Saturday, February 20, 2016

In the shit again

I'm in the shit again. No, not from my foul mouth on this blog but I was literally in the shit recently. Our brand new as of last August waste pump we ordered from Whale Pumps decided it didn't give a shit about pumping shit. So I took it apart. It was gross. OK, I will spare you the ugly details so basically this pump failed because the manufacturer assembled it wrong.

There are four valves inside this pump and they should all be facing the same direction according to the pump manual. Three of the four valves were facing the wrong way. Why this pump worked at all is beyond me.

The three joker valves were turned inside out and deformed from being pulled in the wrong direction. I have no spares so I put them back the way they are supposed to be and the pump ran for a few minutes and then didn't give a shit anymore. Just shoot me. It's enough to want to send it back as is.

Here you go Whale Pumps. I know you don't give a shit about quality but here's my old failed pump. Apparently I still give a shit and I just gave it to you. Bastards.

I realize this is harsh but all the folks who have ever taken apart a shit pump totally understand where I' coming from.


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It's good to be a Weenie

I know we sound like weenies sometimes. Other sailors are at sea for days or weeks at a time and in all kinds of horrible weather while we port hop in the Sun and light breeze. That's cool. More power to them. If that is what you like to do then go for it. We have a totally different view on cruising.

We like to venture out when the wind is favorable and not on the nose. Our boat handles up to 20 knots without a reef in the main and the headsail at up to 100%. Most times we shrink the headsail if the wind builds. With a reef in the main she will sail flat in over 20 knots and maintain close to 6 knots through the water. So, the wind is not a problem, it's the waves.

Our comfort zone with regards to waves appears to be six foot or less and more than 8 seconds apart. We have handled way more than that at times and we do not like it. Debra gets a little seasick if we get bounced too bad. For some reason I only get seasick when down below reading a chart or cleaning up broken beer bottles. The gear gets bounced around and stressed and the interior turns into the morning after a Rave. If you are motor sailing into it then the engine is under more stress than usual and the sails are sheeted tight and the rigging is getting a workout. When we see waves 7 to 9 ft we stay in port. If we get caught out there we will adjust but we do not knowingly venture into it.

Why is that Charlie Brown?

First of all our boat is our home. We have no other place. This foating fiberglass hull is where it's at. Should we put her on the rocks or sink her in high seas we have no other place to go. Therefore, we are fairly cautious with what we do with our 44 ft of floating shelter. I know all of us feel the same way about our boats but it does make a difference if you have a house or a condo to go home to. You may be a little more adventurous is all I'm saying.

Secondly we made an agreement before we left on this adventure. No risk taking when we don't have to. If one of us feels the conditions are too much then we do not go. Yes there is some lobbying at times but for the most part we respect each others opinions on this. We are retired after all so why the rush?

The third reason is cost. We are on a low budget. It was the only way to leave the rat race when we did. Keeping expenses down keeps us out here. Breaking shit is expensive. When you venture out in conditions that remove the smile from your face then you risk breaking shit. Happens all the time. The last high seas adventure we broke a Harken block on our topping lift. I raced enough over the years to see rigging failures, blocks explode, lines break, poles bend, booms break and even lifeline failure. I clung to the toerail with my left hand and foot to stay onboard one season as the lifeline parted. The water was a cool 40 degrees and I was not going in it! The point here is that even racing boats with new gear, or gear that is maintained for racing and only raced 4 months out of the year still fails when stressed only once a week!

I don't want to see that shit anymore. We take it easy because I do not have a spare for everything. There is no spare Debra either. However I am easily replaced with Paulie 2.1. He's taller and the personality algorithm has been modified to reduce whining and anxiety and is easily programmed through your smart phone. No more pulling the finger to change modes from maintenance to cooking to woohoo!, etc.

I can still see the couple on TV who called it quits after cruising their entire adult life. They returned to England and the reporter asked them how they managed to cruise the world for so long. They responded by saying they avoided risk. The reporter asked them how they handled bad weather. They said they didn't. They stayed n port. They were about 80 yrs old when interviewed and were going to continue living on the boat in the harbour. They were too cool.

So basically we do not risk it much out here. We can't afford it and we do not like terror. We get enough of that just sitting at anchor sometimes (Derecho). Now off we go, the easy way, riding one slow moving front induced settled weather pattern at a time. It can get here any time now.

