We are still in Grenada. It is absolutely beautiful here, however, we are “on the hard”. For those of you who have never heard that term, it means our boat is out of the water, on dry land, propped up by jack stands. We are still living aboard and we have to climb up and down a tall ladder to use the “head”, shower, do laundry, or any other task. We are having to do quite a bit of unexpected work on Beausoleil while we are here in Grenada. Originally our schedule was to haul out, have the bottom sanded, prepped and painted, replace the zincs, scrub and paint the prop and be back in the water within a five day period. When we hauled her out we discovered there was a big hole in the rudder. It looked like something, possibly a large line, had caught between the prop and the rudder cutting through the rudder before it disengaged from the prop.
After digging a little deeper we could tell that the rudder was de-laminated (this means water has filled the core and separated the foam from the fiberglass, which is not a good thing). We agreed to have the rudder removed and cut in half to see if it could be repaired or if we would have to have a new one built. The alternative to cutting it in half for further inspection was to dry it out, slap some fiberglass on it, paint it and put it back on (that would have been the cheapest thing to do, but definitely not the safest). Since our plan involves sailing across large bodies of water for several years, we thought it wise to cut it in half and take a look. Good thing we did, the rudder post was pitted, one of the support arms was broken at the weld and the other was cracked in the same spot. Our decision was simple, we needed a new rudder. So, how long does it take to build a rudder from scratch in Grenada? Actually Grenada is one of the islands in the Caribbean that has all the marine services you could possibly need. The rudder would be on Beausoleil within two to three weeks.
We decided to take advantage of Beausoleil being out of the water in a very protected area of Grenada and travel back to the US to visit our family and friends. We spent time in Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas – quite a change of scenery from the islands we have been visiting over the past year.
It was great to spend time with our families. You don’t realize how much you miss someone until you spend time with them after a long absence and then have to leave them again. We even extended our trip to get more quality time in with our loved ones. We were gone a total of five weeks.
We visited art galleries in Taos and Santa Fe, ate Hatch green chile, and stayed in a gorgeous new geodesic dome house in New Mexico. In Louisiana we ate delicious cajun food, had a cook out on the bayou, hunkered down and boarded up the windows for Hurricane Isaac. In Texas we visited the Dallas Arboretum and were amazed and awed with the Chihuly blown glass exhibit. We spent several days fishing on Lake Lavon and caught buckets full of delicious catfish (did you know they croak like a frog when you pull them out of the water?).
As we were traveling around these three very different states I became very much aware that no matter where our journey takes us there is beauty all around. We watched the sun rise over the desert and cast its shadow on the mountain peaks in New Mexico, breathing in the crisp clean air and marveling over the pastel colors painted in the sky. New Mexico is truly the land of enchantment. In Texas we would sit on the porch each morning and have coffee as we watched the blue birds, red cardinals, woodpeckers, and humming birds with bright green chests and red wings flutter around each other and chase the squirrels away from the bird seed in the feeders while longhorn cattle grazed in the background. We rode our bikes on the back roads through the hill country and watched the sun set over the wide open plains. We drove through the sugar cane fields and near the crawfish ponds in Louisiana amazed by the picture perfect moss draped from the grandiose oak trees.
I guess my point is that you don’t have to sail around the world to find beautiful places, look around you, take notice of the little things and find the beauty in what you see.
When we got back to Grenada our new rudder was in place. Although we missed our families and the conveniences we enjoyed in the US (like a washer and dryer, pizza delivery, large grocery stores open any time day or night, air conditioning, and the list could go on and on), we were ready to get back in the water and join up with our cruising friends in the anchorages around Grenada and beyond. Before we could go back in the water we needed an out of water survey for insurance purposes.
The surveyor was very thorough, unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it). He identified a crack in one of the chain plates (the pieces of metal attached to the hull that the stays are attached to that hold up the mast) and a bend in another. The integrity of these two important pieces of metal had been jeopardized. They must be replaced. So here we are, another few weeks here in the boat yard, on the hard, working on other projects as we wait to have the chain plates fabricated.
It’s true what they say, the definition of cruising is working on your boat in beautiful places.