Wednesday, May 3, 2006

First haul out

3rd May 2006
Hauled out

Made our way early this morning from Red Hook Bay to the Independent Boat Yard at Lavida Marine Center. Our boat draft is 6-ft 9-in. Depth of the entrance channel is supposed to be 7-ft. We couldn't discern the location of the channel entry and Judy put the boat into a very shallow area before Bill realized that we were headed the wrong way. Quickly turned around and retraced our way back to deeper water; then located the correct channel and wove our way through that. Really nerve-racking. Our depth guage is displayed in meters rather than feet. It was pegged at zero depth the entire way into the boat yard. WE DON'T LIKE THAT!

Once we got past the channel and into the marina area, we proceeded to run aground 4 times. Each time we were able to back up and use the bow thruster to turn the boat. Judy was ready to just blow-off this haul-out and get it done in Trinidad. Boats don't handle well when sitting on sand rather than floating in water. Eventually, the guys at the travel lift motioned for us to hug the left side. We managed for the 4th time to extricate ourselves from the grounding and then moved as far left as we could without hitting docked boats. Bill finally got the boat up to the travel lift area, turned her around and backed up under the travel lift.

We removed the back stays and lowered the mizzen boom and manuevered into place. Dug out the life raft from its deck locker and got it ashore before the boat was lifted. Man, that thing is heavy. Judy went below and literally threw a few things into a small duffle bag. We will be staying at a small hotel nearby while the boat is hauled. We had to get off the boat so it could be hauled right then, so there is no telling what got thrown into that duffle bag. Nice thing that it doesn't matter in the least what you wear around here. As long as it isn't too sweaty, it doesn't matter what it looks like. After all, this is a boat yard full of workers; not a fashion show.

Bill stayed with the boat while they began to wash her down, and Judy traisped off to find Caribbean Inflatible Service. Found a short-cut path through the mangroves along shore. Climbed a few flights of stairs to find the life raft service business that encompassed the entire third floor. This is the only authorized service facility for our Zodiac life raft in the entire Caribbean. Very convenient that they are located literally 1/2 block from the boat yard. They agreed that they would open the life raft and let us watch it inflate and inventory the contents if we could do it right away. A driver brought Judy back to the travel lift and picked up the life raft (it is much too heavy to carry). Then he drove her to the hotel to check in, and then back to the life raft service facility. They used a craine to raise the raft up to the 3rd floor.

During this time Bill located Budget Marine and purchased a couple of padlocks and a 23-ft cable so he could secure the dinghy to the dinghy dock. If it isn't locked up tight in St. Thomas, then it will be stolen. Not like the BVI where you never need to lock anything.

Judy walked back and showed Bill how to find the life raft place. We watched a guy inflate the raft and remove the contents. All the flares were out-of-date, and the med kit had expired. The raft will be pressure tested for 24-hrs and then repacked with replacement contents. This should be done once a year, but this is the first time that this life raft has been serviced; and it is at least 3 1/2 years old. So every piece of equipment that had an expiration date is now expired and must be replaced.

Our hotel room overlooks the harbor and we can see our dinghy from our deck. Can also see the boat yard office and the masts of our boat parked right next to the office. This haul-out might take a few days longer than we anticipated. The boat has been hauled, pressure washed, and moved over right next to the boat yard office. The bow is only about 3 feet from the office building wall. Scary how close they place the boats in the boat yard. The boat is chocked and we have moved a ladder up to her stern. We climbed up to look for something and it really feels funny to walk around up there. Boat has been sitting there now for 4 hours and no work has been started yet, so that is the reason that we are thinking that there is no way they will be finished by Friday at 5:00 p.m. when they shut down for the weekend.

Guess we better get on "island time" and slow down a bit. We are both beat and need a few days to recuperate. Tonight is Mexican night down at the little harbor bar that serves as a restaurant for our tiny hotel. Live country/rock band that will probably keep us up late. Maybe we will sit out on our patio and look down on them.

Surprising how many Texans live down here.

We both have already stopped wearing a watch. Time of the day doesn't mean much around here; it is either daylight or it is dark, what more do you need to know. Bill has already forgotten what day of the week it is. Judy hasn't reached that point yet.

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