Borta med Bengt

21 August 2019 | Curacao
19 August 2019 | Curacao
19 August 2019 | Curacao
12 August 2019 | Curacao
12 August 2019 | Curacao
08 August 2019 | Curacao
06 August 2019 | Curacao
06 August 2019 | Curacao
06 August 2019 | Curacao
06 August 2019 | Curacao
29 July 2019 | Curacao
22 July 2019 | Curacao
22 July 2019 | Spaans Water, Curacao
01 July 2019 | Curacao
30 June 2019 | Curacao
30 June 2019 | Curacao

The week that has past: ENGLISH

21 August 2019 | Curacao
Wim van Blaricum | Hot!
18 August 2019, Spanish Water, Sunday

ALL PICTURES OF THE PLACES WE VISITED ARE IN THE SWEDISH VERSION BELOW AND IN THE GALLERY (ABC).

Monday 12 August 2019
This turned out to be the ‘broken things day’: The pump of the forward greywater tank stopped working because the plastic ring around the membrane house broke (see picture). We fixed this with a hose-clamp. After that the pump had some difficulty starting up but following some priming help it did its job again. This is already the third Whale Gusher 220 that gives up, one even started burning, since we bought Bengt autumn 2013 so maybe it is time to change to another brand. We have no more spare pumps. Spare rings are available at Budget Marine/Island Water World for 45 USD (?) which is far too expensive for two small pieces of plastic. We have, on the other hand, lots of hose-clamps on board.

The septic tank started peeing through a hole in the side of it and filled the ‘hole’ under the mast foot with a bad smelling liquid. It smelled awful but after cleaning and emptying of the septic tank we could breathe again inside the boat. The holes, it turned out to be several small ones were fixed with steel-epoxy. We are thinking more and more of a toilet called ‘Airhead’. this is a separating toilet which doesn’t need tanks, pumps, flushing or hoses that get clogged up by urine. You don’t have to pump out either. Otherwise a bucket is the best boat-toilet that you can get (just take some spare ones with you because they tend to brake when you sit on them).

The radiator in the doghouse started leaking, this time in another place, fixed with steel-epoxy and vulcanizing tape. The radiator in the galley was also dripping and was fixed in the same way. We fix these leaks immediately since the glycol in the system is fatal for the cat if he drinks it up. If you are considering installing a heating stove, like a Reflex, with radiators I suggest that you buy steel ones and not aluminum ones. They don’t last. Basically you could do without the radiators as the hoses themselves radiate more than enough heat.
All these things broke within a few hours of each other and off course at dinner-time. I wonder if they wanted to tell us something or was it just coincidence. Time will tell!

Tuesday 13 August 2019
During the night some water collected in the ‘hole’ under the mast foot but it didn’t smell so the fixing of the septic tank was successful. It was just some water that had run down from the greywater tank. Elisabeth cleaned and I fixed another radiator. After that we went ashore and took the free bus to ‘Vreugdenhil’ supermarket to take out US-dollars from the ATM in the shop. We need about 1800 USD to pay the Panama Canal fee which has to be done in cash at the City Bank in Colon. We have PayPal, IBAN, internet banking, etc but here nothing has changed much since I transited the canal in 1985, apart from the fee off course (1985: 37 USD for a 24 ft boat. 2019: 1000 USD for a 44 ft boat (the 800 US-dollars we have to pay extra is a buffer which you get back if they don’t have to use it). We stocked up on ‘stroopwafels’ since they were extra cheap. Stroopwafels are from the Netherlands and are two wafers with syrup in between. One of our favorites.

A very windy day today with gusts up to 45 knots so we got wet on the ride back but the sprayhood saved us from a total soaking.
Victor, the OCC-port officer, offered to take us to the propane filling station at Muizenberg tomorrow to fill our two gas-bottles. This can also be done by bus but takes the whole day. First you take 6A from the roundabout at the Fisherman’s harbour to Punda (Willemstad). From there you take the 4A to Muizenberg. Busses are cheap but don’t have a tight timetable so it takes some time. It is also forbidden to take gas bottles on the bus so you will have to hide them in backpacks or so.

