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.

20 May 2017 | Bonaire
16 May 2017 | Bonaire
16 May 2017 | Bonaire
16 May 2017 | Bonaire
15 May 2017 | Bonaire
14 May 2017 | Bonaire
09 May 2017 | Bonaire
08 May 2017 | Bonaire
05 May 2017 | 16 09.77N:-066 02.48W
05 May 2017 | 16 14.30N:-065 59.98W
04 May 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
04 May 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI
02 May 2017 | back in Brewers Bay again.
02 May 2017 | Brewers Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

Working on our buoyancy compensator.

20 May 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/sunny with winds
Yesterday, we finally made it into the water with our scuba gear. I got Tracys ready first so we could see if there were any problems with her buoyancy compensator(BC) jacket. It still has a small leak, actually a couple, that we will be working on. Just going to take some time and a bit of glue. We'll be going back to the store on Sunday that helped us on Wednesday trying to get it fixed. He may have found the part we needed. Once Tracy came back on board, we found bit of water inside the bladder of her jacket so we'll be looking into that also. Mine was fine with no leaks and the new regulator I brought into the US Virgins worked just fine. We dove for about 40 minutes before coming back to Zephyr to get everything washed, dried and stowed for the next dive. I'll be going in on Saturday morning and getting our tanks refilled. We bought a card for 21 fills and it's time to use two.

Today, we dropped the lines to our mooring buoy and took off the empty our black water(stuff from the head)tanks. We are one of the few that has tanks for the heads as most boats just pump it straight over board. Here in Bonaire, it's against the law to pump your black water over board. You have to go five miles of shore to do it. We left at 0900(20 to 25 knots of wind in the bay) and finally returned just before noon so we know we went out as far as needed. We were in water over 1,000 feet deep when I pushed the buttons on both forward and stern heads. Now our tanks are nice and empty for another ten days or so. Then we get to do it all over again. As for the other boats in the mooring field, many having been here for a long time, we never see them drop their lines and leave to take care of business so I figure they just pump over board what they leave in the head. I guess since they have no tanks, they have no choice. We who have tanks must leave as emptying them in the bay would cause problems for the reef. Our forward tank is about 25 gallons and the stern is 18. A little pumped overboard is fine but a lot at one session isn't. That's how we killed the morning.

When we returned, we moved farther east along the shore and took a different mooring. This ones lines were in great shape though the port side line was to short to make it to the deck where I could attach our lines to it. We did get attached to the starboard fitting and then Tracy jumped in and I handed her our line for the port side mooring line . She threaded it though the "eye" at the end of the mooring line and handed it back to me and I attached it to the forward cleat. After lunch, I put on my suit and dove down to attach a shackle to one of the mooring blocks and installed our back up line. Now we have three lines attached to the mooring blocks. Two of theirs and one of ours. We're not going any where.

The rest of the day was quiet as we waited for another boat to come in and crowd us here in the anchorage. So far(it's now 2230) none have shown up but there is always tomorrow. They have the buoys packed in here but with no anchoring in Bonaire, they have to. Imagine showing up here after a multi day/night passage and finding no where to tie off your boat unless you go into one of the expensive marinas. Not a good way to make friends with cruisers.

Tomorrow, we are headed into town as the Animal Shelter is having a "garage sale" of sorts where people drop off things they no longer want or need and the public can buy them. One of the scuba shops we went into suggested we stop in there as many times, people or shops donate used scuba gear. Maybe we can find a used buoyancy compensator instead of having to buy a new one. Once we are done with that , it's down to the dive shop and get our tanks filled. Then we will try and get in another dive. Hopefully the winds and waves will have stopped as it's never fun to get thrown around by big waves as you're trying to get in or out of a dinghy in full scuba gear. In the Baja, we say the "Buffalos are running". I'll let you know how that goes.

