Chao ab Ordo

Just a small sample of our new 'order'.

When we moved aboard, 8 1/2 years ago, things got put away just to get them out of the way. They didn't always end up in convenient places or anywhere that even made sense.  Some of the tools we use a lot ended up under the bunk in the V berth, not easy to get to, but we knew where they were, so they stayed.  When we left the dock 2 1/2 years ago all the power tools were in the workbench, easy to find, easy to use. Well, we haven't had 110 power for more than 2 years and those tools were still there, taking up space. 
As most of you probably know, I'm a compulsive organiser. I like 'like with like' and things always put back from whence they came.  I like things to be where I use them, not where they fit on the boat. I also have to say that generally I leave Steve's stuff alone, he's a big boy and if it works for him, great. But this really was driving me crazy.  I talked him into a little reorganisation. Heh heh heh...
 I had to put the "reorder the boat" days on the calendar way in advance so Steve would have time to mentally prepare for it.  He really hates change. I scheduled 2 days thinking it would be enough time to take everything out of the V berth and out of the workbench and make sense of it all. (yes I really did put it on the calendar, once I found it)
We actually needed 3 days to take out all the wire (measure it, bag it, log it in the inventory), sort all the thousands of nuts, bolts, screws, washers, do dads, assorted pieces of wood and metal, canvas working tools and hardware, power tools, 3 bags of hand tools, a dozen empty plastic peanut butter jars and so much more and then find new places to put it all away again.
I think I mentioned that Steve hates change, but he really got into this project, sorting, even throwing (gasp) a few things away!
We may not have complete 'Order out of Chaos' but I can sleep well knowing that all the #6 flat head brass screws are nestled together in their appropriate compartment, in the appropriate box.


For the love of... food.

Ester and Omega ham it up.

They say that an army travels on it's stomach.  The same can be said for a sailboat crew. Especially Steve and I.  We love to eat and cook and are willing to try pretty much anything.  Since retirement, we've found the chance to indulge in our love of perusing grocery store aisles.  Traveling through the Caribbean has added a whole new dimension to this hobby. There are sooo many different nationalities and mixes of cultures, the old blended into the new. The foods are a huge potpourri of tastes, Eastern curries added to Caribbean spices, with a little French sophistication to top it off. We're having a wonderful time here,  spending enough time in one place to really get to sample the local cuisine is  one of the best parts of traveling by slow boat.
Yesterday we started a series of classes given by True Blue Bay Resort.  They're trying to introduce their guests and visiting cruisers to the Grenadian foods and how they're prepared.  The two ladies who do the classes were funny and friendly and really enjoyed being in front of the group. Their banter and obvious love of cooking was great to see.  It was very informal and we could ask questions throughout it all.  The bar served rum punch and cold Carib beer.  At the end we each got a plate of Mahi Mahi on a delicious passion fruit sauce and topped with a Sambal of cucumber and green peppers.  Don't know what a Sambal is? Neither did I.  Now I do!  It's basically a salsa but made with tamarind nectar, Asian chili sauce and fish sauce.  Delicious, well except for those yucky green peppers, but Steve ate those.  The recipes are available on the link above.  Enjoy.


Carbon Footprints

Got involved in a discussion among US friends a while ago about alternative energy. The effort was a challenge since most folks involved had clearly chosen their positions, but the gist of it all was the cost of alternative energy and whether it is or is not competitive and viable. My assertion is that it is relative. While power flows freely and cheaply out of the outlet, the pollution in some far away state, alternative energy seems pretty expensive. Interrupt that flow for some reason; put the plant in our backyard and the cost/benefit ratio teeters, likely in another direction.

    Things also change here on the cruising sailboat. We by our choice of course, must produce all of our energy. There is no outlet to plug into when the batteries are low or filling station down the street with cheap, clean fuel to pump when the tank is down. But at the end of the day we want power in the battery bank, water in the tank and warm for a shower, clean clothes for tomorrow, ice for sundowners, a cool fridge, and some spare diesel in the tank for getting underway or emergencies. We do that with a small wind generator, one 85 watt solar panel, augmented by our engine when it is already running for another reason or when we absolutely have to. Before leaving we super insulated the fridge, built a highly efficient unit, big battery bank, kept electronics to a minimum, and replaced lights with LEDs trying our best to lean the balance in our favor.

    Some sailors sail more, some run the diesel more. Some produce large amounts of electricity with solar and wind, some have generators. A few are without refrigerators or watermakers and need little. We all have different “musts” among our cruising needs. For us the biggies are the watermaker and the fridge. But whatever our choices are, we have to power it. We have to get it and keep it in balance. Most things our moms taught us anyway: turn the lights off when you’re not using it, same for the fans, open the fridge one time for everything, and so many more. We’ve all been told…I hope.
    We last filled the tank in April in Puerto Rico where diesel was around $3.90/gallon. Everything before Puerto Rico since leaving the US was around $6/gallon or more, sometimes well over that since… the cost/benefit ratio teeters. So I decided to tally the data since that last fill: 85 gallons of diesel consumed in over four months. It has seen us through 740 nautical miles, 15 Countries, and 33 different anchorages. Coupled with our solar and wind…made all our water, cooled our fridge, froze our ice, heated the water heater, and powered all our computers/lights/electronics. Trying for a next fill in Tobago or Trinidad end of September.


