29 April 2014 | Hawaii
Since I'm so far behind in updating the blog and I didn't take any notes and I have a bad case of CRS (can't remember shit) - the following entries will be brief.
What can I say? It's America, the land of plenty - material things. All kind of stores to spend my money, change that to use my credit cards because I ain't got no mo money! The stores that I maxed out my credit cards on - West Marine, WalMart, North Sails, Grainger, Home Depot, Office Depot, Office Max, Lowes, Best Buy, Kmart, Safeway, Don Quixote, Radio Shack, AT&T, NAPA, POP, HI Marine Electronics, Battery Bill, Scuba shops, a big Ass Mall and an ABC store on every block. There is every type of restaurant imaginable - from the fast food chains to the food trucks to the very high and expensive restaurants serving food from every part of the world and we ate at one of them every day. And tourist everywhere from everywhere. The sick part of this part of paradise is all the homeless people, sleeping under the bridges, under the trees, on the sidewalks, on somebody's boat without permission, and the lucky ones sleep in their cars. And most of them are not from Hawaii - instead of supplying a shelter some states give them a one way ticket so they don't freeze to death in the winter. Petty crime everywhere. Bicycle thieves having a ball, would see a bicycle chained up but someone stole the handle bars and/or the seats. Sometime the only thing left was the wheel still chain up. Even the scoters would come up missing but the tire would still be chain up to the post. We were warned to keep the boat locked up and leave nothing on deck or else it would be gone in the morning. Lucky us, or Karma's working because we didn't lose anything. Welcome back to the World?
We arrived a few days before Thanksgiving and got invited to spend the day with the crew of Honu whom we met in Raiatea. They have a second home, apartment on the North shore, but no big waves that day. The fun part was the bus ride. They gave us good instructions on which bus to take and get off by the McDonalds, but the nice little lady at the bus stop told us to take a different bus to get their. When we saw a McDonalds we got off and gave them a call. Turn out we went the wrong way and ended up in the wrong city. Lesson learn - stay with the original plan.
I spent 5 months in Hawaii in one place, the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, downtown Honolulu and only went sailing a couple of times to test some of the things I worked on. Walking distance to most places. It only took one 8 mile walk to West Marine before we figured out that you can go on line and get the bus routes. Nice maps telling you where to get on and when to get off. And just like home when working on a boat project it takes a minimum of 3 trips to the store to finish it. Without a car that mean one trip per day then another day to install it. I still can't believe I went that far just to stay in a marina. Hell I could have stayed home. But like they say cruising is working on your boat in exotic places.
With credit cards maxed out and no income the big expensive projects will have to wait until 2014 when I can sell my last bit of ESOP Exxon Stock and then pay the taxes next year. Shit where will I get the money for that? So I spent the first few months doing stuff like polishing the stainless steel. Washing the bilge and watching TV. Hadn't seen one of those things in a long time.
My SCUBA buddy Rhonda Green from Seattle decided to pay me a visit. Only problem she pick the time of year that I was spending all that stock profit on the boat. So instead of sailing around the Hawaiian Islands she got to watch me work on the boat. After getting bored with that she asks if she could do the varnish work. Hell Yes! So after her morning swim, snorkel or Scuba dive she got busy with the sander and the brushes. It really turned out great, except for the last coat, it rain before it dried. Well at least I got to do some varnishing because she had to leave about that time.
One of the main jobs was to get the generator motor rebuilt. After waiting a very long time for parts to be shipped in from the mainland the machine shop done his thing in one day. Either he had nothing better to do or he felt sorry for me and put me ahead of that big truck engine he was overhauling. Then I had to crawl into that small hole and reinstall everything. And what a surprise and a relief when it started on the third try. But it wasn't fixed. Spurting oil out the exhaust like crazy. My guess was the injector was AFU. Called around and found a mechanic that would rebuild it, but the best part he came by the boat and pick it up and drop it off when he was finished - no extra charge since he lived just down the street. Never had a mechanic in Texas do that. Put it all back together and no more oil sheen in the water.
Another job was to replace that leaking dinghy. Looked everywhere for the perfect one, one that would fit on deck when underway. If I had a lot of time and a bunch of money I could get one shipped in from the mainland, but since I'm short of those items I had to settle for one from West Marine. With my Port Supply discount and asking the manager for a poor man's discount I got a deal. Only problem it is 16 inches longer than the other one, which mean to make it fit I had to move the life raft back 8 inches and now the stay sail sheets get foul in the life raft. Damn it, if it ain't one thing it's another. Or fix one thing then fix another. And I also have to deflate it to make it 8 inches shorter. Lesson learn - don't leave home with a piece of shit dinghy and motor.
Another major job was to remove sails and covers, inspect for damage then somehow get them to a sail maker for repairs. Lucky me North Sails is within walking distance and since they were bringing "Just Drifting" sails back to him they would pick mind up at no charge. Then I just walk to the loft and agree to the repairs. They even drop them back to the boat for free, must have had another job in the marina that day, because nothing is free here.
