat.  The panel is solid, the nav table is on top and is structural and below is where they used to put the fridge.  They made space by putting the fridge in the working top next to the sink, brilliant, but made this space now inaccessible.  I would have to make a hole, where is the drill.  The 24v drill has 3 battery packs, all flat, should have charged them up before I left shorepower, but did not.  The 12v drill had enough power to drill 1 hole and then needed recharging, not a problem if I had a working 12v socket.  The day before Dale had offered help if I needed anything like this, but I am a bit stubborn and I needed to find the wire.  I saw Dale rowing back from town and if he had come my side of the catamarran I was going to ask him, but he went the other side, so I did not.  I had taken everything out of the cupboard and had tools out of everywhere and I had also broken a jar of lemon curd, so add jagged glass and sticky floor to the mess.  I went to bed before 6 and read a book as I could get nowhere in the dark. 


9 January 2007, Tuesday


7am and I have to fix this.  No power tools, so it has to be the hammer and chisel.  I made a 2” hole under the socket, could not see the wire.  I made a 2” hole in the cupboard, could not see the wire.  I put the searchlight shining through one hole and looked through the other and there it was.  The socket was top left and the wire came through bottom right a metre away and along.  Easy to wiggle the wire up with my mirror on a telescopic pole.  I put a piece of wood over the hole in the back of the cupboard which does not show and I put a stainless steel vent over the hole under the socket, which looks like it is meant to be there.  Pleased with this I was just left with the socket and some wiring.  I had tidied up in case anyone came over to help, but set off for Dales boat.  It was about 8.30 by now and Shaun was in his dinghy.  I stopped at his boat on the way and showed him both sockets and the connectors that came with the new one that would not fit to the connectors on my wires from the old one.  Cut the connectors off and attach ones to fit mine, simple, but I needed to be sure.  Out comes the electrical box, cut off the connectors and fit spades and there you go, one working 12v socket.  I was extremely relieved.  Mopped up the bit of water in the bilges which I had not done since sealing the transom, what a long time ago that seems, I ve been very busy. 


Had a shower and changed.  I am starting to put these vests straight into rags now, they are getting beyond washing.  10.30 Claire invited me over for coffee.  Another NZ couple had arrived and they came over with their baby and Dale was there.  Shaun said he had drills and Dale said I should have asked him, but it is fixed now and it is upsetting to make holes in my boat, so I would rather do it myself.  I had made the little cakes yesterday and still had 8 left, so I took those over, nice to have something to offer in exchange for the coffee and biscuits.  John lost his hat in the wind getting into the dinghy and dived straight in to get it, I will go in soon, really.


Had text from Anne that their cruise liner would be in on Thursday, so should meet up with them in the afternoon.


Peter came over offering to dive for my strop tomorrow.  I had said not to bother to Eric, but he was about to leave.  Peter will just add it to his swim and have a cup of coffee - I might go in with him, perhaps if someone just holds my hand . . .


10 January 2007, Wednesday


Very wet, 100% cloud cover, 100% humidity.  Did not do very much.  Made some sour dough bread, not sure that I like it.  Ran the watermaker, but got confused with the 3  way valve and sent saltwater into the tank, hopefully not much so it should not be noticeable mixed with 180 litres of water.  Re-sewing the vinyl cushions with blanket stitch because the sewing machine stitches are too close to let the air out when sat upon.


Peter came over in the afternoon, but did not find the strop,I wass not surprised in 10 metres of water on a cloudy day after 4 days currents in and out, the boat swings around quite an arc at anchor at different states of the tide and the plastic cover was a pretty good match for the sand.  We had coffee and biscuits and a chat anyway which was very pleasant.  I do admire these foreigners who speak such good languages. 


11 January 2007, Thursday


Took the pipe off at the tank and ran the watermaker to clean the tube of any saltwater.  I have written on the 3 way valve which way is to the tank, hopefully I will always remember to look.


Made some sour dough buns, if I do not like these then I will go back to the normal bread. 


Arcadia, with Anne and John should be one of the cruise liners in the port, I cannot see the names from here.  Went in to town, had a haircut, bought a new snorkel and mask ready for when I go in the water.  Suddenly I have gone from too many Bajan $ to not enough to get out of the port.  I was planning to leave tomorrow, will have to cash enough Euros to pay up and spend the rest on the way back to the dinghy.


Anne and John arrived at 2 and we went back to the boat.  Mine is a 1 adult + 1 child dinghy, we were a little overloaded.  It is quite a distance and we all got a bit wet, but that s boating for you.  Horrid in UK waters, but here it is warm which makes it acceptable.  Anne and I went to snorkel over the wrecks, the first one was quite good and Anne went in for the second one because I did not want to run the engine near the people who were out on snorkelling trips.  I donned my mask and snorkel and did look down under the water from the dinghy – well it s a start.  We went back to John, who had elected to stay on the boat, had tea and biscuits.  Anne brought me a couple of little individual packets of biscuits you get at meetings, those I will save for squall comfort, and a big bar of Cadburys chocolate, which will be divided up equally among the crew, I am a very fair person.  Then I had to tootle them all the way back to town.  I was going to give Dale a tow as he was obviously going in and he was rowing, but he beat us.  I dropped them off at the start of the careenage and continued to the far end where Dale had arrived and filled his water containers.  I was going to tow him back, but after I had filled up my containers and stopped for a chat with Mike and Penny he had beaten me back to his boat.  I have more water than the tank will take and so I was going to put the washing in soak in sea water first.  The dinghy was tied to a rail, fastened round a cleat and the strop was padlocked onto the back and I lost the bucket.  The piece of rope that seemed to take 2 hours to get onto the bucket a few days ago came off in my hand.  Untie, unwrap and unlock the dinghy and set off after my dinghy.  The wind was with me so I rowed, I could have motored back, but I rowed, it had not got that far.  I used to really like my B&Q bucket, but now I would let that disappear, but not my Spanish rubber bucket.


