Around the world with S/V Zephyr

The adventures of Bill & Tracy as they fulfill their lifes dream of sailing the world. We've dreamed of this for years and now is the time while the health is still good and there is money in the kitty to make it come true.

22 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
20 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
20 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
18 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
18 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
16 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
12 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
09 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curaçao
09 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curaçao
09 August 2017 | Spanish Waters
09 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
04 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
04 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
02 August 2017
02 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao

Rain, Outboard, and lost credit card.

22 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/sunny with winds
It's now Sunday morning and boy has it rained. I wandered onto deck early this morning(0530) and sat and watched the Sun rise. Blue(one of our cats) came out and joined me as she watched fishing boats go by, birds flying past and dogs on dinghies on their way to a small island here in the bay to take care of their business. As the dinghies with dogs pass other boats, well if there is a dog on the boat, he has to bark "hello"to his friend and that make other dogs on boats and on shore chime in to all say hello to each other. Blue, meanwhile, just sits and watches and listens and cleans herself. We should have a hairball joining us any time today(yuck).

I watched as clouds built. Nice white fluffy ones over us and on the horizon. By 0800, they were starting to turn a bit darker so we closed up all the open port lights as well as the front of the dodger and just waited for it to start raining. Squalls came through one right after each other dropping lots of water on Curacao. So far, 1.37 inches of rain. It's not approaching noon and its clearing up. I did take the time to washout some of my "dew rags"(neck and head bands to soak up the sweat)and get them hung on the life lines between showers. They've had several more fresh water rinses since then.

With all that rain, Puff(our dinghy) has taken on a good bit of water. I took it's bow line and hooked it to the forestaysail halyard and lifted the bow enough that water poured out of the drain on it's stern taking lots of old sand(still from Madagascar), dirt that blew in from Africa and chips of white paint from the hull. She's much cleaner now and drier since I got her up off the deck.

WIth the rains came erratic winds blowing boats all over the bay into locations they haven't been in before. A catamaran behind us has always had a red steel boat off it's port side. With the winds this morning, they both swung around till the catamaran had the red boat off it's starboard side. Now that the rains have let up, the normal winds are back and everyone is back where they belong.

Since we couldn't run our generator at all, we ran the engine instead so we now have some what charged batteries and lots of hot water in our tank for showers or dishes.

After a wonderful lunch of Spaghetti, I started back in on our Tohatsu out board. It's been giving us some trouble lately when we try and tilt it up and down to get past shallow spots in the water. I'd seen some corrosion on some of the fittings and figured it was time to pull it over the lifelines and lower her onto the deck for a checkup. Tracy pulled up on the block and tackle we use for hoisting her off Puff and I puller her up and over the life lines and then she was lowered onto a pad on deck for inspection. With it standing up, it was easy to work on as I was sitting on one of our fenders. I went at it with a scraper and a sharp pointed awl and a couple of wire brushes. Then on went the WD40 into every crack and crevasse getting it in as many places as I could. I even injected some axle grease in through a couple of grease nipples into harder to reach placed. I worked every joint and connection up and down, back and forth and sprayed and sprayed till everything was moving nicely. While doing this, I found one of the wires that grounds the outboard had snapped off its connection ring. Time for a some electrical repairs. Out came the wire cutters, crimpers and wire strippers as well as an assortment of fitting that just might work. Wire isn't a problem as I have tons of it. It took a few minutes to get all the parts together and the wires crimped and then bolted back on the engine(just glad the bolts came out)and that job was also done. Every joint was now moving smoothly and the wires were now back the way they are supposed to be. Tracy hoisted it back up and I maneuvered it back over the life lines and onto the motor bracket on the stern rail. Another job taken care of.

We just finished our nightly tv watching and Tracy was heading for bed as we did our last running of the engine to keep the batteries topped up. Suddenly I heard this strange sound and of course my worry wart brain went to "something is wrong with the engine" mode. It didn't sound right and suddenly, I could tell it was fireworks and close by. I rushed up the companionway stairs calling for Tracy to come see. They just kept on going off and going off, sprouting fire into the skies on the far side of the yacht club, about 500 yards in front of us. The explosions echoed off the mountains around us so we heard boom after boom after boom. It went on for a good 15 minutes. Someone was spending a TON of money! I checked on line and it's not a holiday so I've no clue as why it was going on but it sure was fun to watch and hear it. Well done!

Yesterday, Monday, was the day everyone headed for the grocery store on the free bus. Had 17 dinghies at the dock and it was a mess. People had to climb over sometimes two different dinghies just to get off their boats as some use painters(line at the bow of the boat)that are only three feet long, keeping them close to the dock but making it hard to get other dinghies in so people can get off. Boneheads!!

