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      Monday, April 25, 2022

      End of Our Blue Pearl Covid Rescue Trip

       Hello Dear Reader,

      This is likely our last post for this trip. We've accomplished a lot, but there still more problems to solve before the beautiful Blue Pearl is ready for more travelling adventures.

      We've added new anchor chain. Restored teak. And we are experimenting with caprail protective tape to try to avoid exposure to the sun. 

      Protecting the teak?

      We've replaced many teak plugs that cover screws that hold us together.  Received and installed repaired canvas from Just Canvas Janni. We installed a navigation computer that I did some repair work on at home. Seems to be working. We received our new boarding ladder but did not install yet - rust!!! 

      We've removed the staysail boom. Will experiment sailing with a boomless rig. 

      Where's the boom?

      There it is!!!

      Threw out years of accumulated broken bits and extra unnecessary spares/parts. The dinghy had a furious leak so we sent it out for repair to Seagull. Delivery to NS once we haul. We had the yard do our bottom paint. Tested but did not use Air Con. 

      And importanty... clean, clean, clean. Thank you Pam.

      Tom and Hannah on Artemis left yesterday. So glad we crossed paths with them. Looking forward to following them on their adventures south.

      Table Grazing - Amazing!

      Artemis' Continuing Adventure

      Covid/Blue Pearl saved the best trick for last. We prepared for lunch on the day before our haul. Hot dogs for lunch and then Pam was going to cook up some meals to have during the last days - but we are out of propane. it has all leaked away. The propane system was partially repaired and we were full of propane. A fitting that could not be sourced locally had to be cleaned and used and we assumed that all was well. But it wasn't.

      Turns out you can boil a hot dog in an electric kettle. 

      No Cold HotDogs for You!!!

      And then, we borrowed a tank from Brian on Pyxis, cooked up our last meals to have cold during and after the haulout. We are taking some gudgeons and pintels (look it up) back to Canada for machining so I didn't mind asking for a favour.

      Delicious curry dinner. Thanks Brian!


      So we will motor from here in the morning and haul at North Sound. Talked to the manager her, Jo Lucas who coincidentally used to live right next door to us in Abbotsford. The first dockmaster arrives at 7 AM so we should be on our way by 7:30. Hauling at 10:30 and flying home the next day. Just like that.
      Solved a lot of problems. Met some really interesting folks and had some fun evenings. 

      Looking forward to further adventures in the fall.

      Tuesday, April 19, 2022

      Chilliwack

      So, like a restorer of medieval paintings, Pam is slowly bringing back our teak to Blue Pearl standards. We get up every day, have our coffee, make our teak plans and get to work. 

      Local fruit

      Teak break at lunch with beer and then a solid nap.

      4 coats


      Replacing teak plugs

      Various chores after lunch. Gin and tonics around 5. Reading, dinner and a sound sleep at 9 or 10 until 7 the next day. The boat is beginning to come back to life and take her proper shape after 2 and a half years of neglect.

      Mmmmmm. Pork chops!!!

      I learned today that the automotic switch for the bilge pump is not working the way it is supposed to. Uggggh. I hate the bilge pump. And I blame Bob Johnson, the designer of this boat. He designed wonderful boats with interesting weirdnesses that result in our love/hate relationship with him. Arghhhhhh.

      Water pump is acting up. Won't stop running. I think it is drawing in air from a degraded pick-up tube in the tank. Need a metal fabricator for that... and he's too busy to fix it during our last few days down here.

      Ailsa left the dock today. Graham and Julie are Canadian sailors with pretty incredible credentials. They've had several boats and sailed all over the world with them. Sold their Amel after sailing it from France to New Zealand. So now they are on their beautiful IP 465 getting ready to do another left after the Panama Canal. They have more energy and water than they need so I've suggested following them with a gardening hose and a charging cable. Hoping to see them at home this summer.

      Ailsa

      Julie and Graham

      Had dinner with Brigitte, Richard and Andrew. Richard and Brigitte spend 3 months a year down here on Cloud 9. Family join them for short visits. Kinda like us!

      Dinner at Miracles

      And off to Guadeloupe they go

      Switching gears...

      We were interested in the boat next door, Artemis. Very quiet. No one aboard. Quite a different design. And then a day or so ago we saw some activity. 


      So we googled the name. And this is what we learned. 

      Dock neighbours were chatting with Tom so we wandered over and introduced ourselves. Mentioned Vancouver, then Abbotsford and noticed Hannah running out to the deck. Turns out, she's from the Wack - Chilliwack to the uninformed. 

      We are urgenty searching for that common connection... doctors, teachers, but haven't found it yet. We will annoy them with our proximity over the next few days while we are here. I wonder if they've got any interesting beer? Good craft beer in the "Wack. Lovely for us to get to know them. Drinks tomorrow night.

      Such a small world. So many great folks!






      Thursday, April 14, 2022

      Fixing Things and Socializing at Jolly Harbour

      Hello Friends and Family,

      So here we are at Jolly Harbour. As long as we don't unhook the yellow dockline (power cord) we are happy campers.

      We (Pam mostly) have tackled the teak with a vengance. And we're pretty impressed with the results. So we won't strip it all back to bare wood but the repairs are blending in nicely.

      This...

      ...compared with this

      Friends told us that the manager of Jolly Harbour was an Abbotsford lady and it turns out that Jo Lucas from Yarrow is, indeed the manager of JH. So we had a nice chat with her and hopefully she remembers her roots when she tallies our final invoice.

      Jolly Harbour Office

      Pam sent postcards off to the grandkids so hopefully they will get them before they graduate from school.

      Antigua Postal

      New friends Graham and Julie down the dock on a 47 foot Island Packet are working on their teak and hosted us for drinks the other night. They have all the latest bells and whistles and batteries so I'm pumping them for intel on how to repower Blue Pearl.

