Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Wonderful World of Transport

Apparently speed bumps here are called "donkey kicks"
or, "sleeping policeman." So I'm not sure if this sign is
referring to the upcoming speedbump, or donkey crossing for the random
donkeys that cruise about the island.
Boys out with Lelle and Luca, finding random donkeys.
along the way. 

Land based navigation.
When an American man heard from a newly acquired friend that we were at the yard, he decided to call by and introduce himself, as they were to be flying to NZ's South Island for a sight seeing holiday and were keen for any inside information. A week or so later, he and his wife turned up to take us for an afternoon grocery run. Reason being, they'd spent many years cruising the U.S coast, they would meet new people who'd offer the same kindness, and appreciated it so much they wanted to pay it forward, so to speak.  We stopped at two grocery stores, one new we weren't aware of. Tried to get as much bulky, heavy items as possible, that would normally be a mission carrying on my back while biking. Also checked out a new hardware store we were unaware of. 
Take a left here to go to budget marine!
Along the way, they pointed out landmarks to look for when needing to make turns down certain streets, to which I still hear in my head as I bike around the island! When I can only take a backpack of goods, every second day, or even daily for that matter, this trip was hugely invaluable.  
The 8 litre challenge and other two wheeled incidents.
One unfortunate drawback with translation occurred from the above mentioned grocery trip, though. Our google tranlation app wasn't working, so Dave asked a shop attendant if the cheap milk was indeed, milk! To which she replied, yes. Hours later back at home, exhausted from so much shopping, looking forward to a nice cup of tea, thought I'd try my rooibus tea I'd just discovered and was hanging out for. On the first gulp I thought, uh oh, it must be a fruit tea. However when Dave had his normal tea, he also made a similar remark. We tried the milk. Bit different. Had another go at my translation app...turns out we had just bought 9 litres of buttermilk!! Not sure if it's always sour, or because it was near the use-by date, but it was not enjoyable by any count. 
The milk lady is ready to ride!
Next day, motivation fuelled by the need for a decent cup of tea or coffee, I loaded up my backpack with eight 1 litre milk cartons and did the hard, hot, very heavy cycle into town. 
After spending a short amount of time in the air-conditioned supermarket waiting for my refund, I quickly deduced to give my back a break by only carting 5 bottles home as I was too stuffed to lug that amount again! Suffice to say, our cup of tea was far superior and I didn't do much more for the rest of the day!
The next incident ocurred between multiple errands. Almost at the supermarket, a peculiar noise arose from the bike and would not stop. Pulling over to investigate, a whimpering groan escaped from my lungs a little louder than anticipated, as the realisation sunk in: puncture = long walk home in midday sun. At least, I cheered myself, the puncture occurred before the supermarket, not after. Walking for over an hour or so is doable, not so much hauling a few kilos on my back. This probably sounds all a bit over the top, but it's amazing how the heat just zaps you. What would normally be average tasks suddenly become so much more challenging!
Look who I found on a bike ride home! He was frozen
there for a good 10 minutes..seemed like he was thinking, "busted, act dead and they'll carry on!" 
Freeze iguana! This is in one of the busier parts of town, lots of bars, restaurants and the moorings.

Hopefully, this will be the final in the string of unfortunate wheeled events..Lelle gave us an old foldable bike a cruiser left here years ago that was quickly deterriorating in the salt air. The frame, one brake and the carrier were about the only usable items.
The foldable bike in all its glory!
She's got good bones!
We have managed to source a seat, pedals, tyres, tubes, a gear cable, and a beer crate for a carrier..possibly making me look like a bit of a crusty sea dog bum with a drinking problem!! At least Eli was able to repair the bike to a very usable state. We are stoked that we now have a stowable bike for future use. 

As the picture foretells, my first grocery outing on it, was definitely a test for the bike and myself! Having been spoilt with the large 26" wheels and useable gears of the other bike we're currently borrowing, the 20" wheeled, no gears cycle was another workout altogether! Then, of course, I got carried away with unrealistic ideas of just how much I could carry. Turns out a box of 24 beers, 5 litres of milk, a pineapple, 1/2 kg of cornflakes, 2 cans of chk, a large can of fruit, a can of flyspray and a dozen wraps is probably pushing it.  Not to mention what I was carrying on my back, plus my weight, which we don't really need to divulge in any further! The poor tyres were not looking too flash, being squashed down to half their normal size and I ended up walking the last few blocks, feeling sorry for the bikes' first grocery outing - but we made it! Extremely overheated, but without punctures.

