The laptop is (mostly) fully loaded and ready to go. In preparation for starting to post regularly (again), this morning I read Facebook for a while, read part of a novel, commented on Facebook some more, downloaded photos from camera to laptop (finally), and went on-line to read my blog from the beginning of the Endurance Crossing to now. There was a pause in the middle of all of that while I helped EW with the manual bilge pump. As my last act before beginning to write, I finally read all the comments made on the blog while we were at sea. Thank you. Thank you all for the laughs, encouragement, and condolences. I can't tell you how much all the comments have meant. Thank you. So here we sit in the sunny Caribbean during the dry season, where it is raining again. As EW says, "This is the wettest dry season I've ever experienced." It's a "jump up" kind of day as we "jump up" to open the hatches when it's hot and "jump up" to close them when it rains. This phrase was appropriated by Bob on S/V Foxy back when we were all in Grenada during the rainy season. EW's right, this is the wettest dry season we've every experienced. I was pleasantly surprised (for the most part) at the blog posts I managed to write during and after the Endurance Crossing. As some friends realized, we weren't the happiest people when we arrived in Guadeloupe, and I think we sounded more mentally fit than we actually were. Whew. I'd hate to subject "my" public to all that was going on at the time. EW and I had a good laugh today when I read out loud from my post on December 28, The Endurance Crossing Continues. It's a good thing he didn't fall overboard right then. I love him, but turning back would have required a whole lot of thought. Here's a photo of me "baking" the hoecake that largely served as our breakfasts once we ran out of fuel for the real stove. I had to place the one burner camping stove on top of the gimbaled stove, and hold onto the pan to keep it from sliding off the burner in the waves and heel. When EW saw this photo, he said I had an "Impressed smile." I knew that he didn't mean "imressive, but that I looked as though I had been forced onto this boat, much like sailors who had been impressed by foreign ships, as in this definition found online:
3. impress verb im·press \im-ˈpres\ Definition of IMPRESS transitive verb 1 : to levy or take by force for public service; especially : to force into naval service 2 a : to procure or enlist by forcible persuasion
But I'm not impressed, I'm actually here by choice and I have power. That is often a good thing. Back when we first got La Luna, we had to repair the manual bilge pump. Access to the pump was through a tiny door in the small standing are by the pilot berth. The access door was smaller than the circumference of the pump. My job was to get a wrench onto the 10 bolts that held the pump and its cover in place while EW used a screwdriver to remove the bolts and then to replace them once the repair was complete.
My job sucked. It was actually impossible to get my arm in the tiny door and around the pump parts. In order to hold some of the nuts I had to stand on a tool box, with my back to the door, and my arm with the wrench behind me. It would have worked much better if I'd had two elbows on my right arm but I didn't bend that way. The second time EW had to repair the pump I informed him that I would never do it again. Ever. My arms were bruised my shoulders ached, and I was pissed. He believed me and hired the yard to make a larger access door. It's still impossible to see some of the nuts when working on them, but at least I'm able to wield a wrench in the right direction until I stumble upon the bolts. The manual bilge pump as been repaired. The photo above was taken today. Imagine this opening just slightly larger than the roundish black thing (aka the bilge pump). Now try to get a wrench in there.
It's nice to have a bilge pump when the dry season looks like this: