On the Ocean Again

Today is the first time we’ve set sail IN A MONTH!

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Yep.  We’re living on a sailing boat and what with one thing and another, we’ve not managed to actually go anywhere let alone raise a sail.

Of course we have our excuses.

  1. The first 10 days we were just hanging around exporing St. Lucia
  2. The next 10 days I wasn’t on board.
  3. And finally when I returned we had a huge job to do that – no surprise – took a little longer than forecast.

But today, I’m happy to report that we are back on the open ocean.  And for the first time in a long time I’ve actually (a) had time, and (b) felt like, blogging.

Ever since I got back from Canada, it’s been work, work work – no I’m not kidding, and it’s unpaid work too!  We’ve come oh-so-close to getting the generator working.  We now know exactly what the problem is: something has become caught in the water intake that cools the engine, so the engine overheats.  I’m confident that we can fix it.

But the majority of my time was spent recovering from inadvertently bending my prop shaft.   The repairs are a little anti-climactic in the re-telling as it all went pretty smoothly.   The steps were:

1.  Move the engine so that we can get at the prop shaft.   I had some locals do this with me as quite frankly moving a 500lb diesel engine is something that is just a tad beyond my comfort zone.

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2.  Then we could see where the shaft comes through the boat so that when we pull it out we can plug it and make sure there are no leaks.

3.  Then we had to take apart our Max Prop.  Which is more complicated than it sounds.

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4.  Then we could pull out the shaft.  As I did all the underwater work, I didn’t get to see us make a hole in the boat.  But I can report that it was well plugged from above and adequately plugged from below (by me).

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5.  Then off to the metal worker to get it fixed.  Turns out he’s a great guy.  Lawrence “The Chinaman” with his cousin Claudius “Hoppy”.  Everyone in the islands has a nickname.  And there’s no political correctness about it.  Both Laurence and Claudius are of Chinese descent.  And Claudius had a terrible accident falling out of a mango tree as a kid so now he has a mangled foot and limps.  That’s the derivation of their names.  I couldn’t bring myself to use them.  They are Lawrence and Claudius to me.

6.  And then all the above steps in reverse.

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This descritpion makes it sound so easy.  But it took four days and I spent so many hours in the water that even with my shorty wet-suit and 82 degree water, I got freezing cold and had to get out and take a break.   We went through 2 big oxygen tanks a day.  Thank God I’ve got a compressor on board.

In the evenings I was so exhausted that I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything.  In fact, I would collapse, Emma-Kate would make us dinner, we’ve been watching movies after dinner and then collapsing in a pile in our bunks.  (At the moment we are exactly half way through the six Star Wars movies.  Looking forward to part 4 – and of course the first one to be made which is next up.)  Then in the morning at 6:30am, Emma-Kate gets up first, then we slowly follow her and off to work for me.   I’ve been sleeping very well.

:-)

Being back on the ocean feels SO GREAT.   Unfortuantely, I am the most excited.

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The kids had made friends in St. Lucia whom we have left so they are a little grumpy.  And Emma-Kate was feeling a little woozy and has gone to sleep.  But I’m here under a beautiful starry night with a 15 knot breeze on my beam and cruising along at 8.5 knots.   I’m sooo happy.

 

Tobago Cays is next and we’ll go swimming with turtles….

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