Friday, March 20, 2015

NorthWestward Ho!

After leaving St John, we spent one night in Culebra tucked in behind the reef on a ball in the Dakity anchorage. Early the next morning we were on our way again. We arrived at Sun Bay Marina in Fajardo just around lunch time. We had already reserved a slip for a few days in order to provision and prepare for the long trip home. Also, as you may recall, our radar unit died on us a couple of months ago just before we arrived in the Dominican Republic. We got a replacement unit as soon as we reached Puerto Rico back in January and have been carting it around ever since. We really haven't needed it because the entire trip across PR, Vieques, Culebra and the US and British Virgin Islands is all daysailing. Now, we can't put it off any longer. We can't set out for 3 - 5 night passages with no radar.

Our old-ish Raymarine electronics have us caught in upgrade limbo. We can't just replace the radar unit due to compatibility issues. A whole new array of electronics would run north of $20,000 - not going to happen this year and certainly not when everything else works fine. So, we opted to buy a new Furuno radar that can wirelessly connect to an iPad. We are hoping this is the wave of the future. We tested the unit a couple of weeks ago and it seems to work great. This week, we had to permanently mount and connect the unit. No small feat.

I think this Bosun's Chair makes my butt look big.
It is halfway up the mast. I have gotten pretty good at going up there. I have tried, futilely, to somehow coerce the old Raymarine radome to work - cleaned connections, re-wired, re-seated, tapped with a screwdriver, hit rather hard with a screwdriver, wiggled the magnetron. I have probably gone up the mast 6 - 8 times already trying to salvage this unit. This time, it was coming down.

And, the new unit was going up. Of course, the mounting hole patterns are different. Of course the holes for the new unit line up with the stainless steel bars for the mount. Of course I had to drill new holes while hanging 25 feet above the deck. No surprise that the old cable was nearly impossible to get out of the mast. Big surprise - it all works! It is all neatly wired, mounted and happy. We are really glad to get this knocked out. I have to admit that I am a little stiff and sore. Junie collected several boat bites and a blister from tugging on the cable. And, probably, a stiff neck from looking up at me while she managed the halyard I was hanging from. At least we do have the fold-down mast steps so I can climb. I am not sure how we could have accomplished this otherwise.

Mofungo - just one of the many things
we like about Puerto Rico.

Tomorrow morning we are planning to leave Fajardo. We like it here. I think that if we stay too much longer we might start finding a way to live here. So, we leave in the morning. The weather for the trip may be almost too mild but we need to sail when we can. We will go, at least, as far as the Turks and Caicos. Further if the wind helps and things go well. We are ready to move on. Still so much to see and do.

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