Wednesday 14 August 2019
At nine a.m. we were picked up by Victor for a ‘tour de Curacao’. First stop was Hato, the area behind the airport. Here the earth is red. We took a look at the wind-farm and two very nice caves. There we could observe bats and bees but also admire wonderful sculptures in the most incredible colours. All made by nature. The bees live in the caves and drink the water that always drops down from the ceiling. Curacao is a dry island now and animals have to be ingenious to survive. A long time ago there were trees on Curacao but they were taken down to repair ships, build houses, etc. Like on the Canaries Islands man has made its mark here too. After Shell build the refinery for oil from Venezuela the groundwater level went down many meters since it was used for cooling. Shell has left the island, the refinery was bought by the government for a symbolic price, but nothing has been done to restore water levels. Shell only made money and took no responsibility for the environmental results of its actions.

Victor has a great knowledge of the history and geology of Curacao so we heard many stories and got to know facts that we had not heard before. The whole time we travelled on the wind-side of the island we walked around on old sea bottom and as a result of that could see many fossils in the magma soil. We also observed a few native birds of which the Warawara was most impressive (see picture in the Swedish version). We drove a lot off-road and visited Houtjesbaai where people collected wood ‘hout’ in the old days. Nowadays the bay is mostly covered with all sorts of plastic. According to Victor the beach is cleaned every other month but was full of plastic, nonetheless.
We continued to turtlebaai which has a nice viewpoint to observe the turtles that swim in and out of the bay. Unfortunately the Sargasso Weed has filled the whole bay and prevents the turtles from laying their eggs. According to the sign many different species of turtles can be observed but we didn’t see many turtles at all. The smell is terrible as well and the whole bay is brown from the decaying weed. It is actually a unique place since you stand on a plateau and can observe the turtles from above but you don’t disturb them. Even here a lot of plastic floating around. To get to the plateau you have to walk through a hole in the wall and go up on a little staircase. When we arrived a dog was lying in front of the opening and had no intention to let us pass. He was dreadfully skinny and could hardly move. We gave him our water and could pass him. On the way back we used my backpack as a shield. Victor, owner of four dogs, went to the car and got more water and a bowl which we gave to the dog. He drank it all. Victor took some pictures and published them on Facebook hoping that someone would come and take care of the poor dog.

We stopped at ‘Plantation house Ascension’ where we visited the grave of ‘Shon Martin’ (master Martin). This man was a slave himself but ‘boss’ over the other slaves. He behaved like he was the owner of the estate and was not liked very much by his fellow slaves. When he died they buried him lying on his belly with his hands under his head facing the Plantation. In this way he would always have to look at the plantation and never find peace.

martin

A visit to the national park ‘Boca di Seko’ was next. We visited ‘Boca Pistol’ where giant waves crashed into a small opening creating huge fountains of water which often had the form of a pistol. ‘Boca Tabla’ has a cave where the ocean rolls in, very impressive. The last stop in the park was ‘Boca Wandomi’ with its natural bridge. After this we were ready for lunch which we ate in a nice restaurant looking out over Westpuntbaai. It felt like being in Greece.

lunch

On the way back to Willemstad we visited a few nice beaches, Groot Knip and Klein Knip, which also gave us a greek feeling. A last stop was made by the beautiful ‘Sint Michel baai’ before we headed back to Spanish Water. Victor told us many things and gave us many facts to take in during the day so we were very tired when we came back to Bengt but it had been a wonderful day and Victor was the perfect guide. We went to bed early.

Thursday 15 August 2019
Needless to say it got to late yesterday to get our gas bottles filled so Victor offered to drive us today instead. First we went to the veterinary (we had ordered a time at nine a.m.) so Obama could get his vaccinations. The vet, Claus, was very gentle and nice so our little cat was not afraid at all. He examined Obama thoroughly and wrote a prescription for some antibiotics to have with us, just in case. Claus is a sailor himself so he understood that we had to have some ‘pills’ for the cat in our medicine box. We also got an International Health Certificate written out. Total cost around 110 Euro.

