Barbados 27 Dec
25 Dec 06 – After all that pre-trip preparation it hardly seems fair that everything now has to be gone through and replaced, modified, repaired, serviced or just cleaned. Having got up at 6am after a long and much needed sleep I got to work. I worked very hard although it does not sound much.
I mended the duogen from the dinghy and changed the head to wind mode and now have a wind generator pumping 13 volts into my batteries.
I changed a pipe on the watermaker so that now I can run it with the locker closed and the water intake over the back and the fresh water coming into the cockpit or even the saloon, rather than just reaching into a bottle in a bucket in the locker. One thing led to another and problem after problem cropped up, each one solved until the pump stopped. I took off the wires from the switch and re-attached, no pump. I gave up, deal with it later, not important.
I decided to check how much diesel I would need to top up the tank, no meter, no power at all, deal with it now, very important. Don’t panic, think. Ok, so if when tidying the locker I had knocked the battery switch off that would do it. Switch back on and we were in business again. Made 10 litres of water and added it to the tank.
40 litres of diesel into tank 1, near enough to full, now I have 175 litres in the tanks and 40 litres in cans.
Time for the bilges, after all that motoring there was nothing in the engine bilge. All the saloon bilges cleaned, none in the front, but that only tells me that I am stern heavy. The transom was emptied and the t shirts wrung out and repositioned with the aid of the boathook. For the first time in over a month the transom is not under water, now perhaps I can make some headway with the leak, but I need the chandlery open for some more sealant and another pair of hands on the outside of the bolts. It would be great if Eric arrives, otherwise Jim is on his way, but he will be a couple of weeks from the Canaries. This has to be sorted, it has been a source of real worry for me to have water coming in, with all the rolling the water would come out of the bilges and give me wet feet. Psychologically this probably gave me my darkest moments.
Little bit of washing and a shower.
3pm time for Xmas dinner, tuna and brown rice, I don’t like brown rice but it has to be finished and it is supposed to be good for me. A couple of glasses of Mateus Rose and everything is terrific. There is no chocolate, except in the muesli, not typical Xmas pudding. The picture on the box is a grave mis-representation, do you know how many chocolate chunks there are in the bag, very few, lots of chocolate dusted rice, but chunks, no. A couple of very tiny, hardly recognisable, slivers.
I really appreciate the radio, singing along to all the Xmas songs. What some singers are doing to these classic carols and songs is unbelievable. We don’t want a melodic or a jazz version of Frosty the Snowman, leave it alone it’s a classic.
I could go ashore, maybe tomorrow. Time for an exhaustion, aided by alcohol induced, kip. I got up just before 6 to get the dinghy aboard and went to bed. I am very solar powered and will get up when the sun does, but find it difficult when it gets dark; which here is 6pm to 6am.
26 December 2006
Got up with the sun. Scotch pancakes with butter and jam for breakfast with a cup of tea. Sorted the shackle box and tidied the tool locker, very therapeutic, with the added bonus that I might be able to find something when I want it. Managed to re-sort the front cabin locker to include the electrical and sharps tool boxes. Put the scooter in the cockpit locker as it is now the only thing approximating a trolley, ie it has wheels. I have a few extra bits now in the aft cabin waiting for when I can stow things properly in the transom space once it is dry.
Cleaned the anchor locker, ie got rid of the dead fish, there were more than I thought at the bottom, along with the missing half of the shackle.
Made 15 litres of water and used as little as possible to wash the bedding. Then there was a rain squall, obviously, but it dried later.
Sardines and crackers for lunch with a glass of wine. Two scotch pancakes with chocolate soya dessert and cinnamon for pudding. No Boxing Day turkey leftovers for me.
3:30 and I am once again exhausted.
Really will have to make an attempt to go ashore tomorrow.
Managed to stay up until 6:30pm.
27 December 2006
Woken up at 2:30 by a text message, my bank statement, couldn t get back to sleep.
Got up at 6. Took out the genoa and put the new shackle on to the furler, there is a small tear at the bottom that I hope will not now spread.