The hunt continues for six new 6 volt batteries that we can afford. The stores out here was a fortune to replace what we have so we've been doing a bunch of web surfing to see what we can find. Not sure what we will do but we can get them in Panama a good bit cheaper than here.

Yesterday, as I was about to buy a part for Island Water World, I took out my wallet and NO credit card!! The slot was empty!! OH SH_T! My brain went in to over drive. Where had Iast used it and when. SInce I was at the grocery store, I could get on line and check my current charges. I've got the account set up so if I use the card, I get an email telling me that I used it. My last charge was last week on Wednesday at the fuel dock at the yacht club. I remember Francis handing me the card but I also remember making notes about how much I used and what it cost on a piece of paper. No charges since. Once back at the anchorage with my brain still flipping out(I get that way sometime when things like this happen)I headed over to the fuel dock even though I knew that they didn't open till noon and it was only 1030. We went to the yacht club office and explained my problem and they called Francis. Sure enough, he had my card and would meet me at 1200 and give it back. I returned to Zephyr, much relieved and headed back to the fuel dock just before noon and got my card. Francis told me he'd been calling me on the radio all last Wednesday afternoon and into Thursday but we never heard it. He didn't know the name of our boat so was just calling out my name. He's my hero!! Now I get to be even more paranoid about loosing my card. Gee what fun.

When I returned(today is Tuesday) from my trip to Napa and Budget Marine and Island Water World, Tracy told me that our nudist boat has move elsewhere. No clue where as he had no headsail and still had awnings up but at least he's gone. No class.

This was all my wifes idea!

20 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/overcast and maybe some rain.
All of what I have experienced and become since we started this voyage, I owe to my wife! Not necessarily an easy statement to make but oh so true. Back in 2007, once our last parent had passed, I asked Tracy what she wanted to do as that last parent had pretty well kept us landlocked as there just didn't seem to be any other thing to do. No, we didn't live in the same town but we always needed to be in a place where she(Tracy's mother)could reach out and talk to us. Once she was gone, it opened a door for us and Tracy stepped through it dragging me with her. She was going to sell her company, buy a boat and see the world. I know it sounds a bit crazy as the last and current boat we had was a 26 foot sloop with a ten horse power engine on it's stern. Neither of us had ever seen a diesel engine. Tracy knew that this was her dream and not mine but she wanted me to come along and see the world. She's always been the adventurer and I've always been the sedentary, stay at home kind of guy. She was an Air Force brat(Alaska, Japan, California, Wyoming, New Mexico) and I was the child of parents that last moved in 1955 and that was only about a half mile from where I'd always lived. I had been mired in the corporate life for years and figured I'd die behind a deck at come corporation.

Within 6 months, we bought a 46 foot cutter rigged sail boat and sold Tracy's company in early 2008 and moved on board in April of the same year, leaving our house behind. The first year was by far the worst as much of the boat needed repairs(survey said she was perfect!) and servicing and neither of us really had a clue on how to do much of what needed to be done. We watched, listened, took classes and learned and our bank account got pillaged by the boat yard we'd been told was a great place to have work done. They saw us as a way to make lots of money(crooks that they were).

By April of 2009, once we'd finished much of what needed fixing and replaced all our rigging(boats rigging dated back to 1982), we took off for Alaska. It was a magical trip with ups and downs but we saw and experienced sights we would never have seen if we had stayed living safe and sound in Denver, Colorado. We were back in Port Townsend by August and heading down the Pacific coast by October(where we saw amazing things) and off to Mexico by mid November. We were really underway, for better or worse. We made it to the Sea of Cortez and spent the next year traveling here and there, up and down the Baja coast and then over to the Mexican mainland. What we saw was amazing and could take your breath away. Birds, sea life, even the rocks were incredible. We got nailed by storms from time to time but always figured out how to live with them. High heat days and cool nights were always with us. The water was wonderful to play around in. It was truly wonderful.

By late 2010, it was time to move on and the magazine Latitude 38 made it happen. They offered us the "Pacific Puddle Jump" where they made all the contacts for the cruisers and got French Polynesia to wave entry fees and even set everyone up with agents to simplify the paperwork. We took off in April of 2011 and never looked back. Things broke, we fixed them. Sails tore, we stitched them and eventually replaced them. We learned as we went many times with the help of relative strangers as we went. Was it easy? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Was it fun? Sometimes yes and sometimes no but the good and fun far out way'd all the bad by far. French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, Tuvalu, Pohnpei(rebuilt our engine there),Palau, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, mainland Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mosambique, South Africa, Namibia, St. Helena, Trinidad, Grenada, Guadalupe, Martinique, Antigua, US Virgins, British Virgins, Bonaire and now Curacao with I'm sure some Islands forgotten. After traveling about 45,000 miles(give or take a few thousand) and I think this is country 35 and it's all because of my wifes dream. I look at all I would have missed if she didn't have her dream and am just glad she invited me along. It's been a TRIP!!!

