Dominica – Fifth delivery

For all those who don’t ‘do’ facebook (of which we were one until very recently), my apologies for lack of updates.

We have just completed our fifth aid delivery to Dominica and are anchored in Portsmouth doing some much needed bilge pump maintenance, and hopefully some leak stopping.  As well as catching up on a little well-earned rest and recuperation.

After our trip to Antigua we headed back down to Grenada, managing to get caught in some seriously rough weather, with our passengers on-board, and towing a yacht (with Angie and two others on-board).  The yacht had been damaged in Irma and although partly fixed had run into trouble going between Guadeloupe and Martinique.  Angie phoned us as we left Portsmouth and we picked them up just off Roseau as we headed south. We spent two nights in Fort de France waiting for a weather window between the on-coming tropical-waves, and then still managed to get a pasting going down to Bequia.  We were there two nights also, and Henry left us to sort out his house and get ready for his return to Germany.

When we finally got to Grenada we spent less than a week there before loading up and heading north again, with Tom as our replacement crew, and Kim and Lylette who were going to Dominica to distribute water purification systems that we had on board.  Overall they didn’t have as many supplies to pick-up as they’d hoped (although there were 13 coffins), so once we left there we stopped off in St. Vincent to pick up supplies (and Dr. James who was coming to joint a medical team), and stopped again in St. Lucia.  Loading during the day and sailing through the nights made for a tiring few days.

We arrived in Roseau early in the morning and eventually got permission to go to the main dock.  Unfortunately things in Roseau seem to have got worse rather than better.  Bureaucracy rules, people were no longer allowed to enter the dock area to collect their own packages, customs seemed to be arbitrarily deciding what was exempt from duty and what wasn’t, we had to off-load everything ourselves as no external help was allowed.  And all around the port was full of containers and supplies that are not getting out to the people who still so desperately need it. It made for a depressing and frustrating visit.

We left Roseau as soon as we could and headed to Portsmouth.  To be met with warmth and appreciation and lots of willing helpers, together with the knowledge that everything off-loaded would be going, courtesy of Cobra and his ‘soldiers’, to people who really needed it.  The contrast was, and continues to be, amazing.

It took us just over a day to finish unloading and pump off some diesel for the distribution trucks and then we went out to anchor.  This was the last run we were doing with the support of the Grenadian group (fronted by Hiro and Dave) who had raised monies to fund our fuel and expenses and collect supplies for shipping.  After working tirelessly for over six weeks, they were beginning to find that ‘donation fatigue’ was setting in and the amount of aid being donated was dwindling.  This phenomena is apparent in many of the other islands in the chain and, given the number of islands that have been so badly damaged this hurricane season it’s hardly surprising.  (It a supermarket in Kingstown, St. Vincent, there was a donation barrel on which a printed sign read: “Please give generously to help the people of the Barbuda, St. Martin, BVIs and USVIs”, and in pen “Dominica” had been added to the top of the list.)

So, not quite knowing what the next step would be, we spent a few days resting up and catching up with the never ending Buzzard maintenance jobs, and contacting people about further funding.  Thanks to Kim, who put us in touch with the Dominica Rotary Club, within two days we were given money for fuel and were on our way to Guadeloupe to pick up a load of supplies there.

We left here first light Monday morning, arrived Pointe a Pitre in the early afternoon, loaded what was there, loaded more the following day, left in the afternoon and were back on the dock unloading in Portsmouth early the next morning, Just over 48 hours from start to finish.  Unfortunately there wasn’t so much to pick up in the way of food, but heavy wood and building materials which is what seems to be needed here now.

It was our first time in the centre of the butterfly of Guadeloupe and I hadn’t realised just how built up and industrialised this part of the country is.  We were in the main commercial container dock across the channel from the high-rises and tower blocks and continuous light shows.  The morning we were there our wonderful agent Gerard took us in search of various boat parts and supplies and the retail/commercial area was a complete shock to the system.  There were miles of shops and offices and restaurants, and more shops, and people and traffic-jams and concrete and chaos and cars. It was hard to comprehend the contrast between this teaming, metropolitan, city which appeared to be fueled by rampant consumerism, and Dominica where most people still don’t have enough food and water and are living under tarps … and they’re less than forty miles apart!

