Good news and bad news

We achieved our first success in combating our oil spill. In the meantime we have learned to use our carpet cleaning miracle cure. At first, we used too much baking soda and too little alcohol. In the meantime we have learned how to get the best cleaning result.

Above the dark oil dirt, below the soil that is currently being worked.

First I spread the baking soda on the dry carpet. Then I massage it into the carpet with my feet. I distribute it almost exactly as I distributed the dirt in the boat before, just with a little more care. Then I spray them all so far with alcohol that the carpet is soaked and I can no longer see the white baking powder.

This area can now be sprayed.

Then the work is done once. I sit in the fresh air, the alcohol vapor is difficult to bear. The boat must be well ventilated. I could imagine that otherwise an explosive mixture would form in the air. Ventilation also helps relieve headaches. After two to three hours, the alcohol has evaporated (at approx. 30 ° C room temperature). Then the first dirt stains should show up in the baking powder.

The floor dries slowly and brown spots appear in the white baking powder. That's the dirt that comes out.

Now I spray the alcohol over and over again, it loosens the dirt from the carpet. After three to four applications of alcohol, I let the carpet dry completely overnight. The next morning it is vacuumed, the dry baking powder is easy to soak up.

After vacuuming. You can clearly see that there is still dirt in the carpet. So another application is necessary.

Then I can assess the result and whether the carpet needs further treatment. If no further treatment is necessary, I use a sturdy brush to brush the last bits off the carpet and let them disappear in the vacuum cleaner. The result is impressive. There was a wide, black line on the floor of the forward berth, our high seas garbage can is always there, and we often walk along it. Now the floor is nice and clean again.

Forward berth after three applications. It was actually two applications and an attempt at learning.

Oh yes, there would be Tuesday morning. The rigger is with us on the boat and calmly looks at the top of the mast with the binoculars. Then he tells me that we probably have to put the mast down. He will try to come up with a solution overnight to solve the problem with the mast standing up. Otherwise the crane alone would cost around 1000 US$. Uh I don't like news like that.

Freshly sprayed on, allowed to dry.

I grab the spray bottle and give the floor another treatment. Aruba is stickier than our floor.

In times of Covid it is certainly not bad that we have disinfected our carpeting over and over and over and over in the last few days. There is no way our feet will get Covid. I cannot imagine that there is a place with a better disinfected floor.

Todo list is processed!

It's Wednesday. The painting work is in the final spurt. Jens has repainted the entire cockpit. So Sissi looks like new again. We are pleased with the result and that there are hardly any items on the to-do list. Nothing stands in the way of our planned departure on Sunday.

Freshly painted

It's Thursday. I have an appointment with Anneke. She offered to drive me to go shopping. One time Price Smart and Superfood. Now comes the commercial. We drink our own water on board. But sometimes it also has to be a drink with taste. We got to know Jumex juices in Aruba.

Jumex

Partly there is fruit juice in the cans, partly nectar. But the stuff isn't too sweet and we've tasted all of the flavors so far. Besides banana and strawberry, I have the cans to myself. At Price Smart, juices are available on pallets for little money, you always have to buy 24 cans and don't know what's inside. There are three different varieties that are always put together differently. I buy eight pallets.

Should be enough for a few days

At Superfood I buy groceries for a week. Who knows how quickly we can find a smart supermarket in Curacao and how far it is from our boat. We prefer to be well stocked on the way, that has never hurt.

The to-do list is pleasantly short

It's a Friday afternoon. The last item on our todo list comes next. It is the obligatory rig check, which is carried out a little more thoroughly than usual after our ride from Cuba to Aruba.

I have no idea why we kept this point until the end. Probably there is no particular reason. The hatches and cleaning work were particularly urgent. In addition, we have never found a problem at this point that would prevent us from leaving. We dig out the mast ladder in the sail load and Jens is allowed to climb into the top of the mast.

Summiteer

The shrouds look great. On the way up, Jens checks the lower shrouds, upper shrouds, spreaders and, finally, the front and backstays for damage. Everything looks very good. Only the pulley, which is supposed to deflect the main halyard at the top of the mast, is crooked in its position. As a result, it cannot turn. It is completely blocked. As a result, we can no longer easily set or reef the mainsail. The main halyard can hardly be moved, if there is some pressure in the sail, nothing is guaranteed to work. If we had worked through this point earlier. Would have, would ....

If we had given the major case its own item on the list. We remember that the recovery of the Great on the eve of our arrival in Aruba was more exhausting than usual. But that was overshadowed by the motorless, exhausted arrival and the joy of having made it.

