Saturday, 24 February 2007 – Bequia
It was time to look at some of those things on my ‘To Do’ list that could not wait until Trinidad.
I cleaned the water maker pre filter housing and tied the cartridge to a bit of rope and dunked it in the sea, gave it a bit of a gentle brushing and then re-assembled it.
The volt meter was up to 12v and so the solar panel must be working. I changed the duogen head to wind mode as that also gives me power. I decided to look at the batteries. I took everything out of the cockpit locker and took off the front of the cupboard they are in. They each had a green light and there were no unattached wires, so I left it at that. That only leaves me with the engine and I could not see any loose wires to the alternator, so I gave up. There is plenty of oil, although I know it wants a change.
I checked the auxilliary fuel tank and yes it is empty. I am down to my last 100 litres. I wish I could inspect the main tank, I have not found a way in yet. The water tank has an inspection cover, but nobody has ever managed to open it.
I may have someone look at this, but if I leave the fridge off then I think I can manage ok. I am charging the computer through the inverter, bit by bit as the wind generator makes the power.
Occasionally I get enough of a wi fi signal to connect to the internet.
I am going to clean the green slime off the sides of the boat, tomorrow.
Sunday, 25 February 2007
Very windy, so at 5.30 I got up, made a cup of tea and started charging the computer. The batteries may not be holding the charge, but every time the wind blows hard I can get 30 seconds charge until the voltage drops to 12 and then I have to turn the inverter off until the voltage goes back up again. This is a slow process and by 8.30 I was up from 25 to 50%. To fill in the time between button presses I finished the washing that I had started yesterday and had left to soak. I put out the washing line and found it quite hard to stand up on the swaying boat. I put the washing over the line and before I could peg it down the lighter pieces flew off. I saved everything except two pairs of knickers. I nearly got them but the dinghy was padlocked on and by the time I had undone this they were floating a long way out and beginning to sink. With the outboard not working I coulld have found it very difficult to get back to the boat and so I had to abandon them. By this time in the year I have very few clothes that do not have rust, bleach or other stains on and so I buy new clothes when I leave the UK; so these were about to be dumped anyway in a few weeks, perhaps they knew this and chose their own way out.
To fill in more time I decanted the water I had stored in the bottles into the tank. It is very satisfying to see the tank bubbling full, sad, I know, but true. Boat life is quite time consuming, especially when away from a marina. Don t think that I am just putting off going in the water to scrub the hull, I can do this from the dinghy, but have no intention of starting until the wind drops completely.
There is some scary manoevring going on in the anchorage. Boats retrieving their anchors coming very close to other boats. I was pleased to find that the boat that came and anchored very close next to me late yesterday had moved. There are some tempting spaces closer to the town, but you have to know if a boat has just left, and if it has just left was it going anyway or was it a bad place to anchor. If you don t move early in the day the spaces will be taken by new arrivals. In this wind as my anchor is holding I am not risking moving. I do secure the chain to a cleat now, which you should do anyway, but I never did until having seen the chain pulled through the windlass in Cape Verdes. This time I have also secured a rope to the other cleat with a hook into the anchor chain to form a loop; this does stop the boat jolting The only downside to this is that I cannot up anchor quickly, perhaps I will invest in a better hook and a snubber this year.
It is time to check the ropes. I need to whip the topping lift where it was cut before it frays too far and there will be others that need whipping or heat sealing. The retrieval rope on the duogen broke the other day and the piece cut out of this and the end of the topping lift have all been knotted onto a piece of string to become a multi-coloured baggywrinkle. There is at least one mooring rope that has a broken strand, the strands will make a good baggywrinkle, but will shorten the rope to the extent that it will probably be too short to count as a mooring rope any more. I have lots of good long ropes in the transom, but these are for something else – I don t know what yet, but I will when the time comes.
They are very serious here about services to yachts. There are the boats to put you on buoys or offer cleaning or provisioning services, a boat with water, diesel and ice, a boat collecting laundry and a boat collecting garbage. These all come at a price, probably reasonable; there is nothing I need, but it is nice to know they are there if I did.
Getting up so early was unnecessary, it has been so windy I was able to charge th computer in the end without turning the inverter on and off. I cannot remember being able to run the inverter directly from the wind generator before. The only dinghies moving about are the mini motor boat types, seats, steering wheels and one even has a bimini. At 11 I made a cup of coffee; it is true you cannot make an omlette without breaking eggs, but I didn t know it applied to making coffee, its complicated.
I have to get used to not having the fridge working, there is not a lot to worry about, but my powdered milk is not very nice in tea. Yuk describes it quite well.
I could not sit here all day reading, so I stitched one side of the sprayhood, three rows took 1.5 hours. After 4 years spent mainly in the sun the stitching on everything goes. I did the other side just before it got dark when my fingers had recovered. Getting the needle through the canvas and the webbing is tough, I do have a palm, but when I use it I usually end up breaking the needle.
I finished the book because I could have the powerful light on, thanks to the wind. I had postponed my shower until after cleaning the hull, the wind made that impossible.
Monday, 26 February 2007
It was windy all night, it still hardly drops below 20 knots. I am going to have my shower on the assumption that I will not be cleaning the hull today. It was so windy that I tried to run the watermaker from the battery without the engine running, this was a bit hopeful. It did enough to run the water through the system so that I can leave it for a few more days, but the wind was not strong enough to maintain the battery at full power; if I had waited half an hour I think it would have been.
The wind calmed down and I did get the outboard started, it was just being stroppy for no reason. I went into town, perhaps that is an overstatement. Bequia is a single track road plus pavement with a few shops, stalls and bars. The waves still left me wet by the time I arrived, but I had a clean t shirt in a bag that covers most things. I bought some ginger, I had got some from a supermarket in Martinique, but it had started to sprout so I am trying to grow that. Ginger is very strong stuff in the raw state, I have put a little piece in some sugar.
Having cut the height of the netting in half I now had enough to put on the bottom half of the starboard guard rails. The netting keeps the fenders in and allows them to be put out easily on the top rail that now is free from netting, for that odd occasion that I may find a marina to use them in. I shall move on tomorrow and worry about cleaning the hull some other time. I put the outboard on its bracket and emptied the dinghy of the oars, seat (fender), petrol can, bailer (tin can) and the rag. Then I got the dinghy aboard, without losing the rope this time. I will have to tie the dinghy down properly when I have got the anchor up, but it all takes time and effort, so now I can have an early start tomorrow.