Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #7 Summer Holidays

We made a whirlwind trip to St. Thomas to pick up some shipments and to do some shopping. Getting there took about 6 hours, but that included clearing Customs & Immigration at both West End, Tortola, BVI, and Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI. The anchorage wasn’t very pleasant because of the ferry wakes, but it was great to be out on the water. We picked up 4 boxes of stuff shipped from home and 3 packages of new equipment. What an adventure to get it all to the boat with our temporary dinghy (9’ instead of 12’)! Fortunately, it was a successful adventure. It felt like we traipsed all over St.Thomas (mostly riding in the $1 taxis, but a lot of walking also) looking for a dinghy engine that is supposed to exist, but I think it’s a fantasy. We also did some housewares shopping in K-Mart (bedding, rugs, etc.). Yes, there are 2 K-Marts on St. Thomas, along with a full complement of fast food restaurants. We ate lunch in Wendy’s. The burger was only the second one I’ve had since leaving the States.

These days have all run together. We got everything that we purchased in St. Thomas put away, and the boat now looks lived in. Jim has been working on the bottom of the dinghy that we will leave here with. It’s a 12’ RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) that came with the boat 5 years ago. As the name implies, it has soft inflatable tubes with a solid fiberglass bottom. It’s had a lot of hard use and needs refurbishing on all sides. The charter company doesn’t have a 5-year-old 10hp engine to go with the dinghy, so that’s why we were looking for a new one, preferably a 15hp. We’re still looking. The 5hp on the temporary dinghy seems v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. Jim has also been rebedding several of the opening portlights (windows) to keep the rainwater out.

This was our first date anniversary, so it seemed appropriate to go out for dinner after working all day. The Sugar Mill is a restaurant built in the ruins of a 17th century sugar cane mill. It has a great view, but the work of the day kept us from getting there soon enough to enjoy it. It’s hard to see the ocean in the dark, but we enjoyed the surf sounds. Sitting in the ruins I couldn’t help wondering what artifacts of our society will one day be used in a manner that we can’t presently envision.

Thanksgiving! We missed being home with the family, but, truthfully, it didn’t seem much like Thanksgiving. However, we’re aware of all that we have to be thankful for, having made it this far in our retirement dream. It was a full work day around here and we did some work on the boat (as always) in the morning. Later in the afternoon we went down to the other end of the island to meet Greg & Carla Matviak of s/v Magic (another couple with a boat going out of service) at Frenchman’s Cay Hotel. We swam in the pool and had a turkey dinner in the restaurant. The view of all the islands up Drake Channel was spectacular, and the breeze was constant (see picture). On the way I thought about singing “Over the River and Through the Woods”, but it didn’t seem to fit—especially the part about the sleigh going through the white and drifted snow.

Frenchman's Cay for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving with Carla

Steve, the rigger, showed up today to start the work on the rigging (replacing the mainsail, fixing the reef lines in the boom, replacing some lifelines, etc.). However, we had to send him away because of social plans for the day. This afternoon we met some other new acquaintances (Fred & Bev Ruebeck with a villa in Long Bay—we met them at church in October) at Smuggler’s Cove for snorkeling, then went back to their villa for another turkey dinner. It was great to smell the gravy! This was Mike’s 29th birthday, but we didn’t get to talk to him. First time, I think.

Ruebecks also had house guests, and today we took them all on the boat to The Baths on Virgin Gorda. We couldn’t really sail due to poor wind and time constraints (we wanted to get back before dark), but everyone seemed to have a great time. The sunset as we motored back was lovely, even though we were slightly panicky about docking the boat after dark. It all turned out fine.

Today we went to church with Ruebecks and Winslows and then up to Skyworld for lunch. The name describes this place. It’s up on the mountain with a 360 degree view. The socializing over the weekend was fun, especially since this week will be a push to get most of the work on the boat finished.

All the Christmas decorations are up in town, but it’s hard to feel like Christmas is coming. I guess we’ll have to get used to celebrating the holidays in summer! I don’t know how we’ll do Christmas shopping—on-line may be the only way. Hopefully, the Christmas spirit will hit soon, or else we’ll run out of time to get any gifts. We’re so focused on getting the boat finished and out of here it’s hard to think of anything else. While living aboard is far superior to that hotel room, we’re getting antsy to move on.

I drove today to do laundry while Jim stayed on the boat to work with the rigger. I made it to East End and back with no mishaps. Good for me! We called Mike tonight because we hadn’t called him on his birthday, but we got cut off. When we got our cell phone connected, we had to buy a phone card. Of course, it’s not just any run-of-the-mill phone card. It’s a special “Flexphone” card that can only be used in the BVI. When we bought the second one we were trying to be conservative, thinking that we may get out of here soon. We misjudged how much time we would get out of a $20 card, since the per minute rate to call the States is $2.45. It would have been better to have Mike call us back, because the rate is much lower to receive calls—$.75. Oh, well. We’ll just go buy another $50 card tomorrow, since we’ll be here for at least another week, probably longer. No one can call us until we get another card—even locally.

Still working on rigging. The tie rod that holds the chainplate that holds the shrouds that hold the mast up (that’s the important part!) needed to be taken out, cleaned, and rebedded. It’s been a major project that still isn’t finished. The operations manager is still talking about getting us out of here by the end of the week. Considering all that still needs doing, that doesn’t seem realistic. And we just discovered that the galley sink has a leak from a puncture—not a good thing. And the freezer isn’t working. They’d probably like to get us out of here so that we don’t keep finding things that need fixing.

Magic has arrived here at the base after getting out of the same boat yard Caloosa Spirit was in. We know how liberated Greg & Carla feel!

We think we need to give up the rental car soon. The expense is more than we bargained for, and we feel like we’re pushing our luck to keep driving around here. The law of averages says that we can only avoid the nutcases that pull in front of us and stop in the middle of the road for just so long. And that’s just the cows and goats! The drivers are a whole other story!!

The tie rod got fixed and the mast is still up—a very good thing. Most of the work is done, but we don’t have our sails—a very bad thing. The sink is no longer leaking, and the freezer works! J We got the dinghy engine (not the one we were looking for in St. Thomas—I sill think that engine is a fantasy) but we don’t have the dinghy—or our ladder, helmseat, genoa track, or bimini and dodger. So we won’t be leaving for several more days, at least. Maybe we’ll have time to enjoy some Christmas shopping—minus the heavy coats, boots, hats, gloves, etc.

We’ll sign off for now, but will keep you all posted. Happy Holidays!
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Saturday December 7, 2002

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