Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

[Kyle]Owing to the exertion of the previous day, we planned to do not much apart from some high quality loafing. The one thing that I did want to do was install our new LifeTag system – an electronic man overboard device. I figured it would be pretty easy: read the directions carefully, drill a few holes, and splice a few wires – done.

In truth, the job wasn’t all that bad. Our main trouble came when we installed the optional switch to give us the option of not having it on all of the time the instruments are powered. The system consists of two transmitter/receiver types: one type for the boat and one type worn by one or each of us. If the boat loses the personal signal, it screams like crazy. If the personal transmitter/receiver loses the boat for more than ten seconds, it stops transmitting to save the battery. In this way, shutting off the boat’s system will save the batteries on the portable units. Thus, we can use them when they are truly needed, such as when the weather is really bad or there is only one of us on watch.

I decided that instead of a flip switch, which I thought would stick out too far and be easy to catch on, I would install a nice, low profile rocker switch. It was a good idea, except that instead of a medium-sized hole, we would need a small rectangular cutout through the intervening bulkhead. The hole was too small for a hacksaw blade, so I ended up drilling a lot of holes and then using the dremel to connect the dots. Then I filed away the edges of the cutout to make the edges smooth.

The whole switch operation turned out to require more time and energy than installing the rest of the system. That was okay. These things happen. Our real problem was that the boat and I were covered in a heavy layer of fiberglass dust. We took care of the boat with a brush and dustpan. Even though it was dark by then, I jumped in for a swim, soaped up, and then jumped in again.

Poor Kyle working while he should have been enjoying his anticipated day off!

Somehow, my nice, lazy day ended up finishing late with me in desperate need of a bath. Even afterwards, I spent the night covered in the itchy, scratchy stuff that I couldn’t get off.

[Maryanne]My contribution to the day was much less... I read a book, and occasionally poked my head in at the work Kyle was doing and offered helpful comments such as "shouldn't that wire go here, and not there?". The Lifetag system was a Christmas present to ourselves (kind-of), and will set of really loud alarms if either of us fall overboard, and also marks the 'lost person' position on our chart plotter so we can turn the boat around and go back easily. We have some long passages planned this year, and I will sleep better knowing that I won't be waking up to an empty boat any time soon, and if I do, it will be really soon after he tried to jump ship without me, and I can haul his ass back into the boat!

[Kyle]About an hour after sunrise on Saturday, the first party boat showed up at Taboga. We could hear them approach from about a mile away. Their sound system was already blasting terrible dance club music. Fine. It’s Saturday. We weren’t sleeping. For some reason, if I imagined it was coming from a beach bar instead of six jerks who had unilaterally decided that the island was going to listen their stuff, it seemed less inconsiderate, so I just did that for a while.

Another boat showed up with their speakers blasting different music. Not a different kind, it may have been the first guy’s stuff on a five-minute delay. Now we had this war of the sound systems as each boat tried to drown out the other’s music. Five more boats showed up with five more soundtracks. We couldn’t hear each other talk, but we also couldn’t enjoy the music since seven different songs all played at once is only slightly less chaotic than a construction site. We weren’t close enough to any one set of speakers to drown out the rest. In the direction of Panamá City, we could see half a dozen more on their way. Taboga, which was such a nice place during the week, seemed to be going for a lower class Cancun vibe on the weekends. We decided we needed to get the hell out of there.

After a short sail, we were out of the chaos and back in our old spot. La Playita seemed so much calmer, even with all of the ferry and launch wakes plowing through the anchorage. Sunset was much more pleasant there amongst all of the other cruising boats.

1 comment:

kate rodenhouse said...

I too will sleep better knowing you have your LifeTag system installed. Really. Awesome Christmas gift to yourselves!