Saturday, January 21, 2012

You don't really need an alternator as long as you have friends!

Alright friends and family. I know it has been a while but the internet has not been handy. I'll start two weeks ago..ish:

I headed out of Ponce, Puerto Rico around 7 am and caught a North wind 20miles east into a harbour called Selina. I quickly dropped the anchor, made lunch for myself, had a few Medalla Gold Light ( Beer ) and slept for the afternoon. As soon as the sun went down I was off. The idea was to go as far as I could towards St Thomas to meet Evan and Dacia. I figure it was around 1pm when I noticed that my engine was no longer charging my battery bank. I quickly threw the autopilot back on and and pulled out my tools and started multi-tasking between working on the engines alternator and jumping up on deck to navigate Lizzy Belle. I fooled around with battery connections, checked my volt meter, etc.... after I decided I am not nearly as awesome as "Macgyver" I started plotting a course for the nearest harbour. Of course it began to rain and the winds picked up. I doused the sails and pulled the throttle. Lizzy Belle and I pushed through the night and ended up in a town called Yubacoa. I putted around the bay as the sunrise began to light up the clouds in the distance. LB began to attract attention very quickly as two police jeeps at 90 degree angles through their high beams directly on us. I waved and pointed to my radio. No reaction. Honestly, I didn't know what to do... so I did what any son would do. I called the "Old Man" and woke him up to fill him in. He asked if I was safe and then we discussed my battery/engine problems. He told me to get some rest and work things out when I was not completely exhausted. Eventually two fishermen curiously drove by Lizzy Belle. Although they didn't speak English we figured out it was ok for me to tie up alongside the dock where the police were waiting for me...
As I brought LB alongside the wharf an officer named Colon was waiting for me. Another lady was on the radio. I pulled my passport out and we agreed that I was David Welsford. Then Colon looked back at his partner and said in broken English, "See, I told you that he was from Canada". Then he laughed and told me she owed him lunch. From here on in everything improved quickly. Colon and his crew of officers told me to take my batteries out and they would run them to town for a charge. Locals began hovering around Lizzy Belle and every so often one of them would ask in English, "So you are alone and from Canada... your crazy man". People began bringing me water, beer, full on Puerto Rican meals, ice and even diesel fuel. One great guy and his kids over heard me mention that I only had ten dollars in my pocket and slipped me a 20 dollar bill. I told him now but he refused to take it back.

On day two in the harbour people were drawn out of town to see Lizzy Belle and the Canadian Sailor. One guys wife said to me, "My husband won't stop talking about you and dragged me down here". They also brought me flags to fly on Lizzy Belle's masts. Finally, a friend named Jesus brought his buddy a diesel mechanic down and took the alternator right off LB. We drove into town and checked it out and took it apart. He brought it back, stuck it back on and everything worked again. A huge stress relief.

All I can say is THANK YOU to the people of Yubacoa! My new friends were part of a fishing club and completely took care of me. They told me in the end that they just wanted to be part of my adventure. I offered them money. They declined. Finally they let me buy some BBQ chicken, french fries and pop. We had a send off party and around 7pm on that Saturday they pulled in my lines and I headed back out to sea. I would have never experienced anything like this if I hadn't had problems with my engine. These people were by far the nicest people I have ever met on my travels. Their final words when I cast off were, "We will remember you"! And trust me, I will always remember them. Thank you to my friend Jesus and the rest of the crew at the Fishing Club! You were my heroes!
My buddy Peter. He was the first dude to show up with water and ice. He also was the first to speak English to me and translate to the locals who I was and why I was here. This got the ball rolling on my repairs.
My police officer friend Colon. He charged my batteries and I offered him a bottle of rum. He said he didn't drink but would put it in his house to remember me by. I also have his address and he asked me to send him a post card wherever I go in the world. Another hero for sure!
As I was taking apart the engine people began hanging out on Lizzy Belle. Soon we were like brother and sister. The kids crawled all over LB like monkeys. It was awesome.
They brought be pepper steak and rice. I cobbled up my infected feet over breakfast.
First fresh water shower rig. I also lost that bag overboard the next night.
These friends brought me flags and we got our picture together!
My hommies. By the end of the weekend my crew and I ran the wharf!
LB's temporary home. I would walk straight on and off her from here.

Substitute for Chicken Wings. It actually tastes just like Boston Pizza Wings.
Finally, I met up with Evan and Dacia. Evan jumped right on the Chicken Wing train.
Medalla Gold and the new crew.
Not Lizzy Belle!!!
Dropped a bottle of rum on my foot.
Dacia and Evan running Lizzy Belle to Culebra.

I apologize but I had to write this blog quickly because once again the Library is closing. I hope the spelling is ok for you guys.

I'll update on Evan, Dacia and my ongoing adventures next week. Trust me. It has been a time full of snorkelling, barracuda's, shipwrecks and more.

Much love to all at home!

Captain Dave, Evan ( Skipper ), Dacia ( Peg girl )... hahahahahaha

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