Thursday, May 24, 2018

Is the doctor in?

The other day we visited the local doctor on the island. He's French. He's also an artist and well known for his work. He keeps semi regular hours and he might be in the doorway of his studio in front of a painting holding a brush or he may have his white coat on treating a patient. The first time we met him he was shirtless and painting. I asked if the doctor was in. He said, "I don't know, let me check", and he proceeded to put on his lab coat and when fully buttoned he said, "The doctor is in. Welcome."

So we popped into his office/studio for a consultation. My blood pressure meds ran out and I needed a refill but the pharmacy in the French islands required a new prescription. Most other islands do not. They just look at your empty bottle and give you a refill. So we went to see the gentle Doc and see if I could get a prescription. I was concerned that my BP was a bit higher than normal.

The good doctor asks why I think I have high blood pressure. I told him I have a device on the boat for testing it. "Huh. Is that so." he replied. He then took my blood pressure. "You do NOT have high blood pressure."

OK, but it's over the required limit set by...."Fuck them!"

Uh, but I'm taking these pills and...

"I am French yes? We see things different than American doctors. Your blood pressure is not high it is normal for your age and you do not need a prescription from me." He also checked Debra's and declared us both healthy and then asked about our sailing life. We chatted for a while and thanked him for seeing us. We bought some art work.

You might think this doctor doesn't know what he's talking about but Debra went to him with an issue that normally requires a round of antibiotics but he gave her a packet of powder to mix with one cup of water to drink. She was fine just hours later and has not had a problem since. This medication is not available in the US because it's a cheap cure for a common problem. We're being taken for a ride in the US by big pharma folks. Deb also got a refill on a prescription but they didn't have the generic version so it would cost much more. The cost? About $20. In the US it would have been $250.00.

Looking up the French guidelines for recommended blood pressure I see I am in the healthy range. In the US I would need to be treated with meds. When I ran out of meds my BP didn't change all that much. Interesting. In the mean time I am continuing to take my meds but I'm not freaked out about the whole thing and that probably lowered my BP even more.

I have to say that our worries about minor medical issues turning into bigger issues because of poor care here in the islands were unfounded. I'm not sure about anything major like a heart attack and I've heard the local hospitals are pretty rustic depending on the island. If one of us had a heart attack right now well, we might get lucky and make it onto the ferry to the main island for treatment but most likely we would just be prepared for burial at sea.


Doctor Chevailler

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Boost pump blues

As a manufacturing engineer I became one with the machinery I designed and maintained. No, I wasn't a cyborg. There were other names for me but we'll not discuss that now. The constant noise of running machinery was something I became assaulted with every day. It became a familiar rhythm. If the beat or pitch or tone changed just a hair I would hear it. "Somethings wrong". This also happens on the boat. Recently the boost pump for the watermaker changed its tune. Upon inspection we noticed a leak had developed around the pump. Further inspection showed water and rust marks around the base of the pump. Even further inspection (removal) showed the pump was on its last legs and barely functional as it was a complete rust ball inside. Son of a bitch Jabsco!

This Jabsco Par-Max4 pump is not even 6 months old. I had to service this pump once before for an electrical problem. Now when I look at it I see the diaphragm is too short in one corner, an obvious defect and that's where it leaked salt water. This really pissed me off because Jabsco has had shitty quality for a long time and now they've been purchased by another company yet they still screw up over with shoddy workmanship and inspection. I really have zero respect for the management of this firm.

So being completely pissed off I took it out on the pumps supplier, the dude who sold us the watermaker. This wasn't really the best way to vent but you know the most time I spend on maintenance on this boat is on the watermaker. We bought this pump from him and it has failed twice. Our initial start up of the system gave us a leaking membrane housing and we ran a season at half capacity in the Bahamas. The original boost pump (Jabsco) was a different style which also leaked but just could not keep up with the high pressure pump and caused the whole system to vibrate like crazy. So, add it all up and I vented. Now even though I was pissed off I still like the service and the product. We've been out here for four years and making water every three days except for time on the hard and the only problem has been the boost pump because it's made by Jabsco. So, maybe I was a little harsh because the pump was under warranty and they would just send me a new one.

The kicker on the warranty is YOU have to pay for shipping. Well, in order for the warranty to be worth anything you have to be in the USA or Mexico. Shipping to anywhere in the windward Islands will cost you more than the pump is worth depending on who you ship with and customs plus travel expenses so if you have one on the shelf at the local shop you buy it. That's what I did, but I also had the warranty replacement shipped to my daughters house in the States so that I can bring it back with me. Ha! Now I will have a spare.

