|Back to Prickly Bay - we
know now the best, least rolly parts of this bay - and after much
manoeuvring between the anchored boats we pick our spot. Lindy drops the
anchor and I slip the boat into reverse to begin setting it (for the non
nautical, that's making it dig in). And.......... nothing. We have
no reverse. Actually I soon discover, we have no forward either. I
dive below to the engine room. The problem is immediately clear. The bolts
holding the gearbox flange to the prop shaft flange have sheered. Engine &
gearbox spinning, prop shaft not! Back on deck, the anchor seems to be
holding (fortunately we have 20 knots of wind blowing us back). We would normally reverse hard on it to make sure, but we have no
choice now but to do what sailors did for hundreds of years before they had
engines - cross our fingers and hope for the best. If we do drag we'll
either have to sail out of the crowded anchorage, which again real sailors used
to do, but will be very scary or try and manoeuvre the boat using the dinghy.
We hurry to get the dinghy in the water!
Next day Peter the Czech
mechanic, finds and fits some suitable replacement bolts (on a Saturday in
Grenada this is nothing short of a miracle). They're not hi-tensile steel
-that would be more than miraculous - but they'll do for now.
One of our primary reasons
for being here - apart from to replace our less than 1 year old £1000 moribund
Brasilian batteries - is to take delivery of some parts and new toys we've
ordered. Toy number 1 is a wind generator. We've always thought them
rather pointless as they need a fair amount of wind to get any sort of charge
and we've always been happy to rely on our diesel genset and the engine, but
here in the Caribbean we always seem to be anchored in 20Knots of wind so have
taken the plunge. As the pictures show, installation is not a one man job.
Having taken delivery of our new batteries, we
have to find a way of disposing of the old ones. As they're 60Kg each,
this will be best done when we're alongside a pontoon at Spice Island Marine.
In the meantime they sit, in an attractive way, minding their own business, in
the cockpit as we move between the bays waiting for the opportunity to part with
They sit there until, on our way back to Prickly,
where we will finally be able to ditch them, we get hit by an
uncharacteristically large wave and one of these 60Kg lumps flies off the
cockpit seat straight on to the leg of Lindy who is helming. She is actually
very, very lucky that the battery hit her leg, deflecting it away from landing
on her foot, which would certainly have been broken. She's not really
conscious of this good fortune at the time - as we work in a rolling sea to prop
her up with her leg elevated and packed in frozen peas! It will be two
months of physio
and massage before the leg is painfree and back to normal (fortunately we have a
tens machine, a hot water bottle and baby oil so following physiotherapist's
instructions this can be done twice daily on board!) All of this shows I suppose,
how wise the ancients were when they chose to use inflated pigs bladders rather
than the much more readily available large rectangular lumps of rock when they
were first inventing football.
As I write this, we have been in Grenada for 3
full months. Not bad when you consider that we only planned to stay here
for 2 weeks whilst collecting spares, before heading on to Venezuela.
Things just seem to have conspired to keep us here.
The first thing that changed was that after some
negotiation our insurance company relented and agreed to extend our cover to
include the south coast of Grenada during the hurricane season. This
certainly reduced the pressure to leave. Then everything (of course) took
longer to get done than planned. Then we decided to wait a little longer
to see Len & Janna on Present one more time. Then, then, then......
Then we noticed that the generator was producing
clouds of black smoke. Normally this is something simple like a blocked
air filter. Unfortunately, in our case it turned out to be the fuel
injector. Even more unfortunately it turned out to be so badly corroded
that a new one had to be shipped from the US - more good news for FedEx.
When we finally got the old one out we discovered that the corrosion had rusted
through the cylinder head waterway and a new head would also need to be shipped.
If there's a moral here, it's buy shares in FedEx at the same time as you buy
All the delays do mean that we're here for
carnival. Grenada is a small island, so carnival here doesn't approach the
scale or grandeur of some other countries. It's also celebrated (somewhat
characteristically) 3 months later than in the rest of world. Then the
main parade is delayed by several days by the rain, but finally: