"I'll hae nae hauf-way hoose but aye be whaur extremes meet..." Hugh McDiarmid

Sunday, 19 April 2015

jamaica stopover

once we got into jamaica, life was quite simple. we did our checks and maintenance, a bit of a clean then had a few days off. once again, it was just me and kate staying on the boat - everyone else headed off to shared houses or nice resorts. the marina was pretty nice, but outside the marina it was a bit of a different story. there weren't really any proper roads. we had been warned not to go to the cash point alone, or into town after dark alone. it didn't sound like a lot of fun. thankfully a few folk were either staying nearby or on the boats, so there were always folk in the bar or by the pool. there was a nice little beach a short walk away, but still in the marina so that was cool.

food wise I struggled a bit in jamaica. I ate a lot of chips and toast, and not a lot else. they did quite a good rice and peas (black beans) which was good but not particularly interesting. I heard about a vegetarian restaurant a bit of a walk away and decided to head out there one afternoon.

it was a bit of a trek, through town and along the coast. beyond the other restaurants and bars folk had mentioned. but eventually I found it. the guy who owned it was very excited to meet another vegan! he'd been vegan for 30 years or more and was more than happy to make me whatever I wanted. I opted for whatever he recommended and he headed off to the kitchen with a big smile on his face. the view from my table was beautiful, looking out over the bay on the other side of the marina.

the view from the one and only vegetarian restaurant in jamaica

the kitchen, seats and local dude who just hung out the whole time

coconut water doesn't come much fresher than this :)

the place itself was basically just a shack on the beach, but he made great food and I was hungry! when he asked me if I wanted a coconut water to drink, I replied yes please! not expecting him to just climb the nearest tree and chop down a coconut for me. after he lopped the top off, he stuck a straw in it and handed it over. it doesn't get much fresher than that!

the rest of the stopover was just lounging around in the saloon waiting for the rain to stop in the morning, then lounging around on deck in the afternoon once it was dry. there was a bit of helping out the maintenance boys but not too much :)

greg was wanting to tune the rig in jamaica, and decided what we needed to do was jack the mast up. this is a fairly exciting thing to do, as it involves slacking off both the shrouds, forestay and backstay, then literally lifting the mast out of its socket in the compartment forward of the galley. there is a lot of weight and pressure involved, but greg let me do it anyway under his supervision. awesome.

once we'd got the mast up, he tensioned the shrouds properly. he'd been waiting to do it for a while and hadn't been that happy with the tension before. one of our D shrouds had been a bit saggy on the way up to jamaica so he was rectifying that. since our forestay had been reiamgined in hong kong, nothing had been quite right.

after the extra tension had been applied, we both went back below deck to lower the mast back into position. the mast sits on spacer plates and I was putting them back in. to do this you have to be in the forward head, under the sink. interesting times... greg got quite nervous about me putting my hands somewhere stupid (under the mast) but once the plates were positioned, he eased the mast back onto them. once it had been dropped, it was back up on deck to apply the last bit of tension to the shrouds.

eventually we had to leave jamaica and head to new york. exciting for me as that's where my parents and leigh were going to meet me! as usual on leaving day, everything goes a bit mental and stuff is loaded onto boats right up until we slip lines. greg left us to look after his rigging gear, and asked us to cover it so it didn't get too wet before it was loaded onto a boat. we stuck a bin liner over a large suitcase, and his rigging bag. I decided this combo looked a bit too much like a toilet so we took some photos of greg...

there is a story behind this, I promise you

made better with the addition of a random men's magazine we found on the boat...

after this, we slipped and headed out to the le mans start line. not too long before I'd see my family!!

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