Friday, May 02, 2008

North to Pointe a Pitre

The day before yesterday we 'sailed' from Les Saintes to the big town of Point a Pitre on Gaudeloupe. About 20 miles. . . unless you're me. Then your trip meter reads 32 miles.

Sue: Maybe we should put on the engine
Scott: No
Sue: There's really no wind. Engine?
Scott: No
Sue: We're not going to get there.
Scott: OK, we'll go back.
Sue: Fine.
Scott: Fine.
Sue: We can't go back either. . . there's no wind.
Scot: I DIDN'T COME 2500 MILES FROM FLORIDA TO RUN THE F*** ENGINE.
Sue: OK
Scott: Fine. Put on the engine and go where ever you want.
Sue: I'll head for Point a pitre
Scott: Fine.

Less than an hour later the wind finally came up and we had a very nice sail the last 6 miles. I'm still right....in theory!

The channel into Pointe a Pitre is wide and deep and a pretty busy shipping channel. We planned to pull into the marina and take a slip thinking we could get some painting done, Install a new water pump if we find one and maybe even new windlass. The marina has room for 1000 boats and no slips. What? Yeah, it's all stern-to med moor type deal where you hook the bow of your boat to a mooring ball and then back to the pier. Boats are right against each other via fenders. Of course then, how would we get off the boat? I have dingy davits with the dinghy in there and anyway the slope of the transom would make it quite an adventure getting to the pier. But still we'll buy diesel and water. The diesel if 1.20 EU per liter. It's about 1.5 dollars to 1 EU right now. That comes to over $5 per gallon! Unless you are foreign boat and have already checked out of Gaudeloupe. Then the diesel is 0.87 EU per liter. See why I hesitate to put on the iron monster? We decide to wait until we check out but do buy water which is about 1 EU for 150 liters. (not hip to the metric system? No problem. . . a liter is 1000 cubic centimeters or 1/1000 of a cubic meter. You're welcome.)

We leave the marina and anchor just on the outside. Not too pretty here unless you think Gary Indiana is pretty. Well protected though.

Today, we took the dinghy to the marina with a long wish list of things we'd like to accomplish. WiFi, laundry, water pump, windlass, small things, sunglasses. As we walk nothing is open. What the hell time is it? Not THAT early, right? (neither of us wears a watch). As we walked toward the downtown area we were both reminded of the Domincan Republic. This town is depressed and beat. Lots of garbage and lots of graffiti. We walked through some public housing and it is as bad here in 'paradise' as it is anywhere else in the world. Suddenly it occured to me why everything was closed. IT'S MAY DAY! That's a real holiday in much of the world and here too. We turn around and head back.

At the marina we ask about the mooring balls that we see near our boat. If we actually find a new windlass we would like to be on one to do the changeover and be able to clean the chain maybe. Oh, yes. The marina operates the mooring balls for 10EU per night and if you take one you can have all the water you want for free. GREAT! Too bad the tanks are full of non-free water. Jeez-o-peet.

As to the windlass itself here's what I think the history is of it's ailments.

1. chain begins to rust and get very dirty
2. chain starts to 'castle' or stack straight up in a spiraling cone shape since it no longer slides off of itself due to its roughness
3. Now chain pays out with a built in twist. Take rope and make a nice spiral on the dock as we all do sometimes. Now grab the center end of the rope and pull straight up. The rope will be twisted for each coil of the spiral. This is what I think is happening inside the chain locker. (I suspect I also have a family of Haitians living in there but that's another story.)
4. The twist in the chain causes it to jump off the gypsy (sounds like a command from a cop, "JUMP OFF THAT GYPSY. . . NOW!) while weighing anchor. Then the gypsy would grab again causing large shock loads to the windlass
5. At some point as reported here earlier #4 caused a magnet in the motor to shatter. I 'fixed' this by cleaning out the broken pieces of the magnet but now the motor runs slow. This is key.
6. The slowly running motor causes large currents resulting in a meltdown in a terminal in the reversing solenoid. I believe the 'up' solenoid has been carboned up and now the windlass runs even slower until it actually stops during haul up. That makes even more and larger currents and more problems.

The solution now is new windlass AND new reversing solenoid. No option left there but there is no point if the chain is going to still twist itself sending me back to #1! So, anyone reading out there, what's a good way to 'clean up' the anchor chain so that it is not so rough and cruddy? Maybe re-galvanize? Information? Thanks to all who help!

During one of the many tacks (on which we were sailing BACKWARDS) we suddenly noticed a thrashing movement in the water off our port bow. What is that!?! Oh look....it's spewing! Yep, it was a WHALE! We have a video of it. . . sort of but it looks a lot like the videos of the Lock Ness Monster. Besides we're not able to post pictures or video's on this server. It WAS a whale though and they do sponsor whale watching excursions from here.

3 comments:

brian said...

Scott - I've had that conversation many times. It's a sailboat. Right?

Jim Zeller said...

Hi Scott and Sue,

I have been following your blog since my daughter Mary and I visited you a few years back in Whitehall, Michigan when you started your trip. Thanks for keeping it up. It is very interesting. In fact, this Christmas my family vacationed at Cabarete in the DR based on your remarks about the friendly people of the DR.
http://books.google.com/books?id=bd8Buw2BrTsC&pg=PA290&lpg=PA290&dq=less+antilles&source=web&ots=MrkhFeZ0F0&sig=Ptw9jWcugRHf39QIW7bb-vcC1SM&hl=en#PPP1,M1
You may already know that Google is taking books that are no longer copy writed and putting them on the web for free. This link is to a 1830 geography book that has a lot of history and geography of South America and the Caribbean Islands. I thought you would be interested in it:

Best,
Jim Zeller

deborah said...

I'm with Sue. TURN ON THE ENGINE.