Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Cutlass Bearing Replacement

New cutlass bear in front of the strut where it goes

We had to haulout for an insurance survey.  While out of the water, we discovered that the cutlass bearing was more than likely bad, as in shot, kaput, finish!  Luckily, Tom had the replacement aboard.  Luckily, Waterfall Marine (Chute D"Eau Marine, LTD) here in Coral Cove Marina boatyard could switch it out for us that day.
Old cutlass bearing


Prop puller
By switch it out, I mean.......
Prop puller
Pull the prop off - not an easy task.

Strut, zincs, line cutter, prop - all removed

Remove the strut - not an easy task.
Everything removed


Removed the bearing - They did this in the shop so I have no idea how they did it but I suspect there is a little something to doing this.
Prop back in place

Everything back in place and ready to go

And finally put the new one on and then put it all back together again.  Whew!  Thank you Sean at Waterfall.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

STEP Program

Pic from STEP web site

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is under the US Department of State.

What it is -    
"The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate" 

Benefits for you -    
-Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.  
-Help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.  
-Help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.   
Pic from STEP web site

Here is how it works -
I created an account/ profile.  Then I Enrolled a Trip.  Basically I said we were traveling to Trinidad and used that day as the start of the trip.  I left the End Date - Unknown.  Purpose - Pleasure.  Contact - my mobile phone number.  For Address I put Other - Coral Cove Marina.  City - Chaguaramas.  Country - Trinidad.  It then says - Thank you for enrolling.  This triggers a notification to the US Embassy in Trinidad that we are in country and enrolls us for email alerts.  Don't worry, your inbox won't be overflowing with emails.  I have only received a few and those are informative and timely.

What type of emails will you get? -
I got an email yesterday with great information about absentee ballots.  It seems here in Trinidad the US Embassy will take your election ballot back to the US and deposit it into the US mail for delivery to your home election office.  The email gave the details and deadline.  Last December the week before Xmas, I got an email giving the holidays hours for the Embassy as well as suggestions for staying safe during the holidays season.  The same was true the week prior to Carnival this year.  Last year I  also received an email alerting us that there had been a gas explosion at a filling station and that specific roads were shut down because of it.  We were not even aware of the explosion but regardless, it was nice to know it was an accident vs finding out later and wondering if it was perhaps a bomb.  When we were in Tobago, I got notification that the US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago would be in Tobago for an open "townhall style meeting" with US citizens.  We didn't end up going as it was some distance from our anchorage but I think that would have been an interesting meeting to attend.  In addition to those types of emails, as the web site mentions, you might also receive notifications on dangerous weather, emergencies, civil unrest or other.

So far, I have been impressed with this program.
Pic from STEP web site

Final note -
I took a little time to research online the various US Embassies like;  Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados (this one is a regional embassy for several eastern Caribbean islands) and Guyana.  I then programed the main contact number and email into my cell phone under US Embassy- Trinidad, US Embassy - Grenada and so forth.  This way we have easy access to those numbers in case of any emergency.  In many cases it even gives the name of the US Ambassador in country.  I put that name in the notes section of that contact.  Additionally, I have programmed contact info into my phone of key locals.  For example, in Trinidad Jesse James is THE go to guy for us yachties.  I have his cell and email programed into my phone.  Two years ago I was in Port of Spain by myself.  I was trying to get a Maxi Taxi back to Chaguaramas.  I waited and waited and waited at the Maxi Taxi station.  NONE were going to Chaguaramas.  It seems there was a water main break, the road was down to one lane and traffic was backed up for miles and miles.  The Maxi Taxi drivers would not go out to Chaguaramas because it meant hours to get back and thus no additional runs i.e. - no money.  After 2 1/2 hours of waiting I realized this was really bad.  Luckily, I had Jesse's cell programmed into my phone.  Six other cruisers walked up to the Maxi Taxi station as I was texting him.  He sent a driver for us.  We got home two and half hours after I sent the text.   

If you are going to travel abroad, think about signing up for STEP and programming key contact info into your phone. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Election Blues Charters


For the past several Presidential election cycles (in the USA), it seems a few celebrities always come out and say "If so and so wins, I am moving to Canada."  Luckily for Canada, they never do move regardless of who wins.  However, as we all know, this election is unlike ANY other in the short history of US Presidential elections.

Tom and I have never even thought of turning sv Honey Ryder into a charter business aka taking paying customers aboard for holiday.  1.)  We don't really have the room.  2.)  I don't know that either of us has the personality i.e patience at this phase of our lives for that.  3.)  We don't like you people that much to have you as guests paying or not!  Just kidding.....well....sort of..... 

However, with this unprecedented......oh hell, let's just call it was it really is......crazyass election coming up, we realize that there is a potential to help out our fellow Americans as well as pad our cruising kitty BIG time - a very American thing indeed!  Therefore we are thinking of opening sv Honey Ryder up after the November election to those fleeing the outcome.  No matter who wins there will be plenty on the losing side who just can't believe it and must get away for some relief and retrospection - ha....more like heavy drinking.  Time on sv Honey Ryder might be just the ticket.  Besides, Canada is cold in November, December, January, February and such.  Hell, even the Canadian's don't stick around for winters up there unless they need healthcare.  Plus, they don't want all us Americans up there.  I hear they are thinking of building a wall to keep us out.  Just kidding.....I think!  I saw a You Tube video about a Canadian wall or some such so it must be true, right?

Again, we haven't yet made a firm decision, this is just an idea we are kicking around.  There sure seems to be a need.  I have already gotten several emails letting me know "If so and so wins, we are packing our bags and heading your way the day after."  Like any good gouge  er...... popular item during times of need, this won't come cheap.  Nope, if we decide to do this, pricing will be at a premium!  Think generator pricing prior to a huge blizzard or hurricane.  Additionally those fleeing er....... charter guests will be required to pull their weight in terms of boat maintenance and chores.  Children will be accepted on a limited basis but there will be additional hefty KID fees and child labor will apply.  

*There is a Kickstarter project with stickers that say "I Voted And Then I Threw Up A Little".  I thought that was funny and sad at the same time and pretty much sums up this election for a lot of Americans.  I wanted to use that image but then thought I better not.  However, I think you can go out and buy those stickers.  Google it.