After the storm and off to the doctor.
23 June 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/sunny with winds
It's now Wednesday morning and things are settling out. The initial forecast for Bonaire was any where from 80 to 90% chance of rain today, at least that was as of last night. Right now, it's down to just 10% and it's nice and partly cloudy with the occasional rainish looking cloud passing us by. Boats on the moorings are slowly getting back to normal. People are reinstalling dodges, bimini and other pieces of canvas on their boats. We put the covers back on our boxes by the mast and recovered the windows on the dodger to keep the sun off the plastic. We also undid the "may pole" of lines that wrapped our roller furled Genoa sail at the bow. We also took off the side and stern canvas panels that protect the cockpit from rain and wind. The generator is purring away on the stern recharging our batteries. With the winds we had last night and today(still about 20 knots) the wind generator is spinning away nicely putting out some decent amps and volts since it likes these higher winds. Last night, as the winds grew, I put the wind generator onto it's "furling" mode. As the wind builds, the head of the generator swivels to be off the center line of the wind thats blowing, slowing down the revs of the prop. Yes, it means not as much energy coming out but causes less wear and tear on the gears, etc. We reengaged it this morning, back into the "fixed" position so it no longer swivels as the wind grows. As we shift at anchorage and the bow of the boat goes into the wind, the wind generator get the full effect of the wind. Twenty knots of wind is just fine for our DuoGen.
As for our new neighbors that came in last night at the height of the storm, they have settled in, straightening out stuff on their deck, taking a bath in the bays water and getting their dinghy into the water so they can go visit Customs and Immigrations. Four people on board(2 girls and 2 guys). So far, only a few of the boats that ran for the shelter of the marina have come back out. They are going to be surprised at the changes out here as to who is on what moorings. As some boats left theirs, other boats that decided to stay out and were on an inner mooring, dropped their lines and took some of the outside moorings being in deeper water. It's going to be interesting when they come out and find the mooring they were on is now occupied. You leave it, you lost it is the way it works out here and that's exactly why we left Puff attached to ours last week when we had to go out to dump the black water tanks.
Blue was a bit fritzed by the storm and it's winds last night. I stayed up till almost 0200 just incase we had been in the "eye" of the storm when the winds dropped about 2100, but it never took off again. Instead of being in the "eye", it had simply passed us by leaving us with just a few more rain storms as they passed us by. At least the decks and canvas on deck is looking cleaner than it's been since we got here. Bonaire is an island full of dust and dirt that just loves to come on board boats at anchor when the wind(which never stops) gets going. Blue hung close by as the wind raged outside. Snowshoe could not have cared less and just slept the night away(as always).
Today, Wednesday, ended up being a day with some clouds and then some sun and then some clouds and then more sun. As for the big rain that had been forecast then downgraded, with that was more the tone of the day. Just sun and clouds and a bunch of wind. From the high teens to the big twenties, it blew all day. Yesterdays high during the storm was 35 miles per hour setting a new record for the highest wind in the last year. It's still blowing in the low teens.
We only saw one sailboat come out of the marina today but figure more will be out tomorrow as it's not a cheap marina and most of us hate to spend money when it's not necessary. The sailboat that came in in the middle of the storm got everything settled and made it into Customs and Immigration early in the day so they are all settled in for a while. As for the rest of today, well we had another wonderful lunch of steak and potatoes and a great side salad as well. Why eat out when we can eat so well on board and we sure know it's cheaper.
It's now Friday afternoon and all the boats left the marina yesterday on the mad rush to find a mooring. A couple of boats also took off westward so there ended up being enough moorings for everyone. More boats left earlier today. Yesterday, after the generator had done it's job(thank goodness) we both went in for a nice snorkel around the boat and near shore. It's quite shall or(about 8 feet in most places) so no problem. Only thing you had to watch out for was dinghies zipping between the mooring that might come close to you. Winds were there normal(15-18 knots)but surprisingly it calmed down over night. When I went to bed(about midnight) it was calm outside with the water darn close to flat. First time for that.
