Things are "rotten in the State of Denmark"....
27 July 2008 | 11 49'N:100 50'W, 490 mi. west of Guatemala City.
Sunday July 27
The freezer has finally given up the ghost?.HOW DOES ONE HAVE HIS ?JOHNNY WALKER BLACK? ON THE ROCKS ?????
Trip so far 3824 miles. 643 nm to Banderas Bay (Puerta Vallarta) Mexico. 1050 nm to San Diego from there. We are Presently 490 NM off the coast of Guatemala
Everyone asks "what do you do all day out there on the boat?"
There is ?good? work, and ?bad? work when it comes to the mechanical side of our life at sea.
The ?GOOD? stuff consists of regularly scheduled and unscheduled maintenance due to normal wear and tear, such as engine oil and filter changes, watermaker filter changes, swapping out broken parts with new ones, inspecting lines and fittings on a daily basis, etc.
The ?BAD? stuff is the lots of extra work required, generally under poor conditions, because of poorly designed products and/or sloppy installation practices. Having to climb to the top of the 70 foot mast at sea 3 times ?twice to replace our wind instrument that just fell off ?BAD, and BAD?and once to re-route the spinnaker halyard to the exterior of the mast due to some mysterious chaffing inside the mast?BAD!
Replacing the defective ?Maxwell? hatch handles the other day, AFTER Maxwell assured us their handles were first class is an other example of ?BAD? work.
Well Friday, we inspected and adjusted the rigging(this would normally be a 20 min. job, but due to the cotter pins being inserted from the wrong direction as well as not being given the proper replacement pins, turned this into a 2 hour job?BAD), replaced the water pump ?GOOD?(will try to fix the old one tomorrow to have a spare available), daily cleaning inside and out, GOOD, watches, GOOD, and food prep, GOOD, emailing and blogging, GOOD, weather and route planning. GOOD
Dale made fresh banana bread, GOOD, towards the end of her watch so that Joanne and I woke up to the smell of it?.mmmmmmm. (It was make bread or turn the bananas into a science project in this heat). That was also the day we had vegetable and fresh ginger fired rice with toasted almonds and a fresh greens salad with Joanne's fabulous?vinaigrette, GOOD.
Sadly, Saturday was clean out the freezer and jettison approx. 15 kilo?s of beautiful Albacore and yellow fin tuna, as it is not operating at this time?..and the fridge is barely hanging in too. We figured that was a job done sooner rather than later as fish was definitely not a food that would improve with age.
Some lucky birds got lucky on that one!
Then there was the job of finding the problem with the fuel filler lines as the kitchen cabinets through which they ran were smelling suspiciously like a fuel dock. Turns out that I discovered that the overflow connection from the hose to the outside valve was not secure. Anyone who has ever owned a boat knows how hard it is to get THAT (diesel fuel) smell out. Most likely, the 4-5 scrubbings that have already been done will be succeeded by a few more. We will purchase some baking soda in Mexico which will help to complete that portion of the show. BAD, BAD, BAD !
Oh, and by the way, we had Ness's banana bread french toast with premium grade Canadian maple syrup(Extra Clair - the best!) for breakfast. (Joanne brought some goodies from home). Dinner was breaded eggplant with garlic pepper topped with fresh tomato and parsley sauce and grated reggiano?parmesana?(another addition to the provisioning courtesy of Joanne) accompanied by a repeat salad from yesterday-no complaints there.
As you can see from the menus, we are appreciating the remaining fresh ingredients that are surviving since Galapagos. The end of each leg of the trip presents its own challenges to remain creative and work with what you have. Fortunately Dale is an expert at this. During the 18 days from Valdivia to Galapagos, Alan came up with many fabulous crudites when the fresh greens were gone.?
Reading interspersed with quick rinses with the outside shower has topped the midday exercise routine as the temperature and humidity levels have reached an all-time high. .....low to mid 30's. Yesterday, Joanne's words of wisdom said it all " I am glad this is not someone else's book" as the sweat was running off her face while sitting and reading. It is a far cry from the winter weather in Valdivia and we are certainly not complaining. Poor time not to have ice, though.?Good time to make sun tea...another part of the daily routine. We have a spot on the deck between the pilot house and the secondary winches just inside of the spinlocks on deck that the container seems to ride nicely while brewing.?
Since leaving Galapagos, the wind gods have smiled upon us. We had favorable winds of sufficient velocity that we only ran the engines sporadically to charge the batteries. Friday and Saturday we headed more westerly than NNW to avoid some major thunderstorms that were lurking about. Commanders Weather service and Alex's daily buoy weather updates have kept us well informed and safe. Yesterday, we were back on the rhumbline and sailing along.....now we are motoring in what looks like "Lake Pacific."
Here is another example of a recent Commander?s Weather advisory;
?Dale and Ness, Thanks for your update. Was going to email to see how you were doing today.
Satellite shows strong thunderstorms in your region and wanted to give you a heads up.? Intense thunderstorms across the region bounded by 3-7N/87-96W with some smaller cells between 7-11N/96-100W.? All of these cells are generally sliding/expanding?to the SW.? Could see some sustained winds to 30kts and gusts to 40kts in some of these cells.
N of 10N and W of 100W there are no thunderstorms, currently.
Might be able to get away from most of the convection right now if you wanted to head W until about 98W then back on rhumbline.
These thunderstorms change constantly, however, and I can send you another short email like this in the afternoon with the latest positions and movements, if you can send me an updated position and conditions. ? Best regards Commander?s Weather?
No problem, plenty of fuel and good Volvo Penta 55 hp engines. We run one at a time and at cruising rpm we are able to maintain 8-9 knots with a gentle push from the sea.
It was a good time to shut off the engines and have a quick swim while checking the props and rudders. It was so hot, even I went in (but not before looking all around for the dreaded shark fins - did I mention that only my fear of sharks out ranks my fear of heights?). It was a very quick swim but one that felt good nonetheless. We drag a line behind the boat to hold on to when swimming as it there is always a deceivingly strong current even when the ocean looks so calm....good to stay attached to the boat at all times.
Since the night of five boobies(shitting all over our decks), we have been sailing with the only the tricolor navigation light way up at the top of the mast instead of the navigation lights that are mounted on either side of the pilot house. We suspected that it was these pilot house lights that were attracting the birds to our decks, and once extinguished, the bird visitor numbers have dropped off dramatically. Dale?s friend, Captain Michael DeLong confirmed this theory with an email:
The Red-footed Boobie, not to be confused with Booty, is of the?Gannet family and appears to suffer from the same 'moth/candle syndrome' as many birds do at night.? During heavy migrating periods in N.Y.C, many skyscrapers are?struck?by flocks of birds making their way along the Eastern Flyway of America after dark.?I believe it is the same concept?at work?there with?your boat.?
He also made references to me being a typical man who needs to grow female anatomical features and get a sense of nurturing (the Boobies(rather than tossing them into the sea)......just before he told Dale that he suggested that her sister grill the baby rabbits she is bottle feeding....oh well?.
The emails and humor are greatly appreciated. We can relate to the stories of people in the army who wait everyday for mail call.
We should be in Banderas Bay, Mexico Wednesday morning, where hopefully we can get our freezer and fridge (in that order) repaired for the last leg of our trip to San Diego.
OH, Happy Birthday to our good friend Hrair....61 years??, or is it 42?? , or perhaps 54 ??....oh, who cares...we love him just the same!
Love to all, Ness and Joanne