Borta med Bengt

En resa

Sunday 25 August 2019, Spanish Water, Curacao ENGLISH


The week that has past:

This week was a lot more laid back than last week when lots of things happened and we were taken on a 'Tour de Curacao' by Victor, the OCC-port officer on Curacao. Monday we went ashore early and took a seat on the sofa outside of 'The Pirate's Nest' to update the blog and to make a few What's App calls to friends and relatives. A hot day again so back on Bengt we jumped in the water to cool down. We changes filters on the watermaker and baked a very nice banana cake. Even if we think we work hard every day, time seems to have its own speed here. The days pass and we feel like we don't get anything done in this Curacao heat. Off course we do but is all being done at a sloooower pace.

Tuesday we took the free bus to 'Vreugdenhil' to do some shopping. We also visited 'Luna Park' the other supermarket in the area. This large shop is usually referred to as 'the China shop' by all sailors because the owner is a Chinese and the shop as such has much more than food for sale. When Elisabeth was shopping there I took the short walk to Budget Marine to pick up the ordered regulator for the Aquair. The afternoon was spend trying to get all the wires in the right place without making mistakes. The regulator has black (-), red (+) and grey (for the dumpload) wires but the Aquair has brown (+) and blue (-). This asked for a little thinking, not easy in this heat, since we have learned that brown and black always are earth (-). We had to double check just to be sure we connected the right wires together. In the 'red' wire we also have fitted a fuse and the amperemeter. Lucky for us we had done the right connections so the dumpload went hot, and made funny noises, as soon as the voltage went over 14,2 V. On Wednesday our cat, Obama, started to behave a bit strange. Lying in the hot sun on the hot deck or trying to sleep in our bed were a few things he started with. He also got his sneeze back. We think it is a reaction to his vaccination so we let him be but took him inside and out of our bed. He eats and drinks as usual. We got a visit from Thuy and Kasper from 'Shalom'. Kasper is from Holland but has lived many years in Vietnam where he met Thuy. Unfortunately we do not have the Vietnamese language on our computer but Thuy's name is spelled with an ? over the u. There are often several ways to pronounce a word in Vietnamese depending on how it is written. Some words have six different meanings depending how it is pronounced. Swedish is easy compared to this language. Thuy had read a book called 'Landet Lagom' which is a promo-book about Sweden and its culture. For sale at IKEA abroad but can also be acquired by embassy's or consulates. She had read about 'fika', a very Swedish term for a coffee break, often vid a variety of cakes and cookies. Since we had invited them for 'fika' we had a lot of fun with the word. Thuy informed us about Vietnam and the way people live there. Kasper told us how he ended up in Vietnam and about the problems they encounter when visiting other countries. Most countries only give short visas for citizens of Vietnam but when you sail and want to stay somewhere longer to avoid the hurricane season this turns into a real pain in the butt. Now they don't really know where they will sail when they have to leave Curacao at the end of August. They also are having problems with getting a boat insurance even if the boat has a Dutch registration. Kasper has his address in Hanoi in Vietnam so all the insurance-companies he has contacted refuse to insure the boat. We Europeans should be grateful not to have been born in a U(nderdeveloped) or W(rong) country. We don't write so much about all the people we have met or talked to but we have understood that our European behaviour often has the opposite effect of that we want to achieve. Teomania and Megalomania again.

A good example is the famous 'floating market' of Willemstad which has existed in many years. Not anymore because the market consisted of boats from Venezuela who sailed over with their cargo of fruit and vegetables straight from Venezuela and moored in Willemstad's town centre to sell their goods direct from the boats. Smuggling of both people and drugs increased after the crises in Venezuela started so customs stopped the boats from coming. The boarders between the ABC-islands and Venezuela are closed now because of the boycott so it is not possible to clear out for this country from here anymore. Off course the regime in Caracas has to go but using boycott and embargo only hits the ordinary people and has a contrary effect. It does not hit the rich who have filled their pockets and destroyed the country. They just move to some tax-haven and have their millions safe in Switzerland while the population is starving. When the west, with the USA (the main offender) in front, notices that Venezuela is turning to China for help they start to scream even loader. This game has been played in many years by all countries trying to get power over people which they have no right to have power over. In the last years it is mainly the USA who has been trying to manipulate other countries or even invade them to get rid of a government they don't like or see as a threat (which are basically all countries who are not vasal states of the USA). The difference between the USA and Russia is that Russia tries this with its neighbouring countries but the USA in the whole world. Teomania and Megalomania combined with fear for all things 'strange' are the main causes of this behaviour. Especially Americans seem to suffer from these diseases. When we talk to sailors from the USA you notice an attitude of their county being best and that they have the right to control and rule others to protect the 'free world'. Thuy told us that the Vietnamese people like Americans and don't have any bad feelings about them because of the Vietnam-war. Visiting Americans, often war-veterans, are very often surprised by the friendly way the Vietnamese meet them. On the other hand many of the visiting Americans think the USA has won the war. Like many other countries Vietnam has suffered greatly under the, in this case French, colonial regime. Like in many other countries they occupied the French ruled brutally and forbid local traditions with force, for instance in Polynesia, or, like in Vietnam, the written language. Vietnamese had a written language not unlike Chinese but the French replaced this with a European style of writing so it was easier to read what people wrote and so be able to control them. It is, therefore, not strange that the resistance against the oppressor France, which started after the second world war, resulted in independence even if it took many years of suffering, killing and a war that even the Americans got involved in for reason of fear for 'the reds'.