For the last few weeks, I've had problems with my right knee. It's quite upset with me and lets me know it. Just sitting, it's fine. Walking is just fine but standing still for any period or trying to bend it especially after standing still and it's just down right pissed. No "popping" just a bit of pain as I try and bend it. When we were at the last "Taste of Bonaire", I would regularly stand there(no seats available), lean against the light pole next to us and bend my knee as often as I could. No clue as to what's going on though I did have knee surgery back in 1986 to have some torn cartilage removed and it "pops" from time to time but recently, it's just really ticked at me. I decided it was time to go see a doctor. Tracy stayed on board(sore back--God we are getting old!)while I dinghied into town and walked over to the hospital. I checked at the Billing Office and was directed to one of the departments. There, I met three nice women. Question 1--Are you a tourist or a local? I explained that while I have lived on a boat here for couple of months, I guess I'm sort of both.OK,fine. Question 2--Do you have a letter from a doctor and a photograph? I told them that I hadn't seen a doctor about this in years nor did I have any "photograph". Not sure if it was to be of my knee or of myself. The first appointment I could get was July 11th. Over two weeks away, but first I had to go find and see a doctor. They directed me to one across the street. No problem and off I went.
At this office, I was again asked the same questions--"Tourist or local", "letter from a doctor"and for a photograph. Same questions--same answers. Next appointment date was Wednesday, June 28 at 1000 and it would cost $40. No big deal. I made the appointment and took off for the walk back to Zephyr. We'd planned on taking off from here on July8th but I guess we will have to see.
When we were in Thailand, I had a similar experience with the same knee and picked up(at the recommendation of the pharmacist)some "Arcoxia", a pill for joint inflammation and gout. I found the pills and started taking them and with in a day, the knee was better but far from alright. I have enough to last we a couple more weeks but will need something new. Arcoxia is no "approved" by the FDA and every website I look at tells me over and over that it's not "FDA Approved" so all hell could break out should I take a chance and take these non FDA approved meds with disastrous side affects up to and including just about everything you could imagine just to scare you into not taking it. At least it doesn't say my toes could fall off but everything else on my body may have a problem.
The picture today is of our three mooring blocks with all the line attached. The two on the right are for the mooring buoys and the two on the left are the two I attached just for safety sake.
It's here and it's gone.
21 June 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/overcast and maybe some rain.
It's now Tuesday afternoon and we just changed things on the bow. We're still waiting for the incoming storm that's due here tonight now that it's done with Trinidad and Grenada. Winds are still predicted to be in the mid 20s to any where higher that Mother Nature decided. Heaven only knows the weather forecasters are guessing. Some forecasts are still saying it's supposed to be headed northwest away from the coast while others show it just coming west straight toward us.
After lunch(a wonderful salad with spicy Ranch dressing), we headed out to the bow to change out a set of our mooring lines. We have the originals that attach to the floats on the moorings and then a third line going down to another block on the bottom. We had a line that left the bow, went down to the shackle on the block and then back up to the other side and tied off. It's fine for pulling in when we need to go out and dump our backwater tanks but don't do that much to keep us attached should the line break. We pulled in this line and I dove down and took off the line that goes from the boat down to the shackle and back to the boats other side. I then swam down and put on one of our 3/4 inch three strand nylon lines that I'd put an eye in a long time ago. I put the eye of the line into the shackle and tightened down the pin in the shackle with my crescent wrench till it was nice and tight. Now we have the moorings two lines attached to lines from our boat, then two 3/4 inch lines going down and attaching to different blocks of concrete on the bottom with shackles. We think this is a better set up and if we have to leave for some emergency, the lines will be there when we come back.
Before lunch, two boats came in from the east(fleeing the storm) and took up a couple of the newly available moorings that other boats had left to go into the marina. One had a line wrapped around his the mainsail on his boom making sure it wasn't going any where. Well, the two boats to our starboard, both catamarans saw that and immediately set about doing the same only using lots more line just to make absolutely sure it wasn't going any where. Now I'll ask you out there, where can a mainsail go? It can only go up if you pull on the main halyard. If it's covered and all of them were, it's got no place it can go especially if you sail cover is nice and tight. Seems sort of stupid to me but if anyone out there has a reason why it's a smart thing to do, please leave us a comment. I'd love to hear your reasoning.