Yay for foldable bikes! 
Since this writing, I've had another epic walk home, this time with a heavy load and a seriously flat, punctured tyre! 
Punctures are a constant issue as the island is inundated with thorny bushes and trees that drop their gnarly thorns everywhere. The constant wind sends the thorns scattering and even when the bushes die, they send out tiny seedlings, their thorns leaving irreparable damage. It's like they're immortal almost; prolific, that's for sure. Actually, alot like the cruise ships..
Brace yourselves, here they come!

Cruise ship mania
Currently, there is one ship every second day (sometimes every day). At other times, two on the same day. One ship had 6000 passengers alone, not including staff on it while the "smaller" one moored on the North Pier, but essentially almost next door, had only 3000!

The islands' population is only 19.4, 000 (I pity the .4 person! - Got these stats off a website, I would assume they meant 19,400). So it's easy to tell when a ship or two are at the dock.
The island itself is only 113.5sq miles, only slightly bigger than NZ's Great Barrier island @110sq miles! (284.899sq kms).
What I can't understand is that the ship company, according to one local I spoke to, only has to pay this island US$3 pp to come ashore. As opposed to Alaska, where they have to pay US$50 pp. Surely they could help out these small islands a bit more.
Tourist ventures the small looking boat
between ship and van called the sea cow, painted
like a cow and has a very loud, amusing cow mooing
To make matters worse, in my mind a least, they use between 140-150 tonnes of "bunker" fuel per day.
The Club Med looks quite spectacular leaving port
with her sails out.
According to, bunker oil is less useful than other types of oil, contains relatively high amounts of pollutants, particularly sulfur; it is literally the botom of the barrel, the only thing denser than bunker oil is the residue which is mixed with tar for paving roads and sealing roofs. Bunker oil is not the only fuel they can use, it is used because it is dirt cheap. "Many oil spills have involved bunker oils, leading some environmental organizations to call for a ban on the substance. Because it is so dense, it is extremely difficult to clean up and it easily coats animals and shorelines."
How is it that cruise ships can get away with paying next to nothing to overtake an island's existence and be pumping out so much crude waste?
Spot the cruise ships from behind the buildings. I
suspect people on the top deck may be able to see to
the other side of the island. 
I think they should at least be held accountable to invest a regular contribution into the health, education and basic living necessities to these island communities they are so happy to visit.  
Hopefully their tourist ventures are helping the economy.
Cargo ship from Holland, while Venezuelan boat in
foreground brings hay! - They also do regular drop
offs for fruit, veg and palm trees.
As you might have noticed by the amount of photos I have, I am quite fascinated by all manner of ships in their different shapes, sizes and uses.  Same goes for cruise ships, I just have a bit of a love-hate thing for them!
Spot the cruise ship with sails (normally) coming into harbour. 
I suppose you're wondering if any work has been getting done while I've been skiving off on my bike photographing boats and views..well, I'm glad you asked! The rigging is still not here but the swage machine for doing the job is, so here's hoping next week. In the meantime, aside from a few cockpit finishing bits, the main focus has been our three newly acquired flexible water tanks. First were the repairs, then figuring a place to store them securely without them sloshing..I once read of a family sailing, the boat had heeled to one side and the pressure on the full water tank stowed under a settee, but not strapped down, had broken through and flooded their saloon. It's bad enough trying to keep water on the outside let alone losing most of your precious drinking water!
I digress, alot of gear was heaved out, and in need of new homes, including a tank we are now converting to a holding tank. Dave has been figuring out the plumbing plan and in the process of linking all the tanks (except the new holding tank, obviously!). The boys had another half day out as rescue team for the sailing regatta, getting to drive an IRB this time. They came back raving about how nice and comfy it is compared to our solid riding origami dinghy!
The 3 boys on the rescue job: a dog and a fishing line
wrapped around the competitors' feet after he'd
Boys were pretty stoked first time as rescue team to drive the green pirogue around! 
Lelle has been keeping the two big boys busy also, doing some jobs on a boat for some pocket money.  He also took the boys out for a fishing sail. Here's their photos of their recent escapades:

The sailing club.
Lelle, Eden and Luca.

Eli and Eden, cooling down with the bow waves. Klein Bonaire in front. 
Nice shot by Eli.

That's all from us for this week.
Pasa bon dia! (Have a nice day! )
P.s thanks for reading :)


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