Of course this was only one area of Guadeloupe and I’m sure that the countryside in the north is totally different, and I know for a fact that, like most Caribbean countries, the consumer culture we witnessed is restricted to those people in the right area with the right jobs, with many locals still struggling to make a living.

Within the next couple of days we should know what our next step will be, whether it’s back to St. Lucia to pick up another load (which is looking like the most likely option), or back to Grenada to do some much needed more intensive maintenance.  Either way I’m sure we’ll be back in Dominica before long … unfortunately the need here isn’t going away anytime soon.

ONE LOVE … ONE WORLD … PEACE

 

Dominican update

After a few hectic days of loading in St. Lucia we were finally full to the gunnels once more.  Although we’d had a slow start with the relief supplies the St. Luicians came through at the end and we had almost 100 tonnes of aid on-board (including 30+ tonnes of bottled water in our hold).  Unfortunately we didn’t manage to get any fresh provisions for us, or the oil and filters we needed for the engine, but we did get fuel and hopefully we’ll be able to get the rest of what we need at our next stop.

When we finally left Castries around 6 pm Friday with our five crew, two Global-Medics, and nine Dominicans needing to get home, we were already a bit tired after a long loading day with no promised dock helpers.  Luckily it was a relatively calm night, a few people were not feeling so good but at least no one got sea-sick, and the only calamity was a leak that developed on our starboard side that kept starting off the bilge alarm.  Mike, Henry and Seb managed to get that under control though and the majority of the passengers were none the wiser.

Arriving in Roseau at 7 am the next morning wasn’t quite the experience we’d hoped for.  We tried for 3 hours to get the pilots on the radio to find out where we could dock, and whilst we were milling around in the bay a small pirogue approached us.  In the boat there was an aid worker and a local guy from New Town (near Soufriere in the south of the island) begging for anything we could give them as they had received nothing since Maria hit.  We gave them water and food and all the anti-biotic cream we had to hand.  Whilst we knew that the road from Roseau to Soufriere had been blocked when we were here last week, we’d also seen the Chinooks and Sea King helicopters heading out, which we thought were delivering relief to the out-lying villages, but apparently whatever they did deliver hasn’t got through to where it’s most needed.

Eventually we got permission to dock.  There was one Dutch military boat unloading supplies but apart from that there was no other military presence, a stark contrast to last week and the war-zone atmosphere.  We spent the rest of the day unloading, with very little help as the dock workers weren’t working at the weekend.  However those that did help were amazing and moved mountains, and more than made up for those who came on the dock demanding their personal packages and leaving without a ‘thank-you’ when they’d got what they came for.

First thing Sunday we unloaded two pallets of water for Sea Shepherd to take down to Soufriere, and set off for Portsmouth.  We arrived here around lunch-time and were told we couldn’t dock as there was a ferry coming in (reminiscent of the three times we had to move docks in Castries because the ferry or the freighter was coming in).  We waited for an hour and were then given the ok as the ferry wasn’t coming after all.  We were tied up on the dock and were in busy unloading mode when the ferry steamed in and we had to stop the work, park the crane and move out into the bay until it had off loaded five passengers and picked up a few more.

As we experienced last week when we were here, the difference between Roseau and Portsmouth were immediately apparent.  We had Cobra’s helpers on board within minutes of docking and they were here for the full day and a half it took to unload supplies and diesel for their distribution trucks. Things here are still dire, the ‘bank’ opens one morning a week and consists of a woman outside with a computer, and people are still coming up to us desperate for food and water, but there is a wonderful community spirit that is really helping to get help to those in need.

