Oh dear! I was so excited to hear my friend Karen's voice over the VHF radio that in my excitement as I bounded through the companionway to welcome her as she arrived in Mario's I kicked over TBH's container of varnish... it went everywhere. In fact I could not have spread it further no matter how hard I tried.
Oh damnation, all over the cockpit sole, the companionway steps, me. TBH was a brick, its okay he said, don't worry. I felt a complete idiot as he set to to clear it up. You know he really is a gem!
Anyway Karen looks great and a years worth of gossip is currently being exchanged. We could be at it some time!
The varnish, despite my clumsiness, is looking superb. Many of the smaller pieces are complete and the wood work in the cockpit is beginning to acquire the 'brightwork plane'. This is where the glass like finish of the glossy varnish smooths to a perfect finish and the wood seems to glow. It's the result of many sessions with the sandpaper and an infinite amount of patience.
Good news on the passport front, should be back next week so we will move our plans for departure up a gear. Actually we are pleased with ourselves, famous last words, as the boat is coming together nicely as preparations come to an end. It has been a good stay here in the Rio but time to get out there and do some sailing - that is if I can remember how to do it.
We hope to spend a couple of months in Cuba, visit the Cayman Islands and enjoy a cruise along the coast of Belize all before the return of the hurricane season in July.It is amazing to think that this will be our 4th summer in the Caribbean, how time flies when you are having fun.
The Rio is certainly a great place to hide out from the wildness of the hurricane season and I was stunned to hear from Doug, the owner of the boat Karen has been crewing, that his insurance company demanded a $500 additional payment to allow him to leave his boat here throughout the hurricane season. We are 15 miles inland, with a range of hills and a substantial lake between us and the open ocean. There has not been a hurricane here within living memory, or maybe ever!
It confirms my view that boat insurance is just a rip off. I mean does anyone research the risks or are numbers simply plucked from the air? Our boat, launched in 1991, has never been involved in a claim. The only incident being when we were 'T- boned' in Tobago in the middle of the night by an out of control steel boat. the damage caused was less than the excess on our policy! Yet year by year the premiums are increased beyond all reasonable levels.
Finally, a year ago, we took the decision to self-insure. The premiums demanded simply ceased to make any economic sense. With all the exclusions, mark-down for older equipment and cruising area restrictions we decided to use the money to keep the boat and ourselves better equipped to deal with potentially disastrous situations. After all it's our lives that are the really valuable things out here!
Our insurance company, who by the way were happy to cover us to cross the Atlantic double handed ( often a 3rd member of crew is insisted on) told us that cover for the Pacific would rise to over $10,000 with a $14,000 excess! And they did not guarantee to continue that cover as we moved on around the world. Well I don't know about you but I found that unacceptable and regretfully after a long, and on their part profitable, relationship we terminated our policy.
I have been firing up the SSB radio as we waited for Karen's arrival and through the static, this is a bad spot for reception, I have listened to the North West Caribbean net and reacquainted myself with the boats that are cruising around in this area. Every year some names reappear. many we have now met in the flesh, so to speak, but still there are a number of new ones. It always makes me wonder where they have come from, where they are going and what tales lie behind the names...