Friday, November 27, 2015


While we were still in Canada, about two months previously, Al read somewhere that the submerged volcano in the middle of the way to Carriacou, Kick 'em Jenny, started some rumbles, and degassing activity. The underwater volcano is active and the peak is slowly rising, closer to the surface (500 feet since the last eruption). When any activity is detected in the volcano, the no-sail zone radius is increased from 1.5 miles to 5 miles, which obstructs the usual route, since there are a series of small islands on the edge of the small zone. In order to avoid the dangerous area, people have to take a route about 10 miles to the west  of the normal one, and come back to Carriacou, which is a little to the north east of Grenada. Alternately, one can follow the north coast of Grenada to the east, and pass from the east of the small islands. This route is closer to Carriacou, however, getting there is the problem; wind, current and waves are on the nose. In normal conditions, the wind is quite strong, pronounced by the island effect, and boaters seldom pick that route. But this time, the wind and waves were the mildest we had ever seen, so Al did not change his decision of taking the easterly route, even though we saw at least 5-6 boats before us, picking  the westerly one.

We were looking around to check out the eastern sides of the small islands (Diamond rock, Round Rock, Sisters, Les Tantes on the north, London Bridge on the southeast side etc) and taking pictures, having a good time.

 Then I tried to wash my hands, and saw that there was no water at the tap. I asked Al if he had turned off the water pump, but he had not. Al looked around on the inside, switched the pump to the other tank, but got no water. Then he went to the lockers at the bow to feel the tanks. When he tapped on the tanks, he saw that they both were empty, and the bilge pump was also working. Mystery to the max, didn't we fill both of them the last thing the night before? having used up all the water was not a possibility. Since we were motoring all the way, we did not hear the bilge pump working, I only saw its light flashing while passing by the control panel. It appeared that we had emptied our tanks into the sea while motoring the last few hours.

The pleasent trip turned into another anxious wait until we reached Carriacou, where a boatyard is getting established in the recent years. I checked Doyle, and saw that there were a number of mechanics servicing big boats. I was sure that somebody would give us a hand to find the problem.

We reached Tyrrell Bay around 3:30 pm, and anchored. First thing to do is to clear out of Grenada. Luckily Customs and Immigration is next to the boatyard. The clearence procedure did not take long, and we managed to climb the second floor of the Customs building to speak with the boatyard office. It was 4:30 pm on a Friday. Half an hour later everybody would leave to party!

Anyway, when we explained our problem to the nice receptionist girl at the office, somebody sitting behind her told us to follow him to the boatyard. We found a small group of guys puttering about a shed. Our guide explained the problem to one of them, and he told us to weigh anchor immediately and get tied to the fuel dock, so that we could put some water into the tanks and see where it was disappearing to.
We rushed back, I pulled the anchor, tied the fenders in a flash and gave the lines to the attendant. The problems are never ending, but thankfully the remedy is not too far off! I asked the fuel dock attendant if we could stay the night there, and he said yes. I hate anchoring in the dark, expecially at such a crowded anchorage like Tyrrell Bay! Who knows when the problem would be fixed?

The nice plumber/mechanic came to the boat, got us get some water into the tanks, and started looking systemmatically, at the tanks, the pipes, the bilge etc., discussing with Al. I was beat, and wished to splash some water and get away from the nerve wrecking situation. I gathered my tablet etc., and headed to the small restaurant beside the boatyard. Al knew where to find me when they finished.

I could see Al walking about the boat, and before half an hour, he came by, beaming. The problem was the hose, bringing water from both of the tanks to the hot water tank, being unhooked. Because the leak was before the lines reached the pump, it was not turning on automaatically to maintain the pressure; that would actually give us a clue of a problem with water systems while on the way. Why and  how the water line to the heater disconnected? Nobody knows. Fixing it was the easiest thing in the world, all he had to do was to put it in and clamp it. He asked for 100.- EC ($50.- Canadian) for his trouble, but Al was so happy, gave him a tip. Phew, that was close.

One more night at a marina, listening to the lines being jerked about, and giving out those awful periodic sounds as the boat rolls with the waves. Above all else, the creshendo of the crackling. Tyrrell Bay was the worst for the noise coming from the hulls. According to the Internet wisdom, the crustaceans were rampant in shallow and warm waters. The boatyard in Tyrrell Bay is at the shallowest end, which could explain the activity.

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