Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Almost Perfect Day and Cats in SPAAAAAAYYYYYYYs

After spending a couple of days anchored in Basseterre, St. Kitts we decided to sail south and explore the anchorages around the southern end of the island of which there are many. We set off fairly early and had a great sail to White House Bay where, strangely, there are no white houses. We reefed both sails just as an experiment and found that we still go 5+ knots in light air telling us that, yes, we are going to buy a smaller genoa when we get to Antigua. We are very tired of muscling around our 155% genny and we are often overpowered with it out. We’ll go for a 135% and be much happier albeit poorer. The sail was only about 4 miles but we made a few tacks and just enjoyed the perfect conditions. Only one boat in the anchorage which is devoid of any buildings and just surrounded by arid, almost desert like, hills.

With the hook down I made a nice big breakfast as we intend to explore the snorking options here. The guide book talks of a couple of wrecks here that you can see via snorking. We swam from Enee - no need to mess with dingy as everything is pretty close here. Great snorking! Plenty of fish and yes we could see a cannon from a troop ship from the seventeen hundreds as well as the mangled remains of a tugboat. Cool! Later we took dingy ashore and I went for a very short run (hot and hilly!) after which Sue and I both snorked again from the shore. Very nice.

Back on Enee I rig the Hammock and we enjoy our sundowners followed by a yummy dinner of chicken (canned of course) and noodles. A perfect day. . . so far...

Dum dum dum. .. . I turn on the water to do the dishes and nothing comes out. Not a drop. Pump is running but no water coming out. We switch to the other tank even though we are pretty sure the first one isn’t empty. Same deal. We open the tank (we have no gauges) and, yep, full to the very top. From this point until about midnight we did a variety of experiments: cleaning filters, blowing back down the intake line (“Do you hear bubbles? WHAT?), turning off the hot water at the tank (hey if you see a valve, turn it!). We went to bed at midnight with enough water collected to make coffee in the morning. We ALWAYS have 10 gallons in jerry cans on deck . . . except this time. I forgot to fill them before we left St. Maarten. Well, this is going to be exciting if we can’t fix this on our own. No major boat things in St. Kitts. I hardly sleep wondering what could be the problem. Oh yeah, as an exclamation point on the end of our almost perfect day, Mismo the cat goes into heat. Great. Meooooooooooowwwwww.

We’re up at 6 am to continue our experiments. At one point I had a hose from the top of the water tank, through the cabin,, into the engine room to the pump to see if it would draw water up that pipe. It would. .. sometimes. From here let me just say that I had the pump off the bulkhead (hoses and wires off) and on the table in the cockpit and disassembled about 7 times. I switched out some parts. We cleaned the little rubber gizmos in there. The 7th time we put it all back together it began to work again. What did I do? It’s “fixed” but I have no confidence in it. We decide to sail back to Basseterre so I can call the pump people and see if they can help. We can live without refrigeration but without water is a little too rough even for us! And, as long as we’re fixing the pump lets fix the cat as well!

Mismo is miserable.

Back in Basseterre I get no help on the phone from the pump people. Just transferred around to machines where I can leave a message. This is pointless since there is no way for anyone to call me back as I’m calling from the computer. I write them an e-mail and wait.

Good news for Mismo - There is a veterinary college on St. Kitts! Ross University. We made an appointment for 1 and went back to Enee to collect the cat. A cab ride later and we’re on the beautiful campus of Ross University. Great ocean view and a lot of very happy looking students. Who wouldn’t be? Living in the Caribbean and messing with critters. We were a little early for our 1 o’clock appointment (12:30) so we waited. They took Mismo in at 1. . .and gave her back at 2:30! This was just the checkup and to take blood! You see the students do it but then they have to run it all by their professor. Too late we found the student union with coffee and wifi. But when we go back on Thursday for the actual operation (god knows how long that will take!) we’ll post this blog, upload a podcast, write a novel, and maybe do our taxes on line.

The water pump is working as poorly as it used to. It has a problem with air in the lines and will sometimes just come on for no reason and run and run. We have to remember to turn off the master switch when we leave the boat or it will run down our batteries. I suspect that the whole system has been plumbed with too small hose. It looks like the whole boat was re-done at some point with that hard plastic line that is maybe 5/16 inch inside diameter. There are some long runs to the pump and then to the fore and aft heads and that size hose may be too narrow. The thought of running new hose to 3 sets of faucets does not please me. This is some of the joy of being the 7th owner of this boat!

On Wednesday, knowing that we want to be able to use the built in cooler in the cockpit we decide to try to clear the drain. It has been clogged and then the water from the melted ice drips into the galley. So, like any other boat project you start by completely disassembling the boat! There are 6 hoses going to a sump. Forward head shower, aft head shower, drain from the frig in the galley and drain from cooler in cockpit. Do the math. Yeah, there’s some mystery hoses too and no good way to tell which one is which. We finally isolated the hose and found it in the engine room. We decided to cut it in about half, pour water down the drain. If no water comes out then the clog is up hill from the cut and if it does come out it’s down hill. Then we can replace the appropriate hunk. Good news is the clog is uphill and that hunk is easier to get at. We accomplish this and put the whole boat back together. Time for breakfast!

In the meanwhile we’ve done some more leg work and think we are totally ready for the visit form our friends, Kay, Gary, and Sam, arriving this Friday! These intrepid travelers are flying to Tampa, staying the night, flying to San Juan, flying to Nevis, taxi to the ferry, ferry to St. Kitts and taxi to their hotel. They might be a little tired when they arrive!

1 comment:

deborah said...

Happy First Easter to Mismo