Sunday 20 October 2019, Airport Anchorage, Aruba
For the moment our blog is updated every Sunday or some day after that. The reason is the lack of internet on the boat, and lack of interest in buying access to it. When we are at the Airport Anchorage we go to 'Pinchos Grill' and when we are at Eagle Beach we have to go to the café in Superfood, the big supermarket to use Wifi. At Pinchos there is no shade so I sit in the dinghy, under an umbrella or under the sprayhood to be able to see the screen of my old MacBook. There is not always a free table at the café in Superfood so I stand with the computer on a garbage-bin at the entrance. It's not so strange then that updating the blog is not always so easy. Especially with uploading pictures. It will be better at Shelter Bay Marina in Colon, Panama. We hope!
Several disturbances are on the way on the Atlantic and we have thunder, lightning and rain almost every day. The forecast can look like this:
1039 AM EDT Mon Oct 14, 2019
TODAY...E to SE winds 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Seas 4 to 6 ft. Scattered showers and isolated tstms.
TONIGHT...NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt within 90 nm of coast of Colombia, and E 10 to 15 kt elsewhere. Seas 3 to 5 ft. Scattered showers and isolated tstms.
TUE...E winds 15 to 20 kt within 90 nm of coast of Colombia, and E 10 to 15 kt elsewhere. Seas 3 to 5 ft. Scattered showers and isolated tstms.
TUE NIGHT...NE to E winds 15 to 20 kt within 90 nm of coast of Colombia, and NE to E 10 to 15 kt elsewhere. Seas 3 to 5 ft. Scattered showers and isolated tstms.
Scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms means on Aruba lots of rain in a very short time and lightning that lasts for hours. One doesn't want to sail in that sort of weather so we stay put on Aruba for the moment.
Tuesday we moved to Eagle Beach again. We got very tired of the taxi-boats driving from the marina to the resort on Renaissance Island. The drivers of these boat do not show any consideration for anchored boats and drive close and fast. We have had water in the boat more than once from these guys. They drive from early morning to late at night with guests to and from the resort. At night there is less traffic but still they drive close by. The anchorage is shallow so we cannot move closer inshore to avoid these pests. We have to keep some hatches and portholes closed.
Here, on Eagle Beach, the jetskis drive round and round and round. How much fun is that? At least they stop at five in the afternoon and don't start until ten in the morning.
We have cleaned out some of our lockers and prepared some bags with clothes for the 'Young people of Aruba' association. They have a collecting point at the supermarket. In the afternoon we went for a long walk on the beach. This time we passed two beach-weddings.
Wednesday we took the dinghy and went ashore. A swell was running and I lost balance when going out of the dinghy and went for an involuntary swim. Luckily I had nothing in my pockets. We went to Superfood with our of clothes bags and left them there.
Zhuang Zi was a philosopher who supposed to have lived around 300 before Christ in the state of Song. There is also a book with the same name which he has given credit for. The name means 'Master Zhuang'.
'As knowledge becomes more cunning, more versatile and clever, people around it become disturbed and injured. They then try to grasp what they do not know, but make no attempt to grasp what they already know. They condemn the misunderstandings of others, but do not condemn their own. From this comes even more confusion. '
This quote, more than 2000 years old, is still very much actual. The reactions to the 'climate striking' young people have been overwhelming. A lot of positive reactions but also negative ones. Everything from personal attacks on, for instance, Greta's Aschberger syndrome ('She is mentally ill') to 'I'm sure they want new computers and tablets too', 'They get paid' or 'they fly home, don't they'. Without knowing these youngsters personally, the media and we, judge them beforehand. The media, owned by the capitalistic rich, including Facebook and Instagram, have invested large sums of money and exploited peoples fear for change and loosing what they have to make them react in this way. Sure, these kids are hypocritical since they live in a system they cannot change but it is better to be hypocritical, protest and fail than to be hypocritical, continue living as usual and be cynical.
These youngsters have understood something that many of us 'grown-ups' don't seem to want to understand. Today's economic and political systems, capitalism and consumerism, are stealing our children's and grandchildren's future. The French king Louis 14 (the Sun king) already said: 'Après moi, le déluge' which, freely translated, means 'Who cares so fuck off'. Even if his head rolled under the guillotine not much has changed since then.
The manipulation by the media has been very successful since we continue as usual (crises, what crises?) and even blame the protesting youngsters for having caused all the problems we face today. One wonders what future generations will think of us since we still can change our way of living without having caused unrepairable damage to the Earth. Soon it will be too late. Future generations will have a hard time when the ice is melting, storms rage, forests disappear or draught prevents crops growing. It's my neighbours fault or those in that other country that throw plastics in the water.
