We have been busy with lots of little projects on the boat since we arrived from our 20-day passage from St. Helena 11 days ago. We also have been cleaning up and re-arranging things for our guests who are arriving next week in St. Lucia. Some parts we need aren’t easy to find here, but our friends have six packages they will bring with them to us. I thought I might share with you what we have been doing as a sample of life on a boat after a long passage like this:
- Wind direction indicator – part of our mast-head wind indicator was deteriorating enroute. Bought a new one and installed it.
- Two of our new LED deck lights had some sort of electrical short and are dimmer now. Have ordered new ones with better waterproof features.
- Our main wind instrument at the top of the mast is ultrasonic. The sensor is mounted on a stainless-steel pole. It screws on the top. While enroute, the sensor had to be re-calibrated twice and I realized it must have unscrewed some due to the violent motion from the rough seas. Thank God it didn’t come off! Went up the mast and re-tightened it, then re-calibrated to the new position. It had to be tightened two complete turns (out of about 10).
- Keyboard on my laptop has had problems with 5 keys for a while (they randomly work/don’t work). Unfortunately, my backup bluetooth keyboard also died. Ordered a new one from the US. I’ve also tried cleaning all the keys and may try disassembling the laptop keyboard further.
- Ordering new part for hydraulic steering from dealer in Martinique.
- Fixed a problem with one of our two spinnaker halyards
- While up the mast, did a visual check over all rigging and other parts
- Ordered new prop anode mount and zinc anode for the one that went missing. Meanwhile, the other anode has been deteriorating more quickly, so I dove and installed a new one.
- We have had problems with occasional leaks into aft compartments in rough seas. It happened again on this trip. Our hatches are not water-tight. I purchased new gasket material and installed here in Grenada. If you wish, you can buy teflon gaskets here online
- We also had leaks with 3 or 4 of our hatches in the rough seas. Turns out the gaskets in the top of the hatches are one peice of rubber and are glued at the two ends. That glue has decided to go in pretty much all of our 10 hatches. Have spent a lot of time cleaning up the hatches and re-gluing the ends of the gaskets.
- Of course, all the stainless on the boat had to be thoroughly washed, cleaned of any rust, and some areas needed to be re-treated with protecting polish.
- A bolt that holds on our swim ladder managed to vibrate itself loose during the crossing. I had a hard time getting the ladder out, and the bolt head was damaged. Found a replacement at a chandlery.
- Several of our rigging lines, and parts of our sail cover experienced chaffing during the passage. So, new lines and sewing have to be done. In process.
- Discovered we had some ants on board while enroute. We think most likely it was something we bought in Luderitz or St. Helena. I have been trying to trace their nest and have poison bait out. They have been seen more and more rarely in the last two weeks.
- A small plastic tube used to measure the level of a water tank broke off. I’ve found some replacement tubing, but trying to find a secure way to join the two pieces air-tight inside the water tank.
- Found some software upgrades to our chart plotter and AIS. We had some issues with software on the chartplotter enroute and hope it will help resolve it. Also, our AIS is supposed to allow an NMEA position output we can tie into our VHF, but it never worked. The update might fix it.
- Our boat docking fenders are showing their age and can’t be cleaned effectively anymore. We bought some fender covers, but they didn’t have the exact right size, so Karen has to sew them up a bit to make them fit.
- Karen is also sewing some new cushion covers for our salon.
- Karen defrosted and re-organized our fridge and freezer, and took inventory with my help.
- Karen has been working on cleaning walls and ceilings throughout the boat.
- Karen has re-organized our food pantries and freed up some cabinet space for our guests.
- We both have been cleaning floors and counters throughout the boat.
- Two of our navigation lights were acting up, have to clean the contacts on the lightbulbs.
- Have to replace zip ties on shackle pins so they can’t come loose. Some have become weathered and have either broken or will soon.
- Dove on the bottom of the boat after arrival to check for damage in case of collision enroute. Everything looked good, and the anti-fouling is holding up well this time.
Of course, this is by no means a complete list, but gives you an idea of the scale of the activity for the last 10 days or so. And, this list doesn’t talk about home business we have had to take care of after a month at sea. Hundreds of e-mails, phone calls, taxes, etc. have had to be done to reconnect with family, friends, and other business matters.
There have been several trips onland to various stores trying to find parts, and to buy provisions. We have been surprised by the inflation of costs here in Grenada. Prices for even grocery food are much higher than US prices for everything even after the exchange rate. The East Caribbean dollar appears to be fixed relative to the US dollar, so the inflation in prices directly impacts our costs. While we were here, the local chandlery increased the price of their lines (ropes) by 40% on existing stock. Items in the store are often 50% or more higher than in the US. Hence, we have several things coming from the US with our friends.