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Grenada / Trinidad Tracks

I noticed that over the last few days the date on my tracks and waypoints have jumped back 19 years or so. Been going through resets and s/w installs to try and fix the problem. No luck yet but one byproduct is that I have downloaded our recent tracks of Grenada and the trip to Trinidad. Enjoy.

View 2009 Grenada 2 in a larger map

Battery Project Complete

I finally declare the battery project complete. All is done. All is put away. Here are a few pics from along the way :

I’ve also installed the additional mains breaker for the charger. Until now it’s been running in parallel off a 40A breaker. Found a 32A breaker in Trinidad and installed/tested it all today. Another item off the list.

Going to my camera I found some pics taken as we left Chaguaramas. May as well let you see them.

Last Day in Trini, First Day in Grenada

Needless to say, during our last day in Trini the humidity was again 100% and it rained, heavily at times. I had until 9:30 in the morning to drop off the rental car so I used it to pop round the stores a few more times. We needed some more starborg so I went there. They said they would be able to make some up by about 1 and that they would call. They never did.

The day passed by prepping the boat in between showeres and we said our goodbyes to friends. At 3pm we did some final food shopping, cleared out then bought and loaded up our wine and rum. On the way back to the boat we passed by Whiskers to our goodbyes to them. Au revoirs really. They’re on their way to NZ by next November too so we’re likely to catch up at some point.

Shortly after 4pm we were off. There was no wind in Chaguaramas to speak of so we motored to the channel. It seemed Dignity was performing better than before. This could be wish fulfillment but it’s possible the system was working better overall with the new batteries.

Once through the channel the wind still wasn’t up enough to effectively sail so we motored in a north easterly direction to get us up wind while we could.

Around 6pm we had enough wind to sail so we cut the motor. About this time the waters cleared enough to put on the water maker. We were pretty low so we had hours of running to fill up. Sleep eluded us for a but but eventually we settled into a rhythm. Helen slept from 9 to 11 while I slept from 11 to 2. During Helen’s shift the winds really picked up and we flew along making 7 to 8 knots, sometimes more. By the time it was my shift from 2 to 5 the winds gradually died to the point when about 5am I turned on the motor as we were not making good progress and a squall was bearing down on us.

We then motor sailed the remaining distance to Prickly Bay arriving just in time for the morning net. On the net we were reminded that due to Swine Flu restrictions we could only check in at St Georges (which we knew) but that we had to take the boat there too (which we didn’t). I guess this stands to reason as if we had swine flu they didn’t want us on the bus. As this was our third time checking into Grenada with the restrictions we knew the symptoms we were supposed to sign off on and knew we didn’t have them. Nevertheless we felt it improper to take the bus so we soon weighed anchor and we back to motoring around Point Saline to St Georges.

Once there we anchored pretty much in the same place as before. In the thin sand we know to be there the manson anchor set more firmly than our delta ever did. Not knocking the delta as it works most of the time but it seems the manson outperforms it. We then dinghied into the yacht club to clear in. We bumped into Jim from Bees Knees who is still doing his summer projects there and said a brief hello. We then popped over to Island Water World to see if they would cut cables and put on lugs if we bought lugs there. They said they would. That meant we were on for the house battery conversion. I’m keen to get this done before carnival. That way we can leave the boat for extended periods without worrying about the batteries.

Back on the boat I turned off the power and reconfigured the existing bank down to two 12V batteries liberating some cable which should yield enough pieces to make the set of connectors need for the first set of new batteries.

Back in Island Water World I discovered they did not have the right sized lugs. The ones for the cables I had had holes too big. I therefore took the bus to Southern Electric in the Prickly Bay area. Here I met Ricardo – the guy I set up the possible battery swap for tools. Together we looked for lugs in their store but they didn’t have the right kind either. He pointed out that he had the right tools to drill bigger holes into lugs, if I could find them, that fit the cables but had holes too small.

Next stop was ACE hardware. I was let out the back entrance of Southern Electric to save me a walk of nearly a mile. This involved climbing down a wall and jumping a ditch. All those hash walks had prepared me for this. ACE didn’t have the right lugs either so my final hope was Budget Marine. They turned out to have lugs that fit the cables with holes that were too small. Rip off prices of course but what could I do. I collected what I thought I needed (I now think I may be short) and trudged back to Southern Electric. Ricardo was glad to help. He drill out the holes while I filed off the rough edges of twenty lugs. I was then also able to borrow the hydraulic crimping tool and fancy cable cutter I needed. Out the back door again to get to the highway it was back on the bus and back to the boat.

