Sunday, January 15, 2017

Durban: a naked Mexican

        Now 4 p.m. and about time to walk up to shower. 
        I started writing this entry this morning, stopped to do boat work, then Ubered to the Musgrave Shopping Centre for lunch and supplies.
        The original heading was a dull ‘complete’, as in my transition back to GANNET is now complete, or almost.
        The new heading wrote itself when I had a Naked Mexican for lunch.  This is not as lascivious as it seems.  A Naked Mexican is a beer, local I presume.  I don’t usually drink until 5 P.M. or an hour before sunset, whichever comes earlier, but wanted something more interesting with grilled kingsklip, a fish.  Both good.
        I am no longer out of paper towels, gin, Laphroaig, various other essentials; and four roach baits now adorn GANNET’s cabin awaiting visitors.

        A sunny morning with a slight cooling breeze coming through the companionway.  Last evening I ate my first freeze dry meal—wild mushrooms with lamb risotto.  The transition back to GANNET is complete.
        Emirates Air delivered my errant duffle bag at 9 a.m. on Friday just as they said they would.  They are a good airline, if such is possible, and treat economy passengers better than any other on which I have flown, but I hope never to see Dubai again.
        Dubai is both admirable and deplorable.  Admirable in that what has happened there has not happened by chance, but by human intention.   Dubai, in the middle of no where and with few natural resources—it is not oil rich—is now the fifth most visited destination in the world.  Chicago is an architect’s city.  The first sky scraper was built there.  It has a great skyline.  That skyline has taken a hundred years to develop.  Dubai has a greater skyline built in the last ten years.
        What is deplorable is that it is all about consumerism.  There is a Las Vegas kind of superficiality and unreality about Dubai.  The city is one giant mall.  Buy.  Buy.  Spend.  Spend.  More.  More. You trudge a long way to your gate in the airport past shop after shop after shop.  Far more than I have seen at any other airport.  Not one or two, but dozens of duty frees.
        Dubai is a great success by all measures of profit and greed.   And a wretched excess.
        I have stowed the contents of my two duffle bags and installed some of the replacements, including the Solar Boost 3000i regulator and the Lewmar hatch hinge.
        The 3000i is the new version of the 2000i.  The back is now partially enclosed and on the front is a button that cycles the display through several modes,  my favorite being the one that flips back and forth between battery voltage and amps being sent to the batteries.  The simple solid state regulator I had been using after the 2000i died performed properly and is still in place as back-up, but has no display, only a couple of lights that change color to show condition.
        I only needed three small plastic parts, probably costing less than a dollar to manufacturer, to repair the Lewmar hatch hinge, but had to buy an entire hinge at a cost of $60.  The repair was not possible without an extra pair of hands.  Chris, a local friend whose boat is just down the dock from GANNET, offered them yesterday.  I told him it would take less than five minutes or it would become curse-worthy.  Sometimes things go right and it took less than five minutes.   I can now open the forward hatch without having to prop it up with a box of wine.
        A Blue Performance sheet bag is to a minor extent curse-worthy.  The Chinese got the dimensions just a little wrong on the small side.  It was impossible to fit onto the hooks that held the same size bag that was washed overboard last year and one of the loops on the back pulled out.  A sailmaker could fix that, but I’ll screw it in place.
        I returned to find that Gavin the rigger had placed reef tack line cleats on the mast and a custom made bracket to prevent the Tides Marine luff track from pulling away, a new Windex and a new Raymarine wind transducer on the masthead.  I am pleased to again have wind information.
        Before I left Chicago Chris had sent me a photo captioned, GANNET has a hoodie.  She does.  The spray hood was in place when I stepped on board and I promptly broke it.
        The hood has to be folded forward for me to get in and out of the companionway.  As I pushed it forward I felt some resistance that soon gave way.  Later I saw that the resistance had come from the aft most toggles securing the sides to the deck.  I didn’t realize that they will have to be loosened before pushing the hood forward.  Now I do.
        The hood is made exactly as I specified.  It is a compromise.  I still have to install cleats or eyebolts for lines to keep the hood in place.  They, too, will have to be released each time I go in and out.  I’ll have to see if the benefits of reduced water coming below, assuming it is reduced, outweigh the inconvenience. 
        My body has adjusted to moving eight time zones forward—one does this at a more acceptable pace under sail—and I’ve slept well the last two nights.  
        I’ll do some boat work for a few hours, then go to a shopping center for lunch and to buy food and supplies.  I’m out of paper towels and gin.