Last night we finished at 8.30 pm and today we’re having another Buzzard maintenance day, as the wear and tear on the old Buzzard is beginning to show.  We have two divers (who may well become temporary crew) coming down to help fix the leak, and we have to do some crane over-hauling as it’s been used more in the last few weeks than it normally does in a year.  We also have to fix our water collection system that got damaged when a pallet slipped going through the funnel, not sure there’s much we can do about the cracked glass roof right now but I’m sure it’ll get fixed eventually.

Although there is obviously still a great need for supplies to get through to certain parts of Dominica and for the rebuilding project to start, the island itself is starting to re-grow already.  Whereas last week the trees were bare and the land brown, this week there are already green shoots on some of the trees and grass once more creeping up the hillsides.

Later this afternoon we leave Portsmouth and will be heading to Antigua to pick up more supplies to bring back.  They don’t have a full load for us but would like to set up a regular help commitment and would like us to be the aid deliverer.  The trip there and back and loading/unloading should take about a week and then, all being well, we’ll be heading south and back to Grenada for the next load …

Will keep you updated as and when we can.

PS  On a human note … two of the ladies who joined us in St. Lucia to get to Roseau had flown from London and needed to get to Dominica to see their grandmother who was in the hospital.  Despite the delays in leaving St. Lucia and getting to the dock here, they did manage to get to see her for an hour before she died.  They were so thankful that we’d got them here in time …

ONE LOVE … ONE WORLD … PEACE …

 

Dominica Press Release

Hi Everyone ..

This is an update on the ‘Dominican situation’..

In less than one week the great people of Grenada (the country, the communities and the cruisers) rallied, organised and gave generously, supplies materials and their time and energy to collect and almost fill the Flying Buzzard. Fantastic effort on such short notice.

The Flying Buzzard left Grenada last Monday (25th) with a very substantial load of relief supplies and three Dominicans going home to help. We sailed overnight to St.Lucia and picked up some more aid in Castries, then overnight again to Roseau (Dominica), where we were met with scenes of devastation and chaos, but with a large military presence (including big Chinook helicopters whirring around adding to the war-zone feel), and people there beginning to co-ordinate and trying to work together.

We were, unexpectedly for us, expected there and tucked in a corner of the dock within an hour. The result of personal connections from Grenadians/Dominicans and indeed everywhere … “One World One Love”. The customs officials only had a small car left as an office and the hood served as a desk, minimal paperwork and then the mammoth task of unloading began.

Starting with approx. 50 barrels and several hundred personal assorted boxes and packages, including those to and for customs, pilots, banks, credit union, church groups etc. .. showing again the value of good connections.  We had help from a variety of people, especially a group from the Christian Disaster Organisation, four fantastic hardworking teenagers and their house parents. The main cargo of approx. 8 tonnes of bottled water and many more of canned and dry foodstuff, as well as clothing was then craned out of the hold, palletized or loaded directly onto vehicles for delivery. One of our resourceful crew found a cement plant with 1 tonne dumpy bags to pre load inside the hold, which made the whole process a lot easier … yeah, much needed efficiency!! Less hand humping.

Two full days later we left for Portsmouth, surveying the wasteland on-route. Two crew went with the male house parent by road, seeing even more of the devastation whilst dodging the holes in the road, the rocks and debris and all the downed power cables.  The Buzzard arrived mid-afternoon, was given a dock space and at dark we finished unloading. We craned the lot onto the dock, except the personal packages, which were off-loaded by hand. In Portsmouth the customs shed is destroyed, meaning the aid goes directly to a locally run centre and from there mainly to the remoter rural areas on small dump trucks and pick-ups. However there are no fuel deliveries to the north end of Dominica due to the road being precarious in places and the fuel trucks would have to drive through rivers.  Executive decision time: We pumped off approx. 3 tons of diesel for the local delivery trucks, who are doing all this work without being subsidized for fuel even when and if they can get it, and also for a local boat running supplies with five gals of engine oil and all the gasoline we had on board. No paperwork, just 10 gals for the customs guys vehicles …

Portsmouth is a small town/large village with a community spirit and now with some running water and very limited cell service. The main coordinator is Cobra, a local tour operator ( he’s been given a sat phone to help him). He is run ragged and stressed but cheery, helpful, has a great team and makes stuff happen !! The difference between Portsmouth and Roseau is quite apparent. We realize: Comparing the two is a bit unfair as all the ‘international aid’ is centered in Roseau, but the politics between the international aid agencies and some corruption in some customs officials is very sad to see. We tried to by-pass all of the above as much as possible and gave the aid directly to people running local shelters etc.

