Winter at Home 2020-21

With the Covid-19 pandemic raging worldwide, we have been hiding out in Saltbox13 and enjoying our first winter at home in ten years! Obviously, we are normally on  our boat, Island Spirit, spending winters in Florida, Bahamas or the Caribbean Sea. This has been a very different winter for us, but we have made the best of it, playing house. Did I say that we love our Saltbox13 which we designed and built in 1984? Well, we do! This house has been a lifetime joy, so spending time here has been fun, especially with our wonderful neighbors and the fantastic kids on our street. With the new media, bourbon, prosecco room, the weber grill, firepit and large bathrooms, we are not roughing it here. Please enjoy this photo update of winter 2020-21!

Time around our Fire Pit

Our first-ever firepit off the back deck, very enjoyable

YouTube on the Media Room TV, so fun

Sailing vessel DELOS released their 59 North Series. We supported them and really enjoyed the 4 videos!

Well, Let’s Decorate for Christmas

First time in ten years we were home for Christmas, so lets light up the place

We recommisioned the French Godin Petit Stove, so much fun

This is a Godin stove we have had since the 80’s. It really is fantastic and burns coal or wood, The coal storage under the garage floor had a over a ton of coal, so we had plenty of fuel.

SNOW SNOW SNOW, all winter long!

Our home looked so pretty lit up with the snow
We had an LED projector that placed snowflakes on the walls.

Winter at Home was Comfortable

A beautiful selfie that I always enjoy taking with Radeen

Upside Down Snowman and further Snowman FUN 

This was how we felt being home in the snow…argh

Walks, Walks, Walks, doing 60-80 miles a month

Jim and Gail met us for multiple walks and THE ANTUGUA BRIDE-TO-BE, Courtney, made a guest appearance!

Merry Christmas 2020

Hayden and Radeen’s Christmas at Home 2020 photo
Always our go-to bottle for a celebration, the best French Champagne, MOET
STINK, STANK, STUNK…2020

My Favorite Photographic Subject, Radeen

Looking good as usual, Love this

The Endless Winter of 2020

Our shadows as we walked every day
Selfie with Frosty our largest Snowman

We have the BEST Neighborhood Children

The sweet kids on our street knew we were missing the Caribbean, so they made us a Snow-woman with a Bikini top on…tooooo funny

Weber BBQ all winter long

I love to BBQ, so, I shoveled enough snow off the deck to keep the grill open 🙂

Did I say WALKS? Yup, 2.0 miles every day we can

Stretching one mile out with many layers on, it is COLD

Thank you all for following along. This is not our usual posting about sailing and luewater and travel, but 2020 has not been a normal year for anyone. Soon, we will have our 2nd Covid-19 vaccine shots, fly to Antigua for that special wedding and then we will return to sailing….we hope. For now, let’s get into SPRING TIME WEATHER SOON.

THIS IS WHAT WE LOVE…..

Fall into Winter at home

Yes, we are still at home from Summer 2020 into Fall 2020 and all winter 2020. I am trying to bring the blog up to date with a few photos and a brief update on what is going on with Team sv Island Spirit. We are home until we get Covid-19 vaccines, it looks like that will be in  late March 2020. Then sometime after that we will return to the boat, which is stored in Puerto Rico, and resume sailing. It might be April, May, June, July, and it might be the USVI and Spanish Virgins, but we will NOT be complaining about that.

We have been busy working on our home, which we call Saltbox13 as we took what was a flooded basement last winter, gutted it and remodeled it into what we are calling the MBP Room, or Media / Bourbon / Prosecco Room.  We have made great progress on this, with all the flooring, electrical, heating and tile work now completed. The bar is nearly fully stocked and the media wall is doing well with the Samsung Smart TV and surround sound. We added  Disney+ and, along with YouTube Sailing channels and subscriptions, we are fully immersed in sailing and travel entertainment.  With our refurbished French Petit Godin coal/wood stove and rebuilt mantel and hearth, this room is really taking shape. Take a look here….

Our Daily Routine

With Covid ramped up so high all Fall and Winter long, we have simply conceded to remain home and wait it out. We go for walks every day, walking 2 miles and getting in 60+ miles a month. We cook every meal in and we pick up groceries via cubside services at the stores. We use Amazon, of course, and we simply carry on. We honestly had planned to return to our sailing program Nov 7, 2020, but that was when the CDC published an advisory to NOT TRAVEL TO PUERTO RICO! So, with that, we postponed the flights. Well, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb….we are still waiting. Now it looks like we will be getting vaccinated in March and then, finally after that, we will set sail. Difficult time for everyone and we count our many blessings. It is what it is and we are pushing onward.

Photos of the MBP Build

We selected a remnant piece of granite for the bar top, It has red and gray in it!
Part way to working out the back splash and wall design

 

Good friend and artist, Sharon Gabor designed a black subway tile with pencil to work with the black vessel sink and our stone tile….PERFECT
Radeen shows off the new granite top and sink. Black back splash is not yet installed
The finished Bar needs a center drop light and final plumbing

Mallory Visits Us

We picked up Mallory at PHL and had a fabulous visit with our niece and my dad
Of course we had to eat at GENO”S STEAKS
Wonderful meals were shared around our table with Mallory and Dad
A required Liberty Bell and Philly tour 
Plus a stop at our very own neighborhood CHOCOLATE Factory

As Whiteaker Yacht Sales Brokers, we enjoyed selling several boats

Servicing our Grand Banks 38 Hardtop Express customers, we took the boat out for a demo run with dear friends Jim and Vanessa
I create my 18th yearly calendar for the Island Packet Yacht Owners Association
I sold an IP 35 and helped prepare her for trucking from NY to FL.

Fire Pits, Christmas Tree and Decorations

With winter setting in, we added a fun FIRE PIT off the deck and had a few fires and drinks
We have not had a Christmas Tree in ten years, so, lets go BIG. This beauty required a rental truck
Firepit GrL with Full Moon
The Tree is UP! And it is 9 feet tall. Thank you to Doug & Hayden Franks’ Boy Scout troop!

Fully Decorated for Christmas with LIGHTS!

What a fun time adding LED lights, about 10,000 til I was all finished. This was just the start 🙂

Conclusion

Our Fall into our Winter here at Saltbox 13 is going well, and we are really enjoying “playing house” as we wait out the Covid-19 pandemic. We can not think of a better place to wait. We really love this home we designed and built a long, long time ago.  It is a JOY to spend some time here, yet we really can’t wait until we can return to Island Spirit and be anchored off HONEYMOON BEACH. ST JOHNS, USVI. Thank you for checking in….

Summer at Home

After our storage in Puerto Rico, we flew home to USA where we enjoyed the rest of the summer and into the fall at home isolating from COVID-19. We spent the summer and fall renovating our family basement room into a very cool media / prosecco / bourbon room. We rebuilt the fireplace and hearth with slate tile, we replaced the floor with new floating planking vinyl floor, and we built a six foot black box floating off the floor to hold the large TV. Added to this was a new bar area with slate tile floor, new cabinets and a granite countertop. We still need new furniture and the library re-installed, but so far, this has been a very good stay at home covid-19 project to keep us busy. We have been slacking on the blog as we usually blog all about sailing and travel, but with this normal, we are trying to catch up and post a few updates. Thanks for following along.

Here are a few photos…

The media room basement remodel. Needs furniture and decorations…
We installed new ceiling heat and ceiling drywall
We installed new LVP, luxury vinyl planking….new floor
The media wall is RUBY RED and we found it is great for selfies. 🙂

Haul out Puerto Rico, PDR

We are trying to catch up on our blog as we now post most live updates to our Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/ So, this post is a photo essay on the process we went thru to haul out the boat in Puerto Rico and prepare her for hurricane storage July 2020 to Nov 2020. Enjoy this photo essay and the captions. I hope you enjoy this….

