Let There be Shade

Looking up from Below
So what’s that view out the overhead hatch? Canvas!

    Several updates ago I mentioned our old, big, heavy, cumbersome, and wouldn’t fit anymore awning with my hope to convert it to something useful. Well here it is. A few more pinpricks, stitches, re-stitches, days in the doing, and dollars than I thought it would take, but nothing’s ever easy.

Full Boom Length Plus

    I split it down the center, manufactured a bolt rope as well as a rope around all the edges for tensioning, and riveted an aluminum rope channel down each side of the boom. Then I just had to solve the rear support since the rigging isn’t as wide as the ship there. Couple hardware store closet rods with creative drilling/cutting and we have SHADE.
    But heck, we’re way cooler down here than the Midwest USA already. Sorry.

Rear Support

   On the injury report, there will be no photo today. I took one to document…you don’t want to see it. It’s doing what a burn does, a large blister and 1/2 dozen small ones. Keeping it clean, followed by topical antibiotic and loosely covered. No sign of anything out of the ordinary. I'm very sure it'll leave a mark but will heal fine, and probably won't be able to do the Hash this Saturday.

Meanwhile, the sewing machine is off, the wind is blowing 12-15, the sun shines…batteries are rapidly catching up.


Injury Log, # xxx(x)?

Damn the pirates; The Coffee Pot’s kicking my arse.

    Lynn started this injury log thing some time ago and nooooo we really won’t post a number.  Lots of things on sailboats are incompatible with human flesh in this constantly moving environment. For those followers who may actually want to Cruise someday, the number is probably better well... unsaid. Besides, "nothing to date has required professional medical attention". Morning started great, and then somehow turned awry. See we love our French press for making coffee and I’ll make a small disclaimer here, the thermos brand we own makes superb coffee and is in no way responsible, the malfunction was clearly between my ears. Anyway… pour steaming water from the teakettle over the coffee grounds and in four minutes we have coffee house quality coffee at home, every day. Usually we set it up in the cockpit so we can observe the dawn while we wait. Today, while stepping down to turn on/off something as I do many times every day, can’t even recall what it was now, my foot clipped the top of the handle and it tipped. No, not in front as one would think, but hung balanced on the edge until right after my foot passed, then pouring the heat down the back of my calf, and tumbling down the companionway spewing  coffee and grounds everywhere. “Crap” (really?) I said observing the mess. Rinsed the grounds off my leg, leapt down to clean up the disaster below…AND start another pot of course..
T plus 2 hours
    Couple minutes into clean up I realized this whole REALLY hot water on the leg thing just might be a problem. Unfortunately, or fortunately depends on the situation, I have a quite high pain threshold so really didn’t pay attention as I saw coffee grounds spewed about the carpet and cabin. You know, priorities, and let’s not forget…I haven’t yet had a cup! So once I finally take in the big picture, I head to the head (no play on words there) and run cool water over it for a few minutes to make sure it’s cool and clean.  

T plus 5 hours
     Well here is the progress report by photo log. Not necessarily for the queasy, but please bear in mind, this is all documentation so others don’t make the same mistakes right? Short story; lots of Ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and pain, every 4-5 hours a rinse and coat with antibiotic cream (yes it is one of the meds on board that is actually both in date and labeled for humans), keep elevated as much as possible. What would the med professionals do? Not sure, but Google search indicates for small area 2nd degree burns: Keep clean, disinfect with antibiotic, loosely cover, elevate to reduce inflammation, use Ibuprofen for pain…see a medical professional if that’s not getting it done or if there is any indication of infection. OK…So far so good. For those less adventurous…there is a medical school here in Grenada. A bit frustrating to think I did a hash Saturday in some pretty tough terrain most the while chatting with one of the medical school students, left with nothing but a couple saw grass cuts and lots of mud stains. Today I can’t even get through the stinking morning coffee.
14 Hours
10 hours...preparing self medication

    Still finding splotches of grounds around the cabin…and a little afraid this one is going to leave a mark.


