April 30, 2008
The fun stuff
Glory left her life in Boulder to sail the high seas only to find us in St. Thomas with day jobs, shore power and dock lines made fast. For Derek and I after six months on the water the list of chores, the list of options, and the lack of money weakened our defense to a payed stint of land life with free cars, hot showers and great people.
So for the past month Glory, Travelin D and I have acted as Eco-tour guides by day in a beautiful Mangrove preserve, and dock security/ bug killers by night. On our off days from Kayak tours we rebuilt and repainted the marina, restructured the rain cistern and sold a dighy for a profit. All the while wondering how we ever landed in St. Thomas.
Glory has brought life and pride back into the boat. She sewed new cushion covers with our miniature sewing machine, layed carpet in the rough looking corners, sanded the unfinished teak bungs and oiled the insides. Its amazing how new energy can call one to action. Four months ago we broke the step that leads one in and out of the galley. For four months escaping the galley was a full body leap up to the counter and a 42 inch drop to get back in. While Glory was buzzing away on her projects I took a look at that list that had paralyzed me for so long. It took me all of six minutes to rebuild the step that for so long I was un able to fix.
Next a new solar panel mount was fabricated with a piece of stainless rod that Jon and I pirated off a sunken boat one year ago in Great Inagua. Our mast head chain plate that had sheared on both sides was re-welded, the decks re-painted, the rails cetoled, and some of the long awaited cabinetry finished off.
Another example of boat burnout overcome was our ever present fuel problem. Back in the Bahamas and again in the Turks and Caicos we thought we were out of fuel. The comradery of other cruisers kept us moving with fresh fuel and council as we sputtered and stalled in every precarious spot. All the way to St. Thomas one of us would steer and the other would hand prime fuel to the engine. With earmuffs and a sweat rag one would hang over the engine acting as a four dollar fuel pump restoring the engine to a roar as it choked through dirty fuel. At the time it was all we could do to keep things going, but as it turns out diesel grows and tanks must be completely flushed out. So weeks of hand priming and a life time supply of costly filters was then made redundant by a twenty minute flush and scrub of the fuel tank.
So now the with coolant flushed, transmission oil changed, new motor mounts, engine oil changed, tank polished, racor scrubbed, new fresh water pumps installed, sea strainer and bilge cleaned I am on top of the list. Hows this one for ya, the heat exchanger zincs are new and ready to cross the Atlantic.
Burn out is one thing, but boat projects are complicated by the fact that everything takes longer than you think, you never have all the right parts, you want to do it right. Needing to live, cook, be a nice person and sleep in that project area which is constant motion is a challenge. Paints take days to dry, glues kick off fumes, rain always comes when you need it the least and that part you need is ALWAYS right underneath the foot or seat of the other person on the boat, but most of all you have to sail when its time and that usually means breaking away before your done. So why start?, it only makes it hard to sail on, or does it make it easier to sail, I don't know.
Today the crew of Ultima Noche are in their respective states. Glory back in Colorado, Derek in an airplane somewhere and me on my way to Alaska to "work just for a couple of weeks". By the end of May we hope to be crossing the North Atlantic for the Med.