      Next door, Richard, Brigitte and son Andrew are at the dock to send poor Andrew back to his teaching job in central London. Richard was in Vancouver back in the 70s with his London school on a rugby tour and speaks fondly of his time in the area.

      And Dave and Willina just sold their float home in Maple Bay, BC. They got caught at the beginning of Covid in Grenada and decided to stay at the rental property of a friend. They ended up buying a sailboat and are starting their Caribbean adventure on "Against the Wind."

      So there's lots of jobs to be done and nice folks to spend time with. 

      Blue Pearl after our sunset walk to the beach

      We'll talk soon!







      Sunday, April 10, 2022

      Hanging Around for a While

      Dear Reader,

      Sorry to leave you hanging but we weren't sure what we were going to do and when we decided, we had no internet. 

      Splash

      So much to Pam's delight, we are going to shove off to Jolly Harbour tomorrow morning. We've borrowed North Sound mechanic and wonderman Jay's battery to get the engine started. Then I will disconnect the battery and run it in to Jay in our leaky dinghy since he doesn't want to sell it to me.  Head over to Jolly and connect up to shore power and try to supercharge these damaged batteries.


      In the meantime, Pam is enjoying our time cruising the Caribbean. Eat your heart out!!!

      Livin' the Life!


      Can this party get any better?

      So we bought a few groceries and dropped off the rental car. Getting ready to spend some time at the dock at Jolly Harbour. 

      We will contact Seagull Inflatables to see about getting our leaky dinghy fixed and get them to do the service on the "new" motor we bought just before Covid.

      Works! But leaks. Dang.

      Also, continue our restoration of the beautiful teak caprails and cockpit combing that were damaged over the past few years. We've got a myriad of chores for Pam to do so all is not lost. 

      But we have also started to investigate flights home a little earlier than planned. Maybe 6 weeks on a broken boat in the Caribbean is not the southern vacation that we anticipated.

      Gourmet Dining

      Talk soon!

      Thursday, April 7, 2022

      Getting Ready to Launch after 2 Years

      We arrived here Sunday. Met by the usual tribe of goats - thank you very much.

      Baaaaa

      Had a quick look at the boat, lying on the hard at North Sound Marina. Didn't look that bad from the outside. Kind of lonely sitting in a mostly deserted storage area.

      The boat is dirty inside and out. But what would you expect after 2 years of neglect. The ouside teak is destroyed and will require a re-do. Good thing Pam brought her varnish clothes. An initial look inside didn't reveal much. It always looks like a wreck after a lay-up with sails, canvas and other things stored in available places.

      We dumped off some things and headed to our quaint little AirBNB 6 km away. Nice place to recover from travel fatigue.

      Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium in the distance.

      Over the past few days we've begun the damage discovery and launch process. 

      Canvas went on OK. Now we've got some shade for the heat of the day. Our batteries are tired... show full capacity but then die after minimal use. That's going to be an issue. Propane fittings have dissolved and we will have to eat raw or find a way to repair. 

      Propane.

      Anchor chain was rusted link to link. Needed a hammer to bust links apart to pull out of the anchor locker. Once the chain was out we scooped a half a bucket of anchor chain rust from the locker. Not sure what weighed more - the chain rust or the remaining chain. We pulled in 60 meters (200 feet) of new chain into a cleaned out locker. That was a win!

      Old rusty chain over the anchor


      New chain!!!

      Stopped for the occasional soft drink or 3 beers for 10 EC (about 5 CAN)


      Occasional swearing...

      Dropped a damn screwdriver - need longer arms.

      Canvas on and dinghy loaded!

      Ready to launch?

      The last thing before launch was to make sure the engine would start. So, lubed up the impeller so it wouldn't tear apart searching for water and turned the key and ... nothing. Argh. So disappointing. The batteries have deteriorated so significantly over the last 2 years that the engine, which normally starts in an instant grunts without success. We have kept the batteries "floated" with our solar panels over the past 2 years but without them having a load and then recharging they have turned to mush. 

      Each battery costs about $400US in the US - significantly more here. And we were thinking about changing our battery profile to Lithium Phosphate which last longer, charge and discharge better and cost an arm and a leg. But we won't be doing that down here.

      We borrowed a starting battery and launched the boat. It's sitting in "the well" waiting for us to decide whether we head out or haul out and go home. Connected up to power to try to charge our tired batteries.

      In we go.

      Watch your toes!

      So today was a soul-searching day. We can't anchor and wonder if the engine will start. So do we buy some interim $$$ batteries? Do we haul back out and come home to lick our wounds and figure out a new strategy? 

      Can hardly wait to find out!!!




      Thursday, March 31, 2022

      Heading Back to the Islands!

      Putting together a little pre-Antigua blog post to try to remember how to do a blog post. Write some text, throw in a couple of photos and hit the publish button, right!? I hope so.

      There are a lot of things besides blogging that have faded from short term memory over the past few years of lockdown and travel restrictions. Like, do we have rum on the boat, will the varnish need to be completely redone, will it float, will the engine start, are the solar panels working and more and more. Lots to think about. 

      What is this thing and how does it work?

      We are hoping to get into the water quickly and then stay close to services and amenities while we complete what we expect to be a long list of maintenance items. We should try to clear out of Antigua to get to one of the nearby island-nations. We are supposed to do this every year to get a revised and renewed cruising permit for Antigua. We've booked our flights in and out of Antigua to allow for 6 weeks of work and fun. Normally we are headed home at this time to enjoy the BC blossoms and daffodils but we are taking advantage of this first opportunity to travel safely to the incredible Blue Pearl.

      Looking forward to some sailing fun before returning home for the summer.

      Cheers for now!

      This will be us soon!!!