19 June 2019 | Curacao
Wim van Blaricum | Hot!
It is now one week ago that Elisabeth took the bus to the airport and I am slowly getting used to sleeping alone which is not easy and no fun because we live close together in a very little space and are used to discuss and do things together. I am not all alone though. Our cat, Obama, is following me everywhere since Elisabeth left. He ‘talks’ a lot too. Normally he sleeps during the hottest hours of the day but now he often lies beside me when I am on deck painting. He has even tried to sleep in my bed but there I draw the line. No cats there. His litterbox is temporarily moved to the bedroom because I have been painting the floor there and I want the paint to harden before I put the litterbox back. Cat litter easily damages paint. Obama is not very pleased with this arrangement since he wants to be alone on the toilet.
The other sailors on the hard at ‘Curacao Marine’ had warned us that it blows at least 30 knots in Spanish Water and they are right. The wind is steadily 20-30 knots with gusts of 40 knots. The advantages are that it keeps the boat fairly cool and the mosquitos away. Disadvantages are the noise of the wind in your ears (which is tiresome) and that everything gets salty. The holding is good and we often see turtles swimming past the boat.
Painting outside is difficult because it is not easy to keep the paint on your brush and since the salt is everywhere you have to clean with fresh water before you can do some work, e.g. sanding, masking or painting. I managed to finish the deck on a fairly quit morning. The last once for a very long time. The weather forecast gives 25-35 knots for the coming week including isolated thunderstorms out at sea.
After that I started with renovating our sprayhood. We actually wanted to take the windows away and replace them with a stronger front (with smaller windows) made in plywood or polyurethane foam but both alternatives turned out to be very expensive as the material is not cheap and not all things we needed are available on the island. Unfortunately the aluminum frames were corroding (screwed together with stainless steel screws) and we had some serious leaks so a renovation was necessary. All rubber gaskets, sealant, etcetera were removed and both windows and frames were cleaned with alcohol and sanded down where the sealant has to stick. After that masking tape and lots of sikaflex were used to seal all. I even reduced the size of the windows to get everything as watertight as possible and to make the sprayhood look better (we have always found it ugly). After drying for two days the frames were painted with aluminum primer and two layers of white enamel. Since it blows so much all the time it was not easy to paint without getting lots of white spots on the windows. Fortunately I had a large tin of ‘White Spirit’ on hand.
The result is a sprayhood that feels more like a part of the boat. It looks better too! My work with getting the thing watertight will have to be tested on a coming sailing trip. A heavy rain shower would also do the trick but here on Curacao one has to be pleased with every drop of rain that falls out of the sky so that possibility does not seem to be a relevant option.
Even here there is a bus-service from the fisherman’s harbour to the ‘Vreugdenhil’ supermarket. It leaves at 08:30 Monday to Saturday and leaves the supermarket again at around 09:30. One can also walk two kilometres the other way in the direction of ‘Jan Thiel’ where you find a ‘Albert Heyn’, ATM and several other shops and restaurants. Behind the fisherman’s harbour there is ‘Pirate’s Nest’, a pub cum restaurant where one can sit and use their Wifi.
I should have know better than to write that it never rains here. The night after a violent thunderstorm made me wake up and forced me to close all the hatches and windows. But first I took a look at the sprayhood. Not a drop of water!