March 2012 – part 1
1st Stan (Homer’s Odyssey) took me for a
dive. We got the weights right
first and then the only problem was my mask kept filling with water, but I did
clear it. I was quite comfortable
and it was my best dive yet. I put
my dive tank in for re-fill.
2nd Went to Coxen’s Hole to get my sim card
from Fed Ex. It had been here for
days waiting for me, and they were about to send it back to UK, but the tracking
said it was still on the mainland.
I had pressure fittings put on a 40’ hose so that I can
clean the boat with the dive tank, but leave it on the deck.
3rd - Went on the Fantasy Island bus to the
supermarket. I managed to buy a lot
and run up a big bill, but Terry (Wind Whisperer) did a trolley audit and the
only real food was a cooked chicken.
I fixed the fuel leak on the outboard, taking the
carburettor off twice with the dinghy in the water - that really should be
sorted now, I hope.
Went snorkelling with Joyce and Lorenzo, (Eileen
Farrell) and in the evening it was a pot luck – I was exhausted.
4th – at last the wind has stopped, also it
has gone West, if I had my dinghy I could have gone East, towards
5th – went to check on the dinghy, 6 or 7
weeks now. Sherman agreed that it
was time to deliver it to me, today.
I went back in the afternoon but he said he had no staff that were any
good to finish it. I said I was
good, I would finish it. There were
no fittings so I went back to the boat and picked up enough to get the dinghy in
the water. I had to take the
fittings off my current dinghy – outboard clamp plates, harness points and bolt
them onto the new dinghy. By the
end of the afternoon we actually did launch it and I towed my old one back to
6th – The wind has picked up again, back to
20+ and NE. I tried surrounding the
dinghy with fenders strung on a rope, to protect the dinghy from the dock and
the boat from the dinghy. I am very
pleased, except for not having any oarlocks, how can anyone have a 7’ fibreglass
rowing dinghy without being able to attach any oars. If he had said I could have had some
sent in, I certainly had enough time.
7th – If we get 8 people we can have a dive
boat to ourselves for $20 each. I
went on the boat and we went to Parrot Tree and I saw two 6” orange seahorses
and a dozen adult squid with lots of babies which was great. I tried to get a photo of these from
Stan, but they are difficult as they are translucent and in shallow water with
the sunlight they do not register on the camera. Sorry. There were lots of huge fish near the
I had a small tank and evidently I had a free-flowing
regulator, but I had enough air to keep up with the others. I do improve with each dive as long as I
follow my steps and concentrate.
1 – breathe (this I am quite good at), 2 – equalize
(without holding my nose), 3 – buoyancy control (improving, but needs more
practice), 4 – fin style (no mad pedalling).
The wind going West has made West End very rough and
Rose (Sojourn) came back in a taxi to dive
with Tom’s son who was visiting; Tom had to stay with the
I was able to show people my new dinghy.
4pm onwards we had Wing night, (yes they actually do
have these in US and Canada) BBQ chicken wings with assorted dips, but I just
have plain. I went round at the end
and collected the money for the food and drinks. I might be short, but I can be
I abandoned the fenders on the dinghy, in case they were adding buoyancy,
and I needed to see that it was stable enough without the equivalent of training
wheels. I went into town and failed
miserably to get anything that was on my list, so I went to Wendy’s and got a
chocolate shake. I also bought a
new flashlight which I did need, with 4 settings, a zoom and a heavy sharp edge
for self-defence, as long as the attacker is close enough I can stomp it on his
fingers. I stopped off at Jami’s
boat while the rain passed. Then I
set off back, knowing that if I broke down they would be coming along soon and
could give me a tow. Well I did
break down, right on the very rough corner where there is a gap in the
reef. I checked to see if I needed
fuel and the good news was no, I did not have another fuel leak, the bad news
was that I dropped the engine fuel cap in the water. I tried to save it, bad idea, so I just
managed to save myself. The engine
starts and stops as and when it feels like it, but I managed to get back to my
boat before Jami came past.
A dinghy without oars is not safe, I can kneel in the
front section and paddle, but the wind is so strong it would be very
difficult. You may gather that I am
still annoyed with the no oarlocks status.