Harvey, Laundry and our outboard

20 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/overcast and maybe some rain.
Harvey--the storm that died apparently. It's now Saturday morning and it should be raining now(buckets) with a nice wind to add to the storm. Instead, while it's humid(always is)there it not a breathe of wind not any rain. We had a few drops earlier and yes, it is totally overcast, nothing really happened. It's all our fault as we prepared for it since we'd read the forecasts. We rolled down the window in the dodger, snapped it closed and zipped it down the sides. We'd brought up the side enclosures and stern side panels for closing in the cockpit and zipped them on just about totally enclosing it. It's always nice to have a dry area to sit in outside as the rain falls. Heck, we even took the drain plug out of Puff just incase it really poured. Now don't get me wrong. I have no problem with the storm sort of dying out before it got here but it would have been nice to at least get some rain out of it.

As for our neighborhood nudist, he was out on deck this morning as another of the cruisers left the bay and he had SHORTS on!!!! Maybe getting yelled at by the local fishermen yesterday did some good. Guess time will tell if he reverts back to his natural form.

The laundry that was picked up yesterday afternoon should be delivered back this afternoon at 1300. Our cost is $51 Guilders or $28.50US. That's cheaper than what we paid for our last "Captains Night Dinner". While not cheap, it a luxury we can afford. I'll let you know how it turns out this time.

It's now just after 1000 and we just finished a run with the generator and now we've fired up the engine. This morning, we ran the engine for about an hour and then the generator for just under two hours and now we have the engine going again. We are going to make a concentrated push today to shove as much power into our batteries as we can. When we first start the charging, the volt meter shows us that the batteries are taking a nice charge as are the electronics that are also getting charged. As the demand on the electronics charging gets less and the batteries get move volts in them, the number of volts on our volt meter that shows whats in our batteries gets higher. We ran the generator till it showed just under 14 volts and now we have the engine running and it's showing 14.25 volts so we're cramming as much into them as we can. We'll run the engine for about an hour and then run the generator again cramming as much as we can throughout the day. The push is on. It will either work and the battery acids will be mixed better with the water I put in or they are on their last legs and will need replacement once we are in Panama as boat parts here in Curacao are far more expensive than most other places we've been to.

We launched Puff a few minutes ago so we can go in and get our laundry after lunch. It was eerily calm in the bay. Hardly a ripple in the water. We've been here about six weeks now and it's the first time I can remember it being this way. The waters so clear(due to the calmness) that we can see lots of our anchor chain at the bow and well past the bottom of our rudder. A first! As I came below to type this, there was just a breathe of a breeze getting started so I figure by this afternoon, we will be back to normal with 15-20 knot winds again.

It's now 1600 and it's been a busier than expected afternoon. We finished out wonderful taco lunch and headed for shore to get our laundry. The driver showed up just after 1300 and We picked up our nice clean laundry. We headed back to Puff and our outboard wouldn't start. I pulled and I pulled and it took about 15 minutes(or at least it felt like 15 minutes, she finally started. Once back at Zephyr, I handed Tracy the laundry and figured I'd better look into what might be causing the problem. As I got the cover off, Tracy handed down my tools so I could pull the spark plugs out. One looked alright but the second looked quite oil fouled. I changed it out and she started right up. Previously, once started, she would jump around like it was missing on one of it's two cylinders. With the new plug in, I put the cover back on and tried her again. Yes, she started but she really ran badly. Well shucks and darnies, I've got something else wrong. Off comes the cover and I find that one of the leads to the spark plugs has come off the cap that connects the to the plug. Now I really have a problem. I did get lucky as Roy from Serenity who is anchored right in front of us has a tremendous knowledge of small engines so I asked if he could come over. Once in Puff, he saw the problem and said it was easy to fix(if you know how). I handed him a set of wire cutters and he cut off just a bit of the wire to the plug cap and then simply screwed the cap back on the wire!! Shows what I know. I figured I'd need a new wire and caps at the least. Apparently, inside the plug cap is a screw so that all you have to do it make sure the wire end is clean and flat and then screw on the plug cap to the wire and it's done. Roy did suggest that I put some tape or silicone where the wire enters the plug cap as it was open to letting anything in that might come near the wires(salt water). Tracy handed down some tape and I did a few wraps around the wire and plug cap and it was done. Runs well now! Yea!! Now I will be going in search of a Tohatsu dealer in Curacao. That started on Monday as all the shops on the island are pretty much closed on Sunday. My thanks to Roy for coming to the rescue. It's the way it is out here. Everyone helps everyone if they can.

The picture today is of our $28 bag of laundry. Looks great and not a bit of odor.

Nudist and getting laundry done.

