The last few days have been spent in La Mona, swimming with the whale sharks, lazing around and late afternoon beach floaters, where you just in the water and chat with friends. The temp and humidity have come up a few degrees so it is hotter. Sailing and cruising constantly come up with new challenges and my current one is dealing with a broken rib, I think it is the floating rib at the bottom of the rib cage. So far it has been OK, 500mg of paracetamol every 4 hours is helping out. Getting on and off the boat is a tad painful and by the end of the day I am looking forward to sleeping !
Of course there was beer involved with the incident which caused the injury in the first place. Nothing dramatic or from abuse. I was reaching into the bottom of the refrigerator, which is rather deep as the beer in the bottom is always the coldest. I stretched in to far and felt something give, it was my rib against the edge of the opening which is at the top of the fridge. Damn………….
This morning, La Mona is deserted, Drifter has gone to the village for supplies and internet, as has True Companion. Odyssey, myself and Sea Note head for Don Juan. The rest of the fleet are either already in Don Juan or will arrive from the village later today. I get to Don Juan and find Lungtau, Ivor, Sara M, True Blue V, Red Witch 2 already there.
The gathering is to witness the careening of a 65 foot timber Schooner SARA M, built by Alan Mcdonald, a Canadian. He single hands the schooner and has no motor or autopilot. Tonight he is going to beach it on the high tide and when the tide goes out it will be high and dry on a sandy beach. He has a leak and can’t find it internally so hopes an external check will pinpoint the spot where his hull is leaking. It is pretty unusual to see a careening so everyone here is offering help and we all want to witness the event. I would imagine with the whole fleet here there will be a party this evening at some point.
Careening day arrives and Alan collects me from my boat around 10.00am, Ray from Sea Note and Tim from Lungta are also helping out. We pile onto Sara M and Alan sets a small sail, we manually crank up the huge anchor and we are off towards the beach. Alan has already picked his spot, set some marker points and cleared the area of stones by walking at low tide. We gently edge closer to the shore, Alan hops over the side and checks the keel against the bottom, we nudge the sand and come to a standstill, the aft anchor having been set. An anchor is set forward and off to the starboard to counteract the slight wind. We sit and wait, slowly Sara M settles into the sand, we drink a few beers, we eat sandwiches prepared by Chicala, Rays wife and we wait. Item had been moved to the starboard side, the boom swung and and the dingy is hanging off the rails. We want the boat tofall to the starboard. We wait, the tide recedes and Sara M is sat upright. We are thinking she is going to stay upright. We hang off the port side and a list starts to appear. We wait, the list increases, the tide continues to go out and the list gets greater, stuff starts to slide across the deck. The list gets bigger and bigger, it becomes difficult to move around the decks, Alan goes over the side and states there is more to come as Sara M has is not laying on her side as yet. The list gets greater, now its around 40 degrees. The tide falls and finally we come to a stop.
We all go over the side to start the clean, big brushes, scrapers and hand brushes are quickly in action and soon the bottom is clean. Alan starts to check the boards and calking between the boards and butts. A few suspects places are identified and removal of the tar and hemp are removed, cleaned and replaced. By the time the tide has finally receded the work has finished, re caulking has taken place and patches are repainted with anti foul. A whole host of people had turned up by this time with plenty of helping hands. We then settle down to spagetti bolognesse. Eaten standing in the knee high deep water or sat in a dingy. It is now 6.00pm and the whole day has gone. We leave Alan stranded on the beach at a 45 degree angel. He is going to try and get off this evening around 1.00pm but this is unlikely at it was a 2.3 metre tide and the tide tonight is only 1.76 metres. More likely is tomorrow around 2.00pm as the tide is 2.45 metres. So once again he will have helpers. Despite offers of sleeping horizontal on other peoples boats Alan declines offers and decides to stay aboard Sara M. It will be a challenge to find somewhere to sleep, he does have a hammock and that will help him to deal with the ever changing angles his boat will be in over the next 18 hours.
So now we have 9 boats here in Don Juan and 8 at the village anchorage, thats likely to be the size of the fleet for the remains of the summer. Smaller than other years but a cosy bunch. Next event is the full moon party at La Gringa on the 21st August. About a 2 – 3 hour sail from here.
So far there have been no real tropical storms or hurricanes which have needed to be monitored. The Chubasco action has mainly been to the south of us, so far the weather gods have been kind to us. It is getting hotter and the humidity is on the increase. Most boats are now turning off refrigeration and freezers over night to conserve battery power. The compressors are finding it difficult to cope with 95-100 degree heat during the day and the 85 degree heat at night.
Its 10.30 at night and my batteries are already down to 12.30 volts. I have the anchor light and internal lights on, which are LED and the current draw is 0.2 of an AMP, if the fridge was on it would be drawing 5.0 AMPS. Hence the reason for turning it off. During the day I have it cranked up high all day as the solar panels can cope with the running of it and also recharge the batteries to full at the same time.