See it, Sail it, Salted!
"We walked back to where Matusadona had been when we left, right at the back of the boatyard amongst the mangroves, but she wasn’t there."
After five months working in England we have landed back in Grenada. It was really lovely to catch up with family and friends, especially to spend time with our newly born niece. We decided to extend our stay until the end of December so that we could see her for her first Christmas and so that we could work a little bit longer too. The only thing I have missed over our year sailing has been friends and family. We have met some lovely people, but nothing can replace time spent with the people who have known you for years, if not decades. When time is tight, you put in more effort to see them and I truly felt I managed to spend a lot of time with the people that mean the most to me. Luciano also managed to fly back to Brazil to see his family. Unfortunately we probably won’t be going back home again next year as we are going to try and work remotely next hurricane season - mainly because the cost of flying the cats is prohibitive. We were severely ripped off by Aviation Services of Grenada, who wouldn’t even give us a cost until an hour before our flight took off and we haven’t been able to get any of the money back. For this reason the cats have not flown back with us to Grenada as we have heard about people being fleeced with customs charges, so we are having them flown out to meet us at another island in February, where we shouldn’t have to pay customs charges. Thankfully both of us were able to get work for the time we were in England and that meant we could recover the money from flying the cats and start to save for the next sailing season. I spent a couple of weeks back at my old school and it was lovely to see everyone and they even invited me to present an assembly to the students about our year of sailing. The rest of the time I worked at a pupil referral unit, which was very challenging but I also learned a lot - not so much about teaching, but about some of the challenges some of the most marginalised young people face and how that impacts above all on their confidence. The staff there are amazing; endlessly patient and compassionate. Luciano also managed to work back at a company he has worked with before and worked on the visual effects for The Woman King and another film yet to be released - a high budget action film with a female lead.
We arrived back in Grenada on New Years Eve. The boatyard was like a ghost town when we got there; most of the boats had already been relaunched and everything was closed for the holidays until the third of January. We walked back to where Matusadona had been when we left, right at the back of the boatyard amongst the mangroves, but she wasn’t there. We looked around and finally saw her in a new position. We were relieved to find her still standing on her stilts. Inside, her condition was not too bad. We had made the mistake of buying some drying crystals to try to stop mould, but this meant we had bowls of water lying around attracting mosquitos. Most areas were pretty good, especially the parts we had newly varnished. The fridge was disgusting and mouldy and despite a thorough cleaning, it still smells a little mouldy. The bathroom was equally revolting and mouldy, so the first two days were spent scrubbing these. Also, trying to sort out our batteries, which we had disconnected. Our battery power manager and our solar power manager weren’t working, so we had to spend the first two nights in darkness. Luckily on the third day, we found a cable that we had missed when reconnecting the batteries and voila, everything was working.
Next we had to focus on doing all the work needed to relaunch. The main thing is to complete the antifouling. Antifouling is a paint that you apply to the bottom of the boat to try to stop sealife growing on the boat and thus slowing it down as it moves through the water. The trouble is, even though it is nominally dry season, it has been very showery since we arrived. The antifouling works by gradually shedding in the water to reveal a new layer, so it needs dry conditions to apply. We managed to get the sanding done, making the whole bottom smooth so that the paint would glide on easily. Then we had a window which was a little drier apart from a couple of small downpours and we managed to apply two coats. We’ve also managed to polish and buff the gelcoat.
There are also a myriad of smaller tasks to complete. We’ve attached our new anchor swivel. We replaced our smaller anchor with a larger 25kg anchor in Barbados last year and after that we’ve had no problems with dragging. But we hadn’t replaced the swivel, which attaches the anchor to the chain and we were worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough. So we’ve bought a mighty new swivel. The only problem is that it is now too big to pass through the bow roller at the front of the boat, so we will need to be very careful to lift up the anchor when lowering and raising it so that it doesn’t get stuck. Servicing the seacocks had to be done again - they get very stiff when not used for a long time and are crucial because they close off water being able to enter the boat when necessary. We still need to collect our headsail from where it has been repaired and laundered and are also waiting for our bimini canvas to be made. The bimini is a canvas awning that provides shade in the cockpit and can be used even while sailing. We are also having a few small pieces of teak made to cover some holes that leak at the back of the boat and for non slip purposes on the deck. We only have tomorrow left for these things to be done as we are relaunching on Tuesday. We can’t wait to get back into the water. The mosquitos are not nearly as bad as when we left in July, but we do still have quite a few bites and we also need to get going to Antigua, 3 days sail north to meet my family that are coming out to visit.
We hope you will enjoy following our adventures in the Leeward Islands this sailing season - these are the islands in the eastern Caribbean that lie north of the Windward Islands that we visited last year - from Anguilla down to Domenica; we can't wait!
This week's Vlog.
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