We spent one night on the dock in Portsmouth and the next day set sail for St. Lucia taking five evacuees that needed to get out (including a mother and two teenage daughters, who were sea-sick the whole way, and an American who cleaned our cooker because she had to keep busy).  At present we are anchored in Rodney Bay (today is their Thanksgiving holiday) and we’re busy getting the Buzzard and ourselves ready to start loading in Castries early tomorrow.  It’s quite bizarre for us watching the touristy party boats going by, whilst not 100 miles north there’s a national disaster, but it seems ‘plastic life’ goes on here unabated.

We’re hoping that St. Lucia has pulled out all the stops and when we get to the dock there is more than enough to fill the Buzzard, they’ve definitely been working hard enough towards it.  If that is the case then we should take two/three days to load then be heading back to Dominica.  And after unloading there we will be going back to Grenada to fill up once more … or at least that’s the plan at present.

This is only a snap-shot of our experiences so far.

Cheers from the Flying Buzzard … and all her hard-working, amazing crew!

ONE WORLD  ONE LOVE  PEACE

PS  We have added this post to the Flying Buzzard Friends facebook page, where we have also uploaded more photos.

The Hurricanes …

No doubt everyone will be very much aware of the devastation that has been caused to parts of the Caribbean by the category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Fortunately, being based in Grenada, we have not been unduly effected by them ourselves, although watching the unfolding destruction in countries where we have been and have friends, has been harrowing.

After Irma hit we were approached to take supplies up to St. Martin and the BVIs, but after getting first-hand accounts of the madness and mayhem that ensued in the aftermath, and still continues, we decided to wait.  Now Maria has passed and Dominica, another island we know and have friends on, has been all but destroyed.  There are relief organisations here in Grenada who are desperately wanting to send supplies up there … at present communications have not been repaired and it’s difficult to know how bad the situation is, other than ‘really, really bad’.

So .. we are going to be part of the relief aid.  Just had a meeting on board with the two main guys in charge, they want the Buzzard docked on the Carenage in St. George’s by tomorrow afternoon, starting to load Friday and hopefully be on our way early next week. That is, of course, weather permitting …

Love to all … we’ll try and keep you updated xx

More photos ..

Chris finally got around to giving me some of the photos that he took on his camera.  There are a couple from the Suriname-St. Martin trip last year which I’m sure you’ll like, and some more of the Canouan caper … enjoy!

Towing the barge into St. Martin.

Approaching the bridge on the Dutch side ..

  .. and coming through.

Almost a year later and on to Canouan …

One of the unsuccessful attempts to get the cat off the beach with a 100 tonne crane and excavator.

Chris and Samuel.

Blaze, Sancho and Fat-head starting work on the A-frames … and then up they go.

The first one’s in place …….                       while the Canouan Regatta goes on.

And finally the catamaran is level and the crew are happy, and so is Chris.

Meanwhile, back in present day Grenada, Mike and the boys are still working hard stripping and cleaning the cat and her engines so the pressure isn’t quite off yet, although I have been told, several times, that it won’t be long now. And Mike is starting to slowly catch up on some much deserved R and R and come down from his five month adrenaline rush, so normal service may well be resumed shortly (whatever that is).

It was Carnival here last weekend and whilst we didn’t have the energy to partake of the festivities ourselves, all our SVG crew managed to have varying degrees of fun.  Along with Seb, our latest crew addition who is a young guy from Huddersfield who just happened to find himself boat-less in Grenada, and is now being an invaluable help to Mike in taking apart all the various engines, generators, pumps and parts … and can’t wait to get his hands on the Matchless in the hold.

