Bonaire, More Boat Projects

 

Our access stairs (sugar scoops) on the back of Uno Mas’ two hulls leak. A LOT.  (It could stem from us peeling all of the caulking out of the seams, undoing all of the screws and trying to pry the stair treads up, hoping we could turn the stairways into hinged storage areas when we first bought Uno Mas, like we have seen on other Lagoons.)  They have leaked  since 2009.  Angie usually has to peel and recaulk them every 4 months.  We have tried multiple types of caulk.  The UV resistant kind still seems to crack, craze, disintegrate and stain.  It is a constant eye sore, every time we enter and exit the boat.   Mark caulked the sugar scoops the last time, while we were in the Bahamas in March/April.  They are now in need of another round.  Mark’s idea this time, is to peel out all of the old caulk and two part epoxy the seams, making a permanent seal.  Then, if that does not crack with the hull flexing while in passage, we will put a nice layer of white gel coat over the yellow epoxy, and hopefully, be done with this constant thorn in our side.  We have other areas in need of fiberglass and gel coat repair, so this is the start of THAT huge “To Do” list.  Keeping our fingers crossed!

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Mark  has also been experimenting with trying to cool down our refrigerator and freezer components, hoping to make them more efficient, and not run as long.  His initial idea is to add two small fans that blow cabin air into the storage compartment, and then have it exit a louvered vent.  It seems to help.  HOWEVER, the two fans we had (initially for our generator exhaust, but the plastic melted) make a lot of noise.  They were interlocked to run when the components kicked on. They were annoying and quickly removed.  Mark next disconnected the heater-a/c vent at the top of the cavity, thinking heat rises, so will evacuate naturally.  This did help, however, being a mechanical engineer,  things always work better by adding a mechanical component.    Hence, we are now becoming accustomed to receiving Amazon shipments in to Bonaire.  (Sometimes it works great, and other times, not so much.  That is another blog post altogether.)  We now have two more fans that are extremely quiet. You cannot even tell they are running.  They run constantly, and the old heater-a/c duct is still removed from the vent.

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While checking the engines, the starboard side’s fresh water strainer cracked.  It is now two part epoxied together and on our next Amazon shipment wish list, to be delivered sometime in the very distant future, maybe while hauled out in Panama.

We also sprung a new leak at the pressure gauge after replacing the cracked oil separator on our Max Air dive compressor.  Max Air via DHL got us a new gauge. Expedited shipping, of course.

 

 

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We are always going back and forth on whether to install a shut off valve on our engine exhaust lines.  We have loops in the tubing and “air locks” installed already.  However, if we get water from a wave to bypass these, we could lose an engine.  One idea Mark had was to install stainless steel ball valves in line.  However, they could seize up and not function when we needed them.  It could be a pain to have to run downstairs, and go through an access panel in the sugar scoops to have to turn them off or on.  Something that could not happen quickly, if needed in an emergency.  So, Mark is not 100% about installing them.

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Another option that we see is installing exterior flappers on the exhaust ports .  However, a flapper could fail or most likely get ripped off.  Anyways, we bought the stainless steel two inch ball valves, just in case it was a definite “go.”   Well, since they are “stainless steel” we thought we should test them out in a salt water environment before installation.  Mark tied them to a string, and hung them off the back of Uno Mas in the salt water for a week, testing their corrosion factor.  The exterior did great; however, the valve stems, not so much.  We are not going to be installing these.

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Cheap Chinese stainless steel is our constant fight on Uno Mas.  Even our water bottles rusted.  We are always finding new rust spots on our fiberglass from something finally giving up its “stainless” properties.

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Angie had a wonderful “crafty” day with Sarah from Rhapsody and Jeynaba ( a newly relocated Bostonian to Bonaire) at Jeynaba’s condo.  It was good to get out the buried deep beads, jewelry making fun stuff,  work with sea glass and have some “girl” time.  Angie finally has her Bonaire anklet and has enjoyed playing with sea glass mosaics again.  Go figure, turtles seem to always show up in the glass and snowmen turn up whenever there are uncrushed sea urchins!

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Bonaire, Thanksgiving

 

There was a cruiser pot luck on shore at Brita’s early in the week!  We were both very excited at the invite.  We were not planning to make any type of Thanksgiving meal on Uno Mas.  It was a bit overwhelming just imagining trying to cook everything on our 3 burner, mini oven Force 10 unit.  People do it, but it just didn’t seem to be that important to us this year.  Besides, there are only 2 of us.  If only Van Den Tweel had Hungry Man TV dinners.  That would be perfect for us, AND reminiscent of our first Thanksgiving being married, back in 1992,  in a tiny, hole of an apartment,  in Golden, Colorado! Most of the people attending were Canadian, so their traditional and our traditional food seems to be quite different.  We brought the Green Bean Casserole. (It took 5 grocery stores/markets to find the French’s Fried Onions. We were going to use “Potato Stix” or “Funyons” as an alternative, but we FINALLY found the real stuff at a cheap, Chinese market, go figure!)  Angie is thankful she was forced into being sociable and had a great time meeting new cruisers from the mooring field!

