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Moving the Big Boat and Cleaning the Bottom
29-Mar-2008, Dakity Harbor, Culebra, Puerto Rico

CURRENT LOCATION: Tied to a mooring ball in Ensenada Dakity, near the entrance to Ensenada Honda, on the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico

18 17.442' N, 065 16.844' W

That is right, dear Reader, our CURRENT LOCATION has finally changed. After 28 days at anchor (our longest time anchored in a single spot), we have finally achieved a change of scenery. Of course, it was not a big move. After hauling up 150 feet of rather slimy anchor chain, we motored all of 1.6 nautical miles to our new location in Dakity Harbor (see map from previous posting).

Note that the 'spine' sticking off the anchor chain in the photo below is one of our color-coded cable-ties which mark the length of the rode. Growth has rendered it somewhat ineffective:

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Leaving the anchor chain on deck to dry in the sun (which is better than inviting the 'dead fish' smell into our anchor locker, which happens to reside at the foot of our bed), we tied Prudence to a mooring ball. Again, these mooring balls are provided FREE of charge by the DRNA (department of natural resources). I love Puerto Rico!

The main objective for the day was bottom cleaning. Sitting still for 28 days in warm salt water affords the opportunity for growth that even our bottom paint cannot resist.

Another cruiser had told me to use caution when cleaning the bottom, as they had wound up with shrimp in their ears. Thinking about creatures the size of cocktail shrimp, I really couldn't get my mind around how that could happen, but I prepared anyway. I donned diving skin and wetsuit head-cover before entering the water:

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After a bit of bottom cleaning, Sheryl noticed them on me before I did. I was covered with thousands of tiny shrimp (each about the size of an ant). With a better understanding of what it meant to have shrimp residing in one's ear, I decided to up my level of protection by stuffing cotton (soaked with peroxide) in my ears, under my wetsuit head-cover. In addition, after each submersion to scrape, I was certain to blow all the shrimp sky-high from my snorkel tube. There would be no raw shrimp appetizer for me this afternoon. My piscatory friends felt somewhat different about the situation, though. Small fish soon gathered around the boat and I became quite popular, due to the fact that I was dislodging (and wearing) a substantial amount of bait.

The last time I cleaned the bottom was during our short stay at Isla Caja de Muertos (22-Feb). Contrary to that cleaning, which resulted in the removal of many solid dime-sized barnacles (leaving the bottom with a pox-like appearance), this cleaning did not require the removal of much solid growth. This time a thick, furry slime enveloped the entire underside of the boat. Fortunately, it was fairly easy to remove with the swipe of a plastic scraper.

In most places, our bottom paint is holding up fairly well. There are only a few spots where the yellow primer is beginning to show through. Hopefully, giving such attention once-a-month (from here forward) to any accumulated growth will allow us to avoid a haul-out until we reach Trinidad next year.

Here is a photo taken just behind the keel before cleaning...
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...then after:
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And of the rudder before cleaning...
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...then after:

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