S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One for the Record Books

Wednesday, September 27
Hog Island, Grenada

It's started. Last night Dean and I pointed Delilah north for the first time in almost 11 months, covering the first 80 miles of our long journey north in just over 13 hours. With our newly-painted bottom, plenty of wind, and a current that was actually pushing us the direction we wanted to go, we were going so fast for the first few hours that we worried that we would arrive in Grenada long before daylight! This is the first time in memory that we actually had to slow ourselves down while under sail.

We had a beautiful night, making 5 to 7 knots under double-reefed main and double-reefed genoa, with lots of stars and no squalls to keep us company. At dawn we were just a mile or so south of Grenda. We could see a heavy rainstorm making its way west along the coast, so we stalled for a few minutes and watched it sweep past us, obscuring the boats in the bay entirely and leaving a double rainbow in its wake.

We went first to Prickly Bay, where there is a customs and immigration office. I'm not sure the anchor had touched bottom before Dean and I were in our bathing suits and frolicking in the water beside the boat. After checking in we moved over to a sheltered bay behind Hog Island, which boasts a small, palm-topped, abandoned-looking, open-sided shack on a sandy beach, selling beer and soda and maybe rum. The proprieter lives in the shack, so the bar is open every day, all day. Rumor has it that the island has been purchased by the Four Seasons, so I supect the shack and the welcoming atmosphere will be gone within a year or so. Then again, developments in the Caribbean have a way of drying up before the ground is broken, or worse, after construction has scarred the landscape but before anything useful has been built. So much land here is in contractual limbo.

We are thrilled to be anchored next to Amanzi and Eira in a small bay on the south side of Grenada. There are almost no houses in this area, and certainly no oil rigs, giant-size marinas, or diesel-spilling commercial vessels. The water has gone blue again. The only noises I hear are our wind generator, pumping out free power, and the lap of wavelets against the hull of our faithful dinghy, finally floating after the fifth patch stuck. Trinidad was useful and social and cheap and lively, and we got a whole lot of work done on the boat, but this anchorage is what cruising is all about.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Market Day

Shark 'N Bake

Fish Market

Pie Faces

Limin' at the Pan Concert

Monday, September 25
Chaguaramas, Trinidad

This will be, we hope, our last blog from Trinidad. We have taken a few final days here to stock the pantry and try to clean the terrible mess INSIDE the boat that working on the outside most of the summer has caused. The weather looks promising for tomorrow.

In the meantime, we capped off our time here by taking a trip down to the grounds owned by the Angostura Bitters factory (it's made here and only here, the recipe a carefully-guarded secret). There was an outdoor steel-band concert last night, put on as part of Carifesta, a monthlong celebration of all things Caribbean.

Steel drums, known as "pans" locally, were first fashioned into musical instruments in Trinidad in the early 20th century. They are a central part of Caribbean culture and music-making, featured during carnival, and lots of fun to hear. The biggest competition bands have up to 120 people. What we saw last night was modest by comparison, but the sound of 25 or so people playing in a steel band still needs very little amplification when played for a crowd.

The concert cost us each about $18 U.S., an outrageous sum by local standards, but perfectly reasonable to us, given how well organized the night was, with two stages so one band could set up while the other was playing. We even got a gander at the president of Trinidad, who stayed for the first half of the night.

There were 8 bands in all, and they played for about 6 hours, their range encompassing tunes from ABBA and the Mighty Sparrow (famous early Calypso singer) to Lionel Richie (it was actually really good), local pop music, and tunes they had composed themselves. Some bands brought in violins, singers, and electric guitars. Still, 6 hours is a LOT of pan music. The middle acts lacked the enthusiasm of some of the early bands, and I found I preferred those whose musicians danced and sang along with the drums. One band even had three dancers in carnival customes who came out and danced the limbo, until finally one of the dancers shimmied on her back beneath a lit pole only 18 inches from the ground! I was certain her feathered headpiece was going to light up.

Dean and I also had our final meal of Bake 'n Shark, a delicious sandwich made of fried shark in fried bread, topped with lettuce and hot sauce and anything else you want, available for the princely sum of $1.50 U.S.

As this is Trinidad, and like everything else in the Caribbean, the concert ran late. Our ride arrived at midnight, bedore the final band came on, and we left while the night was in full swing. Today is Republic Day in Trinidad, so nobody else in the place looked like they had any intention of going to bed soon.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back in water

22 September, 2006
Coral Cove Marina

We finally made it back in the water, which is a huge relief. The bottom painting took much longer than expected, and was certainly a grueling effort, but it's done and the bottom looks fabulous. No more nasties growing on our hull. We also replaced the cutlass bearing (through which the propeller shaft exits the boat), etc. So, we should be in great condition now.

There were a couple of things that made yesterday interesting. The first was that the travel lift showed up earlier than expected and we didn't have much chance to plan before we were off the boat and the boat was in the air. That's when it decided to rain. Hard. All of our windows were open. When we were finally able to get a ladder and get on board, all the cushions were soaked, the floors were puddled, etc. Luckily, it looks like we had no major damage.

Then, shortly after we were in the water, still tied up to the lift dock, I turned on the engine and checked that cooling water was coming out of the back. Nope. Nothing. Jill saved the day by suggesting that we check the impeller. After so long out of the water, it had dried out and the stresses of priming the system had destroyed it. We had a backup in place in 10 minutes and all was again well.

Today we are finishing up a bunch of little things to prepare for our journey back to Grenada. We plan to leave sometime this weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back in Trinidad

September 18, 2006

Coral Cove Marina
Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Well, our vacation from this vacation went by very fast. We spent two busy but fun weeks in Boston, eating lobster (with claws), Dunkin' Donuts, and Mom's soda bread, and enjoying cool fall weather.

We were disappointed to return to Delilah and find that, in spite of our best hopes, the hull fairies had not visited Coral Cove while we were gone. Two cans of $250 U.S., barnacle-busting paint sat, unopened, right where we left them, and one nasty bottom job awaited us.

So that's what we're doing this week, all week, every daylight moment, until we can get back in the water, restock our empty fridge, purchase some duty free liquor, and turn north again, to Grenada.

Here are some great pictures, stolen from the blog written by Michele and Glenn on Crossroads.