We, on the other hand took a different approach to our sails. We took our spinnaker halyard and wrapped it around our roller furling genoa sail like a "May Pole". We pulled it down till each side was an equal length and then each of us went to opposite sides of the genoa and slowly wrapped the halyard around and around and around the genoa will we got to the bottom and then tied off the lines to the bow pulpit. When we were in South Africa and the hurricane came through(Tracy was in the US at the time), I saw a big roller furled genoa sail torn to shreds after one of the lines to it came loose. Ours lines are nice and tight but with this wrapping, there is no way it's going to come unfurled. We left our main sail alone on the boom. The sail is tied down to the boom with seven straps and then a sail cover is put over the mainsail and it's fastened down with fasteners so there is no way it can come loose.
About a third of the moorings that had been filled are now empty with those boats either taking off for Curacoa or are hiding in the marina. It's going to be interesting when the boats in the marina come back out and find that the moorings that they had been tied to are now taken by other boats. I think the last ones that leave the marina tomorrow after the storm is past may find that there are no mooring left or if there is, it's in the ones that are much closer to shore. It's going to be interesting tomorrow. Meanwhile we sit here, everything on deck that might move or cause a problem has been stripped off. Sails are covered or wrapped. Extra lines to the mooring blocks and the sides are zipped on to our bimini so if we have to sit in the cockpit, we will still be protected from the wind and rain that's supposed to come. We sit and we wait.
It's now 2200 and I think the worst of what we are going to get has passed us by. I saw winds of 35 knots on the meter but so far nothing worse and it seems to be letting up. We may be in the "eye" of the storm but just not sure. If it gets stronger later than we are. About 2000, we heard a rhythmic thrumping out in the water sounding like a really bad motor. I climbed out the companionway and onto the deck and found a sailboat coming into the mooring field. Timing couldn't be worse as the winds were at their strongest at that time but at least no rain. That came about an hour later. Any way, I turned on our VHF radio and made contact with them and then went back on deck with my portable VHF and with the two of us holding flashlights, we directed them onto the mooring next to us. The thrumping we heard looked like they had shredded their genoa sail and what was left of it was flailing in the wind making the noise. We talked them into the moorings and watched as it took a couple of tries to get hooked up to the lines. It's hard when it's calmer but in these winds, it was a miracle they got in in just two tries. Sure glad they had their VHF on and we could make contact and get them in as they were not sure where exactly to go but had just come in behind our boat(just like the last boat we helped in a week or so ago). With them in and safe, all looks well out on the bay. I go out every 30 minutes or so and take a look just to make sure no one else is coming in. All we can figure is that they left either Trinidad or Grenada and didn't make it in here before the storm did. Sailboats will travel at about 6 knots but the storm was doing over 20 so its easy to get run over by it. Now they are safe and sound and with luck, the worst is now over. I'll be up for a while checking our lines and wind speeds just in case. I got a nice nap this afternoon so sleep isn't on my priority list right now.
It's COMING!!!! and everyone is panicking!
20 June 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/ Cloudy and overcast with rain and wind coming.
We're now settling in to see what going to happen with the incoming tropical storm Bret. It's coming toward us, depending on what weather model you look at and "should" be here late Tuesday night, about midnight. Winds? Who knows. We've seen models of the storm saying 25 or maybe 35 with gusts to 45 but no one is sure but it's coming our way, or maybe not. One model shows it drawing a bead on us while other show it heading northwest after smacking into Grenada and Trinidad. Winds there were supposed to be as high as 50 knots with seas at 25 feet at 11 seconds. Sure glad Mother Nature refused to let us head there back in early May when we tried. With both Trinidad and Grenada right in the way of the storm, there is really no place to run to. Normally, if it hits Grenada, you take off for Trinidad but not with this storm.
