Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big Galliot Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: NE 10-15 knots

The weather is shaping up to be really awful. Our friends on Pegasus left today at one for a marina thirty miles away, but with an unreliable engine we didn’t think we could make it if we left that late. If we had woken up at dawn we could have made it, but we didn’t get the weather forecast yesterday so we didn’t know that we would have a window today. Argh. We’re going to miss weather windows right and left if we can’t end up with reliable forecasting.

We finally got weather this morning on the VHF radio--we’d missed the last two days--and it looks disgusting. Above 25 knots for the next week. We may end up stuck here for that long.

So much for all my grand spiritual ambition from yesterday. Pegasus left us with their entire book of DVDs, hundreds of hours of craptastic cinematic entertainment, so we’ll probably end up wasting all our time with movies rather than esoteric spiritual pursuits. Today we watched the contemporary masterpiece that is Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Brilliant.

What’s worse is that with overcast skies and not having run our engine a lot lately, our batteries are being taxed severely. We ran the engine for an hour tonight to recharge them, but if we keep watching two movies a day on the computer, even that’s not going to keep them charged.

As always, I hate running the diesel. It’s not just an inconvenience or a matter of aesthetics (the thing’s bloody loud), but I believe morally in not using fossil fuels. Hiking we had a bodily connection to the earth, something utterly lacking when we motor but physically present when we sail. It’s a philosophical difference.

I envy our Australian friends, both because they left today and because they haven’t even connected their alternator yet. They meet all their electrical needs with two big solar panels and a wind generator, and that provides the electricity for a refrigerator and a water-maker. They also use their solar panels to collect water: they just angle the things and put a bucket under the corner. Yesterday they caught forty gallons, our entire carrying capacity. Craziness.

Then again, they don’t have our famed intimacy with the locals, that a lack of gigantic solar panels and a windmill provides. It’s not just that we’re poor, we look poor, our boat lacking the bristling modern trappings that most cruising boats have. I’m not sure our local friendships matter much, though, when we’re trapped on the boat for a week without any electricity to watch DVDs.

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