Dudley Left Me....
22 February 2009 | Still in Falmouth Harbor, Antigua
Oh noooooooooooo...my honey couldn't take it anymore. This boat just got too small and he split! He got on an airplane and left me! It's been a year and I'm really loud, really intense and excessively domonstrative (I loved "Patch Adams). He, on the other hand, is wonderfully peaceful and a very quiet spoken angel. He must've cracked and I drove him away! Oh no!
He had to go home to the States for a couple of doctor appointments and I'm proud to say he thought I was the most logial and qualified one to care for our 'floating' home! He REALLY IS Dudley Do Right and spent two weeks before he left making sure I had the most current 'projects' completed, the pantry full, water and fuel topped off, etc. I truly am the luckiest woman in the world! Who do you know that gets to have an open ended honeymoon on an exotic
adventure in the Caribbean?
Well I thought he took all his peacefulness back with him! The first night he was gone the wind came to a screaching halt and woke me right up! It was 4am. I had gotten so used to the winds rushing past our boat, churning the harbor to a froth and boldly pitching us to sleep! The winds have been whistling thru the rigging and something is always ting, ting, tinging somewhere on the boat! I thought we had dragged since Altair wasn't pitching and I was able to feel the swell! I didn't get back to sleep. I managed to be awake early enough to see the bay so tranquil it looked like liquid glass, undulating with the gentle swell. The crimson light from the sunrise about to peak over the hills and burn off the clouds was so serene, equalled only when my captain is by my side. This is worth getting up early, don't ya think? This reminds me of being on watch when the sun comes up. I love night sailing...I love sailing, if I can remember. I am a night person, guess it's my loss.
One of the last things "Dudley Do Right" insisted I do immediately was to attach the kellet to the anchor rode. Well, the opportunity presented itself this calm morning and yours truly got that baby on! I tried by myself, cranked up the engine, inched up, ran up and pulled in some rode, repeating that until I got most of it on deck. Usually Dudley and I work together on this. Well, I thought I was on the verge of tripping the anchor when I was getting too close to the chain. I chickened out and let the scope back out.
Ok, my caretakers, Droukit Cronie, offered to stick around along with the X-mas winds, to keep an eye on me. They call me their 'ward', hehe. They came by to help and pick on me. Lorry is always doing that, and she said "The l20' marker was not where Dudley left it, fix it!" It's her nature, hehe. I'm happy to report that the anchor is dug in well and will stay put with a lot of help from that little kellet. It's a boon having them around, in light of the fact that Lorry and Stephen are fun, entertaining, and experienced cruisers to boot. Not to mention they love food as much as me and have been coming to this island for so long they know every culinary hot spot I'm sure.
Well, the wind stayed away and so did the sun that day, one week ago now! I got into a zone and started getting my ducks in a row, organizing and getting a lot plugged into the laptop. The main reason I was ok staying on the boat by myself was I wanted to get this blog up and loaded with most of last year's adventures to share! I had been writing a journal half of which was in the computer and the other half in two books. When I peaked at the batteries they were low! l2.2 to be exact an it's only 2pm. Yeiks... I'm going to have to crank up the engine.
Damnnnnnnnn, not again! Alternator is not charging! We just had a new bracket made for the alternator and then had it checked out by yet another electrical expert when we first sailed into Antigua at the beginning of December! This problem has been plaguing us for a year, ever since Nassau, in the Bahamas last February. In November, we pulled the darn thing and had it bench tested in St. Martin. It was fine! Doncha just hate those hit or miss problems? What the hell is it?. Wouldn't you rather have something broken l00%? Then you can fix it, right? The good news is that we have only started the engine for power once or twice in this whole year of cruising. The solar panel and wind generator are marvelous additions and we love 'em!!!!
It's amazing how much you depend on power and internet, funny that? All night long I was frugal with lights mostly off, no writing, no inverter, no laptop battery power, no Skype! I did take a chance and tried to call Dudley, but the light was not blinking on the Dell battery
pak! The inverter sucked the boat battery juice down all day until the display on the power pack didn't read. The boat batteries were at an all time low at 12.1....Sheisa! If it 'ain't one thing, it's another'...I now have a great internet connection just NO freakin' power! Doesn't it just figure! Dudley said to get in touch with Signal Locker again! I turned off my flashlight went to bed...it's 8pm.
No, alternator, no power supply for laptop! This is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown! (I love Pedo Almodovar). I went to bed early which means I was up at 4a, again, worrying! Like that's productive. That's the Captain's job anyway...I quit. Just kidding. I was about to go into panic mode when Stephen offered to come trace this problem himself. Maybe I could avoid calling someone in at $90 an hour, US dollars that is! Lorry and I bailed and jumped in my dink, then we took off on foot for Nelson's Dockyard! I took that dell power pack with me and when we got to the Mad Mongoose, I plugged that little bugger in. The power pack was fine, there just wasn't enough juice to activate it on the boat. That's one piece of good news, what a relief!!!! Next project. The walk with Lorry was a good diversion but I was still in a funk even after we stopped at a gallery of fabulous photography and the mixed media gallery next door. She tried, God love her.
As if Altair's power problems weren't enough, Sir Allen Stanford is allegedly being exposed for fraud of shoking magnitude. (This info, and 'island news" will go in the "history" category of this blog, when I figure that out). Everybody on the island was over-reacting (sound familiar) when we walked past a bank (One of Stanfords?) it was obvious. It sure looked like there was a run for the money anyway. People filled the lobby and overflowed outside. It's always about timing, isn't it. WILL I BE ABLE to get money to pay someone to fix the alternator? Lorry was a trouper and patient with me..."The news is always exaggerated..." she said, and it settled me down for a few minutes anyway! Lorry was trying to be rational and trying to keep me grounded, but I just wanted to get back to the boat and write! I backed out of joining her for lunch growling, "I have all this food onboard"! A little cranky huh?
I so wanted to get caught up while Dudley was away, taking advantage of a neat and orderly boat with no new building or repair projects consuming the writing or painting space. I wanted to dispense with those handwritten journals once and for all. I planned to cull from my journal to get the BLOG UP AND RUNNING at last. Now THIS!
With all this being said, I pulled up the weather on-line that night and as if on cue, the winds picked right back up and then some! We were getting wind tonight and more planned for the rest of the week! YIPPEE!!!! The wind and waves are both going to be from the east, so that means Altair will be pointing into the sun and the solar panel will get all the east/west rays we desire. Excellent news right? If Dudley were here he'd say "calm down, it always works out"....which is right, I just prefer to let it all out instead of holding in, poor Dudley!
YAHOO, YIPPPEE! Love the solar, love the wind generator!!!!