We spent the morning(Monday) ashore after paying for another 20 days of so of moorings and dropping off a couple bags of trash at the marina that oversees all the moorings. While we were in the office, two men were there, each looking for a slip to ride out the impending storm. The marina is fully booked and both got on the "waiting list", not that that will actually open up and give them a spot. But more on what happening later in this post. We then headed back to Digicel in downtown parking Puff amongst 8 dinghies at Karals restaurant. They offer a nice secure place to dock when going ashore. As has happened before, our speed of downloads has slowed down but the man(first time I've seen a man at the counter)flat our refused to believe me when I told him that my service had slowed to a crawl as it has several times before. A 34 meg file was going to take 40 minutes to download. He just kept repeating that it just doesn't happen and took my number and went into a back office for 20 minutes(God bless Digicel for their air conditioning)and when he came back out, he again said he could find no reason for my slow speeds BUT, if it happened again to come back. The young lady that normally helps me and knows that I get choked by their computers wasn't there. This guy flat out refused to believe me. Oh well, once this storm passes by(tomorrow) we can go ashore if it slows down and maybe get it resolved.
After another wonderful lunch(leftovers)I put on my swim trunks and dove in while we figured out how to add and reinforce our mooring lines. We replaced a braided line with a larger three strand line(stretches more when under pressure) and took another shackle and line to the third huge concrete block that makes us our mooring. I put the shackle on the rebar in the concrete and then put the "eye" I'd made in the 3/4 inch line that had chafe guard into the shackle and we were set.
Sorry, I had to stop writing for a few minutes. It's blowing nicely out side and we just heard a thump on deck. When you have two cats on board, you always investigate strange noises especially on a windy night. I climbed on deck only to see Showshoe doing an imitation of a "bird dog" pointing at the side of the deck. I trained my flashlight on what he was pointing at and there was a 12 inch long flying fish. It had cleared our stern deck, slapping into the net we have on our life lines and fallen on board. Showshoe, not the "hunter" type like Blue is, wasn't about to get anywhere near this flopping, smelly fish. Not in this lifetime would he touch it, that is unless Blue had caught it and brought it to him as she has from time to time with other animals she has caught. It's one of the reasons we have nets around the deck. She jumps sometimes with out thinking and it just might keep her on board. The nets have saved me a couple times as well when we cross the Pacific Ocean. I picked up the fish(still ticked off and jumping all over the place) and tossed him back in the water where he immediately tried to fly again and then dove into the deep. Bonaire has tons of these fish. We see them every time we go out in Puff to any of the diving sights. Easily 10 to 12 inches or more, these fish will come out of the water and go at least 100 feet or more reaching heights of 4 to 5 feet or more and not just one at a time but whole schools flying by us as we motor along. Fun to watch.
OK, back to typing. We now have four lines attached to the concrete mooring blocks. Two that come as the mooring, each separate and attached to different points on the weights. Then a third we shackled to the second block and a fourth that we shackled to the third block. Each come up on deck and is then tied off to either the cleats we have on deck or tied off to the huge windlass that brings up our anchor and chain. It's not going anywhere. I'll try and include a picture of the set up when I post this.
So here we sit, lots of stout lines going to our mooring blocks, Puff now stowed on deck upside down and strapped from side to side to the deck and then tied forward to the deck bracket for the forestaysail stay. She's not going anywhere and neither are we. We found out our neighbors to our port side are leaving in the morning for Curacao and late this afternoon, we also found out the catamaran to our starboard side will be leaving as their visa has expired. Now, all we have to do is get rid of the small sailboat that came in a couple of days ago and we won't have any boats around us during this storm but I don't think there is much chance of them going anywhere.