18 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/storm is coming!
Lets file this next topic under either A: Not cool dude! or B: Not appropriate! A few days ago, a couple of boats showed up, one looking like it just left the marina since it had no head sail and fenders all around the boat. As I've written before, the bay is split into four different sections for anchoring, each one requiring a permit. If you move, well you have to go to town and get a new permit. These two boats, one a catamaran and one a monohull show up later in the afternoon and both dropped their hooks outside of "B" area where we are currently anchored and close to our friends on Serenity. I mean really close but that depends on the direction of the wind. The monohull came in, and dropped his anchor in front of Serenity and dropped back keeping Serenity on their port side. They did call over and ask if they were too close and the direction of the wind at the time kept them well apart. The problem is that one boat is on a chain rode and the other is on a rope rode. The rope rode boat(Serenity) tends to shift a bit more as their rode is much lighter. As the wind shifts, so do both boats but that's not the worst of it. This new boat is not only anchored out in the main channel of the bay(a no no) but the man on board is a NUDIST!! He's always parading around on deck in his birthday suite as other boats pass by as well as the many tour boats coming and going. Now if you're out in a nice small cove all by yourself, well fine. Strip down and had a fun time but it's not the thing to do in a busy harbor like Spanish Bay. I'm just glad Serenity is between us. I'd hate to have him as a neighbor seeing him in all his self styled glory every time I came on deck. YUCK!!! There is a nice big front that's turning into a Tropical Storm(Harvey) heading our way with lots of wind and rain. It's going to be interesting to see how these two boats make out when the storm shows up in a few days. We'll all be dancing around in the anchorage once it shows up. Late this afternoon, one of the local fishing boats passed this nudist boat and I could heat the men on board yell at the nudist. Now I'm not sure wether it was about the nudism or the fact that he's anchored out in the channel all the boats use to go in and out but since he was out on deck, working on his anchor windlass from what I could see, I figure the yelling was about the lack of clothes. We'll see if he takes the hint(doubt it though).

We're sitting here waiting for Tropical Storm Harvey as it makes it's way across the top of South America. It's due here tomorrow morning with lots of rain but from what the forecasters say, not a ton of wind but we all know about weather forecasters. Pretty computers and nice satellites and they still get if wrong much of the time. Mother Nature Rules! It's been cloudy most of the afternoon with shifting winds much less than normal since the up coming storm has sucked them out of the area. It's already past the windward islands and headed for us due sometime in the morning. A 70% chance of rain so we've covered what we have on deck and taken in the cushions in the cockpit so they won't get drenched. The boat needs a good cleaning.

Meanwhile, we keep running the generator and try to keep all our electronics topped up with power. We have the MacBook, IPad, cell phone and wifi dongle all plugged in getting what they need. The batteries seemed a bit better today but the plan is to change them when we get to Panama in a month or so if they haven't straightened out by then.

We made arrangements today to get our laundry picked up at the round about close to the docks we use for Puff. We'd talked about using MR Laundry Service to several people and one of our friends decided to go in with us for the pickup. The really nice thing about these people is that they do a great job and when you get the clothes back, they are folded nicely and there is no aroma of the perfumes that are so widely used but the soap companies. We both told the woman(manager of the store) when she came by that that was one of the things we really appreciated about her company as the other laundry that many of the cruisers use uses heavily perfumed soaps and one of the last things I want to be stuck with is lying down at night on stinky sheets and having to put up with that all night. She promises us that she will have them ready by 1300 tomorrow and will deliver them all the way to the dock in the boat yard. Instead of charging us $5 guilders each way, she only is charging us $5 guilders for both pickup and delivery. If this works out as well as we think it will, we just might make it a revolving service with more cruisers using her company. We might even be able to set up a weeky schedule for everyones laundry. Something I think I'll explore on tomorrows net.

Tomorrow is going to be a wet day. It should be interesting.

Digicel(again),Gasoline, Food and Laundry.

18 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/Partly cloudy
It's now Wednesday morning and here's what's been going on since my last post that ended on Monday afternoon.

After the download of a file(300 megs) took over 3.5 hours, I knew I had to go back to Digicel again!! Man, what a pain in the butt. Tracy was heading for the grocery store on the 0830 free bus and I was taking the 0900 bus for town. Off she went and off I went. Since she would be back first, we made sure she had the key to the boat as well as the safety lanyard for the outboard. She's been caught before with no key to get in Zephyr and had to "break in". Always helps when you forget to dog down a big hatch on deck.