It's business as usual; some things never change
It's unfair, it's tough, unkind and it's strange
We don't seem to learn; we can't seem to stop
Maybe some explosions would close up the shop
You know, maybe that would be fine: we would be off the hook
We resolved all our problems, never mind what it took
And it all would be over, finito, the end
Until the survivors started up all over again
and it will be a hard day on the planet
' A hard day on the planet' by Loudon Wainwright III
When we talk to other sailors about 'the climate' we usually get answers like that. 'Not my problem' or 'Have you seen the locals throwing garbage in the bushes?'.
The far right and the wealthy have also been successful in making us believe that every man for himself or every nation for itself is best. Here we see nationalism, waving with the flag, showing its face ('Making Britain great again' and similar bullshit). A nationalism steered by capitalism solely aimed at making money.
Decentralisation, clearance sales of health care institutions, schools and other public services seem to be good. Good for who one can ask. Good for those that own companies, have the power and thus 'own' us. Not good for ordinary people who will have to pay more for hospital care, medicines, etc. the main objective of schools will be to earn money for those who bought them from the state. One shall not forget that all public institutions have been financed with money from ordinary peoples taxes but those are not asked about their opinion when the government sells out public institutions for a bargain price. Even our elected members of parliament seem to forget that they are chosen by the people for the people and not to fill their own pockets.
To quote Zu Zhuang again: They then try to grasp what they do not know, but make no attempt to grasp what they already know. They condemn the misunderstandings of others, but do not condemn their own. From this comes even more confusion.
And so we continue at full speed until the petrol tank is empty.
With our evening swim I was pleasantly surprised by something red flying over me and landing in the water behind me with a big boom. Elisabeth had jumped in the water for the very first time since we left Sweden and was mighty happy for that. To swim in the clear ocean and see the sun go down at the same time is one of the better moments of life.
Thursday evening, before sunset, we went ashore and took a long walk to the end of the beach. We swam back all the way to the dinghy. Another beach-wedding. Lots of wind so lots of electricity from our wind generators. Fridge happy!
Friday started with the brand new freshwater pump stopping working. No water coming out of the tap. I crawled in the engine room and checked the pump but first I measured the voltage in the cables: 8,4 Volt. Not good. Check the fuse, ok. Check the cables, ok. Check the switch, not ok. I touched it and, like magic, water came out of the tap. New switch, all well.
Shopping in Superfood. It's good we check prices before we put things in our trolley. We have not been eating crisps, for instance, for many months. The cheapest variety here costs 4,50 USD per 200 gram. Life is hard!
Superfood has many bargains on lots of articles but only for cardholders so you have to look carefully before you put this extra cheap item in your trolley. At sunset another beach-wedding.
After breakfast on Saturday we moved to the Airport Anchorage again and anchored in exactly the same spot as before. Why? This is the only place here that has enough sand for our anchor. The watermaker was not doing its job, low pressure and low water production. We checked the intake underwater, ok. Changed filter and exchanged the pump head (15 years old and due for replacement) but still low production and too little pressure. Making 15 litres instead of the usual 20 and pressure under 4 bar.
We have started checking the weather and use our routing program (QtVlm) to see when we can leave Aruba. Probably next Wednesday. In the evening we had Martin for dinner and, like the last time, we had a very nice evening with him. The bottle of Calvados was emptied so we now we have one bottle less to take with us. We do all we can to keep Bengt's weight down 😉
When we woke up on Sunday morning the sunshade over the cockpit had collapsed. One of the bamboo supports had broken so Sunday became workday. We fixed it with a piece of steel pipe we had on board. The watermaker got new hoses and all connections were checked for dirt or other foreign materials. This meant the skipper crawling around in the engine room and getting dirty and very sweaty. Still too little water production but ok pressure. We probably have some fault within the high pressure pump (the Clark pump), a worn out piston ring or a broken check valve. We still make 18 litres of fine water but have to keep an eye on the water production so we can order new parts in Panama.
The saltwater pump stopped working. Also this one recently exchanged. Here it was the pressure switch. The little membrane had started leaking and destroyed the switch. We use it without switch for the moment, just use the circuit breaker when we need saltwater. The spare is way back under our bed in the back of the boat and we didn't feel like taking the whole bed apart at that moment. A job for Panama. Being in the engine room anyway I adjusted the belt tension for our second alternator. This job, loosening two bolts, moving the alternator a millimetre or two and tightening the bolts again, turned out to be very time consuming since I had some difficulty getting at the bolts who were rusted and very hard to loosen as well. But after some sweating and swearing all was fixed.
Just before sunset two sailboats came into the anchorage. They turned out to be Swedish both of them. 'Bliss' and 'Major Tom', both from Stockholm.
Until next week!