PJJB 2.0

The Paulie 2.1 also has lower fuel requirements so say goodbye to carrying 14 cases of beer on those long voyages. The 2.1 will function a full day on only 24 ounces! Now you can explore Islands without bars!

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Conquering Fear

The other day we traveled over the Caicos Bank. It's shallow. And it has coral heads. The guide books all say to take it seriously and then they show a sunken sailboat with just the mast sticking up out of the water to emphasize the importance of using your eyes instead of your electronics. Point made. I sat on the bow for a good portion of the trip while Deb was at the helm. By the way I think I ruined my ass. We need a seat up there. Deb was super alert and gripping the wheel tightly. This was her greatest fear on this trip. She was worried about sandbores, coral heads and not having enough Sun to see either. No worries as we had a nice sunny day with little or no wind so the water was clear enough to spot all the coral, or in most cases Turtle grass.

When you travel over this clear blue water you look for different shades which indicate what the sea bed is comprised of. A darkish patch is most likely grass. A really dark black patch could be coral. Coral is bad. Well actually coral is good unless you are going over it in a boat. Best to avoid it. Sometimes it looks like coral or grass but it's only a cloud passing by the Sun. We are pretty good at reading the difference now.

To be honest with you it was anti-climatic for me. Hardly any coral heads to deal with and plenty of water. Yes I know, eight feet is now plenty of water. For Deb it was a stressful time the whole way. Deb is not a talker unless she gets past three beers (rarely) but when she is stressed she pretty much clams up. You wouldn't think I would notice but I do. My reaction to this is to keep talking...a lot. I bet that is super annoying for Deb but I can't stand silence among people. It's weird to me. I remember my Dad telling everyone to just shut the hell up at the dinner table while he read the paper. We could not say anything. It was awkward. You could hear everyone chewing. Sometimes I would stick green beans up my nose and make faces. First one to laugh got in trouble. So now when it's quiet I make noise. Bad habit to have, depending on the noise. Having matured somewhat I no longer make fart noises but I still sing songs with messed up lyrics or pllaying the drums with my f
which Deb absolutely hates.

So Deb got us through the banks without a scratch. We stepped out into the Ocean for an hour and then pulled into Cockburn Harbour. Still do not like the name. We then scoped out a good place to drop the hook. Deb then turned to mush.

I remember as a kid I had a fear of the high board at the local public swimming pool. Yes, they had public swimming pools back then. There were life guards and nobody had those inflatable orange rings under their armpits. If you couldn't swim the lifeguard would haul your ass out of the water and boot you out of the park. It was a time when lawyers were still scarce. All my friends were at the pool one hot summer day and they were jumping from the high board. I was laying on a towel next to a girl I really liked and she asked if I was going to jump the high board with the rest of the guys. "Uh sure I am but I just had a sandwich and I have to wait another hour." I didn't actually use that line but I remember the look I got for not heading for the high board. Wuss. She's sitting with a wuss. So I marched over to get in line at the ladder.

The water was not clear all the way to the bottom. I recall that it was a really dark creepy shade of blue. Who paints a pool bottom dark blue? It looked terrifying. The boys were either diving or cannon balling off the board which looked like Mt Everest to me. The kid in front of me got halfway up the ladder and then started back down. He got scorched by everyone there for being a big pussy. They all chanted Pussy Pussy Pussy! Great. My turn. I climbed.

When I got to the top I was like, Holy shit! I'm going to fall off the side of the board and splatter on the concrete! It was like walking the plank to a sure death. I wanted so badly to go back but I would be called Pussy Paulie for the rest of my days in Buffalo. I would be in a bar in my 30's having a beer and someone from behind would yell, "Hey that's Pussy Paulie!" I would have to move. Move far away. So I get to the top and tried to look down to see if this Kathy girl I was with is even looking. Now I hear, "Jump you asshole!" People are yelling at me to get the hell off the board. Big kids are threatening me. Lifeguards are motioning me to jump. Some are now standing up with a whistle in their mouths. I looked down the board which seemed like it was a mile long and I ran. I ran right off and screamed all the way down as a 90 lb cannon ball. Barely made a splash. I popped up and they were still yelling at me. What? Apparently I was supposed to swim out of the way and n
float around waiting for people to cheer.