Love to all …

PS  Something seems to have gone a bit wrong with the photos but if you click on them the whole photo is there … honest.

 

Canouan completed … finally!

Can you believe … the Canouan catamaran, after almost five months, is finally in Grenada and on the hard … and with photos to prove it!

Mike eventually had to give up on the hope of help from the various barges and cranes and people’s promises, and resort to ‘medieval’ means of getting it out of the sand and over the reef.  He built a series of A-frames along the port hull, or at least what remains of it,   and then slowly chain-hoisted it up whilst simultaneously pumping out the sand.  And then it was up and over and alongside the Buzzard. Not looking very safe and in need of constant pumping and help from our crane, but no-longer attached to the land.  It took almost a week of 24/7 care and innovative engineering to get it stabilised and ready for towing.  Together with an an awful lot of barrels … but eventually it was all afloat.  Then it was just a case of waiting for the weather window, after Tropical Storm Don passed through, and the journey back could begin. 

Luckily the weather gods were smiling, and/or Mike’s timing was impeccable, and they only lost two barrels on the first leg over to Carriacou.

They over-nighted there, always mindful that things could still go horribly wrong, and left at first light to traverse the often unpredictable currents of Diamond Rock.  Managing a magnificent almost 3 knots, they made it into St. George’s just before dark.  (That was the first time I’d seen Mike for over 2 and a half months, having arrived back from the UK the week before.)  The next morning, and still with the weather in our favour they made it around Point Saline and into Clarke’s Court Bay.

The next few days were spent celebrating and sleeping in almost equal measure, and then the final leg of the trip, as the somewhat battered Bentley, with the help of various friends and dinghies, towed the cat down the Bay and ready for haul-out.

And then there she was  approaching the dock … and then in the slip

… and Mike was deservedly oh so very happy!

Early the next morning, and between the torrential down-pours, out she slowly came … disgorging all the ad-hoc flotation on the way.

Now only the job of cleaning, sorting, recharging the batteries (both literally and figuratively), and working out the next step remains.   

A really big thank you is sent to all who have helped on this amazingly long and difficult job, and especially to Chris, without whose constant work, encouragement and support things could have turned out quite a bit differently. And well done to my wonderful pirate husband .. always knew you could do it!

Love to all …

PS  Whilst I was in the UK I was given a clean bill of health … so double fantastic news from the Buzzard!

Canouan contd.

The salvage saga continues: the Buzzard is still in Canouan, and the catamaran is still on the beach. The plan for the Clarke’s Court barge to come and help didn’t materialise (or at least hasn’t as yet) as they suddenly got really busy and had to go up to St. Lucia on a different job. And in the meantime Mike got a call about another barge coming from Trinidad that was having engine problems off Grenada, and could he go help tow them in, which he did.

You would think that with two potential barges to help something might have happened by now, but the second barge (which is really the third), then had to go to St. Vincent to get fixed and won’t be back until possibly the end of this week. When you add in the delays and set-backs and constant work to ensure that the catamaran stays as stable as possible, this job is definitely not turning out as Mike had envisaged.

BUT … there have been upsides, honest.  Like the length of time we’ve spent there, which wouldn’t generally happen, has given us an amazing insight into the island and the wonderful people who live there.

The island itself is 3.5 by 1.2 miles and has around 1,000 local inhabitants.  It’s beautiful and quintessentially Caribbean with it’s crystal clear aqua-marine waters, reefs and sandy beaches.  It is however relatively flat, and until the exclusive, mainly Italian owned, resorts started appearing in the 1990s most of the water had to be shipped in from St. Vincent. Now there is a complete divide between the rich and the rest (reminding us very much of the time we spent in the Cape Verdes).

The main resort on the north end of the island (which the locals are not allowed anywhere near) is now the Pink Sands Club and was formerly part of the Raffles Hotel and Resorts chain that boasts an 18 hole golf course (originally The Trump International Golf Course no less).  The guests fly into the specially built airport on their private jets, of which you see (and hear) many, and now they also have the option of going straight to their mega-yachts moored in the newly opened Glossy Bay Marina. According to Forbes 2016 Canouan is set to become one of the world’s most exclusive destinations for the rich and famous, even more so than Mustique which is the next island along.