Our tile by the donkey

It's a Sunday afternoon. I'm sitting next to Anneke with the donkeys again. I am pleased to note that our tile has now been delivered and glued to a pillar. On Monday I expect news from a rigger whom Charly from the Chapo recommended to me. We hope he can solve the problem without having to put the mast. Otherwise…

... we have to go back to Varadero. Then a truck crane is rented. All of this needs to be organized and takes a few days. Aruba is sticky.

Oil spill

We have been struggling with a problem for weeks. A bottle of cooking oil struck us on the trip from Cuba to Aruba. How can this happen? Unfortunately, this can happen all too easily. We store our edible oil supplies in the lounge table on the lower level. Where customs officers commonly suspect the drug stash and smuggled alcohol. In Martinique we bought and stowed a lot of bottles of cooking oil last year. Little by little, these supplies were decimated, a good part of which we gave away in Cuba. The remaining bottles had too much freedom of movement. One of them fell into an exposed screw while we were dancing in the waves. Most of the bottle has leaked.

My foot. Jens' feet look like this too.

We didn't notice. We initially mistook the stains on the floor for water because it was precisely in this damp spot that the water was constantly dripping from the skylight. Gradually, the carpet turned into a black surface, our feet were constantly dirty and despite repeated washing with fresh water, the stains did not want to dry. In addition, the salon was getting dirtier and dirtier. It is only when I take a new bottle of oil from storage to cook that I see the cause of the whole problem.

First attempts with all-purpose cleaner are ineffective. We are relatively haphazard about how to approach this construction site. We also have enough work to do with the hatches and deck. We put the subject of carpet on the back burner, if necessary we have to throw it out and make do with the very worn wooden floor. He actually needs a lot of attention first. I also like the carpeting. Jens throws himself into the stuff and watches several YouTube videos on the subject of carpet cleaning.

Baking powder, the all-purpose weapon. And alcohol (not suitable for consumption)

We need baking soda and alcohol. So that the good Cuban rum doesn't go missing, I get several bottles of alcohol and a large bag of baking powder.

The easiest way to apply is with the spray bottle.

First of all, the baking powder must be rubbed dry into the carpet. Then the carpet is sprayed with alcohol. The alcohol dissolves the oil from the carpet and the baking soda absorbs it as it dries. When everything is dry again, the vacuum cleaner will remove the baking soda with the oil from the carpet.

Wait and let it take effect

While spraying you have the feeling of getting drunk from the fumes. Jens holds out bravely, the baking powder takes on a slimy consistency. We'd rather not use the gas stove now, not that another explosion takes place. It then takes hours for the baking powder gruel to turn into oily baking powder. Then you can vacuum.

After the first application. It's nice to see where most of the oil ended up in the carpeting. In the other places we are very pleased with the result.

Now we finally have the perspective that we can get the carpet clean again in a few days. We certainly won't be in Aruba long enough to complete this work. But that also works very well in Curacao.

Final sprint

Again I haven't written anything for a few days. This is mainly due to the fact that we are in the final sprint here. We are not only working on the absolutely necessary points on our list, but have now arrived at the points that are not absolutely necessary but would be practical.

Especially when sailing against the wind, it is extremely annoying that the phones on the navigation table go long distances or jump through the air. As a remedy, we thought of a small frame or a box in which we can also integrate the charging option for the phones.

A real Cuban cigar box

While cleaning up the souvenirs from Cuba, I noticed that the Cohibas cigar box was the perfect size. It can exactly accommodate our two phones and the wireless charge plates.

The magical inside shows itself

We still have the battens for the frame on board. Originally we wanted to use it to make a fly screen, but the wood was too delicate. Now it is used to protect the phones from slipping. They are each fixed in the optimal position for wireless charging.

The backside. Mmmm. It also has to be wiped with a damp cloth again.

Of course, the two USB charging cables that come out of the back of the box are a certain break in style. But I think it would be an exaggeration to install a connector and a distributor. There are also enough sockets nearby. Four screws hold the box securely in place.

While editing the photo, I noticed that I absolutely have to wipe it again with a damp cloth. That is what happened when this blog was published.

The cigars

Only the cigars suffer, they had to move out of their beautiful wooden box. Hopefully that won't harm them.

Always sweet - the begging donkeys

On Sunday I went to visit the donkeys again. As long as I'm on the island, I'll have to go there once a week. But we want to be on the next island next Sunday. So it was probably my very last visit. I'm a little sad again.

