The Voyage of Vagus V
Year 1
True Blue Bay Resort, Grenada.
Start Date: January 12th, 2005 Location: True Blue Bay Resort, Grenada.
End Date: January 12th, 2005
Life on the Hard

Well, we are now "dirt dwellers" - at least until mid-February. The title for this edition is taken from a song by Eileen Quinn - an Ottawa song writer/singer who is presently sailing around the Caribbean. She has a web site and you may be able to hear the song. We can now say that she well describes doing boat repair while living on a boat in a working boat yard. The gentle noises of grinding, sanding and hammering fill the air. The air in sunlight takes on a sparkly appearance as fiberglass bits gently float in the breeze and there is always the faint aroma of "eau de resin" to complete the image. We were lucky and , after a bit of negotiation, got Vagus put in a "dry" area of the yard. This means that there is crushed stone under Vagus so we step off onto mostly dry land as opposed to directly onto thick mud (and the accompanying mosquitoes). However, it is at the far end of the yard which means we have to walk across the not-so-dry (muddy) areas of the yard to reach essential facilities such as the bathroom, showers, laundry and of course the beach bar. Yes, I did say we have bathrooms and showers which is very nice. The only problem is that the water to the marina is diverted to feed the city of St. George's from about 4:00pm to 8:00am. So the reality is that you do not want to do anything significant between those hours. And we do have outdoor laundry facilities - both a washer and a dryer. These are handy, especially after Karen learned the trick of wearing rubber gloves to avoid getting a shock when she turns on the washer. Actually this problem has been fixed and the marina has been very cooperative - but it is a working yard, not a resort. de Big Fish is the local beach bar just beside the marina where the cruisers meet for Happy Hour and relive the various day's adventures or misadventures, depending on your attitude. Remember that "the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude". The Princess (as Karen has become known in the Grenadian cruising community) has amended the saying to "the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is in the number of letters in the words".

So how did we end up in the yard so soon? To answer that question, we go back to Saturday morning of December 18th while we were still at the dock at Clarkes Court Bay Marina. I arose at my customary time and, as part of my normal morning routine, I looked into the bilge. This is quite a normal thing for me to do as the bilge is below the floorboards at the lowest point of the boat and I try to keep the bilge relatively dry. To my surprise the bilge, on this particular morning, decided to be full of water. Quickly using my salinity test kit (my tongue), I ascertained that the water was definitely on the salty side. Now this was not a good sign. If it was fresh water, it could have come from our water tanks, perhaps a failed fitting, or from down the mast after all the rain we had had. But salt water's role in life was to remain on the other side of the fiberglass hull and hold up the boat. It was not welcome on the inside. Now if you ever wanted to get your heart started on what was planned as a slow Saturday morning, finding a bilge full of salt water was as good as anything. We now started to play "find the leak". And after ruling out obvious and easy to correct sources and removing all the floor boards, emptying lockers, etc., we found water coming in from behind the fridge in an area where, of course, we could not see from the inside. So the next step was to don mask, flippers and weights and go over the side in search of a problem on the hull. Fortunately I also had some under water epoxy to patch the hole if I could find it. By the way, Clarkes Court Bay is in a mangrove area and the water clarity varies from a tea colour to "I cannot see the nose on my face" . Fortunately, it was a tea colour this day and I had a good 6 inches of visibility in front of my mask. On the down side, anything within 12 inches of my eyes is a blur without my glasses. However, by carefully measuring where we thought the leak was, I managed to find an abraided area under water on the hull. I used a whole tube of under water epoxy on what was a 6 inch crack and managed to stem the flow from a steady piddle to an occasional drip. The crack was from damage during Ivan but it took this long for the water to start to seep through the fiberglass layers. And seep it did. I did not trust the patch. After an anxious weekend, we called Spice Island Marina and they agreed to haul us on Tuesday. We could not move on Monday as it was a day of heavy rain and wind - Ruben, the diver, could not even clean our hull that day because of the squally conditions. Quite a reef had grown on the bottom of Vagus during her stay at CCBM and we could not move the boat until this growth was scraped off. Ruben arrived early Tuesday and did a fabulous job of readying Vagus for her sojourn to another Bay. Thus, Tuesday, the 21st, one day before our 35th wedding anniversary, we motored out of Clarkes Court Bay Marina, with a clean but somewhat suspect bottom. We kept in radio check with our friends anchored in Hogg Island who could follow our progress to Prickly Bay. Everything went well. We arrived at the hoist at noon and the yard was super and lifted us at 1:00, after ensuring that we were alright. They were very friendly and helpful. That night after getting settled (and after a shower), we went to de Big Fish for Happy Hour. While there, we met a British couple who had a car and were heading for dinner at the Aquarium - one of the best restaurants in Grenada - and invited us along. We had a great time. The food and the company was great and we agreed that this was an anniversary to remember. I do know how to show a girl a good time. I do not know how to top this one next year.

For Christmas, we were invited to a pot luck beach BBQ. This was another new experience for us. The weather was perfect - about 30C - but everyday gets to about 30C. We found a relatively secluded beach between two resorts. We had two boat BBQ's going, lots of food and a great time. There were 9 of us, mostly Brits and one Danish couple. We got to sing Silent Night in Danish as part of their tradition and played a game of Boules (same as Bochi Ball) on the beach (note: balls do not roll well in sand).

New Year's Day saw us bringing in 2005 by installing one of the toe rails - the weather was overcast with no rain and thus perfect for working outside. Again I do not know how we will top this one. Last year we had just arrived at Lucaya in the Bahamas and went to Junkanoo - I think that makes for a better memory. So we got the toe rail installed and the boat ready for the fiberglassers. We also were trying to get new spreaders for our mast from France as all our existing ones had been damaged. They had to be specially made as our mast was no longer in production. The spreaders were supposed to be ready by the end of the year. Apparently they were ready and put in a truck going to the airport to ship by air. But the truck was stolen - why was I not surprised. So the spreaders are now supposed to arrive mid-January.

Karen and I were counting down the days until the fiberglassing started and we could move off the boat for True Blue Bay Resort. Finally on Monday, January 10th the fiberglasser showed up with grinders in hand, and we threw all our stuff in suitcases and trundled off to the resort - about a 20 minute walk from the marina. We got to the resort and were welcomed by friendly staff into an air conditioned room with flowers all over, TV, an en suite toilet that flushed most of the times and hot showers at any time of the day - ahhh luxury.

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