Sailing from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico
Heading 270, WEST, very odd
Job one, drop all the sails and store them below deck
We flake our sails on the deck, then fold them and tie them up
We do LOVE our MACK SAILS
Here are two sails stored below deck, nice and neat
We covered all the varnished teak with a new material called CAP WRAP by ULINE, lets hope it works
We covered the ports and all teal with this cap wrap
We pulled out the 250 foot of 5/16″ HT Acco anchor chain and washed it, desalted it and then added WD-40 to the links for storage.
It was a full moon while we were in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
The boats around us had underwater lights that light our boat us and looked so cool
We protected the hatch and wrapped it for dinghy storage on deck
The 10’6″ AB RIB dinghy fits on the bow of an Island Packet 35
We changed the oil
She is now ready to haul out
We buy hurricane tie down straps
Our shade cloth, COOLAROO ships in and we pic this up
We roll out the coolaroo and pre-cut the shade fabric
Haul out time,, we have to back into the haul out slip
They lift her out of the water and drive her to the storage yard
It is always exciting to see this yacht out of the water, 20,000 llbs and 39 feet over all length looks big out of the water
They transfer the yacht to a trailer that is remote controlled. This allows them to move the yacht very tight and close to the next yacht maximizing the storage yard.
We hired Ruben to powerwash the bottom
Next we rolled out our shade fabric and covered the yacht
We extend our spinnaker pole to make a tent aft of the mast
The bow piece is stitched to the aft piece and pulled tight
There she is with a full top shade cover to protect her from the hot Caribbean sun
With the spinnaker pole tent, we can still get into the boat and work
We added 8 hurricane straps to secure her to the concrete footings
Hurricane straps from bow, midship and stern pull down to concrete footings. This is required by insurance companies
The straps and the tie down set up
We wrap the rudder and the stern to keep the hot Caribbean sun off these surfaces
it is recommended to add Vaseline to the straps and stands to keep ants off the boat!
Same thing on the jack stands…. add Vaseline to the stands to keep ants off the boat!
We take a break and tour the rain forest
Oh yes, Puerto Rico
Abd the beach
Welcome to HOME to “SALTBOX 13” our home we built and love….

And that is a wrap on cruising season 2020, where we started in Grenada, launched the boat and made repairs to get sailing by Dec 25, 2020. We sailed up to Bequia for Cruisers Christmas and then on north. We were in Antigua, in February and early March when Covid-19 was breaking out. By mid March we were running back to Grenada to be secure frm covid-19. We docked into Grenada and there we were, “stuck for March, April, May, with a covid-19 lock down. Safe and secure but with a closed airport we decided to sail for USA on May 18, 2020. We sailed 60 hours and 425 nm back up to St. Croix, USVI. There we quarintined 14 days on anchor and then moved up to St. Thomas for provisions. From there we moved to St John and waited for our haul out in Puerto Rico. We sailed over to PR in July 4, 2020 and immediatly had a covid-19 test. Locked down on the boat until results came back we then could begin to derig the yacht.

We down rigged for days and then hauled out July 9th 2020. With the boat now on land we worked on securing her for hurricane season. After we finished that, we moved to San Juan. There we enjoyed a weekend and then flew home to Philly, USA. 

Once home, we were once again quarantined for 14 days. W placed a yellow Q Flag on our home and stayed home. This would make the 4th time we have done 14 day quarantine.  After that, we began to return to a somewhat normal life….whatever normal is…

USVI dreams

Hayden & Radeen walking the closed cruise ship dock of St. Croix

Arrival into the United States Virgin Islands after our wonderful ocean sail of 425 nautical miles direct from Grenada to St. Croix. We dropped anchor, washed all the salt off Island Spirit and then made breakfast and then crashed. After a wonderful sleep with the boat NOT moving, we dropped the dinghy and went for a swim in the crystal clear waters.  Ahhhh, the beautiful virgin islands where the water is crystal clear and here in 30 feet, we can see the chain out to the anchor. That is wonderful. After a few days of rest, we did go for a walk on the locked up and closed cruise ship dock, but this was the only land we stepped on as covid-19 shut down the island and we will quarantine 14 days onboard.

