Sunday, November 10, 2013

Its hard to be on the hard

21:00, Friday, 8 Nov, 2013 Still on the hard.

We certainly didn’t expect to be writing this in the same location as last week but, with a boat, you have to expect the unexpected….

The re-installation of the shaft went well and we had it buttoned down within an hour of starting but as we were re-connecting the dripless shaft seal we realized that the bellows did not compress the way it is supposed to. A call to the company clarified the problem: the item has a 6-year lifespan. We have owned Gosling for 6 and who knows when it was last replaced. Getting parts delivered to Panama can be an onerous prospect but one of the guys on a neigbouring boat recommended a call to another cruiser who was arriving next week. Lucky for us they agreed and the part will arrive here next Wednesday. Another example of how the cruising community works together.

With the prospect of another week on the hard Fran and I had to reconsider our plans. Now that we are at least a week later than planned we may miss Cartagena altogether but there is a silver lining to that cloud. Most of our Canadian cruising friends will be back soon and we may all be in the San Blas Islands for Christmas. We have been advised that there is a welder and canvas/sail repair shop in Puerto Linton, on the way to the San Blas. We may stop in there and get the final items done that we were planning to get done in Cartagena.

We haven’t had time to be idle and have progressed lot of jobs on our to-do list. Most of the running rigging is done, the mizzen sail and stack-packs are up, all of the thru-hulls have been serviced, the new AIS radio and new fans installed, a few deck fittings re-bedded and today we bought and installed a humungous 80 lb Bugel (Wasi) anchor to replace one of the 60 lb CQR anchors that we have been having issues with on sandy bottoms. Also, today I wet sanded the hull in preparation for a new coat of anti-fouling paint. By the end of the job I was being called the Blue Man from all the blue sanding residue.
A messy job but Fran doesn't want to do it!
She'd rather do the shiny bits

Wednesday was an excursion to Panama City to stock up on items not available on this side. The store of choice (along with 2 marine stores and a big grocery store) was Price Mart, a COSTCO style store. Another $500 + day!! Our shopping list was pared down considerably but there are still a few items that elude us like short hacksaw blades, mini tubes of grease, whipping twine, coriander seeds, an SAE ¾ in wrench, etc. Provisioning for 6 months can be a chore. We won’t be anywhere near big box stores and specialty marine stores  for months if at all.

Yesterday, Bill and his nephew, Linden, (Optical Illusion) arrived. It is nice to see some of our old sailing buddies beginning to show up. Janet and her niece will arrive next week with Tom and Shirley (Rio Nimpkish) following a few days later.

The weather continues to be hot and muggy. The rain has been much less frequent this week and appears to have slipped inland. Perhaps we are at the change of the annual weather pattern here. We were treated to a rare spectacle the other day with a set of twisters over the landmass south of us. Not sure if they were over land or over Lake Gatun but they lasted about 10 minutes.
                                                                      Funnel cloud

19:30, Sunday, 10 Nov 2013 Still on the hard.

Another thunderstorm is brewing and I am on the bow of the boat watching the lightning pass to the south of us. So far we have been spared and the storm seems to have bypassed us but yesterday’s storm sat over us for about 2 hours with driving rain and lightning.

It has been another hot and muggy day. The prep work for the anti-fouling paint is almost complete. It has been a good thing to have the extra time to some of the non-essentials this time around. All of the thru-hull outlets have been faired and little dings filled in. This week we have to get some barrier coat to prep a few spots and we’ll be ready for the final anti-fouling application. It’ll be nice to be afloat again. Fran spent the afternoon with a ladies group doing whatever ladies groups do. She is now in the after cabin practicing on her new guitar. Price Mart had the ideal one for her, compact and easy to store on the boat. She took up the guitar while we were at our friends’ place in Kelowna, both of which play and serenade each other. Now, if I could only get the gumption to learn the harmonica or the Irish flute, both of which have been aboard, somewhere, for the past 6 years…

Looks like the storm is either doubling back or another is forming to windward of us. Whatever the case we should get a downpour soon. More in a week or so and, hopefully, afloat.
Another of Fran's bird shots, this one a Common Black Hawk.

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