BACK IN THE CARIBBEAN SEA

Dejavu III `splashed’ back into the Caribbean Sea on the 23rd November … after many, many jobs to make her a better and more reliable sailing vessel for the coming summer season (that’s down south of course, while it’s slowly turning to winter and becoming cold north of here … `the USA and Canada’).

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On struggling to re-position the three sails (Jib, Screecher and main) on DJV (not allowed to do so in the marina as the consequences of a hurricane coming along with sails in place has, in the past found sails forced to unfurl, leading to vessels being blown off their support blocks, leading to a falling boat domino effect, leading to 10-15 vessels being blown over.)  Disaster!

I found it impossible to raise the mainsail as the winch action was way too heavy.  Therefore, I used the VHF radio to talk to a `Cruiser Sailing Net’ (where cruising Skippers and Crew talk to a pre-set guide and you are able to ask questions regarding any problems you may have).  My problem was to find a `Rigger’ who would go up the mast to determine what the trouble was.  An hour later there was a knock on the side of DJV’s hull and a very friendly Canadian Cruiser/Neighbour was alongside to offer to be hauled up the mast.   JUST GREAT!

15 minutes later he was at the top of DJV’s mast, taking photos and had discovered the mainsail halyard pulley had disappeared altogether.  To cut a long story down I was able to swap the topping-lift sheet with the main halyard and we are now able to limp through to a rigger on St. Lucia Island.

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I have two English friends on-board for 12 days and therefore, have a timetable to reach St. Lucia by the 8th December … always a problem when you have movement restrictions based on weather!

My flight from Perth back to Grenada, started late in October, 2015 and proved mostly uneventful … and it was a very welcome change to have friend Roger Manning meet me at the Sydney Air Terminal to take me to his home for a two day visit.  This was made even more enjoyable by Roger’s wife Catherine, escorting me to a `Wooden Sailing Boat Show’ at the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Pittwater.

The thirteen hour flight across the Pacific to Los Angeles was a three and a half movie crossing for me, as I didn’t sleep a wink.  I had booked into a crumby `Super 8’ Hotel in LA and spent this 24 hour stopover, sleeping.

The American Airlines legs from LA through Miami were comfortable and rapid, being two, four hour legs.

On returning to DJV it was time to start the huge job of sanding down the two hulls in preparation for an undercoat before the two layers of final anti-foul paint.  Then the numerous repairs to do before the eventual `splash’ into local waters.

The marina DJV was lashed to for the hurricane season is still under-construction and living aboard, you are subjected to the noise and dust of heavy construction earth-moving equipment.  At night it is time for the clouds of mosquitoes to move in … and be accompanied by two barking Alsatian dogs … supposedly on security duty.

I’m now heading north and write this while at anchor in Halifax Harbour on the NW coast of Grenada.  We are floating in the middle of a large high pressure system and waiting for a break in these `Doldrums’ like conditions … to continue to the island of Carriacou.

My route through the northern Caribbean island to the Bahamas will eventually take me across to Florida on the east coast of the USA and I’m hoping I can reach there by May/June, 2016.

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