A Few More Days of Work and Play
01 March 2011 | Georgetown, Exumas
Beth - high 80's
Whew! What a whirlwind! Even if we don’t take an active part in the scheduled goings on at Volleyball Beach, there are so many people to meet, jobs to take care of and simply so many “opportunities” here, that we have few chances to sit back and relax.
That “sit back and relax” idea is out of the question for more than one reason right now. The wind has been up and we have been pitching and dipping for the last few days and nights. Dry dinghy rides are out of the question; freshly laundered clothes get salt encrusted on the first trip away from home; the anchor chain rattles and wires inside the mast twing and twang during the nights.
Jim used some more choice words and brute strength to pry up the floor boards so we could have a closer look at the holding tank and determine the source of the odour. It was only about half full so over flow was not the problem - thank goodness!! I unloaded the stern locker and crawled down in there to unfasten the vent tube and blow through it to dislodge any nasty bits that might be blocking the air flow. It cleared, but the smell continues. I guess we’ll dump a lot more deodorizer in there, pump out and see what happens next.
Jim replaced the alternator belt on the engine - again - in case that was the cause of the smoky smell as we turned the engine on when we came in here last week. Sure enough, this one had started to fray. Getting those things on at the right tension seems to be a tricky business. Too tight and they fray; too loose and they don’t work efficiently so we don’t produce enough energy. Speaking of energy production - the wind generator is working away these days. I turned on the Honda generator only twice while Jim was away, and it hasn’t been on at all in the last 4 days!
I report all this just in case any of you might be thinking we are sitting here with brains and muscles withering away from lack of use while you deal with cold and snow! We do have a few of our own issues to deal with. Our switches don’t work unless we create or harvest the power ourselves. We don’t have TV and if we want to watch a movie on the computer, we need to make sure we have enough power. Our phones don’t ring and computers don’t work if there are any glitches with the Bahamas Telephone Company - and glitches are regular occurrences. Our sewage system lies right under our living room floor and we lug our water in 5 gallon cans. Whether or not our home stays where we put it depends on a chain, and anchor and a rope. We wear our clothes until they are stiff with salt and/or ... and then we load up bags and tote them off to the laundromat.
I know - I know - this is still better than cold and snow and the working life!! I just feel the need to temper the image of an idyllic life a teensy bit. ;-)
Besides the demands of boat chores, we are managing to fill our days to the brim. We attended beach church for the first time on Sunday. It was a pleasant gathering of about 40 - 50 people, a well written and delivered message about sharing and acceptance, a few prayers and some hymns (that needed a serious boost in tempo and some inclusive language). There were coffee and goodies afterward just like church back home, and well wishes and greetings and plans made for later in the day.
Jim attended Chris Parker’s session on Sunday afternoon while I started weaving a basket with fronds I collected at Sand Dollar beach. In the evening, we joined Ken and Connie (Oz) Chris and Peaches (Star of the Sea) and Sally and Guido (?) for Trivia night at St Francis. We split up into 4 teams with a person from each boat on each team - so we’d be better able to share the winnings. Alas, although the team with Jim, Connie, Peaches and Guido did better than we did, no one came home with winnings. It was a lot of fun though, and it reminded me of good times playing trivia in the past. We must resurrect that activity!
Monday was education time. We got together with Diane and Ted (Boatel I) in the morning to share information on Cat Island and Eleuthera - and to see their gorgeous trawler. It is a huge 4 stateroom boat with beautiful finishing top to bottom, full sized fridge and stove, and what looks like an honest to goodness basement in it - complete with laundry area, work bench and tools (and of course since it is a boat after all - a large open engine room). They operate a Boat B&B in Toronto in the summers, and the boat is also for sale as they plan to move on to other activities.
In the afternoon, we headed to Volleyball Beach to listen to Chris Parker again. This time he highlighted some common mistakes/learning experiences that cruisers commonly fall into. Among them were the often stated ones of trying to move according to a fixed schedule, and expecting weather to be exactly as forecast. I just love Chris’ attitude. He emphasized that sailing should be planned for the comfort level of ALL on board, and encouraged discussion around that before and during passages. Is it marginally acceptable? What happens if the wind is stronger or from a slightly different direction? Do you have bail out destinations in case it is just not comfortable or safe to continue to the planned one? He also pushed us to take responsibility for our own vessels and our own forecasting based on local conditions - what we see outside our own boats. While we might like to be told exactly what will happen and when, that is simply not possible. There were smiles all round as we recalled folks who call him wanting to know exactly how far they can go in one direction before turning to another, or the exact timing of squalls, or asking about sea conditions over distances so short they can almost see for themselves. We each need to be responsible for our own vessels, relying on his and other forecasts, on what we learn ourselves about weather trends and patterns, and on what we see and feel.
It was picture time after that as we gathered for a Seven Seas Cruising Association photo, and then we were off to an information session for the folks going to Cuba this year. Despite the fact that Duncan (Talisa) had sent an email and made an announcement on the net that this gathering was for folks travelling to Cuba THIS YEAR, two American men still had to show up to tell us of their travels there almost TEN years ago! They took over the conversation during the introductions and would have continued to monopolize it as they “informed us” were it not for the efforts of Duncan and others to bring the conversation back around to the group gathered for a particular purpose. It was a pertinent reminder of the importance of letting folks know we have information if needed and then offering advice only when requested - not when we just want to expound.
We joined a whole crowd of cruisers on board Boatel in the evening - Dorena and George (Delicio), Marge and Ed (Margaret Lee), and Charm and Ron (‘Bout Time) for a lively happy hour and then bounced back home to tumble into bed.
We had planned to leave for Long Island today, but will wait for the seas to calm down tomorrow. Off to the laundry and water taps today!