A yacht arrived in the night and anchored behind me, I have not dragged, but did not feel quite happy with where I was so decided to move before the new yacht takes the space I want. I am in slightly deeper water than I was, but am a bit nearer the beach and the anchor chain feels happier, well, I do.
While the engine was on I made 7.5 litres of water. I am trying to make more than I am using to fill up the tank. I have yet to find out what the situation is for ferrying water to the boat. It was just on the news that Barbados is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that is using up its freshwater supplies faster than they are refilling, although not as much as Kuwait. They may have to turn to the Altantic, presumably desalination plants – I am ahead of them there. I am sure Lanzarote would come into this category if they did not already use desalination plants.
There are quite a few huge liners in the port, I can see them from here.
The chart plotter GPS is not working, and then the other GPS was also switching off; I think it is the wiring. I had a quick look, but decided to turn it off, perhaps when I switch it back on it will all work. Not the most scientific approach.
13:30 NEWSFLASH – I have been to land. Yes, by 9am I had done half a day’s work, had a shower and launched the dinghy. I did not have the energy for the outboard as I could not seem to pull the starter cord, so I rowed. The water is really clear and clean and the sand is white and soft. The guy from the bar (shack) came to help me pull the dinghy up the sand, he was my friend according to him. The other bar has an English woman who has so far beaten him to all the customers from the boats. I tied the dinghy up to a tube, that I am sure could be pulled out of the sand very easily and the rope at the top was just tucked in, but my friend would look after it for me. I set off into town. Some buildings are new or in good condition, these are banks or churches, otherwise it is mainly shacks and what I would target as demolition areas. Lots of shops selling tax free jewellery and anything else I could possibly want. All I did want was a good chandlers, but then you can t have everything.
I went to the internet and Carl was online which was nice and I sorted through my Hotmail.
Thanks to everyone who wrote to me, you can use the mailasail for e-mail, except for the ones with the lovely pictures.
I found a fishing shop and bought a new nav light and some sealant for the transom. I got that tax free as it was for the boat, which made it seem like a bargain. Unfortunately the light is in a black case and mine are white, but I did restrain from buying the other one to match, for now.
I was hungry and now I have access to land and supermarkets then obviously my diet will know no bounds. So I bought a huge piece of cake, it was plain and I thought it might be a bit dry, but I could not find any ice cream so I tried it with just the icing on it and it was really good – possibly a bit much all in one go.
I will say that I turned down the chocolate cake, you got twice as much of the plain cake for less money. The icing indicated that it was part of a birthday cake, so happy birthday whoever you are and why did you not get your cake.
I made my way back to my friend on the beach and this is the Caribbean so I thought a fresh juice with sparkling water. I had to settle for a box of mango juice and a some plain water. So I sat on the stool and took a mouthful of juice through the little straw off the box and then a swig of water from the bottle, I did not even get offered a plastic cup. It wasn t even cold. This guy wonders why he has no customers. I would not eat there and didn t even attempt the loo. I did not know how much such a typical Caribbean drinks combo would be, he took my 5$ note and didn t say he wanted more or offer me any change. Obviously I did not spend enough to be his friend and I had to drag the dinghy back to the water on my own.
I have just worked out the exchange rate – assuming it is half a US $ it is about 30p – but it was a rubbish drink.
It is quite a surf on the beach here even when the tide is going out. A couple of english guys pulled me out and I was able to row off on the outgoing surf. They do say not to take any valuables in the dinghy until you have got the hang of this.
Therefore I was unable to take a photo of the turtle, swimming right by me with his head up out of the water. This looked a smart turtle, good looking – not clever, not quite the barnacled ones on the way to the Canaries. Although he might be clever, he could certainly swim better than I could row. I also saw a bright yellow butterfly over the water. I could report a fish, too, but it was a dead leaf; makes a change from dead fish.
So now I am back on board and although I shall go ashore again generally I like it on my boat more.
I have checked my GPS – the one is working and tells me that I have not dragged. The chartplotter one is still not working, despite being given all morning to think about it, so much for my novel approach to electronics.
Despite 4 hours ashore, in a town full of shops, I did not think to buy any chocolate!