As I sat waiting for the bus, along came a couple off one of the other boats that we know in passing so a conversation ensued and after hearing my tale of woe, advised me to just go the main office. Much better help so they say. Just by pass the little store we normally go to. They even told me the name of the small bus to take. It would have a sign in the front saying it goes to "Rhond". I did need to go to the bus station thats on the other side of the river. Once in town, I hiked over to the other bus station and talked to a driver and yes, he would take me right to Digicel. Cost:$3.40, about $2.00US. In I climbed and we took off, me being the only person in the bus. Where did we go? Well right over to the bus station where I came into town. He was trolling for more passengers. A couple came on board and off we went, going places I've never been before. We use a program called Sygic for finding places and I'd marked on it's screen where the Digicel office was. We weren't going any where near it. Oh well, I guess the driver knows where it is. In the end, he took me right to it. Not on my map program so I added it. Any way, I walked in and was directed to their "Data Doctor"by one of the sales people I've dealt with at the other store(small world I guess). I explained my problem on the SLOW speed I was getting. He accessed my account and then he listened and then looked at my wifi dongle and had me turn it on, got up and walked into the back offices telling me he would be right back. About 15 minutes later he returned telling me that Digicel had put a "choke" on my data speed as I'd passed one of their limits of data when we'd used over 30 gigs with in a month. He got the techs in the back room to "unchoke" my wifi stream so I could get the data at it's normal speed. Now we've heard of companies doing this to people that buy "unlimited" internet but we paid for a set number of gigs(18 gigs for $50.56)and not unlimited so we have no clue as to why they would slow us down but at least the problem was resolved. No clue why the "Data Doctor" at the other store didn't so what this guy did. She had the same information but I guess it pays to go to the main offices. Better help!

Since that problem was resolved, I discussed with my "Data Doctor" what was going on with Stat Counter, the service I use to keep track of how may people visit our blog. Doesn't' tell us who, just how many and what country they live in. No matter what we do, we just can't link up with their site using Digicel. Any other ISP company and there is no problem. I showed him what happens on my IPad and off he went again with the IPad to visit with the more senior techs in the back room. About 15 minutes later, he returns and says that they have never seen this happen before and are going to look at it more closely and get back with me. Guess we will see but as of today, I still can't log in.

Once done with what i could get done, I hiked down the street to catch a bus back to downtown so I could return to Zephyr. I found a bus and then started discussing with them about going down town. Their English wasn't that good but they told me to climb on and off the three of us went, no money changing hands. In the end, after about 15 blocks, they stopped at a bus stop and told me to get off and take another bus to town. I guess they don't normally pick up passengers. They dropped me off near Kooyman and Builders Depot and since we need a few thing, I hiked over and got a new clock for Zephyr and some caulk to fix one of our portholes(has a small leak). Then back on the road hiking to Burger King where I thought I might have lunch but by the time I got there(12:30) I wanted to catch the 1330 bus back to Zephyr having missed the 1200 bus so Instead of eating, I grabbed the next small bus and got into down town Willemstad at 1245 in time for a lunch at Mc Donalds as I knew they would be fast so I could still make the 1330 bus which I did. Once back at the dock, I radioed Tracy and she came in and picked me up and back to Zephyr we went. By now, it was 1430 so I started downloading some more shows for us to watch and they downloaded nice as fast as they are supposed to.(YEA!!)

This morning, just after 0800(Wednesday), we loaded all five of our gasoline cans into Puff and I took off for the fuel dock. Using the generator as much as we have been plus putting more fuel in the outboard tank, we were bone dry. I zipped over only to find they don't open till 1200! OK, back to Zephyr to wait till they open. Bad thing is that sometimes they run out of fuel so maybe I'll get some and maybe I won't. Stay tuned. If I don't and we run out, well we'll be running the engine a lot more to keep everything charged.

As for lunch today, we had Thai Chow Mein. Tracy had picked up some already chopped up and shredded veggies when at the store earlier this week and using her Thai Cookbook, it was amazing. All on a bed of rice and it was just great. Why eat out when she can make meals like this.

After lunch was over, I climbed back into Puff and took off for the fuel dock at the local yacht club. They have a reputation of being out of fuel from time to time and since we were out of gasoline that we so desperately need, I was glad that they had some. It was the first question I posed to the fuel manager, Francis. He didn't bat an eye but suggested that if I wanted to, I could fill up the tanks while they were still in Puff. A smart idea as it avoids lifting full jerry cans off the dock and into the dinghy. We put 19 liters in each of the five cans so that works out to just over 25 gallons which makes it cost $3.65 per gallon. That's much cheaper than the $4.67 we paid in Bonaire a 5 weeks ago. Diesel runs $2.37 per gallon and we will be taking it on next to top up our tanks though we shouldn't need much. It sure would be nice knowing what countries charge for fuel so you'd know when to fill up and when to wait. With us holding 220 gallons of fuel, even a few cents can make a difference in the bill. While the cans may hold 20 liters, we only put in 19 as it's easier to handle and one liter less really makes no difference in the long run.

I returned to Zephyr with a much heavier dinghy than when I left and we hoisted the five cans over the port side, covered then with sunbrella covers that Tracy made years ago and then strapped them down to the port rail with our stern tank on the starboard side. We had fuel again so we topped up the generator and let her run for another hour or so with the nightly top up for later.