So now I really must decide where to go tomorrow.


12 January 2007, Friday


Went into the port and got clearance, decision made, I am going to St Lucia.  Tried to get some EC$ and some US $, the bank would not sell me any without a ticket to the relevant country, no ticket, no currency. 


A couple of boats came over for coffee and Yvonne joined us.  I was not in a rush as I had to get the outboard off the dinghy and the dinghy aboard and get ready to go.  I thought I would leave at 5 tonight and use the next 24 hours to do the 90 miles to St Lucia and  the following night to go up the coast to Rodney Bay.


I upped anchor at 4.30 and the throttle really had no power, I kept jiggling it and eventually managed to get the revs up.  I really need this looked at, but there is no point in Barbados, try to nurse it to Antigua.  Perhaps the cutlass bearing needs looking at, I haven t ever seen it, but everybody assures me I must have one; that will certainly have to wait until I lift out, but it seems to be the throttle to me.


I had forgotten how good it is to be out there with the big waves.  It was a really fast passage. 12-15 knots with gusts up to 18, so I put a reef in the genoa at 10pm.  I had an AWA of 120 to 150, so put out the main up to the spreaders.  I left the wind generator head on DG, it did not seem worth changing to the water head for 100 + miles.


13 January 2007, Saturday


I put the engine on for half an hour about 1am to charge up the batteries, the wind generator does not contribute enough to keep the lights going.  It did gust 16-18 quite a bit during the night, but I left the sails as they were.  6.30 and I had just pulled the reef out and made a cup of tea and a 26 knot squall joined me.  Previously I had been amazed that the ribbon on the windvane did not get caught up in the wind generator, but this time it did.  The wind generator was stopped, but that was not a problem, I had to be rather speedy in cutting the ribbon to free the rudder on the windvane.  Wind generators are not good at steering a yacht and certainly not recommended in a squall.  If I am too lazy to change the head then I have to do without the ribbon.  By 10 I had reached St Lucia, 91 miles.  This gave me the problem that I was too early to hang the trip out until the next morning, but not early enough to get all the way to Rodney Bay before dark.


There are 4 places to get clearance in St Lucia, the first did not look particularly interesting and I would have to go to the airport for immigration which was not far, but did not appeal to me.  I continued thinking I could anchor outside Rodney Bay and go in in daylight.  At noon it all started to go wrong.  I noticed the new shackle on the genoa with the self locking pin had come off, just as I got to a headland with a serious current, just a wiggle on the chart, but I did not have enough body parts to deal with everything.  I had put the engine on, but the autopilot could not cope with the current and the fact that I had not taken the Hydrovane off completely.  I was running up the front to try to save my genoa from ripping and then back to steer hard round. 


I had been up since the previous morning and decided it would be good to stop and have a rest and continue tomorrow.  I saw quite a few boats along the next bay, but there was no anchor on the chart and there were no shallows for anchoring.  I decided to go and have a look.  I was not sure what I was going to find so I started throwing the fenders over, the big round fender took it a bit literally and was floating off before I had time to think.  I wwas tired and not in a good mood so was not planning on Man overboard drill, but I guess you never plan people to fall in.  I recovered the fender and carried on.  I was met a little way from the bay by Lucius in a wooden boat, typical for the area.  He said you could not anchor as it was a marine reserve, but the boats round the edge were on buoys.  Stopping now seemed a good idea and I did not want to continue today if I could stop.  Lucius picked up rope on the buoy and I was pleased that I stopped just right to put a rope through the loop without missing or trashing his boat.  It is very near the cliffs, not somewhere to want to manoeuvre.


We went to the customs, where I have an admirer who wants to take me for a drink.  I tried immigration, but the man was not there and I was told it did not matter.  I got some money from the cash machine and went back to pay customs his overtime fee.  He was going to sort out immigration for me, but I said I would go in on Monday.


4pm bedtime, I was tired and it was probably the best sleep I had had since the day I arrived in Barbados, the rest of the time I still wake up all the time, when there really is no need.


14 January 2007, Sunday


I slept through until 6.  I was tidying the cockpit locker when Lucius went by a few times visiting the boats.  He had said he arranged tours, but he did not pester me which I thought was good, so I said if the other boats were going I would join them.  I got ready and went on the tour with Pete and Felicity from the boat next door but one.  Pete s parents were out for a visit.  We went to the drive in volcano and saw the lava pools and the mud bath.  We then went to the hot springs and bathed, guaranteed to come out looking 10 – 20 years younger.  Then it was on to the waterfall with a guide who told us the names of all the trees and flowers and kept testing us later.  We had a cocoa plant, that you suck the beans, slimy, but ok although they do not taste like chocolate.  I had a mango, I had never had a real one before and it was ok.  We tried to get to the supermarket before it closed at 1, but they closed the doors on us.  We got some lemonade from  the minimarket.  Then it was off to their boat, which I cannot spell, russian for hope, for tea and later banana and rum cocktails.  A couple of boat vendors came round and we bought some souvenirs.  I have a big shell that I can use as a fog horn, I have a gas one and a manual one, but this one is decorative.  He did not have any change, so I also ended up with a lavarock and soapstone turtle, which is quite sweet.  The last couple of days it has really rained and I was rowed home in a slightly swamped dinghy, but you can t waste the water.


St Lucia so far is good, very green and lush.  The bat cave is near the boat, we saw them all hanging against the wall.  They make a noise that is a cross between birds and a wind generator.  I might try and see the reef, but the current is really strong, so perhaps I will just stick my head in the water here and see what is about.