Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Heading up Island

After weeks of strong NEs we have a good forecast with some South and moderate winds so we are off to Carriacou on Wed March the 29th. At anchor of St Georges in Grenada tonight after a strong sundowner a green flash and a bottle of wine

Sunday, March 26, 2017


DAY 1 My outboard dies again and I need to get towed back to Elephants Child. I clean the carb again and blow through the fuel line from the tank in case any water or crap is lurking there. It starts immediately and runs fine for 10 minutes. Fixed it I think but no. Next time I go ashore to deliver the cushion covers to the laundry it runs OK at half throttle or above but dies at idle.

DAY 2 I clean the carb again and it seems OK. Start to clean the boat because Gisela arrives next week. My mixer tap on the sink starts to leak, it is not a drip but a major spray event. Go to pick up my laundry but the water supply is off so no laundry. ARGHHH

DAY 3 Get the free Island Water World bus to the chandler and buy a new mixer tap. I ask the plumbing expert there if the connections are standard imperial and he says yes. Phone the laundry but still no water.

DAY 4 Clean the outboard carb again. Filter all the petrol twice and pray this works. I have a look at the plumbing fittings under the sink and realize it it is going to need someone with better shoulders to work with two hands above their head while lying on their side. Get a local guy from CBS called Wendell and he soon gets the old tap off and removes the two foot pump outlets. The new simple outlets are soon fitted but the fittings from the new mixer tap are of course METRIC! Grhhh. No water at the laundry.

DAY 5 Back to the chandlers and more in hope than expectation I start working through the adapters and wonder of wonders they have one. Yes ONE and I need two, I ask the assistant if they have any more in stock. Goods news the computer says they should have two at such and such a location. Well there is only ONE! I start checking all the bins and pegs in case it is hiding behind something and luckily it was. Still no laundry.

DAY 6 Get up early call CBS to organise Wendell only to be told he is attending a funeral but should be back tomorrow. Clean the cooker, sinks, kitchen and start on the two fridge boxes. Manage to rip the handle off the cool side. I need a new handle and know I have one somewhere but where is the question. Clean the heads and shower. Finish the day giving Gisela's cabin the once over and adding a tasteful touch of some sweet smelling potpourri. Still no Laundry.

DAY 7 GET UP EARLY AGAIN TO FINISH THE CLEANING AS GISELA ARRIVES LATE AFTERNOON. Use the heads and discover there is a leak from the pump. This is no big deal and it is an easy fix. I remove the seal and holder and fit a new one. It still leaks. I check to see if I put the seal in the wrong way round but no it is fine. I have spare seals so I fit another new one and that cures the problem. I pump a load of water through to check things out and the seal is fine but a much bigger leak appears at the base. I remove the pump unit and on inspection I can see it has cracked most of the way round. Now my toilets are Raritans which are the Rolls Royce of manual boat toilets but the boat is 39 years old and the toilets could well be original. As a precaution 2 years ago I bought a complete spare pump assembly so I know I have an easy fix. Well it would be easy but I do not find it where I expect to be. Panicking a little I start pulling stuff out of likely lockers but no pump. Pulling more stuff out of unlikely lockers still does not come up with the pump. The laundry phones, will I come for my laundry as they are closing for 5 days. But yippeee they have water and did mine.

I rush round at full chat on the dink and low and behold it keeps running even at idle. The good old Italian tune up.

I give up on the pump and shower off the sweat etc and catch the taxi out to the airport.

Gisela's plane arrives dead on time at 4.10 pm. Unfortunately two planes scheduled to arrive after 4.10 were early and both immigration and customs were inundated and SLOW. But it is the islands and things run on Island Time so she gets through and exits departure for the short ride to Whisper Cove marina

where we have a beer and admire the abundant floral displays.

I break the news that I have broken the toilet and it is not fixed. So a bucket may feature in our future.

The beer, just a lowly Carib refreshes the parts of my mind associated with toilet parts and I remember seeing the right kind of box in the main engine spares locker. When we get back to the boat I get Gisela settled and dive into the engine spares locker. Eureka I pull out the new toilet pump.

Now gentle reader you are going to be bored with my toilet story so I will precis the next 5 hours on crouching bent over the toilet removing and replacing the new pump. The cracked outlet leak. The broken bolts,The inlet hose leak. The seawater pump outlet hose leak. The last was a pisser as I nearly cut the end off before I remembered that it was only just long enough. Self amalgamting tape and an extra jubilee clip did the job.

At about 10.00 pm I proudly announced that we have a working toilet.

Next morning I hear the toilet working and Gisela comes through to say the pump handle is sticking up and wont go down and is making a funny noise.

Again to avoid toilet boredom I will skip the next three hours of crouching swearing dismantling blowing through [ with the dinghy pump ] etc.

Until I track down the culprit. Little fish had grown bigger inside the strainer and finally had got sucked up the inlet.

His head was just the right size to plug up the inlet one way valve.

Happiness is a working toilet.

Happiness is dinner in the cockpit.

Dizzy approves of the new plates.

Happiness is being able to see when you are rowing.

Happiness is NOT walking into this very scary spider.

As some recompense I treated my hard working guest to lunch at Whisper Cove.