After this Victor drove us to Muizenberg to get our gas bottles filled at the Curgas filling station. Two 5 kilo bottles cost 46 ANG which is about 11 euros per bottle. Cheap! Payment is done in the office before filling and can only be done in cash or with a local Maestro bankcard. MasterCard and Visa are not excepted. Fortunately for us there is an ATM next to the office which accepted our MasterCard.


Friday 16 August 2019
We took the 6A bus to Punda this morning to check how long Elisabeth was allowed to stay on Curacao and, if necessary, apply for an extension of her visa. On next Monday, 20 August, we have been here 90 days and her visa expires then. I, on the other hand, have a 180 days visa because I am a Dutch citizen. On the bus we met a friendly Belgian sailor who gave us a lot of information about Aruba, our next island. We had company with him all the way across the pontoon bridge to the immigration office past the Juliana bridge. Unfortunately we got no help there but the very nice gentleman working there told us to go to ‘the main office’ in town. This is situated in a modern building opposite McDonalds in one of the main streets of Willemstad. Again a very nice and helpful person gave us the info we needed (until now we have only met nice and helpful people here on Curacao). Elisabeth has a 90 day visa but the 23 days she was in Sweden are not counted so she can stay until 8 September. This was good news because we had two parcels on the way which had been delayed with a few days. We celebrated by eating lunch on the opposite side of the street. It was a long time ago we tasted a Big Mac. After walking through town and the big tourist market we took the bus all the way back to Jan Thiel where we did some shopping at Albert Heyn. With heavy bags we walked the two kilometres back to the dinghy dock in the Fisherman’s harbour.

Saturday 17 August 2019
In the morning Victor passed by the Fisherman’s harbour and I could finally collect the parcel with the new rudder-blade for the windvane. A bit later we got a visit from Tobias and Yana from the German ‘Maya’, a nice old Vindö 33. Even here we got a lot of information about Aruba. Tobias even had some useful links with info to download.

The parcel was opened and I was occupied for the rest of the day with fitting the new rudder and the new fitting for the paddle. As always we had to find solutions for ‘things that didn’t fit’ (the new fitting for the paddle was to wide so the blade didn’t fit) but in the end all worked as it should. The whole windvane had to be cleaned and sprayed with WD-40 because the salt had invaded everywhere and things had got stuck after three months of non-using. The air here on Curacao is ‘aggressive’ because of the high humidity, high temperature, high salt contents and strong winds. You really have to protect all things metal.

Sunday 18 August 2019
During the night a strong squall with rain and thunder past over us so Bengt got a free freshwater shower. We even could collect some water to wash our dinghy sprayhood with which had to be impregnated and had to be salt-free for that. It was one of the moistest nights since we came to Curacao so we didn’t sleep very well. Not until later the air cleared and dryer cooler air moved over could we sleep.

Since we didn’t feel like buying another Whale pump for 300 USD I crawled into the engine room and took an old pump out. We had changed the greywater tank for the shower two years ago to one with a build-in pump but could not get the old pump out of the engine room because it was situated in a ‘difficult’ place. But now, two years later, the screws holding it in place had rusted through so the pump could be taken off easily. After testing, it worked fine, and cleaning we put it in the spare-parts locker.
Elisabeth sewed towels of my old dressing gown. We use a little inverter, 12 V to 150 W/220 V, which is strong enough to power the sewing machine. I have worked on the windvane. The paddle got some new paint and the rudder blade got two layers of anti-fouling. Putting it all in place was easy so now we long for a long test-sail. In the afternoon we cleaned the anchor chain which, after three months in the water, started to get dirty. Elisabeth sat in her inflatable bathing-ring under the chain and cleaned it link for link. I took up the chain bit by bit for hand until we had cleaned 20 meters of the 40 we had out.
Until next week!









Veckan som har gått ...

