Yesterday afternoon, Beatitude was gently lowered back into the briny waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There is no question that we were ready for it to happen. Having some electricity on the boat and a portable air-conditioner made “on-the-hard” life tolerable, but a boat is made for the sea and not for terra firma.
The previous four days were spent doing odd jobs on board while the boatyard crew was finishing up their work on our sail drives. Besides changing the seals, we ended up having to replace several of the sail drive parts as well as an engine mount. But, the work is all done at this point. I was finally able to remove our old swivel on our anchor, so I replaced it with our new Mantus swivel. We now have a beefed up anchor and swivel; the windlass is on the way.
We also removed all our extra anchors from our forward lockers and placed them in the center aft lazarette in the cockpit. This makes more sense for a couple of reasons. First of all, if they are needed, they are much more handy and easily retrievable in the new location. Secondly, Beatitude tends to sit a little bow-down in the water. So, we needed to shift some weight from the bow to the stern. By the time we had moved our secondary anchor (a 55-lb. Delta), our kedge anchor (a 37-lb Fortress), and our storm anchor (a 45-lb Brittany) along with about 50 feet of 3/8″ chain and a lot of line, we had moved over 200 pounds of weight aft.
Having expended much physical labor on the previous days, Thursday was dedicated to labor of the mental variety. With longer passages planned ahead, my main goal was to get our satellite communication devices completely figured out and in good working order. We’ve been using (and will continue to use) a handheld Delorme inReach SE Satellite Communicator on our longer passages. This allows others to follow our track. I can send and receive text messages to friends and family and I can post directly to Facebook for the world to see. Recently, weather forecasting has become available for this device, so I spent a few minutes figuring out how to obtain weather forecasts when we are hundreds of miles from shore. There is also an SOS feature which notifies authorities if I am in distress. We really like it. In the last year, we also purchased an Iridium Go! Satellite device which I’ve rarely used (I made a few satellite calls when we were approached by a suspicious skiff en route from Turks and Caicos to Puerto Rico). The Iridium Go! is much more robust that the Delorme. It allows rudimentary web surfing at very slow speeds, but more importantly it serves as a satellite phone. Through an app, my iPhone serves as the satellite phone while signed in to the Iridium onboard network. It works great! The bulk of my time spent working on the Iridium Go! on Thursday was dedicated to setting up the ability to receive weather forecasts while out in the wide-open ocean. This was somewhat more involved than the Delorme. I dowloaded the Predict Wind Offshore App for my laptop which connects to my Iridium Go! network. I then jumped through all the necessary steps to actually make it work. After a few hours, Voila! I tested it and had no problem obtaining weather forecasts and routing advice via satellite for a hypothetical passage from Grenada to Bonaire via satellite (Actually, it’s not all that hypothetical as we plan to make that passage in mid-August).
One of the coolest things to happen in the last four days was our meeting of Peter and Debbie, a pair of Aussies, who happen to be fellow Lagoon 420 owners. We’ve met a couple of current owners before, as well as a couple of previous owners. But, Peter and Debbie, aboard Chat Eau Bleu, are the first we’ve met who’ve crossed oceans in their cat. In fact, they have circumnavigated aboard their 420. With probable ocean passages in our not-too-distant future, it was reassuring to hear how well their vessel handled sailing around the world, including enduring some fairly demanding conditions. They were kind enough to invite us aboard their vessel, where I received a number of ideas about modifications and additions to Beatitude as well as about certain sailing tactics. We also enjoyed a nice evening meal with them at a nearby resort called La Sagesse.
As I said, yesterday we returned to the sea and motored out of St. David’s Harbour for a short 7.5 mile nautical mile passage to another harbour on the south side of Grenada, Mt. Hartman Bay. We actually stopped by the Hog Island Anchorage first, but it was a little too crowded for our tastes, so we continued on to the next. We dropped anchor in about 29 feet of water and settled in for a relaxing day or two in this well-protected anchorage. We splashed Dalí into the water as well for a dinghy ride to the Secret Harbour Marina Restaurant for our evening meal. We shared a pizza and a Croque Madame (a delicious concoction we hadn’t had since visiting France a few years ago.) After dinner, we raced a coming squall to Beatitude. We arrived before the heavy stuff, but did get a little wet.
We’ll hang out in anchorages for a couple of days or so before returning to Port Louis Marina where we will once again leave the boat for two-week trip back to the states.