We were the first boat hauled (0800) at Peake's this morning. They have a huge travel-lift, about 150T, so picking up Infini wasn't even a challenge. A diver goes into the water to set and tie the straps, then up you go. The pressure washer went to town, and the bottom didn't actually look too bad. The boat was then transferred to a large travel trailer type rig, which placed us in our spot. This is where we'll stay out of the water for hurricane season, doing routine maintenance chores and catching up to a few projects that have waited in queue. Otherwise, this may possibly be the last blog entry for a while, as we plan a visit back to the USA to see family and friends and will return here later in the year. Hope everyone has a great season and thanks so much for following Infini's Adventures!
Pos: N10deg40.75min / W061deg38.15min. I'd been watching the weather for the last week and determined Friday would be the most optimal day for departure. Ordinarily, we don't leave on passage on a Friday, but we deemed the upcoming passage as a continuation from islands further north, so rationalized our departure day. The passage from Prickly Bay, Grenada to Chaguaramas, Trinidad is about 85nm, and entry into one of the Boca entrances has to be timed to not encounter too much adverse current. We chose to leave at 1600 hours, figuring on an AM arrival and favorable tide. There was a new moon, and still a bit of concern about Venezuelan (presumably) pirates operating near the Trinidad offshore oil platforms that are on the rhumb line from PB to Chag. We filed a Float Plan with the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, and also let Jesse James know of our plans. The 150' anchor chain started coming up at 1545. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying that close attention, the chain bunched up in the hawse instead of falling down into the locker, and when I pushed the remote to reverse, somehow the whole mess started running overboard a hundred miles an hour, under the windless wildcat! Don't try to grab that chain; you'll lose your hand. Fortunately, after about 250 feet of chain went to the bottom, it slowed down enough for me to grab it and toss it back onto the wildcat (that holds the chain). Wow, Ok, deep breath...let's try this whole thing again. This time, I did pay attention to where the chain was going, tapped it down like I was supposed to when we deploy 150' or more, and everything went fine. With a single reef in the main and staysail set, we got underway, avoiding the Porpoises Reef nearby the entrance to Prickly Bay and getting settled in for our first overnight sail in a while. With no moon, seeing the squalls was going to be more challenging, evidenced by getting hit with 32 knots and driving rain with the full jib out. I'd like to say "no drama," but that'd be somewhat of an exaggeration. We managed to get the sail in and took our second deep breath...Hmmm. The first third of the passage continued overcast and squally. We had wanted to head far east around the Poinsettia oil platform, but that proved impossible with the E-ESE winds. I should note that I didn't see any ESE winds in any of the weather forecasts I reviewed. Plan B - go directly between the Poinsettia and Hibiscus platforms, staying just shy of 5nm away from each. That worked pretty well. The wind stayed mostly E at 18-22; and our boat speed was good. As we got about 25nm away from Grenada, things smoothed out and we had a pleasant middle third of our passage. We were able to make out the darker clouds against a somewhat lighter sky with stars, so were able to reef further when the winds got up. Past the platforms, as expected, the wind fizzled and we had to motor. Or, at least we tried to. Our start battery hadn't been used all that much, so I used the combiner switch to connect the house and start batteries; it's used for exactly this kind of situation. I turned the key...no alarm, no Balmar reading, the engine did start but there was no alternator output....what the hell? Quick, shut down and start checking things over. In a few minutes I found that the 300 Amp fuse at the start battery for the combiner pathway had fried. What? Imagine the load that went to it! Changing to a new fuse, I told Sue we probably had one chance to get the engine going; we took it and held our breath. Yes...alarms, alternator output, propulsion...everything checked out properly. And that was actually a very good thing, as the current was so strong, and the wind so variable, that even with the engine going 1600 rpm's, we were only doing 3.5-4 knots or so! That made the third deep breath of this short passage...Yep, the last 20 miles were motoring...very slowly. We missed the flood tide by about an hour, but you don't wait outside the Boca for exacting conditions; you just have to take what you get. What we got was 2.5-3.5 knots of boat speed with that adverse current! Ho hum. Of course, going into the very crowded moorage and marina areas we had the flood tide and were making 6.5 knots and I had to go into neutral to slow down! We picked up a mooring directly between Power Boats and Peake's, launched the dinghy, and I went in to Officialdom while Sue stayed aboard to straighten up. We're here, checked in, all's good. It's been an interesting 85 nm but now it's time to relax...after all, it is my birthday! Pic: The view from our mooring of the Power Boats complex.
