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Sailing Vessel Beruta Ship's Log

Curacao - Bonaire - Curacao

30 October 2015

Almost 6 months passed since my last voyage to Bonaire. Many changes occurred since then, to Beruta and to my life too.

At the end of July I sailed to Piscadera Royal Marine for routine antifouling. When I pulled the anchor and pushed the throttle on the Yanmar, the engine did not increase the RPM! Later on that day it stalled right after the start. I had to postpone the trip till next day and figure out what the hell happened. After long time troubleshooting the engine problem, which took almost the entire day and involved replacing the oil, filters, checking valve clearance, doing all kind of other tricks suggested my my friend marine mechanic and reading Yanmar service manual and other books on the same subject, I found the culprit - not mentioned anywhere - the mixing elbow! It was clogged with the carbon! So, if you see an exhaust fumes going through your air intake - check it! This is how the new one looks.

Speeking of antifouling, after 6 years of making the right boot top (or the waterline), cleaning it every week and repainting it every year with all kinds of chemicals, I decided to get rid of it! I epoxied the top sides 15-20 cm above the existing waterline and put SeaHawk Island 44 hard antifouling paint that high. That was it!

Later in summer I finally made a pilothouse! It was constructed from a 8-10 mm marine plywood, installed on SS tubing left from a dodger and connected with SS brackets and bolts. The joints were epoxied and the plywood was covered with 4 coats of epoxy paint. The windows were made from 5mm plexiglass and bolted through 12 by 5 mm rubber seal. On the roof I installed a plastic square hatch mainly for ventilation because all windows were fixed. The pilot house would make Beruta voyages much more drier!

Along the side, there were numerous smaller projects like mosquito screens, cockpit table and LED light, new mixing elbow raiser pipe with proper threads, new stronger stern chainplate, etc.

The last big project was an addition of a windpilot. I chose Windpilot Pacific. You may guess that Pacific ocean is on my list of next destinations. To make it work, I had to move the solar panel forward, creating the needed shadow above the helmsman. I actually intended to test the windpilot during this trip to Bonaire.

Staying long period of time on the same little island without sailing is boring. Well, I sailed to Klein Curacao for a night but that was not the sailing that we all dream about. Now it was another time to leave Curacao for customs reason and I was not ready to go to Pacific yet. So Bonaire was the closest country to clear out.

This voyage was with a crew of three: Elvira, Masha and myself. We left Curacao at 7:00. The forecast was 15 kts. We sailed 40° to the wind on the starboard helping a bit with the engine to reduce the drift. The visibility was quite unusual. We saw Bonaire right from the start! Normally, the atmosphere in these waters is hazy.

The windpilot was deployed! What an amazing thing it was! It steered a straight line that could hardly be done by an experienced sailor. Much much better than my Raymarine autopilot! What else can I say: thank you, Peter Foerthmann for an excellent device that you invented!

Shortly after leaving, the chartplotter beeped and displayed a message "AIS connection was lost!". I checked the AIS, the green light told me that it was working. Good! Probably just the wire disconnected somewhere. I unplugged the cable from the AIS and plugged it back but that did not do the trick, meaning that I would need to open the panel and check the connection there. Well, we kept a watch, so I would check it when Beruta is anchored in calm waters.

Midway between Curacao and Bonaire the small dolphins came to cure my crew from seasickness and entertain them for some time.

We arrived to Kralendjik between 2 and 3PM. I took the mooring buoy relatively far from the bar, where the dinghy dock was, not a rowing distance. I would have to put the outboard for the tender but Friday night might be quieter there! We checked in with the immigration and customs and went to see how far the Budget rental car office was. We booked a small car for a weekend to go diving and explore the island. It happened to be on the same street, Kaya Industria, where Van Den Tweel supermarket was but closer.

When we returned to Beruta, we found a note from the marina stating that we were supposed to go to their fuel dock to complete the mooring buoy formalities. Well, how we would know. We would pay them a visit next day.

31 October 2015 - Diving

The Budget office happened to be closed on Saturday despite that their web site said. Fortunately, someone was there and called the airport location to pick us up promising to give us a discount for airport surcharges later when we return the car Monday morning.

Next, we went to the marina to pay for the mooring buoy. $10 per night.

Near marina there was an excellent dive center where I purchased the marine park permit for $25 (valid for one calendar year) and rented a scuba tank for $19 a day (unlimited free self-service refills).

I planned to make at least five dives but due to some flu and fever managed to do only two. What a pity!

Clear water and lots of fish. Corals more or less the same as around Curacao. I saw the giant parrotfish which I had not seen anywhere else before. I was told that it was called midnight parrotfish, although it was not the usual black and blue but rather black and red color. Other than that, many small barracudas and some turtles in shallow water near salt terminal. There Masha collected a whole bag of salt crystals and happily suck them after snorkelling. Elvira was fascinated by pink salt ponds around that area. She just started the PADI Open Water textbook.

1 November 2015 - Touring the island

We drove around the island for the second time to see some beaches. The popular one for wind and kite surfing was still busy but due to calm weather we did not see many surfers if any.

Checked out afternoon, had to go to the airport for immigration. Returned the car Sunday night at the airport Budget location and got a free lift back to the boat but not a promised discount!

2 November 2015

We left early morning, 7:40 local time (UTC-4). The wind was 10-15 kts in the forecast. Not a great one when sailing downwind. For the first 2 hours there was no wind at all but when we passed the shadow of the island, we were able to sail 3-4 kts under the full main and 4-5 kts with a help of a spinnaker. Strangely enough, AIS worked this time.

A short squall caused a little bit of panic to Elvira frightened by the approaching wall of water and wind. We took the spinnaker down well in advance, so it was just a matter of taking the reefs on the main. That was also done before the strong gusts. I pulled the main sail down completely out of precaution, which might not have been necessary but better be safe than sorry. The squall passed away a few moments later.

We raised the main and sailed slowly to Spanish Waters where we arrived around 5PM, an hour before the sunset.

All pictures from Bonaire are on Picasa.