January 30, 2009

Leave it to us to get 40 knot winds on our shake down sail...

We decided that it would be a good idea to sail from Prickly Bay around the bottom of the island and back up around the other side to St Georges, so that when we headed out to Carriacou we would have a nice head start. Also, "The Lagoon" in St Georges is close to grocery stores and has dead calm waters, which we were all looking forward to.

Totally seemed like a good plan and the distance wasn't to far. I am sure you all remember the last time we came into Prickly Bay (remember the squall and we lost our steerage), we came around the corner at the bottom of the island and hit the wind and squall, well this time we were going in the opposite direction, so we expected it to be a breeze. A short jaunt to the corner, then turn up and a short jaunt to St Georges...that was the plan....

We start out and everything was great. The wind was behind us and the seas were behind us. We had out only our Genoa (our front sail) and we were still doing 6 knots. The sun was shining, music playing, we were all talking, pretty much perfect. I had the helm and was loving it. I was remembering what I loved about it.

As we came to the corner, we decided to take it wide. This is due to our inexperience. We thought better to be far away from being pushed onto the rocks but the thing was that we wouldn't of been pushed onto the shore since the tide was driving us away as we rounded the corner. So we came around the corner way out and we got hammered by the wind, since we were so far out. (I forgot to mention We had picked up a new friend in Prickly Bay who was looking to be crew and wanted to come for the short sail named Kevin, who is a guy from Toronto and also from Humber sailing club.) Unfortunately Kevin needed to go out on deck, on the low side about this time and was adjusting the car position of the foresail....as he was doing this we got hit by a 35 knot wind gust and it knock the boat down even further. I felt sick. I yelled at Graham to get Kevin the hell back in the cockpit. The kids said they were watching Kevin and he fell back against the life lines and then threw himself back towards the boat. I guess he tried to grab the hand holds but the boat hook was attached to them and he had a hard time gripping them.(we will fix this for the next sail). Alex said he won't soon forget the look on Kevin's face.

Funny how I always have the helm in these situations. I was yelling at Graham, "How do I make it better? How do I make it better?"....I wanted the heel to stop. I tried to bear away but the boat was trying so hard to head up, it was like fighting a tornado. My lack of experience definitely shone through. The good news is that Artemo did great. Strong and sturdy. As we eventually got back on course and came towards St Georges, winds increased to 40 knots! Craziness. Nearing the end of the sail, Graham said "Maybe you could let someone else have a turn at the helm"......I definitely have to get over the feeling like I have to be in control.

It was so nice to come into the Lagoon and hit the dead calm waters. Kevin would like to sail with us to Antigua and since we are planning on doing a couple of overnights, we thought why not. Would be nice to have an extra person aboard for night watch and he seems easy to get along with.

We are currently in the Lagoon waiting for a weather window. Today it poured rain all day and the winds blew like crazy. We managed to get a ton of homeschooling done, 2 loads of laundry, grocery shopping and even time for a rum punch at the bar!

Hopefully tomorrow weather is good and we will head to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.

January 26, 2009

Amelia's Site Page

Hey Guys, Amelia has been asking for awhile to update her crew page. We finally got her set up and she has finished the update. It is pretty good. Go check it out. Enjoy....

January 25, 2009

and we are away!!!

Today we finally did it. We finally left Grenada Marine!!! I am not going to lie to you. This time heading out to sail for the first time in a long time I was way more afraid. We himmed and haaaaed for quite a while and made sure everything was just right and then finally there was nothing left but the leaving. We made it out of the bay and hit the ocean and the weather was good but the waves were HUGE and they were hitting us on the side, so all of a sudden the boat is tipping from side to side and everything is crashing around down below. I thought I had secured everything but I had forgot about a few things.......not to mention the RUM!

I got everything put away as the waves hit us. The kids were shouting, "Wow, look at that one" and "Here comes a big one". Graham and I debated our options. We finally decided to just put our foresail and cut the engine and see what she does. Man I was worried. Everything was rocking and banging and I couldn't help but worry about the months of work that Grenada Marine had done and some of their past mistakes. My confidence in Artemo has to be built up again. She did great today though and Graham and I didn't yell at each other even once :-)!

