Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Servicing the Winches

There are two boat chores that I dread, even though David is the one doing most of the work...first is lubicrating the heads, second is servicing the winches.

I like the phrase servicing the winches, since changing just one letter conjures up a completely different task....

We have six winches on Callisto, plus a windlass.  A winch is a device that uses gears to multiply force.  In sailing, the person who operates the winches is called a grinder...usually me.  This is what I use all those rowing muscles for in the winter....

We use our winches to give us mechanical advantage for raising and setting the sails.  We also use them for lifting heavy objects on and off the boat.  Each winch has six gears, several roller bearings, all held together by small pins and matching up the teeth of the gears.  Of course, the material that allows all these parts to move easily is GREASE.  And, grease gets dirty and deteriorates over time, especially in the tropical, salty environment.  

So, it's a two person job, one to make sure none of the bits gets lost when we take the winches apart (me), one to clean off the grease using mineral spirits and elbow grease (not me), and one to hand out paper towel, rags, doses of grease and general moral support, again me. (aka criticism about how the job is being done)  

This was also a two afternoon job.  We have two large winches that weigh 50 pounds and have lots of surfaces that need lubrication.  We did the job and then looked in the cleaning bucket and found spacers (gasket like rings) left over.  Whoops!  Everything had to be taken apart again and the pieces put in place.  Day two went better, but the mess!  We have good soap and scrub brushes, plus we have been blessed? with a solid day of heavy rain today for a good fresh water rinse.    

Enough about boat chores!  We are in Admiralty Bay in Bequia, which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  This is the place where we took our first Scuba course, and we always try to do a few dives while we are here.  Our first dive was at the reef we used in our class.  It is in great shape, lots of nice corals and sponges and many different fish species.  We also had a treat of seeing four different kinds of eels on our dive...plus lobsters and two wrecks.  

We plan to leave on Friday for St. Lucia, where we'll be joined by some friends and family over the holidays.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grenada to Carriacou

We’ve been on Callisto since the 7th of November.  The time has passed quickly, we’ve been working hard (at least David has been) and having some fun as well.

First of all, yes, the weather has been quite good.  Some hard rains, but WARM…30⁰C (86⁰F).  That is also the temperature of the ocean.  It is good to see Grenada looking very green and lush.

David had a very bad cold when we arrived, and is still coughing a bit, but carried on in spite of feeling cruddy.  He installed a new solar panel, skills needed--carpentry, metal working and electrical expertise.  No parts fell in the ocean and we now have a total of 495 Watts of solar power.  Yippee!  

Last week we worked with “Hands Across the Sea” in the Boca Secondary School library.  The library has received over 1,000 books that needed to be catalogued and receive “check out” cards.   “Hands” delivers NEW books and we were very impressed by the topics for all reading levels.  Carlene, the librarian seems to have a good relationship with the students, and all seemed eager for the books to be ready for use.

We moved from Prickly Bay to St. George’s bay this past Tuesday in anticipation of sailing up to Carriacou.  This takes a little time off the trip, plus we wanted to make sure that the first time of putting up the sails was not under any time pressure.  We left about 8:30 with the weather a bit iffy in terms of rain showers.  We managed to scoot along just in front or just behind them.  

We’ll be here until Monday or Tuesday, and then move on to Bequia.  Yesterday we went snorkeling, since David’s sinuses are not yet up to a scuba dive.  I finally learned how to “duck” down with my snorkel to get closer to the underwater sights.  
This afternoon David and I are helping Diane at the Lumba Dive dive shop with swimming lessons.  She teaches swimming to Carriacou children and is helping prepare some of the kids for competition.  In the summer she had over 60 children participating.  We are expecting about 30 today.  Should be fun, and we’ll see if photos are ok to post.  

PS--we have been struggling with slow internet, here's what someone else thinks, too.