A Vacation? Or an Adventure?

We’ve been back in the Spice Island for five days now. A cruiser was asked the same question we’ve been asked on multiple occasions, “What do you do all day on the boat?” The reply: “I don’t know, but it takes all day to do it!” That’s pretty accurate. The days pass swiftly, and despite being busy all day there is little to show for it, at least at a cursory glance.

Showers from Beatitude's cockpit

Showers from Beatitude’s cockpit

Everything — I repeat, Everything! — always takes much longer to do and is much more involved when living on a boat in a foreign country. A crisis has arisen regarding my next scheduled work time in Maine at the end of July. My temporary Maine license expires on July 9th. I can’t renew the temporary license because I’ve already done so once and there is a two-time limit. So, we are scrambling to obtain a 100-day emergency license while applying for a full license. I was emailed applications which I’ve since printed and completed. (Thankfully, we have wifi and a printer/scanner aboard.) Yesterday morning, Cindy and I took Dalí over to the carenage and walked through town looking for a notary to notarize a couple of the pages. While dodging rain showers, we walked to a total of six lawyers’ offices (Who knew there were that many lawyers in Grenada!) before we found a notary. Each of the first five had notaries, but none were in. We then dinghied back over to the lagoon, tied to a dinghy dock, and walked to the FedEx office to overnight the paperwork back to the States. I then fought with poor wifi to complete an online application, scanning in several supporting documents in the process. What fun!

A rainy morning to find a notary.

A rainy morning to find a notary.

Dalí at one of the dinghy docks, our marina in the background.

Dalí at one of the dinghy docks, our marina in the background.

Groceries - From the shelves to the dinghy dock.

Groceries – From the shelves to the dinghy dock.

It’s the rainy season here in the tropics. Everyday, we get rain. Sometimes we get a few hours of extended rain — or extended sunshine. But, it is not unusual to have an ongoing cycle of twenty minutes of rain, followed by twenty minutes of clouds, followed by twenty minutes of bright sunshine. In between the showers, we’ve been busy trying to accomplish a few boat chores. Part of that is the ongoing requisite cleaning of the interior and exterior (the exterior is in serious need of some intensive TLC). We’ve also tried to repair all the leaky hatches. Prior to our last departure for the U.S., we rebedded one hatch, while temporarily sealing the gaps in the seals of several others. The replacement seals which I purchased for two of the windows arrived during our absence. The instructions and the YouTube videos talk about how easy the job is to replace the seals. Don’t believe a word of it! On my boat, I’d have to completely remove and reinstall the hatches to replace the seals. After a couple of frustrating hours of accomplishing nothing, I decided we’d see how the temporary repairs hold up. I have the seals on hand if the leaking resumes. Yesterday, we completely replaced one of the hatches whose locking mechanism was broken. Additionally, I’ve removed and replaced the forward inspection hatch which was cracked and letting in buckets of salt water as the waves wash over the bow, which in turn shorts out my navigation lights. I attempted to upgrade our anchor swivel to a new heavy-duty Mantus swivel, but after much time and even more frustration, I gave up. I couldn’t remove the old swivel as the screw was frozen. Several applications of PB Blaster didn’t help. I’ll tackle it another day with a bigger tool.

Removing the broken/leaking hatch.

Removing the broken/leaking hatch.

The new hatch fully installed.

The new hatch fully installed.

The leaking-like-a sieve forward inspection port

The leaking-like-a sieve forward inspection port

The old inspection port.

The old inspection port.

The new inspection port.

The new inspection port.

Our old anchor swivel and the offending screw

Our old anchor swivel and the offending screw

All of the foregoing brings me to address the title of this post. Are we on a permanent vacation? I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually spend my vacation struggling with arduous and frustrating chores. So, no… this is not an extended vacation. Obviously, however, if you’ve been following our blog, we (most of the time) enjoy ourselves immensely. We feel so blessed to live on the water in our own “home,” able to move from place to place as we desire. We have more than our share of sitting on white sandy beaches, swimming in crystal clear waters, snorkeling and diving with the sea life, enjoying dinners in seaside restaurants, fishing off the back of our vessel… and the list goes on and on.

One afternoon Cindy took inventory of all of our foodstuffs which are scattered throughout the boat, some beneath a bed in the guest hull, some in wall cabinets in the guest hull, some in compartments in the salon settees, others in various cabinets in the galley.  What a chore!

One afternoon Cindy took inventory of all of our foodstuffs which are scattered throughout the boat, some beneath a bed in the guest hull, some in wall cabinets in the guest hull, some in compartments in the salon settees, others in various cabinets in the galley. What a chore!

Cindy's latest crocheted creation.

Cindy’s latest crocheted creation.

