Sea Horse and Solar
The regatta has finished thank god. It brought a lot of dirty stink boats to the bay and therefore lots of wake and noise. On the plus side we watched the local Dutch kids racing their little ‘bath tubs’ and it seems that a young girl won most of the races, she was up front most of the time and the boys just couldn’t catch her.
We had a visit from a small bird too, he found the newly varnished handrail somewhat too glossy for his liking.
Andrew and Claire from ‘Eye Candy’ have taken us out for a few dives on their yacht too, so we have been rather spoilt and visited many new dive sites around the island. We have started doing half tank dives, so we get two different dives in on one tank, about 45 minutes each time so this has made some lovely days out.
Every dive has been a personal hunt for a seahorse, apparently they are here somewhere but difficult to find. So we were pleased to hear that a fellow cruiser had found one snorkelling by their boat, so we swam over there a couple of days ago to check it out.
He was rather shy, hiding by a bit of old rope at the bottom of a concrete mooring block and mostly wanted to face away from us. This is the best shot we got and I have had to enhance it a bit so that you can see him, he was about 2 inches long.
We took delivery of our new solar panels and raw water pump for the engine late last week. The solar panels were delivered to the marina, cleared through customs and delivered in the same day that they arrived on the island – unheard of in the Caribbean (must be the Dutch influence!). The pump however took all day to sort out just getting cleared through customs. Three trips to the airport, two to DHL and one to customs, then a two hour wait for the customs officer to hand it over. Good job we were able to take the dinghy to get to all these places, luckily there is a small harbour opposite the airport and we tied up against the rocky bank and walked across the road.
So the next day Jez was up with the lark, eager to catch every ray of sunshine to generate power, and we had topped our batteries up by 11.30am as well as run all our equipment. Our 12v watermaker uses a lot of power though, and after running this for two hours followed by two very cloudy days, we had to run the generator for three hours to get the batteries back up. Not bad going though in a week, when we were running it every day for 2 hours before the new panels so we are saving a lot in fuel and putting less hours on the generator. We also installed an MPPT controller, this boosts the solar panels charging by up to 30% and makes a huge difference.
Other jobs undertaken in the last week include tracing the fault for our poor AIS signal and muffled VHF transmission, Jez found a corroded joint on the aerial at the top of the mast. I have got 10 coats of varnish on the name plate, it is looking so good and we have had a lot of compliments from other boaters. Two more coats to go and this should be good for a while. Our weather has been very settled, no more wind reversals (whoops, tempting fate there) and so it has been a lot easier to work on the boat.
Its 6pm local time now and still about 32 degrees, the sun has just disappeared over Klein Bonaire so it’s time for a quick dip before it gets dark to cool off. Here is Jez working hard, it’s all go, go, go on Joy….