Week Ending 19 August 2007

If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Mon 20 Aug 2007 01:13

Week Ending 19 August 2007



Well, I won at Dominoes yesterday.  Today I sorted the net curtains.  The companionway has a long very full curtain which is rigged up so that it moves with the top sliding panel and keeps the doorway covered.  I had a short lacy fringe and put that on as a finishing touch.  I can tie the curtain in a knot like in all the Home magazines – classy and functional.  All the opening hatches are covered, the pattern is squares with green daisy type flowers, it looks better than it sounds.  I have a short version and a longer version, depending on the size of the hatch.  10 yards of sticky backed velcro was not enough and I need to buy some more when I go into town.  I will have to sew the edges, but that I can do when rocking gently at anchor.  The top opening hatches I also have nets for the outside, but the inside ones make it all match, which is necessary for my sense of order. 


Keith came to get the things that we had bought last week and he advised me to put grease, rather than just oil, down the in mast furling; which I did.  Grease can go hard, but that will not be a problem in this weather and I need to make the bearings glide rather than grind.


There are so many murders here it is daily and if not daily then they make up for it at the weekends, 199 so far this year.  I heard on the news, but did not realise that one of the dead was the chef at the restaurant here, which is our internet zone.  They were closed this afternoon so that everybody could go to the funeral. 


Generally doing and tidying up took me until 3.30.  Then I went to the internet.  Jim had texted me, but it took me 6 hours to get round to reading it, he had sent me an e mail. I picked up the e-mail and it said he would be on would be on the internet most of the day, until about 3.30.  I was too busy getting ready for him to chat. 


I tried to listen to the Archers Omnibus, my connection kept cutting out and I think I missed the last 15 minutes, but it did not sound very eventful.  I had three conversations going, one was with Tracey and Gill in the UK, one with Carl in Portugal and Rudi in Florida, and the other one was with Keith who had logged on, but he was only sitting upstairs from me.  I went to join Keith, but the mosquitos up there were too much for me, he needs to be plugged in, so had to sit it out.


I have started to go through some DVDs that I have been lent by Carl, whose boat I am checking on.  I had quite got into Dexter, an American police forensic scientist – who just happens to be a serial killer in his spare time.  Quite gory, but strangely compelling and he only kills bad people that the system cannot get.  I have sat through 10 hour long episodes, only to find that I do not have the ending.  I have e-mailed Carl in Canada and he is checking.


All I had to do was stay awake long enough to get Jim from the taxi and be a good hostess for as short a time as possible before I could go to bed.  Jim arrived and I was in bed by just after midnight.  We were going to look at the boat that Jim had come to look at.



The electrician had been promised for first thing this morning.  When I checked at 10 I was told some time this week.  OK, so now we could go out.  We had agreed to view the boat at 1.  The rigging shop is next to the brokers, so I ordered some wires to be made up for lower guard rails.  You get upper and middle, but no lower rail – all the better to slip through.  I have no holes in my toerail and so cannot secure the safety netting down without a lower wire to attach it to.


Jim liked the boat, but there was a lot to be done and I am still not sure that it is ok to glass over an old wooden hull, I have seen it done in the Canaries, but what if water gets in, will it delaminate?  A very long day, lots of tea and stress.  I had not booked for the movies at 4pm because Jim was here, but everybody on the bus was expecting me.  I will go next week.



After much thought Jim decided not to buy the boat.  He went to tell the broker and I went to collect my rigging.  It was covered wire, the previous day I had started by saying that I did not want covered wire, but it was made up now.  I did not get my 10% discount, but I did get it VAT free with my boat papers.  They are going to check and see if they can find me an old trampoline net from one of the catamarans that I can use for safety netting.  It is strong and bouncy and I would prefer it to the string netting that I can get – well I could if anybody had any.  The netting I had for the crossing was only on one side and so when I reached Barbados I cut it in half and now have some on each side, but it only goes up a foot to the middle guard wire attached to a string as the lower rail. 


I was radioing to book a taxi for Jim for tomorrow when Mike heard and contacted me.  He had come down non stop from Union Island in the Grenadines and arrived early this morning and was hoping to come in and get his car, but decided to move to the bay round the corner that is protected from the SW wind and swell.  It is a bit out of the way and he will probably not come in until after the hurricane has passed and he would then move back to the main bay.


3pm I went off with some others to the health centre.  It should have been 7.30 Tuesday, but had been postponed again due to reasons (people) beyond our control.  I had my Yellow Fever vaccination.  I don t agree with vaccinations, but it is mandatory in some of the places I hope to go.  I would rather have it here than risk being made to have it anywhere else, but I am not having Hepatitis or any of the others.  They gave us vaccination cards, pink for girls, blue for the boys.  I explained to Chris that was because the cards were primarily for babies.  I did make a mistake when completing the card, I had done the front – name, address, date; then I found we also had to do the back.  Year, date of birth - not 2007, at 2 months old I would be too young for the Yellow Fever shot.  It was not at all bad when it came to it.  Our cards have been taken into Port of Spain to get an international certificate, which we should get next week.  I did come over a bit tired later on.


We went to dinner at the Wheelhouse, Wednesday Rib and Fish special.  Big rack of BBQ ribs or swordfish, straight from the boat.  The water taxi had nowhere to pull in to pick us up and so we had to climb up and over the fishing boat to get to it, a bit slippery.



Jim left in a taxi at 4 and I went back to bed for a few hours.  I had insisted on allowing sufficient time for Jim to get to the airport 2 hours before check in as was advised by the travel agent.  Unfortunately the airport was closed, for the second time this week.  The runway had just been relaid and had started to crack already.  Jim was hoping to be back in Antigua for 8.30, he was 5 hours late, but he didn’t miss the plane.


