Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #2 Land Living

We now have free e-mail! Temporarily, at least. The Base Manager graciously offered to let us tap into a LAN line in the base office. So now we can send and receive, as well as surf the net, with no charges attached. Of course, that will change when we leave the base, but that won’t happen for another month or two.

Thanks to all who have written back to us so far. We value the contacts from up north and news of what’s happening with everyone there. Several responses asked about how we fared with the hurricanes in the area. When Tropical Storm Lily was due to pass through we had to return to the base so that Caloosa Spirit could be storm-prepped by the experts. However, the storm changed course and all we got was some extra wind and rain for a day or two. Hurricane Kyle hasn’t really affected us at all.

Today we’re having clouds, rain, and some lightning and thunder, although there really isn’t a major storm in the area. Over the course of the week the weather has been mostly spectacular—sun, breeze, and temperatures in the 80’s. Maybe folks up north don’t really want to hear that! The winds have been very light at times, so sleeping without a/c can be a little uncomfortable. Our deal on our room was to avoid using the a/c to avoid extra hours on the electric meter. On the boat we would have used our Hella fans, which really work great. We do have a couple of portable fans in the room that take the edge off. The humidity is only 69-70%, which is better than at home, so that makes a big difference.

I forgot to mention last time that the reason we moved into the base hotel for a month is because Caloosa Spirit is out of the water—“on the hard”, as we say. She needs to have some work done on her bottom (don’t we all!) before she is turned over to us (survey, painting, etc.). Also, we wanted some extra things added (thru-hulls for refrigeration and watermaker, grounding plates for single-sideband radio, and a new feathering propeller). The original waterline bootstripe was blue but had been painted green when Stardust changed all our colors to Kelly green. The cove stripe at window level was just green tape, so we decided to have both stripes painted with Awlgrip paint in a darker green. It looks great. Now we need to have the name repainted in the same darker color, but are having difficulty connecting with the artist! We didn’t want her to look like a Sun-Stardust-Sunsail charter boat any longer! The bimini (awning) and stackpak (sail cover) are still Kelly green. What is still in negotiation is that our dodger (windshield) is still the original gray and it really looks dumb attached to the green bimini. Down here the dodger has rarely been used. The surveyor discovered that we have apparently had another “hit” on our propeller shaft, because it and the engine are out of line, and the shaft is rubbing on the hull. So they are planning to fix all that before they put it back in the water. Then they will work on the in-the-water refurbishment issues like varnishing, etc.

Flora at Hodges Creek

We’ve been here almost 4 weeks now and yes, we do feel homesick at times. But we’re still happy with being here. We decided to go to church last Sunday, so we went looking for a place to go. There aren’t any UCC churches here. There are some Methodist churches, but they don’t seem to be United Methodist. Most of the other churches appear to be fundamentalist in nature. So we settled on going to St. George’s Anglican Episcopal Church in Road Town. We weren’t sure what to expect, but the service wasn’t too different from ours at First Congregational. Two things were very different. First, just about everything in the service was sung either by the congregation or by the priest. We knew most of the hymns, but there were A LOT of them! Second, the service lasted 2 ¼ hours! I was beginning to wonder if we had somehow inadvertently stayed for a congregational meeting, but the organist hadn’t yet played the postlude. By the way, the organist was a teenager, but very good. And the choir had 2 women and 5 or 6 men—some different than FCC. During the service the lay leader asked for any visitors to stand and introduce themselves, so we did, saying who we are and where our home church is. After the service a couple somewhere behind us asked if we had said we were from Indianapolis. We said yes we were, and they said they were too!! They are members of an Episcopal Church just south of FCC on Meridian St. They own a villa on the northwest side of Tortola that gets rented out, similar to the chartering arrangement on our boat. They come down several times a year and were here for a week this time. They’ll come back in November for Thanksgiving. They invited us to join them for lunch (at the BVI Yacht Club!) after church, then we met them for snorkeling the next day and they showed us their villa—very nice. It was fun to meet up and talk with someone who wasn’t related to getting work done on the boat, and who was from Indy! Their names are Fred and Bev Ruebeck, and, coincidentally, they also knew our friend Peter Krieg who died in a canoe accident in June. We told them we would stay in touch, and they invited us to have Thanksgiving with them. We’ll see how things go between now and then, but if we’re still here it would be nice to spend the holiday with friends.

We are learning a lot about life on Tortola. Island time disappears when the locals get behind the wheel!! We can’t figure out what the speed limit signs mean—minimum speeds? kilometers per hour? Driving on the left-hand side of the race track is still stressful for Jim, and we usually try to get home before dark. Jim doesn’t relish the idea of driving all the switch-backs in the dark after dinner, and we rarely see a guard-rail. Filling the gas tank has been interesting. The upside in going to the gas station is that we get full service. The downside is that “full service” means that a gas station employee, who has been standing around when we arrive, sticks the pump nozzle into the tank, and then stands around some more. No windshield wash or check under the hood. That’s the “full service” that costs $2.30 per gallon! We’ll try to find a cheaper station next time, but I think they all have “full service”.

Another interesting note about driving: The island’s first (and only) traffic signal light was recently installed, but is not yet in operation. We heard that it was tried out for one day, and the traffic was a TOTAL MESS!! No one knew how to follow the signals. We had heard (and chuckled at) some public service announcements on the radio about the meaning of the different colors on the light—lengthy explanations that green means go, red means stop, yellow means prepare to stop. Apparently, no one was listening. Or else that’s another indication of how much the islanders value their right to not follow traffic rules!

Today we rearranged the furniture in the room. We have two queen size beds, but we just discovered last night that one is more comfortable than the other, and we had been sleeping on the uncomfortable one because it’s closer to the balcony and breeze, as well as the one-and-only lamp in the room. So we switched the beds around and put the little office area we’ve put together (computer on a nightstand with printer and scanner on boxes next to it) in between the beds. We’re thinking we have GOT to get a stronger light bulb than the 40-watt that is in the one-and-only lamp, and maybe get a desk lamp or something for more light. However, finding such things may pose some problems. The selection in the “department stores” is a far cry from Meijer, WalMart, or KMart. We eat by candle light every night, because the table would be dark otherwise! This EXPENSIVE hotel room is far from luxurious. We finally got hot water after 5 days without it. Now we haven’t had any TV for 3 days. The satellite connection seems to be down. I’m wondering if they haven’t paid the bill, because several times there had been a message about paying the bill that interrupted what we were watching. And last night the toilet wouldn’t flush! Fortunately, that problem somehow fixed itself. If we’d had to wait for the hotel folks to fix it, we’d have had our legs crossed for a long time!

Our hotel room at Hodges Creek Hotel

Well, enough for now. The weather is beautiful again, and we’re just sitting around enjoying it. That sure beats working!

Till next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Saturday October 12, 2002

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