It's now Tuesday and everyone is panicking about what is coming our way. Bret slammed into Grenada with tons of rain and strong winds but not the "Hell on Earth" that they thought was coming. All but 14 boats evacuated from Prickly Bay on the south side to seek shelter in other hidie holes around the island. Some took off for here as two boats just arrived, we'd guess from either Trinidad or Grenada. Boats are flooding into the marina here taking up what spaces are available leaving lots of open moorings in the bay(where we are). The boat to our left, took off this morning for Curacao and was quickly replaced by another catamaran that was attached to an inner set of buoys. They have since left(only on the buoy for a couple of hours)taking a mooring farther to the west of us. The catamaran to our right is still there and has stowed all the gear on his deck after watching us do the same. He went into the water to attach another line for his bow but either couldn't get down to the concrete blocks of he didn't have a spare shackle to attach to the blocks. Instead, he attached his new line to the eye on one of the mooring lines he was already using. No clue why since if that one line breaks, he's sort of screwed. Other people are moving onto other moorings. The blue boat that came in a few days ago, just dropped their lines and took another mooring farther west of us. It's an outside mooring so they will be in deeper water and farther from shore. A smart move. It's mass pandemonium here with everyone scrambling though the forecast show the winds to be lessening from the highs of 40 knots into the 20s. We plan on taking our spinnaker halyard and wrapping it around the genoa just in case and to make other boats think we are smart(little do they know). We've been through much bigger storms. We had winds of over 55 knots when we were at anchor out in the island of Fiji and we didn't move(God bless our Rocna anchor). This time, we have four stout lines going to huge concrete blocks on the bottom.
Back out to empty our "black water" tanks, etc.
18 June 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/sunny with winds
It's another windy day here in Bonaire with winds coming across the bay in the high teens to mid twenties since early this morning. With not much choice, it was time to go out and empty the black water tanks again. It's been a couple of weeks so it was time. A couple of weeks ago, I'd taken off the wood panel that covers the top section of the tank in the stern so we would know when it was time. It's smaller than the tank in the bow so it was an easy choice. It was darn close to being full so today was the day--again. Its a pain in the butt having to go out every so often to drain the tanks but Bonaire is really protective of their water as diving and tourism is about all they have to offer. Screw up the clarity of the water or kill the coral and they would have nothing. The fines for getting caught emptying your tanks while on a mooring ball are steep in include deportation from what I understand.
We were up just after 0600 to get Zephyr ready for her short trip. With the winds being continually in the high teens for weeks on end, it's never a calm bay that we have to go out in. We battened down everything we could as the last time we went out, we'd missed a good bit and the cabins looked like a battle had happened in them by the time we got back. This time, we were going to do something different as far as the mooring buoys go. Here in Bonaire, each mooring has two buoys instead of just one. There are separate lines attached to each of the buoys and they go down to different fasteners on different huge blocks of concrete. In all, there are three blocks on the bottom, each interconnected. We launched Puff, our dinghy, and pulled it around to the port side. Tracy got in the water and swam over to Puff and attached it to the port side buoy. The last time we did this, it was darn near impossible to get at the starboard sides mooring so we tied a line to one of our fenders and Tracy attached the opposite end to the starboard sides mooring buoy. It trailed just behind Puff in the water. With that done and with everything stowed below decks, we were off at 0745 without seeing another person on any of the boats around us. As we went out, we saw two sailboats coming into the bay. One looked like it was headed for the marina and the other was so far out it was hard to tell where they were going. We motored out past Klein Bonaire, the island just off the coast and emptied our tanks and headed back around the west side of the island as it was a bit calmer coming back that way. The east side of Klein Bonaire in exposed to all the swells of the bay and they can get to three feet or more as they go across the bay. We made it around the island and headed back to where we'd left Puff and the extra fender only to find a new boat had come in and taken the moorings right in front of where we had left Puff(it had been empty when we left). No big deal, but we would have to be careful as we came back to the mooring as we didn't want to come close to the new boat. With the extra line attached to the fender we had left, it was much easier to grab it and the extra line as we came in, pull the line and fender on board at the bow and thread our starboard line thorough the eye on the end of the mooring line from the concrete blocks on the bottom. We were in, sort of, with one line attached. Tracy put on her mask and fins and jumped into the water(again) and swam to the port side at the bow where I handed her our mooring line so she could attach it to the line from the bottom and disconnect Puff from the same line. I lowered the boat hook over the side and she attached Puffs line to it and I pulled it on board and walked Puff to the stern where she was tied off. Now we had two of the three lines we use with our moorings. Tracy came back on board while I put on my mask and fins and jumped in. I get to take our extra line down to the bottom and run it through the shackle I'd attached to the concrete blocks weeks ago. No big deal as I can get to the bottom better than Tracy can. As I got to the bow, Tracy handed down the extra line and I swam it down to the bottom, through the eye of the shackle and back to the surface where I tied a knot in it and Tracy pulled it back on deck with the boat hook and tied it off. Now, we were in safe and sound and with empty tanks. We spent the next half hour or so putting things back together by stowing lines, turning on the wind generator, turning off all the navigation electronics and opening up all the hatches and port lights on board for added air. With the water being so choppy, we always fasten down all the port lights just in case a big wave comes along and tries to sneak inside the cabin. Several tried this time but with no success. We're sure glad we left Puff on the mooring as when we came back in to the mooring field, we only saw one mooring buoy in the outside line of moorings and maybe two on the inner line of moorings. The weather service is forecasting a possible hurricane coming our way and it's due to go right over Trinidad and Grenada where we had originally planned on going. Mother Nature made sure we didn't by having the winds all wrong for us to go there. Instead, we ended up here and are having a great time.