Late in the afternoon, we brought Puff back aboard and I took some time for a nice cool water shower. Sure felt nice to be clean again. Hopefully we can go snorkeling tomorrow. It will be nice to be back in some cool sort of clean water and see the sea life.

It's now Thursday morning and we are up and at it again. We had the engine running by 0700 as we think that's to early to run the generator on deck. We start that at 0800. The morning net was another short one with very little offered.

In the afternoon, we headed in for the "Captains Dinner" held at "The Pier" restaurant. It's a gathering of cruisers that where the restaurant offers a flat price meal($20 Guilders) and it gets well attended. Each week it changes from Fish(last night), Chicken on a stick, Hamburgers and other dishes. Last nights was Mahi Mahi or Dorado or at least that is what they claimed. If so, they filets the smallest Dorados we have ever seen. Most Dorado is huge with nice big filets. I think most of us got the tail section. Still tasty though and it came with a nice side salad and French Fries. What they don't make on food though having a client boost of about 40 people has to help the bottom line, they make on drinks. Given many of the restaurants we've been to while no cheap booze, its more reasonable than most. Everyone had a great time swapping stories and trading information. Next week on Tuesday, Tracy and I will be giving a talk about our experiences as we crossed the Pacific. Many of the cruisers here are planning on going through the Panama Canal(along with us) and are craving information. Tracy and I sat down this morning and started making an outline of what we want to say. This is going to be interesting.

We started up our engine this morning to put back in some volts. Todays reading on our volt meter was better so maybe we are on the mend but time will tell.

A few weeks ago, we had our laundry done and it turned out well. This morning, I called them and made arrangements for them to pick up our laundry instead of us having to haul it all the way out there on the bus. They delivered our clean clean clothes last time they did it and this time we want to use their services both ways. We told some of our friends and they may be adding their clothes to the load and taking advantage of this laundry. We will be picking up the clothes at noon next to the dock. Probably return them tomorrow. I have to call them at 1300 so they can weigh them and let us know how much to pay when they return them. It sure beats doing them on board.

Over the weekend and back to Digicel again.

16 August 2017 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Bill/Partly cloudy
Here in Curacao, like many other ports, there is a morning "Cruisers Net" on the VHF radio(Channel 72). Normally giving out information to the cruisers and some locals and bring to solve problems for boats that have them. Here's in Curacao, it's a bit different. For the most part, if you could hear crickets chirping on a VHF(nothing talked about)that's about what you learn in a day to day listening of the net. It starts at 0800 and is normally done by 805 or even earlier. It goes like this: "Anyone need any assistance?" When we came in to Curacao, we had problems with our start batteries getting over charged. When I put out our problem hoping for some help, well, as I said, you could almost hear crickets on the radio. Nothing was the response and there are a good fifty boats here in the bay. It's that way every day or when someone comes on the radio and asks for help. Next topic: "Any one offering services?" I don't think I've heard anyone ever respond to that call except the people that sell water t othe cruisers. Next topic: "Any events". Here you will probably get some information--"Captains Dinner" on Thursday night at the local restaurant, or maybe an up coming hike to town or up the side of one of the mountains(more like hills)close to the bay. It's the most active section of the net. Next: "Anyone have anything to sell or give away?" We've heard of one boat that wants to sell a printer/scanner/copier and another boat that's giving away an old out of date life raft for kids to play on once it's inflated. It surprises us that no local businesses participate in the net talking about their services and where they are. No advertising about themselves and Curacao is supposed to be one of the Big places to have work done. No discussion about the local free bus to the super market, no talk about the schedule of buses that take people to town for checking in. Just about nothing. If you yawn, you just might miss this net.

It's about 0830 and the generator is purring away on the stern. Should be able to turn it off about 0930 and do the gasoline filtering and filling I wrote about in the last post. Then, a shave and a shower for me. It's time to feel clean again. As always the winds are still blowing in the mid teens.

