On the Hook

Three months alongside at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia came to an end. The dock lines were thrown off and we made our way out of the lagoon, down the channel to the wide bay and dropped the hook in the clear warm waters of Rodney Bay. It was good to get underway again, even if only for a short time. The weather was fine and the fair winds made the journey all that was to be expected. Twenty minutes after leaving the dock we were securely anchored. A new view and new neighbors, although there are only a few boats out here.

On the way to the bay!

No doubt we are getting old. Time seems to fly by. Three months seemed like a few days. Difficult to remember exactly what we did during that time. Read a number of books, saw many YouTube videos, watched Netflix and Amazon, went swimming, did some M&R, ordered take out, saw fellow cruisers from 6 feet away, video chatted with family and friends and tracked the spread of a pandemic in real time. And watched the news from around the world.

Deja Vue all over again. Wasn’t it about 60 years ago we watched rockets blast off into space while demonstrators marched in our cities? Street fires blazed and riot police filled the TV screen. Only now we watch it on computers and telephones. How far have we progressed? Our inhumanity remains, only the space suits look better.

So, we set the hook in the rocky bottom of the bay. It looks well set so I don’t foresee Kalunamoo  wandering off in the middle of the night. We can still go ashore for provisions and takeout. More restaurants are opening with limited seating. The pandemic still looms hidden while our masked faces shield us from an uncertain fate. The fact that the stealthy virus can spread undetected and that most people will not be unduly affected really tests our ability to show empathy to those we don’t know. Protocols are followed lest we become the bearers of other people’s misfortune, or maybe, even our own. The rewards of virtue go unrewarded, but as my dad told me years ago, virtue is its own reward. The hook secures us to the seabed, tethered, if you will, to a world that shrugs at our plight.

Places are Opening!

That hook is no match to tempests that brew over the horizon. The last blog laid out the recent history of hurricanes in this area. It may have had much more information that you wanted! But much like the virus, only a small percentage of all the inhabitants may be affected. But what precautions and what arrangements are made by all! I suppose that is because there is a history that goes back to before recorded history. It takes a lot of repeating to get humans to really learn the lessons of life.

We will seek out a safe harbor before such a tempest comes forth. The marina here actually welcomes  boats back seeking shelter if a storm targets the island. Rodney Bay Marina is well protected in the lagoon with new floating and fixed docks so it could be a good place to stay if a hurricane does come.

We still plan to go to Trinidad, eventually, but they are being very conservative in opening their boarders to outsiders. Unlike the other islands down here, Trinidad has a much larger population, about 10 times as large as East Caribbean Islands, and doesn’t rely on tourists for foreign income. Most boats going to Trinidad, in fact, do so not because they are “tourists” but because of the marine facilities and services provided. I expect that by the end of June we should be there. Hopefully, air flights would resume sometime in July. In any case, the question of the future path of the pandemic is really an unknown so we will just have to wait and see.

Ready for underwater gardening

Sitting in a marina or even sitting on the hook for extended periods of time (measured in weeks) allows marine growth to really take hold on the under-water body of the boat. Even with anti-foul bottom paint, sitting still turns the bottom into a marine farm. At anchor, weekly wiping down the bottom keeps it clean (just like mowing the lawn except you do it underwater). When in the marina, I generally don’t like to get into the water. Besides the questionable water quality, it is usually not very clear so that visibility is very limited. After 3 months in the marina I could only imagine what the bottom looked like. On the way to anchor you could tell by boat speed that there was substantial growth. I was surprised when I dove on it at anchor that it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. The propeller did grow oysters and there were big barnacle patches, but I’ve seen worse. A thin grass line at the water line was the only grass. A month in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua produced more growth. Well, a few days of exercise and the bottom will be good to go. Literally.

In the meanwhile, the breezes at anchor temper the increasingly warmer air. The sun has been north of here for almost a month now, not to retreat south until the middle of August. That means we had to shift our sunshades to the port side of the boat. With wind always out of the east, the boat faces east at anchor. The sun, May to August therefore transits the sky to the north of us on our port side. Life returns to life on the hook.

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