Wednesday 19 June 2013
Day one to Sint Maarten, NOT. "What up, dog?", you may ask. OK, here's the deal. Friends on "Diastole" sailed in yesterday afternoon and induced our libation participation at the Chat 'n' Chill (it was only, really, a matter of common courtesy). During earnest conversation that became more logical as Goombay Smash progressed to plural, it was revealed they would inhabit the neighborhood for a few days and be wretchedly disappointed and desperately heartbroken (something like that) if we departed. We are, after all, not uncompassionate. Some consideration was also given to further healing of fetlock and latest weather forecasts. Both latest GRIB (Grimly Ridiculous, Insane Babble) and router Chris seem to envisage a shorter, easier and faster passage by waiting several days. Chicken Harbour rules.
Additional time here also allows fabrication of imaginative excuses for not wiring wind generator, not assembling dive compressor, not working on gas generator, not mounting and connecting AIS transmitter, not replacing tri-color bulb, not... All in all a wonderfully sagacious and enlightened decision that, moreover, embraces refinement of mental and social skills.
Sadly, however, but as anticipated, outboard's carburetor again requires gentle ministrations to effectuate (huh?) proper idling. Holy grail of universal idling remains an unachieved aspiration.
Monday 17 June 2013
After 3 times disassembling and cleaning bristly crap out of carburetor, outboard, which had packed up prior to our departure for Singapore, was again purring like a kitten. Culprit was in-line filter (you know, that thing that's suppose to keep crap out of the jets) shedding fibers. Anticipate possibility of 4th intervention as residual detritus breaks loose downstream from now replaced unit. Hard to overestimate inconvenience of concommitant loss of mobility, although rowing is an option (moving an inflatable with oars is roughly equivalent to propelling an inner tube with a swizzle stick). It is, however, a lovely character building exercise and one of crew has his Boy Scout rowing merit badge.
Long range wifi antenna also lost its way, going stupid and forgetting everything it learned at set-up. Following excellent help from seller and despite minimal comprehension of buyer, ability to transmit words such as Al-Qaida, bomb, nuclear and Tea Party can again give the NSA a woody and make all subsequent re-entries into the land of the free an adventure - I live for the rush.
Distaff crew improves with each day as nausea becomes intermittent and knee pain subsides. Captain Blithe expects to depart for points east-southeast on Wednesday. Or not; reference Eileen Quinn's song "If I kill the Captain (really, who would know?)". Given current North Atlantic wind forecast it may be necessary to sail nearly to Bermuda (due east of Beaufort, South Carolina) before turning south toward Sint Maarten - as much as 11 days. At least conditions will be relatively mild. This is a working hypothesis, not to be confused with any subsequent reality which may include tropical waves, resultant storms or, can this be possible?, faulty forecasting.
Friday 14 June 2013
Despite Delta over-booking first two flights (obviously didn't realize we were trying to get on), made it to SEA-TAC on schedule to visit with buds, before and after 14 hours of recuperative unconsciousness, for a day and a half. Redeye to Atlanta Tuesday night went from wide open to couldn't get on, but the second, an hour later, connected us to Nassau and then Georgetown. Land and water taxis were right on time and we hit the deck around 1900. One of us actually felt fine with little jet lag, however...
As these things go and adding insult to injury, Jan picked up, probably from one of the toxic, carpet commandos numerous on every flight, a case of viral gastroenteritis. It was even worse than it sounds. Because she's had her fetlock repaired and will probably race again I was reluctant to shoot her as requested. She is, as of this morning, barely back over the edge toward feeling human. As a nurse, of course, she's not a great patient, but as anyone who knows her will attest, grumpy Jan (oxymoron?) is better than most everyone else on a good day.
If possible it's hotter and more humid here than in Singapore with double the annual rainfall in last three weeks. Mosquitoes in record numbers have apparently called a conclave in Elizabeth Harbour to discuss world domination. Exuma at least was teetering on the edge of annihilation, but, despite a dearth of significant breeze, the sun shown yesterday to renew hope.
Besides having crew return to the land of the living, we await a weather window to St. Martin. Using historical data and current long-range forecasts this eventuality enjoys a 0.63% probability until weather patterns change with the next ice age. Could actually have departed today toward Bermuda (for the geographically challenged this is approximately 90 degrees off the desired course) to get behind a frontal system. The concept here is to sail north then east (avoiding heading wind) until past about 65 west, then tack south (turn right, Cal) to pick up the trades. Adds maybe 3 or 4 hundred NM to the journey, but otherwise, "it's not far, but you can't get there from here". Assuming OK winds and no tropical storms we're looking at about a week.
Meantime bud Tim Ashe, of Tradewinds Yacht and Ship brokers and Tartan dealer in St Petersburg (everyone go out right now and buy one), is due to sail down from Staniel Cay by Monday in a beautiful new Tartan 4100 so expect bacchanallery.. bacchanalousness.. non-teetotalry.. fun to ensue.
Tuesday 4 June 2013
With Jan feeling particularly frisky this morning we taxied to Ang Mo Kio Hub (a mall) for coffee and a movie. Coffee was excellent, "Emperor" was good and, after tramping about quite a bit, the patient may have turned the corner on worst pain although still slower than a sea cucumber on 'ludes.
