Monday, 26 November 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away ….. Nov 2012

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Downtown Colon, thru the taxi window – zero redeeming features and no that is not blue sky
18 – 25 November 2012: Colon, PanamaPB250004 
How many days did it rain before Noah filled his Ark???

Yes we know we are anchored in a rain forest, yes we know it is the rainy season and yes we had been told that November was the wettest month – but quite frankly we have all had enough.  This is our 6th consecutive day of almost nonstop torrential rain, this is rain like you have NEVER seen before.  Everything and everyone is wet, nearly all boats ~ old, new, sail, power, carefully maintained or neglected are fighting leaks inside, it is not a happy place to be right now. 

Today power to our dock has been off since the early hours and now the entire marinas power has gone, that includes the laundry where our washing is sitting in a machine full of water getting a good soak.  I will add it didn’t need a good soak because it was well and truly wet before it got to the laundry.  When the main power goes so does the internet connection, next will be the water supply but I don’t think we will go thirsty.

There is good news though

All the work on the engine mounts, coupling and alignment has been completed and miraculously  there was a break in the weather for a couple of hours a few days ago and we let the lines go and motored out into the bay for a test drive.  Olive the Volvo engine ran smoothly and she settled down on her engine mounts like they were a comfy old pair of slippers, long may she be happy with them! It was a huge relief especially for skipper, this has been a problem we have been managing for several years now and it was always going to be a  challenging place to take on such a big project.  All in all it has gone very well and we are nearly ready for the next cruising season.

Time to Stock Up
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PB220018So this week has been spent finally getting everything else in order, I did a run to the supermarket on the morning shuttle bus – in the pouring rain, filled the supermarket trolley to overflowing then loaded it into the shuttle bus – in the rain, got back to the marina and we loaded it into a trolley for the trip back to the boat – in a torrential downpour, so everything had to be completely dried before stowing, what fun.  I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity to buy along the way this season but it is always easier to stock and stow while tied at a dock so I will fill the lockers to the brim.

Mark has had 4 attempts at getting more diesel from the elusive fuel barge before he was finally successful yesterday.  Not great having the fuel jugs sitting at the ready in the leaking and soggy cockpit for 4 days but its an hour long job stowing them each time so unavoidable really.  No photos for you just yet of the lovely new cockpit cushions in the cockpit as the cockpit seems to have been redeployed as a paddling pool!

Getting rid of unwanted stowaways
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No, not a good advert for Barilla pasta, (maybe they should think of adding a plastic bag) must admit we do prefer to add the meat of our own choice rather than having weevils thrown in for free.  You could argue that I shouldn’t be so silly to buy pasta in a box where you can’t precheck it in the supermarket but we like this pasta and 3 out of the 5 boxes were ok.  Mustn’t just pick on the pasta though, in the past month we have bought weevils in our flour and oats,  Often while the “skippers” talk about engines and blue stuff at happy hour, the “admirals” talk about our latest weevils infestations ~ there are some weevil free boats but I think maybe they just haven’t found them yet or don’t want to own up!!  PB220038 Once on board they just seem to get into everything, basically everything we eat now is prechecked for weevils but I suspect the odd one slips through into our diet.

Thanksgiving Dinner without the dinner

Always keen for an excuse not to have to cook onboard we put our names down for the potluck American Thanksgiving dinner this week.  For $9 each the restaurant would provide the turkey and venue, and we would all bring along a potluck dish and a fun night would be had by all.  Canadian Thanksgiving Dinner last month had been a huge success so hopes were high for a good night out.  But something went horribly wrong, it seems nobody told several of the foreign boats in port what a potluck was so they came empty handed, then the turkey ran out and chaos followed.  The bar staff were totally overwhelmed by happy hour drinks orders, taking nearly ten minutes to process in the computer each drinks order, a total shambles.  The restaurant staff did finally managed to rustle up some more food but really the moment had passed.  A wee dram of our finest Balvenie Whiskey back onboard after dinner accompanied by Mark on guitar ended another soggy evening a tad more positively with Bill and Caroline off Juffa, and Andy and Sue off Spruce.

One step forward, two steps backPB250003

Yesterday Mark decided to reattach our SSB and VHF Radios, these have been unconnected during our time here to avoid damage to them in the event of a lightening strike.  Our SSB radio stopped working when we left Colombia and we had been very happy to find a radio expert in the Port at Colon who spent several hours identifying and fixing the problem before we flew back to New Zealand.  The radio was tested in his workshop and all was working however it is not receiving or transmitting now, its a major setback for us as it is how we keep in touch with all our cruising friends throughout the season.  Hopefully he may be able to get it back in working order before we leave but tomorrow is a public holiday and the days are slipping away.  We still need to get our sails back on but we really need the rain to stop for long enough.  There is a possible weather window forming at the end of the week for us to head north, we want to be ready to go if it develops.
We need to leave before we sink!

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