We pulled into the bay and I took the helm and we anchored on the first try, like old pros! We did it, we did it, we did it! We have departed. Tonight we are eating pizza and brownies to celebrate.

I took a video of Artemo all cleaned up yesterday. We were in at the fuel docks getting diesel and water. Enjoy the video!

January 21, 2009

Video that depicts how overwhelmed we were the first day moving back on board

I was going through our videos last night and I came across this one. It is from the day we moved aboard the boat while it was on the hard and while the boat work was continuing. It is funny. It shows exactly how overwhelmed we were feeling, everything was chaotic, dirty and wet. The funny part is that it didn't seem to affect the kids! Rest assured the boat is all organized now and almost all of the leaks are taken care of. Quality of life has increased dramatically! Enjoy!

January 20, 2009

"Mom, I pumped up a jelly fish!"

This is what I heard from the bathroom this morning. Too funny. In the process of pumping the toilet out, up comes a jelly fish. The water was littered with them. We were actually able to scoop some up with a bowl from the ocean and watch them swim around. They are tiny and cool. I am reluctant to let the kids swim today though, just incase they sting.

The kids spent the day yesterday at the boat next to us. Amelia said the boat reminded her of the trailer from Christmas Vacation. Stuff hanging everywhere, dirty, craziness. The little girl speaks french and Spanish. Amelia asked her if her cat swam, as they were all swimming in the water. The little girl say ...."ummm, swim?....uhhhh....no" and then about half an hour later, Amelia said she saw a grey fur ball flying through the air from the boat into the water and guess what? Surprise, surprise the cat could swim! but she didn't like the water and finally made it to the boogie board where she stood just like a cat in Halloween pictures the kids said. All four feet together and hair standing up! Craziness. From what I gather the kids swung in a chair, jump from a rope and played under a dinghy while the older brother jumped on it. Graham and I were varnishing our boat. At about 5pm we saw the kids coming back and Alex had the motor going on the dinghy! I had specifically told him only to row the dinghy but he decided to push the envelope. Man they seem so old. Give them a tiny bit of freedom and they push and push.

Graham made dinner crepes and Caesar salad for dinner. It was sooooo good! We have been sticking to the same menu plan for awhile so it was nice to eat something dinner. He even made chocolate crepes for desert. We all ate and ate and ate until we could stuff one more bite in! Tonight we are doing pizza and Caesar salad. We have to eat Caesar salad for 3 nights because the romaine lettuce came in a 3 pack and it will go bad if we don't eat it quickly. Interesting stuff eh? ha

Today I am waiting at the bar with the kids while Graham and 3 boat workers are on the boat doing various tasks. I am hopeful we leave within a week but I am not putting money on it!!!

January 17, 2009

I know you all want the chapter of the story at Grenada Marine to be over but the saga continues.......

Goodness knows we want this chapter over, we are living it! Unfortunately now instead of us living in the yard waiting for work to get done, we are living on the water, looking at the yard, waiting for work to get done.

We are still waiting on the rigger, "Louie" to finish his work. We had the traveller moved out of the cockpit and onto the coachroof. Louie was responsible for moving it and running the main sheet and aligning the new winch and clutch on the roof. He is also responsible for tuning the rigging, since his crew put the masts, etc. He says he is sorry and he feels bad, blah, blah, blah.....I am so sick of excuses. Turns out that the roof will need to be hollowed out where the new winch is being attached to fill in with extra hardening epoxy, so we now wait for the composite guy and we also wait for the metal guy to make the backing plate. Then Louie will be back to finish up.

