The Other Side of the Idyllic Life
12 February 2014 | Port Royal, Roatan, Honduras
Beth / hot and grumpy
There is a saying about cruising: “fixing boats in exotic locations”. That’s what we’ve been up to lately.
We had a rollicking sail and motor sail from Cayos Cochinos to Port Royal, Roatan on Tuesday the 11th. There was lots of wind as we had hoped, but too much NE for good sailing all the way. It worked well for a while with all sails flying, but as the wind crept up to 17kt and the swells and chop increased, the yankee kept flapping and losing the wind as we crested each wave so we rolled it in. And then there was too much wind on the nose for the staysail and main to move us forward so on came the engine. Not a bad thing entirely because although we’d been doing well on wind generator and solar panel, the batteries could use a good charging up.
We anchored off George’s Cay (aka Fort Cay) in the big bay known as Port Royal, Roatan, went for a swim, chatted with Alvin on the Mango Creek Lodge Patrol boat and learned that he would be circling the bay regularly. We followed up with a lovely relaxing evening – and then a very rolly night. But no big deal. That started the next day!
As we began to lower the dinghy from the davits, the stern end of the dinghy crashed to water level while the bow hung in the air, the top of the davit let go from its fitting on the rail and hung half off the boat, the solar panel twisted and the whole wretched thing was precariously tipped downward. Wouldn’t you know it would be the side I was lowering! Amid my cries of “Oh No! What have I done?!” we managed to drop the dinghy the rest of the way, grab a line and tie up the davit, straighten out the solar panel, and figure out what happened. Jim was amazingly calm (he says he has given up swearing for a while) and merely said how glad he was that it happened in a calm bay instead of out on the rough seas of yesterday.
It turned out that the fitting at the top of the davit had broken clean in two. The solar panel was undamaged, and the only casualty was that fitting. So Jim rummaged around in one of his spare parts boxes, while I moved the cushion from the port settee to look for a different line to lash up the broken davit. That’s where the next problem showed up. We had been noticing more of a musty smell in the cabin, and sure enough, as I pulled out sailbags and coils of lines, they were all damp and mildewy. The mildew indicated that it had been damp in there for a while, but a taste test (my job) of the inch and a half of water at the bottom of the locker showed salt content. So who knows – an ongoing leak plus water coming in when we were so heeled over during yesterday’s passage? Whatever the reason, I spent the humid, hot morning dragging every last thing out of that locker, drying, mopping, repacking and cursing leaks. (I have not given up swearing.)
Jim made an excellent repair to the davit fitting– one that we think will last for the rest of the season if we take the outboard off the dinghy whenever we lift it. Fingers crossed on that. We laid all the lines out on the deck where rain will rinse them clean and then we can hang them to dry.
Meanwhile, Madcap continued to rock and roll due to swell coming through the cut in the reef and wind keeping us sideways to it. We decided we didn’t want another night of that so, after dinghying to Mango Creek Lodge for a welcoming conversation with Doc, we moved back through the bay to pick up a mooring ball in front of the resort. And that was the third and last dismal event of the day. We haven’t missed a mooring ball in years, but we missed that one. The opposing wind and current threw me off and I just didn’t get us close enough for Jim to snag the line. After making a half circle, I took us in close but it was an awkward reach for Jim and he badly banged his knee on a stanchion and bent the boathook. With Tylenol, Ibuprofen, ice and rum, his knee began to feel better but I was still mightily annoyed at myself for not doing a full circle like I know I should have and come back at that ball properly.
And so ended “one of those days”– just to remind us how good the other days are, and that once again, when bad things happen to us, they happen in good places. And Jim still isn’t swearing!