We've enjoyed a bit of running around these last few days. Of course, no visit to Prickly Bay is complete without going into Budget Marine. To put things in perspective, a tube of Life Caulk costs $33 USD! (I passed). We also walked over to Aziz's place for schwarma; good as always. We'd met two other cruising couples during our stay here: Pam and Andy of sv Grace and Bobbi and Craig of sv Mana Kai. Our small group has had fun playing bocce, walking to Secret Harbour Marina for their once-monthly Sunday garage sale, and enjoying several delicious happy hour and dinner gatherings. Pam & Andy are doing a lovely restoration of their Morgan OI 41, and Bobbi & Craig are absolute newbies - they've owned their catamaran for 4 weeks! So there you have it; meeting and having fun with new friends in great places! Pic: Andy blowing the conch shell at sundown; M giving it a good try. More practice needed!
Today's sail was another story...First off, the predicted E wind never materialized at all. It was ESE-SE the entire day, but the wind was so variable, going from 6-12 knots, then back and forth before you could make any adjustments. Furthermore, we had decided to go down the east (windward) side of Grenada to Prickly Bay, not the west (leeward) side. We had anticipated 10-15 knots E wind, so being on the lee shore of the island wasn't going to produce too much stress. Well, the entire day was a motor sail, which may have been a good thing, as the current was really strong, at least 2 knots trying to push us west (onto the island...) for most of the passage. We had no issues; waves were 4' or less, wind sucky as noted above, so for sure it would have been a motor trip on the west side of the island also. At least we got to see the entire east coast, which we hadn't seen before. The water does get a bit thin in spots, especially if you're looking for one of the other popular bays on the east coast, but most deep draft vessels probably wouldn't have too much trouble. We anchored in 26' and noted there seemed to be a lot more mooring buoys around from our previous visit here, thereby restricting the areas for anchoring. Officialdom wasn't in their office at 1500 hours (posted hours 0800-1600...), so we'll try again tomorrow. We're having a beer at the Prickly Bay Marina bar/restaurant, free wifi, good food.
Pos: N13deg00.13min / W061deg14.65min. In Marigot, we raised anchor at 0630 intending to stop at Vieux Fort overnight. When we got down to the southern end of the island at about 0900, we decided that going the 11 nm to windward to get there (Vieux Fort) wasn't worth the aggravation as just going direct to Admiralty Bay, Bequia. We were on one corner of an isosceles triangle, our location at the southwest side of the island, and Vieux Fort, further east; the distance from either to Admiralty Bay was the same, 50 nm. We wanted to get to the anchorage during daylight hours but weren't too worried; we had been there before so a night entrance would have been fine. As conditions turned out, our average speed was 7+ knots. We made good time across the channel, and, as expected, hit the calm in the lee of the southern end of St Vincent and had to motor sail for a few hours. There, an onshore SW 10 knot breeze developed, then changed to an 18-21 knot E wind once in the Bequia channel, so we romped to the anchorage by 1700, with time to anchor in 14' of water, put the sail covers on and take a swim before dusk. It's been a full day.
Sue's been busy...additional albums of Dominica as well as Dominica Tours are now online. And, the one you've all been waiting for that has taken so long to collate...Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2016. It's huge - 111 pictures, most unlabeled, and there are a few repeats, but I'm hoping it gives everyone the flavor of being there without getting too bored! None of our previously posted albums are this large, so, no, we're not starting a new trend...this was a special occasion with an abundance of photo ops over a period of one week. Sit back, enjoy, and let us know what you think!