Laundry In a Bucket

We have been washing clothes for months in a bucket…
Sailing the Mack Sails Code Zero into Pizza PI
Anchored out off St. Johns living a dream, watching sunsets
The T-shirt map of the USVI
The closed up shops of the cruise ship dock in St Thomas, COVID SAD
The closed up shops of Charlotte Amalie and the main shopping area…COVID SAD
The Logo of the USVI
Full moon rise over Island Spirit off Water Island
Typical tourist photo op, St. Thomas on the cruise ship dock
Sailing out of USVI for Puerto Rico
Sailing south to St. Croix USVI to visit friends
Thank you “Caribbean BILL” for this amazing mooring ball in town, St. Croix, we love it here
St. Croix at sunset
On our friends mooing, thank you Caribbean BILL
Look at this mooring ball location, right off town…..perfect…St. Croix
Date night, St. Croix
Caribbean Bill and Cindi, our hosts in St. Croix. Thank you so miuch
Night shot of our boat off St. Croix
This says it all
Typical Caribbean Sailing
Radeen at the helm, sailing St. Croix for St. Thomas USVI
Anchored off USVI, St. John and Honeymoon Beach
Required selfie off Honeymoon Beach St John
Sunset over St. Thomas as seen from St Johns
The dust from the Sahara Desert blew in
This is life on anchor with the sun shade up
Our windshield and the Sahara dust
Radeen at the helm and taking charge of the boat
Off to Red Hook for some provisions
Typical scene in the USVI as we motor back west to town
This is THE PIZZA PI BOAT, yes, you can order pizza from this boat.
Pizza Pi, and look…..it is not a burnt one! YES
Moon over St Thomas

So, as you can see, living on a boat off the USVI is a dream life an we really enjoyed this. COVID has hit the USA and the world and we have been waiting here for it to die down. Well, it never really did die down, so we moved to Puerto Rico, hauled out and flew home to Philly, PA, USA. We will return here in Nov, and resume our sailing and living aboard.

Thanks for sailing along……

Video Clips Sailing 400 nm

After several computer issues, one crashed and I rebuilt it only to then have it crash again after a few days. Then I bought a used one from another boater and set that up and loaded my data onto that one.  NOW, I finally was able to download the GoPro camera and view my video clips shot during our 3 day sail up from Grenada.  Using a new program called Camtasia, I created this video. Our sail north from Grenada to St. Croix has been our best sail every in 19 years on sv Island Spirit. Grab a coffee and please enjoy this video:

Sailing Grenada to USVI

We decided to sail 400 nautical miles from Grenada north to the United States Virgin Islands. WHY? Bottom line, we wanted to reach an open airport. Radeen and I have been sailing and cruising Island Spirit since 2001. That is 19 years and we really love this life. At the same time, we have learned that taking a break off the boat is refreshing and renews our love of cruising. So, with the airport closed in Grenada and no information on when it would reopen, we took a weather window and set sail north.

Island Spirit pushing north on a 400 nm starboard reach doing 6.7 knots for 60 hours, Fantastic sailing

The Route, Isla de Aves

When you plan the route from Grenada to St. Croix, the southern most US Virgin island, the course of 330 degrees sails very close to an island called Isla de Aves. Now, this looks like a great midway place to drop the hook and maybe take a rest in the lee of this sandy beach. WELL….hold on there, pirate….this island is owned by Venezuela and they are not too friendly to cruisers sailing in for a visit. Matter of fact, you are advised to stay well clear of this island or else the officials might divert your vessel into shore for an inspection. NO, THANK YOU!  Here is the overview of the route.

With the winds at 090 blowing 20 knots gusting to 27 knots, we decided to set a waypoint almost 50 nautical miles SW of this island. That way, we could run a broad reach downwind to that point, 36 hours away. Then once made, turn due north on the lighter 15-20 knots of beam winds for 24 more hours to St. Croix. This is exactly what happened and exactly how it all worked out.

Thank you to weather routing by Chris Parker, see: https://www.mwxc.com/ who worked with us for two weeks to pick the best days to run. We told him we like to sail, not motor, and that 20-27 knots was OK with us downwind. We let the first window pass as the seas were 6-8 feet and the next one we took. This was one of the best sails in Island Spirit’s history! Here is a short video clip of autopilot set to wind angle hold. We love our B&G autopilot.