19 August 2019 | Curacao
Wim van Blaricum | The Weather is hot!
Bild: Pumplagning

18 augusti 2019, Spaans Water, Curacao, söndag

Veckan som har gått:
Måndag 12 augusti 2019
Trasiga sakernas dag: pumpen till främre gråvattentanken slutade fungera på grund av att klämringen runt membranhuset sprack och pumpen gick i två bitar, lagades med en slangklämma runt om ringen. Sedan kom pumpen, motvilligt, igång igen. Det här är redan den tredje Whale Gulper 220 som ger upp, en började dessutom brinna, sedan vi köpte Bengt hösten 2013 (det satt en annan pump i då) så det är kanske dags att byta märke. Tyvärr var den här redan reservpumpen så nu är vi tvungen att skaffa oss en ny, dyr, reserv igen. Reservklämring finns att köpa men kostar 45 USD som vi tyckte var för dyrt.

Septiktanken började spruta kiss ur ett hål i sidan av tanken och fyllde hålet vid mastfoten med en äcklig sörja. Det luktade för jävligt men efter tömning av tanken och städning av 'hålet' gick det att andas i båten igen. Hålen i tanken, det visade sig vara flera stycken, lagades med stålepoxi. Förhoppningsvis har vi inga hål under tanken för där kommer vi inte åt. Våra 'tankar' går starkt i riktning av en mulltoa typ Airhead så vi slipper hålla på med septiktanken, pumpar, spol-toaletter och slangar som förstoppas av urinstenar och behöver städas med jämna mellanrum. Dessutom behöver vi inte pumpa ut något i havet då. En hink är annars den bästa, och billigaste, toaletten.

Elementet i doghouset började läcka igen, den här gången på ett nytt ställe. Lagades med stålepoxi och vulktejp. Elementet i köket hade också börjat droppa och lagades på samma sätt. Vi lagar omedelbart eftersom glykolen som finns i systemet är giftig för katten om han slickar i sig den. Om du funderar på att sätta in en kamin med slinga i din båt ger jag dig ett gott råd: köp inga aluminium element utan investera i stål element. I princip behövs inga element alls, slangen avger tillräckligt med värme. Alla de här sakerna gick sönder inom ett par timmar, naturligtvis vid middagsdags. Vill de säga oss något eller är det bara slumpen som gjorde att det blev som det blev. Vi får se!

toa

Tisdag 13 augusti 2019
Under natten hade lite diskvatten runnit fram till masthålet men inget annat. Ingen äcklig doft så septiktanken är för närvarande tät. Elisabeth städade upp det medans jag fixade element igen. Vi var iland och tog gratisbussen till 'Vreugdenhil' för att ta ut en massa dollar, vi behöver drygt 1800 USD i kontanter, till Panamakanalen i bankomaten inne i affären och passade även på att bunkra stroopwafels eftersom de hade extrapris på dessa. Stroopwafels 'sirapsvåfflor' är ett bakverk från Nederländerna som består av två våfflor med sirap emellan. Kallas ibland 'honungskaka' i Sverige och är väldigt gott.
Idag är det mycket blåsigt med byar av 22 m/s så vi blev överspolade av en del vågor på hemvägen i jollen men klarade oss ändå ganska bra tack vara sprayhooden.

Victor är så snäll och kör förbi Curgas i Muizenberg i morgon där vi kan fylla våra två tomma propanflaskor. Det tar annars hela dagen eftersom man först måste ta bussen (6A) till Punda i Willemstad och byta till en annan buss (4A) som kör till Muizenberg. Bussarna är visserligen billiga men de går inte så ofta så det tar tid. Gasflaskor får inte tas med på bussen så man måste gömma dem i väskor o.d.

vind

Onsdag 14 augusti 2019
Klockan nio hämtade Victor oss vid Fiskehamnen för en 'tour de Curacao'. Först körde vi till ett område som heter Hato där flygplatsen ligger. Här är jorden röd. Vi besökte vindfarmen bakom flygplatsen och ett tvåtal mycket vackra grottor i samma område. Särskilt Kueba di Brua, den andra grottan vi besökte, var imponerande. Där fanns många fladdermöss och fantastiska naturliga stenskulpturer i alla möjliga färger att beskåda. I grottorna lever många bin som dricker vattnet som droppar ner från taket. Curacao är en torr ö så djuren måste vara påhittiga för att överleva.

