A very rainy week..
Alas, tis almost time. We have plane tickets to NYC for the 16th of this month. We have been in a slip at Nanny Cay putting away our toys. The boat soon will be stripped of everything possible on the exterior to protect it from 6 months of tropical summer - sun, heat, humidity and weather (hoping for not much weather!) The systems are being put to sleep also. The watermaker is "pickled" with chemicals to protect it from nasty things from growing on the reverse osmosis membrane. The Lectra San Marine sanitation device is also desalted and cleaned with fresh water, along with the holding tank. The refrig/freezer will be defrosted shortly (as soon as the desire for ice for the rum and OJ leaves) and then flushed free of salt water. The water tanks/fresh water system will have chlorinated water stored in them .. it is odd not to even see a gallon jug of pink RV antifreeze here - yet have to run it thru everything. We are very certain that it will NOT freeze this summer!
The bags are packed. Mostly electronics - computers, Ipod, phones and some clothes. Steve is having to abandon his leatherman wave multi-tool..will not pass muster on the airplane - we have no check in luggage. He will have to replace it with a camping version to leave with our land based gear in the fall. I am sure he will feel naked.
The afternoons have been hot and muggy with no wind, so we have taken to sitting near the beach overlooking the Francis Drake channel to watch the sailboats and reflect on these past 6- months and even the 15 years of prep. I think the consensus is generally that we hardly remember November through January. We were exhausted and spent more time lying about on a mooring in Francis Bay than sailing. Not to say we did not enjoy those months, we met new friends, shared holiday celebrations and hikes with other cruisers. We explored St. John and figured out where to find, food, medical care, LP gas, boat parts and even the K Mart on St. Thomas. We lost weight, walked and jumped in to go swimming. Not to mention getting to be in attendance at our son's, John, wedding to his most beautiful bride, Liz.
We were shocked by the fierceness of the Christmas winds and the almost unending swells. We have decided this fall to get in a lot of sailing before New Year's in calmer winds and waves to gain the nerve, and experience to venture out in 20+ knots and 9 foot swells. We also have had enough of the charter boat circuit and have been looking at the charts for off the very beaten and crowded path for quiet empty anchorages next year. We are capable of spending several weeks without needing shore services. We make our own water and electricity. We burn around 5 gallons of diesel a week doing this. We can carry enough frozen and fresh food for a couple of weeks, and then there are the millions of cans of tuna and chicken.
I will admit to considerable reservations about Nanny Cay Marina, a place I viewed as an elitist resort with very little to offer the likes of us. And indeed, our first experience of the place seemed to confirm my worst fears. It was a crowded marina filled with large expensive boats. Any boat I could see was worth at least half a million dollars, and our next door neighbor was a 72 foot Oyster worth well into seven figures. Over the time we have been here my attitude has undergone considerable change. Prices here are no higher and in some ways lower than many of the other places we have been. Most important though, it's a pleasant place, staffed by friendly, happy, competent people. I will always remember the evening Mitch and I sat on the beach looking across the Sir Francis Drake Channel looking towards Peter and Norman Islands. We spoke about how much we were looking forward to returning to this place; to sailing up the channel; to anchoring in new and different places.
All in all I can say that we have been living the dream, even with Ms. Yanmar's temper tantrums. She needs a new boyfriend for the summer; Mr. Tim will set her right for sure!! This has been one of our happiest times of our 40+year long partnership.
Our summer plans are not as defined as last year's travels to the Pacific. We will spend some time in NYC and Albany NY visiting with family and getting used to decks that do not move. Then we will be heading south to Maryland and Virginia, to visit friends and start to make plans to sell our home and move out west.
Everything is in flux around this plan. We built our home, every nail, over 30 years. It will be hard to see her go to new owners, but we want to be near the boys ( now men) in the "winter" of our lives. They will not move back east so we will go to them.. Not counting of course that we love it out there!!
We plan to return to BVI in November for "take 3" and will pick up the blog then. Have a great summer. Thanks everyone for your help and support this year.
Best regards - Steve and Mitch s/v cimaise over and out till November 2013.
|cimaise and crew||
Already thinking of November, we never made it to Coral Bay St John..we definitely we do it in the fall..I borrowed the following from another's blog - a great description of a place to go and people we want to meet!! (Cruz Bay is where the ferries dock and the tourist off load)
"Most all the boats in Coral Bay are on moorings permanently and there are many colorful characters living out on their boats. We are a bit of an oddity here as most the boats here have never even left St John. They would consider a trip to the BVI's, just a few miles away, a major passage. Many of the boats here are as old as the people that live aboard them and I am sure only a small percentage of them could ever leave the harbor under their own power. But Coral Bay does have its charms. Ashore by the dingy dock is Skinny Legs bar/restaurant where the bar is full of boat people getting their daily tot of grog. And the people working behind the bar are the boat people that have jobs.