Life at sea

On a 400 nm run, this should take 3 days, with an expected 125 to 150 nm per day average run. So, we departed Grenada on Sunday May 17th, 2020 for our sail. With a full main and a full jib we reached beyond the lee of Grenada and soon were in the 20-25 knot winds. There we dropped in a single reef in the main and ran this all the way to sunset. At nightfall, we added a double reef in the main but kept the full 110 % jib flying strong. We were sailing at hull speed, which for an Island Packet 35 is 7.2 knots. We ran this way for 36 hours until we made our waypoint west of Isla de Aves. With just the two of us, we set a watch schedule as provided by our mentor, Captain Blaine Parks, as the best for two people:

  • 0600-1200 Hayden
  • 1200-1800 Radeen
  • 1800-2100 Hayden
  • 2100-2400 Radeen
  • 0000-0300 Hayden
  • 0300-0600 Radeen
Hayden on watch, autopilot sailing, watching the sea and with a safety harness on connected to the cockpit jack line

Sunset was at 1830 and the tiny crescent moon rose at 0300 giving us very little light. These two nights at sea were the darkest nights we have ever sailed. No horizon at all, dim stars, and a black sea. The black night sky blended into the black sea and we were sailing hull speed, 7 knots, around the clock. The only two vessels we saw were a container ship bound for Aruba and two friendly fishermen on a brightly painted boat who pulled alongside and asked which way to Grenada! (This is not a joke – it was very hazy that morning and the island’s mountains were not visible from 17 miles northwest.)

Lucky for us, we have great faith in our B&G 4G digital radar where we set a watch guard 4-5 miles in front with a full circle around the boat 1 mile wide. If any solid object enters this zone, then an alarm goes off and a line on the screen points to the object. This is the only way we can feel safe that we will not hit something. Your mind really messes with you when tired at night going 7 knots full speed into the black. (Do not even let it go there, you need to stop all those crazy thoughts!)

Sunset on the second night at sea with 15-18 knot winds, perfect sailing….all night long.

See our recorded sailing speed

Whenever our boat moves, we turn on our Garmin Inreach satellite tracker. This device sends our position to a live map every 10 minutes and shows where we are. It also records this track as an archive map. We use another service called Spotwalla which actually does a better job than Garmin, because it allows you to create trip maps. Garmin just records it all and does not separate your travels.

When you go to our Garmin map, please first click the VIEW ALL button in the top right corner and then you can zoom out and see our travels. For this trip from Grenada to St. Croix, click on any point to see our recorded speeds. Remember, on this trip we did not motor, we sailed 99% of it, we motored the last hour to beat sunset. We also ran the motor one hour each night for hot water showers and for recharging the battery bank. Here is our Garmin Travel Map, so fun to study….https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit
PS: Speed was 400 nm in 60 hours = 6.7 knots for the trip!

Click to see our Garmin travel map, check out our recorded speeds. https://share.garmin.com/islandspirit

Spotwalla, our Travel Maps

We love this fantastic free service (which I donate to yearly) called SPOTWALLA. This genius figured out a way to create individual travel maps as we run around with tracking devices. You can do all of this with your cell phone if you are always in touch with a cell tower. So, for ocean sailing we need the Garmin satellite tracker. For land adventures, you can easily create travel maps with this service. Here are ALL the maps we have made with Spotwalla… https://spotwalla.com/publicTrips.php?un=IslandSpirit35

Here is a trip map via Spotwalla when we left Annapolis for Grenada in October 2019 https://spotwalla.com/publicTrips.php?un=IslandSpirit35

Now…USVI for June

We are now in the United States Virgin Islands, where we can re-discover St. Thomas, St Croix and St John. In the 80’s and 90’s we took some of our summer and Christmas vacations here for a week of chartering. Now, we are staying a week on one mooring ball, swimming the crystal clear waters and learning the reefs in Christmas Cove, St. James Island. Next up, the National Park on St. John and St. Thomas, followed by a return to St. Croix.

After June, we will move over to Fajardo, Puerto Rico and prepare for our haulout at Puerto Del Ray Marina. YES, we know this places us back into hurricane zone and, yes, we recall our previous hurricane damages there. Because we want to be in the Caribbean next season, we decided this was our best option to reach a working airport, where we know we can fly out and, more importantly, we can fly back to our boat. For now….let’s enjoy the USVI.

Here are some photos to show why we enjoy being here

The very cool Trunk Fish
Look at how clear the water is…
Blue sky reflected on the clear water over the reef
Radeen is a Pieces, the fish, she LOVES to swim

Thank you for following, see our public Facebook Page

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Watching the sunset over St. Thomas from Christmas Cove off St James, USVI

Grenada update photo essay

We have been docked in Grenada at Port Louis Marina since March 24, 2020. It is now May 9th and we have not moved the boat. We have also not been in the water, on a beach, snorkeled a coral reef or socialized with other cruisers. Grenada is under strict lockdown with curfew and restricted movement and have hardly left the marina perimeter in all this time. In the month of April, we walked 175,000 steps! As you can imagine, we were still getting very restless! So, we kept ourselves busy with a 25 day varnishing job on all our exterior teak.

