Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tropical Regression

I 'd like to take a half hour or so of your time  just to report all the fantastic fun stuff we did this week.  I really would.  But my nose would probably grow to the point where I'd run out of seat adjustment in the car if I did. Because it's been another week of working on the boat.  And if I listed all of the images that come to my mind when I think of refitting this old boat, fun is not really on the list.  Not on the first few pages of it, anyway.  Maybe it gets more fun later in the game.  I'll check back at half time.

There are other things going on around us, of course.  We had some shifting winds this week, clocking around all over the place.  When this happens after a weather system passes by we get strong winds from the south for a brief period.  A day or two. Several of the  northbound cruisers who  had been waiting for just such a weather window threw up the sash and dove through it when it finally opened.  A couple of nice fast Beneteau monohulls left first.

Then a few minutes later I stuck my head back up through the hatch when I heard the family in the heavily loaded catamaran leave.

And one of the other boats had set sail immediately outside the bouys. We don't often see cruisers hoist a sail so soon out of the marina.  It's tricky maneuvering through coral heads and shallow water. This captain's name is Mitch.  He does stuff like this.  All the time.   He ran aground on the way in.  I guess we all do, sooner or later.    We already have.  There, Mitch.  Feel better?

Then a big catamaran left, and a little while later the last small monohull cruiser in the marina pulled out, and left us in the middle of a string of empty slips.

For a half an hour.  Until the last cruiser discovered that their rudder was apparently not working correctly.  To the point that they needed help getting back to the dock.

A couple of the guys working on the dredging program outside Southside Marina brought their crippled monohull back in, by backing in.  All the way in.   Hey, it worked.   They got them safely back to the dock and I won't even elaborate on the little series of mishaps they went through on the way. The rescue by the guys in the motorboat was not instantaneous.

Those guys have been working on a big dredging project that's happening right outside the marina.  I've been meaning to tell you about what's going on out there, but waiting for some good photos.  It's an excuse to put a kite up, if the winds will drop down again.

In the meantime, I think they've stopped dredging for a while.  The reason I am thinking this is the case is in this photo we took at dusk a few days ago.

The light was doing that tropical latitude out of here with attitude thing it does, but I managed to get that photo.  What we're looking at is-starting from the right- a new big berm of sand enclosing what used to be a bushy little point extending out into the water.  The dark tube on it is the end of a dredge hose.  When the dredge is working, this is pumping a mix of seawater and sand into a pile inside that berm.

Now, the next thing in the photo is these dredge guys, in this boat.  There are typically three of them working.   We noticed immediately that they were still working.  At what was quickly becoming dark.  Wait a minute...we thought.  This is unusual.  These guys are always outta here by 5:00 PM.   Usually smoking cigarettes over at the fuel dock.   This was hours later.

So we started looking at what we were seeing for a change, and there it is.   The thing on the left side of the photo is their dredge boat, at the other end of that hose.  And there's something wrong with it.  It's sunk. Upside down.  With their dredge  and generator still on it.  This is going to need a washdown, I bet.

SO, it's been kinda quiet around here lately.  Oh, yesterday a boat came in with some issues.  We heard them getting directions on the VHF radio, but didn't pay much attention to it.  They had foreign accents on the radio.  But then, so do we. Nothing unusual here.
 Then today we went down to the marina and saw their boat docked sideways, with no mast.

We didn't have to look far for the mast, it was sitting on the dock next to the boat.  Bob had used the crane at South Side Marina to lift the mast off.  He's never done this before, but it apparently went very well.  He's surprising like that sometimes.  I'll try to get photos of it going back in.

We knew these guys were real sailors before we even met them.  The evidence was all around us.

And finally we did meet them.  Brand new doctors from Sweden on a wild and crazy post graduation cruise across the Atlantic and back.

We've only just met them today, but are already hearing some interesting stories.  I suspect there will be more information sometimes later tonight after the bar opens.

And except for watching other people's disasters, I just try to keep my head down and deal with my own.  Speaking of keeping my head down, I didn't realize what repetitive impact with fiberglass engine room edges will do to the top of a skull until I saw this photo.  That hurt.