The electrician turned up and the boat once again became turned inside out.  I was left with no power, but that was ok as it was poker night. 


We only played for about an hour, I won 26TT, as Bob went to a meeting.  A group of boats are planning on going to Guyana and Bob has been and so went to impart knowledge.  The bar guys did me a lovely ice cream, baileys and chocolate sauce in the blender, that made me feel better.


Keith joined us and we taught him how to play Texas Hold Em; we were not playing for money, but Keith was stashing it in.  He was going to come back next week, but if he turns up he will have missed his flight; he is going back to Australia for a few months.  It was a late night for us and the barstaff brought our bills, was this a hint to leave.



The electrician came back and carried on with the batteries.  I have too much heat going into the cabinet and it has burnt the connections.  I will now have to have a fan and vent it out of the locker.  I agree that this is necessary, but I was a little upset at the idea of cutting a 4 inch hole in the boat.  A day or so later I was reminded that the wires got hot when I first plugged into the shorepower here, which is not quite the same as Europe.  Maybe it was a bit of both, but I will have the fan anyway.


Hurricane Dean is going through today, it was up to a force 2 hurricane this morning.  Trinidad is safe, not even on storm watch, but we were going to get SW which is awful in our bay.  I went to see how the anchorage was doing. 


The boats on the dock were having a very bad time, there were quite a few of us watching; for once we were pleased to be in the yard where it was a windless, sunny day.  It was like walking into an old movie where the people walk onto the set and get a fan directed at them and buckets of water thrown at them and then they walk off and everything is normal.  In the other marinas masts were clashing, but no serious damage.


There were two dinghies tied up to the dinghy dock, but the 20’ rail they were tied up to was ripped off the dock.  We were going to go in and save the dinghies, but there were employees gathering and it was more their job than ours.  Heavily censored version – the dinghies were padlocked to the rail and went upside down, got tangled up and it was a bit of a mess.  The Dockmaster did get in and the second person in was one of the owners of the boatyard, female.  Boltcutters were brought to cut the boats off, but they did not work, bigger boltcutters were brought and the rail was the first thing to actually be saved.  I had saved one oar.  Eventually, the rib was dragged up the bank and the outboard was taken off to be hosed down.  The owner did not come and unlock it because he was in his yacht on the dock trying to save that. 


The other dinghy was a solid one with an inboard engine and was very heavy.  It took a tow from a truck, whose wheels were spinning, to get that one up the beach and only when the waves were on their way crashing in.  The dinghy was just out when the rope snapped.  We just could not understand why the boats stayed on the dock, or even in the anchorage, they know how bad it gets.  This was just 20 knot winds, but the SW swell builds up to big strong waves.


The anchorage was also very rough.  One big, unmanned, catamarran dragged its mooring to sit on two other boats.  This was the boat that was boarded the other week.  This begs the question - Should you really fly away and leave your boat unattended on a mooring?  The yachties were prepared to help, but it was dangerous for ribs with 15hp engines to go out in these conditions; that puts my 2 metre inflatable with 2hp engine in perspective.  Eventually the boat was taken into the next marina and tied up. 


Another boat dragged and was sitting on a yacht, so they needed to be helped.  They had launched this morning and had no engine – they had launched knowing what was coming, and it could have been much worse than it was.


I heard Mike on the radio, informing that the Coastguard was operating in his bay and perhaps they would help us if they were contacted.  As expected, he was in a calm anchorage and having no problems.  Was Mike more clever than the others, or was he just less lazy. 


It all began to calm down by lunchtime.  I heard from Jim that Antigua was fine.  The advance notice of the hurricane enabled quite a few boats to come in this week and about a dozen boats arrived yesterday from Grenada, but that was ok too. 


I went back to the boat, but by now I was a bit bored by batteries and just wanted my power to work.  We were dripping in the heat and high humidity and I did keep supplying Dennis with water, but it was warm as someone had turned the power off to the fridge!  I decided to help and drilled the metal panel and screwed the instrument in.  This is a proper meter that shows how much is going in and coming out, how much the battery is charged, how many hours it has left; everything except make the tea.  It has a thick manual, just like you get with a new mobile phone. I started to read it, but got bored and confused, just like you get with a new mobile phone.


5pm, the batteries were in, the instrument works, the power is back.  The fridge and fans are on.  The boat is tidy, ok tidied out of the cockpit and main saloon.  Time for a well deserved shower and a change into clean clothes.


I heard on the news that the next marina, a few hundred metres along, had a bad time and they are known for having a much less affected dock than ours.  A NZ guy was not able to save his boat.  To come to a hurricane free zone and be on a nice safe dock and have your boat damaged is very sad and so avoidable if he had been told and gone round the corner yesterday.  A lot of people here are uninsured, because it is out of the zone.  I am here because it is out of the zone and I am insured to be here, even if the worst happens. 


The final turtle trip was postponed because people did not want to leave their boat tonight in case it turned rough, even though they were right up the other end of the bay and the most protected on this side.  Over cautious, no, just sensible to how dangerous and unpredictable the weather can be.



I was going to have a day off, but the upholstery has to be done, so I started on the remaining cushions in the saloon.  I was forced to go and have a drink and a little dinghy trip.  I saw the boat that had been damaged; it was a steel boat and the bow, which usually gets described as the pointy bit, was flat.  The boat must have hit the dock very hard indeed to flatten the steel that much.  



The penalty for taking the afternoon off yesterday was that I had to finish the cushions this morning, before I could go to dominoes.


A couple are flying to Peru and were collecting for the earthquake victims.  It is cold there and so I sorted out a bag of clothes that I will not need here.  I gave away my only pair of jeans and jumper and now have no warm clothes to come back to the UK in!