Saturday, November 26, 2016

Another day in Paradise?

In thinking about writing this blog, I had some concerns that I would have too many days talking about the beauty, the sailing, the diving, the snorkeling,  how wonderful it all is. At this point I wish I had more to say along those lines.

The morning started out beautifully.

Up in time to see the pink glow of the sunrise change into the brilliant blue of the day. Into the water for a quick snorkle. Abundant fish life. Watching the Sergent Major fishes with their striking black and yellow vertical stripes. The males turn blue and become very territorial when they are guarding their eggs, fending off any and all interlopers regardless of size. Healthy coral, purple sea fans waving gently in the current, Needlefish with their long snouts swimming in large groups just below the surface of the water. A Peacock Flounder on the sea floor displaying brilliant blue ringed spots while swimming, then quickly changing to a mottled white and brown, perfectly matching the sand on which it settles.


 A wonderful morning snorkle.

Time to return to Rhapsody. We have an errand to run. We are off to the dive shop to purchase some weights, the last piece of the puzzle needed so that we are free to dive on our own. 

Looking forward to it.

Ready to raise the anchor. We are in a moderately deep bay so we have 110 feet of chain out.

I pull up about 10 feet, and the windlass (the winch that pulls up the chain, not the wench- that would be me) stops. I can let the anchor back down, but I can't pull it up.

Bob takes the windlass apart trying to figure out what is wrong with it. He moves around bolts, he files down metal spurs, he adds oil to the motor. Nothing seems to work.

The sun is now beating down on us.

He tries to crank the chain up by hand.

Not happening.

Fortunately we have an electric winch on board. Typically we use it to furl and unfurl the mainsail, or occasionally to haul someone to the top of the mast. 
Today we used it to pull up the anchor.

The winch is located in the cockpit at the stern (back) of the boat. The anchor, and the non functioning windlass are at the bow of the boat. We tied a line on the anchor chain ran it down the length of the boat to the winch and were able to pull up the chain, across the deck as far as the mast (about 20 feet). Next we had to tie off the chain at the bow so it would not return to the water, loosen the rope from the winch, feed the chain down into the chain locker, re-tie the rope leading to the winch, untie the retaining rope - and repeat.

Each time we did this we could get about 20 feet of chain up. We worked together, coordinating the tying, the pulling and the releasing.

Once the anchor was off the bottom Bob went to the helm to keep the boat from drifting to shore. Now the dance that was done by the two of us had to be done by one.

Bob motored us out into deeper waters so there would be no chance the anchor would catch on anything, and I was able to complete the anchor retrieval and tie it securely to the boat. I guess we will be using mooring balls for a few days until we can get this fixed.

Back to the beauty.

We are on a mooring ball in one of our favorite coves.
I am listening to the waves gently lapping on the shore and the chorus of frogs singing.
A gentle breeze is blowing, the air is warm, the stars are spectacular.

Another evening in Paradise.

We love to hear your comments.

  1. Whew! This is definitely an adventure that requires lots of mental and physical brilliance--so glad you two have what it takes--at lease you get rewarded with beautiful sunrises and sunsets!

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    1. Necessity is the mother of invention. We did not have a lot of choice. The anchor had to come up one way or another! And yes, the sunrises and sunsets are beautiful.

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  2. Now I'm gonna have to buy a 'Field Guide to Caribbean Fishes' on top of the one about ' the . . . Islands'.

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    1. It is never a bad thing to have to get more books!

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