It's now 0940 and we just finished our fuel project. We poured all the existing fuel that was in the out board motor tank into the "Baja Filter" to make sure there was no water in the existing fuel. That fuel went into another spare gasoline tank. Once it was out, we then we poured what came out back through the Baja Filter and into the outboard motor tank. So far, the fuel looks nice and clean but we will see in an hour or so if any water pools up at the bottom of one of our Tostitos jars. We save them for just such projects. Gasoline or Diesel, unless you are sure of the cleanliness of the source, it should all be filtered. Here in Caribbean, there is so much fuel getting pumped every day into the hundreds of boats that we have little fear of any problems. One of the last things any boater wants is dirty fuel in their tanks. With the now cleaner fuel back in the outboard motor tank, we then poured two gallons into a smaller jerry can(three gallons) we keep for transferring fuel to different tanks. With the Tohatsu out board being a 2 stroke engine, the fuel has to be mixed with oil unlike a 4 stroke that doesn't need it. I keep a measuring bottle(maple syrup jug) for the oil to make sure we get just the right about of oil for the fuel. I pour that oil into the filter in the opening in the top of the outboard tank and then pour the gas from the 3 gallon jerry can(has two gallons in it). This then filters the fuel(again) and gets the oil mixed well into the new fuel so there is no problem with it. With that being done, we're just waiting for the generator to cool down(just stopped it) before topping up it's tank and combining what's left in the two jerry cans on deck(stern deck tank and one of the primary jerry cans we keep on deck)and then all that will get stowed and strapped down. With the winds still hitting the high teens to low twenty knot range, it's amazing we didn't spill much fuel onto the deck.(Happy to report after 24 hours, no water showed up in the fuel)

Here's how the rest of Saturday unfolded. After the generator was done, we stowed things and Tracy started making lunch(Chili cheese hot dogs with a side salad. We tried Bushes Cubano Baked Beans a few days ago with another meal. Not bad. Nice flavor. As she cooked lunch on the stove, we suddenly ran out of propane! Well rats! Out I went with two wrenches and off came the regulator and hose and out came the fiberglass tank. I then attached everything to our back up tank(normally used for barbecuing )and we were ready to finish heating everything for lunch. We switched out to fiberglass tanks four years ago when we were in Pohnpei, Micronesia. They use the US Postal Service so we had two shipped in from the US. The old style metal tanks we had been using just rusted to death quickly in the salt air. It's now four years later and the tank look almost new. Now we have to rent a car and find out where we can get it filled. We've run into boats that have one tank(stupid), two tanks and as many as four tanks on their boats. One is just wrong since if you run out, well, you're out of fuel and it can realy screw up what could have been a great meal.
About a week ago, the ignitor on our stove went crazy. It just kept making the spark to ignite the burners. Normally, you push in on the knob, the ignitor snaps and the burner lights. A couple of weeks ago, they stopped working so I'd taken the ignitor apart and readjusted the prongs that make the electrical connection and then the spark. While doing so, I misplaced(OK, lost) one of the ever so small washers that go in one of the knob assembly. I found one that looked close and substituted it and all seemed fine. Well, I guess it decided to be a stinker and stop doing it's job. As we were about to have lunch, I simply pulled the battery(under the stove)out. No power--no spark. It was time to fix it. The last time I played with the battery assembly for the stove, I found that the wire that leads off the positive end of the battery had become disconnected. The metal fitting had decomposed. I'd made a replacement out of a screw and some rubber and steel washers to keep the wire isolated from the rest of the fitting. It seemed to work fine but for some reason the battery(at that time) got super heated. I ended up wrapping the battery(little AA) in electrical tape and that seemed to solve the problem. Now I had to get the battery back exactly as it had been so the ignitor would work and battery not over heat. Just to be safe, I put in a new battery with the electrical tape wrapped around it and after a few tries, it's up and working just fine. Took two flashlights and reading glasses so I could see it clearly as it's under the stove. I checked the burners and just the one I'd screwed up doesn't work but the rest are fine. Problem sort of solved. At least we can use the ignitor again.

We also took the time to check out water tanks as the last time we filled them, we were in Bonaire and that was a month ago. They are still half or more filled so we will need to get them topped up in a couple of weeks. It's good to have over 270 gallons of water on board.

Tracy just finished cleaning out the screen on the filter for the sump pump for the stern head. It's a job that needs doing about every thirty days or so. It's gets quite clogged if its forgotten. If that happens, the filter gets full of yuck, that stops the flow of water and that causes the pump to over heat and that blows the fuse. I speak from experience there. It's a job we put on our calendar to make sure it gets done regularly. I had to be done more regularly in Bonaire as we took more showers with all the diving we did there. Here, not so much(dirty water).

It's now Monday evening and we have the engine running to put a few more volts back in the batteries. Still not back up to snuff but it takes time.

Earlier today we took the bus to town to head back to Digicel. Last week, on Thursday, we topped up our account and ended up with 20+ gigs. As of Sunday, we were at over 16 gigs left and what we had had slowed down to a crawl. It was going to take close to four hours to download a show off the internet instead of the normal 30-40 minutes. I set up a "Chat" with Digicel to find out what the problem was and was told by their agent that the plan I was sold last week wasn't intended for use with a wifi dongle, only to be put in a phone. Say what? The sales person stood in front of me when I bought the plan and I had the phone and wifi dongle right in front of me on the counter. She couldn't resolve the problem and told me to go back to the Digicel store to get it resolved. Once we disconnected with the "Chat", Tracy checked the amount of gigs we had left this morning and we had a whopping 5 gigs left????!!!!! Digicel had swiped a bunch of gigs off my plan and slowed down the speed I was supposed to get. This is the second or third time they have done this and we are not the only cruisers that it's happened to. Others here have told me the same story. It was off to town on the 1030 bus.