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Leftover Green Bean Casserole with Japanese Spice!

On Thanksgiving Day, we did our first 2 hour long dive at Joanne’ Sunchi on Klein Bonaire in the morning.  For some reason, we were not really using much air. (Maybe because we were staying shallower, above 50 feet due to not wanting the underwater camera to fail.)   The South – Southwest area of Klein Bonaire is starting to be our favorite spot to dive.  We are always in search of seahorses! The South side is known for many sightings.  Nope, we didn’t find any.  However, we saw a 3 ft long Porcupinefish.  He is OLD and looks like he has had a very rough life!  We are seeing more lionfish now on each dive.  The water has cooled off a bit, by a degree or two, and they are starting to go shallower.  Angie is starting to get chilled on the dives with just having a thin skin for protection. We saw garden eels for the first time, a southern stingray, a Greater Soapfish (they usually are more visible and active at night), a small green turtle, and finally, Black and White Bi-Color Coneys with fluorescent blue dots. (We have been seeing a lot of the brown/grey ones.)

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In the afternoon, Angie worked on making flags.  Columbia and Panama.  We really do not know which way we are going to go.  She also was working on mold patrol inside.  With the humidity rising inside the boat to over 80%, the mold starts showing up.  We had an Amazon order shipment arrive with the Mold Armour in it that seems to work.  We are hoping it will last the 3 months as advertised!

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Rum Runners Restaurant in the Captain Don’s Dive Resort  pulled off a great Thanksgiving Buffet dinner on Thanksgiving Day!  We went with our friend’s, Ian and Kate for the first seating.  Wouldn’t you know it, but half of the cruisers seemed to show up as well!    It is interesting being in a foreign country, where they try to be authentic with the American holidays.  We really enjoy experiencing the differences.  The cranberry sauce was a bit spicy, and not everything was made with pumpkin, as another restaurant’s menu had listed (Mark was thankful for that).  However, he actually did try the pumpkin bisque soup and thought it was “better than he expected.”  Still, no green bean casserole, but we took care of that earlier in the week. Angie now is thinking the traditional cranberry sauce may need a bit of a kick, if we make it in the future.  However, she is certain Mark would not go for her trying to do a savory pumpkin soup.

We also had a great view of the water, watching the huge Tarpon swim in and check for food.  There were also night divers in the water off of the restaurant.  It was fun to follow their  dive lights flashing back and forth, like light sabers out in the distance.

We were thoroughly stuffed, and claiming never to go to a buffet again (tongue in cheek).  We hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving back home in the States!!!!

Where To Next?

 

We are not 100% sure at this point where we will land next.  With the weather openings, we may take a two day window  and stage and provision in Aruba.  Angie also needs to get 2017 to our CPA before the end of the year and pay taxes.  This needs to happen before continuing further West.  Did we mention Angie’s accounting computer gave up on the salt water environment we live in?  Yep, she needs to recreate 2017 manually.

Then, we move on towards either Columbia or the San Blas Islands, Panama with the next opportunity.  We are interested in doing a guided motorcycle tour of Columbia’s back country.  We are interested in the architecture of Santa Marta and Cartagena.  We are interested in touring the National Park outside of Santa Marta and a walking tour of Bogata.  However, we can also do this another time, when we do South America by land. Angie would like to be more fluent in Spanish.  We have been lacking in our Learning Spanish Flashcard schoolwork. Mark thinks his translator app on his phone will work just fine. We shall see.

Panama or Columbia??

The San Blas Islands of Panama are also calling our name.  From what we have gathered so far, they remind us of the remoter islands that we enjoyed so much in the Bahamas.  After being in civilization for so long (Since May), Angie is getting antsy for some serious down time.  Her boat projects seem to never get completed when there are too many other things to do.   There is always somewhere to go, people to see, blog posts to update, wifi to scab  etc.  It is tough on an introvert!

Bonaire – More Diving and Waiting for Weather

 

We are starting to plan our route to head West again.  After over three months of being here, we are starting to get antsy to move on.  We have thoroughly enjoyed  our visit back to Bonaire and have met many wonderful people, both on shore and on the water.  We have met many boats that we will see along the way when we cross the Pacific Ocean.

We have picked up a quick tutorial booklet from Addos Bookstore to help us speak Papiamento, the locals’ language.   Dutch and English are also spoken, but we thought we would have better luck with something that is closer to Spanish, even though we do not know that either.  We plan to “swing by” Bonaire again when we finish our circumnavigation in 3-4-5 years.

We have also been granted true Bonairian Cruiser status by having a two- three inch long flying cockroach land on our boat.  The wings were large.  It flew far.  We had heard horror stories of them hitting people in the back of their heads as they were sitting out at night during light winds.  Ours landed in our lines.  The movement startled Angie at first. She helped it along and swatted it into the water, hoping to quickly feed a fish.  Squishing  it would have made a mess. Then, she got distraught as it tried swimming back to Uno Mas and also tried to exit the water via our dinghy painters.  It would take a nice sized jack to gulp that thing down.  Mark came to the rescue. He jumped into the tender, let it get on the lines, pinched its head off and tossed it back in the water.  Hopefully, some fish will appreciate the effort. We need to leave before we have any more try to hitch hike to Panama.  Having a bug infestation is Angie’s worst nightmare on Uno Mas. (Well, one of them.)

