puertorican fishing boat, motor

A typical present day Puerto Rican fishing boat.

Just before leaving Salinas a friend let me know that a couple friends of hers wanted to charter my boat for a bit of adventure. I was not even half prepared for that kind of thing yet with the Oasis, but i could use a bit more pocket money so i agreed to take them to Vieques, where we were returning to do a last bit of packing at our house before continuing on upwind.

I had intended to sail from Salinas at dusk arriving at dawn at Vieques, which would have been about right with the normal trade winds, but it turned out to be one of those very unusual days of the year where the wind died away to almost nothing and stayed that way most of the night and into the morning making us sail at about swimming speed. I felt a bit bad for our guests, but they did want a sailing adventure, and with sailing you’ve got to flow with whatever Nature feels like at that moment. Turns out they were lezzies and basically spent the whole time spooning each other on the foredeck. Seemed to me like an expensive way to nap, but what do i know? They seemed to enjoy the time so that’s what matters.

Late morning having already decided to cut the distance down by changing route to Naguabo, where i had bought the boat, there was a fishing boat a half mile off, wrapping up their morning’s work. Then they came towards us, and once close, all big grins, and loudly recognising the local “Campeón”; the formidable boat that most people would bet on in the races. They knew something had changed though, but clearly they weren’t sailors because they were not sure what it was about the boat that made it look so different from before.

They want to give us fish. That time of day is the prelude to lunch so i gladly accept, but instead of getting almost alongside, they just throw us the fish from a few meters away. The fourth slippy fish i don’t manage to grab well enough and and ends up sinking to the bottom in the clear waters. It broke my heart to see the fish go to waste like that but before i could even persuade them that three were more than enough, already they had enthusiastically swung a replacement fish into the air, which i managed  not to drop this time.

This is why you never throw things on a boat.

Lunch was fish with fish because without a fridge, i was not going to see yet more wasted food, and so we were all fully stuffed with delicious fish to last us a while.

The wind having picked up to seven or eight knots allowed the boat to cover the remaining few miles at near top speed again.

Our guests had already alerted their pickup ride as to the change of plans and she met up with us soon after we anchored.

Don Gelo, the Oasis’ builder happened to be in Naguabo and so i brought him aboard so he could survey the modifications to the boat. Although he understood and approved of the changes it was apparent that he had mixed feelings about it. His ‘baby’ certainly did not the look the same anymore, and her racing days would be over..

On to Vieques, which proved to be a uneventful short passage of a few hours. In Vieques, we spent a few days sorting through our possesions that were still at the house and packing up what we would take with us towards Brasil. The rest got given away. There is a limited amount of room on any boat and so one has to be meticulous about not hanging on to anything that is not actually useful. Still, it pained me to have to triage out many of my books, even leaving behind some of my engineering textbooks. As it was, i managed to pare it down to three plastic boxes, two of which were near impossible to lift with just my most prized books. Even my tools got triaged, and i got rid of duplicate tools, but most stayed.

There are six equal size cargo bays that i built into the Oasis, so i took three; one for the 5500 watt generator, one for all my tools, and one for all my books. Apart from the computer, the bicycle, and a bag of clothes that is all i have. I pointed out to Christina the remaining three which would define the bulk of what she could take as well. When i saw her immense pile of stuff i told her she still had to halve it or it would not fit, but she brushed aside my comments and insisted to try anyways. Of course it did not fit at all, and she ‘cheated’ by jamming more stuff pretty much everywhere else in the boat too, even in the passageway and up forwards, but i had to put my foot down and categorically tell her that more stuff had to go, that it was a danger to us and the boat to have so much stuff as to not allow free movement and that there absolutely could not be weight up in the eyes of the boat, etc. So after much wrangling and harrumphing we finally managed to get the boat tolerably well stowed for the rest of the way.

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