Once at Digicel, I spoke with the "Data Doctor" who looked up my account(same sales person that had helped me before). She confirmed that Digicel had taken the gigs but she got them put back and assured me that the slowdown of my wifi was also resolved and I should have no more problems. Once back at the boat, I fired up the wifi dongle and booted up the computer. To download a show on their supposed 4G network was going to still take over 3.5 hours!!! Nothing had changed other than us getting our missing gigs back. Looks like I'll be heading back to town tomorrow to try and get it resolved. One option the Data Doctor gave me was to get another plan that was for just 10 gigs and would cost $149 guilders or $83US. The plan I had was for 18 gigs and just $50.56US. Somehow that just didn't seem right. Pay lots more and get lots less. Guess I will find out tomorrow what's going to happen.

And so ends Monday afternoon.
Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shin Fa 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado
Crew: Bill & Tracy Hudson
About: We've been sailing since the early 80's on lakes in New Mexico and Colorado and finally took the plunge and bought Zephyr.
Extra: We moved on board in April of 2008 and have been working and sailing her ever since. Up to Alaska and down to Mexico and across the Pacific to Fiji. We're now in the Caribbean in Grenada after making the crossing from South Africa 7 months ago.
Home Page: http::/www.sailblogs.com/member/svzephyr
Zephyr's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 54 of 54
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It
The electrical connection with switch for the new Spectra Watermaker.
Our new watermaker--it still needs the hoses run but we are getting closer to getting the job done.
La Panga Restaurant and Marina Palmira office
You put your trash out in trash cans by the curb.  Here, they put it in raised steel containers to keep animals out of it while awaiting pickup.
OK, sounds like a restaurant I want to try.  Nothing wrong with a skull on the sign.
Boats in Marina Palmira.
Bigger power boats in Marina Palmira.
More boats in Marina Palmira.
Marina Costa Baja
There
Looking West from the marina.
Looking North towards the hotel La Fiesta.
Boats at Marina Costa Baja.
We sat for quite a while just watching the sun go down and see all her changing colors.  Each night provided a whole rainbow of colors.
La Fiesta Hotel.  Nice place and just about empty.
Matt getting some relaxation at the pool.
They stroll the docks each day.
Along the sidewalk at Marina Costa Baja.
Looking down from above.  Boy, it
The view from the top of the mast of the marina.
Out into the bay.
The "Beach Club at the hotel.
More of the Marina and the hotel.
Pangas along the beach at Los Muertos.
The dingy dock at Los Muertos.
Looking out from the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Pelicans and the pangas along the launching ramp at Los Muertos.
The Sun glinting off the bay at Los Muertos.
What used to be the Giggling Marlin restaurant.  Now El Carbon.
Rock walls out by the dingy dock at Los Muertos.
One of the flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.  Look closely.
More flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.
The Eastern end of Los Frailes.
Ensenada de Los Muertos.
The ceiling of the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Blue goes hunting.  She knows there is something on the barbecue grill
With her toes spread, she is weaving on the life line.  The camera is still, she is not!
At anchor in Los Frailes.
The anchorage in Los Frailes.
At the pot luck dinner along the beach in Los Frailes waiting out the wind.  The wind won!!
Our new Fender Step.  It will make coming into dock much easier.
Our new Spectra 200T watermaker.  Now all we have to do is find the time to install it.
The Immigration Office in Ensenada, Mexico.  At least it is all in one building now instead of spread all over town.
The big flag by Baja Naval Marina.  An easy land mark to navigate to.
The Port Captain
The Mexican courtesy flag flying from our mast spreaders.
Celebrating crossing into Mexico.  The white wine had gone bad so we gave it to King Neptune instead.
Looking towards Ensenada Harbor.
 
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Some photos of our diving on the reef.
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Our trip around the north end of Borneo
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Our trip around Malaysia starting at Tawau.
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Our trip from Tawau around the top of Borneo down to Brunei.
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Pictures of our dives off Musket Cove Marina
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Avea Bay on South Huahine and on to Raiatea Island.
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Our arrival in Tahiti through Huahine
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Getting Zephyr ready to go.
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My three days getting not only knowledge and some self confidence but nice and dirty.
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Heading South from Escondido.
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An old salt factory.
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Incredible sandstone
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A great place to spend time exploring.
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Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante
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Our continuing adventure as we head North farther up the Sea Of Cortez.
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Our visit to the famous "Mushroom Rock" bay.
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Art and statues along the waterfront as you walk through downtown La Paz, Mexico
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Still heading South but now in Cabo San Lucas
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Making our way South along the coast of Mexico
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