Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chance encounter meeting stranger friends

June 20, 2006   Tuesday

Raining again, another tropical wave passing through.  Supposed to rain all day, but at least there is very little wind this time (so far).  So Bill is doing a number of his interior projects.  Bill has a long list of projects that he wants to do on the boat; nothing that is urgently needed, but many little things that we would just like to have done or installed.

He installed a high-decibel water alarm in the forward dry bilge.  So if something strange happens and we somehow get water intrusion from the bow thruster, we will know it immediately.  He is now installing a volt/amp/cycle meter on our 220V shore power.   He wants to be able to monitor the shore power.  We need to always confirm whether we are getting 220-240/50 or 220-240/60.  All our convenience items like the microwave, dishwasher and clothes washer can only be operated on 220-240/50.  And we certainly cannot trust the marinas to tell us for certain whether it is 50 or 60.  Bill loves dealing with electricity (or so it seems to me because he has rewired hundreds if not thousands of things during our 36-year marriage).  He has a whole cabinet locker full of various gadgets, alarms and monitors that we purchased over the past year.  Enough little projects to keep him busy for awhile.

We had planned to take the mini-bus into town for grocery shopping yesterday, but never got around to it.  Instead, Bill gave me another dinghy driving lesson.  I can drive the dinghy just fine as I understand the right/left deal, I just don’t like doing it.  It is not physically comfortable handling the outboard.  The ergonomics are simply not right for me.   Either it makes my bad shoulder hurt, or my back  or my legs.  Have not yet found a comfortable way to sit and drive that thing more than a few minutes.  We have decided that the only way I will ever accept doing it is to do just that – do it.  Like Nike said:  Just Do It! 

Sometimes it is a small world.  Two things happened in the past few days that brought that message home to us again.

On Sunday, I posted something on the SSCA discussion board.  That is the Seven Seas Cruising Association, of which we are members.  Someone responded to my query and also asked if we were currently in Grenada because he had heard the name of our boat on the VHF recently.  We messaged back and forth a few times.  Then Bill and I walked up to the clubhouse to get a drink.  There is DSL connection in the clubhouse for those who want to bring in their laptops.  One man was using his laptop while we were enjoying our drinks.  Turns out that this guy arrived in Clarkes Court Bay Marina on Saturday; he is the one currently re-designing the SSCA discussion board website; he is the person who had messaged with me earlier in the day; and he is docked directly in front of us.  What a coincidence to be chatting online with someone you have never met about a sailing website in Melbourne, FL, and then 5 minutes later you walk into that person less than 50-ft from your own computer.  What are the chances of that happening!

Then yesterday afternoon a couple came into the marina in their dinghy.  They are not staying at this marina; they are anchored out behind Hog Island where a lot of cruisers stay.  It is just around the bend from our marina.  Anyway, these people waved and said hello, so Bill and I stopped and talked with them.  Turns out that they are Aubrey and Judy Millard.  They own S/V Veleda IV, an Ontario 32, which is a well-designed boat.  I have read their cruising logs online for at least 4 years.  I had quit following their travels because they were doing the canals in Europe, and that is something we would never do so it wasn’t of interest to me.  They took down their mast and put it into a cradle on deck, and then they traveled all over Europe on the canal systems.  That is fine for a 32-ft boat with a very short mast; not at all feasible for a 53-ft boat with a 60-ft mast.  Not only that, but we would feel trapped traveling up and down canals, sort of like doing the ICW in the US.  Some people love it; not for Bill and me.

We invited Aubrey and Judy aboard and visited with them for an hour or two.  They were doing what so many cruisers seem to do.  They are anchored nearby but they want to use the marina facilities as if they were paying customers of this marina.  They had come here to fill their water bags and to use the DSL connection in the clubhouse.  They said they have previously done this at this marina.  Many cruisers do this, but Bill and I would feel like free-loaders if we used the facilities of a marina or resort without paying .  If we wanted to fill containers with fresh water and to use the internet in a marina clubhouse, we would at least go to the marina office and offer to pay for these services.

S/V Veleda IV has been cruising for 7 years, with no plans to stop.  They love the cruising life and plan to continue until they physically cannot do it any more.  Like every other cruiser we have met so far on this trip, they sold everything they owned when they moved aboard their boat.  Seems that extremely few cruisers keep a land-based home, usually because it becomes more of a burden than a “security” once they are out on their boat.

We are going to have to find something to do this afternoon.  We will go stir crazy if we have to stay locked up inside this boat all day.  Looks like the rain is abating; maybe it is time to make a break for it and get out of here.


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