Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

At Anchor

05/23/2011

We’ve been sitting on the anchor now for about 3 weeks. It has been great. When ever we need something from the store we take the dingy to shore. The ride is about 10 minutes depending on who’s driving. It’s it little Mike it’s a 3 minute trip and if it’s Michael (Dad) it’s about 10 minutes. Fast trips to shore with Mike have been fun and painful. He pulled the dingy up to the boat last week and touched the trottle just as I had started to reach for the rubrail of the sailboat. The dingy lunged forward and I slipped off the seat and onto the floor at Mikes feet in a flash, landing on my backside. Mike got to laughing so hard that the words “I’m so sorry Mom” were almost unrecognizable. It was funny.

For the past two weeks Michael has been working on the watermaker to try to get the system to produce water under 600 ppm (parts per million) It was producing water for awhile under 400 ppm. Then the system picked up some oil or debris and it hasn’t worked right since. He thought since we were anchored in an area where there is a consistant tide and current that debri such as oil would’nt be an issue, but it was. So Mike has been hauling water jugs to the boat for washing up and drinking.

 The nearby marina sells showers at 15 pesos each, which has been nice. There is a sign in the showers that asks people to keep their hot water showers down to 5 minutes. It states that some people in La Paz only get water 3 times a week and it’s at night. After reading that I stopped feeling sorry for myself and very thankful for that 5 minute shower. Due to the watermaker issue, we haven’t been out sailing. Hopefully today Michael will remedy the problem and we can be “up and running” again.

 Our refrigerator and freezer quit working last week. I had to throw out several pounds of ground beef and chicken. We are now using blocks of ice that we buy from shore to keep our drinks and foods cold. Luckily I can start the generator to vacuum out the water once the ice melts. The freezer needs a drain plug so that we can drain it into the bilge.

 Other than the on going rewiring of the electrical system, everything else is working fine. It wasn’t until the other day when I was working on our budget did I realize that for the month of May we have been almost totally self sufficient. If we didn’t need water and ice from shore, we would be totally self sufficient. That is a nice thought!

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Planning Provisions

02/14/2011

 

Buying provisions for an extended cruise can be over whelming. Planning meals, snacks, and drinks for as much as three months for three people and two dogs is only the beginning. Putting together a first aid kit should be at the top of my list. Nothing like a small plastic case that carries only band-aids and antiseptics but something more in the way of a doctors bag.  Keeping in mind that if a medical emergency should arise the nearest doctor may be several hundred miles away.

Then there is “The Pack” that needs to be topped off with the absolute bare necessities three people should need to survive should the boat sink and we are stuck at sea. ( I think we are going to need a larger bag.)  The hand-held water maker takes up all the space in our current back pack. As my good Canadian friend told me the other day that her survival bag stays on the bunk during the day and the galley settee at night. A bag that has to be easy to grab in a hurry.

Buying the provisions is just the beginning.  After they are on the boat they have to be repackaged to get rid of any extra garbage.  Dry goods are often put into freezer bags and plastic containers. The cardboard that foods are packaged in can carry insect eggs. Insects are something else not wanted on board while at sea. 

After the provisions are planned, bought, and repackaged, they have to be stored in the best possible space.  Damage control is a must.  Things have to stay dry and won’t crush or break open while underway. Dried beans or rice stuck in the bilge absorbing water and burning up the bilge pump would not be good.

Then an inventory list needs to be made including the location of everything.  A boat isn’t like a house where groceries go into the kitchen cabinets.  Boats have very limited storage space which might include under the bunks, under the floorboards in the bilge, or in the sail locker.  It’s important to know where these items are stashed.

Not only is my head swimming with details all the time, but I’m laying in bed a night wondering “what I have forgotten?”.  My mind wanders over to my husbands set of responsibilities starting with the mechanical end of things.  I’m thinking “do we have a spare alternator, hoses, gaskets, shaft packing, etc”.  See what I mean by over whelming? I have to relax and remember how much fun this trip is going to be.

They’re Still Here

02/28/2010

As the sun set low on the horizon, the air traffic began to pick up once again. It was common in Florida to have mosquitos everywhere. But this time, it wasn’t just mosquitos.  Visions of the night before were vivid in our minds.  While standing in the saloon on the Flying Dutchman, I was looking for some paper to write down our address for our new friends, when out of the pages of a book came several earwigs.  As I moved a newspaper, out came a few more.  Every time I moved something, more earwigs appeared.  It was obvious we hadn’t gotten rid of these bugs.

At the marina there was a motel  and a restaurant/ bar.  It was a large facility. We knew right away that we were not going to get any sleep with these bugs on board.  So we took a walk over to the office to inquired about getting a room.  On the way over I felt something moving around in my deck shoe and proceeded to kick my shoe off about 10 feet up ahead of me. Those earwigs were hiding in the soles of my shoes.    Think I had the hebegebies!

Upon arrival at the office we found  there were no  vacancies due to the holiday weekend.  Miss Boston, our friend/passenger on the Aruban Queen, offered to let us stay in her room.  Oddly enough, the closet in her room was the size of a small bedroom and she told us we could set up a bed in there and sleep.  Her offer was as good as staying in the Hilton, because neither of us wanted to sleep where there was a bug infestation.

The next day we went right out and bought Raid Bug Smokers and fumigated the Flying Dutchman.  It seemed to get rid of most of the earwigs, but at night there was always  one or two crawling around.

I think what bothered us the most was the old “wives tale” that earwigs burrowed into the brains of humans through the ear and  laid their eggs.  Earwigs are predisposed to hiding in warm humid crevices and may indeed occasionally crawl into the human ear canal.  That was enough for me to decide I wasn’t sleeping with these things around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earwig


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