Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rainy Dayz

It's dumping buckets. Laying in bed listening to the steady drops of water bathe our deck, we snuggle under our lone thin sheet in our V-berth and enjoy the early morning coolness of the air, attempting to avoid the dripping hatch above our heads. Almost 8 o'clock in the morning and we are finally getting up, a rarity for us out here in the sunny tropics where we find ourselves usually having our morning tea and coffee when the sun is rising around 6. It feels like Sunday, but actually it's Monday here, Sunday in the States, good enough for us to have an excuse to chill out this morning and enjoy the rain. Sourdough pancakes anyone?

How sweet it has been this past month here in Palau. Not only did we have a great time adventuring with Nicole's folks, Bob and Michelle, but we have been able to settle down and relax from traveling so much this past year, get ourselves organized for next year, and start on a few of our boat projects. On top of that, we've been able to do some amazing diving and exploring in the Palauan Rock Islands.

But here I need to also mention a huge bonus of us being in Palau. You see, we can actually get packages here from the states in a little over a week as Palau is a protectorate of the U.S. and uses the same postal system. This is so great for us as there are many things we needed to send back to the States, especially the heaps of Solomon Island wood carvings that filled our quarter berth, and many things we needed to get for our boat for the next year or two. But on top of that our friends and family have hooked us up! And this is where we need to acknowledge a huge Thank You! Not only do we have a nice stack of recent magazines to read like The Economist, Newsweek, National Geographic, Dwell, Latitude 38, Cruising World, and Climbing, but we have also had friends and family send us fun treats like gourmet tea, super powered Peet's French Roast coffee, delicious cookies, real licorice, mermaid pants, a new T-Shirt, travel guides, new movies, music and books! Thank You Mom and Dad Duke, Thank You Mom and Dad Friend, Thank You Gia, Thank You Justin, Thank You Clare, Thank You Zack, Thank You Heather, and Thank You Thank You Alicia, you guys are all rock stars!

Looking at the weather files we see a big low-pressure system sitting on top of Palau. It has been raining here a bunch this past week, but this morning we are really socked in. It reminds me of growing up in the Puget Sound of Washington State, but much much warmer. We had high hopes of starting to install some of our new instruments today, going to the hardware store, maybe even starting to prep some of our toe rails to varnish. Plan B?

But what have we been doing this past week? Since Bob and Michelle left, it's been mostly business for Team DK. Two new additions to our project list have been our computer dying and our outboard engine not running. We should be thankful that our Dell computer has lasted as long as it has. It was 5 years old and over 2 years on the boat. Not bad really when you hear from other cruisers that you are lucky to have your computer last that long. But what a bummer when we depend on it so much for everything from email, website design, photo processing, running boat navigation software, tide and current software, and storing all our documents. Luckily we found a local computer guru tech to pull off our data that we hadn't backed up on the hard drive. But, as you know, this all takes time and we have had to buy a new computer.
Then there's the issue with our outboard. When we first got to Palau and headed out to the Rock Islands for our Xmas diving adventures, I had the bright idea of filling up all our jerry-cans with unleaded fuel, even the ones we usually use for just diesel. Oops! After a couple of weeks our engine suffered and I was cleaning the dirty fuel filters constantly. Looks like the diesel grime and gunk in the bottom of the jerry cans mixed in with the unleaded fuel and created a sludgy monster I have been dealing with ever since. Even though we have 2 fuel filters on our Yamaha outboard, some of the dirty fuel got in and clogged up the carburetor. I found this out after I met, Ramon, my newest Philippino Yamaha mechanic friend who helped me out for 2 days. Finally after much fiddling, testing and cleaning we took care of the issue by soaking all parts of the carb in solvent for 2 hours and now Super Dingy is back in action. For all of you out there who don't know what it's like living on your sailboat, your dingy in indispensable when cruising. It is our method of transportation everywhere. When your engine doesn't work, you row. When it is windy and rainy and you are anchored a long ways away, you row for a long time, or maybe you don't go at all...maybe you can't go at all. Like I said, a good reliable dingy is essential.

So when the rain stops again we will move on to installing our new wind and tri-data instrument, hooking up a new autopilot, fixing electrical issues, installing a new hatch, putting new gaskets on some portholes we can no longer open because of leaks, hand-washing all our salon upholstery, cleaning the indefatigable mold, and varnishing all our teak that is in suffering in the intense UV of the tropics.

But, to attempt to keep balance in our lives, we will keep up with our afternoon routine of kayaking out to Pincher's Cove and swimming laps, even in the rain.

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