We had some great incentives to inch forward with the many jobs that needed doing on our new boat.
Firstly, every day we seemed to spend between $200 and $700 on boat bits at overpriced shops, new tools that had battery power, boatyard services, groceries and rent. It was like that queasy feeling I get in the January sales but without any nice new cashmere jumpers to show for it.
The cuckoo clock was ticking for Hans. Our Swiss American friend had sold us the boat but with our condition that he would come out to Puerto Rico to give us 7 days help getting it back in the water (boats are bloody complicated!!) and 7 days of much needed sailing training. His flight was booked and we needed to be as far ahead as possible so as to not waste a minute of his visit.
Life in post hurricane Puerto Rico was seriously getting us down!
As we were fortunate enough not to have to stay we were keen to go. The rainy season was in full flow; the bugs were breeding; the piles of post hurricane tree branches, coconuts, ruined kitchen cupboards and general rubbish lined the roads – the bonfire sized pile below our balcony stayed there until THE VERY DAY we left 6 weeks later, when a trio of open top trucks arrived to clear the street.
Marina life is very curious. Boats parked up side by side along the docks, mostly empty. Cleaning crew arriving with high powered boom boxes to endlessly wash down overpowered motorboats that never leave, but are used as weekend apartments with a breeze and a sea view. A community of welders, riggers, sail repairers, marina buggy boys and general boat fixers watching the customers come and go.
The lovely marina office staff helped keep us sane by battled FedEx with us, helping find our priceless watermaker which had come from Trinidad and then gone on a trip to Memphis…
Hans proved to be a great morale booster, yodelling loudly from his cold shower each evening and telling endless entertaining tales of life as a charter captain and captain of industry.
He and L worked miracles on engines, electrics, nav stations, radar, watermakers and satellite phones while I pondered why I never bothered to learned any of that stuff. I painted the bottom, cleaned, paid bills, held stuff and pulled stuff, made cold meals, kept them hydrated and went endlessly to and fro from the chandlers for bits.
We took turns at learning how to be hoisted up the mast and Hans and I drank very strong rum and cokes in the evenings by lamp light.
We finally “splashed” on 16th November.