We have been waiting for our Spectra watermaker to be repaired and returned. That took 6 weeks, as we dropped it off March 25th and it was returned May 6! The parts were in one parish and the watermaker repair technician was in another parish. Road blocks between parishes even on shopping days prevented the delivery. Permission from the police was granted on May 4th, it was repaired on the 5th, and returned and installed the 6th. 

Now that the watermaker is back, installed and working, we can actually leave this dock and anchor out. BUT…now we think we need to sail north to the safety of USA via USVI and Puerto Rico. We have no idea how this pandemic effect will restrict the Caribbean islands, so we feel we need to move out and return first to the USVI. Of course, now the winds this week are at 20 knots gusting 27 and waves are 5-7 feet at 6 seconds, not great but doable. So, we are looking for an exit and an opportunity to sail out to USVI. We are so confused on what is best to do. After working hard thru all the options, we still cannot figure it out. Here is a chronological photo essay of the past few weeks…..

Our floating dock, with our full sunshade up
This is where we left off last….Radeen working on teak
On one of the days we may go to the store. Hayden heading back with a few groceries
We walk 5,000 to 7,000 steps each day. This wall is at the entrance to the harbor.
Where we are….
This day we walked 15,000 steps to the Ace hardware store
Every day for 24 days we worked on the teak, here is AM rain on the new varnish
New Teak Varnish job, half way complete
I love these close ups
Waiting for frozen food pick up dropped off by John Hovan, Fast Manicou
Radeen sanding varnish with 400 grit
Getting there….varnish looks so good, so light
Walks at 6pm to see the sunset over the Caribbean Sea
Treasures from the small rocky beach at the marina.
The closed sushi bar, YOLO, You Only Live Once
Another great sunset as seen from our daily walk. Radeen saw a green flash!
Baking whole wheat raisin scones
More varnish work
Putting the boat back together after varnish
Sunset as seen from our dock, the hill blocks it
My best small shell found
A day of collecting
Resting in the shade of a sea grape tree 
The landscaping at Port Louis is magnificent and so beautifully maintained!
Royal Palm tree
Radeen in front of my favorite palm
This is our food delivery. John of Fast Manicou drops off frozen food and beverages pre-ordered by boaters. He is amazing. I have tipped him well for his family.
Baking bread
1,100 ECD the repair labor for the watermaker, that is about $400 USD,
6 weeks later, we have our watermaker back installed and working!
There it is, 8 gallons per hour of fresh pure 250ppm drinking water made from harbor saltwater…now that is amazing
Radeen with my favorite shirt and best message for all….Do What Makes You Happy….
Doing laundry in a bucket onboard every other day to keep up, no laundry services, all were closed til last week.
Grenada distillery stopped making RUM and now makes this great hand sanitizer for the country. It is everywhere. USA could order some 🙂
Waiting to pick up a food delivery on the street
Every day a few ships dock and unload supplies! Every thing each island needs arrives this way
This is the Grenada Flag, so beautiful
This is Victory restaurant at Port Louis …closed. They may now offer take out 3 days a week. from 9 – 3.
This is our pub and pizza cafe….closed
This is where we are, nearly the last island in the Caribbean. We are looking at sailing north…but it is a long way non-stop. Most islands have closed their borders.