Island Time

    Clearly it is a phrase with many meanings. My version on the island is not to hurry. The day starts with a mug of coffee, a listen in on the weather, and off to do any errands before the Island heat sets in full force. Putter with some project until lunch, a nap, actually work for a couple hours then enjoy the evening (relative) coolness in the cockpit with a beverage and the six-string. Interesting meaning I learned yesterday is that when told your order will be here Thursday, It means hereon the Island. Oh, so when did you want to pick it up? Today after three will be fine of course. I’m adjusting…not to hurry. 

New Slide Attachments, Chafe Guard

Leach Tape and Cleat

New Cloth and Leach Detail
    Meanwhile the good ship Celebration is becoming whole again. The Mainsail we blew and planned to replace is now repaired and back on the boom. Johnny of Johnny Sails looked it over hard, made a long list of musts to be done and an even longer list of should be done's.  I nearly fainted at the price until he mentioned it was EC not US. Oh, so at 2.7:1 I felt a bit better. Told him to go for it and we’d  hold off on the new. Picked it up Tuesday and his work is excellent.  He replaced most of the blown panel, ran new cloth up the entire leach, new leach tape, removed all the luff grommets, new chafe protection on the luff, installed all new grommets, reattached sail slides, beefed up the leach end of the batten pockets as well as several other bits of hardware and re-stitching.

The "new" Shade Awning

    The canvas work is coming along, side number two is almost done, but I’m still waiting on the track for attaching to the boom. Yup, today after three.

Food for most of the week!
    In the food department we are still eating well. Sunday was the day to just suck up the heat and turn on the oven. So first a loaf of bread followed by a roaster full of pork loin smothered in potatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. That pretty much got me and Adjima through the week. Last night a pot of chili made with ground turkey and a new discovery…Adj loves ground turkey. BTW…cheaper here on the Island than the canned cat-food we ration her as a “treat”. Tonight I believe I’m off to the Tiki-Bar happy hour, might even have a pizza. Two for one beer, live music, and cheep and delicious pizza, Island time, it doesn’t suck.


Laundry Day

    A morning here, one this week, actually dawned clear with dry air. So as a cruiser all other tasks were pushed back and it became laundry day. We’re often asked “What do you do with all that free time?” Here is one example of many like it. We don't carry the standard washer/drier, nor the electrical plant to support them. So here is how laundry gets done aboard the good ship Celebration. As you can see, two buckets, wastebaskets actually, one for wash and one for rinse. And the old fashioned wringer between. This one came from a car wash supply place where they’re used for chamois and towels. The mount here was actually a big step up for us. It sits over the lip of the cockpit locker so we don’t have to mount and remove it every time and is hinged for easier storage. Yes line dry. No problom mon.

    Today there is no dry in the forecast. Between rain and thunder showers this morning the good boat cat Adjima joined me in the cockpit while I sipped the first coffee and listened to the dismal prediction. She looks almost as excited as I am about it...I suspect slightly less concerned. It's all about the body language.


Independence Day

    Resting here in Grenada I was surprised to see a pop-up on the cruisers net for a July 3rd Canadian/American Independence Day celebration. The marina at Port Louise hosted the event last night and I might say cooked up a fine American Cheeseburger with fries in commemoration. (Sorry the burger at the Sandbox in Boquerón Puerto Rico still holds best burger title hands down!) Nicest part was seeing all the cruisers we know but haven’t seen lately as we’ve bumped and jumped our collective sailing courses down through the Bahamas, Turks and Cacaos’, PR, USVI, BVI, Leeward, and Windward Islands. Short list but not at all inclusive was Bob and Janice of SV Tsmaya whom we met in Annapolis last fall: John and Kathy of SV Oceana; Jen, Greg, and Quinn of SV Mirasol; Mike and Cheryl of SV Happy Times; Martin and Johanna of SV Snowbird (a very pretty Hallberg-Rassy Rasmus ketch designed by the same marine architect who designed CELEBRATION); and Mike and Rebecca , SV Zero-to Cruising.. Then there were the folks from Venezuela, Brazil, Germany, France, Sweden, and many more. What a great group to meet…the evening ended with a guitar and ukulele sing along on one of the large catamarans moored at the marina. And….there was no 0400 thunderstorm this morning, woo who!

