Week ending 21 September 2008
Week ending 21 September 2008
Dominoes is usually a fun afternoon with a lot of adults behaving the same as, or possibly worse, than when children play the game. This week we had a bag snatched right off the table with the owner sitting right next to it. It was 3 teenage boys who had evidently checked us out the first time a group of them went past. It is hard to get out of the bench seats quickly and they had the element of surprise, but it was daring. They ran like the wind and were pursued valiantly by Diane on foot and Bruce took off in his dinghy, but it was all too late, they were gone. The security guard who stays on the restaurant premises while it is closed did not even move from his hammock and Pedro was too far away to intercept. Luckily there was no money in the bag, so they will be disappointed for their efforts. We were lucky because if they had taken Diane’s bag we would have lost the cake for Sandy’s birthday.
We also heard the news that Senor C had sent home Mr B’s ambassador and Mr B had done likewise, I do not know who started the spat or why; BBC World Radio does not transmit here, so much for ‘World’.
Lots of hurricanes have trashed large areas of countries and so we continue to sit here and watch the weather.
Bluewater Cat and Puddle Jumper arrived today and made a late appearance at dominoes, but Jimmy did help me lose. Some boats come and some boats go, but overall we are accumulating our clan.
I did the tour guide bit and took BWC and PJ into town and they spent the rest of the day on the check in procedure.
In the afternoon I ran the watermaker and it was fine until it cut out after 30 minutes.
The extension lead on the inverter stops working when I plug the computer into it, so I am running on the 12 volt until I can sort that one.
I took the old vent pipe off again, cleaned and re-assembled it. Now I have the new vent I am happy to play with the old one as I did not want to break parts of the valve, the new vent does not have a valve. If I use the new vent then I do have to have somewhere for the water to overflow out, the kit supplies a through hull fitting, I do not think I am in a position to make holes in the hull at the moment.
Then I moved on to the seawater pump, just pop it off and put the new one on. Jimmy came over to help and it was needed. The pump is right on the front of the engine, but it is all but impossible to get the bolts out. After an hour we abandoned to go shopping and when we came back we had another go. There is only so long that either of us could take lying down with our head in the bilge under the engine. It must have taken at least 2 hours to get the pump off and then we had to take bits off that and put on the new one and then put it back together.
Jimmy found a ball bearing and wondered where it had come out of the engine, but it was a ball off my belly bar, so that was lucky he found it. Several hours later, we had the pump back together and the engine ran without any water leaks. Dick came over and said it was only the vent pipe, there was nothing wrong with the pump, but I was not sure and I felt that it had been 6 years and I had not changed the seals. It was too difficult to do if it had become an emergency.
My catalogue of breakdowns continues. The fridge has stopped working, my water tester has given up and even the bulb in my favourite torch has blown.
I missed the Net as I was diagnosing the problem with the fridge - it does not work is my diagnosis.
I am hoping that the world will be a happier place for me when I have sorted this tooth problem, so I headed to shore. The first person I knew made it plain that a new incident had been reported, and I missed it. Are we all going to be murdered in our beds, I don’t think so, but again it will make everybody think again about the mainland and Venezuela.
I got a taxi to a recommended dentist. He was very nice and I will spare you the gory details, but he also took an X ray and I saw him develop it in a darkroom consisting of plastic box with glove holes. The problem was not the tooth I had had filled in the UK, it was the one next to it. He said that having cut the infection out it should go away on antibiotics, but it might come back and then it would need a root filling. Time to own up that it had not gone away for nearly 9 months and two lots of antibiotic, so Friday I have a root canal to look forward to; but I hope that will be the end of it.
We were going to Bluewater Cat for the evening, but the weather was against us. We had to eat and run. There was lightning that got very close and thunder and the boats turned to the West and Puddle Jumper, Cheetah II and I went back to our boats. By the time I had got back and hauled the dinghy we were facing East again, nothing developed and there wasn’t even any rain.
Seven of us went on an island tour. We went to the fort in Pampatar, it is a lovely bay, but foreign boats are not allowed to anchor there any more. We visited an artisan centre which had a pearl centre upstairs. We went to the capital of Margarita and the Madonna of the Valley.
We went on a 30 minute boat trip, an unusual choice for yachties. It was a fast boat on the huge inland water surrounded by mangroves in a protected area. The only animals not bright enough to get out of our way were starfish and a small crab and there were pelicans roosting in the trees.
We visited Juan Griego, the only other anchorage safe for us to visit by yacht, Passat were one of the boats at anchor, and then on to the beach for a meal.
The fishermen were coming in and thin young guys were carrying 300 pound 75hp outboards on their shoulder and walking them up the beach – all the men in our party were amazed. So it is true that it is not only us that cannot leave a boat in the water with a motor on.
We were going to watch the sunset there, but it had been overcast all day and so we came back. It was dark by the time we returned.
It was a good day, but the last for a while. Some of the boats have already drifted off and Cheetah II had some news that meant they have to head back to Grenada this weekend. Jane needs to fly back to the US and they did not want to leave the boat in Venezuela.
We will have to sort out where we are going as some places are considered too dodgy by some and we cannot divide up our remaining 3 boats into two groups without leaving someone on their own.
Dick came over and checked the fridge, which had decided to work again that morning, perhaps it cut out with the heat. The watermaker is wired to the lights switch on the panel, but I am going to wire it direct to the batteries as the switch is 16 amp and the motor draws 18-19 amps so it was on the edge of its capability and it would not take a lot to make the switch cut out. Dick also checked the batteries, the two new ones seem to be in worse condition than last years. The regulator is set for 14 volts.
Jimmy and Donna came with me to the dentist, they had their teeth cleaned and then it was my turn. The dentist cleaned the gum again and said that the tooth seemed strong and the infection was only on the gum. Back to the antibiotics for 4 days and if it flares up again a root canal is probably inevitable.
We were back early for Happy Hour and the fleamarket and after that we went for a meal. It was a very noisy afternoon and evening.
Donna wanted some things in town so I went with her while Jimmy stayed and watched the weather and the boats. Lunchtime we had a meeting with Val and Lloyd to try and decide where we were going to go. Hopefully we will leave on Tuesday or Wednesday, weather and all other tasks permitting.
I re-wired the watermaker and it goes very slowly. I think it is trying to run a 12 volt motor on a 6 volt battery, I need it to run on all the batteries which is why I wired it to the panel originally. I will have to find out what to do tomorrow.