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Great Expectations

Feb 2, 2010


Location: Prickly Bay, Grenada
Author: Eric
The crew of Ocean Star awakened this morning, filled with hope at the promise of a day underway that only the first of the month can bring. As breakfast ended, we would haul anchor, set sails and head north, leaving behind the beautiful shores of Grenada for the balmy sands of Carriacou. But it was not to be. The first setback of the morning came when we discovered that our spare propane tank, so vital to the preparation of delicious and nutritious meals on board, could not be picked up from being filled until 9am, when the lady who ran the small Laundromat (and propane filling service) in the Marina arrived for work. So much for our plans for an early getaway! No sooner was the propane on board than the anchor team was on the bow, hands ready on the windlass. Now, at last, we could proceed. Perhaps we would not be in Carriacou quite as early as we had hoped, but we could still look forward to playing a game of Frisbee or Soccer on the sandy shore. Kevin, our intrepid Captain, stepped below to check the engine which would power us out of the anchorage. On the bow, we waited, tense with anticipation. Suddenly, a message came – The anchor team could stand down, there was a slight delay. I joined Kevin in the engine room, only to discover, to my dismay, that he had discovered a small crack in our exhaust – this was a serious issue. Neck deep into the dirt and grease we dove, hoping to find an easy solution. But alas, the only answer was to replace the hose – no easy proposition when dealing with recalcitrant steel reinforced rubber. We sprung into action! Removing the old hose required disassembling a section of the exhaust, but this was no barrier to your intrepid heroes, merely a challenge, a call to battle. Simultaneously a new hose was sought, first in the darkest bowels of the vessel, the bilges and the lower lazarette, then in the chandleries which line Grenada’s scented shores. Soon a new part was procured and cut to size, the old hose was removed and the exhaust rebuilt. But for naught were we ready to leave that morning, for it was no afternoon and Carriacou would have to wait for another day. Still, not all was lost. The shipmates practiced knot tying, doing battle with such elusive and devious entities as the sheet bend, rolling hitch, the dreaded bowline and for some brave souls, the dreaded hunter’s bend and carrick bend. The lines flew and smoked, fingers knitted intricate patterns and when the dust settled, a new appreciation (and skill) was to be found. As morn turned to afternoon, bold Casey leapt into action, planning and plotting the creation of the ROV, a small remote controlled submarine, that the marine biology class is constructing this semester. Soon, planning over, they moved onto the noble stages of waterproofing motors, the very heart of any underwater machine, the lifeforce that moves them through the water. As the day drew to a close, we gathered together for dinner, some sweaty and greasy, some flushed from the thrill of intellectual pursuits, others with thumbs sore and fingers chafed from long hours of bowlines and all grateful to have enjoyed another beautiful day in the Caribbean.