Thursday Elisabeth fixed the toilet. The new part didn't function the way it should. It turned out to be a blocked air-hose from the septic- tank. Unfortunately we couldn't reach the whole hose but Elisabeth cleaned as far in a she could get with the help of a thin steel wire. After this treatment the toilet performed well again. I made a hatch cover for our fronthatch which hopefully will prevent water from entering through the hatch into the forepeak and over our bicycles in heavy weather. The hatch was constructed from pieces of wood that we found on several different islands, a piece of foam (for tightening against the deck) and a sheet of MDF-board which we had found on Terceira in the Azores. Apart from screws I used a roll of duck-tape.

On Friday morning we walked to Jan Thiel to shop at the Albert Heyn there. Everybody we talked to finds this an expensive shop but we found many items (Albert Heyn's own brand) at competitive prices. Flour from Holland is cheaper than flour from the USA for instance. They also have a lot of 'specials' at very cheap prices. We mailed Victor and asked about the dog we had met at 'Turtlebaai' last week. We received good news: the dog has been taken care of and will be adopted to Holland. Our cat is still behaving a bit strange but he seems to slowly get back to normal. I have gotten an infected bite again so I can only sit on the aft deck and watch Elisabeth having fun in her bathing-ring. No swimming for me!

Saturday we took the bus to 'Vreugdenhil' again and did the tour of the shops. Also on the bus were Kasper and Thuy who told us about their problems in getting an extension of Thuy's visa. On Monday they will visit the embassy and give it a last try. Otherwise they will have to leave on Wednesday. Since we took the later bus back we had lots of time to do some shopping. First stop was 'Dijtham', the hardware store, where we bought some electrical stuff. After that we walked a bit further on the same side of the road to 'Island Water World' where we also bought some electrical stuff and filters for the watermaker. Across the road we visited 'Luna Park' to compare prices for milk and other staples we have to buy before we leave Curacao next week. Last stop was 'Vreugdenhil' where we did our shopping, had a (free) coffee and bumped into Søren and Vibeke from 'Johanna' whom we last met in Maj on the hard at 'Curacao Marine'. They had been home in Denmark for two months. The trip back to Bengt was a wet affair because it was blowing a gale so we got soaked a few times by the short steep waves. Saturday afternoon was spend working on the windvane. As I have written before the castings and fittings of the vane are not made too accurately so the whole thing moves in all directions when we use it. Fastening is done with two small bolts which do not fit correctly. This is, off course, not good for the Vane's performance and durability. I threaded three 8 mm bolts in the two different castings and all is tight now. Looking forward to a test-sail. In the evening we downloaded the weather forecast for our area via Sailmail and could read the following:

AMZ033-250915- Caribbean S of 15N between 64W and 72W including Venezuela Basin- 502 PM EDT Sat Aug 24, 2019

TONIGHT...E winds 20 to 25 kt. Seas 6 to 8 ft. SUN...NE to E winds 20 to 25 kt Gulf of Venezuela, and E 20 to 25 kt elsewhere. Seas 6 to 8 ft. SUN NIGHT...E winds 20 to 25 kt. Seas 6 to 8 ft. MON...NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt Gulf of Venezuela, and E 20 to 25 kt elsewhere. Seas 6 to 8 ft. MON NIGHT...NE to E winds 20 to 25 kt. Seas 6 to 8 ft. TUE... TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. TUE NIGHT... HURRICANE CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. WED... HURRICANE CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. WED NIGHT... TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. THU...Gulf of Venezuela, NE to E winds 10 to 15 kt in the morning, becoming variable less than 5 kt. Elsewhere, E to SE winds 15 to 20 kt. Seas 4 to 6 ft.

After that we downloaded the GRIB-files to get an overview of the situation. A low pressure system is situated east of Barbados and moving west-north-west. It doesn't seem to develop into a hurricane but a tropical storm isn't very funny either.

Sunday was supposed to be a rest day but we kept track of DORIAN as the tropical storm was christened to. Once a week we start the engine to give it and the folding-propeller some exercise. Mainly to prevent growth on the propeller which folds under sailing. This time the blades got stuck so the skipper, I, will have to dive down and clean it some time when my infected bite is cured. In the afternoon the watermaker started leaking on one of the end-caps. This is the same sort of problem we had on the Canaries. The end-caps are plastic with a threaded hole for the stainless steel fitting where you connect the hose to. After some time the fitting starts weeping saltwater so you tighten it. All well but some weeks later the weeping starts again so you tighten it again. However, the fitting will not 'bite' in the thread anymore so you unscrew the whole thing and the plastic thread comes out with the fitting. A bad construction from Spectra! The only emergency-repair possible is to use epoxy to glue the fitting back in place to be able to use the watermaker. This is the high-pressure side of it so the smallest of leaks will cause a fountain of saltwater spraying out. The only solution is to order new end-caps which, at 60 Euro each, are not cheap.

Never a boring moment. Until next week!