Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Saturday Oct 3, 2009
I was back in the US helping out my family and visiting when I received an email detailing how tragedy strikes instantly. The tsunami in the Samoas wiped out villages, boats and a friend of ours. Dan and his wife Joan gave us some great touring advice for northern Peru when we were anchored in Ecuador together. Dan was swept from the boat and drowned. It is so sad.
Another boat we know was swept though the town and all torn up. The owner was forced to grab what he could and abandon it to looters who were harrassing him.
It reminds me that sometimes even if things seem bad, they could be a lot worse and it could happen in an instant. Be happy for right now.
Posted on Sunday Sep 20, 2009
With the mast down we have been slaving on the boat. Weeks of work and the compression post is finally finished! There was a subtle problem with how the boat was orginally built and over the past 32 years things started to compress. The mast applies a downward force on the deck that is blanced by a compression post below (shown in brown). Unfortunately our compression post (strong teak) was mounted on top of a plywood sub-floor and ceiling (shown in light blue). The plywood compressed slightly over time and shifting the post.
I no likey. Here's how it was built with the orignal on top and new-improved construction on the bottom:
Step 6,039 was to pull off the compression post, table, wiring, molding, and just about everything that looked nice.
Anyway, step 10,104 was to cut out the compressed ceiling and fiberglass it. I should mention I no likey fiberglassing overhead. This foto shows the area that needs to be cut out and glassed.
This photo shows the sub-floor that needs to be replaced with something stronger. Purple heart was the wood I used as it is hard as concrete.
Our compression post isn't right under the mast, which is a bit odd. Due to the inside structures we couldn't move the post to the center, so I distributed the force using a 1/4" thick peice of stainless steel...very heavy duty.
In this photo, step 12,600, you can see the new (purple) sub-floor under the compression post. I haven't cleaned up the area yet, but things are coming together.
After building some new molding that fit flush to everything and reinstalling most of it. Step 14,212 was to take a photo of the almost finished work.
Now we just need about 50 teak plugs and our table back to finish this project. We decided to cut our table to a more narrow size and rip off the tacky formica. We have an artist working on a cool painting for our table top! It's going to look so fantastic!
Posted on Monday Sep 14, 2009
While doing all this sanding and manual labor my thoughts have wandered to strange happenings. Like these Tea Party people. WTF? Where have these people been living? Oh, let's see where have we seen rapid government expansion?
"We have now presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society," said Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate vying to replace Mr. Bush 2004.So now they are pissed that there is going to be health insurance reform? Things seem to be getting pretty crazy. They've degraded to the point where people don't think Obama is an American? Why didn't these crackers ask to see the birth certificate from Bush, Clinton, Other Bush, Reagan, etc.? It sounds like some of these people just can't handle a minority president and refuse to see logic or reason. Nevermind each presidental canidate is required to be US-born by law.... Check out these people.
Posted on Sunday Sep 6, 2009
Along came a cat.
We've been watching this older black and white street cat for over a month now. It was hit by a car and hasn't been able to heal. Someone tried to treat it with some iodine, but this cat needs to be kept isolated and heavily treated. We sadly watched it get worse as a bad staff infection set in. The kitty doesn't have any owners and often hangs out by the fishermen. Somone has been feeding it scraps, but we can't really find anyone who claims the old guy.
The other day I was making some cuts on a table saw and I spotted him under a parked car. He was looking really weak. Another friend of ours, Tari, has also been watching his plight and encouraged us to trap him and see if he could be treated or put down.
So we put our wild cat capturing skills back into action and brought him up to Tari's. His injuries were a lot worse than we expected and he was suffering. It tore us apart, but we called the vet to put the old guy down. I went out and dug a hole for him and Tari picked some flowers. When the vet examined him he said the cat had a poor chance at living and the treatment would be very painful. He thought it was right thing to put him down too.
I miss seeing the old guy hanging out in the shade in random places, but he isn't suffering anymore.
Posted on Saturday Sep 5, 2009
Latin music doesn't really do much for me or Sherrell. But there is one band from Puerto Rico which I really like. Here's one of their latest songs that is fun to sing along to. I like the way Spanish rhymes so well.
No hay nadie como tu (There is no one like you)
I first heard of this band when I heard what has become my all time favorite Spanish language song: Atr√?∆?¬©vete-te-te! (Dare to to to...) It's about daring girls to be more sexual and real. It's trite, but I like the rhyme....
They have a lot of different sounds and are usually controversial.