Would I buy the watermaker again if we changed boats? Yes. Overall it's a good system and it suits our needs. Every three days we run it for an hour and get 30 gallons of fresh water. Not bad. We would not be out here without it. My water schlepping days are over and if it ever fails completely for any length of time Deb said she's flying home until it's fixed. No, I'm not going to pretend it's broken :D

So here we are, fully functional again and floating around for days on end in various anchorages on various islands. Unlike other bloggers we don't post about what cool stuff we're doing everyday because we're not doing cool stuff every day. Some days we just lay around and read books, go to happy hours, play guitar or work on watermakers.


Yes, I already know to mount the pumps vertical with the motor on top. Space, I need more space!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Who needs sleep?

Not sure why but sleep is of no concern to me right now. We met with friends and had Thai food along with a couple buckets of beers. Buckets with beers I should say. We didn't slop beer from a bucket though that would have been so much more fun....if I was eighteen. So everyone went home to bed except me. I'm home but not in bed. Is it the green curry sauce keeping me up? Debra is in bed but I am listening to Floyd and typing nonsense.

This is like the best cheese right now. It's havarti and it's really hitting the spot. Why do we say hitting the spot? If there was an actual spot we'd all be skinny like the French because we would just hit the spot and not eat. Maybe they know where the spot is?

I love the French. They are so annoying.

So is facebbook eating our brains? I have been (sadly) reading posts in the cruising groups. They used to be fun but now they're all censored and nobody can offend anyone especially the authorities or god forbid you make a negative comment about the area. So, if I was to post to the BVI cruisers group the fact that we spent the most money in the shortest time while in the BVI compared to all the other islands and gave figures to back that up would it be removed by the moderator? I think so. Can't be negative and informative. Got to be positive people! Negativity is non promotional.

I'm slowly weening myself from the evil Facebook. Something about it all creeps me out now. Mostly because the creator of this menace is fking evil looking. Have you seen Zuckerberg? Is he high every day? I'm hoping those eyes are burned by Mary Jane and not from visiting hell daily for his report on enslaving the world. Douche is scary looking. Now the EU is telling him to fuck off and quit spying on their people while the US goes, Huh? Honest to god we can be the dumbest hicks on the planet at times. We'll screw anyone for a buck. Bend over John Q Public! It will not be long before we only have 3 news corporations, three cell phone corporations, three cable/streaming/internet corporations, three pharma companies, three car companies, and worst of all three beer companies. All price fixing for sure. Bad things happen in three's folks.

Oh god enough cheese. Off the havarti for a while.

Every time I go back to pee I wake Deb up. She's so incoherent when she's woken. She just stares at me a second and thinks "asshole".

I go up in the cockpit and I see a lone dude in a boat just floating behind us about a quarter mile in the dark. Now that's creepy. Bet if I stood there silhouetted against our lighting holding that cheese knife I could creep him out more. Is he fishing? He better be fishing. This place is odd. Yesterday we thought a guy was drowning. He was just swimming...a mile offshore. I couldn't even circle the boat twice without hodling on. Pathetic. Could be the cheese.

I've yawned three times now so it must be time for bed. Thanks for not reading.

Still floating.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Morning Tea, Bequia, St. Vincent

The Morning Tea posts are a rambling dump of my brain thoughts onto this blog. There really is no real reason for it other than clearing my head and making room for something more meaningful to write about. I tend to do this when we're not moving much and spending too much time in one harbour. Some people tend to find a underlying theme in all of it and maybe there is. I really don't know. It truly is random and gets logged over the course of a few mornings when my brain gets hit with it's first shot of caffeine.

Lately my mind has been a blank canvas.

If you stare at a blank canvas long enough you'll start to see things...

I need another hobby.

Is boat repair a hobby?

I look back on all the home improvement money I spent and cringe.

Some days I want a house.

Some days the blank canvas shows me mowing a lawn.

Renting is the way to go.

Why do sailors come into an anchorage at night? Poor planning?

Why do sailors anchor really close at night. Poor night vision?

Sailors get mad when you ask them to move at night. Really mad.

Everyone swears in English.

"Fuck You" is universal.

We're not good at growing things.

I take that back, the kids turned out just fine.

The aloe plant has some issues.

I was told my cruising days are numbered because of grand kids.

All our cruising days are numbered.

I wake up every day and start with the number 1

Someone told me once that every day is a gift. I need the receipts.

There are days I could just swim to shore and hop on a plane back to the States.

I can't afford to live in the States.

I'm a little over 2 yrs away from social security

In 2 yrs time social security will get privatized and reduced and the age moved to 65

The average American male lifespan is only 73

You could be 20 miles offshore in 20 knots of close hauled madness and a fly will land on your sandwich.

If you're introduced to someone and you don't like their face will you remember their name?

Have you ever not liked someone's face?

Some inebriated dude on a bus told us he liked our faces. "You have nice faces. I like your face." Thankful it wasn't "I lick your face"

If I went to all the cruiser parties or jams in the Islands I would be attending a meeting once a week. "Hi. My name is Paul. I'm a cruiser"

Our beer stocks are lasting much longer.

