Saturday 16 February, St.Maarten day 19: Foiling morning, sleepy afternoon, busy evening.
A weird night. Normally I could sleep for the Olympics sleeping team, but last night I woke at 3am with a strong desire for a Nutella sandwich! By the time I made it, and ate it, I was wide awake. So watched the movie True Grit for a couple of hours.
So at 8:30am I woke feeling like a bus had run me down. The old body really did not feel up to my foiling lesson booked at 10am.
I arrive at B52 kite school at 10:15, which is bang-on-time by French standard 🙂 The surf board with a short hydrofoil (or short mast as Pierre calls is) is ready waiting, its sharp edges looking me in the eye. Am I ready to attempt kiting with an oversized carving knife again?
I’m rigged up with seat harness, life jacket and helmet complete with radio so that Pierre can give me instructions from his RIB. Hmm this is like kiteboarding 101 all over again! We motor upwind where me and the carving-knife foilboard are thrown over the side with me already attached to the kite … a lamb to slaughter!
I had thought he would tow me around using the RIB first, then throw in the kite once I could handle the board. But no, all or nothing. He’d given me plenty of instructions to remember. Mostly around “forget kiteboarding, this is a very different skill”.
After the first 15-20 minutes of trying to get up I’m thinking I just can’t do this. But then suddenly, at minute 32 (Pierre is counting!) I get up on the board and all of a sudden there is silence as it lifts on the foil and you feel the acceleration. Wow! What a feeling. But a few seconds later I’m back in the water in a cloud of spray and feeling like I swallowed 1/2 the lagoon. This semi drowning reminded me when I first started to learn kiting. But after that, the similarity ends. This foiling is indeed quite different. Once up on the foil you accelerate so fast the apparent wind increases, significantly powering up the kite. So you need to instantly de-power the kite as you come up on the foil.
By the end of the one hour lesson I’m up on the foil more often than not with a smile ear to ear. This foiling will certainly add a new dimension to my kiting … which was sort of getting a bit stale. A bit like when I got bored with skiing and switched to a snow board.
From the kite school I drive a bit until I find a beach bar to relax for a while. Relaxing extends to 2 beers and a plate of ribs. I can rarely resist ribs when I see someone else eating them. And this in turn leads to me feeling very sleepy after my poor night’s sleep and morning exertion. So it’s back to Cloudy for a nap.
There are three pending jobs that I really wanted to get done before Oana returns. Plumb in the bow toilet properly, after we added an electric macerator unit. Work out where the acidic smell is coming from under the saloon settee, and while under there, check out the water maker elements for any leaks at the high pressure connections. All 3 jobs imply a big mess and quite a determination. So I get to it.
First the toilet. The macerator unit needed some different plumbing to the original manual toilet so I had just connected it basically until we were sure the unit would work OK. After 1 years it been great. So out comes the toilet, all hoses off and 3 new holes drilled through the bulkhead so the pipes can run cleanly out of the heads compartment and be hidden behind the wardrobe next to the holding tank. I really don’t like drilling new holes in Cloudy. I can almost hear her screaming at me in pain! It’s a messy smelly job, but good to get everything nice and clean at the same time.
Then to the acidic cupboard. Saloon seats are all removed and everything taken out from the stowage and passed by my nose. Eventually the stowage is empty and all items declared innocent. The last remaining piece is the air conditioner unit. It does not take much smelling to realize this is the culprit. I land on the idea that the water cooling pipes must have H2S in them due to lack of use, and it’s emigrating through the plastic pipes. So I run the AC for a few minutes flushing the cooling system with bleach. That should fix it! Later in the evening I flush out the bleach solution but the unit still smells. So I was wrong. Must be something else. I do notice that all the copper piping in the evaporator is blackened. Very odd. I’ll have to get an opinion from a refrigeration specialist.
While all things are out of the stowage I do find a small leak on the watermaker HP hose connection. Thought that might be the case. I’ll swap that out tomorrow with a spare one I have. Nice to actually have spares on board that get used! Usually, if I have a spare part for something, that “thing” never goes wrong. Is that Murphie’s Law or Sod’s Law ? … can’t remember which.
At 1am I crash into bed, with clean bedding. Nothing like the first night in clean bedding fresh from the laundry. I’ll surely sleep well tonight.