Carriacou: Haulout, Hash, Hanging, and Dengue

Standard disclaimer: as of Nov 1, Grenada has 4 active COVID cases, zero community spread. Remember you can click on photos for a larger view.

Our main reason for stopping in Tyrrel Bay was to haul Villa out and get her bottom painted. Here she is coming out of the water. What a dirty girl! (Knowing we were going to be power-washed soon, we’d mostly given up on scraping for a couple of weeks.)

Our first order of business, once she was washed and settled down, was to check into the apartment where we would live for the week. While it’s possible to live on the boat in the yard, it’s unpleasant: it’s hot, and the windows have to stay closed to keep all the sanding dust out of the cabin. Plus, keeping Captain contained is problematic. Even if he doesn’t decide he can jump to the ground, he’s definitely getting on the boat next door, with its stern just a couple of feet from our bow.

So we checked into a small and basic but mostly functional AirBnB. Mostly functional, that is, as the promised washing machine didn’t come with a rain-safe drying space (much less a dryer, but that’s normal here), and the solar-heated water meant that rainy days led to cold showers. We got a laugh out of the mismatched cups, forks, and spoons (three each, none alike), and the fancy “foreign” plates. At least there was a powerful AC in one room, and for whatever reason, a full-sized fridge.

Captain, on the other hand, instantly fell in love: he is an apartment cat at heart. He explored all the spaces, and eventually decided that his home was the top of the refrigerator, where he could have a stare-down with the thing on the wall that kept moving and making that weird ticking noise.

Almost immediately on arrival we managed an invite to a local young-cruisers evening. How did this happen? Jazz posted a roll call for young people on the Grenada Cruisers facebook page, after which point she would be known across the island as “the girl from the post”. (The conversation had taken odd turns, as a number of people had interpreted “I see there’s a retirees group, where the young people at?” as some kind of attack on the older crowd. Always with the drama.) Anyway we met some lovely people and had a great time.

We hauled out on a Friday, thinking we could get all our freeboard washed and waxed before the sanding started on Monday. Throwing a wrench in this works, the marina informed us that we would only have water for four hours on Saturday morning. So we got up early and took the walk to the marina, and we got as much of the washing done as we could before the deadline, with Jazz painting acid onto the stains and me hosing them off. When the water died, we moved on to waxing. The weather theme this season is “wet”, so the yard was always muddy, and there were Steps Taken to reduce, if not eliminate, the amount of mud that ended up topside.

The difference in signage between the men’s and women’s toilets also seems like it deserves a call-out.

The walk to and from the marina every day was a couple of blocks, so we got pretty familiar with that stretch of Tyrrel Bay. The abandoned engine, the lawn-mowing goat and sheep contingents, the red-striped manchineel trees, the giant hill leading down to the marina.

You always find issues when you haul a boat. Fortunately, this round wasn’t super bad, but we did discover that the team that had raised our water line on the last haul out hadn’t removed the vinyl boot stripe underneath, and instead had just painted over it. (Thanks, Tiger Point!) As a result, the old paint basically flaked off at sanding time, exposing the vinyl again, and we had to sand down to the gelcoat underneath and put on a coat of proper primer. Sigh. You’re looking at that white stripe near the water line.

Not that we were much happier with this marina. It felt like pulling teeth to get anything we wanted: we would make a request, they’d say yes, and then it wouldn’t happen. After repeatedly reminding them to make sure they turned the wheel, we found the “finished” paint job had missed the fronts and tops of the rudders. Worse, they failed to tape before sanding off that old boot stripe. The photo on the right shows new 60-grit sanding marks in the gelcoat above the water line, and above that, splatter from the new paint. None of this is the end of the world, but it’s sloppy, and further reinforced our mantra: “if you want it done right, don’t hire it out”.

We pushed ourselves at a pretty grueling pace, honestly, and we ended up spending a number of evenings lounging in the progressively increasing squalor of our adopted apartment (in which we were also trying to catch up on laundry). We did try for cleanliness, but the tools available were… not great.

We did manage to squeeze in some more fun. Here we are at Mexican and Music night at Frog’s, where Jazz sent back food for the first time in her life when her grilled chicken was essentially raw (!). The music was good though. Also notable: this is a shoes-off bar.

We took a bus to Hillsborough, and had a lovely night out with some other young people (via “the post”) and a taste of the local boozes. The decor of these buses remains hilarious to me. We also managed some sight-seeing, including a super detailed tour of the tiny local museum featuring such phrases as “this is a jug, for storing the water” and “did you know, in the old days, they used to write with a feather”.

We enjoyed seeing some different things in the grocery store.

And we made it to a Hash, which is essentially a big group hike along a new path through the jungle. The route is marked with little piles of paper. You can run or walk, and apparently anyone who shows up with new shoes gets a “shoe inspection” that involves making sure that they hold beer; this gives a pretty good idea of how serious this event is. We only got mildly lost once, and the views over the Hillsborough bay were nice, as was the free beer and dinner at the end. Also at the end, we first-timers were presented with these questionable “virginity lost” certificates and “surprise” sprayed with yet more beer.

We did our best to zip through the projects that we’d been saving for when we were out of the water or living off the boat. We re-varnished some of the woodwork that was starting to wear, changed the impeller in the dinghy engine, and changed all the oils that could be changed.

After the yard finished the sanding and painting, we had about a day to finish all the oil changes. Unfortunately, in the home stretch and shortly after taking these pictures, Jazz ran out of steam. It turned out that she had come down with a case of dengue. Fortunately, it was a relatively mild one, insofar as she didn’t have to get hospitalized, and she continued to fight her way through the laundry in between naps. Captain was uncharacteristically supportive in her time of distress.

Even so, she was not in great shape. So it was with a great effort that she dragged herself back to the marina with me, to watch the freshly painted boat drop back into the water. And just like that, we were live-aboard cruisers again.

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