Thank you for following along

Thank you all for following along and for sharing in our sailing adventure. We are safe, secure, and working thru all the challenges that covid-19 pandemic has caused worldwide. Normally we plan our our every move and each year’s sailing goals. We are struggling with what to do now. On Facebook, we have posted about this struggle and we appreciate that many of you have given your input and ideas. The frustrating aspect is that every day, every few hours, we can convince ourselves that any one of the options is best. Then for the next few hours we work on that option. Four hours later, we think it is a bad idea and we work on another option. Next, we go to bed and wake up with another option and another viewpoint. It has been very unlike us because we have always had most things planned out. For this, we have no plan, like everyone. So, please recognize this and please try to understand. We will work it out, and we are sure it entails sailing out, sailing to somewhere. After all…… DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY….and sailing makes us very happy. 🙂

Thank you for following…Hayden and Radeen … on another Grenada walk

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Safe in Grenada LOCK-DOWN

Where in the world is Grenada? The country of Grenada is the next to last in the eastern Caribbean chain. South of here is Trinidad. Many cruisers were concerned about the increase of covid-19 cases in Martinique and Guadeloupe. At that time, Antigua and Grenada had none. We sailed 48 hours non-stop from Antigua on March 16-17 with John and Nina of IP40 Sunkissed. We anchored shortly after dawn in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, the northern most island of the three island country of Grenada. That day, the country was placed under limited quarantine.

When we went ashore to check-in, it felt as if the world had changed in a blink. Social distancing was in full effect. For over 3 hours, we waited to give our medical and travel history and have our temperatures taken by a nurse in full protective gear.  One day later, stricter measures were imposed and we were not allowed to get off the boat or access shore or visit from boat to boat. So, since March 20, we have been under strict quarantine.  Here is a screen shot as we sailed south to Grenada to show where we are located now.

Grenada one of the southern most countries sin the Windward Island chain. Trinidad is south of here by about 90 nm.

Job #1 Stop the Sinking

After a week in Carriacou under full lock down, we decided to sail south one more island to the “mainland” of Grenada, where the rules were more loosely imposed. Here we booked a dock at the Port Louis Marina because we were very concerned that the country would lock down more.  If that were to happen, we decided we would want to be at a dock for water and safety. So glad we did! One day after arriving, a total lock down was imposed. Plus our water maker had stopped working and we knew could get it repaired here. 

Hundreds of boats are docked here, with about 40 people on their boats. Most are empty charter boats from Moorings and SunSail and Dream Yacht Charters. Four other Island Packets are in St. Geroge’s: Lars and Laura of IP485 Sweet Dream (who just completed the Round the World Cruisers Rally, Mike and Lizzie of IP465 Gratitude, Daryll and Lynn of IP370 Open Agenda (whom we have cruised with since Antigua. Barbuda) and Richard and Shelley of IP465 Ailsa. No Mini-vous yet!

Now that we were safely in dock, our first job was to stop the sinking. Our propeller shaft stuffing box needed to be tightened and this would slow the leak to a drip. If you have ever worked on this, it is not an easy job on an Island Packet. The best tools are a 30″ crowbar and a big hammer, plus PB Blaster. After about 4 hours of soaking and tapping, I was eventually able to free up the cap nut and turn it tighter, stopping the leak. Good thing as all the haul-out lifts were closed and no boat yards were working. If you are sinking, you will sink, it is that simple. So, fix it yourself! Here is a photo of working on the stuffing box!

Yoga mat required as you go face down into the bilge to tighten the stuffing box.

No Food Shortage in Grenada

Every day, ships arrive and offload supplies into this island country. There is no food shortage here and the government is announcing this daily, preventing panic within the population. Being in dock, we are now allowed off the boat as long as we stay on the docks and do not leave the marina. This is a very large marina and we have mapped out a 2,000 step loop which we try to do three times a day. We are getting in our steps, plus it is a good stress reliever. 

Shipping supplies arrive into Grenada daily. Here is a container ship being off loaded.

Keeping the Beer Cold, Frig issues

In September 2018, we replaced our original 1994 Adler Barbour refrigerator with an identical unit (still working, gave it away, wanted to be pro-active). Of course this new one has stopped working many times since the first incident on Valentine’s Day 2020. I have discovered this new unit has very loose fuse sockets. So, over time the fuses push out, fall out, or just lose contact and then POOF the frig/freezer goes off. We see the freezer temps rising. ERRRRRRR, so into the sail locker I dive after removing 10,000 items stored in there. Then I can reach the back section of the locker where the compressor is mounted. Of course the fuses are on the side back edge where you need a mirror to see and access them. I have now emptied this locker 8 times and to work on it. Now it seems to be holding the fuses. Frustrating, but at least I know the fix.

There it is, the way back Adler Barbour Frig Freezer unit that pushes fuses out!

