I have been back around 4 weeks now the first week was great, the rest not so good.
I had just got settled in and headed to the market early on Saturday to get some fresh food, the trip back from the market takes me down a steep hill towards the beach, I normally go quite slowly down these hills, scared the bike might run away with me, however this particular morning I was feeling very positive about everything, and decided I must fight my fear of falling off the bike and try to set a new record, if not for speed, at least for scaring myself. So instead of pressing gently on the brake as the bike speeded up,I peddled faster. All was going great, and would have been fine if it wasn’t for that pesky hole in the road, caused by all the recent flood water ripping up the tarmac. Having little bike wheels doesn’t help either. Anway, the bike stopped dead, I didn’t. Fortunately I was able to break my fall with my face. I smashed some teeth up, my glasses shattered and embedded themselves in the flesh around my eye and as I skidded along the tarmac, my skin sacrificed itself in order to provide some breaking friction. There was a lot of blood involved, I think my chances of pulling that morning were seriously reducing.
Lots of people rushed to help, and once I stood up I realised it was going to be ok, no broken bones, but a day later the ribs started to make their position on that matter known. Fortunately this all happened outside a dentists, as one of their staff was leaving. He obviously had medical training and persuaded me to go to his surgery so I could clean up and try to stop the bleeding. There they looked at my wounds and it just happened that a surgeon was in the building and he explained I needed stitches and he could do them right then if I wished. He removed my sunglasses from under the skin and put a dozen stitches around my eye and a few in my lip. Further inspection showed a few teeth to be smashed. They then bandaged me up and told me to come back in a week and they would remove the stitches and advise on the teeth. They wouldn’t take any money for the help they gave me, which was just amazing really.
So two weeks after the crash, I’m pretty much recovered, ribs still hurt a little and the dental work starts tomorrow. Once the teeth are fixed up, I’m sailing out of here to get some snorkeling in.
Kathy will be heading out to join me mid December, which will be great. Then we will leave La Paz and explore new places.
So now I’m back doing boat jobs and programming. I replaced the 12v Cigar lighter system in the cockpit with more sturdy connectors, I think they are called SAE and seem more robust and should be good for a few amps.
Next I replaced the cigar lighter plugs on the Searchlight and the Foghorn I made in Malaysia. Now I knew there was a problem with the foghorn, besides the power connecter, something to do with the push button you press to make it work. So I put the thing down and plugged it in. Boy is it loud. I almost fell overboard with the blast. Then I remembered, the problem was the push switch I bought, was a push to break, not to make, so you had to press the button to stop it. Having woken up all of La Paz, I replaced the button and it works great, as did the searchlight.
People are busy fitting Starlink systems to their boats here. If you don’t know, Starlink is an Internet Provider from Elon Musk which uses the 3000 satellites he has in low earth orbit, which increase by 50-100 most weeks as his spaceX company launches them. On your boat you have a small dish and can get 100mbs download or better. And it works as your sailing along. At the moment the satellite you connect to has to have sight of a land station for the downlink, which limits you to a few tens of miles from the coast when going offshore, but that will change soon. At the moment all of the sea of Cortez and the whole of the coast of North America (Not sure about up north around Alaska)is covered.
This really is a game changer in so many ways. The ranks of the Digital Nomads are swelling, property in remote areas, and sailboats in remote spots are being taken over by yuppies who prefer that life to crazy rents in LA or Silicon Valley. For us sailors, we now have Netflix anywhere we drop hook, or even on passage, that doesn’t interest me. What I love is being able to get good weather forecasts easily. Working at anchor has lots of advantages, but then again, I’m trying to avoid work. Downloading the parts diagram for the gearbox when broken down in the middle of nowhere could be helpful. Kathy will love the connectivity with family & friends.
So I did some research into how these Starlink dishes work, which took me into the workings of phased antenna arrays. Now I was really impressed, such clever technology that a flat printed circuit board can be made to act like a highly focused beam, and track a satellite moving really quickly while at the same time compensating for the boats motion!, this is done without the dish moving and happens in milliseconds. I just had to have one.
I ordered it and it was here about 4 days later. I bought the RV version, which basically means I’m licensed to roam with it, and I can pause the monthly $65 contract when I don’t want to use it. The dish was about $400. Bye Bye Iridium.
It was up and running in minutes, and I made a video call to Kathy and it was perfect quality, no noticeable lag or jitter.
So now I can anchor in remote spots and not worry when all the other boats up anchor and leave that they know something about the weather that I don’t.
I also need to have good contact with the rest of the world so I can keep up with who my prime minister is on any given day.
I took the boat out the other morning just so I could reverse back into my berth. That went very well, mostly thanks to the bow thruster. Carlos had recently scrubbed the boat and the props so that helped.
There has been a lot of live music in town these last few weeks.
So not a lot else to report on, the boats in good shape, The dinghy repairs might not be holding up and need some attention. Now I have the boat reversed in I can varnish the starboard side. I checked the gearbox oil in the outboard again and I think my repairs are good and that machine might last a bit longer.
I’d really like to go for an electric one as a replacement, I’m hoping to get a watermaker sorted soon, lots of new lithium batteries in the next year, and an electric hob and I can then get rid of the butane and petrol onboard, making us quite self sufficient, if only I could catch fish and bake bread!
24th October 2022