It's now Sunday afternoon and we are back from town. We got to the animal shelter right at 0800 since that was when they were to open. OOPS! We forgot that we are on "island time" and that means nothing starts when they say it does. We got to the restaurant where the advertisement said the "garage" sale was to be only to find nothing. One of the waitresses saw us just sitting out back as we waited for someone to show up. She knew nothing of any "garage sale" even after we showed her the advertisement. She went in and asked and surprise, surprise, it wasn't at the restaurant but across the street. No clue who wrote the notice but they sure got it wrong. As it was, nothing was actually ready to be sold till much closer to 0900 as everything they had inside had to be lugged outside and put up under four tents that they also had to put up. We saw several BIG tubs of what looked like scuba gear come out and after waiting a good bit, slowly wandered over to the tubs. What buoyancy compensators they had were MUCH worse than what we had. I did find another pair of fins as I needed some parts off them to fix my pair(bought in 1981!). The adjustment clip for my heel had started to snap and these had just the part I needed. Cost $10. Not bad as I saw another pair similar to what I had just bought at a scuba store for $165!
We hiked back to Puff and headed back to Zephyr to get our scuba tanks so we could get them filled. Tracy lowered them down to me and we took off for the dive shop. While there, I asked if they had any "BCs" for sale. Yes they did but at a different location farther down the shoreline. While they filled our tanks, we headed down only to be disappointed on what they had for sale. Old, no frills BCs that had been very well used. There wasn't a place for weights so Tracy would be wearing a separate weight belt. We passed on it-cost was $150(probably close to what they originally paid for them) where a brand new one with lots of extras was only $299. We returned to the dive center and still had to wait for the tanks as they still were not filled. Once done, I carried them to their dock and lowered them to Tracy and off we went back to Zephyr.
I still wanted to work on Tracys old BC but we needed to run the generator and it's darn near impossible to hear the "hiss" of escaping air with a generator running close by so I waited till after lunch(Tacos again--YEA!) and the batteries were full and between the two of us got hers fixed. I keep on board some nice pieces of rubber that were originally intended to be seals for the diesel tanks but one sheet has had a few chunks taken out of it over the last five years or so so it was time to take some more. I laid out a pattern on the rubber and cut around it in a somewhat nice circle. Cutting thick rubber with scissors never gives you a perfect cut or circle but it came out well and after we discussed what needed to be done some more, we had the parts we needed for some better seals as what was on it wasn't keeping the air in. It took some more work but we got it all together and after filling the BC with air and spraying soapy water over the valves, it looks like we have the leak sealed!!! No air appears to be making bubbles at any of the valves and the air I put in it 30 minutes ago seems to be staying as the jacket is still nice and puffy. We'll be going in the water tomorrow to try it out and then hiking to the dive store that was so nice to us a few days ago. He's checking his inventory of parts for something else that might help us solve the problem permanently.
I've attached a picture of some of the wind generators along the northwest coast of Bonaire. We counted 12 but saw more in other parts of the island during our golf cart ride. Cheap and environmentally friendly.

Solving problems and getting ready to go diving.

18 May 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/sunny with winds
On Tuesday, we tried to recover from having our bodies shaken and jostled by the ride around the island in the golf cart. We got up to the sound of rain hitting the deck! It's the first rain we've had in a long time and about all it did was turn our dirty decks to muddy decks. Little seemed to have gotten washed away, just liquified so every where you walked on deck, you left muddy foot prints. Hopefully we will get some more but since then all we've gotten is wind and lots of it. It's forecast for "small craft" warnings for the next week or so with winds in the mid 20 knot range and seas in the two plus meter size. We're protected from most of the swells but the wind just keeps on coming and that's fine as the DuoGen on the stern keeps trying to put volts into the batteries. No way it can keep up with the demand as it's not that good a generator. At least the winds in the 20's helps.

We made up some fresh gasoline(a mixture of 50 to 1-gas to oil) for our two stroke Tohatsu out board as we were getting a bit low with all the traveling around we've been doing. No way do we want to ever run out as we would be swept out so sea quickly with the winds and currents here in Bonaire. When we snorkeled along the south shore of the island just off shore, I sat in the dinghy while Tracy floated along beside me. Before I'd dropped the line to the small mooring buoy, she's drifted a good 100 yards to the west of me. It was just easier to float along in the dinghy while she swam as the water was too deep for any picture taking.

Once Puff was launched and the Tohatsu lowered and installed, we took off for the local marina to pay for our mooring for another two weeks and get rid of two bags of trash. Taking most of what we buy out of boxes while still at the store really cuts down on what we have to throw away. Keeps nasty bugs off the boat too since they seem to like to hitch a ride to the boat in the boxes. We paid our fees($154) for the next two weeks so we are good and got rid of the trash. I enquired about who maintains the moorings as ours is in need of repair. Mooring lines are supposed to have a eyelet installed on the end of the line that you pass one of your dock lines through. One of the two lines from the mooring doesn't have an eyelet, just a knot in the rope. I ended up speaking to the dock master for the marina and he told me he would have someone out there to get it fixed as soon as he could. No clue what that means in actual time as this is the Caribbean and not much moves quickly around here(it's now Thursday and no repairs have been done).
We returned to Zephyr and got the generator and a small tarp out so we could charge up everything on board and keep the generator dry should it rain again. Just the appearance of the tarp assured us that it would not rain again and it hasn't. We transferred gasoline from one of our forward jerry cans to one we keep on the stern that has a easy to pour handle. We poured fuel from one tank to the other and made sure the generator was nice and full. We ran the generator for about 90 minutes and most of what we had that needed charging got taken care of.
Lunch, always an important part of our day, was hamburgers made with the left over meat from the tacos we had on Sunday. Our trip to the grocery store yesterday gave us all the extra condiments we needed for a really great burger. We had it on simple sandwich bread instead of buns as it's much cheaper and tastes just fine. We'd bought a half loaf for $1.50 and it was just perfect. We've found that if we buy a full loaf, we can't eat it all and it goes bad quickly in the Caribbean as most of the bakeries don't use preservatives.
I'm off to take a few more Motrin to try and stop the body aching every time I move. Age sucks sometimes.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we went back to shore get our phone/internet recharged as we were down to just 320 megs of data left out of the 10 gigs we got back on the 8th. We'd been downloading another show or two(off ITunes) and adding in all the surfing we've been doing learning about Bonaire, we'd gone through our allotment. One thing they didn't tell us at Digicel was that the plan we were on doesn't allow computers to connect to the phone you are using to get the internet via a "Hot Spot". It says it's connected(via WIFI) but there is no internet. We discussed this problem with the sales person and she confirmed what we already knew. You can't get internet under the plan we were on unless you put the simm card in a WiFi dongle that will broadcast the signal. Then you can connect to the dongle, just not the phone. Why??? The sales person had no clue, it's just the way Digicel does it here. At least we had the WiFi dongle and didn't have to buy another piece of electronics to add to our vast collection.

