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Some More Insights into Boat Life

It is March 11. In the past week:

  • The engine started and then stopped immediately (multiple filters needed changing)

  • The roller-furler on the mainsail has failed (yes, that's what we fixed in November)

  • The main refrigeration system on our fridge/freezer isn’t working well (fortunately we have a back-up system)

  • The water maker is running slowly; what used to take 30 minutes now takes 45

I said to Mark, “maybe we should sell the boat this year instead of next” and HE SAID “I’ve thought about it”. Knock me over with a feather!


Blogs are written by sons and daughters,

But only God can make the waters.

(Apologies to Joyce Kilmer)

We “make” water to keep our water tanks full. By “making”, we mean desalinating the water that we float in. The machine that does this for us is a series of pumps that pushes the ocean water through filters that remove the salt and other “dissolved solids" down to an acceptable level of parts per million (ppm), anything less than 600 ppm is safe, but we try to be below 200 ppm. When you are done with the process the last thing you have to do is rinse the system with fresh water. There are different ways to do this but Mark starts the whole process by filling a bucket with freshly “made” water and then uses that to rinse the system once our tanks are full. Last week Mark was making water and decided that his “rinse” water was too high in ppm so he poured it into my laundry bucket - it was too high to drink but not too high to use else-wise. Then he put the bucket behind the steering wheel in the cockpit where it sat for a week, being in the way.

This brings us to


This is my “Washing Machine”

A 5-gallon bucket and a plunger. It’s not really labor intensive, but a machine is (obviously) easier. I use ammonia instead of detergent because if I use detergent I need to rinse the clothes at least twice to get the soap out, using huge amounts of precious water. With ammonia there is no rinsing. Of course, while it does great on sweat and body odor, it does nothing against stains or dirt.

Case in Point

When I know I’m going to do laundry I try to get started between 6:00 and 7:30 - before the sun is high. That way it’s pretty cool while I’m out there working and the wash is usually dry by noon or so.

And this is my “dryer”

(I actually love my clothes line. See the “panty carousel” in the middle there? It’s fun to watch it spin around.) (Yes, I’m easily amused.)

Which brings me to Today, Sunday, 19 March.

Mark seems to think that if he makes my chores easier I’ll enjoy living on the boat more and want to keep sailing, so he is quick to encourage me to take advantage of laundry services and laundromats. So at 6:45 today when I said, “I think I’ll do laundry” Mark said, “Let’s take it into the laundromat”. Now, that’s really easy, especially here in le Marin, Martinique - put the clothes in the washer and get it started, walk around the building to the café, have breakfast, go get the clothes and put them in the dryer, or take them back to the boat to hang up. But today is Sunday and I don’t think the laundry is open on Sunday, but we could do that tomorrow. A while later (11:30?) I said “this bucket of water has to go” (see "bucket of water" above). Rather than toss it overboard, or use it to wash down the decks or something, Mark assumed that I wanted to do laundry!! Which is how I found myself doing laundry at 11:30 instead of 7:30, and why I was inspired to write this part of my blog.

March 22

We have our new mizzen sail. It is very nice and it’s white, not grey like our jib. It was due in last week, but as they say, better late than never, and where are we going anyway? We might have gone back to Grand Anse d’Arlet, but we are pretty content to sit here and eat in the lovely restaurants and enjoy the amazing baguettes and pain. (Pronounced “pan” with a very nasal “a” and almost no “n”. That’s French for bread. A baguette is a bread of a designated shape. Anything else is a pain.) (Especially considering that it seems that every time we set out, something else breaks.) Friday Bill and Maureen, our friends on Kalunamoo, are returning from the U.S. and they are “importing” a couple of things for us, including matzos and other goodies for our 7th annual Caribbean Passover Seder. We will probably stay here a few more days after that and hang out with them before their daughter and son-in-law come for a visit. Then we will head south to Bequia.

March 24

Yesterday morning Mark and I noticed that there were an unusual number of large boats in the anchorage. Not the 200 ft. long boats, but 100 ft boats. Lots of them come to Antigua, but not many come to Martinique, especially not to le Marin. Suddenly, about 10:30 it hit me and I said to Mark, “I bet the yacht transport ship is coming in”. Two hours later: BOOM. There it was. They flooded the ship yesterday and today Mark spent most of the morning watching as they floated 12 yachts into the floating dry-dock that will take these boats to various points in the Mediterranean.

The next thing I know, Mark is sending a query to the transport company, asking what it would cost to get Roxy to Greece. Evidently he thinks that I’ll have more fun in Greece and want to keep cruising. He’s wrong. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cruising. I’m tired of the inconvenience of living on a boat.

March 29 - Bequia

We are in Bequia now. It was a 13 hour sail from Martinique, past St. Lucia and St. Vincent to get here. We thought about stopping in St. Lucia, but decided to just push on and do it in one nice sail. And it was a nice sail. We left at 4:30 a.m., which was a bit frightening since we were anchored inside a reef and navigating incorrectly could put us on the coral. But I did it!! The wind was strong enough to make the sailing easy, even without our main sail, and the waves were small and mostly behind us. Nice sailing. And we arrived in daylight hours, anchoring before 5:30! And then the anchor dragged. Just a little. And then just a little more. And more. And, at 8:30 pm - in the pitch dark - we decided we couldn't wait until the morning to re-anchor. So, once again we anchored in Bequia in the dark. This time the anchor stuck perfectly and we went to sleep. In the morning we realized that where we were was quite windy - in an already windy anchorage - so once again we picked up the anchor and moved to the other side of the anchorage. Once we were settled we realized that there were 5 other Salty Dawg boats in the anchorage. I'm here to organize the Salty Dawg Bequia Rendezvous - scheduled for next weekend - but it looks like it's already begun.

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