I pulled myself out of the pool and started to strut over to my blond almost girlfriend and I tripped and fell flat on my stomach and hands which were now ripped open and bleeding from the coarse concrete. Shit! I was really skinned up. It hurt real bad too. The girls were laughing. My face was beet red. I thought the best thing to do would be to get in the water and let the chlorine do it's germ killing thing but the lifeguard made me collect my things and get the hell out. What? "Kid, you are a bloody mess. Go home." I put my shirt over it but the shirt got blood soaked. I got the cold shoulder from my now not girlfriend and went home blood stained. Since that day I went back to the pool many times and still never did more than a cannonball but my fear of the highboard was subdued. I still got the willys being up there but I handled it.

Debra seemed lost looking for a spot to drop the hook. I made a few suggestions but it was like there was too much space for her and she couldn't decide. Never saw her like this and I think it's because of all the stress falling away so quickly. Debra was lost in the euphoria of putting the Banks behind her and she could not focus on the easy stuff. Like me strutting around after conquering my big fear and then not paying attention to where I was walking, Deb was so relieved at accomplishing this task that she found it tough to focus on the everyday routine of anchoring. She got it together quickly and waved me off to the bow and we dropped the anchor in good fashion. The hard part of Debra's journey is now complete. She conquered her fear of the Caicos Bank. I am very proud of my helmsman. Helmswoman or helmsperson doesn't sound right. Without her I would have to pilot and navigate. Who the hell wants to do that? What do I do? Glad you asked. I am the chief cook, sail trimme
Chief Engineer and Deb's sex slave. That's right. I'm pretty much here to satisfy her one way or another. (Because we have no wifi she can't see this for a while. Evil I am)

Now it's my turn. The Mona passage is my highboard. When we complete it I will not celebrate until the boat is secured in a slip. Then and only then will I strut my stuff, and probably stumble on a dockline and bloody myself.


I appologize for any spelling errors. I have no spell check on this Iridium app and bugs ate our dictionary.

I never won a spelling bee. "Highboard. h-i-g-h-b-o-r-e-d. Highboard."

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

A quick update from Turks and Caicos

Hey there! We are currently in Cockburn Harbour, South Caicos. Terrible name. Makes me not wat to go swimming. We are waiting for a good window to cross down to the DR. Not the doctor, the Dominican Republic. We probably could have gone already but who likes waves? We are taking it real slow right now and enjoying the scenery which at this point consists of an overturned sunken boat resting on rocks and a rusted barge sunk at the dock. Oh well.

We are travelling with SV odin, a PDQ36 cat. I know who would have thought? I mean a buddy boat? Us? And to top it off it's a Cat. I'm not a catamaran fan because every time I'm on one I want one. Bonnie and Not Clyde (Craig) are fun to hang with and we are going the same way so what the hell. I'm just really surprised they put up with me this long, though I am being a good boy. As long as I keep things like coffee and beers in moderation things will be fine :)

So we left Provo and heading across the Bank and Provo Radio calls the sailboats leaving the harbor. Hey, that's us! Odin checks in and they just wanted to know what the hell we thought we were doing leaving the harbor without telling them. Oopsy. So I call them and they replied with the name "Kelly in the Hole" instead of Kelly Nicole. Really? Who would name a boat Kelly in the hole? He must have wondered the same thing so he asked us to spell it. I could not rattle off the Phonetic alphabet like Odin did, (show offs) but he got it figured out. The only phonetic alphabets I know are Whiskey Tango Foxtrot... over!

We spent a gorgeous day motoring across the Caicos Bank to Cockburn Harbour. Debra conquered one of her fears on this trip by not hitting a coral head along the way. I was pretty happy about that too. Deb was really gripping that wheel tight at times and I think the stress got to her because she was pretty much toast after we dropped the hook. Here, have a beer Dear. I whipped up a linguini in butter sauce with spinach to help us relax. Worked. Nothing like a plate of creamy pasta to settle things down after a long day.

Providencia was nice but our anchorage was far from town. Hoping this will be different here and we can walk around a bit. We like exploring new towns, especially the non-touristy towns. This is the first time Debra locked up the companionway. I was surprised by this but she must have read something that told her it was a prudent thing to do. I have a feeling this is how it will be from here on out.