One of the cast of characters you are guaranteed to find perched at the bar is 'Pirate Bill'. Bill looks something out of 'Pirates of the Caribbean', being about 80 years old with long white hair and a beard. Pirate Bill wears a necklace of five Spanish doubloons he proudly wears and told us when he was younger he swam down and found them when he was working salvage in his younger days. Pirate Bill asked Amy where she was from and after she told him we were from California, he said "I used to live in California in the forties." He then stated to us he hadn't worn shoes in over twenty years!
In the evening when business slows down everyone stops talking and all watch the bar's TV before heading back to their boats. Skinny Legs is more of a cruiser family room than a bar for the local folks. But even if you are just dropping in for their famous burger, you are more than taken care and instantly part of the family."
|cimaise and crew||
We are in!!!! HOORAY!!! Avoided the rocks again!!
Ms. Yanmar, the poor sick lady, threw up and filled her overflow bottles within 90 seconds of leaving, however, motoring in flat calm up the channel ( yes Dave the channel was FLAT!!!!) at 12-1800 RPM she maintained her normal temp. It was only a 90 min run, she would have done something stupid (like had a real bad fever and shut off) if it had been longer.
So thus ends our 2012-2013 sailing season. There is 3 bars, a pool, many very nice showers, a laundry, a jazz fest on the 11th on the beach, nice neighbors and a nice view. What more could be ask for. The mechanic will be by this week to discuss the work.
We are going to see if they can haul us a day early so we can stay in the hotel for 2 nights - thereby having one day/night in Roadtown to enjoy before heading off in the ferry to St. Thomas.
Will post photos and more thought later.
|cimaise and crew||
just like the groundhog day movie..got no luck except bad luck...except...... we have decided that we are still in BVI, it is still beautiful, we are living the life, we will have a functioning boat by November when we return.
We are moving - slowly - in flat seas- on Sunday to Nanny Cay to a slip. This will put us near the haul out point and we will not need to fret over missing our plane because the engine overheats again. We will spend the next 10 days or so getting the boat ready for storage.
TONIGHT WE ARE GOING TO HEAR OUR FAVORITE LOCAL BAND AND HAVING COCONUT SHRIMP FOR DINNER...SO THERE!!! Fooey on you crappy luck!
|cimaise and crew||
We cannot believe it. The nightmare never ends. We had the mechanic remove the air and then motored 3 hours to Sopers Hole to be here for the wedding. (Our son John and his bride Liz at Sugar Mill in Tortola - a beautiful day!!) The engine did not over heat but did spit up 1 inch of water into overflow - (normal?? -only if it returns to the engine when cold). Next morning - cold engine - overflow bottle is now FULL. Obviously we still have an air leak. But where??
Call the recommended mechanic on island from Nanny Cay - he appears today with his tools including the illusive pressure tester we have been searching for. He pull apart the top of the engine to reach the head bolts and tries a re-torque..The bolts are tight - not the problem. Puts the engine back together and attaches the pressure gauge and starts the engine - the needle pins as the cylinder fires..CRAP>>>worst news..the head gasket is leaking. Combustion gas is getting into the coolant and pushing the fluid out.
What does this all mean..Lots of money to repair - the head will need to be pulled and machined (worse case replaced if cracked). We will go on the hard as planned and Ms Yanmar will receive medical attention while we are gone.
We are thankful that this waited till the end of our trip this year....sure does make us wonder what is wrong with this NEW engine. 500 hours.
We are heading out to drink. More later
|cimaise and crew||
Started her cold, she did suck some fluid back last night and has not made any new deposit in the overflow bottle yet. Running under light load to charge batteries and run freezer. Went to Marina to pay ( 15 miles round trip - $30 taxi fee!!) The cost for the mechanic to drive here and work on Ms Yanmar was $60!!! - what a deal - there shop time is $60 an hour!!.
So far so good. Have to go to Rtown tomorrow to pick up replacement engine hoses - you remember the overnight fedex - and a new alternator temperature probe. The original Balmar accessory melted its shrink tubing over the electric connection and it ran down on the probe - no longer working...hmmmmm???
This device turns the alternator on/off based on its temp. so it does not fry the alternator. Kinda important.
More later - planning to sea trail Thursday - winds will be less than 20 and we can start early enough to return if needed to grab a mooring in a nearly empty field if it goes bad.
Going to spend the afternoon playing drums on our drum machine into earphones so not to trouble the neighbors!!!
|cimaise and crew||