The shaft, stuffing box, transmission coupling and exhaust riser are now all out and off the boat. Our two fixed, 3-blade props will go for routine inspection and the shaft will have a cotter pin hole drilled in the end for the retaining nut to be secured. One of the weaknesses of the MaxProp, in my opinion, is in the design; several threads of the prop shaft have to be cut off to fit it, so if you ever want to change over to a fixed blade prop, you're unable to secure the nut with a cotter pin as you've just cut off that portion of the shaft thread with the cotter hole in it. Crazy. We've been very fortunate and never hit anything with our prop blades; we've met other cruisers who weren't so lucky. What would they do if they didn't carry an expensive set of spare blades for their folding, variable pitch prop? Our exhaust riser will go to the welder to repair a small crack that developed. I had patched it with JB Weld, which held for many thousands of miles, but a proper repair will be done at this time. The boat awnings, which haven't been used since they were made in Guatemala, have been up for the last 7 months and are off to the shop for modification and repair; also, two hatch covers are getting new clear vinyl sewn in. There's a choice of bottom paints here, and I'm in the final stages of decision making; Hemphill, Jotun Sea Force, Trinidad SR, or Sea Hawk; prices and color availability are all over the place. The wind vane is in the machine shop having a frozen SS bolt on the rudder blade removed and new bearings put in. For anyone coming this way, here in Chagauramas there's a cruisers information net at 0800 on VHF 68 daily; it's very informative with lots of participation. Lastly, this past week there have been thunderstorms every day, so if you're planning on painting or peeling your boat, better to get here way early in the dry season.
I arrived a few days ago and spent the first two nights in the hotel located at Power Boats. That gave me the time to clean the deck and cockpit and recruit Clark from Two Amigos to help drag the heavy headsail and mainsail from the settee in the salon to the deck. We also brought the windvane topsides. Down below looked pretty good. A bit of dust, some dead flies, but no mold or dead roaches - yea! Overall, I'd say in very good shape, so I think our pre-departure efforts have paid off. The list of projects goes on. Since it's hot and humid here, I'm still getting acclimated. Oh, forgot: I said "I" and not "we" as Sue is still in Florida taking care of some business that needed attending to, and will be here in about two weeks. Let's see...all the halyards have been run; the furling blocks on the stanchions have been attached; the furling line has been run; Cold Keate put a small charge in the refrigerator compressor today; the box temperature is now down to where it should be; I changed the two water filters in the galley; the Maxprop propeller has been removed in anticipation of installing a new cutlass bearing; I've organized a bit down below (a never-ending process); done some provisioning for one; and installed a marine wifi system from island time pc. The internet is still very slow and sketchy, but I'm down below at the chart table writing this entry, so that's an improvement. All-in-all, not a bad few days. There are about a half-dozen boats around that we've met previously, so folks are coming back to start the new cruising season. I checked out the cruisers book exchange at the laundry here at Power Boats; 99% were in French or German.