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Det visade sig att Victor var mycket påläst om Curacaos historia och geologi så vi fick veta mycket om ön som vi inte hade en aning om. Hela tiden som vi åkte och gick runt vid havet på vindsidan gick vi på gammal havsbotten. Vi fick också se en del inhemska fåglar bland annat en rovfågel som heter 'Warawara' som är en slags örn. Vi körde för det mesta off-road och besökte bland annat Houtjesbaai där folk förr i tiden samlade ved och virke 'hout'. Viken ligger på vindsidan av ön och nuförtiden samlas där mest plast. Enligt Victor städas det varannan månad på stranden men ävenså ligger där mängder med plast.

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Houtjesbaai

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Turtlebaai

Vi fortsatte till 'Turtlebaai' 'Sköldpaddsviken' där det förr fanns mängder med olika arter av sköldpaddor att beskåda. Tyvärr har sargassotången invaderat hela viken och gjort det omöjligt för sköldpaddorna att lägga sina ägg där. Den ruttnande tången luktar också vidrigt och hela viken är brunfärgat på grund av död tång. Även här mängder med plast som flyter runt. Det är egentligen ett unikt ställe eftersom man står högt och ser ner på viken. På så sätt ser man sköldpaddorna simma in och ut ur viken men man stör dem inte. För att ta sig till utsiktspunkten måste man igenom en öppning i stenväggen för att komma upp på platån. Mitt framför ingången hade en hund lagt sig. Den var mycket mager och mådde inte särskilt bra. Han orkade att morra men kunde inte resa sig. Vi gav honom vatten och sedan var det ok att gå förbi honom. På vägen tillbaka upprepade sig proceduren och fick vi använda min ryggsäck som skydd. Victor har själv fyra hundar så han hämtade en skål och mera vatten ur bilen och gav det till hunden. Den var så mager att man kunde räkna revbenen. Tyvärr är det här som på många andra ställen att folk inte bryr sig särskilt mycket om sina djur. Framförallt hundar, som ofta används som vakthund på kedja, har ett hemskt liv. Victor la ut bilder på Facebook så förhoppningsvis är det någon som åker dit och tar hand om den stackars hunden.

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Hunden

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Shon Martins grav

Turen fortsatte till Plantagehuset Ascension där vi besökte gravet av 'Shon Martin' (bas Martin). Den här mannen var själv slav men överordnad de andra slavarna. Han betedde sig som godsägaren och var illa omtyckt av de andra slavarna. När han dog begravdes han liggandes på magen med huvudet i händerna så han kunde se godset från sin grav. På så sätt skulle han aldrig kunna få ro.
Vi fortsatte till nationalparken 'Boca di Seko' där vi besökte boka Pistol där väldiga vågor rullade in i en small ränna och sprutade upp vatten i enorma kaskader, ofta i form av en pistol. Boka Tabla hade en mycket fin grotta där havet rullar in i, imponerande. Till sist kom boka Wandomi med sin naturliga bro. Efter det här var vi redo för lunch som vi åt i en liten restaurang på Westpunt med en underbar utsikt över Westpuntbaai. Det kändes lite som att vara i Grekland.

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Boka Pistol


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boka Tabla


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Boka Wandomi


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Lunch

På vägen tillbaka till Willemstad stannade vi vid ett antal fina stränder såsom Groot Knip och Klein Knip som också gav en grekisk känsla. Via den mycket vackra Sint Michiel baai hamnade vi så småningom vid Spaansk Water igen. Victor berättade mycket så vi hade mängder med information att ta in men det var en underbar dag med en mycket trevlig 'guide'. Trötta men mycket nöjda åkte vi jollen tilbaka till Bengt. Vi gick och la oss tidigt.

