Mon/Tues 13+14/2/12 – Jack’s (trying hard not to be)a
Dull Boy – 14:30.2 N 61:05.2W
There is no respite from maintenance if you have a
boat…..there is always a list of jobs to do, and they always take 3 times longer
to finish that you imagined at the start. Moreover, you find more jobs to put on
the list as you work through the one that you had prioritised, so maybe it would
be better not to start at all?
Raising and lowering the keel started to sound a bit
“crunchy”, as the pennant on which it hangs had gathered a lot of little sea
creatures around where it sits in the water. It looked like a simple 10 minute
job of scraping it down, but one thing led to another, and 4 hours later we put
all the joinery work back together. Then the siphon break which stops sea water
coming back into the engine stopped working, clogged up with salt. Getting at
it, unfortunately, involves removing a cupboard in the aft cabin, which makes
another 10 minute job into a much longer project.
That took care of Monday, then! Tuesday was planned to
be a more relaxed day, and started off well. Then we had to move the
May Your Anchor Hold….
This is a fine wide bay, with good holding in sand, and
well sheltered from the prevailing. That is not to say that there is no wind,
but it funnels through the valleys (one each side of the bay), blows into the
bay from the shore side and moves the boats around a fair bit. There is minimal
tide, so the wind direction and strength are the key factors.
It is one of the most entertaining bits of the day,
watching new boats come in and try out their anchoring technique (if they have
one). Some people just run a tonne
of chain down on top of their anchor and cross their fingers (we have watched
dozens of them drag their way into the centre of the bay): others take good care
and set theirs well, reversing against the anchor until they are sure it is well
buried, often snorkelling over to check it out later.
Without being xenophobic, most of the former are French.
Not only do they appear to understand none of the physics involved, but they are
also determined to get as close to the shore as humanly possible, even if there
is really no space to start with. Having squeezed into a non-existent (but to
their eyes, and apparent) gap, they then usually have an extensive and
gesticulating anchor conference on the bow consisting of all on board, whilst
they drift around until the weight of chain finally brings the boat to a halt –
until the next big gust of wind pulls the chain straight and the anchor skids
across the sea bed.
This morning, one of the latter arrived alongside. Clearly the anchor had not set, and they
ghosted backwards until we would have been able to pass them a coffee (or
possibly spit in their cockpit). They studiously avoided our eye, whilst
preparing the boat with shading, dropping the dinghy and muttering to each
other. We were talking on the phone
to Brother Adam in KL, so were otherwise engaged, which prevented my vernacular
French and bulging eyeball stare being deployed immediately. By the time we had said our goodbyes,
the offending crew had disappeared into the bowels of their boat, and were
obviously not planning to do the honourable thing and re-anchor (preferably
well, and definitely in clear space).
Ali prevailed on me not to board the vessel (it was
close enough again), or to holler profanities, so we hoiked the hook and moved
well out of their orbit – inshore of them, so that they drag away from us!
One of the most endearing things about this anchorage is
that we are amongst an enormous turtle colony. As you sit in the cockpit, blethering
about this and that, you will spot a head and back break the surface to one side
for a quick breath of air. By the time you have pointed this out to your
partner, it has disappeared again but you both spend long periods looking at the
disturbed water where it once was (because they sometimes come up again).
However, they break surface so often around the boat, that the sequence repeats
itself endlessly. We have become as
fond of them as we are of dolphins, and they are just as hard to photograph!
We had watched a program on the Great Barrier Reef just
before we returned to the Caribbean, which had focussed on the habits and antics
of turtles, as they tend and defend their “gardens” and territories, so feel we
actually know something about them – though doubtless these are the laid-back
Caribbean cousins, and don’t bother with any of that stuff!
And so we come to the good bits….having settled at
anchor again, we went ashore to get rid of the rubbish, stretch our legs and
find something to eat. The village has a score of little restaurants and cafes,
most of which are hugging the shore line so that when you sit down at a table,
your feet are close enough to the surf to get wet if you are not careful!
We had a fine lunch, served slowly but with great
panache by an enthusiastic young woman with a ready smile. A couple of ice-cold
beers washed it down, and patience and tolerance were