Aug 14-24, 2017
Gotta, Gotta, Gotta Regatta
Aruba is having their island Regatta the weekend of Aug 18-20, so we wanted to be back at the Airport anchorage before all of the other boats arrive and take the good anchoring spots. There are places where it is shallow sand over very hard bottom, and one would drag anchor if not being careful. When we arrived, there were already 7 other boats taking up real estate. We ended up further N in the anchorage than we would have liked, but wanted to stay out of the Regatta’s paths.
We ended up snorkeling the sea side of the Flamingo Beach area. We found a nice wreck with more schools of fish and the water clarity is much better. Along shore are elkhorn coral gardens that are completely sanded and dead. We saw another interesting fish ( half black, half white with fluorescent blue spots, a Bi Colored Coney) and the schools of snappers have larger sized fish in them compared to the Northern area. (ie: Eating worthy!) Of other interest, were: A lonely sand diver, four eyed butterfly fish, orange spotted file fish, spotted goat fish in an orange dormant phase, 2 huge black French angelfish, trumpetfish, honeycomb cowfish, large schools of schoolmaster and mutton snappers, and smooth trunkfish.
While heading back to Uno Mas, our dinghy all of a sudden stopped running. With the 35 kt winds, we were quickly being pushed out to sea. It took a while, but we were able to finally row close enough to shore to drop our anchor, and Mark was able to troubleshoot what happened, after his initial restart tries did not work. It seems that the fuel line got pinched by the fuel tank. Then, when we pulled the oars out, we disconnected the fuel line from the bottom of the outboard altogether. Problem solved, and we made it back to Uno Mas without further incident. However, we did find out that we have two mismatched oars for the dinghy. One original and one found floating that replaced the other original which was lost at sea. The found one has a different attachment hole that puts the blade parallel with the water in lieu of perpendicular. It has subsequently been redrilled. We are glad we figured that out when we were not desperate! I am sure it made some good video for the people on the resort beach. Angie was rowing like normal, and Mark was using his like he was paddling a canoe. Amusing, but it worked.
With Tropical Storm Harvey tracking North of us during the Regatta weekend, our winds were doing some crazy things. All of a sudden, we were aimed South, we had 4.5 ft of water under us, and we draw 4. For the first time in 12 years, the planes were taking off in the opposite direction at the airport. We ended up reanchoring in deeper water so we could swing around 360 degrees without worry, AND we needed it. We don’t know how many times our views changed, but we went around multiple times. It made it interesting during the Regatta races because the turn points were on either side of us and the winds kept moving us into the race path. We pulled up our anchor marker to not add confusion during the race.
However, in between races, multiple racing boats dropped their anchor right next to us, an definitely NOT putting out the 80 feet of scope for our 120 ft swing radius. Thankfully, there was enough room and the winds were so light on the first day, that we did not have any hull crunching. We all of a sudden had 4 very close neighbors. Mark attached our dinghy to the side to act as a huge fender and keep one boat from swinging into our starboard side. What surprised us the most was the Coast Guard boats ripping through the anchorage at full speed, unsettling all of the boats in the anchorage.
It was an interesting introduction to sailboat racing. Out of all of the classes, we liked the little kids in the little Optima boats. We also had favorites of the larger sail boat classes, mostly a little red sloop that we would see out in the anchorage, practicing the week before. The owner looks like Sammy Haggar and runs a red sloop charter boat named Tranquila on day sails that looks like the mothership to the sloop.
Sunday nights, Surfside Beach Bar and Grill has a BBQ rib and chicken dinner, so we ended up sharing a few buckets of Amstel and having a nice dinner with Tell Tales and all of the sailboat racers. Watching the kids with their trophies was a highlight.
Of course, we cannot complete a blog post without some boat projects. Mark installed a new USB port phone charger at the helm station, worked on running power for our security siren and light, fixed a domestic water line leak, located behind a panel behind the washer and dryer, defrosted the fridge and freezer, cleaned lint out of as much of the dryer as possible, and replaced the washer discharge 1 inch thin grey flexible electrical conduit plastic tubing with marine grade reinforced waste line. Angie worked on blog posts and trying to pass a kidney stone.