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Winches, diving and company in Bonaire

Obtaining a working windlass was the priority task for the day. In the morning, Britt from Sea Otter passed by and I used the opportunity to discuss the project. He offered some good thoughts regarding weatherproofing the wood support. On his advice we started applying acetone to the wood keeping it covered from the rain which was falling sporadically.

I made a trip to Budget Marine to see if they had the map we needed yet. They didn’t but the lady was out to get it so it’s possible we could get our hands on it today. Next stop was the dive school to check on our tanks. I learned that we won’t get them until Friday but the manager said I could use their tanks until then using the fill rate applicable to owned tanks. That was nice.

Back on the boat Helen and I made plans for an afternoon dive with the tanks off of the back of Dignity where we were. Note – we have moved a little north since the last dive off of the boat. After lunch and another application of acetone to the wood base to the windlass we splashed. This was our first dive on the tanks for some time and Helen was a little nervous of the depth. Our plan was to descend in stages checking buoyancy and equipment at each stage. We leveled off at 76 feet and did the usual parallel runs of the reef ascending on each turn. Overall the dive lasted 47 minutes. The reef was pretty much identical to the last two dives on the hookah. The marine life was significantly more abundant on this dive.

After the dive it was back to work on the windlass. I applied fiberglass resin to the exposed woodwork to seal it off from the elements. We then seated the new windlass on it’s gasket applying a polyurethane seal to both sides (another suggestion from Britt). I then attached the new gearbox and motor from below (I hate working in the anchor chain locker). The first test seemed fine. I then discovered the windlass wouldn’t take any load. It kept slipping. This is when I discovered I had forgotten to insert the key into the groove on the spindle. To remedy this I had to get back into the anchor chain locker, remove the motor and gear box, put the key into the groove and reassemble everything. After that everything was fine.

After all this it was cleanup time. We had invited Britt and Terri over from Sea Otter along with Dennis and Allayne from Audrey Paige, who we’d last met in Grenada, over for sun downers. The boat was a mess with all the dive gear out and all the tools and old windlass parts lying around. We managed it.

We had a great evening. Everyone showed up at 6pm and only left for home at 11:30pm. Terri left us with some prints of artwork she produced which was extremely generous.

The Sea Otters are planning to head east today although they had a few possible excuses to stay an extra day. If they do, Terri will be around today to give Helen a water colour lesson.

As for the rest of the day, no idea at present. We may do another dive, we may not. I fancy a rest from boat work but often boredom can stimulate activity. Who knows?

Maintenance

Back into the old routine today of fixing things in exotic places.  In this case we have Scott from CatCo aboard giving Dignity a full checkout alongside doing the chip upgrade.  As part of this we moved Dignity yesterday onto the dock at Prickly Bay Marina and plugged in to charge up everything.  We were quite surprised how much gunk had collected on the anchor chain.

Yesterday evening we went ashore to enjoy Happy Hour at “De Big Fish” with a few of the local cruisers amongst whom were some old faces. Bees Knees and Cat Tales were both (all four) there. Also we saw Bill and Sue from Unchained who we last saw, briefly, back in Dominica. Also were Dennis and Elaine from Audrey Paige. We stayed quite a bit longer than an hour before heading over to the marina where we were tied up to have pizza for dinner. We had a couple of extra drinks with this and were a bit sozzled by the time we returned to Dignity.

Scott arrived around 9:30 and it was back to the bar to socialize. Didn’t go to bed until after midnight. This morning I had a nasty hangover.

Today we’re at work checking the boat out. We’ve already left the dock to perform some tests while under motor and are completing the work back on anchor.

We’re going touring with Scott tomorrow. We have a taxi lined up who will take us around the island to go hiking to waterfalls and to go to the fish night on the west coast. Everyone says the fish night is good fun and tomorrow is special as they’ll have live bands too.