It's now Saturday evening and as I figured, we are all out of moorings now in Bonaire. We had the one that took the moorings right in front of Zephyr and a few hours later(about 1200) another boat came in and took a mooring about three down from where we are. That had to be the last mooring as, about 1500, another sailboat came in to the bay, started at one end of the mooring and went down to the other, then pulled up his sails and took off for Curacao, about 40 miles west of here. There were no moorings left for his boat so he was forced to pass Bonaire by without stopping. I guess we will see tomorrow when more boats come in as they do just about everyday here. If they take off as well, then we are closed for business. With a supposed hurricane maybe on it's way to Trinidad and Grenada, it might be prudent to head west since there is no where else to hide. If they get here and there is no place to stop, they will be off to the next island as well.
It's now Sunday afternoon and the big catamaran "Lotus" that we helped get to a mooring a few days ago just took off for Curacao. It's only about a 40 mile trip so no big thing especially since they are on a cat. We checked them(via AIS) as they left the island and they were doing 8.5 knots so it's less than a 5 hour trip. For us, it would be a good 6 to 7 hours as we just don't go that fast. With them leaving, it opens up what we think is the only moorings on Bonaire. I don't think it will remain empty long. We just finished charging up our batteries as we got behind this morning not even starting the generator till 1030. It's another sunny, breezy day so while the wind generator is spinning, it's at least doing something as it sits on the stern. I'm heading in for a swim shortly. Will be nice to get back in the water again and see what's below us here in the mooring.
16 June 2017 | Bonaire
It's now Thursday afternoon and Tracy just jumped into the water to cool off. She's been working since early this morning in search of an ant colony that appears to have set them selves up right beside her clothes closet. Every time she pulls out a piece of clothing, she finds an ant or two on it. As if that's not bad enough, the little suckers are eating holes in her clothes!!! Her old shirts and well as the new shirts she bought in the US Virgins now have tiny little holes in them and the only thing she can figure out is that the ants are eating them. So out came all her clothes, each getting a very close examination before getting put in a white bag for storage till the threat is over. Not these aren't you average everyday ants, these are Teeny Tiny ants that are very hard to see but they are having a field day with her clothes. With the clothes out, in she went with bug spray. Two different types just to make sure she killed them all or at the least, as many as she could. We've had ant on board, off and on since we stopped in Fiji back on 2011. Sometimes you see them and some times you don't but we always know they are there. We even have had then in the main salon over the years. Nasty little hungry critters. Now comes the battle to the death of these little stinkers. It's kill or have your clothes eaten!! The battle rages on.
Last night, as Tracy sat in the cockpit about 2230, she saw a sailboat coming into the bay. Hey folks!! It's night time and it's not a safe thing to do(unless it's an emergency) but in they came. They made their way over to the line up of all the boats here on the mooring looking for a place to stop. We knew we had a set of mooring buoys just off our port side but this boat was big--well into the 50foot plus range and a catamaran to boot. I turned on our VHF radio and placed a blanket call the the catamaran entering the harbor and they called back. Lotus was their name and they had just come in from Dominica, about 460 miles east of here. I grabbed a flashlight and coming out of the cockpit, they were at our 7 o'clock position. I shined the flashlight on the buoys so it was easy to see and in they came with three people on the bow and one at the wheel. I called across to them about how the mooring was set up as they have never been here before. Unlike most moorings that have one line up from the bottom to a buoy, these have two lines, each with a buoy on the end so that you can tie up to both sides of your boat. They only had a bridle so they attached it to just one of the mooring lines but they were in safely and that's all that matters. They shut off their engines and turned on their lights and we had a quick conversation welcoming them to the island and telling them where Customs was so they could check in in the morning and about signing up at the marina for their mooring buoy. With that being said, we wished them a pleasant night sleep and headed below decks.
