Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 2009 in ABC's

YOLO at anchor in Santa Cruz Bay, Curacao
A school of fish make themselves at home in the sunken tugboat near Spanish Water, Curacao

The sunken tugboat near Spanish Waters, Curacao. Apparently a cargo ship captain panicked in bad conditions and dropped its anchor right thru the little tugboat and sunk it. The anchor lies nearby, too.

My shortest haircut ever--my 'goat tail' cut from Christmas Day.

Jason with the 2 lobster he caught near Santa Cruz, Curacao. Dinner was yummy!!

Jan 9th, 2009
We're still in Curacao for the time being. We hopped along the coast and checked out a few other bays over the last week by ourselves. The bays here are very well hidden and barely wide enough for us to sneak thru before they widen out into wonderful quiet anchorages. We had free wifi at one where we were the only boat anchored.
We watched a sea hawk tear apart a fish on the shore and watched the big iguanas bob their heads in a show of dominance. Yellow-headed parrots squawked as they flew around and it was nice to hear birds chirping while at anchor on the boat. They must have very happy fish here cuz they were jumping for joy all around us. Just leaping out of the water for no apparent reason 2-3 times at a go, every few seconds during certain times of the day. Of course they didn't want anything I put in the water with a hook in it, so we didn't catch any of them!
In Santa Cruz Bay we found the clear water we were looking for again and cleaned the bottom of the boat and the props and shafts so we'd move smoothly through the waters. I found a lobster hiding under a rock and Jason got his trident out and stabbed him so we could have him for dinner. We fought our way back down the coast against the wind and tucked back into the previous bay for the night and last minute wifi internet. Since the wind comes in stronger as the day moves on, we decided to take advantage of the early morning calm and got up at 4am to leave and hug the coastline; we motored to make it back to Spanish Waters where we started from and reanchored in the big lagoon. Back to the bustling port.
Of course, we have boat projects (work) to do as Jason keeps a list of ongoing things that need attention. The list grows faster than we can cross them off, but that seems to be normal for cruisers. Lists are normal for Type-A personalities, too. The generator overheated and shut down when we started it at 4am so that moved to the top of the list. Gotta have power! We backflushed the heat exchanger and some grass and small debris came out. That must've stopped up the water flow enough to cause it to overheat as it worked fine afterwards. Whew! Now Jason is looking for a gasoline-powered portable generator that we can carry as a backup. He's always looking for ways to take weight off the boat and now he's going to buy another bulky item to carry.
We don't like to carry much gasoline on a boat as it is the most dangerous of all the fuels. Fire is the only thing that can destroy the boat and force us off of it. Friends watched a boat near them burn to the water in a matter of minutes in Bonaire last month. The owners had gone diving with their dinghy and came up to see their boat just a plume of smoke on the water. Luckily, our friends got the dog off and a tug boat pulled the burning hulk out a ways and let it sink in 300' of water. In Bonaire that depth can be as little as 100 yards off shore! But the owners were left with absolutely nothing and no place to live. Fortunately, an ex-cruiser let them house sit for him while he went away so they had a place to stay while they started dealing with the mess.
Once Jason finishes rebuilding our helm seat (he tore it apart when one bolt came loose and had to literally rip and destroy part of the structure to get it apart) we will head towards Aruba. The board that supported the backrest and arms had rotted through and the armrest was loose. When the boat gets rockin', I want something there to hang onto, so it was on my initiative that he investigated the loose bolts and ended up tearing the seat apart. We've had a bench to sit on but over open ocean I want the back and armrests again.
In one of the bays, we stopped into a small boatyard looking for scrap marine wood that might be a new base for the backrest and found a couple totally refitting a big boat after 22 years of sailing. They had a big sheet of special plywood that was just what we were looking for and they let us cut out a piece for our needs, free of charge; good karma on them! Marine plywood is very pricey and we got the best stuff from them. The salon in the boat is now an epoxy workshop as Jason treats the raw wood to withstand the weather. Good thing we can eat our meals outside; the temps never vary from 75-85 degrees during the day and night.
The trade winds from the east have set in for good now it seems, and we'll have 20-knot winds to deal with heading back. We may try to motor into them as much as possible or back track our route here and island hop back to the east. We're not keen to get close to Venezuela, but we may stop at a few of their outer islands for protection, rest, and possibly fuel. It will all depend on the weather when we get out there. We're hoping for a period of light winds to make a dash, but not very likely at this time of year. The weather gurus say the winds will be 20-25 kts all month at least. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Hope to see some emails from some of you soon.
Jan 25, 2009
We're in Aruba and got a few days free at a marina with water and electricity, so we've washed literally EVERYTHING! Our big 30-gal Rubbermaid tub that we used to hold extra water for washing and rinsing outside sprung a leak so now we just have buckets to hold extra water. We'll have to look out for the mega coolers when we get somewhere where prices aren't so expensive as Aruba.
Folks here seem pretty nice and welcoming and glad we came here. Folks have given us free wahoo steaks and free marina stays and the marina manager offered to take us on his boat to the beach on the north end of the island. Big sport fishing boats abound and we've seen some huge fish come in on them. I had no idea red snappers were the size of a pillow here! And the groupers we watched them clean yesterday had their eyes popped out like those toy glasses with eyeballs on springs, having been hauled up from the deep with no decompression. No way we can catch those as we just aren't set up to fish at 200-1200' deep.
So YOLO has now done the ABC's and we'll look for a weather window to head back towards the eastern Caribbean. Wish us well as it could be the longest passage that just the 2 of us have taken together so far. Keep us in your thoughts!

The free wifi here is pretty slow and persnickety, so I only loaded a few pics; hope to get more out when we get a good connection somewhere......

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