Is the Auto Helm installation complete? Check
Is there a weather window? Nope
Did this all get done before your passports expire? Nope
Did you know there is a lot of planning and preparation that goes into our daily lives living on a boat. The tasks are endless like how do pick up a 37 lb replacement autohelm and new 45 pound portable Honda generator and 3 cases of wine that are down island…here comes the planning part, step 1: write a list of all the place and things you want to do, Step 2: figure out how you are going hump all this stuff around, and step 3: implement the task… Easy right??? Well sort of, we started our day by launch the dingy ‘Trouble’ as we are still West End and took to local bus into Coxen Hole this time we only had 23 people in the van that seat only 16 good thing we didn’t have a big breakfast. Then you get off on the road and flag down another collective/taxi this time it is a Toyota Celica with only 4 people to head to French Harbour. As we look at our list we started to check it twice, we got this tip from Santa. Okay first stop haircuts…check Parkers, fuel filter and gaskets…check, Eldon supermarket…some food….check…Woods Hardware store…water filters..check..Ace Hardware…who knows what for but Cheryl loves to wonder in a hardware store.. check. Then Bulk Gourmet…wine…check, this was our final wine shopping before we leave Roatan. Now the autohlem and generator…we left all of stuff at bulk gourmet and met up with Mark from Turtlegrass who had received our shipment of goodies. So after having lunch with him and he drove us with our autohlem and generator back to Bulk Gourmet to pick up the rest of goodies, the trick now is to get taxi to take us back to West End at a reasonable price…so off Karen goes on mission to find us a ride. 5 minutes late Karen returns and we load up and we mean LOAD up the taxi. All the things on the list are complete…that rarely happens. Must be the planning and preparation or just luck. So now the challenge is to load all the goodies in to Trouble. As we walk down the dock towards Trouble with 3 boxes of wine 2 knapsacks, 3 bags, 1 autohelm, 1 generator, Trouble cowers under the dock. We slowly cokes her out of her hiding spot and start to load her up. We made it back to boat a little wet but safe and now the fun begins. Find a home for everything and tomorrow install the autohelm.
Autohlem installation day, again. Okay you start the day with a strong coffee, deep breathing and flexibility exercise as you know you are going to be upside down in a very confined space lifting 37 lbs. into that perfect spot. Good thing we have experience in doing the installation. Okay it is only 4 bolts to install, yeah right, but first you have to rip up your entire aft cabin to get to the autohelm, then you have to lift the sucker into a tiny hole, then level the unit, then place the gasket, recheck the level, install washer, recheck level, the bolts have to tight, recheck level and then the fun begins you have to install the nuts and washers at just beyond your arms reach by feel only. No problem if you are an orangutan. After 4 ½ hours we finally got the unit installed. As we poked our head out from our hole like a ground hog (did not see our shadow) and had a bite to eat, the Hooligans came for a visit to see our progress. Since we poked our heads out of our holes our West End support group started to call on the VHF radio and the phone to check up on our installation. “IT IS IN…. “does it work?”… who knows. We did the initial test that day and it looked like it had the same problem as before but we decided to put off the test drive until the next day. So with dream of going in circles and straight lines in our head and not sugar plums and our fingers and toes crossed we waited until the next day to crack open the champagne. The next morning brought sunny and flat seas so off we went. But first we make sure that Jonesy on Niki Wiki knew that we were just leaving our mooring for a test run and will be back shortly as the mooring are in high demand here. We dropped our lines and off we went to drive in straight line and circles. To make a long story short it failed. As we drove back to our mooring everyone who knew what we were doing could tell by our body language that it was not good. As we were about tie up we noticed we had a rubber ducky tied to our mooring. Enchancement had dropped off their lucky ducky. So that brought a smile to our faces. We e-mailed and called our contact about the autohelm and he suggests doing a minor adjustment…, so off we went to rip up the aft cabin AGAIN with tools in hand. Minor if you are doing it on a workbench, not so minor if you are doing it blind in a hole.. once again it is a good thing we have experience in doing this adjustment as well. We put everything back together and off went again, leaving the lucky ducky on the mooring fter we gave the duck a little rub for luck. We decided we would try our first test around the mooring area, okay Cheryl decided to drive the boat via the autohelm around the boats in the mooring area, “Let put this puppy through it paces” good thing the gang here didn’t really know what we were doing we probably looked like a drunken sailor trying to steer the boat around a race course. “IT REALLY WORKS”, high fives all around and back to the mooring ball and a big thank you to Enchancement’s lucky ducky. After we tied up, dinghies, radio calls and phone calls all started with congrats from the gang. Now we can crack open that bottle of champagne…now we can head south…o yeah now we have to wait for a weather window.
So what to do you do while you are waiting for a weather window to head east and south. Every morning Karen would get up and check the weather before coffee and every morning it was the same comments ‘maybe’, ‘well there is’…’it’s slim’….’but’…’could be’…’we will see’…’there may be a window forming’….’oops it gone’. “So let go diving and by the way we have been invited to dinner”….thus the Double D’s. Dinner and Diving. So Cheryl got to do her 200th dive in West End. Karen has had a chance to play Mar Jong a few times and every once in a while we head into town to do our “FINAL” provisioning in anticipation of leaving. But then the next week we are back in town doing it all over again. Even the marine park is asking why we are paying by the week and not the month! So for now we are stuck in West End with our friends and enjoying every minute. O yeah once in a while we do minor boat chores like wash down the boat, re-sew the Canadian flag, and find the water leak in the flexible water tank and now in the 3 year old diesel tank…just for fun. And now, in trying to track down a water leak, Cheryl has found that the end cap on the water maker has a tiny hole in it. We are running the water maker trying to fill up our forward tank, waiting for the bang when the cap gives out!