Baking Bread, Scones and Great Meals

Radeen and I are both STRESS eaters, and this situation has potential to be NOT good for us, as we are eating more, baking bread and also scones. (Ignore the wine, bubbly and Crown Royal, we will not talk about that.) Our new oven works perfectly and Radeen is making delicious meals. Thank goodness we can go for walks, unlike the anchored boats.

It is known as “Hayden Bread” and it is half whole wheat and half white flour. See www.BoatRecipes.com that is Radeen’s recipe website..
Brown rice and Mediterranean chicken and red wine.
Brown rice, pan seared chicken with Dijon mustard and honey sauce, with local squash and cucumbers.

Zoom Meeting with US Consulate

We are attending Zoom meetings with the US Consulate as they try to track all Americans here in the Caribbean. There has been one extradition charter flight to get people home, with only 3 days notice. We said no thank you, as we are not sure it is better in USA. We are monitoring everything daily and are on the mailing list for the USA STEP Program, so we are well connected to any support the Embassy is offering. 

350 people in the Zoom meeting with Americans all over the Caribbean lead by the US Consulate in Barbados.

Food Delivered by SPRONKS Mega Yacht Services

We have now placed two orders with Spronks Yacht Provisioning. The public is allowed to go to the grocery store once a week on very limited hours. The lines are 5-6 hours long. We feel that is is best to not interfere and to not stand in lines, elevating our risk of covid-19. Several businesses have offered shopping and food delivery services for a fee of about $50 USD. You email your list to them and they shop before the doors open or on the days the stores are re-provisioning and then they message you when en route back to the marina. We feel this is best all around procedure.

Our first food delivery. We really appreciate this service.

Full Sun Shades

We are the shade masters. It might not look perfect, but it works. The sun is so hot down here between noon and 1600 that this really helps to keep the UV and heat off the boat. We have a shade over the boom that is about 10 feet x 14 feet with poles front and back. Then we hang Phyfertex side shades that block low sun angles. The bow shade was bought from another IP35 and designed to be lower on deck, but we rig it up higher so we can work under the bow tent.

Full Shade up
We have 3 side drops, 8 feet long and one bolt wide (54″) with grommets that allow us to tie them where we need them.

Sunset Walks

One of the many walks we do daily. This is looking out the harbor to the west towards Panama! Maybe we should make a run for it, but then again, that country is closed as well, so we cannot sail there. We can walk outt here and see the sunsets at about 1830.  Here is one of those many “selfies” we love to take. 

Hayden and Radeen at Port Louis Marina, Grenada. Locked down since March 16th, it is now April 15th!

Laundry via a Bucket!

This marina has a pool, wood fired pizza cafe, a bar, sushi bar, a full restaurant and a laundry, all of which are closed, yet we are paying FULL PRICE as if all services were offered. Heck, the water has been off for two days. They are gluing a PVC pipe, which takes me 10 minutes and then 30 minutes to cure. Its been two days, no water. With the laundry closed, we are washing our clothes in a bucket and then wringing them out and hanging them up to dry. It works, and we try to do a little bit every day, that is when the water is on! Did I mention that the air conditioning in the lovely bath house stopped three days ago and there are no opening windows in the building?

My new skill…laundry in a bucket hand washed.

Why Not Strip the Varnish? WHAT?

The third week in March, we had an appointment in Bequia to have the teak on our toe rail, hand rail and eyebrow refinished. We decided since that was canceled and we are locked down til April 20 with no where to go, we might as well strip the varnish and refinish. After seven days of work, Radeen and I have all the varnish off the boat, the teak is cleaned and it is all taped off ready to re-varnish with Ephifanes clear varnish. This would be the third time in 19 years we have taken the wood down to bare and started over. The last time was December 2013, when the boat was in a shed at Snead Island Boatworks on the west coast of Florida. This takes a lot of work and a lot of time. (We have the time, but our spines might not do well with this. We need more yoga stretching to ease the pain. ) We use 2 carbide cabinet scrapers and, when needed, we use a little of the Citrustrip to get around the cleats and chain plates, etc. This seems to work the best.

Stripping the teak and preparing for new varnish
All the teak is stripped and time to tape off
Radeen working hard on the hand rails under the shade

Sunset looking west off Grenada

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