Saturday, May 24, 2014

Kralendijk

We put the sails down at 02:30am last night and motored into a dark mooring field off the town of Kralendijk. We want to do some diving while we are here in Bonaire, but our main goal is to learn how to pronounce Kralendijk. It was a good passage. Did 424 miles through the water over 58.5 hours. Nice downwind trades. It would have been ugly going the other way, but downwind its pretty pleasant. Mostly 16-25kts of wind, with a few times where it stayed up at 28kts. We're getting the dinghy ready now to go in and clear Customs and Immigration and hopefully take our mandatory movie screening of how to protect the marine environment.

Water temp is 89*F.

Paul

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Approaching Bonaire

WE did about 160 miles today. In the early AM the winds picked up to 25-28kts, so we put in a 2nd reef in the main. It mellowed back out this afternoon. We are about 20 miles north of the Venezuelan islands Aves. WE should show up in the mooring field in Bonaire about 3am or so. Just after the moon rise. Alls well.
Paul


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Thursday, May 22, 2014

1 Day Out of Grenada

We did about 165 miles today. Nice downwind sail. Dark night with a bright Southern Cross. Got visited by 2 dozen dolphins for some bow wake playing. Somehow the end of the autopilot drive rod managed to unscrew itself. I noticed this when the boat decided to to round up into the wind. Quick repair and all is well. Crew is behaving.
Paul


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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bye-bye Grenada

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We cleared out of Grenada at the Port Luis customs and immigration office this morning after a 5 week enjoyable stay. This afternoon at about 3:30 or 4pm we will head off for a 3 day downwind sail to Bonaire. We’re really looking forward to some of the great snorkeling that Bonaire is supposed to have.

The plan is to sail on a starboard tack WNW, then gybe and head WSW to Bonaire. This keeps us off the Venezuelan islands by about 25-50 miles. That should be enough to stay out of trouble. We know of a number of boats that have headed west to Bonaire, but only one that has decided to stop off at the Venezuelan out islands. They are there now, and are probably having a great time. But????

Paul

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Grenada

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I haven’t blogged much about Grenada. Not sure why. Maybe ‘cause Chris is back in San Diego helping with her folks and I’m here hanging in the cruisers southern hangout. There are a lot of boats that spend the hurricane season in Grenada. It is far enough south, 12* latitude, that hurricanes are rare.

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Rare, but not unheard of. This is part of the aftermath from Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Since there are so many cruisers down here, there’s a lot of services focused on cruisers. Prickly Bay is the ground zero for the Adult Daycare for Cruisers. They have yoga, Grenada Train Dominos, Hash hikes, Happy Hours, shopping trips, island tours, and dinner specials most every day. These all get announced on the interminably long morning VHF net.

grenadaIMG_5269 We did some hikes with friends off Mirus who know the island well. We came across this small farm. It looks like the TSA beat us to it. The sign says: Visitors Please Respect Farm Biosecurity.

grenadaIMG_5270 The biosecurity was in place to protection these precious guys.

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The photo at the top of this blog is looking down on the capital, St. George’s. Above is a look from the waters edge of the crowded buildings and hillside.

grenadaIMG_5274 I think the Caribbean Tobacco Company Ltd. has seen better days. Maybe the cigarettes and the business will rise out of the ashes like the Phoenix with the next revival business cycle.

grenadaIMG_5275 Like most places, the cell phone has killed the payphone industry. At least these British style kiosks still have character.

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At the top of the hill over looking St. George’s is Fort Rupert, now called Fort George. It is famous for the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop at this spot (see historical re-enactment above). Bishop lost his job when the Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard led a coup against him in 1983. Bishop himself became Prime Minister by leading a coup in 1979 against Prime Minister Gairy. All of this part of the run up to the 1983 US Invasion of Grenada. I don’t know about you, but I sure felt a lot more secure living in my California neighborhood in 1983 after the looming threat of Grenada was taken down by the Reagan White House and the 82nd Airborne Division.

grenadaIMG_5280 The fort now spends its time guarding the Cruise Ship dock.

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I needed to clean the boat bottom before we take off for Bonaire. The growth is starting to get ugly. Kind of a combination soft fauna interrupted by small volcanic looking hard critters. The water in Clarkes Court Bay is not very clear. Some say it is because of the Rum factory near the head of the bay. I decided to sail around to the anchorage off of St. George to get some clearer water to break out my Hooka and clean the boat bottom. The the two small rocks in the foreground above are The Porpoises. They are about 4/10s of a mile offshore. It is clear to pass either side of them. I went for the outside, as its hard to see these guys in the chop.

Chris gets back late Sunday night. We’ll start getting ready to do the 400 mile trip to Boniare next week.

Paul

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Brown Food

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I went to the Gouyave Fish Friday with Tim and Patty (off Tevais). Every Friday night this kinda down-on-its-luck fishing town closes down two narrow streets near the city center, next to the old church. Its about an hour scenic drive through the downtown traffic of St. George (the capital of Grenada) and up the east coast of the island.  Vendors setup booths along the road, each selling their homemade seafood specials. There was probably 20 booths to select from. It too a good walk through the booths to narrow down a selection. Most of it is fried and some varied color of brown. Fried Johnny cakes, fried fish, fried fish spring rolls, fried stuff I’m not sure. To be fair, there’s lobster and fish kababs too. The fish spring rolls were really good.

grenadaIMG_5291 (Taking photos in the dark with manual focus is harder than I remember from the good old SLR days. Can’t wait till I get my lenses back from Canon repair with the auto-focus functioning.) With the exception of Wipe Out by The Ventures, I haven’t been able to stomach a drum solo since being subject to endless replays of Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida while in various states of consciousness.  There were two competing teams for the nightly entertainment. It was a fun night and good to get off the boat.

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Chris is back in San Diego helping out with her Dad, who just got out of the ICU. He’s doing a lot better now. I thought I’d take this opportunity to see if I could reach the back of the port side chain plates. I wanted to see if I could see if there was any leaking and tighten the bolts. The bolts were surprisingly loose.

grenadaIMG_5285 To get to the chainplate required dismantling a surprising amount of Chris’ side cabinet. A job much better one when she’s not around. I hope to have it back together before she gets back.

A few days after she’s back we’ll head off for a 3-day passage to Bonaire. The land of clear water and good reefs – at least that’s what the tourist brochure says.

Paul