It was, as always, excellent.

Saturday, March 11, 2017


It was with deepest sadness that I learned of the death of Mary, the powerhouse behind Rodger's Barefoot Beach Bar on Hog Island.

We new she was ill and a benefit concert was organised for the Sunday but she died on that very morning.

I did not go in the end as I was really ill. I have no idea what it was but the scary symptom was three bouts of very violent shivering/shaking each last about 40 minutes. Just when I was thinking about a taxi to the doc I started to feel better. But it laid me out for four days. I went for a blood test but it takes a while.

Ho Hum it is Friday and that means shopping bus day. Eco friendly bags at the ready I jump in the dink and it fires up second pull as always and off I zoom for 100 yards then it dies. I check the usual suspects and the fuel hose is split. No worries I have spare hose on the boat and I manage to return by holding the hose so it gets some fuel through. I try for a quick fix and cut the end off the existing hose but it splits again.

By now I have missed the bus, they may have waited and called me on the VHF but my base station died that morning, it will be corrosion on the cable I expect and I have lent out my portable so no radio.

Ah well a few minutes searching and I find my spare fuel hose and I cut a piece off and replace the split hose. I call it good and set off again just in case they are running a second trip. Half way across it dies again. It restarts but all is not well and after a few spits and spats stops again. This time there is no starting no matter how hard I pull. I do the checks spark yes, fuel yes so why is it not going.

A passing cruiser tows me in and I start investigating. I soon find that I have water in the tank.

I have some spare petrol so I drain the water out and fill with fresh. That was the easy bit, it takes me ages and lots of pulling spark plug cleaning carb draining and more pulling to get the water out of the engine.

Still it couched and spluttered finally and kept running long enough to clear the water out and we are back to normal.

Sunday, February 26, 2017


40 inches of fresh snow and not any old snow finest Rocky mountain champagne powder fell the day before I was due to leave.. I was going to spend my last day at Alta but the access road was closed to all traffic due to avalanche danger.

So off to Park City / Canyons. I knew that road had been closed due to a major accident but it was opened as I left. SLC.

Not my favorite sort of skiing with heavy snow and flat light making it hard to see in near whiteout conditions. So I stuck to a couple of easy runs which I know well and had an enjoyable couple of hours.

Then it was packing for the 3.30 am start to the long day travelling home to Elephants Child. I had swapped my boring Toyota Camry after some crackhead broke the window. In exchange I got a monster AWD SUV. Which I needed as I slipped and slid over frozen slush and snow covered roads back to the airport.

Anyway I am back on board to a very vocal welcome from Dizzy and a chance to catch up on sleep in my own bed with the sound of the surf on the reef as a welcome lullaby.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Skiing Canyons and Alta. Lovely sunshine and empty pistes and no queues, well until Presidents day weekend.

Then we had socked in weather and mega queues.

My Epic Pass had blacked out 18th and 19th but I can ski Canyons tomorrow so will make the drive weather permitting.

Washington's Birthday A slight chance of snow before 11am, then a slight chance of rain and snow. Cloudy, with a high near 47. South wind 7 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

"What is it with this rain. Ah well global warming is real".

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow in the high country passes Tomach Inn Rubber Ducky Care Package Crested Butte and Powderhorn

I had left myself a day of wiggle room when planning the trip to make sure I did not have to make it across Monarch Pass in bad weather.

Well I needed it. I left on the early day and had a =n easy run over the pass to Gunnison. But near the summit the snow walls at the roadside were 10 feet or more. The next day both Vail pass my alternate route and Monarch pass were closed on and off as trucks got stuck and slid back or jackknifed.

I had a room reserved at the Inn at Tomichi.

The room came with it's signature extra inhabitant allowing me to bath with a friend.

When I checked out I got a care package to help me survive the next leg of my trip.

Nice place.

The purpose of the trip had been to ski Crested Butte and Powderhorn.

Crested Butte had been sleeting both days and the light had been very poor.

As drove past Delta in the valley en route to Powderhrn it was looking a little more hopeful and as I got to the top of Grande Mesa I burst through the cloud into bright sunshine and beautiful snow.

Unfortunately Powderhorn is on the side of the mesa and it was in cloud.

I drove in and waited for a while to see if things were going to improve but there seemed to be little wind and the forecast had talked about little movement of the weather system.

So it was bye bye to Powderhorn and on towards Utah.

I dropped maybe 500 ft and I was out of the mist. So frustrating.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Slightly dubious about skiing today. The plan was to ski Breck in the morning then drive to Gunnison via Monarch pass.. However the jet stream is right over Colorado. Breck is reporting 90 mph wind gusts and the next installment of the Pineapple Express is arriving this afternoon.

I guess I can drive up and have a look dodging the blown over trucks. Lots of these on the news including 3 on Monarch pass.

But I can see the high altitude winds are blowing snow off the peaks.

They have some lower chairs that run through the trees and I finished up on these for a couple of hours of enjoyable groomer zooming. I had decided that I would only ski if the new town gondola was running. It was as I left the car but they shut it down as I got there. As I was there I hassled onwards taking the bus to Peak 9.

It was sunny warm and really windy at times. Hence the snow devils dancing on the pistes.