Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Usual cruiser stuff in Bonaire

July 17, 2007 Tuesday

Sunday we played dominoes with the regular cruiser crowd.  There really are not that many cruisers here in Bonaire.  There are only 40 moorings available for the entire island.  The moorings are aligned in 2 lines.  Everyone wants on the outer moorings because if you are on an inner mooring and westerly winds hit, then your boat will be pounded  close to the seawall.  The inner moorings should only be used by smaller boats.  All the outer moorings are now filled but there are still several inner moorings available.  So that gives you an idea of how few cruisers there are here in Bonaire.  There is also a marina, but hardly anyone goes into the marina unless they are leaving their boat for a flight home.  The marina is directly across the road from a salty pond and the mosquitoes are horrendous in the marina; mosquitoes are not bad out here on the moorings.  So, anyway, mostly the same people play dominoes each Sunday.  A young woman named Sarah who is visiting  SCOTT FREE won; this was the first time she had played.

Then we attended the Pot Luck dinner on Sunday night.  Again, a small turnout; probably because the announcement was made too early in the day and most people had not yet turned on their VHF radios.  I made crab cakes with tartar sauce and haticots verts (slender green beans).  We had a very large bag of these green beans left over from the French islands and I wanted to get them out of the freezer.  There was a small turnout at the dinner so now Bill and I will be eating green beans every night this week.  Good thing that we like them.

Yesterday we did a small bit of grocery shopping.  Being a Dutch island, there is lots of gouda and edam cheese to be found; but they do not sell cheddar here.  Don’t think either gouda or edam will substitute well in cooking for dishes that normally call for cheddar, American or Monterrey Jack.  The Dutch prefer extremely bland food.  

We have not yet found any place on Bonaire that sells fresh fish; so, of course, that is what I wanted to cook yesterday.  Not to be had; only frozen fish in the supermarket and we did not trust that.  Bonaire is the first island we have visited that does not have a fresh fish market near the sea.  We watch a local guy go outside the moorings every evening and hand fish, but he is the only fisherman that we have seen.  This is just too strange.  Surely there must be a fresh fish market somewhere and we simply haven’t found it yet.  The guide books don’t mention one.  How can there be an island without fresh seafood for sale?

Make & Mend Day got off schedule when we left Isla Margarita on a Thursday.  Last week we did it on Monday and this week we are doing it on Tuesday.  Since our youngest son Aaron and his family will be flying down to visit us in a couple of weeks and will be arriving and leaving on Tuesdays, I think we will just temporarily change to Tuesdays for Make & Mend Day (laundry and making water). 

Such an exciting life we live, huh?

Note to fellow boaters:  anything with rubber in it will disintegrate on your boat.  Of course you all already know that if you have ever kept a rubber band onboard for any length of time at all.  I have a cheap Timex watch that has a rubbery type watchband.  It separated right down the length of the watchband during our last overnight passage.  (I only wear a watch during overnight passages.  I don’t care what time it is otherwise, but on night watches we each have a routine that we follow every 15 minutes so I need a watch then.)  Not hopeful that this glue repair will hold but Gorilla Glue has worked on everything else we have tried, so it is worth a shot.  Heck, sometimes it seems like Gorilla Glue would repair a broken rudder!  Stuff seems indestructible.

Okay, since I brought it up:  our routines during overnight passages.  Whoever  is on watch follows this routine every 15 minutes.  Like all other cruisers, we do not sit at the helm during our watches unless traffic is nearby or the weather is severe.  Sitting at the helm behind the windshield and dodger can get quite warm and still.  More than 99% of the time we sit back on the cockpit cushions on a Sport-A-Seat braced against the mizzen mast on the high side.  This affords a clear view all around the boat and places the watchperson out in the wind.  This helps greatly to avoid feeling seasick during black nights – a little wind on your face.  We each wear a watch.  Every 15 minutes the watchperson gets up and turns on the monitor to verify position on course and make any necessary course adjustments, turn on the radar (usually kept in standby mode overnight in order to save battery) and verify no targets or track those that are nearby; and check the trim of the sails and any changes in wind direction.  Doesn’t do a bit of good to look at the water because if something is ahead of you (like a tree trunk or flotsam), it would never be seen on a dark night.  Every hour or so of your watch, you usually get a bottle of water or hot cocoa or tea or whatever.  Bill also likes a few chocolate cookies or cracker snacks.  For some reason you always want to snack more when on watch at night by yourself.  Maybe to relieve boredom? 

That’s what we do.  Would love to hear from other sailors as to how they pass the time during night watches.

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