Kelly Nicole performed well but we did have our share of malfunctions. Our topping lift came apart at the Harken block. The tiny shackle blew apart I guess or the pin came out. Found the pin on deck but the shackle is gone. Had a replacement. Our newly installed Whale pump to empty the holding tank failed. We just installed this the past summer. Didn't even last 8 months. It's probably the joker valve but it's not going to be pretty getting at it. Good thing we have another head. Not looking forward to this particular task. Doesn't it seem like I spend a lot of time in the shit?

I realized recently that a lot of blog readers do not keep up with our facebook postings so I will be doing more blog posts so that the anti facebook group (good for you guys) know what we are doing. When we are away from wifi I can only update through the Iridium go, and it's pretty easy. The facebook folks will get our tweets and the blog readers will get the sat phone email updates. Sorry for no photos but it just takes too damn long and the pics are reduced in quality. I will try to keep the post less wordy, though I'm currently failing at that task.

Well it's time to go. The tea is working and it's time to test the forward head function. TMI I know but this whole blog is TMI and you should be used to it by now. By the way, I'm in my boxer shorts.

Apparently the place we decided to drop the hook is on the direct path for the fishermen as they leave in the morning. Nothing like boats doing 25 knots about ten yards off your stern and bow. I should pop out on deck in my boxers and give them the bitch wings.


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Monday, February 15, 2016

Writer's Block

Not sure what my problem is but I don't seem to have the energy to write anything. I blame Facebook actually. Short posts about the days happenings are easy to do in Facebook and miserable to accomplish in Blogger. Google kind of left Blogger out there to die I think. The app is useless and for us to use Chrome to access the site is slow and our screens are now so small that I would be blind in a few weeks trying to update that site. I occasionally do an update using email. This works but photos do not really line up with the text and sometimes the paragraphs are all messed up.

To possibly get out of my funk I downloaded a new app to replace the official Blogger app. Maybe this will help make it easier to update.

 I still need something to write about. We have had some adventures but I listed them in FB and do not feel like expanding them for blogger. Maybe I lack protein. Our eggs we bought in Salt Pond, LI turned bad and I have not had the stomach for one since. Nothing worse than cracking open a bad egg. At the time we were rolling quite badly in an anchorage and the bowl with the rotten eggs went sliding down the counter and crashed, spilling the foul smelling goo all over. Yep, no eggs for a while. Protein gives you energy and I have been a slacker lately. I also have not had any fruit in a month. I could have scurvy. I now have a bag of oranges and have hit the supplements in case thats the problem. No, not going to consume cows so don't even make a comment about it.

Our travels have been fun and interesting yet they aren't anything I'm excited about putting into words. It could be the people we have encountered. All pretty much normal human beings. I  have not met any squirrely individuals in quite a while. Assuming they are still in ample supply and I just have not attracted any recently. I seriously think the problem may be our lack of bars. A late afternoon in a bar with a bunch of drunks usually provides gobs of material. We need to fix this.

Well that would be unhealthy now wouldn't it.
Fun and creative but unhealthy

I could try writing something serious. Maybe even a (gulp) travel blog style where I describe the days events. Nah. No can do. I would hate that and besides Deb has that covered. Maybe a boat project blog! Things I fucked up today. That could be funny but then I would have to do boat projects and that would use up all my energy. So, I guess we go some more without anything significant hitting these pages.

You know, I did write something naughty last year while on night anchor watch. After I wrote it I thought oh boy this will never be published. Not sure I even wanted Deb to read it. Maybe I should put it out there and see what happens. I might be down to 4 readers after that. Four naughty readers.

Is this a family friendly blog? Fuck no (Sorry kids). So maybe I will look over the naughty Anchor Watch post and see if it's too out there for your Fifty Shades of Plain Vanilla minds. Imagine if Gumby walked into the Fifty Shades of Gray book...

That's all for now. Maybe. I don't know. We'll see. I'll take some protein powder. My muscles need toning anyway. Starting to get man boobs.

One of my favorite shows when I was a wee lad was the Gumby and Pokey show. After Popeye I would watch Gumby slide into different history books and have an adventure. Good entertainment. Way better than David and Goliath. So one eve after a few bev's I imagined Gumby walking into some non history books and the 1st one I thought of was 50 shades. So I googled Gumby, 50 shades and there it was. Not sure if I am worried that I think along the same lines as MAD magazine.