Daily Archives: July 11, 2013

That’s the sound of the chain gang

We awoke this morning to a stench that neither of us could describe. This is the kind of dilemma that would naturally bother Marce more than me. I find that her finely honed olfactory is skewed more toward detecting the offensive spectrum, and she’s good at it. There’s a small river or creek that feeds into the head waters of Clarkes Court Bay, which is where we are anchored, that if you dinghied up you’d find a small shack rum distillery. They discharge every Monday. Sometimes I think the locals sit back and wait with a sly smile on their faces.


Across the Bay is Clarkes Court Bay Marina run by Bob and that is where Budget Marine wanted to deliver our new expensive Italian anchor chain. Bob said just pull right up and the wheelbarrow is around back. I told him I’d give him our old rusty chain. Nice guy, that Bob.

Marce called Budget and they said sure, we’ll be there in an hour. An hour! We have three hours worth of work to do but you can’t say no so it’s back to Escape Velocity and a frenzy of activity to up anchor and run over to the T dock and tie up, something we hadn’t done in so long we’d forgotten where the docklines were.



Luckily the day before at his birthday celebration in a charming little open air restaurant called Little Dipper up on a steep hillside, our dear friend Mark from Macushla foolishly volunteered to help and was soon knee deep in some heavy lifting.


EV didn’t give up her old rusty chain without a fight. I pulled every foot of nasty old chain, in reality only four years old, out of the chain locker, unbolted the bitter end, and passed the chain over to Mark to be wheelbarrowed down the dock for Bob.


The new chain was inspected and piled up in the wheelbarrow, once again with Mark grabbing the heavy handles, a terrible strain all the way down the dock.


It was at about this time that we found out that the beefy stainless steel anchor swivel that was bolted to the anchor was not interested in being unbolted. Upon closer inspection we found the swivel was no longer serviceable so a temporary shackle was pressed into duty.


We measured the new chain and marked it in 25-foot increments.



After changing the chain gypsy back to the old one, which I’ve been assured is the correct one for our new silvery expensive Italian chain, I pushed the up button on the windlass and wound in 275 feet of new chain out of the wheelbarrow on the dock into the chain locker on EV in a couple of minutes. Only a long distance cruiser could be excited about this.

We’d decided to re-anchor down the bay to avoid stench, flies, and no wifi, in no particular order. If you’re reading this then we were successful but the jury is still out on any improvement in anchoring efficiency.

We capped the day off at Bob’s happy hour with burgers, fries, and Caribes. It seemed like a family reunion when crew after crew of fellow Mantas and other friends started climbing the three steps into the octagonal bar. Hugs, hardy handshakes, manly back slaps, and lots of smiles. Great fun. Wish you were here.



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Moving and shaking



We were torn. We love the view and the clean clear water of St. George’s, not to mention the grocery store has its own dinghy dock. But we have friends in Prickly Bay and in Clarkes Court Bay, not easily accessible from the St. George’s anchorage. Then we learned that Sue on Macushla was making a month-long trip back to the UK so the decision was made for us. We wanted to see her before she left, and to be near Mark who would be alone on Macushla for the duration. We said goodbye to St. George’s for the time being, weighed anchor and motored the nine miles directly into the wind to Clarkes Court Bay. We motored up to Macushla, yelled a hello to the surprised crew and dropped the hook not far behind them. Tropical storm Chantal was making noise and we felt this location offered better protection than the open waters of St. George’s.

Mark and Sue dinghied over to tell us it was Mark’s birthday and invited us to celebratory lunch at the Little Dipper on a tiny balcony up a very steep incline with a beautiful view of the anchorage.


It was great to catch up with them, but sad that we’ll lose Sue for a while. Later that evening they joined us on Escape Velocity for after dinner painkillers and our first batch of mango coconut sorbet. It was perfect and I feel sorry for cruisers without a freezer!

We are now well entrenched in the cruisers’ activity realm and we took advantage of one of the shopping buses that depart the various marinas for set routes to the bank, chandleries and grocery stores. We figured the higher cost relative to a city bus was actually a good deal given that this was a round trip and on city buses we’d have to take several different buses to get to all of those places and it would take the better part of a day. Our reasoning was sound but we were not prepared for the impatience and less than chipper mood of some of the other cruisers.


To be fair, at the chandlery we decided to pull the trigger on new anchor chain and the process took a while, so long in fact that the bus driver came looking for us, apparently because the other shoppers were getting restless. When we finally rejoined them our apologies were met with frosty stares, and later they continued to express their displeasure by piling their grocery bags on our seats.


We’re finding it hard to feel bad about this while we’re catching up with old friends and checking out a new neighborhood.

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