Taking the Heat

It is hot in Grenada. Hot, hot, HOT!  At mid-morning, with the door and windows closed, the temperature in the cabin would be around 99 degrees Fahrenheit. A good breeze brings the temperature within tolerable limits. At anchor, the trade winds provide a consistent source of…well, wind. However, tied to a dock in Port Louis Marina, the breeze is both blocked by a mountain and hitting us at the wrong angle. Cooking only compounds the problem. Unless you were born in the tropics, or the Sahara Desert, you will be unable to function efficiently.

We are pretty tough. Six years ago, we survived a summer in Boot Key Harbor, baked by the relentless sun and besieged by the relentless mosquitoes. We lived through that by spending the heat of the day lounging on the trampolines under a shade tent, doing nothing. Needful to say, now we’re older and have school and chores to do, so lounging all day is no longer a viable solution to our little problem. The frustrating thing is that we do have air conditioners capable of bringing the temperature below 85 degrees, and shore power is available. It’s just very, very expensive; 62 cents per kilowatt hour may not sound like much, but it adds up. We could run the generator all day, but that doesn’t bring the cost down much, and it’s annoying.

Despite the various roadblocks, we are winning the battle against the summer heat. Here are some of our strategies:

  1. Shade awnings. We have four large mesh awnings stretched over the cabin top and foredeck by fiberglass broomsticks, and held taut by a complex web of small-diameter lines. It may seem low-tech, but it really helps lower the temperature.
  2. Ice cream. Every week, when mom goes to the store down the road, she brings back a 1-gallon bucket of ice cream (along with the other groceries, of course). This doesn’t directly help keep the cabin cool, but it raises morale while temporarily lowering the body temperature.
  3. Breeze Boosters. This is a special type of wind scoop that does not require the constant use of a halyard for suspension. We have four, and position them over the bedroom hatches in an attempt to funnel whatever wind there might be in to the boat.
  4. Going to the pool. As a general thing, I do not like pools, and this marina’s pool is no exception. However, sometimes it’s just too hot to object, even if the water is lukewarm, cloudy, and feels like you are swimming in lubricating oil.
  5. A/C. We typically run the generator from 7 to 11 PM, to make water and power, so we also run the air conditioners. This counteracts the added heat from mom cooking dinner, and allows us to go to bed nice and cool (I like my room at a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit). We close up the boat, and keep it closed even when the A/C goes off, trying to keep the cold in.
  6. The poor man’s A/C. Take cold shower. Turn on fan. That simple.

If all these methods fail, a visit to the air conditioned marina bathroom, grocery store, or taxi tour will provide some relief until the sun goes down. In the tropics, you have to learn to take the heat.