Posted on Saturday Aug 29, 2009
We have been delaying the inevitable. Our mast sits on the deck, and beneath the deck is a post that supports the deck. All fine and good. However over time and a lot of sailing the post started to compress into the floor and ceiling. Hmmm. A few years ago in El Salvador, we loosened all the stays, carefully jacked up the support and inserted two stainless plates on the top and bottom to both shim it up and distribute the force. We also built a new support around the plates.
Well like the exhaust, I knew this problem needed to be addressed in a more serious fashion, meaning taking the mast out, then the post and rebuilding everything. Prior to doing any long off shore passages like crossing the Pacific this had to be fixed. So I started searching Mexico for places where I could take the mast off and do the work with the boat in the water (saving money by not being in the boat yard).
The prices in Mexico have steadily crept up since we left. I was a bit disappointed, but then I found a guy with a crane here and a basin where we could get our boat in during high tide. The price was good, so we decided to try it.
How to pull out the mast? Get a bunch of volunteers to help, one crane and keep your fingers crossed.
At high tide we entered the basin with just about every thing ready. Once the crane hooked up to the lifting rope I set up we began to disconnect the rigging.
(Rosemary and Richard helping me hunched down at the base)
The crane operator and Tim (from Land Sea) look on at our frantic de-rigging.
We then lifted it from the boat while trying to guide it and stabilize it while the crane operator drives around. A bit chaotic, but no damage! They even put it under the roof so it will be out of the sun and rain!
(Richard, David and I wrestling the mast)
With the mast gone, our boat looks a little silly. Here we are parked against the wall before heading back to Fish Hook.
Posted on Saturday Aug 29, 2009
We finished another annual round of testing in David, Panama a couple of weeks ago and got the good news. She still has about another 1.5 years of adjuvant hormone treatment left before we have to consider what is next. We√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√Ę‚??¬Ęre going to see the original surgeon in Mexico for the 5 year check-up and plan out the next stage.
It√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√Ę‚??¬Ęs been a long road with a lot of ups and downs, scares and disappointments, tears and anger but we are hanging in there. Sherrell√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√Ę‚??¬Ęs been getting healthier and we both can√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√Ę‚??¬Ęt wait until she is off the hormone medicine as it affects your brain and body in weird ways.
In the same vain, I just read a review of a book, √?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨√?‚??Manning Up in Alaska√?¬Ę√Ę‚??¬¨¬Ě. Despite the title, it sounds interesting. It probably hits too close to home for either of us to read, but the author had terrible throat cancer, stage 3. After a 9 hour operation he was left unable to swallow properly and endured 4 months of chemo treatment. He started a foundation to take people going through treatment out sailing to help relieve them from the stress. He also went cruising and had some of the crazy cruising mishaps we've experienced. Here's a link to the book http://tiny.cc/IiCQS if you're interested.
Posted on Monday Aug 24, 2009
(Warning: Eric rants!)
I don’t normally pay much attention to the latest in
The WHO ranked
So I was a bit offended by the people who were offended that even
My real problem is with all these people on TV screaming about health care. (Keep in mind I can only see Internet news and for TV it’s Fox News and CNN International and CNN International isn’t at all interested in the subject). Please, the system is broken and the insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and lawyers broke it. Let’s not try to defend the current system. I see it has gotten to the point where some people show up with guns to the political rallies. What the hell?! People are not getting proper medical treatment or going bankrupt trying (about 50% of bankruptcies are as a result of medical expenses) should be the focus of anger.
It is crazy. Medicare and Medicaid are social programs. So are the police and fire services, big deal. The bulk of the non-war related deficit is in Medicare/Medicaid so there is a lot of room for “social” improvement. Why are so many people afraid of trying to fix some that is broken for most Americans? And I say “most” Americans because after experiencing health care of other countries I didn’t realize how bad I had it.
I can empathize with people who have steady jobs, employer covered insurance with reasonable co-pays not being interested in change. However having had major health care issues in Mexico and Nicaragua and smaller but non-trivial check-up type exams in Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador, even that insured service isn’t great in the US. (Sherrell would be denied insurance coverage in the
As an uninsured foreigner, for example, I can walk into a clinic, see a doctor ($4.18 in
If I need hospitalization the costs run between $15 (
I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of the finances behind each country’s system. However looking at the WHO rankings I see these countries are no where near the high
While I don’t trust politicians, I do think a new approach is needed to health care and trying just about anything is worth the risk. The worst that could happen is we could increase the deficit and the same people don’t get health care. It’s not like we are going to war where people will die and trillions of dollars will be lost. I really don’t think the hostility shown against the new plan is warranted at all.