It's now Friday night and we headed into town again to refresh our fresh foods as we'd either eaten it or since the stores had refrigerated it, it went over the hill fast. If a tomato gets refrigerated, it will go bad much faster than if it's never seen the inside of a fridge. The last ones we bought had been refrigerated and they went bad with a couple of days. Today, we needed more along with other things. We headed out after the generator was done charging the batteries(an every day occurrence) with winds blowing in the high teens across the bay. We took it slowly and got to the dock dry and tided up. There were a good many dinghies tied up when we got there but we wedged ourselves in between two. At least no one tied up both ends of their dingy as one had done a few days ago. As of now, there are few mooring left here in Bonaire and only on the inside line of moorings closest to shore. None are available in the outer line which is better for bigger boats as there is more swing room.
We took our wheeler cart with us and headed for the stores. Off to Van Den Twill again for some things and then over to the Food Warehouse for the rest. In total, about $110 between the two but we came back quite loaded. Is should be good for a while. When we got back to the dinghy dock, there were nine boats tied up. The most we have seen since we have been here. Not just one line of dinghies but they were stacked one beside the other going off the dock. We got back to Zephyr with no problems and got every thing stowed. As it was blowing so much, we didn't need to start the generator again and should make it through the night with no problems.
Tomorrow, we plan to do another "black water" run out into the bay. The weather report isn't that good as more high winds are forecast so we may or may not go out. As it is, there is a huge front thats coming across the Atlantic that may spawn the first hurricane of the season and it's headed straight for Grenada and Trinidad with wind forecast for about 40 knots and seas of 17 feet. Not a good place to be sailing by Wednesday. As for here, a bit more wind and maybe some rain but we will see. We're both glad we ended up in Bonaire as Grenada might just get swatted with this storm. We are keeping a careful watch on it as the days pass.
Back out scuba diving again.
13 June 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/ still breezy
I took off this morning(Monday) for the dive shop to pick up Tracys regulator for her scuba gear. The hose that goes from the tank to the inflator switch has developed a small leak and we'd taken it in on Sunday to get it repaired. They promised it would be done this morning so while Tracy stayed on board monitoring the generator, I took off in Puff to pick it up. As they promised, it was ready and the shop owner was just going to give it to me free of charge. Having owned a small business, you don't stay in business doing things for free, especially on a small island with a limited clientele for the survives and products you provide. He hemmed and hawed about it being no charge. Since he wouldn't give me a price, he said I could simply make a donation to the "kitty". I pulled out $7.00(all I had)and stuffed it in a jar. He was thrilled and thanked me. As I was leaving his store, he wished me something in Dutch, an expression I had no idea what it was or what he said. He went on to explain that on Mondays, you do a special thanks to the first customer that buys something. That would be me. He said it assured him good business for the entire week. To help him out with his luck, I told him about "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit Day". When I was a very young child, my father told me about saying "Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit Day" as soon as I awoke on the first day of the month. Say it before you talk to anyone else and it insures good luck for the entire month, not just a week. Apparently, it originated back in William Shakespeares days as it was in one of his plays. How my father knew this, I have no clue. It's long before Google came on line so maybe he's picked up this knowledge on his own. Anyway, I try and say it at the beginning of each month and some times I do it and some times I forget. Does it make a difference? Heck if I know but when your father tells you to do something, I do it. I've passed this information along to countless people over the years. In our travels, when we were in Trinidad, one of the women in the boat yard office knew of it as I explained it to her co-worker. She'd picked it up many years ago. I've never heard from anyone else that they knew it but with any luck, lots more people around the world are saying it and getting good luck for the month. Hey, every little bit helps.
