Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #5 Two Steps Forward...

We got a dinghy today! A temporary one, but a dinghy nonetheless. As those of us who value living on the water know, this is a major improvement in our quality of life. We really enjoyed using it to go to dinner to a nearby restaurant.

We haven’t done as much waiting for the last couple of days. It appears that John, the refurbishment supervisor, wants the boat work completed quickly to get us out by Dec. 1. There are 50 new yachts coming into the fleet by the end of the month, and they need all the space for them that they can get. Yesterday the varnish guy Dragon (some Islanders have interesting names!) started his work, and today Curt and Robbie were working on some technical stuff, and Cleve was doing some fiberglass work. If anyone else shows up they’ll be tripping over each other! Of course, some things get half done because they discover they don’t have the right part in the Base’s storeroom. But it looks like things may really start moving. Today, instead of replacing the little red button on the throttle control, Curt replaced the whole throttle control assembly! When he got finished he was so pleased with completing it that he started the engine, forgetting that the stop cable had been removed and that the raw water hose to cool the engine had been disconnected. Needless to say there was a mad scramble down to the engine room to shut down the engine! The guys have also had the benefit of Jim’s electric screwdriver/drill and keep hinting about “borrowing” it the night before we leave for good. Needless to say, Jim doesn’t leave it on the boat overnight.

The traffic light is now fully functional and the left turn lane is no longer a block long! And there didn’t seem to be any accidents or tie-ups! That’s progress, Tortola-style!

Dragon, the varnisher, had disappeared since Sunday, but today he came back and took a couple of our doors home to work on them. We hope we see them again tomorrow morning! Some gelcoat (fiberglass) work has gotten done and more is scheduled for tomorrow. Some engine controls have also gotten fixed. Even the staff complains about starting projects and then getting pulled away to do other projects. It is hard on them not getting things completed, because then they have to figure out what they were doing when they return. There are just too many boats here for the number of staff.

Today and yesterday a fair amount got accomplished on the boat. Of course some of it Jim did himself, but we’re not willing to pay for expensive parts. The 30amp breaker on the stern for shorepower had gone bad but we were not about to pay $60 for the part. Once they brought it onboard Jim installed it. It meant some refashioning of the cover plate, which Jim decided to do himself before someone else screwed it up. Some of the workmen here are real artisans, but some don’t think carefully about what they are doing until it is too late.

Sunsail fleet

The locals don’t like how long the summer has held on (it’s still 85 degrees each day) and fear it will mean a “warm” winter. We tell them about snow. They laugh. We aren’t tired of the weather yet!

One day seems to blend into another. Each day we get down to the boat early to observe and help as much as possible. Then we return to the room for lunch, go back to the boat, swim in the pool, and return to the room for dinner. We also entertain ourselves with watching the activity on the dock below our room. We envy the charterers when they arrive, but not when they leave! The pace of the repairs is slow but steady, and that’s tolerable. Tomorrow the varnishing and fiberglass work may be completed. We may be able to move aboard next week and the crew can finish other items while we are there. Then we’ll have LOTS of hot water!

Incidentally, we now understand a basic concept of “island time”. Once at customs the officer asked us if we had received a form just then or a long time ago. We said no, we had gotten it just a couple of days before. He said, “That’s a long time ago.” So it seems that anytime in the past is “a long time ago”. In like manner, it appears that “tomorrow” means not necessarily the day after this, but any time in the future! So when one of the work crew says he’ll be back tomorrow, we just smile and nod. It’s easier that way.

This morning when we turned on the radio to hear the weather we were greeted with Christmas music, Caribbean style. We thought that was odd until we realized that Christmas really isn’t that far off, and Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated here. We remembered seeing Christmas decorations the other day in the stores, complete with a dancing and singing Santa!

This afternoon we had the most delightful surprise. Last January we met some fellow owners (Greg & Carla Matviak of s/v Magic) with a boat going out of service from our same charter company. We stayed in touch by e-mail and had hoped that we would meet up again at this time. We had been disappointed at not hearing from them, and we were afraid their plans had changed. But with no phone call or e-mail, they just showed up! They had just arrived on the island the day before and came to look us up. It was great to renew our acquaintance, and we had dinner together. We were excited to have a social life again! Like us, they are here indefinitely getting their boat in the water and outfitted, so we’ll probably see a fair amount of them. Spending social time with others helps us feel less homesick.

We spent today doing laundry (at a laundromat) and getting groceries (at several different stores—no “one-stop shopping” here). Yep, we have to do those things here in Paradise just like regular people. We had to fit them in when no work was being done on the boat. “Tomorrow” we may take some time off and do something fun. After all, we are retired!

Until “tomorrow”,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Monday November 11, 2002

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