Date: 23 November 2010
Position: Paraty (still)
Happily the last few days of Christine and Fernando’s
holiday were spent in scorching sunshine. At one lovely spot where we were
anchored, a couple of young lads rowed up to us in a dinghy with a bucket of
fresh oysters they had yanked off the mangroves up the nearby river. Maria (The
Downstairs Skipper) doesn’t do oysters (“They look and taste like snot”) but the
rest of us were up for it so we bought a couple of dozen. They were on the small
side but absolutely delicious. It transpired that it was the first time that
Christine had tried oysters and she loved them.
The ongoing saga of the autohelm problem continues. The
plan was that the DS and I would drift 160 miles down the coast this week to
Santos, stopping off at some wonderful places along the way. Santos is the port
for Sao Paulo and Richard, Tom and Lawrence were flying in next Saturday to
resume the journey south.
The Raymarine technician arrived last Saturday, as
arranged, and after a bit of testing said that both the main component parts
needed replacing. Ally at Oyster had come up trumps being able to lay her hands
on the critical components and having remotely swiped my credit card with the
equivalent cost of a modest two-bedroomed flat, she was shipping them off to
Lawrence to bring out with him. But once here, they have to be fitted and
calibrated – a specialist job and we were uncertain whether we could find anyone
in Santos to do the job. Tiago, our friendly Raymarine chap in Paraty said that
he could do the job for us, but here in Paraty – not in Santos. The DS and I
decided that a certainty in the wrong place was better than an improbability in
the right place, so a major change of plan.
Maria and I are now staying in this area for a week.
Meanwhile the Three Musketeers would be winging there way to the wrong airport,
some five hours away by taxi. But as they say, if you want to give God a really
good laugh, tell him what your cruising plans are.
To cap it all, ten minutes after Tiago left the boat I
noticed that all the other Raymarine instruments – wind speed and direction,
boat speed and, most importantly in these shallow waters, the display that tells
you when you are just about to go aground – all of which had been working
perfectly before Tiago came on board an hour earlier, had all packed up. The
whole lot. I’m beginning to have my doubts about Tiago.
The DS started off by being a bit grumpy about the change
of plan as she had been really been looking forward to our cruise south, but she
then reflected that if you had to be holed up anywhere due to technical
problems, there were worse places than a bay which is as close to paradise as
one can get.
Meanwhile, with a bit of time on our hands and an
increasing need to defray the rapidly escalating cost of this cruise, I have
decided to set up an Artesano stall in the town selling bits of fancy rope and
leather work – ornate keyrings made out of bits of string; elegant suede watch
straps etc, and I will be taking commissions for bespoke suede wheel covers.
The DS has sportingly agreed to dig out her old fishnet
stockings and whilst I’m flogging my creations on the main street, she will be
trying to drum up a bit of business in the backstreets. Desperate measures for
desperate times. Between you and me, I’m expecting to make rather more money out
of my venture than she will, but you’ve got to give the old girl 10 out of 10