On the boat I started by making the cables I needed for the first set of five batteries to go in the first box. With the day now coming to an end I figured despite the fatigue setting in from the crossing I had just enough time to get the first set of batteries in. I had to move the inverter to get access and remove the remaining batteries. Now without power I had to get the new box in, the five new batteries in and get them cabled up before we lost daylight. I just managed it in time. Juice was flowing. I reconfigured the charging system for the adjusted capacity and fired up the charger for 10 minutes to test. All was ok. Off with the charger and on with the cross charger to top up the batteries for overnight and that was that.

Dinner, wine and rest finished off the day.

We have a lot more to do today. The remaining seven batteries need to be installed. I need to remove the first set of five to install battery straps I forgot to put on last night. While I have the tools I need to change three more cable ends from the drive banks so I have lugs with the correct sized holes in them. These were cables attached to the boat so we couldn’t do them down in Trini. I don’t have the lugs for these cables so this will involve another run to the stores. I also want to use the crimper to put on the lugs for the doubling up of the cable runs from the batteries to the control board. A lot to do. Then, and only then, can we relax for carnival.

Asa Wright Nature Center

We had a restful morning before dinghying ashore and picking up the hire car. Looking at the map we decided to drive to the Asa Wright Nature Center and, if time permitted, see something else on the way back. Because of the traffic it took us over 2 hours to get to the center. The center focuses on bird watching and has a number of tours throughout the day. The next and final tour was at 1:30 so we decided to have lunch there and wait for the tour. While we waited for the tour to start we were able to observe a number of birds from the veranda of the nature center. Oddly enough we bumped into a few fellow cruisers who had arrived the previous day and stayed the night, among them being Jackie and Gary from Inspiration Lady.

The tour turned out to be quite interesting. The first thing we were shown was what looked like a foot path through the undergrowth. It turned out to be a leaf cutter ant trail.

It was quite fascinating to see the ants carrying their snipped off leaves, often with other ants riding atop the leaves to guard against wasp which liked to lay eggs on the leaves which would subsequently hatch in the ant nest. We were later shown the nest soldiers which had formidable mandibles which apparently had the ability to cut right through flesh. We didn’t try that out.

Being terrible about remembering the names of things I can’t give all the names of the birds. We saw a couple of nocturnal birds that would stand on top of vertical branches during the day looking very much like an extension of the branch.

Towards the end of the walk we heard and saw a bearded bellbird way up in the trees. It’s call was extremely loud. I thought it would make an effective bilge alarm.

It was three O’clock by the time the walk had finished so we had to dash off to do shopping. We ended up having a brief look at the Falls Mall before shopping at the large Hi Lo next door. We bought a lot of stuff – particularly non-perishable items – as some things are a lot cheaper here in Trinidad and we had the car which made things a lot easier. By the time we had everything loaded on the boat we were exhausted so we ate and went to bed early.

Looking at the weather forecast today it’s almost certain we’ll be sailing to Grenada tonight. We’re looking forward to getting back as we do prefer it there. We have more friends there and we hear the carnival atmosphere is building up. Now that we have the freezer running I’m keen to replace the house batteries which I need to do in Grenada. So today will be clearing up the boat, making her ready for the trip, clearing out and collecting our wine. I will need to bend the lids of the starboard battery boxes so I can fit them properly.  I may make the second battery box if we have time and may also start on their lids too.

Almost There

We’re almost all done on the drive battery swap. In the morning I dropped off old cables to be chopped up and have new ends put on. I didn’t get them until the end of the day but it didn’t take too long to connect them up and test everything out. We then ran the genset for several hours to charge everything up while doing two washing loads.

A quick check this morning shows they’re still showing a high voltage which is all good news. The only thing left to do is to bend the rear of the lids around the cables that come out of the back of the boxes.

We’ve also come up with a way to put all twelve remaining batteries into the area we currently have our house bank. We need boxes to store five of them at a time. Helen came up with the idea of sawing up our spare 8D boxes and joining them up to make boxes the right size. It was worth a go so I spent a couple of hours sawing up two boxes then melting the two pieces together.

The result doesn’t look too bad although the joint, on its own, is too brittle. We need to brace the joint with something.

Mike from Whitebird who took our two 8D batteries last week has shown interest in one of the 4Ds so this gives us an incentive to do some of the house bank installation while we’re down here. I may just give this a go tomorrow.

A couple of extras from yesterday.  I picked up a breaker for our house bank charger.  Right now it is wired in parallel with another breaker which is not good.  This will let me do a proper job.  We also visited the duty free wine shop.  Once we have checked out of the country we can buy wine without duty on it.  The prices end up quite reasonable.  We’ve ordered nearly sixty bottles.  I hope this will be enough.

Today we’re touring the island. Should be fun.