18 – 28 October 2014: Mt Hartman Bay to St Georges, Grenada: 12 02N 61 45W
Just on a year ago when we were stranded in Annapolis awaiting engine repairs we decided to remove our troublesome eutectic engine driven refrigeration system and move to a 12 volt unit.
We purchased a Dometic All in One “Cool Box” and have been extremely happy with it. Our plan was always to integrate into the galley by removing the existing freezer box and fridge, cut a big hole in the bench top and pop it in. But as we found out when we needed to replace the hot water cylinder in Thailand, Balvenie has been built strong and from the inside out ….. there was just no way that the existing fridge and freezer were leaving this boat!!!
The choices were to leave Frieda the fridge/freezer coolbox plonked in the middle of the salon floor for the rest of our cruising days or part with copious amounts of money and convert our existing units to 12 volt. Refrigeration expert Stuart at Palm Tree Marine was very highly recommended, and we went with his recommendation of a Frig-o-boat system, one unit for the fridge and a larger one for the freezer. We could get the units FedEx’ed in from the USA in under a week and then it would be a 3 - 4 hour job attaching the plates to the inside of our existing units, and drilling a hole through for the pipes to the compressor. Sounds easy and he does it all the time.
The parts arrived, as did Stuart and young apprentice Jim to install them – 2 days, several broken drill bits and other pieces of mangled machinery later the units were installed. Did I mention Balvenie is rather solid? For those of you interested, we could have purchased 13 of the fridge/freezers we recently bought for the flat in London for the same price!!!!! We are very happy with the performance of the fridge, jury is still out on the freezer, but when we are having temperatures of over 35c constantly in the salon its hard work for a freezer.
Escaping the Marina
The next few days were spent frantically finishing off things, I spent 3 days slaving over a hot sewing machine doing major restitching, repairs and waterproofing on our dodger and canopy. Mark serviced both our outboards and discovered that our 8hp’s shaft which was badly damaged when it was hit back in Mexico had seized up. A little like not being able to turn your car steering wheel, ok until you get to a corner!!! He spent hours trying to get it fixed and a half hearted job has been done by a local company and will do for now.
Finally we were ready enough to leave the dock, we were squeezed into a corner and exiting was no mean feat. With 7 ashore walking and helping to turn Balvenie we successfully snuck out between mooring lines and yachts, the lines have been severed for another season.
Breaking In Gently
We spent a couple of nights at anchor in Mt Hartman Bay just outside the marina, easing ourselves back in slowly. Then we broke free and motored 8 miles in no wind around to St Georges, the main town on Grenada. Sitting peacefully at anchor supping on a chilled rum cocktails watching the most amazing collection of cloud formations as the sun set on our first anchorage of the season, magic.
We Are Cruising Again