But this life we’ve chosen is more than a vacation, it is an adventure, replete with challenges, some of which are quite taxing. We must continually be attuned to the weather. We must be vigilant about boat maintenance (sails and rigging, motors, electrical, plumbing, water, etc). We are no longer sailing in the relatively protected waters of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay, but every passage from here forward involves facing the awesome power of the open ocean. There is an inherent danger involved in navigating the seas, so we must be careful. We must research the passages to future ports, as well as the ports themselves, to insure our safety and compliance with local laws and requirements for clearance into the country. On top of this, since I’m still working part-time, I have to deal with the red tape of licensing and staff-privileges in various states and in various hospitals and jumping through the necessary hoops to maintain a practice in medicine. This also requires coordinating travel back and forth to the states with our cruising plans.

The Rainy Season.  Now that our hatches aren't leaking, its quite pleasant being inside listening to the rain.

The Rainy Season. Now that our hatches aren’t leaking, its quite pleasant being inside listening to the rain.

I guess I’ve said all of this now because for the past five days, we’ve done little but work and stress and plan. We’ve had no time for island touring (although that is still to come). We did manage to spend a few minutes in the pool yesterday afternoon, once the bulk of my licensing crisis had been dealt with. We’ve enjoyed each other’s company and watched a couple of movies in the evenings. If you are interested in a permanent vacation, living and cruising on a boat is not recommended. If you’d like an amazing, challenging adventure, then this may be the life for you. For the foreseeable future, at least, it is the life for us. The challenge of living aboard and cruising from country to country is a rewarding one. More challenges lie ahead — and we look forward to meeting them.

More beautiful tropical rainfall.

More beautiful tropical rainfall.

Tomorrow, we move temporarily to the southeast side of the island. Since tomorrow (Friday) has the lightest winds for the next several days, we’ll head over to St. David’s Harbor in preparation for a haul-out on Monday, July 4th, for more serious boat-repairs.

Camp Kennerdell, Pennsylvania

Eleven days ago we boarded our Delta jet to fly over two-thousand miles back to Atlanta and then on to our respective destinations: Cindy to Ohio, Barry to Maine. The increasing distances covered by our flights back to the U.S.A. reflect the reality that Beatitude and her crew are cruising further and further from home.

I have three more shifts to work in the emergency department here in Biddeford, Maine before Cindy and I fly back to our lonely vessel in St. George, Grenada. It’s unnecessary to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I’m really looking forward to our return.

Sandwiched between five-day runs of work, I flew back to Ohio over the weekend for a few days. Most of that time was spent with our two daughters at Camp Kennerdell, located along the Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania. We drove over from Ohio on Friday afternoon for a weekend of fun and relaxation. Julie and Tracy, who live in New Castle, about an hour away from their camp, have a really nice setup on the campground, complete with an RV, deck, campfire, and ATVs. They were gracious enough to host Cindy and I, as well as our younger daughter and her fiancé, Murilo.

Allegheny River

Allegheny River

P1000008

P1000030

Cindy and Julie at the Kennerdell Scenic Overlook

Cindy and Julie at the Kennerdell Scenic Overlook

The whole gang at the scenic overlook

The whole gang at the scenic overlook

We had a wonderful time. Julie and Tracy cooked wonderful meals. We made and ate smores around the campfire each night. We set off fireworks both evenings. We played corn hole to our hearts’ content. Lilah (Julie’s dog) and Penny (Mariah’s dog) played together like best friends all weekend. We enjoyed watching them frolic and loving on them when we could. We took lawn chairs and sat out in the shallow waters of the Allegheny River to cool down in the heat of the day. We visited the beautiful Freedom Falls, not far from the campgrounds. We played games and otherwise enjoyed being able to spend rare time with both Mariah and Julie (and their significant others). And, of course, we had a blast ATVing around the countryside. It was a great weekend with our loved ones.

P1000223

P1000215

We ATVed to Rattlesnake Rock, overlooking the Allegheny.

We ATVed to Rattlesnake Rock, overlooking the Allegheny.

The kids in the icy waters beneath Freedom Falls

The kids in the icy waters beneath Freedom Falls

I, of course, had to climb to the top of the falls to photograph the gang below.

I, of course, had to climb to the top of the falls to photograph the gang below.

Kissing beneath the falls.

Kissing beneath the falls.

Julie, showering, in the cold, cold water of the falls.

Julie, showering, in the cold, cold water of the falls.

P1000132

Sitting atop Freedom Falls

Sitting atop Freedom Falls

A family gathering in the river.

A family gathering in the river.

Mariah and Penny in the river.

Mariah and Penny in the river.

Lilah sitting on a chair in the river.  Look at that drool!

Lilah sitting on a chair in the river. Look at that drool!

Penny taking herself for a walk.

Penny taking herself for a walk.

Smores!

Smores!

Loved spending time with our two daughters.

Loved spending time with our two daughters.

Campfire

Campfire

Cindy and Tracy playing corn hole.

Cindy and Tracy playing corn hole.

Look at that form!

Look at that form!

Cool little camper we passed. Are those fins original or added?

Cool little camper we passed. Are those fins original or added?