Another expensive job was the batteries. Decided to go with the best this time instead of the cheapest. Only cost $3k for 8 six volt AGM batteries by Lifeline. And Battery Bill actually had them in stock and delivered them to the boat for no extra cost. Well I'm glad for that. Imagine trying to carry all of that on The Bus. Of course I had to rebuild the battery box to make them fit. Nothing is a simple drop in replacement when working on a boat.
Another surprise job - finally got most things done and was going to take Rhonda for a sail and test a few things, but the freaking autopilot wouldn't work. All the oil had leaked out. I had too many other things to work on so I took it to the marine electronics store. A week or two later he called me up and said the motor didn't work. He could rebuild it for $400. What the F....! It work on the boat, it just wasn't any hydraulic oil. He said he would send it to another place for them to replace the seals because he only work on electronics. Well he's not going to replace a motor that works, I'll just have to do the job myself. So off to West Marine I go, ordered another motor and ram and the seals to repair the old one. Well it wasn't that old I purchase it when I was in Tahiti from a store on e-bay. When I was talking to the manufactory about a warrantee and told him where I bought it, I think he's still laughing. Now I have 2 spare rams and motors.
Phil was working on his windlass one day and was running into a big problem due to corrosion on the mounting bolts and screws. This made me take a look at mind. I didn't have the same problem as he but I had problems nevertheless. Which meant disassembling the whole damn thing, cleaning it up, grease and oil, put back together and wow, it works smoothly now. Glad I done that here instead of having it freeze up in paradise while trying to retrieve an anchor in an emergency. While playing with the ground tackle I decided to get that 200ft of chain out of the bilge and put it on the anchor rode and remove the section of chain that was bad. Don't do anyone any good in the bilge.
I had numerous small jobs to do, things that cost under a $1000. Like my propane tank need filling, but it's overdue for the inspection. Phil has a Scuba tank that is also in need of a hydro. The propane guys can do that too. Only problem 3 weeks to get it done. Well I wasn't cooking much anyway and I had a small spare tank. Another small job was one of my Scuba tank's o-ring was leaking, not good, all the air leaked out. So I took it to the nearest Scuba shop for them to do an inspection, replace the o-ring and refill with air. Only took a month! I can understand the locals not getting in a hurry to do anything, that's kind off the culture, but these guys were all transplants from the mainland. How do they stay in business with service like that? Well Phil wasn't going that route, so he took Rhoda's suggestion. She had gone diving with a Japanese owned shop and asked about inspections and such. They said they could do it while we wait. True to their word it took almost 10 minutes to inspect and fill with air. He was so impress he bought another brand new tank, a wet suit, and numerous other dive gear. For a lot less than those Americans wanted. I even purchase a few things, just because. Now that's how you treat customers.
What type of touristy things did you do? Someone ask. Phil's sailing buddy from L.A. came down for a visit and took us to a few of the tourist sites. That's it. Since my sister Aggie use to live here and I have been here a couple of times before for a visit, well how many times do you need to go to Diamond Head and do the same touristy things? Heck I didn't even get in the ocean to Scuba, snorkel, or even swim. Just work on the boat and go hang out at the Harbor Pub for happy hour and listen to a local band. Or take a walk on the beach and look at all those bikinis.
Obama was in town for the Christmas holidays, I'm sure everybody already knew that. We did manage to get a glimpse of him and Michelle when they were leaving the Modern restaurant. Since I owed Phil a birthday dinner he decided that he wanted to eat at the same restaurant that the President of the United States dines at. Not cheap. Before we left Dr. Craig from Honu was going to write us some prescriptions for some antibiotics, just in case. He took us to another one of the Obama's favorite places on the beach. Prices fit my budget, just can't remember the name of the place.
Now with all my time spent working on the boat I almost forgot to take care of self. Somewhere along the way I step or slept on my glasses. So time to add some more charges to the credit card. Got 2 pairs just in case. I tried to go visit a Doctor just to make sure all my insides all doing okay. Only problem was trying to find one that was taking new patients. Craig suggested a clinic that a friend of his worked at. I call them up and they could see me in a couple of weeks. Only problem was when I looked up the address to see where it was I didn't notice the city. Got off the bus but couldn't find them. Call them up and they said they were located on the other side of the island. No way was I going to make it there in 20 minutes. Well tried to find another Dr. closer but . . . Just glad I wasn't sick.
I had better luck finding a Dentist. Went to one of those clinic places that do it all, one stop for all the pain you can stand. Glad I did, went in for a cleaning - hadn't had one in over a year, and ended up having them replace an old filling and fixed a new cavity and had to do surgery on one of them implants and the other one was loose and since they didn't use that product they had to order a tool to tighten it but I had to pay for it and I couldn't take it home with me. So I wanted to leave but couldn't go anywhere until the doctor gave the okay. When he did I was gone the next week. Lesson learned - take care of self first, then the boat.