Sweety

For Sweety, the time at the Donkey Sanctuary will soon be over. In a few days he will fly to Holland, where he will get a new home. He has terrorized his roommate cats a few times too often and is supposed to move out because of it. I think that's a shame because I would have liked to have taken him to Germany after my return home.

Boca Catalina

In contrast to the drone, the acquisition of the underwater camera was a good investment. On the one hand you can take pictures of the underside of the boat, on the other hand you can take nice pictures of the underwater world while snorkeling.

Kawumm

Actually, the thing is just annoying. The box takes up an incredible amount of space. The battery is dead. And for certain countries it only causes problems when entering the country. In Cuba it brings trouble. We're talking about the drone.

Often undesirable

We bought them in Spain on a whim, found them bad and only used them two or three times. Then we transported it halfway around the world. It's over now. Never again have to declare the drone upon arrival.

Cats and donkeys

You shall rest on the seventh day. Something like that is written somewhere. We can rest perfectly, so we stop work and go to the bus stop. There we bribe a bus driver from the San Nicolas bus line on Sunday to drive us to the Donkey Sanctuary - this is usually served by the Santa Cruz bus line, which does not run on Sunday.

Shrimp

I am happy to see Nella and Anneke again. With a little cat food in the luggage, the cats are happy that we are back. Jens rattles with the Tupperware jar and suddenly we are the center of attention. No, not us, the Tupperware jar. In return, Shrimp even gives up her beauty sleep.

Sweety

Sweety is still being kidnapped by me. It won't be his favorite discipline, but he can enjoy it when I pound his stomach. After two or three minutes it will be enough for him, I have to drop him off.

Swa and Socks do not come down from their raised viewing position. As always, this is due to Sweety and not to the quality of our treats.

Swa and Socks

Oh yes, and there are donkeys too. We have a bag of carrots with us, which of course has the same effect on donkeys as cat food does on cats. And the donkeys recognize me. I want to give Kamino a carrot. At first he backs away because he suspects that the orange treat is medicinal. I guess I've put him on the back once too often. After a moment's hesitation, he took it, the other donkeys followed quickly.

Diva and Gipsy recognize me and ask for their carrots. Of course they will be served by me. Little by little, all old friends get their carrots. They would probably recognize me in a year too. The donkeys are very, very clever.

Begging donkeys

With that I come to the end of what will probably be the last contribution on the subject of donkeys - unless a donkey runs on our boat. There were enough donkey blogs in the past year.

Aruba is doing work

After a few days of relaxation, we started the strenuous activities. We are repairing the damage caused by the crossing from Cuba to Aruba. We eliminate the causes of this damage. And we remove new damage that occurred after the crossing. And ancient damage that was there before we started in the Netherlands in summer 2019. In doing so, we make discoveries that we would rather not have made. If you as a landlubber have no idea, you should get the idea somewhere or pay with dollar bills and sweat afterwards.

To do list. Not completely.

A few years ago we were in Scotland with Sissi. We noticed that after hard sailing against the wind there were a few drops of water in the forward cabin. We never found the cause, nor did it repeat itself. Near Roscoff, on the day our mainsail broke, we had a little water in the saloon. The fans were immediately under suspicion because a lot of water had flowed over the deck. Why did we have to sail donkeys against wind speeds of nine? The fans can now get rid of their hat, I release them from any responsibility for the water damage.

I had to remove the dimmer for the lamp at sea. He was constantly bathed in salt water. The lamp is also rusty. It was not intended that way.

On the long crossing across the Atlantic I complained about occasional dampness in the forward berth. Slowly a suspicion arose that the anchor locker was leaking. The humidity went, we checked the anchor locker in Varadero when Sissi was on dry land. He looks great. The humidity was forgotten again, we had other problems to solve. We have only located the problem in the forward berth.

We need a new wooden ceiling.

After removing the first hatch, I knew where all the moisture was coming from. There wasn't much left of the sealing tape; the screw holes were encrusted with salt towers. My landlubber's life experience sees windows as somewhat maintenance-free openings in the wall through which one can ventilate one's apartment. Evil.

Dollar bills that have become damp on the trip must be dried.

How do you properly seal these hatches? Certainly not by re-gluing the frame with Sikaflex. In addition, the local hardware stores do not even have the saltwater-compatible Sika on offer. A trip to Budget Marine later, Jens comes back with a couple of rolls of sealing tape. Very good, this stuff can be bought in Aruba.

Sealing tape

Now the hatches are removed one after the other. Everywhere we see that there are incrustations of salt around the screw holes. The old sealing tapes were very old. Very very old. After all, I've had Sissi since 2017. And the tapes must have been old by then.

