24 January 2016 | Pipe Creek, Exumas, Bahamas
We are nestled into Pipe Creek in the Exumas, Bahamas sitting out a weather blow. It has not been as bad as the worst forecasted (25-30 knot winds as opposed to 50-60) and today is bright and sunny, but windy. The biggest factor in our level of comfort is that the wind is going one way and the current the other, so we often are sitting broadside to the waves. Nonetheless, we are quite comfortable – even napping now and again between reading, cooking, and boat projects. Life is good!
The name of this post is Latin – let the buyer beware. We all know that one, right? Van first learned that lesson when he was about 8 or 9 and wanted a new baseball in “the worst way”. Only problem was he had only 69 cents and a new ball cost $2.00. (OK, we could do a post on inflation.). Van found a ball for 69 cents, but his older and wiser sister, Anne, advised him not to buy it but to wait until he could pay the $2.00 of a “real” hardball because he would “only be getting what he paid for” with a 69 cent ball. Patience was not a strong suit, so Van bought the ball and, sure enough, it fell apart after a few hits from the bat in a backyard stickball game.
More recently, as we were getting ready for this year’s cruise, we commented to someone that our flashlights and bumper tips on the boat hook were all sticky. The response? “That is because they were made in China and they can use compounds that cannot be used here and they just don’t last.” Again, one guest what one pays for.
Now, sticky flashlights do not make very good stories, but friends who were anchored nearby experienced an event of a very different sort, and one that could have been tragic. At 2:00 am on Friday morning, they awoke (cross current and wind) with their boat doing 180º turns and their dinghy bumping the side of their boat. They decided to pull up anchor and reset the hook in a different location. When they put the anchor down and backed their boat to “set the hook”, they heard a loud “bang” and realized their stainless steel anchor chain broke, leaving their anchor (and about 50’ of chain) on the bottom. Fortunately, it happened then, while they were awake, and not in a high wind when sound asleep. And, fortunately, it was a night of full moon and no clouds, so they were able to creep out of their location and anchor (with a spare anchor) in a different spot until daylight. When we talked to them later, I asked the source of the chain. Klaus, who is German born, said he had bought it in Germany, on purpose, thinking to get “good German chain”. He was shocked and dismayed, when the shipment arrived, to see its country of origin – China. Other friends who installed stainless steel chain (it is shiny and smooth and does not hold onto mud and sand the way galvanized chain does and so has appeal to boaters) had a similar experience, but with a less stressful event. They had anchored, set the hook, and taken a swim when Sam looked up at his shiny new chain and saw a link with a broken weld. They were able to swap out the new chain for a good old galvanized version with no mishap.
In both cases, had the conditions or circumstances been different, the boats could have foundered on rocks (and the ironstone shores in the Bahamas and Caribbean are nasty) and the crew injured or worse. Now, this is not meant to be a “pick on China” post, but a reminder that we do, indeed, get what we pay for! Be careful, buyers.