    Tonight just before sunset I sat on deck and watched our dear friends Chris and Anne, SV Mr. Mac haul anchor and set off for points south.. It was one of those bitter-sweet parts of cruising. For those who don’t know, Chris and Anne were readying Mr. Mac at the same time and marina as Lynn and I were readying Celebration for her full time role as both our home and sea gypsy transportation. We left the dock a week apart each other. We ran together in Key West within weeks, then 6 months passed until we met again at the Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Gam in Annapolis. Nearly another year after that until we shared moorings in front of our wonderful friends Gary and Alex’s home in Newburyport MA followed by a couple weeks together exploring Maine. Again, off to different directions. One quick hello in Melbourne Florida at another SSCA event, and off to different ports. As we headed south this winter we met them in Boquerón Puerto Rico to realize we had similar plans for the storm season. Over the past couple months we have sailed the same routes, seen them in many ports, have snorkeled, hiked, shared a car or a bus to sightsee, and of course watched many sunsets together over cocktails while sharing past adventures and future plans.

    Several times in the past few years Lynn and I have compared cruising relationships to those we experienced in the Air Force. The similarities are extraordinary. With 18 moves over 24+ years and many deployments, we made and found many, many close friends. The new adventure, excitement, risk, and shared camaraderie, brotherhood all led to the building of a common bond among peers and extremely close, even could say intense, relationships. Then one day, any day, Independence Day (as we all are, and literal) in this case, you just waved and moved on to another place, always with the assumption in our minds that we would see them at another stop. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn’t.. Time moved so damn fast that suddenly it’s all over and we were in different stages of life wondering where all those great people are. Oh yes the internet and cell phones have changed a lot of that as we can now stay in touch no matter where we are. But tonight as I watched them haul anchor and head out, even knowing we will meet again this fall in either Trinidad or these Windward Islands, I had that old familiar feeling. Close friends departing course with the assumption we will see them again, soon.… I look forward to that.


Grenada, week 1

    We were headed here as a stopover point enroute to Trinidad. But with Lynn flying home we learned flights from here were quite a bit less, so we booked it from here. Then we got here and really like it; decided we’ll stay at least through Carnival. Plans change…the life of a Sea Gypsy.

    Lynn is back in the US for a while with her family so I’m taking some time for boat projects and of course continuing the quest for the best Happy Hour. I believe our friends Bob and Kitty of Equinox took on the same challenge in Key West last summer. Dang the luck but someone has got to do it right?. I’m happy to report last night’s deal was 3 beers in a bucket of ice for $10EC ($3.71 in US dollars) OK, so it’s hot, windy, broken only by thunderstorms several time a day/night thus far, but between the fellow cruisers we meet up with, the socializing, and the ability to get some work done in between…it doesn’t suck.

    First project: figure out how to get the windscreen to open farther without having to undo all the hardware and prop it up with a stick. Not a problem last year as we were headed north and trying to stay warm vs cool. Lynn came up with this solution. I measured the swing room, looked like it would work so took the old (shorter) slide in to the machine shop and they built two new longer slides. As you can see, the window opens flat out and a nice breeze blows through the cockpit.
    Now working on some shade so the saloon has temporarily been converted to a canvas shop. This big piece used to go over the boom but with lazy jacks and a Stack Pack (sail cover) both now atop the boom, it doesn’t work. Besides it was too heavy and cumbersome so we rarely used it. But it is hot here (did I mention hot yet?) so on to it. I’ve ordered channel to mount down each side of the boom as I’d seen on a couple big schooners. I’m splitting the canvas in two, will sew in a couple boltropes so each side can go on separately. More to follow.

This last photo is for Lynn since I know she doesn’t believe I really eat while she’s gone. Guess I’ve used that old college line “Beer; a pork chop in every can” at least once to often. Anyway here is today’s tortilla pizza lunch, lots of onions, garlic, olives, a leftover frank which Adjima took a liking to, and lots of cheese. Not too bad, followed by the obligatory after lunch nap of course.