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Groot Knip


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Sint Michel baai


Torsdag 15 augusti 2019
Det blev för sent för att fylla gasflaskorna i går så Victor erbjöd sig att köra oss idag istället. Först till veterinären (vi hade beställt en tid klockan nio) där Obama fick sina sprutor och en Health Certifikat för totalt 1100,- kronor. Veterinären Claus var en mycket trevlig, lugn och mjuk man och Obama var inte alls rädd för honom. Han undersökte honom noga och skrev även ut lite antibiotika som vi kan använda i nödfall. Han är själv seglare så förstod det där med att ha lite medicin med sig.

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Warawara

Sedan körde Victor oss till Curgas i Muizenberg för att fylla våra gasflaskor. Det kostade 46 ANG för två flaskor som blir, omräknad, 110 SEK per flaska. I Sverige kostar samma fyllning 250,- per flaska. Betalningen sker kontant eller med ett lokalt Maestro bankkort. Mastercard och Visa accepteras inte. Som tur är finns en bankomat bredvid kontoret så det är bara att ta ut ANG (gulden) innan man går in på kontoret.

Fredag 16 augusti 2019
Idag åkte vi buss 6A in till Willemstad för att få reda på hur länge Elisabeth får stanna på Curacao och för att få en eventuell förlängning på hennes visum. På bussen hade vi ett trevligt samtal med en belgisk seglare som gav oss mycket information om Aruba, vår nästa ö. Vi hade sällskap med honom till Immigration/hamnkontoret som ligger på andra sidan pontonbron. Stadsdelen heter Otrabanda som betyder 'andra sidan'. Det är en lång promenad som tyvärr inte gav något utbud för oss. Vi blev hänvisade till 'kontoret' i stan. En trevlig vakt visade oss vägen. När man vet vart det ligger är det lätt att hitta eftersom kontoret ligger mittemot McDonalds. Då det blev vår tur förklarade den mycket trevliga kvinnan bakom disken att Elisabeth hade 23 dagar på sitt visum kvar efter idag eftersom de dagarna hon var i Sverige inte räknas med, totalt har hon ett 90 dagars turistvisum. För oss betyder det att vi kan stanna till 8 september. Jag, Wim, har som holländsk medborgare 6 månaders visum.

I fall Elisabeth inte hade fått stanna hade vi åkt till Aruba kommande tisdag 21 augusti eftersom hennes 90 dagars visum upphör den dagen. Vi firade med lunch på McDonalds och åkte seden buss 6A tillbaka hela vägen till Jan Thiel och handlade på Albert Heyn innan vi gick med tunga väskor de två kilometrarna till jollebryggan i Fiskehamnen.

Lördag 17 augusti 2019
På morgonen åkte jag in till Fiskehamnen för att hämta paketet med det nya rodret som hade kommit till Victor igår. Han skulle ändå åka förbi så han tog med rodret till oss. Sedan fick vi kaffebesök i form av Tobias och Yana från den tyska 'Maya', en gammal men fin Vindö. Även här fick vi mycket information om Aruba. Sedan blev det meck med de nya bitarna till vindrodret. Det är lite si och så med gjutningar och passning så vi fick lägga i några små plastbitar för att fylla upp utrymmet mellan paddeln och det nya fästet som vi hade fått från Thomas, vindrodrets tillverkare. Efter det blev det bra. Det gamla fästet hade gått i två bitar på Kanarieöarna och vi hade lagat det med en bit aluminium. Vi har inte använd vindrodret på tre månader så hela mekanismen hade fastnat på grund av saltet. Efter rengöring och en del WD-40 funkade det bra igen. Luften här innehåller mycket salt och är mycket aggressiv på grund av den höga fuktigheten och temperaturen och 'äter' upp aluminium- och ståldelar väldigt fort om man inte skyddar dem.

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Fladdermöss

Söndag 18 augusti 2019
I natt fick vi en rejäl regnskur, komplett med åska, över oss så Bengt blev rentvättad och vi fick lite färskvatten till jollens sprayhoodrengöring. Den behöver impregneras och måste vara saltfri för detta. Det var en av de varmaste och fuktigaste nätterna sedan vi kom hit så vi sov inte så värst bra. Efter regnskuren drog det in svalare luft med mindre fuktighet så vi somnade om till slut.