However the main ‘town’ of Charlestown, where we’re anchored, is very different, consisting of a building supply company/emporium of the weird and wonderful, a veggie market where you can only get whatever happens to come in that day on the ferry, and a couple of food shops selling not very much for almost twice the price. And of course the ubiquitous rum shops and beach bars where the locals (and sometimes us) hang out.

From day one on the island the locals have given us help, support and (often sorely needed) encouragement.  And after watching and being part of all the hard work and effort we’ve put in over the weeks, it seems like we’ve been officially adopted as ‘good, hard working people’, invited into homes and, fantastically, become an honorary part of the local community.

And it’s just as well that we do have local support because Mike and Chris have been the lone-rangers on the Buzzard for almost three weeks now. Unfortunately just before Easter I received some not so good medical results, I don’t think it’s anything too serious but something that does need further investigation and treatment that can’t really be done in the Caribbean.  I booked my ticket back to the UK (flying from Grenada) quite a few weeks in advance thinking for sure that the job would be done and we’d be back in Grenada by then … so much for thinking.

As we were (and as we apparently still are) waiting to know which barge was coming when, Angie decided to come back to Grenada with me to check on her own boat and have a break from the joys and frustrations of salvage life.  Instead of leaving the catamaran and incurring the time, effort and expense of taking the Buzzard down to Grenada it was decided that Mike would sign us out on the Bentley and whizz us across the sixteen miles to Carriacou to catch the ferry. Luckily it was a relatively calm day, and apart from the rope burns on my knuckles where I was hanging on, it was actually quite enjoyable and only took us just over an hour.

And now I’m back enjoying the beautiful sunshine and much missed greenery of an English Spring .. or at least I was before it got cold and damp and started pouring down with rain!

Love to all …

 

 

Some news

So I was just about to post a blog saying how there was no news as we’re still in Canouan, still working hard, still getting intermittent northerly swells, and still dealing with equipment break-downs and the occasional personnel malfunction.  And still, after all this time, waiting for the barge and crane.  But then, news has appeared … the barge spent two days in the bay and we were getting excited about the prospect of finally getting the catamaran off the beach, and then last Friday, at midnight, a tug (Captain Bim no less, who we know well from previous adventures) arrived to tow them away up to St. Martin.

Needless to say we were not happy bunnies.  But yesterday we re-grouped, Mike called Connor down in Grenada and he said that the Clarke’s Court Bay barge and crane may well be available if we could come down to get it and tow it back up here ourselves.  Their barge would actually be even better as it can get into shallower water and we’ve worked with them before, in fact why we didn’t think of them in the first place is something of a mystery to us all.  So we’re now waiting to hear if and/or when we can go get it, whilst meanwhile continuing on with the never-ending emptying out of sand in the catamaran.  Some swells do amazing jobs of clearing it out; last week a swell washed away most of the sand along the starboard side and we finally managed to get the chain that had wrapped itself around the boat free, and yesterday some of the cleaned out cabins up forward had silted up once again.   You just never know what you’re going to find … such an exciting life we lead!

IF all goes according to our latest wish-fulfilment plan, we leave for Grenada early tomorrow, pick up the barge Tuesday, come back Wednesday, spend a few days doing the deed, putting the catamaran on the barge and heading straight back to Grenada.  Sounds like a wonderful plan to me.  Fingers crossed.

Love to all …

Currently in Canouan

A 61ft (2010) Privelege catamaran went up on the beach in Canouan, St. Vincent, almost four weeks ago, maybe even more than four weeks ago.  Mike went up, without the Buzzard, to see if there was anything we could do, and after two weeks and a multitude of multi-national phone calls and paper-work later it was finally decided that yes, we could try and get it off.