Some of you may have noticed that the 'Adjima counter' on the right side of the blog has clicked over into another year, another decade.  I thought long and hard about how to celebrate this milestone. I don't think Adj enjoyed the party and hats as much as I did last year.  She's not much into company or surprises, unless they're food.  She has a favorite blanket.  We grow grass for her to graze upon.  She only has to open her mouth and we put food in it. What more could a cat want?  I could come up with nothing.
In the end, she had a little catnip and fresh tuna, curled up with blankie, covered her face and took a nap.


We had Sundowners with a group of dock neighbors last night.  Lots of talk of the Carnival. Of course that song came up.  Titles ranged from 'Soggy Day' to 'Sorry Day' to 'Soliday' (?).  Our friend Mike, from the catamaran Zero to Cruzin, finally stepped in and cleared up the mystery for me.  He said it's 'So We Dey', meaning loosely 'so we're good' or 'Que Sera, Que Sera' as another friend Carrie put it. This morning I looked it up on YouTube (what would we do without YouTube??)  and had to share.  To get the most out of it, make sure your speakers are on full blast and be sure to play it over and over for at least 2 days.



Trying to get everyone lined up for the start of  'Pretty Mas'.

Carnival actually consists of many competitions and parades.  We managed to see most of the parades, which are called 'Mas', short for masquerade.  When I first heard of them, before seeing it in print, I thought they were part of a 'mass', as in Catholic Mass.  Knowing that the catholics invented Carnival, it made sense to me.  Little did I know that Carnival has almost nothing to do with religion anymore.  Most of the Caribbean Islands have a Carnival and they're scheduled so a single tourist could attend all of them, if he so desired.  Spread the wealth, so to speak.  So some of the Carnivals are before Lent and some are after, like say maybe August. Anyway, the different 'Mas' stand for different things. 
For example on Monday there were 3 'Mas':  at 5AM was J'Ouvert or 'Dirty Mas' where large quantities of brightly colored paint are used to turn everyone the same skin color. (I called it the 'Equalizer Mas'.)  Steve and I managed to sleep through this one.
In the afternoon was 'Pagent Mas' or 'Pretty Mas'. The one with the beautiful costumes.  This year the theme was Lead Us Into Temptation.  So the 'Mas' had lots of devils and angels wildly dancing with each other.
Late that night was 'Monday Night Mas', which we got to participate in.  Different businesses sponsored groups of dancers and we were in the Carib group. Carib is the Windward island's beer maker, so it was fitting.  We were outfitted with lighted, flashing, fuzzy hats, flashing beer mugs and light sabers, also flashing.  We, along with 1198 others in the Carib group, danced and stomped and thumped our way along behind the semi playing the music and in front of the beer truck.  The music was chest compressing loud bass,  I was sooooo glad we had earplugs. This was a wild time and it only got wilder as the beer, bottles and pot were passed and the night got late.  We arrived back at the marina sweat  and beer soaked, foot sore and exhausted.  We had a great time and now we have lighted hats, mugs and sabers for future use!

So much color!

The King of Carnival.

The Queen of Carnival.

Pretty Mas.

We woke up today to the sound of silence.  It's a quiet, normal, back to work kind of day. FINALLY.  We've been in the Port Louis Marina for a week now, and the thumping music has been non-stop since we got here.  I usually like the live music we can hear from the boat at anchor or in port and I liked this, the first thousand times.  For some odd reason, Grenadians seem to have only one song and it's played over and over and over. For. Days. At. A. Time. It goes like this"  DaDaDADadaDaDaDaaaaSoggyDay, DaDaDaDAAADaDaaaaSorryDay,  DaDaDaDaDADaaaDaDaThursday.......It ends with a whole long section involving 'Tsunami', which gets shouted ALOT.  I tried and tried to figure out the words. I even asked the people around me. They all said something different.  Maybe next year.


Port Louis marina, St. Georges, Grenada.

It's been too long and way too many miles since I last blogged.  I left Grenada almost as soon as we got here and got to spend a month with my family in North Dakota. It was a chance to see my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and lots of cousins and their kids.  Having such a big family can be exhausting! Great to see them all and catch up.  I also got to spend a week in Minneapolis with our daughter, Amanda. She helped me wrap up all my shopping  and also scored tickets to the U2 concert.  (We were in the 11th row, just left of center! It was AWESOME!)  It was a wonderful month and it whizzed by.  My only regret was that I didn't get to Albuquerque to see Hannah, not finding either the time or the $$ to make the trip.  I miss you Hannah.

Back in Grenada. It hasn't cooled off at all. I can still work up a sweat reading a book.  We've moved around to the port city of St Georges, to better observe and participate in Carnival, which starts tomorrow. Carnival was started by catholics in Italy in the 15th or 16th century. Originally called "carnevale" meaning 'to put away meat', it was a party before the start of Lent and 40 days of fasting and deprivation, ummm, I mean prayer and contemplation  In the Caribbean, with influences from Africa and many European countries it has evolved into a shut-down-the-country 5 day festival with parades, band competitions and elaborate costumes. We're just starting to get involved and figure out the schedule of events, so I'll keep you up to date as we go.  I'm hoping to see the steel pan bands perform on Saturday.