We found another problem that needed attention on board. When I pulled out Tracys buoyancy compensator jacket(holds her scuba tank when she dives) we found that another of the air dump valves had come off(not supposed to do that). We'd originally found the problem of these valves coming off back in Madagascar and had taken the jacket into a repair shop when we were in South Africa. The tech was amazed how bad the condition of the valves were as the jacket looked brand new. We'd bought it two years before then and brought it back to Fiji when we were there. After usage, it always got washed in fresh water and dried in the cockpit(out of the Sun) and then stowed in the locker in the forward head(same as mine). The tech did a good job on the valves that looked like they needed replacing or reglueing. Unfortunately, the one that has now popped, isn't one of the ones he fixed. We needed another repair person or we needed a new jacket($$$$). We did some research on the internet, found a repair shop and called. He said he needed to see it so we jumped in the dinghy and took it to him. He was also surprised at the blown valve as the jacket, now four years old, still looks new. His comment was that most of the companies were using cheap rubber from China(his opinion) and many jackets were doing the same thing. His suggestion was to just eliminate the valve by glueing a patch right over the hole. But---he had no glue nor any patch material! So much for a suggestion. He did have a rack full of new jackets and surprisingly not a very inflated prices. We checked when we got back to Zephyr on the internet and his prices were in line with those back in the US. Quite the surprise. We knew of two other places in town that might fix it so we jumped back into Puff and took off for down town. The next place we stopped at had no suggestion(other than take it back to where we had just come from) other than buy a new one. Their prices were higher than where we had just been for a new jacket(nicer place with higher rent). We left and hiked down to store #3 and after the tech(owner of the store) looked at it, he had some suggestions as to where to get glue but again, he had no patch material. He took pity on us and started hunting around the different drawers in his shop and came up with a replacement valve. We pulled out the bad glue that had held the old valve and then he slowly fit the replacement valve in place and screwed down the valve cap onto the inner fitting, took the jacket to a spare scuba tank and inflated it. The valve leaked just a little so he tightened the fitting and the small hiss we had heard stopped!! It was fixed, not permanently but it was good to go for diving. He said he would look around his shop to see if he had any valves that might fit better and to stop by on the weekend(Sunday) and see what he came up with. To say we were impressed with his service would be an understatement! He could have just thrown up his hands as the previous two shops had and tried to sell us a new jacket. If it doesn't work out, well we know know where we will be buying a new jacket on Sunday but today we will be jumping in the water after lunch and trying it out. It's blowing in the high teens to twenties so the water is quit stirred up out there with lots of white capped waves running through the bay so we will just dive from Zephyr again and see how it is. Tracy did go into the water on Wednesday morning for a test dive to see how her ear was and she reports back that it's better than she thought and equalized even better the deeper she goes. One other thing we did buy at the third dive shop was some more weights for our diving($25 for two 2 pound weights). We now seem to be having a problem sinking once we let all the air out of the compensators so we got four more pounds to try and counteract the buoyancy problem.
Today, we cleaned up and bit, ran the generator, petted(and annoyed)Blue as she laid on the table in the main salon and made preparations for this afternoons dive. Tracys tank is still full at 3,000 pound and mine is down to probably 2,000 with us both using it for two short dives. It's going to be fun getting back in the water again.
The picture today is of the sign outside the "Mens Room" at the National Park on the northwest corner of the island.

Cactus, cactus and more cactus.

16 May 2017
It's almost like being along the shore line on the Baja except that they don't have as many cactus. They are everywhere.

More small caves along the road

16 May 2017
Another shot of the caves.

Small caves.

16 May 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/Sunny and windy
As we drove along the south shore, we were greeted by an outcropping of small cut outs in the rocks beside the road. Not quite caves but darn close with a couple of stalactites.

Along the coast line

16 May 2017 | Bonaire
Bill/Sunny and windy
Here's a shot as we stopped along the south coast of Bonaire. It was blowing in the high teens to low 20s so the sea was a bit stirred up. You can see the different shades from shallow to deep in the picture.
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 - Huahine and beyond.
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Added 25 July 2011
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