Day 134, Year 5: When is Enough, Enough?
Date: Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Weather: HOT with No Breeze
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

Our roller coaster ride with the freezer compressor continued today. This morning we got a call from Anthony, the manager of General Engineering, telling us that the compressor had been checked out and that it was fine. We didn’t get too excited as we have been told this before. But Anthony said they would be coming at 2:30 in the afternoon to reinstall. We worked like crazy to go get water from the Bolgatty, do the laundry, and get ready to go shopping so we could be back by 2:30. Just as we were ready to go ashore, Anthony called back and said the team would be here in one hour. So Mark took me to shore to go shopping alone and he stayed on the boat. I don’t mind shopping alone, but I can carry only so many kilos in my backpack and in carry bags. This meant I would be making multiple trips. At this point we were both asking ourselves, “Just when is enough, enough?” We have spent half of our time in India dealing with this freezer compressor situation. But I headed out alone to do the provisioning, and Mark once again waited on the boat. I bought tomatoes, 4 more kilos of onions, 4 more kilos of potatoes, 60 eggs, another kilo of garlic, a kilo of ginger, some flower pots for growing more basil and arugula, and headed back to Windbird. I was carrying about 16 pounds on my back as well as the carry bags and that was about as much as I could handle in this heat. When I got back to the waterfront, I called Mark on the VHF portable radio to have him come get me at the dock. I was a bit surprised when Mark showed up with Nazar in Nazar’s boat. They took me back to Windbird where Nazar the refrigeration guy, Ajayan the mechanical engineer, Anthony the manager of the company were sitting in the cockpit waiting for the freezer system to be vacuumed. I decided I wasn’t getting on that boat, so I dumped all the food, gave Mark instructions to wrap the tomatoes in newspaper, and took off again with Nazar to continue shopping. When we got to shore, Nazar walked with me to the market area by the jetty. He told me that he would be taking us to check-out of India in the morning and then said we would be going to his home to meet his wife and two children, a girl aged nine and a boy aged six. This was a bit of a surprise, especially since time is short and there is still so much to do. But we would like to meet his family and we’ll just have to squeeze in the time. On this trip to shore, I had lunch at our favorite restaurant. Just as I was finishing, Ed and Lynne arrived, so I stayed for a bit and talked with them. I have hardly seen Lynne since she returned from the US, so the lunch break gave us a bit of time to catch up. I filled my pack with rice and whole grain flour, cabbage, cauliflower, more tomatoes, backpacks for Nazar’s children, and hurried back to Windbird. It was about 4 pm and I thought the refrigeration team would be long gone. But no. Mark explained that despite their best efforts, the compressor was still not able to keep the necessary pressure to cool. So when we arrived at Windbird, I got onboard but saw that Mark and Anthony were deep in discussion in the cockpit. So I busied myself taking down the laundry. After folding each piece I threw them down the front hatch into the v-berth. Mark and Anthony were still in an intense conversation, so I just dropped down through the front hatch and landed on the v-berth when I heard, “Madame!” Nazar and Ajayan were in the main salon and very surprised to see me drop down the hatch. I thought they were in the cockpit with Mark and Anthony and was a bit embarrassed by my not so graceful landing. But it gave them a chuckle. They explained to me that despite their best efforts, the compressor was just not going to work. So the bottom line is that we are out about $900 for the compressor, shipping, and Custom’s duties, and Anthony is out for seven days of work. It is our understanding that we are not paying for the work since most of the time was spent undoing problems they created. Anthony still believes the compressor is fine, but because it arrived with connectors not compatible with our system, and since connectors are not available here, Anthony believes the “fashioned” connectors might be the problem. Some other year when we are back where connectors are available, we’ll give the compressor another go. But for now we are without a freezer. We just simply have to learn to live with that fact.

Nazar was coming to get the refrigeration team but was not yet here, so we left them on the boat and headed to shore to do one more market run before the end of the day. Mark wanted a new set of fan belts and we went on a wild goose chase that got us nowhere. It was now after 5:00 pm, so we went to the market to get limes, oranges, more tomatoes, more cabbage, another pumpkin, eggplant, and okra. Then we walked to the supermarket near the waterfront and got even more whole wheat flour, more toilet paper, a couple of packages of frozen chicken breast that we will have to eat quickly, some freeze-dried peas that make a wonderful addition to almost any dish. By this time, I was quite ready to get back to Windbird. Again, we were asking ourselves, “Just when is enough, enough?” One little sailboat can only hold so much stuff. We had hoped to have sundowners with Ed and Lynne, but it was too late when we got back. Hopefully things will be more relaxed when we reach the Maldives and we’ll get to be sociable once again. In the meantime, we wrapped tomatoes in newspaper, wrapped limes in aluminum foil, covered eggs with Crisco, and decided to use our freezer space to store pumpkins, cabbages, egg plants, and ginger. After I finish writing this log, I still have to find space in the overloaded refrigerator for the remaining veggies.

Tomorrow is check-out, meet Nazar’s family, do our last bits of shopping, take back our rented modem (so no more internet after tomorrow morning), and get ready for our trip south. It should take us only two to three days to reach our first destination. We’ll still be communicating from there, but only by HAM radio, so no more Skype calls to our kids. We have heard that once we reach the southern most atoll in the Maldives that we might be able to connect to the internet by phone modem. That will be a great present if it proves to be true. Because after that we have three months with absolutely no way to communicate other than the HAM radio email. I am going to miss those Skype connections with the kids terribly, but we have been out here for 134 cruising days, and I really don’t feel like we have gotten started. So it is time to unplug and move on.

100309 Day 134 India–Snipits from Bolgatty Anchorage
Day 135, Year 5: Unplugged and Ready to Go
Day 133, Year 5: Little Things That Make You Smile