Graham and I attached the new Missen sail the day before yesterday and unfortunately it seems it is too long. The length on the foot of the sail seems longer than the boom. We went and spoke to the sail maker and he said he measured from the old missen sail. Graham said well the reason we were getting a new sail is because the old one wouldn't furl in?? It is definitely NOT standard to measure the old sail to make the new sail, since the old sail could have stretched, etc. The sail maker is now on holidays as of yesterday, so his assistant said he would be out Monday to take a look. It will most likely mean, removing the sail and taking it back and recutting and sewing! arrggg

Ok, so our departure seems to be drifting in the distance but we ARE on the water :-)! We can jump in and cool off any time we want and there are some lovely naked old french people next to us, who seem to get in every few hours or so. Lots to see :-)! Nice cheeks for old folks. The bugs are WAY less too and our bathroom is CLEAN! So there are lots of positives and since we are still waiting, Graham and I are varnishing all the exterior woodwork and it is looking really good! The kids are going back and forth to the boat yard, to see their friend Adam and last night Amelia sang at the bar and Adam played guitar. They did "Hotel California". It was very cool.

So the Grenada Marine chapter of our lives continues for now.....

January 14, 2009

After 4 Months of waiting...Artemo left the spa and hit the water!

We launched "Lil'Artemo" our dinghy for the first time.

We watched with excitement as Artemo was lowered into the water.

We tried to wake Alex by enticing him with starfruit, after a "rolly polly" loud night on the water.

We attached the new main sail.

Graham and Amelia got up early and hiked up on the hill to get a picture of our ARTEMO!

January 13, 2009

4:06 pm and we still aren't in the water....

Here Graham and I sit in the cock pit, in the burning heat, waiting for the travel lift to take us to the water. They promised we would be the last boat in today and we are still hopeful.

We have raised the Canada flag and the Grenadian flag. We are excited. We accomplished so much today. Amelia and I raised Graham up the missen mast so he could attach our new antenna. It was cool doing this without anyone elses help. We are fully stocked with groceries, all the water tanks are full, the batteries are fully charged, the seacocks are closed, the fenders are out, the docking lines are ready, the mooring line is ready, the dinghy is inflated and ready and waiting in at the dock for us, the new sails are on board, the bottom is painted, the boat is polished.....we are ready....time for Grenada Marine to "Splash" us!

stay tuned......

January 12, 2009

Didn't mean to worry you all.....

After all the emails, I thought I better write a blog on a high note! It seems I grab the computer and write my blogs when I am stressed or worried and it seems to come through! Go figure? :-)

Yesterday we did a ton of boat work and accomplished many things and as far as we are concerned we are 100% ready for them to put us in the water BUT aside from boat chores here are the other great things we did that I usually neglect to mention!
  • Made buns and bread and they turned out GREAT (everyone stop worrying....I am trying to fatten Graham up!)
  • Made rice krispie squares with Alex and ate way to many mini marshmallows
  • Amelia went 2 boats over to a boat named "island girl" with a lady named Barbara on it who misses her grandkids terribly and was wondering if Amelia liked art because she was willing to share her knowledge and paint with her!!!! Amelia spent 2 hours over at her boat doing watercolors and telling her what an amazing artist nanny she had!
  • Alex skateboarded with his friend Adam
  • Alex and Adam played RUNESCAPE....Adam also loves this game so he is the perfect friend as far as Alex is concerned!
  • Amelia, Alex and Adam went to the bar and Adam played the quitar and Amelia sang a couple of songs she had written and they drew in a crowd!
  • Amelia and Alex played with 3 kids from Quebec (Sebastian, Pascal and Amelie) and had so much fun trying to understand each other.
  • Amelia, Alex and Adam walked up to the resort and swam in their pool for a few hours
  • Graham made black bean burgers for my buns and rice pudding for desert
  • We all went for a walk in the full moon light on the beach and the tide was out and we walked on the sand bars
  • We all watched Gilmore girls

