so used to the rocking motion of the boat that I find this non-rocking
unnerving. I'm also a little afraid of heights, so I get little
dizzy out on deck looking around. Hopefully, I'll get used to
only been up here for a couple of hours.
Our last days on the water, we sailed around in fresh
trade winds, revisiting favorite places and trying a few new places. We discovered
there are National Park Mooring buoys at the Dogs, which are between Tortola
and Virgin Gorda. These are a group of islands: West Dog, Great Dog, and George
Dog, with Cockroach Island right next door.
Then a little ways out are the Seal Dogs.
The snorkeling spot on the south side of George Dog was really
great. The south side of Great Dog is less protected but it was
still fun. Our last night on anchor was spent anchored near Biras
Creek Resort in Gorda Sound. Our last night on the water was
in the marina at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour so we could take
down sails and be ready for the haul out in the morning. But
the winds were so strong, Lance didn't want to take down the
sails. We took the jib down this morning, and we still haven't
taken down the main, which means I have to stand up on deck where
my acrophobia starts acting up. Ah well. It turns out that we
were the only haul out scheduled for today, so they didn't care
what time we showed up. We had one last run the engine, freeze
up the refrigerator, and spent some time cleaning out stuff and
making the engine accessible. On our last anchoring, the windlass
control decided that it knew how to go up but not down, a rather
friendly flaw actually. Lance took the control apart and basically
it is just shot, so we need to get a new one. Then the autopilot,
which has had occasional bozo modes, decided that it didn't work
anymore. The only real problem with that is that there is only
one switch for instruments, and so we couldn't turn on the depth
sounder, without listening to the autopilot beep at us. Symptoms
suggested loose connections, so after we cleaned out the "garage" (starboard
aft cabin), Lance checked the connections and found suspiciously
loose ones, and it appears to be fixed now.
marina was fairly full, because of Memorial Day which is not a
holiday here, but it is in Puerto Rico
so lots boats from Puerto Rico showed up. A boat pulled up next
to us, and people scrambled off, carrying one woman off. Turns
out she had an allergic reaction to something, probably a jellyfish
they think. Fortunately, they weren't far from the marina where help
was nearby, and after three shots, she is okay. We watched lots of
people docking in fairly tricky, windy situations, and we had a lovely
last evening on the water.
This morning we asked the yard when they
wanted us to haul out, and they didn't care, so we said we'd be over
in an hour. We moved to the haul out dock at 9:30, they asked if
we were in a hurry, and since we weren't, they said they'd be a while.
At around 10:30, they got busy, and then lectured us for not being
ready -- we didn't have dock lines ready on both sides, because nobody
told us to. We scrambled, and they asked us where to put the straps.
We had been warned that we were supposed to know this, so we had
studied the photos from the survey haul out and we knew the answer.
We stepped off the boat and showed the driver where to put the straps.
The driver of the lift expertly manoeuvered the straps into the exactly
correct location and raised the boat out of the water. The bottom
was power washed, and then they drove the boat to its summer home,
where they set up the chocks, and here we are. We have a ladder and
electricity and water. The marina has fine showers, laundramat, shops
and restaurants. We are waiting for the mechanic who will service
the engine and show us how, so that we can do it ourselves in the
future. We also hope to have some fiberglass voids repaired, keelbolts
replaced and a worn rudder bearing replaced. These were all expected
repairs from the original survey so there are no surprises. The major
oddity is the complete lack of movement. Our little home does not
move and the sudden complete absence of movement is deeply unsettling.
Tonight we will see if it is possible to sleep under such circumstances.
Every once in a while we become intensely aware that we are no longer
at sea level but rather elevated to approximately 10 feet above the
ground or maybe 15 feet above sea level - for a boat, this is not
a good thing. We are inspecting other boats, gathering opinions of
the various dock denizens and generally trying to get Eaux Vives
in shape for a hurricane. God willing, we will not test the arrangements
in an actual hurricane and Eaux Vives will simply get a new coat
of bottom paint and be ready for a longer sail when we return. We
plan to leave by air from Virgin Gorda to San Juan and then spend
Sunday flying back home.