Bad Batteries, Good Food, and Great Friends

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 2/5/2023 – 2/12/2023

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Sunday morning, we got a gut-wrenching text from our friends… “Our dinghy is missing! Clipped it on the starboard side last night”… a fear every boater shares. Our dinghy is our car; it’s how we get to and from shore. It’s what allows us to live off the dock! We try to be as diligent as possible, using two painters, locking it up, and raising it out of the water at night. Still, sometimes we get complacent. We come home a little tipsy and don’t feel like raising it, we forget to use the second painter, we think we’ll only be gone for a few minutes, so we don’t bother with the lock, etc. Most boaters have a story to share about their dinghy breaking free and/or being stolen. Ours broke free in Boston and was almost run over by a ferry! Luckily someone saw it and helped us retrieve it. Our friends weren’t so lucky. Their dinghy was nowhere to be seen. Ray picked them up in ours and started searching. They checked the shoreline, the mooring field, and the marinas, hoping to see it tied to the back of someone’s boat or returned to the dinghy dock. No luck. They posted on the local Facebook page and boarded Sabado. We pulled up our anchor and headed around toward the far end of the island to continue the search. Ray steered the boat while the 3 of us stared through our binoculars.

We never found it. Feeling defeated, we returned to our anchorage and brought them back to their boat. We spent the afternoon cleaning Sabado while they sorted out how to get a new dinghy. They’re inherently positive people, so they’re considering taking this opportunity to upgrade to something bigger! 

We met up with them later that evening for dinner at a local restaurant we’ve been dying to try since we got here in November, Blue 11. It’s a chef’s tasting menu, so you only order the number of courses you want (7, 9, or 11), and you have no control over what they bring you. We decided to go all in and do the 11 courses with the wine pairings- it was amazing! We were there for several hours and got to try a variety of dishes, from scallops and snapper to wagyu short ribs and jerk chicken served with unique accompaniments like plantain gnocchi and cassava foam with passion fruit butter. 

Pictured: New York strip with green banana and white cheddar mash, tamarind reduction, and a seasoned pepper jam.

This is the best group photo we could manage after all that food and wine…

We woke up the following day and noticed our low-battery alarms were about to go off. We were frustrated and confused. We had run our engine for 2hrs the day before and had only one refrigerator plugged in! Our current batteries were becoming more and more challenging to live with. We sent a message to the marine electrician asking for an estimated timeline for our new battery installation because it needed to happen sooner rather than later. The way our current batteries were behaving, we’d either need to burn a lot of diesel running the generator, or we’d need to get to a dock and plug into shore power ASAP. 

We turned on the generator while I called the nearby marinas. I was horrified at the outrageous prices quoted for a week-long stay. At this point, we still didn’t have an estimate for the work, so factoring in a $2,000+ marina stay seemed… stressful. By lunchtime, we realized we’d been aggregated all day! Something about that damn generator noise and our pending expenses had put us in a bad mood. So, we turned up the stereo and danced it out! You can’t hear the genny if you have Bob Marley turned up! 😂 We opened a case of Love City Hard Seltzer and went for a swim off the back of the boat. 

Every little ting… is gonna be alright! 🎶

That evening we had friends over for drinks, takeout, and a movie night. The boys ordered the entire menu…

… and we watched True Spirit on Netflix, a documentary about Jessica Watson, the youngest person to sail solo around the world nonstop. She was at sea for 210 days straight at age 16!! Can you even imagine what that must have been like?! 

The next day we did some chores, ran some errands, and ate some leftovers. 😂 Despite having run our generator for 5 hours the day before, our batteries were low (again!!!). So we spent the afternoon with everything turned off, continuously moving the boom, so it didn’t shade our solar panels while refreshing our email inbox, anxiously waiting for our new battery install quote. 

On Wednesday, we had to run the generator again. We tried to take advantage of the positives though: we threw in a load of laundry, made some water, and did some work inside while the AC was on. We received our installation quote and made some arrangements for a marina stay to get the job done. I reorganized the storage space in our cabin to accommodate the new batteries and cleaned up to make it as easily accessible as possible for the workers. 

Thursday morning, we focused on our galley options. We want to get rid of our current oven and potentially the microwave, too. Our new batteries should allow us to use more appliances, like an air fryer/electric oven. This would minimize our propane usage and release less heat into the galley when cooking, a valuable consideration for cooking in the Caribbean. We took some measurements and read a million appliance reviews. Do you have something in particular you love? If so, let us know! 

That afternoon we got a message from our friends: they would be sailing by our anchorage shortly, and we agreed to bring the dinghy over and board their boat while they were underway, what we call “navy seal style”. 😎

Shockingly, no one ended up in the water! I probably won’t do it again, though.😂 We helped them get on the dock and hung out the rest of the evening.

The next day it was our turn to get on the dock. Our batteries were driving us nuts, and we’d spent too much money on our boat to have it feel like we were camping, but with practically no power, that’s what it was feeling like! We reluctantly reserved a slip in an outrageously overpriced marina. 2 weeks on the dock = 2x my monthly rent at my last apartment in San Diego. 😭 Our friends helped us get on- stern in, starboard tie, with the wind blowing us off the dock: our least favorite combination. It’s always nice to have a few extra hands to help with lines and fenders! We got Sabado settled and then stopped by the nearby bar to buy our crew a round. Shortly after, the oh-so-familiar anxiety set in… Ray and I hate being on a dock. Sabado hates it, too. History has shown that the dock is where most of her problems start, and everything (aside from our batteries) has been running so smoothly lately… The idea of having other people aboard doing major work on her, too, is nerve-wracking. We sent a quick text to our friends and moments later were packing a bag to sleep over on their boat, on anchor. One less night on the dock is in the best interest of our mental health. 😅

Together, we had a game night…

…which quickly turned into a lot of wine, a midnight swim, and a dance party; not surprising for this group! We slept in, then dinghied to shore for brunch before returning to Sabado, feeling incredibly grateful for our friends. 

Once we got home, we started planning out what we needed to do to prepare for the work we’re having done on Sabado next week. Today, we’re jumping into action. Hopefully, the installation will begin tomorrow. 🤞🏼 

I hope you had a great week! ❤️

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