After being stuck a few days at Prickly Bay during the holidays, we thought of making a land tour, which we knew would cheer all of us up. At 10:00 pm on Boxing Day, I urged Al to call Richard, our new driver, to take us from the Prickly Bay Marina. During the day, we had docked there to fill our diesel and water tanks, and encountered a funny story. I was sitting at the fore-deck, filling water, and saw a serious man in a dinghy, driven by a young islander man, who greeted me pleasantly. After five minutes, the dinghy returned, the islander was laughing his head off. He explained that the man had found out after eating at the marina restaurant that, his dinghy was nowhere to be found. He asked the marina owner, a nice Italian man, to help out. So he got his helper to give a ride to the cruiser, to search for his dinghy. Apparently as soon as they rode away, the cruiser saw his dinghy tied to his boat. The man’s partner/friend/co-sailor took the dinghy to the boat, leaving the man at shore without saying anything. We joined the islander in laughter. The marina owner emphasized that, theft of a dinghy would be the last thing to suspect in Grenada. First of all, islander fishermen and water taxi operators use robust wooden boats with very powerful engines; what would they do with our little inflatable devices only fit for a joy ride, maybe.
On Thursday, the 27th, we woke up early to get ready for our road trip; however, Zeynep declared that she did not feel well that morning. We immediately called Richard to reschedule, and he consented. All of us were concerned about Zeynep’s health, and Al suggested returning to the St George’s harbour, so that we would be close to the hospital, not that Deniz would consider a hospital visit in Grenada. It seemed that Zeynep has some discomfort once in a while, which would pass during the day, without any outside intervention.
Nevertheless, the engines fired up, anchor weighed, and we cleared the exit from the bay, and then suddenly the port engine started to beep shrilly, and stopped. Al did not kill the engine, but cut off the electric supply. We started the one hour trip with one engine. There was ample wind, so Deniz unfurled the genoa, which helped a bumpy ride until Saline Point, the south-west corner of the island. After that we had to turn north-east, almost on to the wind to reach the anchoring area. And of course, the anchor was also out of commission, being operated by the port side engine. I suggested picking up a mooring ball, but that was a later concern, after we get there. Deniz was somewhat disappointed with Al, he pointed out that we had forgotten about sailing, and used the engines to keep our route, instead of going with the wind, and tacking when necessary. With a lot of direction from Deniz, we zigzagged our approach to the bay, and furled the genoa, being quite close to some mooring balls. Deniz and I were ready to pick up the ball which was a couple of feet away from my hook, when the starboard side engine stopped, and we started drifting away, onto the moored or anchored boats around. While Deniz suggested immediately pulling up the sails, Al miraculously started the port side engine, and made the final push to the ball. What a relief to be able to pick it! Apparently throughout the trip, the port side engine had been idling along and started when needed it.
After securing the boat, the first thing to do was to find a mechanic. Al made some phone calls, first to Ron, our friend/advisor from Island Water World chandlery to get a contact number. Well, it was the holiday season, the mechanics were busy, etc., etc. Nothing could be done for at least a week or more.
It was up to Al and Deniz to diagnose the problem, so they opened up the housing of the port engine first. Al wanted to jump in as soon as they took the top off, but Deniz urged him to wait in order to prevent burning his feet. Good thing he waited, and immediately saw that the alternator belt was shredded! Al was prepared; he had acquired some replacement parts at the Joma marina in BVI, before starting our passage last year, including belts. They quickly installed the new one, and passed to the starboard engine. Same story there. It remains a mystery why the second belt was also destroyed at the very last moment.
After installing the belts, the moment of truth came when Al started the engines one by one. They purred like kittens (rather lions) while uncovered. Music to soar ears!