But what really, really hurts is the next day when I hit my head on the same exact spot, on the same exact sharp fiberglass edge, on my brand new sore, bruised and tender bump.    I'm not saying that the repeated impacts have scrambled my brains, but I may try to blame it on that.

Heck, I can't even be sure  if I bought the worng type of LED strip or not.     And I hadn't planned on rating these guys.  Really. I hadn't.  

But now, if it turns out that I did buy the worng lights... I might just go for two stars and see what happens.  Me paying postage from the TCI to PRC is just definitely not  going to happen.

Oh, here's a good one for you other old-boaters out there.  While I was below wiring in the  battery bank end of the new fridge dc power cable in that photo up above,  I heard this ominous kerplunk noise outside the boat just about the time the level of natural light increased enormously in the engine room.   This is because the through-hull fitting for the freezer compressor broke off and fell into the ocean.  I had a spare, but it was a larger size.  I have a hole saw the right size, but it's at the house.  I have a drill with a spade bit here at the boat, but it's a cordless and the battery is dead.

I figured this was a good time to just sit on the dock and spend a leisurely half hour opening this hole up with a standard rat-tail file.

You're following all this, right?  I started out screwing a fuse holder to a bulkhead inside the engine room for a new fridge and somehow find myself sitting on the dock with a file making a hole in the boat bigger just inches above the waterline.  

And this is why it takes me three hours to run two wires and install an inline fuse.

Now I've got a little recycling story for you. I know you guys that follow our blog know that we like to find pieces of wood that interest us and try to make something useful out of them. Back in March of '12 we were out beachcombing on West Caicos.  Among all the other priceless treasures we dug out of the sandy muck that day and are now trying to get rid of, I picked up a piece of a broken teak grating.  This is a photo from that day:

I didn't have any great ideas of what to do with a bunch of busted up teak, but didn't want to throw it out. This is a psychological packrat thing I'm working through.  It's incompatible with cruising, but it comes naturally in a place like this.  Anyhow, I just built a frame out of mahogany pieces we also salvaged, and made a patio table.  It involved mixing and matching up all the various broken strips to make a whole rectangle.  Fun project.

And that table has sat on the patio for three years without any problem or complaints.  And now we are divesting ourselves completely from such things as furniture, of all kinds.  I didn't know what to do with a lot of the little things that I have made over the years.  Tables.  Lamps.  Can't really sell them, and they're well made and useful.  I'm still looking for ways to use some of it.  And then I realized that we need a grating in the shower tub in the boat.  I saw a way to recycle this teak grating and use it for the third time.   

I dismantled the table and sanded the top of it back to fresh wood.

And I think that by using a little round-over bit in the router, I can turn this into a decent little inside shower grating. We don't know how many years this wreckage might have sat above the high water line on West Caicos, before becoming a table.  Three year stint as a patio table, and it's back to sea with an inside job on a sailing catamaran. Nice bit of teak with a real history.

 I can see I'm really reaching when I resort to woodworking photos.  I guess it beats showing you another stainless steel water tank.   That'll be next week, by the way.  Should be some good mast stepping photos, and maybe some aerials, too.

No recent sunset photos.  But for the people who read these words and think that living here is just misery and work, I should clarify that this is not the case.  There are people actually out having fun, just a few feet away.    I've seen them with my own eyes.

 We're going back to the bar to find out what's going on with the Swedes.  They've  just come from Cuba, are headed back across to Sweden, bypassing Bermuda and sailing directly for the Azores.  In a 10 meter boat.  With rigging issues.   I'm in the mood for some good sea stories and I  suspect these guys have a few already.

I am  also extremely interested in Bob's discovery that he can easily pull a mast.  You can imagine where this might lead.  Well, maybe after we  also discover that Bob can easily reset the mast, too.  Don't you think the tide would make this kind of operation interesting?  I can't wait to find out.   I have a mast that needs work.

See you next week.   Hopefully.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

" I heard this ominous kerplunk noise outside the boat just about the time the level of natural light increased enormously in the engine room. "

I thought to myself "Uh oh, that can't be good".