So, after a few running repairs to the Buzzard’s stern-tube and no. 5 cylinder, we left Clarke’s Court with Angie, Chris and Judd on-board.  We stopped off in Carriacou over-night, arrived in Canouan the next day and then left for Bequia to pick up the air bags that we’d tusselled with in the past.  Even though it was yet another fleeting stop it was good to catch up with friends we hadn’t seen for a while.

The next day however, it was back to Canouan on a rolling Buzzard and straight into air-bag repair mode.  It took quite some while to get them sorted and re-plumbed and sewn and blown-up, but the compressors and fittings did their job and they held the air.

Unfortunately though, during the intervening time between Mike first seeing it and us being in a position to try to take it off, they’d tried pulling it up the beach and over rocks and done more damage that the original grounding.  Still, the first few days on-site went well, our local work-gang established themselves, and Severin joined us as Judd, who had only come along to check the carpentry out had flown back from Bequia.  Before long the inside was cleared of debris and things were looking good.  The idea was to get rid of the compacted sand that had accumulated inside and around the hull, put the air-bags in and float it off … sounds oh so easy when you say it quick!

The next hiccup came when we found there was only one compressor on the island that was big enough to run the inventively designed sand dredges that Mike, Severin and Angie had fun making.  And although we did manage to get them running and working well for a day or so the clutch on the compressor gave out and unfortunately couldn’t be repaired.  So it was back to the dredge drawing-board and the design and re-modelling of various smaller water dredges that can be run from the gas pump.

These were also working well, and then the tides and swells went against us, coming from the north, making it impossible to work safely on the boat and leading to tiring and frustrating days when sometimes more sand comes in than you’ve managed to pump out.

But, we’re still working away and haven’t given up yet.  In fact, there’s a barge with an 80 tonne crane on that has been working on a new marina on the island and Mike knows the owner from their time on the putty in St. Martin last year.  So our latest plan of action is to get the barge around to help lift it off.  Of course a lot depends on timing and tides and luck and hard-work, but I’m pretty sure that if it can come off in one piece, or at least the number of pieces it’s in now, then Mike’s the one that will make it happen.

Needless to say we won’t be making it up to Antigua this year … who needs the Classics when we have all the fun of Canouan!

Love to all ….

Christmas and Beyond

Happy New Year Everyone!

Our Christmas started with what seems to be becoming the annual pre-Christmas dinner sail on Scrappy.  Followed by lunch on board for ten.

Although the weather was good the wind was up so we ate inside.

Between Christmas and New Year (28th December) we finally got to go into Clarke’s Court Marina to get the stern lifted so we could work on the damaged prop and stern-tube.

As usual it wasn’t all plain sailing: there’s a bank just before the slip which we were just slightly too deep for, and then when we got there at 8.30 sharp it took several hours to move a tri-maran that was on the dock in front of us and then to get the hoist in place and the strops under the ‘belly of the beast’.

By this time it was 12.30 … and the real work began.

We had been promised at least a day in the slip but after only an hour we were told that there was another boat coming in that had to be lifted and we had to be back in the water and away by 3 pm … definitely not what we’d expected.  It meant that whilst we did what we could we couldn’t do all that we’d intended …

… and back down we went

Even though things didn’t work out quite as planned, it was a successful day.  We got in, got some work done, got out and back on the buoy … and now we know that we can do it, which is good because we’ll have to do it again before leaving Grenada.

We also have some engine work to do and are waiting to fix one of the injector pumps, yet again.  Meanwhile work continues on the decks and accommodation and wheelhouse windows.  The Buzzard is definitely starting to look much better than she was.

In Grenada this weekend it’s the annual Workboat Regatta on Grand Anse Beach, which we’re going to tomorrow.  And next week is Grenada Sailing Week, and Mike will be racing on the classic 116 year old wooden ketch (or possibly yawl?), Galatea (classicyachtinfo.com/yachts/galatea/).  They’ve just left Clarke’s Court to go around to St. George’s and are looking GOOD …

 

 

I’ll let you know how it goes and hopefully have some more photos for you.

Love to all …