June 11th 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
San Cristobal, the main town

Hard day’s work.  I rowed Jack in (after, of course, the most perfect, beautiful, tranquil night’s sleep) so that he could get busy on booking us in, then returned, + set to attacking some rust emanating from a winch in the bow.  Bleeding hard work.  I had to fetch Jack a couple of hours later – this took some time, as he had forgotten to get us some bread, so that left me rowing out in the middle of nowhere until he returned.  I was somewhat annoyed at Ms. Jonas for not having finished off my scrubbing while I was away – she tells me she hadn’t heard me ask her to.  Ho hum.  Jack’s news was a) we could stay 3 days only (this was expected) b) we would have to pay $66 for the privilege c) we could buy as much diesel as we wanted, very cheap + d) we would get as much water as we wanted tomorrow.  Both c) and d) were very unexpected, from all the accounts we’d received.

Anyway, lunch was sandwiches, with the magnificent local bread, after which, once I’d finished my scrubbing, we made our way over to the Naval Pier to load up our fuel.  Quite an operation this.  I rowed Alma in, where she got out + secured a line, + then I took the free end back to the boat, which was coming in to meet me, having already dropped a stern anchor.  Sounds simple, but isn’t so.  It’s very difficult to make a rendezvous with a moving boat, particularly when there’s a strong current + you’re trailing a heavy line, so twice we missed it.  Which meant I had to row in a circle, + Val had to haul up the anchor again.  However, success the 3rd time – by the skin of our teeth – + after a bit of shouting + manoeuvring, during which Val got her fingers stuck in a winch, + I had to row some more, we were secure.  Our fuel arrived in 4 battered oil drums, + Alma + I spent the next 2 hours hand-pumping the stuff across in a hose to the boat.  Only when the whole operation was over, + we had cast off + returned to the anchorage, + were preparing to relax with our dinner, did we discover that Jack had fed the fuel into our fresh water tanks.  Hm.  J + A were up most of the night doing what they could to rectify this.

After all the time and effort to get here, it all seems something of an anticlimax: chores to do, rowing to get on with, very little of the attractions of dry land.  And the whole business with the fuel was to have lasting consequences.  To some extent, the mistake was understandable, since the two inlets, for water and fuel, are right next to eac h other on the deck.  But it is such an important distinction that one thought it would demand additional care.  When Alma discovered the error, she thought that Jack must have been distracted – by Val!  When it transpired she thought this meant some hanky-panky was taking place, with them on board, and Alma and me on shore, I was simply astounded.  I could only imagine that Jack had previously displayed some evidence of this side of his personality in the past, but the idea that Val might have been interested… Well!

  1. Pamela J Blair

    What a mess! I can’t imagine how you’ll get the oil/water situation fixed. Apparently you did, but still…

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