Our own beach.
In the summer months San Blas is one of the worst places for thunder and lightening. Cruisers who have been here a long time tell us there is a 1 in 10 chance of being hit on a boat. Whether or not this is true, we are not going to hang around to find out. We have already experienced one intense storm with lightening and as the rainy season sets in this month we are seeing lightening around us every night.
We have moved out of San Blas to Isla Linton, a small island just off the coast next to Portobello and 12NM from Colon. If a weather opportunity arises we will sail across 'the hole' to Bocas del Toro. It still rains a lot there but they say not so much lightening.
26 January 2014
This is the only place you will find snow in the Caribbean, the 5700m high Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. We were lucky to see the mountain peaks at day break as we sailed passed. They were so big that we didn't realise we could see them. Normally the mountains are not visible because of cloud cover.
11 December 2013
We left Aluna by herself in the Santa Marta Marina for 5 months. When we arrived back in December we were expecting to have problems with things that had seized up and corroded from the salty atmosphere, but we were pleasantly surprised to find few problems. Everything was dry and working. Even the generator which had a defective fuel pump before we went away would start. Just a few barnacles on the bottom to clean off.
We have at least 19 different types of pumps on board and it is not surprising one goes wrong.
Until now we have had very few problems with Aluna I hope partly due following rigorous planned maintenance schedule. However, in Curacao our generator gave a lot of headaches. The generator is housed in a GRP pod so tucked away in the engine compartment that it is difficult to access, therefore regular inspections get neglected with the inevitable consequences.
I installed the replacement fuel pump on the generator which I knew from long had to be done. But after assembling everything back in its place and making a test run I discovered water leaking from the cooling water pump. Nevertheless, since everything was working again I didn’t want to dismantle the thing again. I made enquiries for a new pump. With transport from the USA it was Euro 500. However since I wanted to confirm the correct pump model before placing the order I got hold of an assembly drawing from the dealer which is not normally freely available and then I discovered I could just replace the pump seals, not the complete pump. I should have considered this before but I didn’t. Anyway, I tracked down some replacement seals from a car garage in Curacao at a minuscule cost and after several hours everything was assembled and working again.
Then the starter battery to the generator went flat. For the third time in several days I had to pull everything out again to get to the responsible bits. I discovered a contact had broken free from the ballast resistor. That was relatively easy to fix with a hot soldering iron but since the electrics are housed inside the generator’s air intake I also discovered the whole chamber was clogged up from disintegrated foam from the sound hood insulation. How much has been sucked into the engine and what internal damage has been done is yet to be seen. The generator is again running. I can only keep my fingers cross the polyester foam has done no damage.
Below is a picture of the generator (75Kg) tucked away in the top left corner of the engine room.
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17 June 2013
We had a lot of difficulty finding a birth for Aluna for the hurricane season. Originally we planned to haul out in Curaçao Marine but when we investigated the towed slipway trailer which the yard intended to use, we decided the risk was too high that Aluna may be damaged. There were no other lifts on the island that could lift Aluna out of the water. We ended up with the last marina slip available in Spanish waters.
1 April 2013 - Exumas
Today while cruising down the coast of the Exumas our log clocked up 10,000NM (20,000km). My log book indicated at least 97% of that was under sail !
4 June 2013
Tied up behind us on the super yacht dock at Casa De Campo, DR was ‘Tang’. She is ‘Tag 60’ super catamaran built in South Africa. What makes her special as a cruising boat, is her ability to travel over 300NM a day under sail in light winds. With winds between 5kts and 15kts she can sail at least the same speed. Furthermore, she has hybrid electric motors which propel her silently along or work in reverse, to generate power to charge the batteries when under sail. She has a 100% carbon hull and is inside fitted out like a super yacht. Such boats give real sailing sensation and offer the same comfort as any motor yacht but use a fraction of the fuel. The brand new Fairline motor yacht on the other side from us cost USD 3.5 million and USD100,000 in fuel to sail down from Florida. The USD 2 million Tag 60 cost nothing to sail down. Why aren't very wealthy people who can afford these super yachts more environmentally friendly and why don't they buy boats like 'Tang' ?
Everything is new..
Since the start of our journey Eveline asked me to prepare a website to enlighten those who are interested of our sailing escapades around the world. Two and a bit years later I have finally got around to doing it ... and this is it ! My justification for taking so long is because we have had and still do have a Sail blog where Eveline has been posting numerous logs of our trip. This blog is still active but we have transferred many of the earlier entries to this new site. We hope you have fun reading and if you have any comments, suggestions or just want to get in touch with an e-mail or post a comment below.