9th – 6 am dinghy modifications. I took the rubbing strip and the oar
fittings off the old dinghy and am glueing the strip onto the top edges of the
new one. I don’t have enough
clamps, so am using masking tape to hold it down. I had to cut the oar fittings down to
fit the edge and screwed them onto the rail. I had to do this in the water so
that I could test where to put them.
I cut a piece of water hose to stick on the front edge, but my new large
tube of sealant, with a year to go to expiry, was solid and I managed to lose
the hose in the water. I know where
it is, but it is too deep to snorkel to.
It was noon by the time I got to the boatyard and
Sherman had gone to lunch, but he did leave the invoice for me. We had agreed $350 for the version with
the hole for the baby stay, I know this version in two halves was more work, but
he now wanted $450. I told him how
to build it, but he did it his way which is over-engineered, probably will not
nest, and now I have to pay for it. A bit steep as all the fittings were mine
and I now don’t have a spare dinghy, I have a pile of plastic. I went back at 1 and went up to the
house. I said it was a lovely
dinghy and started on what was going to be a long explanation. I didn’t get very far, he wasn’t happy and said to just give him
the $350. I gave him $400 and hope
he is ok with that, as I am only a few hundred feet away from his dock. It has all been very tiring and I still
have more tweaking to do, but I did manage to get the dinghy, with the outboard,
onto the side deck reasonably easily tonight.
10th Supermarket run again and a Pot Luck in
the evening. Fantasy Island had 10
boats represented and it was enough.
11th – I went to
Brooksy Point for the Swap Meet and gave Lynn (Homers Odyssey) a lift back in my
dinghy. The handle came off the
cord when I pulled it to start the engine and so we rowed. We could have taken a tow, but it was
more fun this way. I went back in
the afternoon for Dominos, Lynn was lying down, the dinghy ride was obviously
too much for her. Stan said she
laughed herself to sleep. I gave
Peggy (Adagio) a lift in, luckily the engine worked, but she went back with
another boat; some people have no taste for adventure. First time in ages I have ventured over
there; the politics of this situation is stupid.
12th – There is a
shipyard at the back of the anchorage and there should be a marked channel, even
without this it is daft to anchor in the way. A huge boat, emptied so that it only
drew 7’ was towed in by a large motor cruiser, which had trouble controlling it,
and a tug on port side. Securite
message was issued by the first boat in the anchorage and engines were
readied. 5 boats had to take up
their anchors and move, but some of them went right back afterwards; do they not
think what would happen if they were off their boats another time. It came right next to me, the crew waved
to me and I waved back, hoping they were going to miss me.
We also had a barge come in at the
same time and that went on the other side of the anchorage rather than follow
the first boat. They do go very
close and last month Big Fun had their forestay clipped, the boat was not going
to acknowledge this or stop, but luckily no damage was done.
The Cruiser’s Net started the day
off badly with the supermarket issues coming up again. It is enough to make me want to up and
leave. If I wanted all this
squabbling and stress I could have stayed in an office in the UK, but I am
supposed to be enjoying myself.
Hoisting the dinghy back into the
water I caught an oar and broke it, luckily I have one spare, not quite the same
length, but close enough.
I went into town to get more parts
for dinghy modifications.
I spent the entire afternoon
securing one plastic oarlock to the rail with galvanised steel strapping and
putting on one more piece of rubrail, but this didn’t stick.
13th – Stan took me for
another dinghy dive and he lent me a depth gauge. I thought I had one, but that was
temperature, which explains why I always seemed to be diving at 80’. At the start I ended up back at the
surface, twice. Stan said we would
discuss it later; I knew I was going to get told off for that. After that I worked really hard on my
buoyancy and I really got it. I was
able to look around and I spotted a huge crab, a lionfish, a conger eel and lots
of really great fish. I did work
out what I was doing wrong. I
thought I had emptied my BCD of air, but my arm wasn’t long enough to stretch
the tube upwards and so no more air came out, but by using the other arm I can
deal with this. I was able to stay
at 50-60’ and move up and down when I wanted, which means I am getting
somewhere. I am really pleased and
may leave it for now – quit while I am ahead.
I took the dinghy apart on the
deck and managed to get it back together, but really should have taken the motor
16th - Nothing special, but I did tidy the boat lockers and had a
real go at the tools. I know where
everything is, until I use something and mess it all up.