There’s a certain irony to installing a water maker during a monsoon. The rain pours down relentlessly, sometimes angrily, as though it had a score to settle with the earth, while the north wind blows white-capped waves over the breakwater and high into the streets, drowning the sidewalks and slipping over the docks. The canvas stretching over our cockpit leaks like cheesecloth, letting the rain pool into great lakes that spill down the steps every time we open the hatch. So yesterday I bought three, blue plastic tarps that Ryan and I pulled over the boom, dodger, and bimini, securing them with bungies and string. We blocked enough of the rain to create a kind of wet locker where we hang our rain jackets and soaked towels, as you can see, above. Everything remains damp out there.
At least it’s now dry enough to a few hatches open. Still, the wind screams and rips into the tarps, which shudder, snap and whip, and we have to crawl like rats through this tunnel to leave or board the boat:
That’s our friend Larry’s yellow kayak on the dock. It has been raining so darkly and long I can’t imagine taking it out, except maybe to navigate the brackish waters flooding the street to the only coffee shop in town, The Bean (the blue building in the photo, below): I rode my bike through those waters, unwisely, perhaps; but I wanted caffeine, like all the other crazy folks you see below. The Bean looks out over the town dock and the fishing boats.
Here’s another view from the porch of the coffee shop, looking left and south:
This morning six large boxes from Cruise RO Water & Power, stuffed with colored hoses, long pipes, heavy, compact engine parts, and countless, airy filters, arrived at the dockmaster’s office. We wheeled them down during a lull in the storm and unpacked them on deck, stashing the empty cartons under the tarp on the boom in case we need to send anything back.
The water maker uses reverse osmosis to convert the sea to potable water, generating 30 gallons per hour under power from a generator small enough to store in the lazarette. The man who manufactures these ingenious devices, Rich Boren invented them for cruisers like himself, and responds almost instantly to emails and phone calls seven days a week. I settled on this brand after a great deal of on-line research. It seemed to be the most economical and efficient system out there. Ryan liked it also because it runs on a generator small enough to fit into our lazarette and yet powerful enough to supply multiple ship needs.
We’re excited because all the stuff we’re doing now, such as installing solar panels and an SSB radio and water maker, will allow us to live off the grid for as long as we like (or at least until something breaks that we can’t fix). We’re also frustrated because the rain won’t let up and the sail maker hasn’t finished repairing and cleaning our sails or sun shades and rain covers. As soon as the sun comes out again for a reliable stretch, we’ll be dousing our cockpit canvas with 303 waterproofing and praying it will prevent us from having to deploy the noisy plastic tarps again. But what we’re really looking forward to is getting out on the water and sailing towards bluer skies and lagoons. It would also be nice to harness the wind to move in a deliberate direction, instead of being blown by it from one side of the slip to the other.