January 08, 2009

The Slice

Yesterday as the kids and I sat at the table homeschooling, the boat worker "The Slice" was working in the kitchen. He says to me, "Where is the Skip?". His pet name for Graham. I told him I wasn't sure and went back to math with Amelia. All of a sudden The Slice says, "Ok, well I am ready to drill." I look up again and say, "Ok". I haven't been involved with the work he has been assigned or what he had been doing. I gave the list to Nicholas and he assigns the work. I remembered that we did need an access hole inside for the attachment point for the traveller above deck. I was in no way qualified though, to get up and say well lets have a look. So The Slice takes the drill and decides on a spot and with a 2 inch circle drill head he proceeds to drill and then he says, "Done". Then he goes up on deck and he doesn't say to much me when he gets back.
Graham comes back (he was only gone for 10 minutes tops) and comes in takes a look and freaks out. He starts yellin at The Slice...."This isn't just a mistake, you are a whole FOOT out.....all you had to do was MEASURE.....F#$&*, F*&^$#, F*&*^!!!! Graham tells me, thats it, the final straw, go over to the office and tell them what has just happened and get his supervisor over here ASAP!

So off I go to the office and meanwhile The Slice is trying to fix his mistake on his own. Nicholas is off for the week, so Jimmy is filling his shoes. Raquel the office manager calls Jimmy and tells him that a hole has just been cut in our new roof and he better start supervising The Slice. Less than 2 minutes later Jimmy is on board and the two of them are trying to fix the problem.

The thing is, the roof we paid big money for will never be the brand new roof we wanted. Not only is there this hole but they have also screwed things to the deck and used screws that were to long and bingo we have screws coming through.

Right now "The Slice" is working on caulking the boat and he has brought another guy to help. He feels bad and apologized to Skip and is really trying hard to make everything right. He is a nice guy, just needs a bit more attention to detail. Junior is hooking back up the radar since they CUT the wire when they unhooked it for the roof???? Definitely not the standard but most likely the standard for here.
Tomorrow the riggers need to come on board and hook up the new travellor and reposition the lines and winches. Friday Splash isn't going to happen, so we are shooting for Monday now. You guys can uncross everything, if it happens it happens, I hesitate even naming a date at this point!

Graham got the engine running on the hard and did the oil thing and serviced it and everything looks good. He is definitely making it through his list. The kids and I trying to stay out of everyones way. We are homeschooling at the bar. The kids are happy, they have a friend here, Adam, who they say is perfect. He likes swimming, hide and go seek, runescape, DS and pretty much anything they suggest. Last night Alex caught his first fish on his new rod and Amelia ate it for dinner. Graham caught a tuna but it was about the size of his middle finger, so he got to live.

We will just keep on keeping on.....OH WAIT....I forgot to tell you the worst news of all.....last night in the middle of the night the FAN STOP WORKING.......It has been running 24/7 since we got here at the beginning of September. Lately though it has been showing signs of an impending death and last night it happened. Unfortunately, it happened right after a rain, so all the windows were closed and it was HOT and MUGGY. I lost it and started to cry and headed up on deck....luckily no was awake to see my melt down. I gathered myself up, opened all the windows, washed myself down and back to bed. Life without a fan commenced at 3:15am this morning.

January 06, 2009

What do we do in the boat yard...???

Well thought you all might be curious about life in the boat yard. It is a bit like putting your car into the mechanic shop to be fixed and living at the garage while they do the work. Picture a dirty mechanics yard/shop and "Bingo" you got it! Oh wait....add bugs and extreme heat. Now you are there. The bathroom in a mechanic shop pretty much looks like the bathroom here to!

Ok, I will try and stop complaining now. So we didn't hit the water last Friday. We are shooting for this Friday. I made another list and distributed. We have been on top of everyone throughout the day to keep things moving and things are getting done. We have to make the decision tomorrow about wiring the final payment for this Friday because "No Cash, No Splash" is there slogan here. My fear is we do the transfer and they don't finish by Friday and then we are in the water and out of there face and the remaining nick picky things don't get done!!! Ok, breath Julie, breath....