Lilah and Penny

Lilah and Penny

P1000017

Murilo and Mariah

Murilo and Mariah

Playing fetch with Lilah

Playing fetch with Lilah

IMG_6107

Julie and Tracy

Julie and Tracy

On Saturday, we fly back to Grenada where we plan to hang out for the next four weeks before I return to earn a little more money. We’ll do some island touring and boat repair during that time, interspersed with the requisite dining, drinking, and relaxation.

Julie and I love to play Jeopardy when we're together.  Mariah assuming the role of Alex.

Julie and I love to play Jeopardy when we’re together. Mariah assuming the role of Alex.

I was blessed to be with my daughters on Father's Day.  A Father's Day hug.

I was blessed to be with my daughters on Father’s Day. A Father’s Day hug.

Hanging Out in Grenada

We’ve settled into a somewhat regular routine over the last ten days in Grenada. Once we’re sufficiently awake, we head out for a walk to get a little exercise and burn a few calories. We usually walk 2.5-3 miles each morning, although on one morning we walked for over 5.5 miles. Cindy’s knee is holding up great! She wouldn’t have been able to do that before her knee replacement.

These trees have got to be among the most beautiful on earth!

These trees have got to be among the most beautiful on earth!

A look across the Carenage into downtown St. George

A look across the Carenage into downtown St. George

Mmmm... The Chocolate Store in St. George's.

Mmmm… The Chocolate Store in St. George’s.

A fellow-cruiser told us we had to have these chocolate shakes at the chocolate store (made with coconut milk).  They were wonderful!

A fellow-cruiser told us we had to have these chocolate shakes at the chocolate store (made with coconut milk). They were wonderful!

Walking through Sendall Tunnel to get back to the Carenage

Walking through Sendall Tunnel to get back to the Carenage

We return from our walk, have brunch, do a few boat chores and take care of a variety of practical matters. Then, around 3 p.m., we walk up to the pool for a brief respite from the tropical heat. Afterwards, we’ll have dinner and hang out on board for the evening. We’ve met some new friends and enjoyed hanging out with them.

Making Pancakes for Lunch

Making Pancakes for Lunch

Shrimp Linguini aboard Beatitude.

Shrimp Linguini aboard Beatitude.

An evening out at the Dodgy Dock on True Blue Bay with fellow cruisers.

An evening out at the Dodgy Dock on True Blue Bay with fellow cruisers.

Joanie and Eric, with their visiting daughter, Mackenzie.

Joanie and Eric, with their visiting daughter, Mackenzie.

Chris and Julie

Chris and Julie

Barry and Cindy

Barry and Cindy

Among the boat chores we’ve checked off our to-do-list: We purchased a 2 x 10, ten-foot-long plank to make exiting and entering Beatitude from the quay a little easier. We’ve removed and re-embedded a leaky hatch (so far, it seems to have stopped the leak). We’ve caulked a couple of more until we can get replacement seals for the hatches. We’ve re-drilled and re-screwed some stripped and loose screws on both the interior and exterior of the boat. And, most importantly, we’ve arranged for several other tasks to be accomplished. I’ve contacted the Garmin folks and have high hopes that perhaps our non-functioning electronics will be fixed. We’ve ordered a new mainsail (our present one has seen its better days and has had numerous patches and repairs in the past). We’ve had a mechanic look at the sail-drive oil leak and have scheduled a time for Beatitude to be hauled out for sail-drive maintenance and seal replacement when we return. We’ve ordered a hatch to replace one which is irreparable. We’ve ordered an upgraded windlass. When we almost doubled our anchor size, we hoped the windlass would be up to the task. But, almost every time we raise anchor, the windlass overheats and trips the breaker (sometimes more than once.) So, we’re getting a more powerful windlass to handle the increased loads. We’ve also arranged for our saloon and cockpit tables to be refurbished. Nine years of salt and sun have taken their toll on them.

Dalí is our "car", or in this case, our "truck."  We are hauling lumber back to Beatitude from Hubbard's Lumber Yard on the Carenage.

Dalí is our “car”, or in this case, our “truck.” We are hauling lumber back to Beatitude from Hubbard’s Lumber Yard on the Carenage.

Re-embedding a leaky hatch

Re-embedding a leaky hatch

Cindy, preparing the hatch to be reinstalled.

Cindy, preparing the hatch to be reinstalled.

IMG_8654

Drilling new holes to finally fix the loose screws over the helm station

Drilling new holes to finally fix the loose screws over the helm station

This afternoon, we are boarding planes at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, located just a few miles from the marina, for our flights back to the United States. I’ll be flying to Maine to work, while Cindy flies to Ohio to visit family. We’ve had the past six weeks to cruise from St. Martin all the way down the West Indies to Grenada. We’ve had some great experiences along the way. Our vessel is now south of the main hurricane belt for the summer. We’ll leave it for a couple of weeks before returning later this month to spend more time exploring the spice isle, a.k.a., Grenada.

Port Louis Marina

Port Louis Marina

Cindy... walking the plank!

Cindy… walking the plank!