Vi tog fram en pump från motorrummet som vi hade lämnat kvar efter att vi bytte till en annan sorts gråvattentank för två år sedan. Pumpen satt lite ur vägen och den var svår att komma åt så vi har låtit den vara men nu var skruvarna så genomrostade att det bara var att dra loss den. Vid testkörning funkade den utmärkt så det får bli vår reservgråvattenpump. På så sätt sparar vi 300 USD eftersom en ny Whale Gusher 220 kostar så pass mycket här. Elisabeth har sytt handdukar av min gamla morgonrock. Vi kör symaskinen på en liten inverter på 150 W/220 V så hon slipper att veva runt den för hand. Jag har meckat med vindrodret. Paddeln fick ett lager svart lackfärg och roderbladet fick två lager bottenfärg. Monteringen gick bra och nu längtar vi efter en rejäl testsegling. På eftermiddagen gjorde vi rent ankarkättingen. Elisabeth satt i sin uppblåsbara simring i vattnet och gjorde rent kättingen och jag tog in den, bit för bit, för hand. Vi tog upp tjugo meter av fyrtio och sedan var kättingen inte så smutsigt längre. Det växer fort här eftersom vattnet är så varmt så kättingen hade även fått en del ostron och liknande mellan länkarna men mest fanns en brun sörja och krill däremellan.

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Det fanns mängder med fossiler att beskåda eftersom vi gick på gammalt havsbotten





Aquair 100 ENGLISH

19 August 2019 | Curacao
Wim van Blaricum | THe Weather is hot!
11 August 2019, Spanish Water, Curacao, Sunday

Victor, the OCC-port officer, drove down to 'The Pirate's nest' on Thursday with the two parcels send to us at his address. The one from my mother and a big plastic box with the wind/water generator from Bruce in Florida. Unfortunately FedEx wanted even more money than they had already got but Victor was kind enough to pay them the 15 USD for 'local transport' in advance. I had already payed FedEx 30 USD extra for 'local transport' so I wrote them an e-mail asking for an explanation of the different fees that I paid. From Victor I had gotten a mail-address to somebody working in the Curacao-office of FedEx but until now we have not got an answer.

All parts of the Aquair 100 were well packed and Bruce had even included some extra bolts and nuts, a printed manual and a connector. The, very nice, box was too big to fit on Bengt so we asked Victor if he was interested, which he was, so on Wednesday we take it with us ashore. Victor wants to treat us to tour of Curacao that day.

The installation of the Aquair 100 took several days. First we had to get the wiring from the aft deck to the batteries under the sofa in the doghouse in place. This was a sweaty job which started with drilling two holes in the standing part of one of the aft hatches to get the wires into the boat. All had to be removed (gas bottles, water hose, brushes, etc) to be able to reach the hole where all cables and wires go through to get into the aft cabin. There we had to remove madrassas, pillows, etc to pull the wires through the hole in the bottom of the bed to the little sofa in front of it. This had to be taken apart, as well as the floor in front of it, to be able to get the wires into the engine room. Before we could proceed from there everything had to be put back in place and screwed together again so we were able to move around the aft-cabin again. The engine room doors (3) were removed so I could crawl over the engine to reach the wires that Elisabeth was feeding through a little hole under the floor of the aft-cabin behind the washing machine. Sweat was running now. Next step was to remove the engine cover so we could pull the wires through to where the two wires from the batteries came out under the sofa in the doghouse.

To be able to reach the batteries there everything behind it had to be removed. This is a lot and cannot be done when the engine cover is taken off so we had done this the day before. When everything is taken out two boards have to be unscrewed to reach the batteries. Because of this arrangement they are capsize proof. I was lying with my head down to be able to fasten the two wires to one of our nine batteries. After this I needed a swim to cool down.

All was not done yet though as everything had to be put back in place. It's strange that one never gets things back the way they were before. Being two helped a lot.