I came back to Zephyr just as the generator was finishing it's charging job and once it was stopped, I started up the engine for about 30 minutes to do the final top off of the batteries. So far, it seems to be making a difference.
A few days ago, as we walked through town, we passed a small Chinese restaurant that had a small menu out side their front door. As I stopped to ready it, one of the people inside came out to talk to me about their place and the menu. For $8.00, you have a choice of about 10 different dishes and it even comes with a can of soda pop. Now here's the strange part. This $8.00 menu is only good for "take out". If you want to actually eat inside the restaurant, well, that costs more! Heaven forbid you actually dirty some of their dishes or a napkin. Their regular menu was no where to be seen, just their take out. I asked about "Pork Fried Rice" as I love it. Her answer was "Sure, we can make it for you for the $8.00 but it's only for take out". Sometimes I just don't understand how businesses survive out here when you don't want customers to come inside your store or restaurant and spend more money. Baffles me.
It still blowing outside(now 2230) making the wind generator spin happily on the stern. Yesterday we had white caps across the bay coming with in a couple of hundred yards of our stern. It's the first time we have them that close. Normally, they don't start till about a mile or more from us. Each day, one or two boats leave the harbor and head west towards Curacao or beyond but we have more coming in than going out so the bay and all it's moorings are quickly getting filled with darn few left. Along the shoreline of the Island, there are two rows of moorings. One closer to shore and one row farther out but still attached on the coral shelf of the island. All the outer moorings are now full and there are darn few of the inner moorings left. Since it's illegal to anchor here in Bonaire, once the moorings are filled, any new boats would be forced to go into one of the marinas and wait till a mooring becomes available. The last time we took off to empty our black water tanks, we made sure to leave Puff(our dinghy) tied up to our mooring to make sure it would be there for us upon our return. We'll be doing the same thing the next time we go out. I'd hate to go out and have no place to come back to.
It's now Tuesday and we headed back out to do some more scuba diving. It was still blowing(don't think it ever stops) but not as bad as yesterday and the white caps were farther out than yesterday. Once all out batteries were charged, we swung Puff over to the port side and started loading her with our gear. The boat mooring off our port side just sat and stared at us as more and more gear was loaded. We took off for the south side of Klein Bonaire, the island just off shore and back to a place we'd scubaed near before. By the time we got all our gear put together and ready for use, it was just after 1100 when we went into the water. It was a nice dive seeing tons of things again. We were lucky enough to see two Lion Fish, something Bonaire is trying to wipe out as they are slowly killing all the fish on the reefs as there are no predators for them in these waters. Most of the dive shops have specialty dives just to go out and kill them. From what I've heard, it's even sold in restaurants in town. I'm not sure the pictures will be downloadable to Sailblogs as I increased out meg count for these new pictures to see if I could get some better ones. I also got an email from the company that makes our underwater camera(Intova) on what setting to use for diving. Guess we will see when I try to upload this post.
It was a nice dive with the water holding stead at 81 degrees(still don't understand the wet suits the other diver wear) even when I was down 92 feet and the water was still nice and clear as well. Our dive lasted just under an hour before we climbed back into Puff. The winds and swells were picking up so we had about a meter swell slamming into us as we got on board and as we made our way back, taking on a lot of water every time we got slammed by a wave(which was a lot). In the end, we were about half full of water by the time we got back to Zephyr where we off loaded every thing but our tanks so we could get them filled after we had lunch and got cleaned up. All the gear had to be rinsed in fresh water to get all the salt water off and keep them from stinking. While scuba diving is fun, it sure takes a lot of work and time to do it right but with your life depending on your gear, we try and take good care of it. Clean it, rinse it, and then dry and stow it.
When I took in our two tanks at the dive shop, they hooked them up immediately to the compressor and filled them up. I was in and out in about five minutes. Tracy was amazed I got back to Puff so quickly(as was I). We returned to Zephyr and hoisted the tanks on board and the settled in(taking some Tylenol)for the rest of the short afternoon. We didn't even get back to Zephyr from our dive till 1320 so with lunch and a trip to the dive shop to get the tanks filled, what was left of our afternoon wasn't much.