Health Care is like dealing with cancer, there is no good solution. No one is going to be jumping for joy but I think the
The history of
Unfortunately I feel the
Posted on Friday Aug 14, 2009
About 2 years ago in Nicaragua I had the wet exhaust side blow out (there are two sides: a wet and a dry side) and leak hot salt water everywhere. Let me tell you nothing corrodes metal faster than boiling hot salt water. Thinking, I was prepared because I had noticed the decay and searched out some parts back in Mexico, I assumed a couple days of work and I'll have it fixed. No go. I had purchased the wrong size parts! As usual I went to the internet to look for other parts and found that the type of steel I was using wasn't a good choice anyway. After many failed searches in Central America it took someone flying into Nicaragua from the US to bring some nice new 314 stainless parts.
After searching out all the leaks, everything was good. So I decided to pull off the insulation on the exhaust riser just to see how good that side was. It's the dry side of the exhaust before the salt water is injected for cooling. Stupidly I thought, I'm sure its fine and didn't pull of the itchy insulation earlier when I was buying parts for the wet side. Yikes, about 1/2 the thickness had rusted away underneath the insulation! I did a quick estimate and figured that would give me about 500 hours before it would fail. Based on my previous searching, I didn't stand much of a chance getting the parts again without someone flying them in. So I put it off until I could get parts again.
Flash forward to the present and now the time has come. I couldn't easily find the parts in Ecuador or Panama, but the problem is only getting worse. I pulled out the exhaust assembly and took it down to a great machine shop here in Golfito. In about a day and $55 they removed the rusty mess and machined some new stainless for it. The exhaust looks so good I took a picture of it before wraping it back up with insulation. Isn't it sparkly?
Posted on Thursday Jul 30, 2009
A great way to save money is not to use a dock or a mooring ball and just anchor. Well, we started slowly breaking the habit. We did some work for trade of a buoy here in Golfito for a few months. That was nice and I didn't have to scrub the anchor chain every couple of weeks or so. But now we've really moved up -- to a dock! We are required to bond our "vehicle" to avoid paying a customs tax on the value of the "vehicle". This law is meant for cars and trucks. But not knowing what to do with boats, they decided it should apply too.
The trouble is the only places that can bond in Golfito are marinas. Very expensive marinas. We did negotiate a rate, and we only have to do it for 3 months before we can get a new cruising permit. So we've been saving money to average out the stupidly high marina costs. We should still be able to average under our budget for the year...we hope!
Here's a picture of us at the dock, breaking a 3 year long habit of anchoring. I waited until some rain was coming to take the photo. Notice our full on gypsy appearance? We even have a clothes line on blocks rigged on the foredeck because having your laundry done is super expensive too!
I've taken to jogging up the jungle mountain nearby with Sherrell (who walks) and Reilly (a dog who runs). We do that about 2-3 times a week and we put our bicycles back together. Yes! The same crappy bikes from Ecuador which we rode in Panama too! They still work despite being wrapped in plastic on our deck and sailed about 700 miles.
Here's a view of Golfito from on top of the jungle mountain.
Here's some photos from a nearby anchorage to remind us of what waits once our 3 months are up and the rainy season has calmed down.
One REALLY BAD thing about being at the dock is keeping Jordan from going bonko on the dock and racing around other boats. We put a harness on her and tie her to a little cat run we made so she can hang out on deck, but not escape. You can see she's doing alright.
There are ships which bring boats in and drop them off. Imagine having the money to ship your boat around to wherever you want to be, then flying in all big shot like and using it after you've paid some guys to clean it up and sort it all out for you. Well it happens more than I thought. Got an extra $15,000-$30,000 you can be cool too. The first day we arrived we passed a Yacht Path ship loading up a sailboat. Look closely and you'll see the sailboat sticks out over both sides of the ship. If the owner only knew...haha.
We have had a great time here so far. There are TONS of animals around in the jungle and even in the water. One day a dolphin put on a show right by our boat!
Well not much more to write really. I'm trying to give some English lessons to a friend who wants to learn. Our radar is still broken, but we might have parts coming to Maryland. I'm (Eric) am going back to the East Coast to visit family in Sept. It will be my first time back in the US since 2004...yikes!
We are going to keep working on the boat and getting ourselves organized now that we can use the dock space which is an added bonus, along with power and water. But we both would prefer to be out on the anchor or even the mooring again.