We had installed an Ampere-meter to be able to see how much the generator charges. It doesn't produce as much as our AIR-X wind generator but it has two advantages: It is QUIET and it never stops. You fit two swivel poles and bolt them in place on the generator body and the blades on a hub when you use it as a wind generator, after that you hoist it up on the forestay with three guys to hold it in place. Because the through deck fitting is in the back we needed a long extension cord with suitable watertight plugs. Unfortunately none are available here on Curacao so we tried cigarette-type plugs which we had plenty of on board. This didn't work very well. The Ampere-meter showed no current going through. First we thought that the Aquair was broken. It is old but has never been used. We measured the voltage and it turned out that the cigarette plugs were faulty. We just connected the wires and the Ampere-meter came alive.

We need some form of plugs to connect the generator. In water mode it is mounted on the stern and in wind mode it is hoisted three meters up on the cutter stay. We chose this 'simple' solution to avoid drilling many holes in Bengt's steel deck and to avoid to install expensive 'watertight' connectors (which never are watertight anyway).

prop

When you go sailing you take the generator down, unscrew the blades and stays and mount it in the special ring on the aft deck. A connector is bolted to it and a 30 meter long line is attached to both the generator and the 3 kilo heavy propeller with a Fisherman's bend (we had to look this one up). We think this is a genial way of producing electricity but off course the Aquair is an old design and doesn't produce as much power (100 W) as more recent products on the market like the 'Watt and Sea' (at 3500 USD not an option for us). Our solar panels and our AIR-X wind generator produce 400 W each but the Aquair is a solid, simple and sturdy piece of equipment which hopefully will give us many miles of sailing-amperes. In wind mode it just spins and spins and produces amps in any wind, something our AIR-X doesn't do because it stops when the wind is 35 knots (which it often is here on Curacao) and then it doesn't produce any amps at all. We also ordered a shunt-type regulator, to protect the batteries, from Budget Marine which hopefully arrives before we have to leave Curacao next week.

pupm
Hard work!

Sunday was toilet-day. We have an electric toilet which has been in Bengt since we bought him. It still worked but not very well so we had a spare with us on board (not the bowl). It was exactly the same as the old one, at least so we thought, and we had in mind a quick and easy exchange. There are no such things as 'quick and easy' on boats so it took several hours of fixing to get the thing in place. Why manufacturers of things always have to change details so their product doesn't fit in the same way as the old one, is something we don't understand. We had to saw away some pieces of the teak covers, change screw holes and exchange the hoses for ones with a slightly different diameter. But after that ... a working toilet again.

The freshwater pump also stopped working so we had to open the spare parts locker under the bed (and remove the madrassas) to get a new one out. Pumps usually last long but the pressure-switch tends to break. We fitted a new switch on the bottom of the pump but the fuse blew so the whole pump was exchanged instead. This is a difficult job (see the picture) for which I have to crawl over the engine to be able to reach the pump. Fortunately I have a wonderful assistant who hands me tools and parts (and takes pictures without me knowing). While having the engine cover off anyway we took the grey-water tank under the engine apart and cleaned it. Always a messy job but, even here, it is good to be two. In this way we continue with maintenance and improvements on out floating home 'Bengt.

Soon we can hoist the sails and sail to Aruba!






Vessel Name: Bengt
Vessel Make/Model: Bruce Roberts 44 offshore
Hailing Port: Wallhamn, Sweden
Crew: Elisabeth and Wim
About:
Vi är Wim och Elisabeth, båda i 50-års ålder som träffades vintern 2011. Tillsammans har vi sex barn. Segling, havet och öar är det som lockar oss. Hamnar undviker vi så mycket som möjligt. Vi ligger helst på svaj. [...]
Extra:
Vem är Bengt? Bengt är en Bruce Roberts 44 Offshore som byggdes av Bengt Matzén i Stockholm mellan 1987 och 2001. Bengts dröm var att segla jorden runt men det blev aldrig av. Vi köpte båten av hans dödsbo och gav den namnet som en hommage till honom. Bengt är byggd i stål och [...]
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Bengt 's Photos - Västindien 2019
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Added 14 March 2019

Om oss

Who: Elisabeth and Wim
Port: Wallhamn, Sweden

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