S/V Delilah

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hog Island

Monday, October 9
Hog Island, Grenada

Though Tina and Ian flew all that way (withstanding a 5-hour layover in Barbados with a busy 1-year-old) to visit us, the unintended result felt like a vacation for us from boating life. Hot showers, endless running water, a choice of swimming pools, space to stretch out, air conditioning, and even a private plunge pool were an unintended bonus of having friends come down to see us.

Dean and I sank into our usual post-visit funk after saying goodbye to Tina, Ian, and Malcolm, and we considered staying in True Blue Bay for a day or two before heading back the boaters' bustle at Hog Island. Two hours of rolling around at anchor changed our minds, so we motored back to Hog, glad that it was only two miles away, as the higher-than-usual winds had kicked up an uncomfortable chop that made Delilah buck her way eastward, burying the bow a few times and slowing our speed to 2 knots.

Once we were anchored, Roxanne of La Galipote stopped by to see if we were coming to the beach for the afternoon. "Of course," I answered. Then Val and Menno of Eira stopped by to see if we were planning to go on the moonlight hash (see the June post for an explanation of what a hash is) that night. After a week of cooking with Tina, I needed the exercise, so I answered "of course" again. So much for a little solitude.

Dean learned his lesson in the first hash, so he stayed on the boat while I joined about a hundred other fools--er, walkers and runners who were game to follow the paper trail in the dark, aided by a full moon. This hash started at a hilltop fort, and the steep trail we followed straight down for endless minutes was so narrow slick with mud that I began to be glad that I know how to ski. Thick brush and trees lined the path, but every fifth handhold turned out to have thorns. At one point we realized, too late, that we had disturbed a nest of fire ants. But the worst part was knowing that for every foot we descended, we'd have to climb back.

Nighttime meant that the hash was a little cooler than normal, but that last mile uphill just about undid everybody. I am never able to pace myself on uphill climbs, especially when the finish line looms. My legs are of the opinion that the faster I go, the faster the pain will end. So I chugged at double-speed to the the final, flat stretch, and thought I might just slow down and catch my breath for a minute when I heard an unwelcome voice: "Where did you come from?" I had caught up to the annoying, know-it-all guy that Dean and Michele had stranded me with on our previous hash (they recognized immediately what a pain he was and took off at a run, while I stayed behind and listened to his unsolicited advice on sailing and life in general until the moment came when I could make my break). Panting, sweating, and feeling just a little woozy, I had to double my pace again to escape this guy, but not before he got in a few more judgments and proclamations, aimed at my hastily retreating figure. "You mean to tell me you walked this whole trail in THOSE sandals?! WHO did you walk with? Hey, wait up!" Ugh. Fortunately, there were beer, water, and barbecued chicken waiting at the fort, and my early finish meant I didn't need to stand in line to be served.

Yesterday was also adventuresome. Grenada has been hosting a series of cricket tournaments this week, and Dean and I, along with a group of cruisers, bought tickets to a "classic" match between England and the West Indies (like an old-timers game in baseball, featuring retired former greats from various teams). The game was held on the other side of the island, so we hired a bus to take us all there, and we learned what we could from the non-North American cruisers regarding the game of cricket along the scenic (read stomach-churning) ride there. Dean, being Dean, already knows a little something about cricket, though he has never played.

We got to the field early enough to claim ourselves plastic lawn chairs and a spot under one of the tents, and then we settled in to watch this very long game. After a few hours, however, I found the people watching far more entertaining than the tiny bit of playing field I could see past the large, red hat of the woman in front of me.

Today's excitement includes my preparing for a free scuba refresher course, courtesy of the local dive shop, while Dean spends the morning half-submerged in some really questionable bilge water. He woke me up this morning with the words, "Well, Jill, the good news is that the SECONDARY bilge pump works." He is now replacing our primary bilge pump, which failed some time in the past two weeks, with a new one. We think Trinidad's filthy water was just too much for it, clogging the pump and burning out the motor. Fortunately, our backup bilge pump kept things dry until we were back on the boat long enough to notice that something wasn't quite the same down there by the keel.

Thanks to a combination of preparedness and good luck, no harm was done. Our backup pump, which we did test and maintain on a semi-regular basis, did its job, and our smaller, spare pump, which has rolled around the boat for years waiting to be used, is filling in for the old primary pump until we can buy a new one.


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