Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bugging Out on the Boat

Abraham Maslow once nearly said: When the only tool you have is a hammer, all of your problems start looking like nails. And for this post, alas, I find myself with no sunrises worth visually repeating.   There are reasons for that, but it's sometimes a very thin line between a reason and an excuse and I've already made enough excuses so reaching into my growing apron of nails I'll start it with a sunset instead.

That's the view out of our port hull when there are no other boats between us and Flamingo Diver's boat there at the end.  We expect this view to change shortly, as Cruising Season descends upon South Side Marina.

I was looking for some photos to post here and realized that one small twitch back toward our usual  approach would have been a nice tropical sunrise. Well, after procrastinating for as long as I could stand it, I finally got up early enough to go find a sunrise.  But this is what I had to work with on that particular morning.

I don't know why I bothered.  In fact, now that I look back on it I could have stayed in the bunk. We do get plenty of nice clear sunrises here. The problem with me getting a nice photo of one of them is actually twofold.

We're not seeing  exotic and undoubtedly astonishing sunrises on a daily basis at the moment because we're tucked down in a marina behind a hill that blocks the view to the east. This is a great spot to get out of the prevailing NE winds, but not so good for watching the sun climbing up out of the ocean.  I think we got spoiled over those years of unobstructed views.

IF we had a sunrise to photograph that morning it would have been behind that hill.  So I would have missed it anyway. Now I don't feel so bad.  And this brings me to the second part of the reason we're not getting the good sunrise photos: I'm too lazy to walk up to the top of the hill to take them.   Maybe I need to work on that.  I know Dooley would appreciate a good morning walk.  I'll look into it. Definitely consider it.  Take it under advisement.  Incorporate it into my philosophy.  My MO.   That sort of thing.  Really. Starting tomorrow. Or relatively quickly thereafter. Conditions permitting.

I've read promotional  prose about this little scattershot of islands that claims we have 350 days of sunshine a year.  I don't believe that. I'd believe 300 plus days, though. We have a lot more than two weeks of rain a year. Just ask the mosquitoes over on Middle Caicos.  Eleventy zillion bugs can't all be imagining that they're living and reproducing in pools of water, can they?   

We've been experiencing a couple of those really total lifestyle changing weeks lately. They're a real shake up when they happen, even if they happen on purpose. This isn't the first time we've intentionally made changes of this magnitude but this one is a doozy.  Almost everything about our life here has changed again.

We've now spent over two weeks living aboard the boat. La Gringa, Dooley the Disoriented, and moi.   We left our comfy nest with a solid floor and cable television at Harbour Club Villas and became full time marina residents.  Boat bums. I've already shown you plenty of boat photos so I won't continue to oversaturate it.  Boat still looks the same as the last fifty seven times I showed it to you.  Well, the sails are different, now.  They have blue UV strips on them instead of maroon. And there are two paddleboards constantly in the way on the deck looking for a home. And a ladder for reaching the solar panels. But other than that, same old things.

Unanticipated boat repairs  keep hogging a big part of our time.  As a quick example, I wanted to  take advantage of the recent overcast weather to patch in another solar panel to the system.  This was a good time to shut down the inputs without losing much solar energy in big unanticipated sparks while I stumble my way through the wiring.  I figured  that I'd just open up the junction box and see what kind of connectors I had to work with.  This is what kind of connectors I had to work with:

No connectors at all is the correct answer there.  All of the supplied connectors of the cables to the solar panels had been cut off for some reason.  The wire ends were all twisted together and wrapped fanatically with inexpensive (as an euphemism for cheap) and brittle, fraying no longer sticky electrical tape.  Imagine my joy to find out that a ten minute job was going to basically take up the rest of my day. Shoving the schedule for all the other critical little boat-life jobs to the right.
And the beat goes on. (Sonny Bono)

La Gringa is adjusting to her own boat life learning experiences, too.  Recently we brought a bunch of fruit on board.  Apples, oranges, grapes.   And somehow we attracted the attention of fruit flies. We didn't want to spray insecticide inside the outside in which we hide, so she consulted the sailing side gurus of a Facebook group she frequents . They call  themselves the  "Women Who Sail".   They won't let me join.  Perhaps if I called myself Caitlin. Nah. 