We are busy round the clock. Artmeo is looking better and better. Feels like home. Graham spends his days chopping through his list and assisting the various boat workers doing their work on board. Alex and Amelia do their school work, play with the other boat yard kids, swimming and hide and go seek, they help with the chores. Amelia enjoys doing the laundry (no one tell her that it is actually work!), Alex is a huge help carrying groceries, prepping for dinner, washing the boat, etc etc...I have been making bug screens for all the windows, organizing the boat, unpacking our storage shed, laundry, shopping, cleaning, list making, tracking down various workers, etc etc....So anyone dying to be in our shoes? Ha

Everyone cross their fingers and their toes for us, in hopes that we splash on Friday with all the work we paid for completed!! Stay tuned.....

January 01, 2009

Why so many stories....

Why does it seem that anything to do with us and boats, leads to a story? Who knew that our week of rest and relaxation in Curacao would have an adventure involved?.....

Christmas in Curacao was nice. It was great to have a complete change of pace and absolutely NO boat repairs. It seemed that all the favorites that we miss from back home were available at the grocery store in Curacao, so we all ate alot. Things like "Poppycock" and "Dankse" butter cookies. Graham and I stayed on my Dad and Cheryl's boat at night and the kids slept on a blow up mat on the floor in Uncle Rob's room. They said the best part of their trip was staying up late and listening to all of Rob's funny stories in the dark. Family time fills the heart. It felt really good. (Not to say that there weren't any fights......cause what is Christmas without a family quarrel or 2 :-)....but that isn't the story I am tellin').

So on the 3rd night Graham was finishing watching "Patriot Games" on the deck and Dad came out and right at the finale of the movie asks Graham if he thought the boat might dragging backwards? (The house we were renting was overlooking their boat.) Graham was so engrossed in the movie, he only slightly acknowledge and it was decided it must just be Dad's imagination. Dad went to bed and when the movie finished Graham and I drove down to the boat. Once we got onto the boat it really seemed to us that it had moved a bit. I wrote down the coordinates as a reference and we tried calling Dad on the VHF but he had it off. I figured out how to set the anchor drag alarm and we went to bed.

Unfortunately it was a "Squally" night. Every half an hour or so we would have high winds and pelleting rain. Graham woke up with a start in the middle of the night and raced up on deck and then started hollering for me to get up. He said that we were really moving and in danger of hit the rocks/shore. We figured out how to start the boat and discussed going to get my Dad. I was shocked by how much we had moved and fearful. We went forward to see if we could easily figure out the anchor in the dark. We could see the foot button to automatically pull up the anchor but we could not see how we would release it and we started worrying about being responsible for re-anchoring on a muddy bottom on a boat that was not our own.

Now came the hard part....one of us had to stay on board and if the depth dropped to low begin to move the boat forward and the other had to take the dinghy in the dark over to the dock and drive up and get Dad. Neither option seemed good to me. As I was yelling pros and cons of each option to Graham and feeling totally stuck, Graham was unhooking the dinghy and then he started it up and said "See you soon, put her in forward if you start to really drag". I yelled back, "Which lever is forward....", but with the wind and the rain and the motor he didn't hear me.

Those of you who know me, know I tend to panic and there I stood at the helm, in the darkness and totally panicked. I pushed the red lever forward and heard the engine rev up, so I knew that the left lever must be neutral, forward and reverse. I had enough smarts to run below and turn on the depth gauge. I then could do nothing but wait and watch the coordinates on the GPS tick away. It felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life.

When Dad and Graham got back we got to work. We ended up needing to re-anchor 4 times in the dark, wind and rain. Graham was at the helm and Dad was working the anchor and I was positioned in between the two of them yelling what they were saying back and forth. We were all so cold. Finally in between tries, I had time to run below and grab a jacket and shirts for Dad and Graham. They were both shirtless since they had been awoken. At one point I look forward and there is a my 66 year old Dad at the front of the boat, feeding the muddy anchor chain manually down, in rain that felt like hail. I can only hope to be that fit at 66!!!

We finally got it set and were all happy with our position. I look over at Graham and he says, "I can't wait to have this much fun on our own boat!" You gotta love him! A Christmas in Curacao we won't soon forget!