Bonaire – Seahorses, Whale Sharks, Hammerheads, and Manta Rays, OH MY!

 

Nov 20, 2017

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We REALLY want to find seahorses!  The dive site Rockpile on Klein Bonaire is supposed to have them.  We looked.  Rumor had it that Keepsake on Klein Bonaire also had ONE.  “At the base of the mooring buoy, turn around, look towards shore.  It will be on your right in the soft coral.”  NOPE.   There were 6 of us looking.  The dive site West of Rockpile now is supposed to have some.  We shall see.  Back in 2006 and 2009, we found some off of Oil Slick Leap and Karpata.  We may have to go back to those, just in case.   Highly doubtful they are still hanging around.  Sarah and Bob on Rhapsody found a seahorse clinging to the rubble at the base of the mooring of the boat next to us, in the sandy area.  He is no longer there. We are bummed!

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Bob and Sarah called up to Uno Mas yesterday while they were swimming through the moorings.  A MANTA RAY was cruising down the middle of the boats!  Mark was quick and got to experience the show.  He even witnessed the 7 ft wing span take off, over the little Eagle Ray that has been hanging around lately. A two for one, once in a lifetime experience!  Angie, who was working on blog pictures at the time, took too long to get geared up and in the water to see anything. ((Bathing suit, rash guard, mask, (now, where is the snorkel?))  Mark jumped in the water in his underwear. Quick to react. No fins.  Angie is bummed.  It was mentioned that it would have been worth it, even if one had to jump in the water naked, in front of everyone.  Angie is still weighing that.  We are hoping to attract it again with the underwater light which draws the plankton to the back of Uno Mas at night.  Now THAT would be a cool experience to see on a night dive. It would make up for the Manta Ray night dive we paid for in Kona, Hawaii, many years ago and did not see A ONE.  (We asked for a refund. No luck with that, either!)

Other amazing sights we have only heard about and did not actually experience while here on Bonaire were a whale shark and hammerheads cruising between us and Klein Bonaire.  We have been known, (when we see fish jumping out of the water, in a frenzy to get away from something BIG chasing them in the deeps behind the boat) to jump in the dinghy, speed out to the turbulent area, Angie with her mask on, sticking her head in the water, hiney up in the air, and look for the infamous whale shark.  So far, nothing.  Not even a regular shark. We missed the hammerheads too.

 

Bonaire, Rockpile, Klein Bonaire Dive 11/16/17

The infamous Rockpile.  Famous for seahorses.  We looked. Angie looked twice.  Upside down, and all around. We were in the water for 76 minutes.  Nope. Not a single seahorse.  However, Mark did get some photos of fish we rarely see, and some of ones we see often.  We must say, Rockpile has the best soft coral, sea fans and plumes we have seen so far.  Perfect habitat for seahorses….

Scrawled filefish (two) with trumpetfish photo bomb, RP
Two Scrawled filefish with a trumpetfish photo bomb
Sharptail eel, RP
Sharptail eel, pretty common
Shy hamlet 3, RP
Shy hamlet (new for us)
Yellowhead wrasse, RP
Yellowhead wrasse, hard to get a good picture
Sea fan, RP
Sea Fans!!
French grunt, RP
French grunt. We see a lot of them. However, we liked this photo with the fins extended
Flamingo tongue snail, RP
Flamingo tongue snail. A predator on the soft corals. Beautiful, but nasty
Fire coral, RP
Fire coral, Stay away from the white tipped stuff.
Coral texture, RP
Coral texture
Banded coral shrimp, two of them, RP
TWO Banded coral shrimp

Bonaire, Just Hanging Out

Tiger grouper and sidekick trumpetfish, SB

Purple sea fan with blue chromis, SB
Purple sea fan with Blue chromis
Inked Slender filefish, SB_LI
Slender filefish, about 2 inches long
Barrel sponge, SB
Barrel sponge. We have not seen very many of these
Sharpnose puffer, SB
We finally get a decent pic of a Sharpnose puffer. About 2 inches long

Here are a few things that do not require refrigeration that we have found at the grocery stores:

Things not refrigerated in the tropics, Nov
Yogurt, Milk, and Eggs!

Surprisingly, our digestive systems have not revolted!

The locals are really friendly here.  The local fishermen always wave hello. Even when on Klein Bonaire, the dive boats will stop and ask if we need help. (Just being friendly…. Probably because we usually stay down on a dive for 70-90 minutes at a time.) The red glass bottomed submarine drives by our stern almost daily, showing the people inside, the reef along the edge of the island by the harbor.  Mark waves to this guy and talks to him all of the time.

Yellow submarine, Nov
We all live in a ……… submarine…..

THIS guy, however, hit our boat while towing the sea trikes.  He NOW knows, that we know, that he knows we know….  Bonaire is Dutch and is not a litigious society.  Something that is hard to comprehend. (People not willing to sue someone over absolutely everything.)

Yep, these guys hit our boat, Nov