And their advice was to put some apple cider vinegar and a shot of liquid dish detergent in a cup covered with plastic wrap as a fruit fly trap.  A pencil sized hole is poked in the middle of the plastic wrap so they can get in.  They seem to be too stupid to easily get back out. And by golly, it works! These flies seem totally addicted to a mixture of vinegar and soap.   That could explain the stupidity. And we all know where these substance addictions lead to, don't we?  Yes, it's insanity, incarceration, and death.

A moment of silence, followed by a whoop of Joy.  Detergent, that is.

I have a confession to make here. It's not something I would want broadcast around, mind you, but sometimes when I'm puzzled by something boatly, I'll quietly ask La Gringa to check with her Women Who Sail folks for their advice. There, I've said it. They are typically spot on, too. Unlike some of the bellicose armchair captains I run into on other internet sites. I better shut up here before I get brought up on charges of treason. Have to hide from the other Captains.  Shave my head.  Grow a beard.  That sort of thing.

We still have a few loose ends to tidy up ashore.  We were back at the house last week to move the skiff and paddleboards. I needed to lift the outboard and was happy to find that the overhead lift I built a few years back still works fine.

Now the skiff is sitting at South Side Marina, shortly to have a "For Sale" sign attached to the side of it.  The motor has a glitch I need to work though. VST pump isn't getting powered. Maybe a sensor.  Or rule number one... It's Always Connectors.

We also still have the paddleboards to deal with.  We want to take them with us on our travels, but they're a bit cumbersome to transport and store.  We did manage to get them from the garage to the boat and they're presently awaiting the arrival of some stanchion brackets.

Dooley was glad to go check on the house.  He will always consider this HIS territory, no matter who eventually owns it. He did a quick check for anything that needed biting, like lizards or mice.  He couldn't find any.

He's also adapting to life aboard a moving vessel, and has his own special sleeping spot inside.  Here he is on a recent morning, before the first cup of coffee.

We do worry about him, a little.  He isn't adjusting to boat life in the marina as fast as we'd hoped.  He still has to be escorted off the boat for personal matters from time to time.  His boating experiences before this were pretty much all day trips.  Home in time for dinner, well before dark.   I think he'll adjust.  The signs of it are there.  Just a few nights back we spotted him out  enjoying the sunset, humming an old familiar tune...

And we do get some fairly nice sunsets here. Bob's Bar is  a good spot to look out over the water to the south and west, and it's a pretty nice view.  It's common to find locals and visitors stopping by at sunset these days.

And as the natural light fades, Bob's establishment  starts to make up the difference.

And while the sunsets all have elements in common, they're all different as well.

Some of them are really different. For example, can you find anything odd about this one?

I wonder how this looks in Australia?


Anonymous said...

INFLATABLE stand up paddle boards might be the answer for you guys.

Wilma said...

Hello from Belize. Terrific reflection in that last shot! Wish you were closer so we could buy your skiff.

cheers, Wilma

Unknown said...

Is the plastic on the cup to prevent the fruit flys from getting out? If so how do they get in. I'm confused.(my wife says this my normal state.)

Anonymous said...

Good point. I should have mentioned that you poke a hole in the middle of the plastic. She started out with little bitty holes and then poked a hole in the middle about the size of a pencil. That seemed to work a little more efficiently. They didn't crawl around on it forever trying to get in.

misu said...

Talking about mosquitoes, how are they in Provo? I think I remember you saying in an old post that once you didn't have windows/screens for 2 weeks and got away with no bites whatsoever... Does the breeze make a difference? Location? Season?

Can't wait to hear more about your living on the boat. Say hello to La Gringa. And Dooley...