My having been highly negligent adding pictures to this site over the preceding several months, a few will now materialize. Remissness (?) vis-a-vis actually taking any will reduce not only the quality one might otherwise expect (or not), but also the relevance to any twaddle with which they appear. Improvements in this regard may eventuate (huh?), but there are no warranties expressed or implied.
Awaking yesterday at the unconscionable hour of 7 for a $35 taxi at 8 to make a physio appointment at 9 then doctor at 10 is not the proper way to begin a day. This was more felicitously followed by Subway (along with McDonalds and KFC, ubiquitous) and walking to an adjacent mall for "Fast and Furious 6" (completely absurd and a lot of fun) then taking the bus home. Big outing for the bionic leg so plan today to engage in extensive sloth which, as previous revealed, is second favorite deadly sin just ahead of gluttony.
Friday, given favorable condition of new appendage, we explored the first-class Singapore Zoo. Thinking, incorrectly, that, given a circulating tram (an unsupportable number of 'givens' have accrued at this point), we could limit abuse to aforementioned and surgically replaced feltock, we nevertheless discovered that considerable hiking was unavoidable. No matter the limitations, we saw some great exhibits, had a fine, if abbreviated, time then limped home for extended R & R before today's visit to hospital for final checkup and bag o' drugs, good ones.
Pack, movie, tea, early beddies - taxi ordered for 0300, ouch! Flight, which currently looks pretty tight, departs 0555 for Tokyo. With 7 and 8.5 hour flights to Sea-Tac someone will have to chase Jan around the aisles every hour or so to keep her from freezing up. It's a dirty job, but... Total nautical miles, 12284. Given (there's that word again) the circumference of earth at its equator is 24901 NM and that we're not flying over the widest part, think we might have gone either way. Going east, however, allows us to recross the date line, pick up the day we lost coming and avoid losing that day forever... right?
Sunday 2 June 2013
Reference previous sentence of this seemingly unending stream of effluent, since this is ostensibly a sailing blog, any exudate therefrom whilst we dirt dwell should be studiously ignored by the aforementioned nautically oriented. Sadly, for any who actually read this crap, because there are limited options for other activity (being invalided as one of us is) the impulse to blather has overcome any sense of propriety in this regard.
First week and a half in Singapore was at a Value Hotel about 25 minutes by bus from Raffles Hospital (Jan's home away from home away from home for 4 fun-filled days of invasive medical attention). The 'value' was derived from a room slightly larger than its en suite which was too small to separate shower from toilet and sink. The private home, bed & breakfast, unavailable until yesterday, is both less expensive and much nicer. Han's Cafe, within our walking proficiency sphere, has good food and real coffee with an ATM nearby. Cinema may also be accessible by excellent and proximate bus service. Except for attendant discomfort experienced by same individual as referenced above, life is nearly perfect.
Recovery, succored by some really fine and otherwise illicit pharmaceuticals, is proceeding in stops and starts due bruising and swelling from maltreatment of soft tissue, held away from excavation site by hooked, stainless steel appliances (probably looks even worse than it sounds). Now awaiting resolution of this issue to begin rigorous fartlek training (not to be confused with symptoms following general anesthesia induced alimentary system paralysis).
Impatience grows to resume pain free, maritime escapades. Frisky as pups anticipating passage through North Atlantic to St. Martin/Sint Maarten as a much more active (as predicted) hurricane season commences. Hey, it's better than squatting down and waiting to die.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain
Contrary to previous evaluation, Raymarine chartplotter display seems to have been playing possum. One might notice, although technically inanimate, electronic devices tend to be rather devious. Data cable inside housing had foolishly tried to escape, but severe reprimandary (not a real word) along with appropriate physical manipulation seems to have brought it into line at least temporarily.
Delta Air Line flights through Nassau, Atlanta, Seattle and Narita to Singapore were amazing and wonderful. Can't heap on enough adulation for our superior experience. Everyone should fly long distances and often on this great airline, eschewing all others. Foregoing gushing has absolutely nothing whatever to do with any retirement benefits or income tied to Delta's financial health.
Due standby status, bag matching on international flights and rerouting through Seattle, suitcase didn't catch up until next day with note, "...inconvenience... will aid in our on-going efforts to prevent baggage delays in the future." So, as I understand it, inconvenience is good. Glad to help.
Sunday 26 May
Singapore is so beautiful one hardly notices that due location one degree above equator it's hot and humid and that laws are a tad strict ($150 fine for not flushing a toilet, $1000 fine for littering, $5000 fine for carrying something flammable on a train, urine detection devices on some elevators to lock you in until police can be summoned, mandatory caning for vandals and capital punishment for some drug offenses. Like, wow dude!).
Doctor appointment was Saturday (yes he works weekends) and surgery will be tomorrow after we touristed around the big city and Sentosa Island for a few. Not outrageously expensive, unlike Australia.
Friday 31 May
We can rebuild her. We have the technology. We can make her better than she was. Better...stronger...faster. So how did Steve Austin lift heavy objects without a bionic spine, huh? Although not faster yet, the improvement curve is remarkably steep. Recovery has nothing to do with the joint itself, which is fully functional after 24 hours, it's all muscular. Have every expectation that by the 10th she'll be running through Changi airport like OJ (minus a fatality or two).
To be released from hospital today on her own recognizance, Jan must report back Wednesday and again Saturday before we begin return to the other side of earth wee hours Monday to again, despite general trepidation of boating enthusiasts everywhere, make this a sailing blog.