Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Spring cleaning

One of our five sons volunteered to come down to give us a hand moving into the new house. Since he is about six ft. one, young and strong, sounded like a win/win to us. He gets an all expense paid vacation in the tropics, out of New England in February, and we get some imported muscle and technical know-how. His first night in town we took him to the Tiki Hut for dinner. We wanted to see if there were any more fishing tournaments coming up, and the Tiki Hut on Turtle Cove seems to be the center of a lot of this activity.

While we were eating, one of the local residents came up to La Gringa to see if he could panhandle some of her dinner:

She was able to entice him closer by throwing him some bits of shrimp, but he drew the line at what must have been the limit of his comfort zone:

We asked the waitress what kind of bird it was, and she told us it was called a "Gray Bill". I tried looking up a bird called a "graybill", but did not have much luck, so I am thinking that is the local name for it. However I DID manage to find a photo online of what I believe the correct name for this bird, and I am pretty sure its a "Yellow Crowned Night Heron".

I also found a write-up detailing how shy and reclusive these night birds are. Well, stop by the Tiki Hut and offer one some shrimp tails. They get over their shyness. Pretty neat looking bird.

Oh, we did manage to find a poster for the next upcoming fishing tournament, which is later this month:

Although we are still way low on the learning curve on this offshore fishing, and we know we are way under-equipped in regards to fishing tackle and knowledge, we are still toying with the idea of giving this competition a shot. Might be fun. We will be out fishing if the weather is decent, anyhow. Might as well see how we do. We found out that for the $ 200 entry fee, we also get four t-shirts, and a case of Presidente beer. That helps. I am nuts over t-shirts. They constitute about half my total wardrobe. Shorts and flip-flops are the other half.

Yesterday morning we decided to haul the boat out of the water for the first time in almost a year. Despite having some of the best, most toxic bottom paint I could find applied at the factory, since we have moved the boat to the new marina we have noticed a huge increase in the growth of marine life on the hull. I attribute this to the increased nutrient availability in the tidal currents going through Leeward. The bio-fouling had gotten to the point where it was affecting top speed and fuel economy. Plus it looked ugly as hell. So, while we had a young, strong helper staying with us, it seemed a good time to haul, inspect and clean the boat.

We had some advice on the whole procedure from our friend Preacher, who was watching me bring the boat around to the ramp:

We thought about getting Preacher some Crocs for Christmas, but I doubt he would wear shoes except to be polite. What kind of a country is this, where full grown men walk around barefooted all the time??? A really good kind.
This was the first time we have hauled the boat or even used the trailer since we first launched "Cay Lime" in late March last year. Everything went remarkably smoothly. La Gringa backed the trailer down into the water (try that shifting left handed and looking over your left shoulder at the trailer), young son handled the trailer winch, and the whole thing took a few minutes.

I was amazed, actually. No panics, no yelling, no problems.

Well, that's not entirely true. We did have one problem. Personnel at the boatyard had "borrowed" our trailer while we had it stored there. We knew all about this, and they had repaired most of the damage they did to it. However, they neglected to mention to us that in using the trailer to haul someone else's boat, they re-positioned the winch post to fit someone else's boat. Am I being unreasonable to expect that OUR trailer should be adjusted to fit OUR boat? Or that, perhaps, other people should basically not re-configure our boat trailer and use it without our knowledge or permission? (Don't get me started on the boatyard) Well, without going into details, I had to lash the bow down to the trailer to get it home. Otherwise, it wanted to lift the rear end of the Land Rover off the ground. I just took a few wraps between the painter eye and the trailer frame.

I did not have the tools with me to put it back the way it should have been . The lash job got it home. Kind of interesting driving with something trying to lift the rear wheels off the ground. Good thing we have all-wheel drive.

My son was absolutely miserable to be riding around in the tropics in the back of a Land Rover hauling a boat in February. Slight change from being in New England just the day before, shovelling snow and stacking firewood. You can just see the abject misery in his face:

All hooked up and ready to go:

That photo is actually misleading. The ratio of boat:Land Rover looks more like this:

As soon as we got the boat home, we hit the hull with a power washer. Preacher told us it was best to knock the marine life off of it while it was still fresh:

Quite a mess, huh?

Well, that photo explains the new crick in my neck.. I was worried it was because I am old and out of shape. Whew. Want a really strange feeling cheap? Have someone take a photo of the top of your head and then look at it. bizarre. yeah yeah, I know...

Young son climbed all over the boat, pressure washing everything that needed it. It was sure nice to have some imported, enthusiastic, competent help:

We changed the gear oil and spark plugs, hit all the tilt and lift grease fittings, and put a new gasket on the livewell cover. The last chore was to re-paint the trim tabs, which son managed to fit in right before sunset:

(Sure beats shovelling snow in Massachusetts, I hear)

Now the boat is all cleaned up and ready to re-launch. We will be looking for an opportunity to grab a few fishing rods and take it out for a trial run. Or, if the winds keep up, we might just work on the wiring. It's functional ( except the bilge float switch) but ugly.

Oh, and this morning we made a trip out to the house site to meet with the local sat television expert, discussing various programming and dish locations. It's the only way we are going to be able to get television at the new house. La Gringa was going over the options:

(and you thought I might actually get through an entire post without a house photo...)


literacylady said...

Loved your photos of the Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, although I think it should really be called the Tiki Hut Dock Moocher!
On some of our visits to Pine Cay we have sighted one of these herons perched in among the trees on the pond outside Doris's store.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, your son there looks like the epitomy of misery. Oh, to have to endure such miserable conditions...
Come up with a name for the casa yet?

Matt Cook said...

Hey guys,

I really enjoyed your pictures of the boat from a different perspective. Except for your diving pictures of Dooley on the boat where you're in the water, we haven't seen (to my recollection) a full photo of the Andros. Panga right?

Also interesting to see the buildup getting cleaned off of it, nice to have sons for that eh?! We're good for somethings, or so they say.

I hope the moving into the house goes well. We're watching with envious eyes! Goodluck and many thanks for your sharing of paradise with us.

Anonymous said...

Following Preacher's advice and power-washing the hull while it was still "fresh" did the trick. It cut the growth right off it.
Then we touched it up with this really evil bottom paint we use.

Yes, Matt, it's actually called a 'panga hybrid'. I did a lot of research before we picked this boat, trying to find the best combination for what we do, and more importantly, where we are doing it. It's been a real good choice so far. We get a lot of compliments on it from local boatmen, and those are compliments indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hey Gringo, were you able to attend the turks and caicos vs. st. lucia world cup qualifying game? Seems like they are trying to make soccer bigger on the island..

Anonymous said...

Haven't posted since you started using this forum but your still doing a great job!

I may have missed it but was curious when I saw the picture of the trenches for drain pipes being dug in the driveway area. Are the pipes PVC and do they take any steps to place finely crushed material around the pipes before back filling? I would be concerned if stones were to be in contact with the pipes beneath the drive way.