Frame with salt crust. Old sloppy seals.

The window frames are mechanically and chemically cleaned and the salt removed. The boat is also cleaned. There must be no more dirt or dust where the new rubbers should hold tight later. Then the frame is glued.

Ready-glued frame

Then the hatches come back in place. Unfortunately, one of the next abysses opens up at this point. Due to the amount of moisture that has entered and the movement of the ship, some of the screws are spinning. Some more, some less. In particular, the screws that fasten the hatch hinges have suffered a lot.

Screw

We get advice from a carpenter in Frankfurt. How can you make these holes in the wood smaller again so that the screws hold again? First he advises us on a solution that we have already figured out. Take bigger screws. Of course, that means a trip to the hardware store again.

The biggest screws spin in the biggest holes? Then the holes have to be glued. Do we have glue? No of course not. That also means a trip to the hardware store again.

But now finally firm.

A trip to the hardware store takes at least an hour and a half, sometimes longer. It depends on how long you have to wait for the bus. Now we have everything on board, the windows are screwed on and we still have replacements for the future. We are currently considering whether we should not open the construction site with the side windows. The side windows can also be tricky. So far only the one next to Jens' bunk was leaking. We'll definitely work on that.

Addendum:
When you do a job for the first time in your life, the result is not always perfect. We had to learn that it is better not to puzzle too small with vinyl tape.

Learning process

In the top left corner you can see how we first glued the corners. Water was able to get through between the individual pieces, as the water hose leak test showed - much too nice to see from the inside in the water droplets that found their way back into the salon. In the top right of the cutout, the new solution that no longer lets water inside.

Room warm beer

By the way, beer is a good indicator of the health of the on-board electrical system. If it's warm, you shouldn't put the refrigerator under general suspicion. Last Friday I had the feeling that the refrigerator wasn't running properly in the evenings, but I was too tired to get to the bottom of the problem. If the refrigerator is broken, I can't fix it anyway.

On Saturday the refrigerator ran perfectly normally. In the evenings he stopped working. The beer is warm. My gaze falls habitually on the battery monitor and I am horrified to find that the batteries are discharged to 80%. Now he also sounds the alarm. Why not earlier? Because it was turned off ...

Battery monitor. Actually very reliable.

The shore power charger seems to have completely gone. I measure all lines and come to this conclusion. So the engine has to run all night to recharge the batteries to a usable level. Sure - during the day the refrigerator runs even with empty batteries, our solar cells do a good job.

I am buying a new shore power charger for a four-digit amount. Why is the store actually called Budget-Marine? You need a decent budget at the store. Unfortunately it is the only available model. This is also built in on Monday afternoon around 3 p.m. It just doesn't charge the batteries. I measure the lines again, the positive line seems to be defective. Yesterday she still had access. Funny. So I open the cable duct and find an annealed plus cable which, thanks to a loose contact, is sure to have a passage.

Charger at work

Still, I don't want the old battery charger anymore. Two frayed cables, a short circuit and the charger fuse has not melted. In addition, a fuse is still missing in the positive cable, namely the one against the on-board network. If I fuse this line with 100 A, nothing can burn here. In the literal sense. So I still have to buy a fuse.

Hopefully the batteries weren't damaged. We will have to test it in the next few days. After all, we can buy spare parts in Aruba. That would not have been possible in Cuba.

Chapo left

Things change, other things stay the same. When we returned to Aruba, we found the Chapo in the port where it had been for the past ten months. Everything seems to be the same, but the Chapos are in a spirit of optimism. You want to go to the Dominican Republic, the only country in the area that is open, easily accessible and does not require a PCR test from those entering the country. Fortunately, there is still enough time for Charly to help us with the propeller.

Arrival of the Chapo in March 2020

It's been a long time since the Chapo arrived. That was in the troubled days of March 2020, when most countries had closed their borders and sailors on the open water had the problem that their long ago planned destinations could no longer be approached. At that time, the joy of the successful Atlantic crossing and the safe harbor was great. Last March, Jutta and Charly could not have imagined that they would still be in Oranjestad next January.

Now, after four days of crossing, you have arrived in the Dominican Republic. On their crossing they had to deal with winds of up to 56 kn. We didn't get that much on our hats on the way back from Cuba.

The Chapo departs

Now we pass the empty berth several times a day and ask ourselves when a boat will be there again. The Chapo will be back here by June at the latest, because Jutta and Charly want to spend the hurricane season in Aruba.

Empty berth