Is the party over?

Going home for hurricane season is a good thing.

Coming back to your home after hurricane season is good too.

Someone define home.

I make a lot of lists now.

I have a good memory but I'm easily distracted.

Are we addicted to Internet?

We pulled into a harbor and it was the first time I could not find a wifi signal. Oh no!

We finally got a SIM card for our phone.

I bought 3 gig. My daughter face timed us.

I need to buy another 3 gig.

I spent a day going through our food supply and listing it all. Then I made a meal plan. Then I made a grocery list.

At the store without the grocery list was painful

I do better at winging it for dinner.

I ate a lobster recently.

I feel shame when I eat seafood

I always thought vegetarianism was more popular than a vegan diet but everyone always asks us if we eat cheese.

Cheese is god. I mean cheese is good.

My blood pressure meds were increased last visit home, I mean the States.

Is cruising killing us?

Cheese is god

I went to a bar. The bartender asked me if I was off the cruise ship. "I've never been so insulted!" We all laughed except for the couple off the cruise ship.

I don't think I resemble a cruiser anymore.

I still refuse to wear crocs.

I need more sun

I've been shaving lately. Beard shaving not manscaping.

The gray beard is bothering me

The blank canvas shows an old man with a gray beard and a beer belly.

I'm still in my 50's

These beer nuts are hot

I know, morning tea and beer nuts? Breakfast has no rules

Will I flip out when I turn 60 or just accept it?

Maybe I'll get  a tattoo

When people with nice boats come visit we clean a lot

After people with nice new boats visit old rustic boats do they go, "Well that was something eh? Are you gonna shower or just change clothes?"

If you spotted a stray beer nut on someone else's cabin sole would you tell them?

Epic Tuna is a different name for a boat.

When I am ashore I usually make up a boat name when calling the mother ship. "Kelly Nicole, Kelly Nicole - Jetpack, Jetpack"

Deb is a little fearful of me calling over the radio.
"Kelly Nicole, Kelly Nicole this is Inflatable Doll, Inflatable Doll"

I miss watching the NCAA basketball tournament

I could not imagine paying for cable TV these days.

People always ask us if we have a TV. We have one somewhere in the V-berth. I think.

We've watched a total of 2 movies on board since we left to cruise. Zero TV.

I have eaten all the olives.

Does salt really increase blood pressure?

I once read that sugar is the root cause of all evil. I believe it

Is it wrong to want to be in bed at 9pm?

I should have slept more as a teen.

Why are all the good basketball match ups on so late?

Why would I watch a sport I was too short to play?

What am I talking about? We have no TV.

I haven't seen a hockey game in a hell of a long time

I always ask Canadians what their fav hockey team is and they get pissed because they don't all watch or follow hockey? WTF!

Is that stereotyping?

I haven't had poutine in a hell of a long time. It's food, look it up.

I can't believe I look like a dude off a cruise ship

Three cruise ships came in. We're not leaving the boat.

I love to see the cruise ship people on land.

Should white guys wear Bob Marley shirts?

Asking any local for weed makes them laugh out loud

I ate something bad yesterday and it wasn't an animal. I was up all night with stomach issues.

Deb ate the same things I did.

I'm like the canary in a coal mine. She's worried.

So far the morning tea is just affecting the brain not the stomach.

Friends hugged me goodbye and they broke my old sunglasses.

Bro hugs are costly

I'm going to buy cheap sunglasses for the shore

ZZ Top

Is it stupid to have the Spot Messenger device broadcast our every anchor drop?

I sometimes worry someone may want to stalk and kill me for my blog posts.

Guessing they'll be French and arrive in a Catamaran and anchor too close.

I need a Bequia sticker for my guitar case

The music jams in Grenada are too professional

I'm building a playlist

Singing and playing is not easy yet

Do you feel bad passing by all the craft tables filled with touristy trinkets in town?

All people need to make a living, somehow, some way.

When the boat boys find out you're a vegetarian they pass right on by.

Cheese! Bring cheese!

One guy held up lobsters. Sorry. Vegetarians. "Vegetarians! Good Mon. That is good. God Bless. This is a good thing for you but not for me! Hahaha"

Some guy just announced in Bequia that he has a brand new alternator for sale, cheap. Where the fk was this guy last year?

I still can't believe I spent $500.00 on an alternator.

I need a beach.

We anchor next to a beach we never go to.

This will change in the next few days.

I have a shoe problem

My Keen sandals blew out and my flip flops have holes.

I bought some new sandals in Carriacou and I think they're ladies sandals. Deb disagrees but I still think they're too pretty for me.

We visited a Turtle farm. Yes a farm. They raise and release. Apparently poachers steal the eggs and the turtles are becoming scarce.

There was a grill out back.

If I was desperately hungry I would probably find something else besides a turtle egg.
I don't know. Hoping never to be in that situation.

Every time the stock market tanks I'll be thinking of turtle eggs. Cat food is expensive.

Who was the asshole that decided the 401k was a good retirement plan?

Why do we let assholes run our lives?

Every time the stock market tanks I think of turtle eggs and assholes

We have a lot of Eastern Caribbean coins.
We have a lot of Canadian coins.
We have a lot of Euro coins.

You ever wonder what creatures a hundred thousand years in the future will think of our civilization after discovering an old coin?

I'm just assuming our civilization will not be partying in 100,000 yrs

Are the one percenters hoarding wealth because they were told the planet can not support all of us and the party is over?

If you had unlimited wealth and knew the world as you know it was over would you be a doomsday prepper or a eat, drink and be merry tomorrow you die guy?

Elon Musk is a billionaire. He builds spaceships and underground boring machines. Huh.

Is the future always dark when you reach a certain age?

We need more LED lamps

Our solar is keeping up just fine since the rainy season ended.

Our boat could use a wash

A very nice sailboat dropped next to us and they fresh water cleaned and mopped the whole boat surface before checking in.

I had a dead fish laying under the solar panel for days. Our guests tossed it overboard.

The V-berth is still NOT my man cave.

The forward head is a storage locker. God help one of us if we both have stomach issues. Not sure I could clean it out in time.

Some taco shells have gone missing. How is this possible?

The worst is thinking about taco Tuesday all day and then finding no shells.

We use soy bits for taco meat. Sometimes lentils too.

People make the same face over soy bits that we make over animal muscle scraped off the carcass and ground up.

The canvas is blank again. No wait....I see a skinny old guy with pretty sandals selling turtle eggs and begging for money from cruise ship tourists so he can buy taco shells.

I gave to the homeless again. $5 EC. I gave to this guy before. He gathers about $20 EC then pops into a bar for a solo cup of vodka. It's sad to watch.

Do you think sometimes we all have a role to play and this is his life performance? Maybe his interaction with some of us is to see how it may change our performance.

Elon Musk thought maybe we live in a simulation.

Dude put a car in space.

The canvas is blank and fading to black except for a Telsa roadster heading for Mars. It's been fun dumping on you.

Don't Panic.

Definitely girly shoes. I dunked them in salt water and left them in the sun. That might man them up a bit. Maybe. I'm not going to wear them am I? Damn waste of money.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Windward Ramblings

We're just hanging out in Carriacou right now waiting for this weather to settle a bit before moving on up the chain. The north swells were amazingly huge but not amazingly rough for us here. I think we caught a break. KN was gently rising and falling on those swells and it was not uncomfortable.

We watched a few people surfing those swells into the harbor which looked like awesome fun and there was a thought in my head about getting the surfing kayak out but there were also thoughts of bloody welts all over my body from the coral and a lump on my head form the kayak. You get smarter as you get older.
Life is pretty slow right now. We manage to have lunch or beach time with friends once in a while and we still meet strange people at bars. At this point it's difficult to talk about some of those strange people because they may be reading this blog. The cruising world is a small world.

We ran into some Americans from Oklahoma. They chartered a large cat and arrived at a restaurant for dinner. Deb and I were at the bar and I was approached by the woman from Tulsa and we all made some small talk. After a few meet and greet questions she asks me where she could buy some weed. Apparently I have taken on the look of someone who would know. I mentioned a spot on the beach and she took note but I told her I'm not speaking as a buyer. It's just what I've been told. She then proceeded to tell me how unfriendly the locals are. She said this with a local, the bartender, standing right behind her in the quiet bar. Damn embarrassing. I told her you need to engage the people with a greeting and a smile because it makes a difference. She wasn't buying it but I had to change the subject before I became associated with her rude behavior.

A European couple popped in and chatted with us before we were wrapping it up for the night. While in a conversation about European and American politics the Tulsa woman came over and asked me if I would take a group photo of the Oklahoma gang. Sure.

I get over to the group and the bartender (local) was taking the photo but they wanted me to take it instead. Seriously!?  I told them she's knows more about the iPhone than I do and they wanted me to make sure it was taken properly. Honest to god I wanted to slap them all for being so damn racist. I can't tolerate that bullshit any more. So I get back to the bar and the woman I was talking to leans into me and says, "So, the Americans did not trust the black woman to take their photo eh?" I just shook my head and asked them to not judge all of us based on the actions of a few misguided individuals.

"Oh no we don't do that. We know Americans do not get out of their country to travel much. We understand most are good people but they are just ignorant of how to act outside of their homeland". This was going to be a nice long conversation but it was getting dark and we had our fill of good cheer and crazy talk so...

We fled the bar because we did not expect to be out so late and we had no anchor lights on but I was damn glad to get out of that scene.

Some times you just want to run and hide from people.