Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cleaning purging and dragging - fun and games at St. Georges anchorage

This week is supposed to be all about planning, organising, cleaning, preparing. We’re hosting a full family of guests on the weekend.
We took a trial run of where we’d sail and what we’d show our visitors, and all went well.
Now we’re back in Grenada, anchored outside the main city, St. Georges. At night you can fool yourself into believing there’s a huge metropolis out there, with all the lights. The truth is that it’s a sleepy little harbor town with a big boat yard and a cute little market behind a bustling bus station. 
St. Georges port city, Grenada
Being here allows us to refuel, fill the water tanks, get cleaning supplies and provision food for the trip next week.
We’ve got to defrost the freezer, clean all cabins and heads (washrooms), get new sheets, floor rugs, service the engines, and finally seal the escape hatch windows.
That last items sounds a bit scary. To explain: Lagoon Cats, along with the clever design of engines under the aft beds, have interior, down-facing window/hatches in the same cabins, that provide a lovely view of the turquoise water below. Their true purpose however, is to open if and when your catamaran has capsized and you need to escape.
Standard older Lagoon escape hatch window in aft cabins
Now you might ask, why would we be sealing those up?! The simple answer is that they leak. Whenever we are out in big seas, salt water leaks in and creates a little annoying pool of water in our bedroom, on the side shelf.
New Lagoons have been designed with this bottom facing window completely sealed. There is an ominous looking hammer beside it, so there is no confusion as to it’s real purpose.
So, once JW agreed to put a hammer down beside these hatches, I agreed we could/should seal them up. I am trying with all my might to keep the visual of requiring these at any time from my mind!
So this morning started off quite productively. JW opened and cleaned the rims of the escape hatch in preparation for sealing with silicone. Then I stripped the bed, in preparation for JW to service the engine.
Minutes later he had lifted the engine cover board and I spun round asking,
“Where’s the sheets?!”
“You took them off just now…?”
“But I can’t find them?!”
We both spun round in the tiny cabin, into the hallway, bumped into each other 5 times, checking every crevice. Then JW joked,
“You didn’t throw them here on the side shelf, where that window is now open…”
“Let’s check”
I peered down the hatch, but nothing. It seemed absurd anyway.
Then JW disappeared up the steps and stood out on the back sugar scoop (stoop) and called out,
“Yep. There they are.” He pointed off beyond the boat.
Indeed, wading deep and far behind us, but visible, my lovely turquoise bedsheets, donated to the ocean. I was so furious, frustrated, silly. (I knew we'd be able to laugh about this at some stage but certainly not now). I can’t believe I’d thrown them out the window literally into the sea!
After a slight altercation about who’s fault this was and whether they could be retrieved, JW donned a snorkel mask a mooring hook and jumped in. But they were too far and too deep, and no doubt to heavy to recover. So he hopped out, rinsed off and declared we’d just have to buy more.  We carried on with the chores. JW as before, and me with that deep down, biting my cheeks, stomping up-and-down, tearing things up kind of anger just below the surface …. GRRRRR
But as this lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to long lasting depression or anger, I’d arranged with my cool girl-sailor-buddy that we’d take the dinghy into the beach and go for yummy local doubles (chick pea flat bread with a chick pea curry filling). I could get the new sheets on the same trip.
But then, just as I was organising my backpack, I looked out the window and saw a formidable squall coming hard and fast across the water from the land.
“Wow!” I shouted and within a second, rain and wind had blindsided Shiloh. We ran around closing hatches and then watched as the wind tugged furiously at us and the rain pelted down like opaque sheets.
And we swung wildly on the anchor in every direction, as did the boats around us. But then some of them started to give in to the wind, their anchors had unhooked and were dragging. Some fast, some slow. Our friend’s boat Chaotic Harmony began to move swiftly toward another boat to our left. We called to them repeatedly on the VHF radio but they were not onboard. We weren’t sure what to do, but we couldn’t do nothing.
Then JW, dressed in only his boxers, jumped into the dinghy, wind whipping the waves up around him, I threw him the rope and he headed over to try and push the boat, to prevent it from smashing into the anchored one beside us. Other friends were also in their dinghies, headed fast toward the potential crash.
The family onboard the targeted boat ran up and down their deck with rubber fenders.
And just then, our friend arrived back, having seen the severity of the storm from shore, and he jumped aboard, started the engines and got the boat under control. 
JW up on the bow, the guys rectifying Chaotic Harmony's drag
 At the same time the boat on our right side came sliding by Shiloh, headed out to sea. I called and called the boat name on the VHF radio, but to no avail – the owner was not onboard.
Another friend of ours in a 60ft catamaran was dragging out to sea a bit further away. The rain and wind continued beating the anchorage.
SV-Amarula, dragging out to sea
 I stood, wet and powerless on Shiloh’s back deck, looking at the chaos around me.
Then the boat on our right stopped bobbing away. Their anchor must have caught again (hopefully not on ours!).
I phoned the friends on the 60ft cat, and they had their situation under control.
JW and a couple other friends were onboard Chaotic Harmony and were attempting to re-anchor in a safer place.
And finally the rain softened to a patter. I checked our GPS over and over to confirm – we hadn’t dragged. Not this time.
So, the fun and games were over for the morning. JW arrived back, like a little wet rat. Dripping, drained.
My dream of doubles will have to wait til tomorrow. The sun will have to shine. I have to get up on the canvas bimini with a roller and apply some waterproofing. And I need a dry sunny day.
But there’s got to be an excuse to wait until tomorrow to clean the other cabins as well.
I think it’s time to call a Scrabble tournament with my yachtie-gurlz.

1 comment:

  1. I speechless reading your blog. Love it. Suspence is always behind the corner!