Position: 36°49’11″N 28°18’25″E
Sometime in my early 50s I grew bored with social media. My kids knew as soon as I opened a Facebook account the platform was done for – at least as far as their generation was concerned. I never understood the attraction of Twitter. Shouting into the void while following others with what? Better crafted opinions? Meh. Instagram looked the same to me as Twitter, only with photos that my parents took. More Meh. When Facebook started supporting genocide and dismantling democracy, I pulled the plug on anything that made Zuckerberg money, including WhatsApp.
When WhatsApp took over the world of messaging, it was a scrappy startup filling a communication void found everywhere but in America. Despite its acquisition by Facebook, WhatsApp is how the rest of the world (outside China) communicates.
All this means Carol is now Aleta’s chief communications officer. She indulges my self-righteousness and readily messages everyone from marine engineers to riggers and keeps our boating life working smoothly. Telephone calls are a thing of the past. Besides we don’t speak Turkish. Any text message is quickly translated. Deals are struck with a minimum of fuss.
Visas and Valve Clearances
Like busses, boat jobs arrive all at once. Riggers only tune boats in the water. Part of that rule may be insurance. Part of it may be a legitimate concern about shifting the rig if the boat is wandering around the yard on a Travel Lift. A couple of trips up the mast (for them) and to the bank (for us) and that was done. Meanwhile, work continued on the windlass. The new one installed, there were a couple of finer points, like bungs for keeping water out of the bilge, that needed taking care of.
After weeks with the engine on land, with Aleta back in the water the mechanics demanded a sea trial. Mostly to check if all its fluids stay inside the motor, like they should. So far, Aleta is running far better than she has in ages. It feels like she’s back to full horsepower and she’s quieter and smoother through the water, to boot. Perhaps the new prop shaft is paying dividends, too.
But, like a new engine, a rebuilt one needs running in. 50 hours says Westerbeke. Given my druthers, I wouldn’t motor 50 hours in a year. ‘We need to check the valve clearances and make sure everything is correct after the run-in period’, our chief mechanic said. That’s all fine and good, but our visas expire on Saturday and once we leave, we can’t bring Aleta back for six months. (Frankly, I don’t get that rule either.) Factor in a two-day delay on relaunching, we were out of time and went to Plan B, driving around the bay for as many hours as we could stand.
Our hydraulics engineer turned up and pulled out the filter housing for our water maker. The membrane that I had so carefully hand carried from the United States slid into place. Like it was made for it. The old one came out looking frighteningly like a four-inch-thick rod of anthracite.
In the middle of this activity, I pulled the jib out of its winter storage and with the help of Shahin hoisted and furled it. On went the staysail and finally the main. The punch list whittled down, we figured putting a few hours on the engine might weed out some infant failures. With that we pulled sharply away from the dock and headed to sea for a couple of nights. Finally, it felt like we might get back to adventuring.
Inside of a couple of hours we’d dropped anchor in a quiet cove and cracked a bottle of halfway decent Turkish chardonnay. Facing the wind encourages a cooling breeze to pass through the cabin. Our version of natural whole house air conditioning. After a couple of weeks of intensive work, it felt really good being back on the water. With the sound of wind rippling on the waves and the occasional ping from the rigging, we fell hard asleep cradled softly in Aleta’s arms. How lucky are we? (Very, very!)